You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

I mentioned recently that I downloaded a bunch of new music from e-music, with all the free downloads I got, and one of the albums I downloaded was The Decemberists’ Picaresque.  The album is incredible, but don’t take this post to in any way mean the band is Christian.  They might be, but I don’t think so.

Anyway, I don’t cry when I listen to sad songs.  I’ve gotten teary-eyed during worship when God shows up, but I’ve never cried when I’ve heard a powerful sad song.

Until yesterday.  The song “Eli, the Barrow Boy” from Picaresque is possibly the saddest, most emotional song I’ve ever heard.  I listened to it while cleaning yesterday and had to stop and listen closer because the story was so sad and engrossing.  If you want to download it, click here, or listen to the streaming version.

The lyrics go like this:

Eli, the barrow boy of the old town
Sells coal and marigolds and he cries out
All down the day
Below the tamaracks he is crying
“Corn cobs and candlewax for the buying!”
All down the day

“Would I could afford to buy my love a fine robe
Made of gold and silk Arabian thread
But she is dead and gone and lying in a pine grove
And I must push my barrow all the day
And I must push my barrow all the day”

Eli, the barrow boy, when they found him
Dressed all in corduroy, he had drowned in
The river down the way
They laid his body down in a church yard
But still when the moon is out
With his pushcart he calls down the day

“Would I could afford to buy my love a fine gown
Made of gold and silk Arabian thread
But I am dead and gone and lying in a church ground
But still I push my barrow all the day
Still I push my barrow all the day”

I picture the story taking place back in the 1700s or 1800s in Europe.  Eli and his unnamed love are both poor.  He sells coal and marigolds to make a living, and his greatest desire is to buy her nice things to make her life a little bit better.  She dies and is buried in a random plot of ground, and this haunts him so much that he ends up either committing suicide or dying from grief.  Sad, isn’t it?

I didn’t cry the first time I heard the song, but as I was driving through town later that day, I played it again and just started weeping.  Eli’s story made me sad, but more I was crying for all the people throughout the world suffering for one thing or another.  One day, there’s not gonna be any poverty.  There’s not gonna be any pain, any sickness, any suicide, any heartache and loneliness.  Jesus is gonna set everything right.  But until then, there’s a lot of hurting people in the world going through a lot of suffering.

Sin ruined everything when it brought death and destruction into the world, but Jesus is building a new Kingdom where all that is gonna be done away with.

Website: www.decemberists.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/thedecemberists

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A friend of mine introduced me to the Australia-based Sons of Korah about a year ago.

With an alt-folk sound influenced by world beats, the Sons of Korah are Matt Jacoby (lead vocals, guitar), Jayden Lee (resonator, mandolin, nylon guitar, glissentar, harmony vocals and some lead vocals), Mike Avery (bass), and Rod Wilson (percussion and drums).  well, that’s who they used to be, but Jayden Lee has left the group to pursue ministry in different areas.  Click here for a string quartet piece, Caroline’s Processional, which he composed for his wife.

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The Habañero Hour – It won’t change the world, but it might change the way you think about “Christian” music.

Brent at Colossians Three Sixteen has collaborated with Mark at WhiteN Design to bring us The Habañero Hour!  It’s a monthly (or mostly monthly) podcast / blog along the lines of The Bored-Again Christian.

Now, I honestly haven’t had any time to check it out yet, but by the episode descriptions, it sounds really good.  Episode 1 featured an interview with Steven Delopoulos as well as music from the artists Jeremy Casella, Doug Burr, Model Engine, Steven Delopoulos, Anathallo, Bodies of Water, Half-Handed Cloud, and others.  Episode 2, which is the most recent so far, featured an interview with former Toad the Wet Sprocket singer Glen Phillips and music by Jon Shirley, This Beautiful Republic, Synthar, Foxhole, The Innocence Mission, and more sweet groups.

Right now, you can get a free button from them if you ask for one, and I highly recommend doing so.

Here’s some important links:
Visit the website
Subscribe on iTunes
Download the latest episode
Promote the podcast

Welcome back to the Worship Wars!  Sorry for missing my usual Friday post.  Being in the ministry, last week was crazy.  We’ve been remodeling our church building, so we really pushed it the past few days to get things as ready as we could before Easter.

Our plan is to convert the whole church into a coffeehouse / concert venue / bookstore by the beginning of summer.  It’s been a lot of work, but it’ll be awesome when it’s done.

But enough of that – on with the Rock N Roll Worship Circus!

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I wanted to give a quick thanks out to whoever signed up under me on e-music.com recently.  I just realized a couple days ago that I had gotten 50 more free downloads because somebody signed up under my account.

So of course I went and used those 50 downloads as quickly as I could.  It took me a couple days. I already had most of the albums picked out in advance, so I mostly got stuff I’ve been waiting to get for a while.

And here’s what I downloaded:

1. As the Poets Affirm – I Wanna Tell My Heart to You, But I Cannot Say English: looking to be a great album so far by an excellent instrumental band.

2. Cold War Kids – Robbers and Cowards: some really great soulful bluesy songs on the 2006 album by the band that Pitchfork hates because they went to a Christian college.

3. Dan Zimmerman – Great Small: this album sounds like a 60-year-old son of a Methodist preacher singing his heart out – because that’s what it is.  Love it so far.

4. Explosions in the Sky – How Strange, Innocence: this reissue of their debut demo CD is more solid post-rock instrumental goodness that you can’t go wrong with.

5. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – The Swell Season: like Once, but more of it.  I’m not complaining.

6. Lenny Smith – Deep Calls to Deep: father of the Danielson Familie and writer of zillions of worship songs, Lenny Smith is a genius with a quirky sound I’m getting into.

7. Solomon Jabby – Firmly Planted: not an amazing album, but it’s still good simple reggae for God, without all the flashes and electronic noises of a lot of reggae of today.

8. The Peasall Sisters – Home to You: this was for my wife and I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but I like The Peasall Sisters for their great vocals, so it should be good.

9. The Singing Mechanic – It Wouldn’t Be What it Is: another album from Sounds Familyre Records, this one is some great piano-driven alt folk with clever lyrics.

So thanks for making all these downloads possible!

And if you’re not with e-music yet, it’s time you got on the ball.  They’re way better than iTunes (unlimited use, DRM-free MP3s) and about a third the cost.  You won’t find all the major mainstream Christian groups there like the Newsboys, Lifehouse, Third Day, or David Crowder Band, but you won’t inadvertantly download a song by Christina Aguilera or Justin Timberlake either, because they also don’t have mainstream secular stuff.

What e-music does have is a lot of independent or nearly-independent bands and artists, and that’s what you really want anyway isn’t it?  For $10 a month, I get 30 MP3s, which works out to 33 cents a piece, which is pretty danged cheap.

When you sign up, you automatically get 50 free MP3s, and then if you decide to stay with them after your free downloads are over, I get 50 more too.  If you don’t stick it out, you still get to keep your 50 MP3s.

So, yeah, sign up now if you haven’t yet.  It’s really an awesome deal.

Here we are with another post for the Worship Wars!

I’m not gonna be able to do justice to Keith Green with this post.  I was up working late last night and accidently slept in this morning, so I’m running late.  I’ll have to do a quick little post, when I should do something much bigger and better.

If you don’t know Keith Green, then read up on him here at Wikipedia, but I assume that most of you have heard of him.

In case you were wondering, Keith’s awesome hair is not the only reason I decided to name The Blah Blah after the coffeehouse where Keith Green first began playing music, but it is an important one  (see here).  Just feel the Bob Ross influence.  Mmmm… happy little trees.

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I haven’t had a chance yet to hear any of the songs on the album, but decidedly mainstream Christian artists Bethany Dillon and Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real have collaborated to put out a new album of reworked hymns called In Christ Alone: Modern Hymns of Worship.  I think I’ve got a review copy coming my way, so when it gets here, I’ll be sure to let you know what I think.

In the meantime, you can buy it or listen to samples here at Amazon.com.  The on-line samples sounded OK at best, but the full album will probably be better.

I’m finally back from a week off from blogging.  As I explained here, part of my inability to blog for a while was busy-ness, part was computer problems, and part was burn-out from blogging every weekday for over half a year.

I’m thinking of taking a break for a couple weeks, once the Worship Wars are over, so I can get back into regular life, but today… let’s look at Red Mountain Church!

Red Mountain Church is a church based in Birmingham, Alabama, that places an emphasis on worship, particularly through hymns reworked to modern music.  Read over their website to see their vision for their church and their city.  It’s pretty cool stuff.

Anyway, they’ve got a pretty large body of musicians at the church who have collaborated to release five albums of those reworked hymns, and I think you should check them out.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t put any posts up since Monday.  Why is this?  A small part is because I’m getting tired of this whole blogging thing.  A larger part is because I had a few really late nights working on projects, so I didn’t want to get up early the next day to do my usual post.  And an even larger part is that my computer is stuck in the evil land of the Blue Screen of Death.  This morning, I was able to get on an alternate computer, but none of my files are here, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for an official Worship Wars post.

So while you’re waiting for an official post, check this out.

Since I’ve been doing this blog for a while now, I’ve already posted about a number of noteworthy worship groups.  Rather than revisit all of them individually, I thought today would be a great day to put up a couple of songs by each of them.  Get it all done in one day, you know?

These guys each deserve a whole post of their own, but I want to get this thing moving along with the Worship Wars so I can go on to other things.

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These MP3s are here for sampling purposes and to help spread the news about some sweet bands you may not otherwise know about. Support the artists by buying their MP3s and CDs and attending their shows. If you're a musician and don't want your MP3s on here, let us know and we'll take them down. In the interests of promotion and not robbery, all MP3s are taken down after a week or two, so if you wanna hear stuff, either come around often or pay for songs.

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