Music is a powerful force, and a good clean source of fun. Yesterday afternoon I was listening to a couple of friends doing a jam-rehearsal while I recommended certain selections the could add to their repertoire for violin+guitar & one voice. One of the guys is somewhat (in)famous for rewriting song lyrics, and at my prompting the added his classic “With or Without Shoes” to their playlist, done to the tune of a certain well-known U2 song. This is also the guy fond of stand-up guitar comedy (or whatever one might call it) and has done a whole routine around an infomercial for the collection, “Dan Fogelberg sings every song ever written.” It’s a little scary when he gets going — but not quite so scary as what he produced spontaneously yesterday afternoon when I suggested a tribute to aging Boomers… AC/DC as elevator music.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks, off and on, singing with Jenny Moore-Koslowsky. Not in person, of course — Jenny is in London, studying with her husband Conrad. And when I say “singing with,” of course I mean quietly, along with a CD safely playing at a louder volume. In the interest of not creating an auditory nuisance under some local bylaw, I don’t really do so much actual singing.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up, as it helps to know a little something about this project.
I’ve had a curious thought about the worship movement. Yes, “worship movement.” It seems to me that out of the Vineyard movement and similar neo-charismatic movements have come something that could be called a “worship movement,” that trend that is infiltrating a wide array of church traditions these days. You can tell by the ignoring or absence of hymnals in favour of the projection of lyrics on a screen. The selection of hymns is drastically reduced as well, giving way to choruses from the Vineyard, Hillsong, Integrity/Hosanna, Matt Redman, Third Day, and a cross section of people with soul patches. Not to mention that wherever church organs remain, they’re getting dusty. Not only have guitars and drums invaded, there are now bongos, conga drums, and djembes involved.
Whodathunkit? The 2008 Pulitzer Prize awards have been announced, and for the first time ever, rock and roll gets a mention. I think they made a good choice for this ‘first’ — Bob Dylan was awarded a special citation “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” He’s now The Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Bob Dylan, and in my mind, it’s well-deserved. Why didn’t anyone thunkofit sooner?
Sometimes when I stop in to refill our water jugs, I bump into Mike Koop from St. Ben’s, as I did the other day. He mentioned to me that he had uploaded some videos on YouTube, including his song “Death Cures Everything,” which I’ve mentioned before. The first time I heard it was in a small performance in a small bookstore where everyone spontaneously started singing along on the chorus. It was just the tiniest bit surreal.
Jesus you got this
lame man up off of the ground
The lepers are thankful
but anxious to quit this ol’ town
and catch slow moving pictures
that tell a story they just can’t live without
how death cures everything
by that I mean
come on in ’cause no one gets out
I was in a nostalgic frame the other day, so I plugged in my old Sony turntable and extracted some vinyl from its storage space. On Friday I had DeGarmo and Key Live out, and a Randy Matthews album. This morning I’m spinning one of my favorite old albums, Dylan’s “Saved” (with the original cover art, of course). The first cut on side two stands out today: “Pressing On.” Some days we need the encouragement to just keep going. We all have those days, and today, for me, is one of those days.
Well I’m pressing on
Yes, I’m pressing on
Well I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord.
Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind,
Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign.”
What kind of sign they need when it all come from within,
When what’s lost has been found, what’s to come has already been?
We’ve been getting the Christmas music going on around here, but it’s come to the point where I think I need to take the step of banning a certain Christmas song from the house. It’s got nothing to do with Scroogish tendencies, and everything to do with bad theology. I mean rank. On one of those compilation albums of Christian artists doing Christmas songs (which includes some rather nice ones), Steve Fry keeps popping up singing “He Became A Man.” Not a horrible title, but I nominate it as worst Christmas song ever, mostly because there are more lyrics than just the title. Exhibit A — the chorus:
He became a man like me,
Laid aside his deity
to fill my every need.
And all the hurts I ever knew,
Jesus Christ went through
to live his life through me.