Archive for the 'Christianity' Category

17
May
08

Music news

I think it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about music. That’s not entirely surprising, though, since I didn’t really have anything to write about. Last night, however, I got a new album: Reinventing the Wheel by Andy Gullahorn. I’ve known about him for quite some time since he’s a good friend and frequent collaborator of Andrew Peterson. However, I had never really listened to any of his stuff until the last few days. For some reason, I decided to check out Jill Phillips, who is Andy Gullahorn’s wife and her site led me to his, which I have enjoyed (for its humor content) since the days when he still used Microsoft Word to create it (which is actually not that long ago). Anyway, I found the Youtube ad (which is pretty funny) he created to promote his new album and I got interested in hearing more of his stuff. So, I listened to some of his stuff on his MySpace page and to the 30-second clips of his songs on iTunes.

Finally, I just bought the album.  I don’t regret it. I’ve listened to it the whole way through a few times and I really like it. There are a few stand-out songs on it, either because I really like the music (“Original Cliche”, “Nobody Wants to Work”), or because the subject matter resonates with me (“That Guy”, “More of a Man”). Overall, it’s a solid album. He is a very talented guitarist and a capable singer. Although much of his website and his commercial is very silly, his songs are pretty sober (except for “Roast Beef”, which is about his friend, Andrew Osenga, losing one of his toes to his lawnmower).  Well, I would say that the themes in the songs are sober, but the way in which they’re presented is sometimes silly.  I think I would liken it to a good serious movie – some humorous elements are interspersed in order to prevent the movie from becoming totally morose.

In any case, many of the songs are thought-provoking, so I feel like the album is intellectually and/or spiritually satisfying as well as musically satisfying.  He’s a Christian and some of the songs have Christian themes, but I would say that this album is generally more accessible to non-Christians than Andrew Peterson’s albums.  In fact, probably only 3 (out of 11) songs have explicitly Christian themes (“Desperate Man”, “That Guy”,”Holy Ground”).  He sings about his family a lot (“How Precious Life Is”, “Desperate Man”, “Alright Here”, “More of a Man”,”Enough Time”, “Give It Time”) , which resonates strongly with me but might not be so powerful to single folks or those with no kids.  If you’re intrigued by my assessment of it, check out his stuff on his MySpace page and listen to it for yourself.

25
Nov
06

In search of good Christmas music

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, many families will be putting up Christmas decorations and getting out their collection of Christmas music, which they will play non-stop between now and Christmas. Unfortunately, much of the Christmas music that is played in people’s homes is pretty bad. However, I do have some good Christmas music, so I thought that I would let you know what it is. Plus, I’m soliciting Christmas music recommendations from my readership.
Continue reading ‘In search of good Christmas music’

25
Jul
06

New Pedro the Lion/David Bazan

This demonstrates how out of the loop I am: I hadn’t even known that David Bazan had officially retired the “Pedro the Lion” name until I read a blurb about his new album on eMusic. His new EP, titled “Fewer Moving Parts” is basically 5 songs done in two different versions, once electric with a full band and once acoustic. I haven’t listened to it yet but I might in the future. I used to be a big Pedro the Lion fan, but after awhile, I realized that listening to his music was a depressing experience. So, I more or less stopped listening to it – especially the most recent stuff. This is the same reason I stopped listening to The Magnetic Fields. I appreciate that he is willing to grapple with the tough issues in life, as opposed to most Christian musicians, but I don’t want to be left bereft of hope.

Anyway, the blurb on eMusic contains a quote from what is probably a very interesting book on Christian rock: Body Piercing Saved My Life by Andrew Beaujon. In the book the author describes David Bazan thusly:

“Sort of the house cynic — the guy at work who’s like, “This place sucks” and never gets fired.”

That seems about right. I should check this book out sometime – not that I’m a big fan of Christian rock, per se, but I am interested in how Christian culture interfaces with secular culture and music is one of the most visible interfaces.

Final note: if you are looking for Christian music that is willing to admit that life is not all smiles and sunshine but does not insist on wallowing in the pits of despair, check out Andrew Peterson. I saw him open for Caedmon’s Call in 1997 at Grove City College and I’ve kept track of him ever since. From my perspective, his best albums are Love and Thunder, Behold the Lamb of God (which is a Christmas album with mostly original songs) and The Far Country (his three most recent albums, not including his recent B-sides collection). He is a talented musician and songwriter and his songs will help to connect you to the love that God has for you in the midst of your imperfection and weakness.




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