Hailing from Appleton, WI, Dane Kane was a basketball playing pre-law student in college, who detoured into music and found his life’s calling. Shortly after picking up a guitar for the first time to lead worship at his university’s Campus Crusade for Christ chapter, Kane began performing in small coffee shops and at church gigs, all the while establishing a large local following. Before he knew it, his independent recordings were generating strong regional buzz. He began touring heavily, routinely performing 175-200 dates a year, sometimes headlining and other times opening for acts like Building 429, Chris August, Sara Groves, Hawk Nelson and The Afters. To date, Kane has self-booked more than 2,000 shows nationwide and his songs are a fixture on independent and college radio stations throughout the country. Flesh and Soul is his current album, which released March 3, 2015, and is the sixth project of his career.
Danen Kane has never been afraid to break convention in his music, but he has a remarkable ability to maintain accessibility and consistency of voice while creating eclectic and sometimes surprising tunes. Part of that ability comes from his unconventional path to music ministry. Kane’s first love was not piano or guitar, it was basketball. In fact, he didn’t do anything musical until he was 20 years old, when he felt a strong call from God to lay down the hours invested in his sport and focus on pursuing his faith.
“During my sophomore year of college,” Kane recalls, “I had a roommate who had an acoustic guitar and I was really curious. I grew up in a small town that didn’t have any avenues of learning that kind of thing, so I just asked him if I could use it to try to learn some worship songs that I’d heard at Campus Crusade for Christ.” Despite no formal guitar or vocal training, one short year later he had completed his first independent project.
Music was a profound discovery for Kane. The Wisconsin native notes that he didn’t know he missed it until he found it. “In my small town we didn’t have any evangelical churches. I didn’t actually know that contemporary Christian music existed! So when I got to college and found Crusade, that was the first time I had met a bunch of people my own age who actually wanted to pursue their faith and I realized something; I have the same beliefs as them but they live very different lives than me.”
Being honest with himself is something that has served Kane well both in his faith and his music. That honesty is part of the strong theme woven throughout the songs of Flesh and Soul. Kane explains, “There is a battle between flesh and spirit, a tension of living in our brokenness and our bodies and yet very much desiring God in every single moment. It’s a daily battle for the brand-new Christian or the Christian of 40 or 50 years. This record is about embracing the journey of sanctification and encouraging myself and encouraging others that if you’re not in the best spot, or if you’re struggling or feel like you’ve taken a step back, to keep fighting and keep wrestling with that.”
It was one of those times of struggle that inspired one of the most emotionally resonant moments on the album, a song called “I Miss You.” Kane shares, “I’ve been in love maybe once in my entire life and that’s the story of the breakup of that relationship, and even years later after the breakup still finding myself missing her very much.” The vulnerability of the song becomes a gift to anyone who has felt the pain of heartache. “With God’s grace and His sovereignty and His giving and taking away, there’s a powerful thing that can be learned in the midst of questioning, being hurt, being angry, and being honest with Him.”
There is broader application to the lessons Kane is learning from the experience. “I think about in the Bible how some people had to circle the desert for 40 years, where they had to spend enormous amounts of times to learn certain things, and yet we live in a ‘Christian bubble’ culture that suggests that when you say the prayer you have to have everything figured out, you have to be a mature believer, and you can’t make mistakes. I think sanctification is a process. We’re not meant to conquer struggles without our brothers and sisters holding our hand and holding us accountable and cheering us on and praying for us. For me this whole record is about saying, ‘I’m not perfect, I do struggle, I’ve been walking with the Lord for 15 years and I’m still figuring certain things out. Here I am.’ And God is in the midst of it. I think as long as our aim is Him, and we’re resting our hope in the sacrifice and His power and His love, that’s where we need to be.”