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Sarah McMillan.  Wife to John Mark.  Soon mother to Jude Williams.  Master potter.  Musician.

Ever since I started listening to Sarah’s music, I’ve found myself referring to her inadvertantly as “Sarah Mark  McMillan,” but her music is nothing like her husband’s.  Where John Mark’s music hearkens back to 90s alternative rock, Sarah’s goes a little further back… more toward the 1890s than the 1990s.  Drawing on folk, roots, and country, with some bluegrass twang thrown in, Sarah’s songs put you solidly in a slightly modernized Pentecostal camp meeting from the early 20th century.  It’s equal parts Enter the Worship Circle and O Brother Where Art Thou?

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I’ve never been a huge fan of American Idol but I caught myself sucked into this season’s first episode last week.  It was entertaining to see so many songs tortured by well-meaning singers with delusions of grandeur, I admit, but I found myself a little annoyed afterwards.

American Idol is destroying the very thing that makes rock-n-roll what it is.  Chuck Berry would never have made it past the tryouts.  Elvis Presley would have been laughed off the stage.  Little Richard would have been ignored.  Joey Ramone would have been censored.  Bob Dylan would be crucified and Mick Jagger would be told to stick to his day job.

I tried to think of anybody who I really like to listen to who might have what it takes to be the next American Idol, and I couldn’t think of any. Sufjan Stevens is too whispery.  Robbie Seay is too gravelly.  Michael Nau is too sad.  David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand) is too depressing.  Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou) won’t even try to sing.  Jesse Coppenbarger (Colour Revolt) screams too much.  Aaron Strumpel’s range is too limited.  Vincent Voss (The Singing Mechanic) has an odd vocal style.  Daniel Smith… well Daniel Smith wouldn’t even be allowed to sing on American Idol if he wanted to.

Pretty much anybody I like to listen to would probably not even be allowed past the tryouts.  And chances are that anybody who would do good on American Idol wouldn’t last long on my playlist.

When rock-n-roll came on the scene, it was fighting against staid, overly-perfected songs that dominated American listeners, replacing that with music that burst forth from the gut.  By its very nature, rock-n-roll emphasizes experimentation, self-expression, and raw emotions.  American Idol is destroying all that.

Finally, I’m back blogging, and here is another of my posts that is way late in the coming, but I hope it helps point a few of you in the direction of an artist well worth it.

Joe Garner is one of my favorite artists I downloaded from NoiseTrade a while back.  With a subtle, earthy folk sound and songs that bring to mind a slightly more modern and way more indie version of classic Johnny Cash ballads, Joe Garner’s songs tell stories of broken, desperate people in need of a Savior.

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Merry Christmas!  It’s once again time for The Blah Blah’s annual Christmas mix cd – Have a Blah Christmas.  Hope you like it.

Download or preview the MP3s individually, or get the whole thing (complete with cover art) in one massive zip file here.

Otherwise, I apologize but the songs aren’t edited to be in the correct order according to track number.  You’ll have to do that yourself.  I just ran out of time.

Enjoy the mix, and stop by the Sounds Familyre Blog for A Familyre Christmas, Vol. 1 and 2, with more great Christmas music.

1. Rosie Thomas – Christmas Time is Here (Download or Stream)
2. Lenny Smith – Finally, It’s Christmas Eve (Download or Stream)
3. Sufjan Stevens – We’re Goin’ to the Country (Download or Stream)
4. Over the Rhine – Little Town (Download or Stream)
5. Anathallo – Come Ye Sinners (Download or Stream)
6. Elin Smith – Oh Holy Night (Download or Stream)
7. Threnody Ensemble – Cello MiscO2 Mix01 (Download or Stream)
8. Joe Dorsey – Silent Night (Download or Stream)
9. Alli Rogers – O Little Town of Bethlehem (Download or Stream)
10. All Stars – Jesus is the Reason for the Season (Download or Stream)
11. Ryan Dean – To Us a Child of Hope is Born (Download or Stream)
12. Robbie Seay Band – Song of Hope (acoustic) (Download or Stream)
13. Mike (?) – Greensleaves (Download or Stream)
14. Joshua Stamper – Immanuel (Download or Stream)
15. Sleeping at Last – Merry Little Christmas Volume Up (Download or Stream)
16. Over the Rhine – One Olive Jingle (Download or Stream)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week.

I was thinking about it this morning (well, actually, two mornings ago, by the time you read this), and there are very few worship songs with really good (or even decent) bass lines.  I play bass on my church’s worship team, and this has bugged me endlessly.

For bassists to be so harshly discriminated against in the worship music industry simply because of their lower-end frequency nature is simply injust.

It’s with this in mind that I’m starting a T-shirt company which will raise money to help fund underprivileged bassists on worship teams throughout America, Europe, and other bass-discriminatory nations.

Seriously, I thought it’d be fun to create an ever-expanding list of worship songs that have at least decent (and possibly awesome) bass lines.

Here’s what I have so far, and leave any comments with your own thoughts and additions:

All Slow Down (Chris Tomlin)
Be Lifted or Hope Rising (David Crowder Band)
Deeper (Delirious?)
Found (Hillsong United)
Jesus Garden of My Rest (Robbie Seay Band)
Make a Joyful Noise / I Will Not Be Silent (David Crowder Band)
Oh Jah! (MorningStar Worship / Leonard Smith)
Rain Down (Delirious?)
Rend the Heavens (Isa Courvertier)
The River is Here (Vineyard Worship)
Sing Like the Saved (David Crowder Band)
Tell the World (Hillsong United)
We are Free (Robbie Seay Band)
You (Waterdeep)

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for now of the worship songs I can think of with good to great bass lines.  Help me out and add some to the mix.

Wow.  If you haven’t seen this video yet of  Michael Nau (Page France, Cotton Jones Basket Ride) playing Starflyer 59’s song “I Was Seventeen,” you’ve gotta check it out.  Wow.  It’s intensely sad.

I just found out about this site called The Collective Family a few days ago, and it sounded like a cool enough idea to pass on to ya’ll.  And, yes, I know the name sounds like some 1930’s Socialist propoganda on family planning, but it’s so much better than that.

Their tagline is: “We’d rather have our music heard than sold.  We’re a bunch of artists that make music and then give it out for free.”  I’m definitely not opposed to that.

I’m not sure who all you’ll find on there, but I did notice Destroy Nate Allen had a few albums for download.  Anybody notice anyone else cool?  I haven’t had the time to check it out like I want to yet.

I should have posted about this weeks ago, but Waterdeep’s new album Pink & Blue is awesome.  I got an advance copy a while back, but I’ve just been too busy to review it until now. I only hope the world will not stop spinning because of my tardiness.  God help us all.

Moving on…  The album is amazing.  Don and Lori continue to astound me with every offering.  Whether it’s Don’s weird alt-folk Khrusty Brothers, or their worship stuff on albums like You Are So Good to Me, or their best offer to date (in my opinion) Heart Attack Time Machine, Waterdeep is a band that knows what it’s doing and does a great job of it.

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Joe Dorsey knows rock and roll.  I don’t mean that stuff you can hear on MTV or VH1.  That’s not rock and roll.  You’ll get some pop, some hip hop, some R&B, but you don’t get a whole lot of rock anymore.

Nor do I mean that stuff you can hear on your favorite alternative radio stations or that cool indie rock college station in town.  I love all that stuff, but that’s not what I’m talking about when I say rock and roll.

Joe Dorsey knows the rock and roll of Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Cream.  Classic rock and roll, back when it was still infused with the soulful sounds of blues, before grunge took over and changed everything.

I’m a huge fan of grunge music and all it’s touched, but there’s just nothing like hearing some good old-fashioned straight-up rock and roll.

And for that, you’ll do good looking toward Joe Dorsey and his new album Rest.

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John DavisHere it is, the final day of “Intro to Indie Music.”  So here they are again, for the last time, that wonderful list you’ve all grown to know and love…

Characteristics of Indie Music
1. It must be on an independent label (see here)
2. It’s about the music (see here)
3. Lo-fi good, over-production bad (see here)
4. A do-it-yourself attitude (see here)
5. Pushing musical boundaries (see here)
6. An anti-materialistic attitude (see here)
7. Social awareness and activism (see here)
8. The un-rockstar (see here)
9. A sense of community (see here)

And the final characteristic of indie music…

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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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