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Growing up in the isolated Finnish communities of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Jonathan Rundman has drawn comparisons to singer/songwriters Paul Westerberg and Freedy Johnston for the decidedly homespun quality of his "heartland" rock. Using the geographical isolation of his youth to his advantage, Rundman formed a musical vocabulary grounded in the budding strains of Americana/roots rock, Lutheran hymns, traditional American folk music, and '70s rock to present a uniquely eclectic variant of Midwestern rock. Rundman's 1993 debut, 28 Days in the Yellow Room, rocked with lo-fi abandon, though 1995's Wherever was equally impressive, with its geographical song-cycle providing a nice soundtrack for cross-country driving. Recital followed in 1997, with Rundman's pop aesthetic growing increasingly sophisticated as he incorporated his many disparate influences. After recording with various side projects, such as fronting indie rockers the Muckrakers and collaborating with cousin Bruce Rundman in the Chandlers, 2000 saw the release of the sprawling 52-song Sound Theology. Though admittedly released with some hesitation, Rundman's ambitious concept album tracing the weeks of the Lutheran liturgical year is a true anomaly in the rock canon, a Christian-themed rock album that stood in stark contrast to the contemporary Christian rock scene while presenting topics completely unique to modern rock. Ultimately, Sound Theology was enthusiastically received by both the Christian and mainstream press, showing Rundman's fears of being swallowed up by the "Christian rock" label to be unfounded.