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This is just a quick note to let everyone know I’m still alive and kickin’. Well, not really kickin’. I haven’t kicked anything in a while. No footballs, cans, walls, or even small puppies.
I am alive however.
I’ve just been really busy lately again, so I’ve been trying to focus in on what really matters in life, my relationship with God. It’s been a great week of focusing in on Jesus, devoting more time to Him and all, but now that the craziness of the holidays is slowing down, I’ll probably be back with some more great artists in the near future.
With that said, hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Years’ and I’ll be back in a few days.
Doing The Blah Blah is hard. Sure, there’s the sometimes overwhelming amount of e-mails, the work it takes to give an insightful opinion, the weeding through mediocre or bad music, etc. but that’s all pretty normal.
What makes it hardest is that I want to showcase artists who are Christians and are making above-average music, especially those in the indie music world, but definitely not limited to them. What’s so hard about this is that most Christians in the indie music world don’t want to be identified as Christians, for various reasons, and most that want to be identified are not making above-average music. You can debate the ethics of either side all you want, but the truth remains that most good independent Christian artists don’t want to be pigeon-holed as “Christian artists.”
So it’s hard to find out who’s a Christian and who isn’t.
This makes me think that maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it would be better just to write about music that I like and forget the whole faith issue. This would be OK and might work for a while, but I really do want someone to do a site that is mostly devoted to good music made by Christians, because there’s a lot of people who want that. There’s a ton of Christians burned-out from a CCM-infused market who don’t know there’s anything better out there and feel like the only option is secular music that promotes a humanist worldview. I listen to plenty of music made by non-Christians, and I still think there are more non-Christian artists making great music than Christians, but I think the world needs to know that you don’t have to make CCM records if you love God. And the church needs to know it.
The church needs to know there’s good music out there. It needs to know Peter Hicks, Page France, or Solomon Jabby aren’t heretics for not being on major Christian labels. Some of them may be heretics, but it’s not for their choice of record labels. The world needs to know God is a creative God open to all forms of music, even if it doesn’t come from Nashville. And the indie Christian hipsters need to know God might even be open to someone as uncool and CCM as Shane and Shane.
I think someone needs to do a site like The Blah Blah, but I just wish it were easier. I wish people were more open about what they believed, and more open to accepting others for their opposing beliefs. In a world that prides itself on being open, understanding, and politically-correct, independent artists get a lot of flack if they even mention they go to church or they grew up in a Christian environment. And Christians get a lot of flack if they’re on a secular label, perform with secular bands, and play at, heaven forbid, bars or college parties, where people actually need to hear about God. Maybe someday we’ll be past all this judging a band for what their faith is, but it sucks right now.
With life getting busier and busier, I haven’t had as much time for The Blah Blah as I did when I originally started it. So lately I’ve been asking myself tough questions like whether I should even keep going. It’s a lot of work with very little reward, and when other responsibilities are calling, I’ve seriously been considering just ending the whole thing.
But I really do think the world needs The Blah Blah. Not because I’m so great a writer or because I’m the world’s greatest source of musical information. I’m a wannabe music geek, not the real thing.
What it comes down to is that if I don’t keep going, the world of music blogs will continue to slide into two camps – the CCM-saturated Christian camp on the one hand, and the secular indie music camp on the other. The Blah Blah is by no means the only blog offering good indie music made by Christians, but I think it’s needed. I get e-mails from artists and readers on a daily basis thanking me for doing The Blah Blah. People have been inspired, challenged, and encouraged to seek God and stop using lame Christian music as an excuse to run from Him. I do think the on-line world needs The Blah Blah.
It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to post once a week, and more when I can. I don’t have the time anymore to post daily, but I’m not ready to give up completely. So look for weekly posts from myself for now (and more when possible), but keep your eyes open because I’ve got some guest writers hopping on board to help keep everything moving forward.
Which brings me to another thing – if you’re interested in getting involved writing for The Blah Blah, let me know. My hope when I started this thing was to be a catalyst for others to hop on board – the real music geeks. So if you’d like to write for me, send me an e-mail at email@example.com. Maybe you just wanna write an article one time and then be done, or maybe you wanna write every week – whatever you want to do, let’s get some more voices being heard!
I’m tired of writing almost every article myself. I want to hear different views and discover new artists that I myself would never be able to find.
So, on the one hand, I’m sad to make the slimming down of my involvement with The Blah Blah official, but on the other hand, this could be the start of something really great – getting more people involved, more views shared, more voices heard. I’ve built up quite a readership over the past year that I’ve been going – now’s your chance to capitalize on it.
P.S. Don’t worry: this isn’t my “official” weekly post – I’ve got some MP3s coming later today.
I haven’t checked my Blah Blah e-mail in a few months (sorry, if you’ve tried to get ahold of me), and now I’m scared to check it.
I’m scared that I’ll open it up and I’ll have thousands of unread e-mails… most of them from angry Medieval dwarves with axes… riding on skateboards… and singing about spandex.
It’s irrational, I know, but it haunts me all the same.
And I don’t even get that much e-mail coming through really, just enough to get really clogged up if I don’t check it in a few months. Not like these guys who declared e-mail bankruptcy last year.
I think I’m less bankrupt and more anti-social when it comes to my e-mail. It’s not on purpose, though… It’s just how it has worked out lately.
All this e-mail stuff reminds me of Brother Andrew, the famous God Smuggler, who refused to even have a phone in his office because he didn’t want to be distracted. Sometimes I think that’d be nice. Until I try to order pizza with my telegraph.
Well, no, I didn’t really kill the internet, but it’s been down at my home and office for about a week. And that’s why I haven’t done any posts. I’m working on it today and so far I’ve got the internet back up on one computer, but I still have to set up the whole network.
Anyway, expect some posts this coming week, and sorry for the week off. I was doing so good, too, wasn’t I?
Side note here… I’ve noticed that when I write posts, I get fewer comments. Why is this? I hadn’t written in a week and I had twice as many comments to approve as the previous week, when I wrote every day. Weird.
Well, I’m back anyway. I don’t know about that whole “better than ever” part, but I’m back from my vacation in the Wyoming Rockies, I’ve finally figured out my hosting issues, and I’ll be getting some MP3s up for ya’ll pretty soon. It’s been a frustrating battle with domains, servers, and the like, but I think it’s finally over.
I don’t have anything important I want to say today. Just random things that are on my mind. Our family trip out West was incredible. The scenery definitely beats southern Wisconsin’s, and all we did was hike, talk, sleep, eat, swim, and drive around. Jessie (my wife, for the uninformed) and I did go on one date to see The Dark Knight. Very good movie, if a bit creepy. But it’s Batman, so what do you want – singing purple dinosaurs?
So, yeah, the vacation was great, and I highly recommend the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming to anybody looking for a relatively inexpensive, less crowded place to do some camping or hiking. If you live in the upper midwest like I do, it’s a little closer than Yellowstone or the Colorado Rockies and much easier to get to.
Anyway, this week I’m filling in for a friend on his early morning paper routes, so I’m pretty sleep deprived right now and will probably crash in a few hours. If this post doesn’t make much sense, I blame my sleep deprivation.
Well, until I get the next official post up, check out the view from Lake Helen below. This was my favorite place we checked out during our vacation in Wyoming. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but the quiet solitude and majestic mountain scenery were awesome. Getting the view required a 10-mile round-trip hike up 1000 feet of elevation to get to it, but it was worth it.
You may be asking yourself, “Where has The Blah Blah been lately?” Well, in an effort to improve the health of my readers by encouraging regular physical activity and to increase productivity in the workplaces of America, I haven’t written any posts in over two weeks.
Has my attempt to improve the life of Americans actually worked? Sadly, research has shown that it has not, so I will resume blogging soon…
The truth of the matter is that two things happened: 1) I still haven’t been able to fix my MP3-uploading issue, and 2) life suddenly got really busy. Between hosting hassles, ministry responsibilities (church retreats, VBS, the high school group), side jobs, and family stuff, I just gave up on blogging for a while. It wasn’t really intentional. I just completely forgot all about it until today. It’s too bad, too, cuz I’ve got a plethora of new bands to introduce to you.
But it’s gonna hafta wait, because I’m taking some time off to head out west to the Rockies, to spend some much-needed time driving, thinking, reconnecting with God, and hanging out with my family.
Hopefully by the time I return, my hosting issues will be over and The Blah Blah will resume as normal. Until then, check out where we’ll be staying part of the time (here). It looks boring from the sky, I know, but it’s right in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, and it looks awesome in real life.
Well, after a week off from The Blah Blah, I’m still having issues with my domain transfer from MyHosting to GoDaddy. I don’t know what the problem is, but I’ll hopefully get it resolved soon.
I used the free evenings to spend some much-needed time with my family, watch a few movies, meet with God, and read some books. I cranked through Michael Crichton’s Timeline (good), Donald Miller’s To Own a Dragon (very good), and Tim Cahill’s Road Fever (also very good). Now I’m in the middle of Desmond Tutu’s The Rainbow People of God which is good but a little wordy.
And, today, the flooding in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, has resumed. With the last round of big rainstorms, we got some significant flooding in the basement (where we have my office, a prayer room, the laundry, storage, and our girls’ bedroom). But, despite the large volume of water coming in, it all was sucked down the drain, as long as we routed it right.
Today, about an hour ago, it started pouring again. And now the drain is not working and we’ve got over an inch of water across almost the entire floor. And the outlook says we’ll be getting almost non-stop rain for the next two weeks.
I’m not sure if there’s something clogging the drain or if the water level is just so high that new water has no place to go, but either way, I’ve decided that the next place we rent will have enough bedrooms on the first (or second!) levels so we don’t have to rely on the basement staying dry.
So we’ve moved most everything we can move out of the basement and now all we can do is sit and watch the water level rise. The girls will take naps upstairs and we’ll probably all be sleeping in the living room for a while.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m not sure. But, since this is a music blog and not a blog just for my personal whining, here’s a list of some of the albums I’ve been listening to as the floodwaters rise:
The Khrusty Brothers – The Khrusty Brothers
Page France – And the Family Telephone
Colour Revolt – Plunder, Beg, and Curse
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Live!
All good stuff (not all made by Christians, if that’s important to you), and you don’t necessarily need a flooding basement to appreciate it.
Just had a random thought. Since I missed out on doing a Fourth of July mix CD, I should make up a Flood mix to celebrate all the rain we’ve been getting in the Midwest lately. I’ll make that my first post when I get MP3s back. What better way to exploit the flooding than with a mix CD, right?