Monday, January 24th, 2011
By: Christopher Greco – As co-producer, T (as he’s called by his friends) is the quintessential utility player. Need a baritone to sing in the choral ensemble? How about some grunts or pants or shouts? Or grabbing a couple of sticks from the yard and hitting them together in the studio? Or the voice that drops down an octave every once in a while?
And of course, the guitars. A variety of acoustic and electric, banjo, balalaika, and ukelele, for starters. How many does he play exactly? I’m counting 20 in the credits. How many does he own? He’s not saying.
Here are excerpts from a recent interview with T which shed some light on the friendly, wry man of many talents.
T: My background is in classical violin, ‘high school rock band’ guitar, choral music, roofing….kinda in that order. Throw into that mix, jazz studies, practicing the discipline of minimalism in a worship band, session guitar work, and producing. These all span over almost 40 years, so not as intense as it may sound.
CG: What’s your role been in this project?
T: Production and guitar work is how best to describe my role in this project. The only way I could begin to see myself as qualified, is that all that was required was to be who I am, and allow the spectrum of musical influences and loves, to come out.
CG: Such as?
T: Learning flamemco ‘right hand’ movements from a Spanish friend in Scotland back in 1995 seemed insignificant at the time, but it sure did come in handy for a few tracks on this project.
CG: The first time I met you, you were standing on a roof. What’s that about?
T: My main livelihood these days is roofing. Come to think of it, I suppose it has been for the past 24 years or so. Many of those years have been filled with various music projects, either touring, recording, writing, or more recently, production. My goal as a roofer has always been, make sure the house doesn’t leak, and do it in a timely fashion……hopefully I can get paid well, purchase that next, much needed, guitar, and keep the music sounding fresh.
CG: What’s most important to you in making music?
T: Off the top of my head, most important to me is relationship. Freedom to make mistakes and not be shown the door.
CG: Is that what you’ve been shooting for in this project?
T: In this project, my hope was to have the songs rich with emotion that would accurately reflect the piece, whether it be the laments of the father, anger of the older brother, or the longings of the prodigal.
CG: What’s been particularly fun for you about working on Prodigal God?
T: Being able to do this with friends, and also being able to explore all of the various musical avenues that I never get to go down in a typical worship project.
CG: Any memorable moments worth mentioning?
T: I think my most memorable moment came when they let me play some of Boris’ crazy instruments. Playing the jawbone of an ass was a significant moment for me.
To hear some of Brian Thiessen’s handy guitar work by its lonesome, check out “Road to Home” and “House of Peace”, available through www.ionworship.org.