For the last few weeks I’ve been haunted by a song called “$20 Bill (for George Floyd)” by a singer-songwriter named Tom Prasado-Rao. I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled across it. With only about 30,000 views it hasn’t exactly gone viral. But it has inspired several fine covers and remixes. Tom’s own YouTube video for it is a simple, first-take and in the notes he edits the lyrics and confesses to messing up the chords. The song is a lament, of course, and weaves in explicit Christian and Eucharistic imagery.
I’ve since listened to more of his songs and many are infused with a deep, honest, searching and expansive faith. He uses humor, irony and paradox to explore his relationship with the divine with more recent songs informed by his struggle with cancer. It also helps that his melodies are beautiful and his voice quietly transcendent. His are those rare songs that you can hear once and find yourself singing a couple hours later.
So this week I’d just like to invite you to give him a listen. Click on the links below to for my own quickly curated playlist.
These are just a few songs from Tom’s extensive YouTube library and I encourage you to explore more deeply.
And here are several of the $20 Bill covers:
Margo Hennebach & Mark Saunders (simple instrumentation with beautiful 2-part harmony)
There are more versions and you’ll see additional links on most of the pages above.
And each version invites us deeper into the song and exposes something genuine about the performer.
I hope you’ll spend some time with both “$20 Bill” and Tom Prasado-Rao.