Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The Awkward Return of Jennifer Knapp
So the almost-mythical Jennifer Knapp is back, replete with new album, a new tour, and a newly announced same-sex orientation—but she still loves Jesus. If you’ve missed the news, you can catch up on things with this article.
Now, some folks might be bit disappointed about her “succumbing” to homosexuality while still acknowledging her devout faith, while others will no doubt see her as potential poster child for gay rights. I would find myself somewhere closer to the latter view, but more from a point of her example advancing dialogue on an issue where the Church always seems to be dragging its heels. Unfortunately, her new tour will likely not be a positive contributing factor.
Even with a local radio appearance and feature in the Charleston City Paper, her concert failed to draw much of an audience. Probably about fifty people made up this scattered crowd—and what a crowd. Half the room seemed to be 20-something fans who listened to Knapp when they we’re 16. The other half were lesbians. The bartender behind me wanted to know what the hell was going on—and that was before a 13-year-old girl came on the stage for the opening act. Then he was just weirded out.
When Jennifer got up, things didn’t improve as much I was hoping they would. Her new music, which is more instrumentally diverse than previous albums, was unable to covert to the single acoustic guitar she played alone on stage. When she played her oldies—songs much better suited for a solo show—it gave the impression that this singer-songwriter’s best days were already behind her (which I don't believe is the case at all). Oh, I had so many questions by this point.
But despite providing a decent shot of scotch to our throwback musician, my request for a three-question interview was met with a very polite “just one second” followed by a hasty departure out of the bar fifteen-minutes later with someone who was either her overassertive butch bodyguard or partner—we couldn’t figure out her title. Dang. Fail. (UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that Jennifer apologized on twitter to me for forgetting the interview. Case in point about her politeness.)
Yet, let’s end on a positive note. Jennifer did speak really highly of the quasi-controversial artist Derek Webb, who, according to her, “Is one of the only [Christian] musicians I know that lives what he says.” I thought that was cool. And even if the tour may only be a warm up for better things to come, I encourage you to check out her new album.