I heard about Aaron Strumpel when I was checking up on Enter the Worship Circle to see if they had anything new out. In 2006, they began the Chair and Microphone series, in their own words, a series “full of raw conversations with God, shot from the Psalms, but with only a solo voice and one guitar…one take…one time to record it.” There are currently two volumes. You should buy 100 copies of each and send them throughout the world.
Anyway, Aaron Strumpel took on the second volume, and he’s really great. His style reminds me of Damien Rice, and these recordings are such real, raw, un-polished cries to God that you can’t help but feel the passion. It’s like being inside someone’s head for an album.
I liked what Aaron said about himself in his bio on-line, so I decided to include the whole thing here:
I grew up in a hundred year old house surrounded by corn. It had creaky wooden floors underneath the ratty carpet which covered the fifty year old linoleum that was just about impossible to scrape off. It’s walls were made of plaster and lattice and I remember finding treasures in them as a boy as I ripped them apart to make way for drywall.
In the back forty we had a barn and a shed and a corn crib. The corn crib was the hub of my childhood. It kept the lawn mower. It housed raccoons who made scary noises at night. It was the site of a great and long battle between my whole family and a giant bull snake that left us exhausted and me missing the bus.
It was about that time when I became infatuated with the trumpet. It was fascinatingly loud and made piercing noises that caused me to tremble. I first heard it in the midst of a community orchestra and then had to have one. Seventy-five bucks from my folks got me one and I was off to the races. That was fifth grade.
After pursuing things like jazz transcription and theory, I realized that I could never simultaneously play the trumpet and sing and therefore would never be able to do what I really wanted to do. Be a rock star. The other problem was that I couldn’t write songs. I decided to go against the odds and pick up the guitar. This was the instrument that my dad used to play classics to me with; songs like “A Frog Sat on a Lilly Pad,” which ended with a rousing chorus detailing how a peanut had been sitting on a railroad track and ended up as peanut butter. Yes, it was a beautiful 1967 Martin he was playing.
I practiced a lot and found that I could play well enough to travel with a singer-songwriter from Boulder, Colorado named Tracy Howe. In four years, we toured to 40 states, playing 400 shows in a mini-van with a topper. We were called The Restoration Project and even though we didn’t have drums and bass, we rocked the electric guitars. Hard. In that time I made some great friends who I wouldn’t trade for anything and they’ve become like family to me. Oh, and I learned how to write songs.
So I recently wrote for a new album called Enter the Worship Circle: Chair and Microphone 2. It was a cool writing process, putting Psalms to music. I liked it very much. And I love the Enter the Worship Circle family. If you are a crazy EWC person like I have been ever since the first one rocked my life, then we already have an instant connection. If not, maybe my album will introduce you to something amazing. You can read more about it on the music section of this site.
Now my life is filled with playing shows and recording people’s CD’s. I’m fascinated with art that speaks about life and I’ve grown in love with people who want to help others. So I’m pursuing shows that combine elements of Enter the Worship Circle and the ONE Campaign.
That’s about it. My interests include bugs, coffee, stompers, guitars, and climbing trees. I’m also quite taken by yummy smells and tastes. And colorful oil paintings.
So, yeah, check out the MP3s, and then support his ministry by buying some from him.
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