It was a few songs into Beki Hemingway's Fitzroy gig that I realised that, by the circumstances of life, she was now a woman with something to say. Suddenly, she is not just a fine songwriter scattering catchy songs with gems of spiritual insight. There is now a profound weightiness to the entire piece.
Backed by her husband Randy Kerkman, who plays the guitar as one who has authority and not as the scribes and now also adds effective harmonies, Beki kicked off with Siouxanne a song that used to be a regular on my Sunday night radio show back in the day. It's a song of a teenage black sheep, struggling in a difficult home situation, and Beki attempting to bring her some grace and sense of belonging.
I also got my favourite, Sinsick, that though it can sound seedy, sounds like all of us deep down in our complicity of what is wrong with this sad old world. It is one of those songs where Hemingway is able to affect the drama with her imaginative vocal dexterity, one of her strongest suits.
There were a couple fo new songs California and Hurricane that reminded me what a deft poet Hemingway is too.
Yet, that is not what caught the ear of my soul.
For about a decade Beki and Randy gave up taking the music seriously. They settled in Denver to live ordinary lives. Then a few years ago, something shifted. They asked themselves what their priorities were? They reassessed God's purposes. They made a decision to say yes to everything and to travel and serve! My World is Out There was the 4 minute song covenant with God on such a shift of life.
They ended up in Wexford! That's what you get for recklessly handing over to God!
Anyway, within a short time Beki was going through breast cancer. This was a journey with storms and bumpy terrain.
The songs from this journey have been released on their most recent album Whins and Weather and in this live setting become almost a workshop, seminar of discipleship, catharsis and spiritual resilience. If I was running a Christian Conference like New Wine, New Horizon, Spring Harvest or Greenbelt Iw Ould book Beki Hemingway.
She could do a gig but I would also put her in the afternoon programme, to do the same gig. The songs and the sharing are as powerful you might hear at any of those Conferences this year.
Songs like Two More Hills, Is This All, Because and Thank You For The Rain. Oh my. These have a quiet, humble authenticity that sets Beki Hemingway apart as a songwriter, performer and human being. If you get the chance, go and hear her. Your soul will get a shot in the arm and you'll be well entertained as it is.