Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take me away - A review of Bluebird by Randall Goodgame

So my church (with minor arm twisting from me) hosted a Randall Goodgame (hereafter RG) concert back in February.

See clip here:

A brief history.  I'm not sure I was aware of RG before receiving Slugs, Bugs, & Lullabies as a gift.  I might have been.  I was blown away by the album.  Laughing at "The Boy who was Bored" and weeping at "Beautiful Girl" for about the first 20x listening to it.  I can usually make it thru now.

So, being touched by the album I bought the RG album Hymnal.  I didn't care for it.  I listened a few times and gave it to a friend.  My recollected thoughts on it was that it was okay, but didn't get me hooked & I probably wouldn't buy another RG album.

Years and a few kids later the family ends up at a SB&L show and we bought War & Peace.  Good album; very good.

Then our church put on the SB&L Christmas program with some help from RG, and part of the whole arrangement was a concert in February as he was in the area.  The concert pushed me from "his music is okay" to "he's one of the best" in my view of RG music.  We bought one of the last copies of Bluebird that will have a proper case.  Although I'm sure if 1000 orders were to be placed he would find a way to produce more.  And honestly it is that good of an album it should be out there more.

And now my quick review of his album/ep "Bluebird".  Yeah, it came out in 2008 and I'm a few years behind.

I can't get enough of this album.  Many listens have passed my ears and I still seek it out.  It does for me everything music is meant to do - it draws out emotion.  When listening to a song I tend to focus first on vocal/lyrics.  It is what I want to pay attention to and generally if I hear the support (the wall of sound other than the primary vocals)  early it is because it is too strong, or doesn't match.  If they blend well I don't notice the support for quite some time.  I am blown away at every listening for the full songs that are present.

The songs:
All the Years
Heaven Waits

The song that currently rattles my bones the most is "All the Years" (lyric portion is my current best guess from listening):
I've grown tired of all the years. I can feel my bones grinding down.  I used to cave to all my fears; but I've grown tired of all the years.  I have sung a thousand single songs, for all the world to sit and hear.  Candle wax has frozen up the keys that go right here.  And I have grown tired of all the years.

Take me away, take me away my love; can you find me a road I've never known. Take me away, take me away my love; I'm tired can you just take me home.

Something about that hits me like "Calgon, take me away".  The song elicits a feeling of being tired and ready for rest.  A call out for the day when we will hear "well done, good and faithful servant."  It builds to such a great apex of the calling out and ends with a content sigh.

It is such a wall of sound that is powerful and adds the to the power and feeling of RG's voice.  Great song.  Other songs are great as well, but this one is just the best to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Nothing new under the sun" so write about the sun.

There is no clearer sign of the absence of originality among modern poets than their dispostion to find new topics.  Really original poets write poems about the spring.  They are always fresh, just as the spring is always fresh.  Men wholly without originality write poems about torture, or new religions or some perversion of obscenity, hoping that the mere sting of the subject may speak for them.  But we do not sufficiently realize that what is true of the classic ode is also true of the classic joke.  A true poet writes about the spring being beautiful because (after a thousand springs) the spring really is beautiful.  In the same way the true humorist writes about a man sitting down on his hat because the act of sitting down on one's own hat (however often and admirably performed) really is extremely funny.  We must not dismiss a new poet because his poem is called 'To a Skylark'; nor must we dismiss a humorist because his new farce is called 'My Mother-in-Law.'  He may really have splendid and inspiring things to say upon an eternal problem.  The whole question is whether he has.  GK Chesterton - Introduction to 'Sketches by Boz.'

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still waters run deep; and diving into shallow discussions.

If you weren't aware Rob Bell has released a new book (Love Wins) and of course there's controversy because that's what he does, that's what sells books, and that's the only reason he is relevant.  I've seen a few of his Nooma videos and haven't read a single of his book.  Really not interested.  Just too trendy & not my style.  It grabs me more as steps to sell controversy rather than appeal to an honest discussion.

Reminds me of this:
Trendy Church
There's a Veridian Dynamics feel to it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I will not quote GK Chesterton

I read an article last week that quoted GKC from Orthodoxy which roughly refered to God tempting God and the statement (from the article referring to atheists) "They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist."

Some one took issue (it's the internet so make any statement and someone will  disagree.) with this.  The "disagree" contention was that Jesus was using the statement as a reference to Psalm 22 and didn't mean he was forsaken.  They continued that every Jew in the crowd would have immediately known it was a reference to Psalm 22 and felt sad.

I was just thinking this arguer worked very hard to not prove a point.

Either he was forsaken (abandoned) by God the Father, or he was not forsaken but surely felt like it.  Go ahead and argue Jesus was not entirely cutoff but just spiritually cutoff.  I'm not sure where the difference lies. 

To me there is something chilling (and proper) that Jesus brings his greatest emotional anguish, his doubt, to the Father.  Not from a position of confidence & challenging (Job); but from a position of a servant (Your will, not mine).  A servant unto death.

"David, he chased God's own heart.  All I ever seem to chase is me."  -Andrew Peterson, The Chasing Song.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ah, those wacky materialists

The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist's world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane. The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation, just as the interesting person before mentioned is quite sure that he is simply and solely a chicken. Materialists and madmen never have doubts. -GKC, Orthodoxy

Yup. More GK Chesterton.

I think I like this anytime I read/hear about some new discover and now we know for sure, "science has proven" this item to be true.  All history, geological or human, is "simply and solely a chain of causation".  My kid's library book said that the Egyptians believed snakes held the power of life & death.  This & the Mayans "believing snakes were god" rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe over stating somethings we just aren't sure about.  I'm pretty sure some future scientist will conclude my household worshipped talking vegetables and sang tribal chants to pass along the traditions of my culture.  When truly, I just like the song.  C'mon it is Burger Bell.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thorn in my side

I'm having a day where this song is fitting.  Big project due in a few hours so this will be a quick blog.  I keep getting interupted by folks that are just frustrating right now.  Plus it"s catchy with a great sound.

Regularly I feel this way too, more often that I'd like to admit.  The rough part isn't the admitting; it's the feeling.  It is generally out of arrogance or paying attention to petty things where the seeds of people pissing me off arrives.  Let the grace & love abound more than the personal preferences.  God knows I need it.

I first heard Paul Thorn when we adopted It's A Great Day (To Whoop Somebody's Ass) as a work anthem.  Paul was once a pro- boxer, so he could do it too.  I was looking for the anthem yesterday and kept digging up his other songs.
Turn's out he's a pretty good singer/songwriter too.  Honest songs that I'm liking today.  Okay, back to work.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why stories connect (or don't)

Another dose from the GKC calendar:

Nothing is important except the fate of the soul;  and literature is only redeemed from an utter triviality, surpassing that of naughts and crosses, by the fact that it describes not the world around us, or the things on the retina of the eye, or the enormous irrelevancy of encyclopedias, but some condition to which the human spirit can come. - GKC in Introduction to 'The Old Curiosity Shop'

Also said as:
"The story of any one of us is the story of us all." - Frederick Beuchner.

At some point I was dwelling on what makes a story good or bad.  For me it comes to - can I relate to anything human about the story?

It's slightly past how believable a story is.  There can be wild fantasy elements or entire sci-fi worlds that work for excellent story telling.  Does it have that something that makes me want to fight for the character? Do I want the character to win?  Am I mad & frustrated when they are?

That's when I'm hooked.