Call and Response: Religious Songs

As we come to the high frenzy of this holiday season, I’d like to turn to one of my favorite exchanges from the past year, when my brother and I stopped being silly and got a little serious about, you know, religion and stuff. It seems that this is the season for that sort of thing, right? So, this is a re-post, but updated and just right for the longer nights and the colder days.

In last year’s honest, and soul-baring post, my brother daringly ventured into one of the two subjects verboten at dinner tables and water-coolers throughout the country—religion (we crossed the politics line a few times in the past few months, so why not get this one over with?). I responded with an ambling, sometimes senseless, and mostly unclear comment.

My brother’s moment of clarity and its relation to music, however, deserves more thought. It deserves more time. It deserves a weighted and patient consideration. Yet, I fear, I may not be the right person to do this. As I said in response to my brother, music is the one thing that has made me feel a sense of something greater (unlike writing, music can be powerfully communal). Despite these feelings, I remain skeptical and unsure whether feeling something beyond yourself has anything to do with the divine.

“Down to the River to Pray”, Alison Krause

This beautiful song has been in my head off and on since I first heard it on the soundtrack to O, Brother Where art Thou. The fact that the “Sirens” sing this song in the movie points to an uncomfortable connection between Homer’s seductive and dangerous creatures and religious music…

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Call and Response: Religious Songs

In a recent, honest, and soul-baring post, my brother daringly ventured into one of the two subjects verboten at dinner tables and water-coolers throughout the country—religion (we crossed the politics line a few times in the past few months, so why not get this one over with?). I responded with an ambling, sometimes senseless, and mostly unclear comment.

My brother’s moment of clarity and its relation to music, however, deserves more thought. It deserves more time. It deserves a weighted and patient consideration. Yet, I fear, I may not be the right person to do this. As I said in response to my brother, music is the one thing that has made me feel a sense of something greater (unlike writing, music can be powerfully communal). Despite these feelings, I remain skeptical and unsure whether feeling something beyond yourself has anything to do with the divine.

“Down to the River to Pray”, Alison Krause

This beautiful song has been in my head off and on since I first heard it on the soundtrack to O, Brother Where art Thou. The fact that the “Sirens” sing this song in the movie points to an uncomfortable connection between Homer’s seductive and dangerous creatures and religious music…

Continue reading

Tullycraft Returns

So, a band called Tullycraft, which some of the savvier readers (if I have either readers or readers with savvy) might know about has just released their first single in years. And people are getting excited. Well, I am, and some other people who have much more knowledgeable blogs, too.

(I got a message on twitter from a good friend about it. He found out from a blog. So this is a tertiary reporting at best.)Tullycraft

I’m not going to spend time telling you about the band because I don’t really know that much about them as people, I only know the music. (Anything I told you would be stolen from Wikipedia.) I don’t even know how I heard about the album Beat Surf Fun, but it was a staple in my CD Walkman in the year before I got an iPod. I loved their debut Old Traditions, New Standards (even though I acquired it seven years after its release).

Yet, I haven’t persuaded someone else to listen to the band. My wife thinks the sound is ‘weird’ (and it is stripped down and different from most of what you’ll hear on any radio station). But something about the songs just make me happy. Oh, and confused.

“Pop songs your new boyfriend’s too stupid to know about”

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A Song List for Neil Armstrong

I learned from the internet that the internet is abounding in tributes to Neil Armstrong. Other than the fact that I cannot bear not to be part of such an important trend (sarcasm, of course), I have to be honest: this might upset me more than the passing of Whitney Houston.

Does the world need another Neil Armstrong tribute? Do I have anything to say to add to or improve upon the many wonderful (and true) things that have been said?

(I need to be heard, dammit)

Now this has little to do with music, but everything to do with memory. We live in a world of increasingly fragmented realities where the man who stands respected far and wide is a rarer breed. On that count alone, Armstrong’s passing should be noted.

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