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Sorry for missing my post yesterday. I was busy working with students in the small town of Spring Green, Wisconsin, Wednesday night with my brother, who, like myself, is in youth ministry. I stayed up way too late and was in a much-too-zombified state Thursday to attempt to define Christian Music. Next week, I’ll get back into it.
On the topic of Spring Green, if you live anywhere near it, you need to check out The General Store for the best breakfast in the universe. The quiche, granola, yogurt, and five-grain oatmeal was amazing. And everyone working there was insanely friendly. There’s a ton of other stuff to do around there, too (like Bobfest, an annual festival devoted to all things Bob Dylan), but enough with the chit-chat.
Today’s band is a band you’ve probably never heard of from a town you’ve probably never been to and can probably not pronounce. The Cold Comfort Band comes (mostly) from a town in Wisconsin called Oconomowoc (pronounced Oh-kon-oh-moe-wok, to set the record straight), located equal distances from Madison (the state capital) and Milwaukee (the biggest, baddest city in the state). Oconomowoc is famous for a few things, but the most important in my mind is that it has 5 O’s in its name, so many O’s in fact that, back in the day, letters addressed to “The City with Five O’s, Wisconsin” would come to Oconomowoc.
You might be wondering to yourself, “Why is Jake so intimately familiar with this strangely named town?” The answer is simple yet profound – I live here.
The Cold Comfort Band is a band that I’m excited to review today. I’ve known most of the band members for years, one for almost a decade. I know many of their families and friends. Some were (or still are) members of the high school and college group I lead at church. So it’s hard to be totally unbiased, but I’ll do my best.
I found Dave Thompson a little while ago at The Corner Church (thanks, guys!), and when I played him for my wife, she said, “Isn’t Dave Thompson the guy who founded Wendy’s?”
I ran to the nearest computer and, thanks to Google, found out that the perpetually jovial founder of Wendy’s was actually Dave Thomas (see him here), not Dave Thompson. I’m not sure if I’m relieved or sad about that. I think sad mostly.
Anyway, you might be asking yourself which one of the fine young men in the above picture is Dave Thompson. They both could be, honestly, but the one on the left is who I’m posting about today. I have no clue who the one on the right is.
My alarm clock didn’t go off this morning, so instead of timely information, you get something that I should have posted months ago but was too busy to put up.
I figured I needed to mention it now since it’s only going to get older, so check out David Crowder Band’s new album Remedy if you haven’t already. It’s not as ground-breaking as A Collision, but it follows a similar vein. The upbeat songs are pretty amazing, but the slower songs are somewhat more forgetable, in my opinion.
Like A Collision, David Crowder continues to use more crazy sounds and thought-provoking lyrics that you wouldn’t expect in a worship album. He whips out more and more electronic and 80’s influences, which I think is great. As far as worship bands out there, he’s my favorite, because he really is challenging the normal way things are done in CCM.
Mudpuppy did an excellent review of the album here that you should check out. Not only is it a comprehensive look at the album, but it also just so happens to be delivered in a timely manner, over two months ago.
The Blah Blah is back after a short break! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, but let’s get on with the music!
Die-hard country fans would probably stone me for saying that Doug Burr is country, but I’m not usually a country fan, so I think I can get away with it.
I shouldn’t say I’m not usually a country fan. More what it is is I’m very particular about the country music I like. I love Johnny Cash. I love old Hank Williams Sr. I love William Elliott Whitmore. I even like some Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr. if you catch me on the right day.
And I love Doug Burr’s music. Call it country, folk, indie, americana… I don’t care, cuz I’m too busy enjoying it to wonder what genre it falls under. Doug Burr is one of those artists that I liked as soon as I heard (which is rare) and that I’ll probably like for the rest of my life.
A few weeks ago, I featured Don Peris’ wife Karen in the Girls of Christian Indie series. You can read about her here. Today, in case you haven’t read the title of the post, I’m featuring Don Peris himself.
When I first heard The Innocence Mission, I instantly fell in love with Karen’s voice and everything else about the band sort of fell into the background. I figured the reason she sang and fronted the band was probably because no one else in the group had as much to offer.
So when I found out that Don Peris, who provides guitar for The Innocence Mission, had three of his own solo CDs out, I figured I’d like it, but I didn’t know how much. I thought I’d surely never like his solo stuff as much as the band’s stuff. I was wrong.
I found this Christian indie podcast the other day called The Corner Church. In their own words, this podcast is, “in protest of the music industry and tries to give the ‘up and coming’ Christian artists a voice.” I can’t say I’m a fan of all the music they have there, but some of it is really great. Just check it out for yourselves.
My two favorite bands right now are from The Netherlands. I’ve never been there. I don’t personally know anybody from there. And I really didn’t even know where it was located until I heard about Ponoka and figured if they were gonna be one of my favorite bands I’d better know where they live.
So Ponoka was reigning as my favorite band until I looked into This Beautiful Mess. Now the two co-reign together in a blissful harmony, because it’s impossible to choose a favorite between the easy-going pop of Ponoka and the soaring intensity of This Beautiful Mess.
I found Destroy Nate Allen one day a while back while looking for new bands at the website for Tomfest, that Christian indie festival out in Washington. If you’re in the area of Camas, check out their 2008 festival next August. It’s sure to be awesome.
Anyway, so I found Destroy Nate Allen and when I went to his website I saw this notice: “Welcome to my new and improved website. I spent the last 6 months on the road. I am finally home and ready to relax. To celebrate the return to a day job for the winter, and the three year anniversary of playing solo, I have decided to put up most of my recorded history for your downloading pleasure.”
You heard that right. All of his 10 solo albums and 2 punk band albums are there for your downloading pleasure. Nobody does that.
I hate the internet. I just spent over an hour typing out my post and then it just disappeared. I just want to slap Al Gore for even inventing it.
Well, here it goes again…
Last week, I discussed the idea of Christian music and proposed that perhaps the whole thing didn’t even matter. Maybe the faith of the artists is irrelevent. I came to the conclusion that, for myself, I want to know what the musicians believe, partly out of curiosity and partly so I know how to interpret the songs. I’ll still listen to you if you’re not a Christian, but I like to know that.
Since I’ve decided it’s important to me to know the beliefs of people who create music, now I want to discuss the term “Christian music” itself. There was a time when I understood what those two little words meant when put next to each other, but now that I’ve entered the world of indie music and Sufjan Stevens has shocked everybody with his overtly Christian songs, I don’t know a thing. Indie fans are inherently skeptical of Christianity and many Christian indie artists don’t want their beliefs critiqued by the world, so they shy away from identification with the Christian music scene. Read a little about it here in an interview with Sufjan Stevens. [Note: I just realized I gave you the wrong link. This link is to a review of Seven Swans. I can’t find the original interview I had in mind to post here, but this review has some good information about the topic at hand anyway.]