Dustin Kensrue on The Reformed Pubcast

I’m really bored with the whole beer scene, so I just rolled my eyes when I saw that there is something called The Reformed Pubcast. However, I did see that they had Dustin Kensrue on the show recently so I decided to check out that episode.

Aside from the boring beer talk at the beginning and the seemingly endless “Would you rather” game at the end, it was a pretty good show. Some things I enjoyed learning about:

  • Dustin wasn’t reformed until sometime in The Alchemy Index or possibly Beggars
  • Dustin pointed to Tim Keller helpful view on the Doctrines of Grace – it’s like a jawbreaker. The outer shell is so hard, but the inside is so sweet once you get through the tough stuff
  • From Dustin’s view, Thrice is an introverted band.

Go check it out if you’ve got 90 minutes or so to spare.


25 of My Favorite Christmas Songs

A few days ago I noticed that Casey Liss had posted a few of his favorite Christmas albums, so I thought I’d do a list of some of my Christmas favorites. Most of them I could find on Spotify, but a few are from some rather obscure Christmas samplers when I was in high school. There are basically 3 albums that I rituallistically listen to at this time of year:

  1. Michael W. Smith’s Christmas – it’s like Coca-Cola Classic. Can’t beat the real thing
  2. Mannheim Steamroller’s A Fresh Aire ChristmasCarol of the Bells has a reggae breakdown in it – can it get better than that?
  3. George Winston’s December – this is really the only piano-based album I love and I think a huge reason is because of the nostalgia. Coming in from working outside on the farm to this playing on a Saturday just felt so cozy.

These are basically presented in no particular order, with a few exceptions:

  • I started the playlist off with “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. I love the way he yells it 3:19. Amen. So much longing and a great way to start the Christmas season – longing for His coming.
  • I ended it with some purpose too:
    • the gospel being presented in A Stick, A Carrot & String (“And the snake who’d held the world, a stick, a carrot and a string, was crushed beneath the foot of you’re not wanting anything.”). I almost always end up with misty eyes when listening to this song
    • This is War gives such a different view of what the birth of Christ was about than what we’re used to thinking of.
    • All Glory Be To Christ is to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and a great way to start off a new day/week/year
    • Evermore is just a great reminder that when Spotify is gone and I am dead and this blog is gone and this life is over, He will still be reigning.

Non-Spotify Tracks

All Alone on Christmas – Darlene Love

To me, the only real version of this song is this one, from the Home Alone 2 soundtrack. All other versions are trash.

Mele Kalikimaka – One Eighty / Flight One Eighty

When I was in Jr. High & High School I was so in love with Hawaii. Naturally this became a favorite.

O, Holy Night – Seven Day Jesus

You’ve gotta have O, Holy Night right? This is my favorite version, it’s humble, just like His birth

Jesu Bambino – Plankeye

I don’t know what it is about this song (probably the guitar in the verses), but I love it.

Mookie’s Last Christmas – Saosin

This is the most unconventional song on the list, and easily one of my favorite Christmas songs. I don’t know about 90% of the lyrics, but it just hits the spot.

Music Monday: Letters by Butch Walker (yes, a day early)

Today is a momentous day: Letters by Butch Walker is 10 years old. If you know me at all, you know that Butch is my favorite artist (see previous posts here). For many years, I would buy this album for friends just out of the blue so they’d be introduced to Butch. To understand why this is such a big deal to me, first, let’s cover a little background.

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Music Monday – Weaver At The Loom’s Before Now, Was Then

For years, my friend Beth has been telling me to check out Weaver At The Loom. Thinking back on it, she has been telling me this since before my wife and I were married, so it has been going on 7 years that I’ve ignored her earnest pleas. I had tried to get into their first album, I Was Searching And I Was Found, but I never found it compelling.

So I don’t remember what triggered me investigating their newer album[1], Before Now, Was Then, but I sure am glad that I did. There is so much to like about this album, from the etherial keys to the major gaps in percussion on some songs, it’s refreshing to hear. There’s a lot in this album that reminds me of TJ Hill’s Tortilla Factory which I wrote about here.

But what’s deeply drawn me into this album are the lyrical themes. Here are two of my favorites:

  • We are to live life to it’s fullest
  • That we are aliens on this earth

I Feel Good, (Great, Wonderful)

One of my favorite books is Death by Living by N.D. Wilson. As I’m rereading this book, I’m continually reminded of how God has not called us to live in safety, but to pour ourselves out (Phil 2:17) for His sake. I love to life my life safely. I’m not crazy about a bohemian lifestyle or going with the flow. I love to plan. I love the safety that comes with planning. And yet, I feel more and more like I want to throw away all my plans for my life and just life a life obedient to Christ and where he calls me. My aforementioned friend Beth’s sister Beki used to have a quote in her AIM profile (remember those?). At the time I just chalked it up to being a very “Beki” quote. Now, as I’ve delved deeper into parenthood and realizing more and more how everything is by grace alone, it has come back into my mind:

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd

Lord, help me sail out of the harbor. So as i’ve been listening to this Weaver album, the song I Feel Good, (Great, Wonderful) has stood out to me because of this line. Make it so, Lord!

But life is meant to be consumed

Not preserved to ward off doom.

Oh one can surely die from fear,

Before the end is ever near.

Dozens of Us (Dozens!)

This song starts with a guitar part that reminds me of something. I can’t remember what, but it’s hauntingly good. The guitar tone is just perfect. And then the lyrics come in. Again, Dan Smith nails it on the head:

But if you talk like they do

You’ll be ok

And if you walk like they do,

There will be no shame.

Oh man I’m living in Rome,

And it does not feel like home.

Don’t wanna do as the Romans do.

The more time I spend trying to pour my life out, the more I feel disconnected from this world. It doesn’t feel like home. It isn’t home. It is merely a shadow. A beautiful shadow, but a shadow nonetheless. Pair this with Underoath’s Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape and you will find yourself on the floor yearing to be united with Christ. Until then, we wait patiently for His return.

Liked the two songs? Go buy the entire album like I did and support a struggling musician.

  1. To call it an album is rather generous, since it is only eight songs long.  ↩

Music Monday: Richard Hawley – Tonight The Streets Are Ours

If you haven’t seen Exit Through The Gift Shop, then you probably won’t know this song. If you have seen it, then you might remember this song that rolls at the closing credits. If you haven’t seen that documentary, do yourself a favor and watch it.

I don’t know exactly what makes me love this song so much, but it’s really a great tune. It has a little big of the Phil Spector vibe1 and just sounds like classic rock music. The Brit’s really do know how to write a good song.

  1. Without all the murder, of course. ↩

Music Monday: Sons of the Sea

Sons of the Sea is a collaboration between Brandon Boyd and Brendan O’Brien. You probably already know Brandon Boyd as the lead singer but you’re probably less familiar with Mr. O’Brien — well, at least by his name. Brendan has engineered and/or produced tons of the best albums of the last 25 years, including Pearl Jam’s Vs. and Vitalogy, Stone Temple Pilot’s Purple and Tiny Music…, and more recently Incubus’s If Not Now, When?. Those are some serious credentials.

What happens when you put those two together? In my opinion, a poppier version of Incubus. For some reason The Mrs. thinks Brandon sings in a different voice on it, but I think he sounds as great as he always does.

Some favorites: Untethered, Great Escape, Lady Black

Music Monday – Haydn’s Symphony No. 90

Over the Christmas Holiday I was driving to the library to get some contemplative work done. In order to get myself in a thinking state of mind, I turned on Classical MPR to the creative juices flowing.

The announcer came on and said he was about to play a symphony that the composer said “was so hard, the orchestra should practice it before playing it.”

Oh, Haydn.

Music Monday: Butch Walker at the Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis – November 8, 2013

My friend Beth & I went to see the ever entertaining Butch Walker this past Friday night at the Varsity Theatre in Dinkytown. He is out touring his new EP Peachtree Battle which I wrote about previously. I’ve only missed seeing him in Minneapolis once since I rediscovered him back in 2004. He is such an amazing musician and one of the few who actually sounds better live. I don’t know anyone else I can say that about.

Butch Walker

Anyway, I thought you might want to see the setlist, so I posted it below. If you’re not familiar with his material, there are links to buy all the songs on iTunes. I also made a Spotify playlist to match up with the setlist.

Just Piano

Just Guitar

Full Band