18: Jeff Gorman - Integral Openness

Jeff Gorman is a songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and bassist for the touring/recording rock duo Illiterate Light. He was raised in a conventional middle-class evangelical white suburban upbringing before studying history in college, being impacted to Shane Claiborne, and becoming a part of the New Monastic movement after graduating. He spent 2 years running an organic farm and living in social justice + eco-centric intentional Christian community in Harrisonburg VA, while also pursuing music regionally in various bands. At 25, he formed Illiterate Light (name comes from Wilco song - "Theologians") while he continued his commitment to community and farming. He then took a hiatus, joined the Living School with Fr. Richard Rohr, and started touring heavily. He describes his practice as a combination of Centering Prayer and Walking Meditations. He is interested in the role of music in regards to inner life, the enneagram, integral theory, integral art, and living contemplatively in a loud and noisy "career" path.

Illiterate Light floats between pools of postmodern confusion and rivers of vibrant optimism, integrating both into their lives and music. The duo’s search for meaning and depth drives a hunger for experimentation, but their uniqueness is a result of limitation. Jeff Gorman elevates his gritty guitar melodies and honest lyricism by stomping out thunderous synth bass with his feet as Jake Cochran layers lush vocal harmony and explodes with body convulsing energy around his minimal standing drum kit. Formed in the summer of 2015, Illiterate Light’s three EP catalogue and high energy live shows have gained underground fan momentum through consistent touring of the East Coast and Southeast. Spanning the better part of a decade, the creative evolution between Gorman and Cochran is far from typical. Starting with a chance meeting as the rhythm section for a pop singer-songwriter, the duo has since run an organic farm in the Shenandoah Valley, toured the mid-Atlantic by bicycle in several acoustic bands, lived in small intentional communities, and pursued alternative education in permaculture and contemplation. Their eclectic background is mirrored in their sound and lyricism; from non-duality to social justice and millennial dating norms, nothing is off limits. Though shaped by the DIY music scene and friendly nature of their hometown, Harrisonburg VA, the duo has grown immensely through immersion in the thriving alternative scenes in both Richmond VA and Nashville TN. Gorman and Cochran’s incessant writing, commanding live performance, and constant touring promise a bright future as they work with producer Vance Powell (Jack White, The Raconteurs, Tinariwen, Chris Stapleton), a relationship that began after a string of energetic Nashville shows in the summer of 2017. Often drawing comparison to the likes of My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, and tUnE-yArDs, Illiterate Light is gearing up for a big 2018. Available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple music, illiteratelight.com, etc.

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The image is a preliminary attempt at mapping an integral/four quadrant approach of Illiterate Light's health and growth. If you don't have time now to listen to everything, feel free to skip ahead to where the meditation begins at 49:00 and then come back later for the conversation.

Troy Bronsink is the founder and director of The Hive - A Center for Contemplation, Art & Action. The Hive is a nonprofit located in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati. After nearly 2 years of over 3,000 tickets to classes and events sold, The Hive is now moving to a membership based registration. For $30/month, a Hive member can attend classes and events. If you're interested in this for yourself or would like to sponsor someone else to become a member, you can find more information here. The intro and outro music is by Troy Bronsink. From the Hive is produced by Joey Taylor.