Linnea Good has been called "the contemporary musical voice of the United Church of Canada". She is known as one of Canada's foremost performers of music of faith for all-age audiences. She tours much of the year in her trio Good Company, giving concerts and workshops. Her professional travels have taken her to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.
The latest of her numerous CDs, Swimmin' Like a Bird, was thrice nominated for major Canadian awards as Outstanding Children's Album of the Year (2004).
Hymn-textwright Brian Wren said of her: "I appreciate the freshness and care of her lyrics, her theology, her musicality, and her voice. She has a remarkable constellation of gifts." Bishop John Spong says: "Linnea Good is the finest musician with whom I have worked. A rare talent!" "The voice of an angel..." says Jes Wood, a local youth worker, and Rev Gary Gaudin, from the United Church of Canada, describes her music as "spirit-led seamlessness."
Her background includes a BA in French Literature, a Master of Religious Education with a specialty in music as an educational tool. She offers an internet subscription for worship and music leaders, called the Psalm-body's Prayin' Group. She and drummer-spouse, David, share the joy and laundry of 3 children: Patrick, Nicole and Isaac. She is found at www.LinneaGood.com.
Linnea Good - Biography (the whole story)
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 ex-pat Maritimer, 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 the country much of the year, nine albums and a following of devoted fans in most every English-speaking community in Canada, into the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The 44-year-old singer has come a long way from her Maritime roots. She was raised in Fredericton, NB, 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 church choir and her future in music was sealed. "I guess the only way to rebel against a liberal upbringing was to join the church!" she laughs.
While forging a path into a world of music and religion, Linnea's work in the church influenced her to become an educator and activist. "For awhile, I thought I should be an Anglican priest. But mine was the last diocese in Canada to hold out against ordaining women. I spent so much time just trying to prove that women were people that I realised I had no idea what I really meant to do."
It took a move to Vancouver and a new community to help her discover what she was supposed to be doing with her life. She began work in a local United Church, leading youth and music. She immersed herself in creative forms of church leadership - an alternative drama troupe and song leading. "The drama was hilarious! We had WWF tag-team theological wrestling, we enacted God-the-Committee, we critiqued the church mercilessly. It was comedic dissidence."
Since that time in 1988, Linnea has produced 8 more albums, all received with increasing acclaim across Canada: There Is A Time (1990), Stickpeople (1993), Sunday Sessions (1996), I Know You (1996, Greatest of These (1998), Crazy Faith (1999) and Swimmin' Like a Bird (2003).
While based at Ryerson United in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, she saw her music make its way all over Canada and into the US and Australia. With sales toward 30,000 units, her albums are considered platinum in church circles. Five of her hymns are included in the denomination's hymnbook. Indeed, she has now been called the "contemporary musical voice of the United Church of Canada".
With the birth of her second child, Linnea left congregational work. "I needed to focus on two things: parenting and offering music to the wider community. I didn't expect to work in the congregation again." Her touring took her further afield, sales increased, the children flourished - "and by the time I turned around, I hadn't written anything but barking bath songs in 3 years!"
By the time she and David made the move to the Okanagan's small town of Summerland, Linnea realised that there was a balance that she was striving for - and missing. "I knew that moving here was a way of touching the ground again, but I didn't know just how the Okanagan was going to do that for me."
That answer has held some surprises. "I thought that leaving congregational work would free me up to be "creative", but in fact it just raised the bar on how many concerts I could make in a year. I thought I was meant to be singing in the big, wide world but really I just hadn't acknowledged what a solid home base the church is for me." At the invitation of Bill and Jan Laurie, Linnea took up the leadership of music at Westbank United Church, 30 minutes away. The work has her animating, composing, conducting, and reflecting on the Christian tradition in a new and profound way.
Scaling back the long distance touring somewhat, Good Company now makes forays into the prairie provinces and into neighbouring states to the south. Linnea leads children in musical expression at hometown Giant's Head Elementary School and is presently singing from her newest album, "Swimmin' Like a Bird." This one, not surprisingly, is for families. "I've been wishing for this album for a looooooooong time," she adds. The album garnered three major award nominations in 2004: the (national) Vibe faith Music Awards' Children's Album of the Year, the Western Canadian Music Awards' Outstanding Children's Recording and Best Children's Album, Canadian Indie Awards.
" What a balancing act life is! I guess what I'm doing is slowly making myself at home here - in the Okanagan, in the Church, in my own life even. Still, on balance (which I'm not!), life is very rich."
© September 2004.
You can be reach Linnea or her agents by clicking on the "Contact Us" area of the web-site.
Linnea Good Biographical Highlights
• Born March 24, 1962 in Boston to Pat and Frank Good.
• Raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the eldest of five children in a close-knit family.
• At age 12, began song leading in the nearby cathedral.
• 1980 - 83 attended the University of New Brunswick. Graduated with a BA (Honours) majoring in French Literature, spending a year at the University of Grenoble, France.
• 1983 - 84 began discernment for Anglican ministry, later chose not to enter priesthood.
• 1985 moved to Vancouver, BC.
• 1985 - 88 employed by the Dunbar Hts United Church in Vancouver as a youth worker and choir leader
• 1988 produced her first album, A Word To Begin With, songs of inspiration.
• 1988 traveled with the ACCC’s National Youth Choir.
• 1988 - 1991 attended the Centre for Christian Studies and Emmanuel College, in Toronto, obtaining a Master of Religious Education degree.
• 1991 moved back to Vancouver.
• 1992 -98 worked for Ryerson United Church in Kerrisdale as a “Musical Animator”.
• 1990 - ‘98 produced 7 more albums: There Is A Time (1990), Stickpeople (1993), Sometimes Christmas (1994), The Sunday Sessions (1996), I Know You (1996), children’s favourites; The Greatest of These (1998), and Crazy Faith (1998).
• January 13, 1997 son Patrick born.
• October 19, 1998 daughter Nicole born.
• December 2000 the Jonsson-Goods move to Summerland, BC
• August 15, 2002 son Isaac born.
• March/April 2004 Tour of Australia and New Zealand at the invitation of the Uniting Church of Australia
• April 2004 "Swimmin'" nominated for Children's Album of the Year in Vibe faith Music awards.
• September 2004 "Swimmin' nominated for Outstanding Children's Recording in Western Canadian Music Awards
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