Reader Survey!

Hi everyone! This is finals week, so I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from the blogosphere. I hope to return some time next week, when I will hopefully have written a review of the Mark Trammell Quartet concert I attended recently, a review of God’s Not Dead, a review of another Christian movie recently released on video that I’m very excited about but will leave nameless as a teaser, and who knows what else? Meanwhile, I’m conducting a little reader survey. My corner of the web gets traffic from a few different “streams” out there (most recently/bizarrely, my post on the blasphemy of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has gotten hundreds of hits from a Canadian Huffington Post piece), and so I’m curious to get a rough idea of how many people I’m either engaging, offending, or boring to tears with a given post. For a few options, I have added a “What?” or a “Who?” which is NOT meant to insult anybody who isn’t wondering! It is merely an attempt to encompass as many people as possible…younger, older,  etc. Most of the questions are musical, but there are also a few more general questions.

All info is collected anonymously, but if you simply don’t want to answer something, the survey will let you skip it.

Have fun! Click below the fold for the survey. I believe results don’t show up for third party viewers, but I’ll provide stats once I return to blogging and close it. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Humor: Don’t Worry, There’s a Bunny

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Easter Morning Music: Hallelujah

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

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Good Friday Music: “Behold the Lamb of God”

Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him that taketh away the sins of the world.

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Maundy Thursday Music: “Go to Dark Gethsemane”

For in the night in which he was betrayed, he took bread. And when he had given thanks, he brake it and gave it to his disciples saying “Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Text: James Montgomery

Tune: Richard Redhead

1 Go to dark Gethsemane,
Ye that feel the tempter’s pow’r;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see;
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away;
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

2 Follow to the judgment hall;
View the Lord of life arraigned;
O the worm-wood and the gall!
O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss;
Learn of Him to bear the cross.

3 Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb
There adoring at His feet,
Mark the miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished!” Hear him cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.

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Sing it Again: “Taking My God At His Word”

In 2005, Brian Free took a break from quartet singing and put out what is still one of my favorite solo efforts in southern gospel. Although I’ve never quite wrapped my brain around that other-worldly voice, his ear for a good song was as canny then as it is now. My personal favorite is the fresh, vigorous country rocker “Dare to Be a Daniel” (written by fellow Gold City alumnus Steve Lacey). Other highlights include “Anthem of the Ages,” which BFA could record today like new, and the tune I’m highlighting today, “Taking My God At His Word.” I could hear a number of artists doing this today, including the Perrys, Barry Rowland & Deliverance, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, and Greater Vision.

I think I would be most excited to hear Chris Allman take a stab at it, but for Ernie to have a go would be great fun too. What do y’all think?

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Monday Morning Humor: Winnie the Pooh is Darth Vader

Voice actor Jim Cummings reads Darth Vader’s lines as Winnie the Pooh. Darkwing Duck drops in for a visit too.

“You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor. Take her away. And no honey.

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CD Review: Into His Presence, by the Perrys

The Perrys - Into His Presence

Into His Presence is the Perrys’ debut effort with Wayne Haun and Ernie Haase’s new label Stowtown Records. It’s also their first offering of new music since Tracy Stuffle’s stroke now over a year ago January and the subsequent departure of lead singer Joseph Habedank. However, David Ragan has been proving that he is more than capable of picking up where Joseph left off. His resonant, expansive voice is the glue that holds this new lineup together. To me, he and David Mann are cut from the same cloth (speaking of, sympathetic shout-out and best wishes to Mann, who just came off the road after discovering that his throat had been invaded by mold spores!) Tracy’s son Jared, who has an agreeably smooth low tone, is filling in on most of the bass singing for now, although Tracy makes one special guest appearance. Below the fold are my comments on this new project. Continue reading

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Farewell to Pat Barker

This is so unbearably sad for those of us who love southern gospel music. It was with a heavy heart that Mark Trammell announced bass singer Pat Barker’s resignation yesterday. Mark made it clear that this was a personal decision on Pat’s part motivated by a need to be with his family, and sent him away with the blessing of being “the finest, most Christlike man ever to travel on a quartet bus.”

Life at home can be difficult when the father travels for a living, and we should certainly pray for Pat’s entire family, as Mark encouraged fans to do in the press release. At the same time, we all grieve with Mark as Pat was not only perhaps the best bass singer to leave his mark on southern gospel in recent years, but also one of the most fun guys you could have the pleasure of meeting. The warmth of his voice and his spirit will be sorely missed in equal measure. Jon Epley commented, “Pat is not only a great bass, but also has a great quality solo bass voice which doesn’t just grow on trees,” and he is so right. However, I was relieved to read that Pat will finish out the month of April on the road with MTQ, so that I will be catching one of his last concerts at the end of the month! Pat was a big reason I was so excited to see MTQ in concert for the first time, so it’s good to know that he will still be there for at least a few more weeks.

Here are some of Pat’s most memorable moments with the quartet through the years:

 

 

 

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Anatomy of a Song: “Come Back to Me”

It’s been a really long time since I did an entry in this series, formerly known as “Poetry in Song,” and I’m not even sure that the folks who seemed interested when I first began it a few years ago are still hanging around. But in case they are, and in case anyone else enjoys reading my rambling about songwriting and would like to explore what makes a song work lyrically with me, here is another installment! Today, we’re picking a song from the world of pop/rock country music: “Come Back to Me” (Artist: Keith Urban, Album: Fuse). This is a heart-wrenching song from the perspective of a man whose love is leaving to chase after things that he knows can’t satisfy her.

Before we dive in, mention must be made of Urban’s ravishing guitar work and the way it just melts into that synth backdrop. True musicianship dat. But I’ll save the full-on Keith fan-girling for another day. Now, on to the lyrics of the song, which was written by Shane McAnnally, Brandy Lynn Clark, and Trevor Joseph Rosen (three members of what I like to call “The Nashville Machine,” aka that faceless throng of writers whom nobody recognizes by name and without whom good and bad pop music alike would grind to a halt). I tucked away three main tips from them.

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