The Homeless Gospel Choir is a weird stick out in the rut. He’s Derek Zanetti from Pittsburgh, PA. One band in particular I would recommend to see in person more than to only check out the music. His music isn’t powerful, or moving, or complex – but in spite, it’s fun. There’s a handful of people I would prefer to see up on stage by themselves with a mic and an acoustic guiar, and he’s one of them.
Which is exactly how I came to find him. Out at a show with TWIABP and Listener. I went in not knowing who he was apart from the praise my friend was giving him. I was 17 at the time, just moved out to my first apartment away from home and was worried about a few things. Paying rent on time. Trying to find comfort where I was at. Having chill hangs with chill friends. Wondering if things would always be so simple or if life would catch us all by storm. I was afraid of growing up. I had used to be so young. The thought has passed you I’m sure. So I was having a chill time listening to these bands, and this guy comes on stage with just an acoustic guitar and the ragged like clothes on his back. And in minutes he had swayed the room into contentment. Realize you can grow up and still be you. Laugh at how dumb politics can be.
He is an anthem. He’s just a guy with a motive – to bring laughter to the room. He talks about suicide, Jesus (coming back so you could be an asshole. Don’t worry, it’s a running joke. He doesn’t want your 401k guys), politics, and growing up. You in a small rut? Worried about growing up too fast? Get in a room with this guy and a bunch of other sweaty teenagers and pump your fists to simple melodies with simple messages.
He’s someone that isn’t trying to be something bigger than he actually is. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but he’s on ground level with you. He hates Mumford & Sons. Loves Black Sabbath but doesn’t like metal; doesn’t like country but loves Johnny Cash. If you check out his pages, you can quickly tell he’s just a guy wanting to spread some simple creativity.
Just as the title suggests – I Used To Be So young – he’s worried about growing up. “Does everyone turn into something that they hate, is it just the friends that I had? Am I scared to death of growing old myself? Should I just give thanks and be glad?” And comes to the conclusion he just needs to be the best he can. Be yourself. Just because.
Why can’t you just be happy where you’re at, and live your life without a care?”
I want to quote the whole album to you. It’s about taking what you have on your back and travelling to see new things and people. Being real, playing out of tune, and getting praised for it. Going out on stage and pouring out your thoughts as they are.
“The songs that I’m singing, won’t make a dime. And that is the reason I wrote them this time.”
So if you’ve come to like protest albums, check this out. Derek brings music to the ground so you can see him eye to eye.
You can listen it stream for free on bandcamp here.