Posts Tagged ‘good stuff’

New Music: The Autumn Film

I discovered The Autumn Film after poking around the Backstage site after I downloaded the Page XVI hymns that I blogged about last week (just a few posts down).  After listening to the free four song EP, I also downloaded their “Safe & Sound” album from emusic.  This really good piano-driven female-fronted rock music with a good dose of violin as the fabric of most songs.  I know very little about this band and am still taking in the lyrics, there may be a  biblical worldview within the lyrics.  Have a listen to their song “Enough”:

More Hymn Goodness

Here’s another entry into the older hymns, new tunes camp – (a camp I absolutely love and found incredibly valuable to the church). You can download this album for free for a limited time (another thing I absolutely love).  A brief first listen is very positive – the songs have a little bit of an (electric) edge to them – this would be in contrast to Indelible Grace/Red Mountain Church style.

From the website:

Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible and known again.They are some of the richest, most meaningful, and moving pieces of music ever written.

Here are the hymns included on this album:

Come Thou Fount
In Christ Alone (actually a new hymn and one of my favorites; new hymns are also needed in the church)
My Jesus I Love Thee
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Nothing But the Blood
Solid Rock

(HT: Between Two Worlds)

Amazon mp3 Sale

Amazon has the Top Albums of 2008 (50 mp3 albums) for sale for $5…a very good deal methinks.  I downloaded Fleet Foxes – an album I have been wanting to get a hold of and almost downloaded through itunes for $10.  I don’t know how long this sale lasts.

(HT:  Steve Mckoy/Reformissionary)

Free + Good + Music = more goodness

Phil Wickham has a live album called Singalong for free here (as long as you are okay with signing up for his newsletter).  I am not tremendously familiar with Wickham, though I had heard his song “Divine Romance” somewhere and I like it (see the Youtube video below).  I have not given an extended listen to Singalong yet, but there is something captured from this show that I really like.  Sonically, it many not have the best quality, but I love that the crowd that is present is belting out every song with Wickham.  I particularly like this on the hymns that Wickham includes in this set and it reminds of what it is like to sing in the midst of a full church (and maybe even a glimpse of what heaven might sound like).  Anyway, I love the opportunity to get a hold of a new artist at a great price (can’t beat free).

10 Years Ago Today

What we had

  • Six years of history:  dating, fun times, sharing family & stories
  • Degrees from the best University in all the land
  • Love and respect for one another
  • A deep commitment to one another and some damaging concepts excised from our vocabulary
  • A desire to make the Lord the center of our relationship
  • A future together

What we have

  • Two beautiful and crazy children
  • A cat
  • A home – not just a house – full of joy (and frustration from time to time)
  • A calling & place
  • A degree from the best seminary in all the land
  • A couple cars that work most of the time

What remains

  • History together (sixteen years now)
  • Abiding love & respect
  • A future together
  • The Lord at the center of our relationship
  • And so much more than I could have hoped or asked!

Ten years ago today, we got married and haven’t look back (Except at the pictures where people ask how old I was when we go married, but that’s another story).

Happy Anniversary my love!

What happens when…

you send your 5 1/2 year old out into the backyard with the digital camera?

Apparently quite a few shots of the appointed picture taker!

Let Free(Music)dom Ring

In keeping with the theme of Independence Day, also known as the 4th of July, I share with you a new discovery:  NoiseTrade

Here’s how it works:  you download (for free) music from artists by telling three friends about the artist/band.  You can also receive the music by paying what you want (starting at $1).  So far, I have downloaded a 3-song EP by Joy Whitlock and a 7-song collection of songs by Alli Rogers (from several different albums).  And just in a couple of days they have already added more albums (including Waterdeep) – 17 in all.  Here are some of the other artists I was familiar with already and already have some of their music:  Derek Webb, Matthew Perryman Jones (he has done some stuff with Indelible Grace), Sandra McCracken (also of IG), and Katie Herzig.


  • I think this is a great way to get exposure for independent artists by using the connections that their existing or new fans have. Good music should be shared.
  • You can listen and see what you would be downloading before you choose to do so.  I am always looking for new music to try and will buy other albums once I become a fan.
  • I think this is a very good way of bridging the gap between what music lovers have become accustomed too (free, cheap, easy access to music, digital options, etc…) and support for the artist themselves (either by larger exposure or direct support through payment).
  • Of the artists/bands that I am already familiar with, I know them to have Christian convictions/faith (as much as one can know these things from listening to their music), but they are not a part of a Christian sub-culture (e.g. CCM).  They are Christians who make good music or even great music. I do not know if this true of all of the artists on NoiseTrade and all of them should be judged on their art first.

This is from the website:

Artists want to know, connect with, and be supported by music fans. Music fans want high-quality, free (or variably priced) music and to be rewarded, not punished, for sharing the music they love with their friends. We believe that if artists and fans work together, everyone can get what they want.

“A great record is its own best marketing tool,” says Derek Webb, singer/songwriter and Co-Founder of NoiseTrade. “All the marketing dollars in the world can’t accomplish what one great record can, especially if it’s set free to roam around and connect with the right people.” In 2006 Webb gave away his ‘Mockingbird’ record for free online, asking in return for a little information (name, email address, and postal code), and as part of the process, for fans to invite their friends to download as well.

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Cow Appreciation Day

Go here to find out about Chick-fil-a’s Cow Appreciation Day – If you dress like a cow on July 11th, you get a free combo meal from Chick-fil-a (partial cow attire will get you a free entree).  Anybody got a cow suit I can borrow?

Slice of Life: Conversations with a 5 year old

Here are some random conversations with my son from recent weeks:

This one came today (while the kids were riding bikes in the street):
Me: When are you going to let me teach you to ride your bike without training wheels?
E: (with stern look) Never.
E: (a few minutes later) Were you seven when you learned to ride your bike without training wheels?
Me: I was about your age
E: Really?
Me: Yes

Yesterday; I had the kids for the afternoon and we were driving home:
Me: When we get home I’m going to make you guys some dinner.
E: But you don’t know how to cook.

A few weeks ago; while driving to church:
E: There’s a church (passing by a church we pass by just about everyday)
Me: Yes; they love Jesus there also (conjecture on my part)
E: [name redacted] doesn’t love Jesus.
Us: Why? What makes you say that?
E: Because whenever I tell [classmate from preschool] about Jesus he say’s no
Us: Well, it’s a very good thing to tell people about Jesus but not everybody wants to hear about Jesus.
E: Do you know who else tells people about Jesus?
Us: Who?
E: Missionaries

E has told me recently that he would like to be a missionary. We certainly would be delighted with this (I think), but more than that, my prayer is that our children will surpass us in faith and witness.

PCA GA: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

I am finally starting to feel like myself again (on Saturday evening) after returning from Dallas, Texas for the 36th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (the denomination I serve). Should you desire you can watch the archived webcast of any part of the assembly. Here is my take on this past week.

The Good:

  • General Assembly affords an incredible opportunity for renewing old friendships and making new ones. I enjoyed being able to see several seminary classmates and spend some time with old friends. This usually includes good conversation over a shared meal – just think of how much of Christ’s ministry took place over a meal.
  • Seminars: a few years ago seminars on a large variety of topics and issues were added to the schedule and I find this to be one of the best parts of the assembly. Every now and then I hear someone say that they don’t like the seminars because it is not the purpose of this gathering (i.e. to do the business of the denomination), but these do not have to be mutual exclusive and the seminars provide a unique opportunity to benefit from the vast gifts of teachers, pastors, and ministry leaders throughout our denomination.
  • Another one of my favorite parts of GA is hearing about what the Lord is doing through the various ministries/agencies of the PCA, usually through informational reports. In some ways, this is the best part, because we get to celebrate the Kingdom of God advancing around the world through our denomination (for sure we are just a part of that and maybe even a small part, but this is still a most encouraging time during GA

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Now Listening (June edition)

Amazingly, I have done very few posts on this blog about the music the I have been listening to recently. So, for those who care or share similar tastes, here is what has caught my ear. For the record, I do not consider myself a very good music critic (at least being able to put into words what I like and what I think), but I do love good , honest and reflective music – and few a guilty pleasures (usually some contemporary pop song).

Before getting into specifics, I recommend emusic for a great selection of DRM-free music at very good prices. If you want to give it a try, we both can get 50 free downloads (just let me know and I will make it happen!).

Now Listening:

  • Jeremy Casella: just downloaded his album Recovery from emusic; has become a daily listen. I love the electronic infused folk sound – upbeat, but thoughtful music.
  • Matthew Smith; the current leader of Indelible Grace. Most everyday over the past the week or so, I listen to “All I Owe”, which is an updated version of a Robert Murray McCheyne hymn – “When This Passing World Is Done” (Hymn #545 in the Trinity Hymnal). There are some other great songs that you can also listen to on his myspace page.
  • Romantica: absolutely love this band and just downloaded their most recent album from emusic. Favorite song and one I think about a lot is “Drink the Night Away”. You can stream this whole album from their website. Very much in the Americana vein – think Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown, older Wilco.
  • Bon Iver: just downloaded “For Emma, Forever Ago” from emusic. It is a sparse and subtle album and only one of the songs really grabbed me at first, but the more I listened (streaming songs on Virb) the more I liked and was captured by the sound. The style is described by others as indie-folk singer songwriter.
  • Needtobreathe: bought their new album “The Heat” for $2; I have been enjoying this much more than expected. Reminds me a little of The Fray.

Other Recommendations:

  • The Habanero Hour: this is a podcast that has introduced me to some new music; the creators are trying to recreate the notion of what Christian music is, should be, and can be (as opposed to CCM).
  • Pandora Radio: another great way to listen to artists and styles that you like, while discovery new artists in the same style. Also good if you are wanting a little bit of that radio feel.
  • Amie Street: a cool way for independent musicians to get their music out. The price of songs/albums are based on their popularity. As an artist sells more tracks the price goes up (tops out at .98 or .99 cents). I downloaded a Brett Dennen album (and a few others) this way and feel like I got a great deal on the music. They also often have free music to give a try. Finally, you can earn credit through their REC’s system. Essentially, if you buy a song for .20 cents and recommend it to others, you could earn up to .79 cents in credit if the song reaches that price point or you could cash out sooner. I earned a few dollars of credit this way and downloaded an album by Virginia Coalition.

What has caught your ear?

Free Audiobook from ChristianAudio

Every month, ChristianAudio gives away a free mp3 download of an audiobook. I have downloaded quite a few (e.g. Religious Affections and The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards) since I found out about this deal at the beginning of the year. You may also find other audiobooks that may be of interest to you. June’s freebee is Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress. Check it out!

A few of my favorite things…

Battlestar Galactica

The 4th and final season begins tonight (Friday). It is not hyperbole when this show is described as the best show on TV right now.