So yesterday, I hit the thrifts in the Longmont area...and unearthed a mother lode of esoteric Colorado records, at various store stops. Over the course of the discovery of my newly-acquired cache, I ventured into Absolute Vinyl, to see my friend, Doug Gaddy, who immediately presented me with an album from an Evergreen couple - Trudy & John With Love.
Upon the first listen of this adult contemporary, faith-based album, I was taken by the haunting softness of the production, along with Trudy Horth's complementary vocals.
"My family moved to Evergreen, from Kansas, when I was 11 years old," Trudy Horth told me, when I contacted she and her husband, John. "John's sister Sue was my English teacher, at Northglenn High School. That's how we met. We started singing together, and got married a year later."
The couple were active members of Evergreen's First Baptist Church, playing in worship bands. Trudy became a prolific songwriter, and after several years of performing her original compositions for parishioners and friends, a co-worker suggested the couple take the next step - record an album.
"So I was actually working with a guy [Geoff Landers] who had a recording studio, and we talked music all of the time at work, and he said, 'Why don't you guys come over, and record?.' said Trudy.
"Packing House Studios was the office for a meat packing company, right by the stockyards," said John. "The building itself said Cattleman’s Association. Geoff bought that and he lived on the top floor of it, and the recording studio was in the basement of it."
(NOTE: Geoffrey Landers and his Packing House Studios released some amazing experimental ambient and industrial albums, made with Bob Drake, including Habitual Features, and The Ever Decimal Pulse, along with producing the Fort Collins-based group, Endgame single ("Nothingness"), Crank Call Love Affair's release ("What's Wrong Yvette"), and Spray Pals Project A ("Happy Go Lucky")
While Trudy took on the lead vocals and acoustic guitar, John handled the synth and strings. The couple enlisted the help of drummer Kevin Meilinger (formerly of The Young Weasels), who was a friend of Geoff's, along with Vance Ortiz, on acoustic guitar. "Vance was one of our best friends." said John. "He was in a band with his brothers. They once opened for Strawberry Alarm Clock." Producer Geoff Landers handles acoustic guitar on "Set the Spirit Free." and bass on "For Grandma."
Released in 1983, Trudy describes the album as a contemporary Christian record, with a very personal meaning. "The songs reflect all of those things that are important to us, and we wanted the songs to be a thanks to God. He is not a separate part of my life. He brings my whole life together."
Is it Just a Dream
Set the Spirit Free
Turn Around Child
Thank You Lord
See the Love
Make Me Strong
Happy Just Lovin' You
The album was offered to friends and family, but received no promotion or radio play. Trudy says her goal was never to become famous. "We never pursued anything like that. Music is my ministry. My feeling was that I didn’t write the songs, I’m just the one who put it on paper. It was God who wrote those songs. I felt it was such a privilege."
In between their full-time jobs (the couple worked in computer drafting, along with taking on various remodeling and construction projects, including helping to design and build the body molds for Denver's 16th Street Mall electric hybrid buses), Trudy and John went on to raise two children - a daughter, Elicia, and a son, Jeremy (who tragically died, in 1998). They would later produce five other recordings (on CD), and tour Japan and Europe, as a musical ministry. They are currently working on additional material, for future releases.
"Basically we build things," said John. "We also built a lot of street rods. And we are building another house... and still working on the music."
After 46 years, living on a mountain top in Evergreen, the couple moved to Missouri, in 2015.
"We started a new phase of a music career in Missouri," said Trudy. "The church we attend is a little country church, and I’m the choir leader."