If you were a fan of Christian music around the year 2000 you probably know Jennifer Knapp. She stood out to me because her music was actually music. Instead of overly produced pop or rock music I was listening to on Christian radio, Jennifer Knapp’s first album, Kansas, was just a girl, her guitar, and some damn good songs. I was in college when her album came out and it was love at first listen. It’s still an album I come back to often and that’s not something I can say about most albums from my younger days. If you have been a fan of hers since the early days you probably have a story similar to mine. It goes something like this.
1. Listen to Kansas 1,000 times.
2. Feel like Jennifer Knapp has captured all your feelings of love and angst in song.
3. Go to a live show, buy another album, fall more in love with her, repeat.
4. Get distracted by life.
5. Listen to her albums on the hard days and sometimes the good days.
6. Do a quick search for more music from her, feel disappointed, get distracted.
7. Keep Kansas in your car’s CD player just in case you need it. (It’s still there right now.)
8. Google Jennifer Knapp. (Where the hell is she?)
9. Listen to Kansas. Try to get on with your life.
10. Get an email from a friend that Jennifer Knapp has resurfaced finally and oh yeah, she is gay.
The email I received was from an old friend I knew in high school. Back then our world was very black and white, filled with Christian music, and various activities to avoid the “secular” world at all costs. Her email happened to mention, “apparently Jennifer Knapp is gay,” in what I think was a paragraph of her trying to reconcile how much things had changed over the past decade. Oh yes, things had changed. A lot. Her world was still black and white while mine had become much more colorful.
I actually stopped reading that email in a moment of curious excitement. Jennifer Knapp is gay? Is she back? Where has she been? Is she making music again? All of my questions were answered after a quick Google search. Yes, yes, Australia, yes. I was elated. ELATED. One of my favorite artists of all time was back, after a long journey, and her world was more colorful too. I read her memoir and it filled in a lot of the pieces of the Jennifer Knapp puzzle that were missing for me. It’s quite a story.
The first time I saw Jennifer Knapp sing live was at a church. The last time? At Pisgah Brewing in Asheville, NC. That’s right, my Jennifer Knapp story took me from church to brewery. I wouldn’t have it any other way. She has a new album out today, Love Comes Back Around. I’m so glad she came back around too.