This is just sheer awesomeness. Pop music with harmony and virtuosity. Go figure.
My friend Steve Hamilton hipped me to this Swedish trio, "Dirty Loops". In addition to covering "the Biebs", they've also posted reharmonized cover tunes by Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, and Rihanna on YouTube. I checked out their web site and an album, including original material is on the way. This may be the pop band for me.
This is the sort of the direction we had started taking with the now defunct "Jazz Lauds" band, before the plug got pulled on that project. If I were ever to dive wholeheartedly into church music again, playing regularly within a large congregation, I'm pretty sure I'd go this route --- using contemporary worship tunes in need of some added harmonic and rhythmic interest.
At one point I said "never again". Lately my stance is "maybe someday". I guess we'll see.
On another note, I couldn't help but notice how much fun these guys are having as they are playing. You can see the joy in their facial expressions. On my gig last week in Winnipeg, someone came up to me and commented that I no longer appear frustrated and angry when I play. At first I thought it was a strange comment, but maybe some truth was expressed. When they last saw me perform in Winnipeg (fifteen years ago!), I was at the height of my practicing. During my evening performances, was trying to execute all the new stuff I was working on throughout the day. I suppose things have changed in that now I approach playing with the mindset of trying to have fun, and making things feel good/relaxed, as opposed to forcing new concepts into my playing.
I learned an important lesson from the observations of this casual observer of my performances. Our attitudes as performers really matters, and are easy to read by the "uninitiated" listener. If we're not having fun, the audience isn't having fun.