Linnea Good - Her Story
“Momentary Saints” Linnea Good is standing on the deck of her Summerland home, gazing at the field of sheep below the yard and the mountains of Naramata on the far side of Lake Okanagan. Life in the small town is not new to her, but for this Christian singer-songwriter, the valley has become a place of balance against the fast pace of life on the road.
Married to percussionist David Jonsson, Linnea has 3 children (Patrick, born '97, Nicole '98 and Isaac '02), a tour itinerary that carries the whole family and music team to all corners of their country much of the year, ten albums and a following of devoted fans in most every English-speaking community in Canada, into the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The singer-songwriter has come a long way from her Maritime roots. Born in Boston, she was raised in Fredericton, NB on Canada's east coast, the oldest of 5 children born to Patricia and Frank Good. Music was a big part of home life; Linnea's father is an infamous local singer. "We were put to bed on Gilbert and Sullivan choruses." she says. "Mom could never figure out why we weren't able to sleep after lullaby time with Dad!"
At 12, Linnea was invited to sing in the local Anglican cathedral choir and her future in music was sealed. "I just walked into the church and joined the choir at an age when other kids were leaving the church!" she laughs.
A move to Vancouver on the west coast and a new community helped her clarify what she was supposed to be doing with her life. She began work in a local United Church, leading youth and music. “I did not set out to become a musician,” she says of that time. “I had considered – and rejected – it, actually. I had really “important” things that I thought I was supposed to be doing and for awhile there, music just seemed less than serious.” However, music got serious when she was asked to make a collection of herself singing and found that it sold. “It was a cassette of the first 10 songs I had ever written since high school. The artwork was illegible, the production was what you might call shoestring, and the songs were breathless! But people loved it. It started my career, definitely.”
Since A Word to Begin With in 1988, Linnea has produced 9 more albums, all received with increasing acclaim across Canada: There Is A Time (1990), Stickpeople (1992), Sometimes Christmas (1994) Sunday Sessions (1996), I Know You (1996), Greatest of These (1998), Crazy Faith (1999), Swimmin' Like a Bird (2003) and Momentary Saints (2008).
While based at a downtown Vancouver church, she saw her music make its way all over Canada and into the US and in the southern hemisphere. With sales toward 35,000 units, her albums are considered platinum in church circles. Her hymns are included in numerous denominational hymnbooks and song resources. Because of her ecumenical appeal, indeed, she has been called the "contemporary musical voice of the emerging church of Canada".
David Jonsson came into her life when she was seeking a drummer for album #5 - just as her previous marriage was ending. They were married in 2001 – a partnership that equally shares the responsibilities of home, family and road touring. “It is a soul-lock,” says she.
A move to the small town of Summerland, BC late in 2000, gave the Jonsson-Goods some of the space that they needed to enjoy family life and launch more solidly into the music world. At neighbouring Westbank United Church, Linnea found herself animating, composing, conducting, and reflecting on the Christian tradition in a new and profound way. The congregation supported her outreach ministry of musical touring - even when she and the family and team went on a 6-week tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2004. Linnea inaugurated her popular music e-subscription group Psalm-body's Prayin', to enable music leaders to have immediate access to choral, hymn and service music.
The universes of church and children's music converged with her album "Swimmin' Like a Bird" in 2004. The CD garnered three major Canadian award nominations for outstanding Children's Album at the (national) Shai faith Music Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards and the Canadian Independent Artists (Indie) Awards. The awards were a further affirmation of her status as one of Canada's most significant children's performers of faith music.
The last couple of years have seen an astonishing output of original material from Linnea Good, as well as a focus on educating the church on how to express its collective soul in song. Linnea collaborated with well-known clinical psychologist-author Dr. Nancy Reeves on a book for 6-10 year-olds on the ways in which God speaks with children: Adventures of the God Detectives (publ Wood Lake Books, fall 2006).
The year 2006 is also the one in which Linnea and Good Company team embarked on their largest tour to date - a full circle tour of the United States from September through December. In that journey, Linnea, David and their 3 children balanced professional touring with visiting and family adventuring. In their 106 days of touring, they travelled a distance of 28,598 km (or 17,771 miles); they gave 27 concerts, led in 22 worships, facilitated 9 workshops - connecting with 10 different denominations.
“David and I now look back on this tour and laugh. Through the whole time, not one person ever said to us: ‘GEE, I wish I were doing what you people are doing!’ Apart from actually birthing these humans, nothing has been as hard to do as a family, as this tour. But the sense of connection, the learning that was packed into those 3 1/2 months – and the sense of being led from day to day by the Spirit – was enormous. I wouldn’t trade this for anything!”