When musician and songwriter Nate Houge heard Faith Inkubators was looking for Bible verses in song for the 120 theme “Bible Song” curriculum, he sat down with his friend Rachel Kurtz and knocked a dozen fresh works out in one sitting.
“He’s prolific!” says Rich Melheim, founder of the FINK Music Guild, “and a lot of fun, too.”
Our Musician of the Month for March couples his writing and ranting with melody to create songs of social fervor and a lust for integrity. Whether with a band or solo, Nate’s shows are known for their humor, spontaneity, and positive provocation.
A former church musician and director of Children’s Ministries, Nate wades in the waters of rock and roll with a solid Lutheran theological foundation and a hope-filled view of the Church in its entirety.
Nate performs and records in various configurations, solo acoustic, garage folk duo, or rock and roll trio. His fun and funky “Comfort Your Hearts” debuts with a refreshing retro-60s sincerity and a surprisingly fun little kid’s “klinky” toy piano backing him up in the new Bible Song “Word Spreads” (Book of Acts) cartoon curriculum. Aside from recording for Faith Inkubators, Nate has also recorded for Rachel Kurtz, Augsburg Fortress, and Youth Encounter.
When not traveling, Nate lives in St. Paul, MN with his beautiful wife, two above average daughters, and a garage full of things to tinker with.
What’s in Nate’s Incubator for 2008?
“A ton,” says Nate with a smile. “Over Christmas I started recording children’s songs, both my own and standards, and now it looks like I’ll put out a short run CD for friends and neighbors and maybe more. My folk group “The Honest Folk” recently added a fourth member and have been making plans for the studio and a batch of new get-in-touch-with-democracy type songs. And my little rock and roll trio “welaware” is getting the PR machine in motion to do a set of punky little local shows. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I’ve been recording and re-recording 20 or so liturgical pieces that I’ve written over the years for various congregations and organizations (comfort your hearts included).
Along with music, Nate’s new love is welding. “I’m taking a class at St. Paul College and hope to use the skill in creating large collaborative instruments; instruments that require multiple people to play them. The hope being to write liturgy that is played by the congregation on these instruments as a ‘work of the people.’ It’s an idea I’ve been working out since 2004 when I was working in a large church with a lot of adolescent boys that didn’t want to sing. Heck, when I was in jr. high I didn’t either – but I really wanted to be a part of the group – at some level we all do. So I want to create a level playing field in corporate worship where everyone has a way into the group. It’s crazy enough that it just might work.
“I once read the quote ;If you ain’t what you is, you is what you ain’t.’ I think this coupled with the idea that our faith and ministry is our life and not just a job presents some wonderful challenges for us all to wrestle with. It might create some discomfort too, but I don’t know if having an abrasive faith is the worst problem in the world.
Congrats on your life, loves and work, Nate! You’re our Musician of the Month.
Nate is experienced and available as a resource for your church or synod gathering as a performer, presenter, or leader of intergenerational events. Find him at 612.269.9023 or firstname.lastname@example.org and www.natehouge.com.