We’ll call this “Paul Ryan: The Early Years.”
Tomorrow night I’ll be catching one of the limited Christian Classic tour dates. This is a tour bringing together four legends of classic contemporary Christian music: Steve Green, Twila Paris, Larnelle Harris, and Wayne Watson. For the past couple years these and other classic Christian artists have offered a few selected dates for folks to catch them together, even though not all are currently “active” in the official sense. I’m very happy to be catching this particular lineup, especially since I’ve never seen Twila Paris in concert before. I would love to be able to meet her and thank her for all her inspiration over the years. If you have the opportunity to catch one of these dates, you should. Although the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana is, in my opinion, rather overpriced considering the quality of the seating, I still anticipate enjoying a great night of music. Stay tuned for a review (perhaps with pictures, perhaps not—unlike Musicscribe’s official photographer, I’m not a pro, and I’ve found out that concert photos don’t always turn out like you wish they would).
I thought my readers would enjoy some fresh piano talent from the next generation doing a tribute to Anthony Burger. I ran into the guy on the left providing guest music in church the other night. A very talented and funny guy. His name is Scott Griffin, and his partner on the keys is Alan Tripp. They call themselves “Captivating Keyboards.”
Here is a look at one of their classical arrangements:
I enjoyed listening to this testimony from former Kansas lead singer John Elefante, whose voice crystallized songs like “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” in rock and roll history. Like bandmate Kerry Livgren, he too underwent the conviction of the Holy Spirit and converted to Christianity. Afterwards, he went on to work extensively in Christian rock and scored solo hits like “That’s Why God Made the Moon” (which epitomizes everything that makes a great power ballad, in my opinion).
I found this music video interesting, which has been making the rounds of conservative sites everywhere. It tells the true story of how his adopted daughter was barely saved from abortion. The music might be kind of edgy for this crowd, but I mostly dig it, minus the ballerina chicks, which are supposed to be angels, I think. The string quartet at the end is very cool.
They’re not taking her
You’re not taking her
I thank Bill Gaither for suggesting this song to the Isaacs and the Isaacs for recording it, because heaven forbid there should be any great 80s songs I haven’t yet discovered! For those who know it already, you might have thought it strange to see the ISAACS of all groups covering a secular Brit-pop track. But that just shows you Gaither’s genius, and the production talents of the Isaacs in making it their own. I went and found Mike and the Mechanics’ original after listening to their performance at NQC, thinking it couldn’t possibly measure up to what they did. Surprisingly, I found the original quite strong as well. Paul Carrack is a great vocalist. I do think the choir sections are a bit dull, but Paul improvises well over top of them.
The song itself, of course, is a classic, particularly the opening and closing verses. In my opinion, it’s not the chorus but those verses that really make it great, with that “Cat’s Cradle/Time In a Bottle” feel. B.A. Rutherford, the behind-the-scenes lyricist, wrote it as an autobiography about his strained relationship with his father. To my mind, it recalled a story like East of Eden.
So which version do you prefer, dear readers? I personally might give different answers depending on the specificity of the question—vocals, production, etc. You decide:
Wilburn and Wilburn made some waves when they came on the gospel music scene a couple years ago. Son Jordan’s youthful drive and talent combined with Jonathan’s boundless energy and soul created an exciting sound. Their official debut Family Ties was filled with stellar cuts like “A Cross Became My Saving Grace,” “Devil Be Gone” and “You’ll Still Be There,” garnering critical acclaim all ’round (including 5 stars from yours truly). Now they have an album of new material to share with the world of gospel music. Here is my review of this sophomore effort.
I love Rich Mullins. I really do. But he said some dumb things (perhaps at least partly under the influence of Brennan Manning, whom I’ve written about at some length in a surprisingly popular post here). Going through post drafts last night, I winced again as I dug up this particular quote of his:
Faith is not in ourselves. If our faith was in ourselves, we could never afford to fail. Who wants to go through life where you never fail? What a drag! Perfection is boring folks. People who are perfect are only perfect because they are nothing. Anyone who ever did anything messed up.
Aaaaaagh. He started off great but then took it in a totally confused direction. No Rich, perfection is NOT boring. If we followed your logic all the way out as the reductio that it is, we would have to conclude that Jesus was the most boring human being who ever walked the earth! And I’m quite sure you would disagree with that conclusion.
Now in fact, Mullins did move on to some much better things in that quote, which I’ll share in a minute, but I feel this is important to stress: Any time we give the impression that striving to walk in righteousness is “a drag” or that never sinning is boring, we need to rethink our wording. Very carefully. Continue reading “Perfection Is Not Boring”
Some of you might know Brian Fuson from his southern gospel blog Fuson’s Findings, but you may not know that some time ago he joined a Michigan-based quartet called New Destiny. Not only is he now singing and traveling with the group, he also works as a southern gospel concert promoter in the Detroit area. Brian is one of this genre’s most dedicated fans and promoters, and it’s my privilege to review his own contribution to southern gospel music. Although it was released last October, I got my copy in spring this year and simply haven’t gotten around to writing a review of it—until now. As it turns out, this is a good time to review it since their radio single “Testimony” was sent to various stations just last month. Continue reading “CD Review: Walk On, by New Destiny Quartet”
Now if only I could do this to my professors…
[Note: There is an OMG at the end of this video.]