Monday Morning Humor: Who Wants to Be a Republican?

We’ll call this “Paul Ryan: The Early Years.”

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Attending a Christian Classic Concert Tomorrow

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).

Captivating Keyboards

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:

And Now For Something Different… (RE: John Elefante)

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).

You can compare this video of the handsome young Elefante strutting his stuff to “Carry On” with his older, humbler self here.

I found this through some daisy-chaining after watching this music video, 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

She’s mine

You’re not taking her

This time…

The Isaacs vs. Mike and the Mechanics: “The Living Years”

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:

CD Review: Here Comes Sunday, by Wilburn and Wilburn

Wilburn and Wilburn - Here Comes Sunday

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.

Continue reading “CD Review: Here Comes Sunday, by Wilburn and Wilburn”

NQC 2013: Saturday Night Live Commentary

Hey everyone. I know it’s late, but I hope you’ll join me anyway. I went on a river cruise and didn’t get home ’til about 20 after 9.

Best moment of the night: The end of the Perrys’ set, when Libbi received a standing ovation and then presented a brief glimpse of Tracy live on Facetime.

Best performance of the night: The Collingsworth Family, “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary”

Closing thoughts: Every time I watch an NQC, I’m surprised and encouraged. There were many great moments this week, and to those who say it was horrible and gospel music is dying, I say that I’m not sure we listened to the same week! Of course there were recycled moments and performances that fell flat, but as Dean Hopper said during his closing speech, “something has happened” pretty much every night to remind us all why we fell in love with this music to begin with, and more importantly why we fell in love with the people who make it. To all the artists I want to say thanks for putting on a great show and simultaneously inviting us to join you in worship. We love you and appreciate all of you. To the writers who have contributed all these great songs, I say thanks for your frequently unacknowledged work behind the scenes of this music. To all the camera crew and other folks behind the curtain, thanks for the integral part you played in making this a great week everyone could enjoy. And finally, thanks be to God for blessing these good folks with their gifts and giving us the freedom and opportunity to enjoy them.

Good night all. I hope you’ve enjoyed NQC 2013 as much as I have. Highlights and comments on what I caught of the final night are below. Continue reading “NQC 2013: Saturday Night Live Commentary”

NQC 2013 Saturday Evening Hourly Schedule

Here’s a look at today’s schedule. I will be gone chilling in the middle of a lake for the better part of the evening but will come back around 9:00. (Which looks like the time around which things are really going to start getting good anyhow!) I’ll set up tonight’s thread ahead of time so you guys can enjoy yourselves in the comments while I’m gone.

NQC 2013 Live Commentary: Friday Night (aka Free Friday)

Good evening! Please join me for Free Friday with your thoughts and comments, or just sit back and enjoy the show!

Best of the Night:

The Gaither Vocal Band, “It is Finished” — One word: Glooooray!

Other Highlights 

*The Bowlings

*The Nelons

*Isaacs, “The Living Years”

*Karen Peck and New River (what I caught of their set, COUGH COUGH)

*Easters with Wilburn & Wilburn, “Down In the Valley

*Bill’s calling on the crowd to stand during “I Played In the Band”

*Mark Trammell Quartet, “Wonderful Time Up There” and “The King is Coming”

*Gold City, “Get Up, Get Ready” — Jonathan Wilburn joined on the encore. Continue reading “NQC 2013 Live Commentary: Friday Night (aka Free Friday)”