1. The significance of Jesus’ preference for keeping company with those on the margins is grasped only when you realize they would look for hope and be exhausted by the search.
2. On this day in 1962, Dylan released his first album for Columbia records. It only sold 5,000 copies in the first year and never charted in the U.S. But it moves me every time I listen to it.
3. Last night I finished a great book about Cash’s At Folsom album. As soon as I put it down, I picked up Willie Nelson’s recent Autobiography and put it down after three pages because it was already doing two things I can’t enjoy. The first is needless and constant foul language that sounds like a frat boy trying to impress his “brothers.” The second is political discussion without nuance. So, moving on.
4. My wife made bread this week that I’m now angling to eat at every meal.
5. If you are on Twitter for any length of time, you will catch sight of anonymous accounts. These are people who usually for humor hide behind an account. Often these accounts are used to make fun of famous people. And there are many that take aim at famous pastors and Christian writers. I used to follow some of these because they are actually funny. But I’ve rethought this and think it’s out of step with Jesus and his gospel. There are good reasons to criticize many of the famous pastors of our day. I’m pretty sure anonymous ridicule is not the way, though.
6. “Wedding Bells” by Hank Williams is the saddest song I know.
7. I guess if failure is what it takes to see the grace of the King, then we should not be afraid of it.
8. There is nothing in the NT that justifies a Christian’s fear of a political candidate. The opposite is true.
9. My daughter had been gone on a trip for 3 days and I miss her terribly.
10. I have a very simple test when I listen to music. “Can I sit out in my yard and listen to this as dusk gives way to the star-strewn night? Will it satisfy in that moment?” If I can’t imagine that, it’s not going to hold my attention very long. I know the songs won’t be something I look forward to after a long day. This week two friends of mine released an album of the most heartbreakingly beautiful, high and lonesome music. It’s the kind of music I’d be evangelizing about even if I didn’t know Corey and Ashley. In The Meantime is a live studio EP with no frills. You can hear the sounds of the room putting you in the space itself. Corey’s playing, singing, and songwriting reminds me of the best of Texas country. I compare all country to Townes Van Zandt and if sits well alongside him, then it’s the real thing. Corey’s songs are that good. Ashley’s voice rivals Alison Krauss. I don’t have a better compliment because Ashley’s voice may be the best I’ve ever heard. And the band playing behind is perfectly sparse for these songs, giving a chance for each player to shine in the dark corners of the songs. I listen to a lot of country and americana music and this short album of six songs is now among my favorites. You can download it here.
I used to write a weekly email “letter” like this, only it was about 40 percent silliness. I was about forty percent younger and sillier, though. I still miss that as much as I miss any of the writing I don’t do that I should do.
I’m looking forward to making the time to hear Corey’s new record.
Your number 2: I love being able to find hidden gems in music that most people miss. Sometimes what is best-selling and most popular is just plain rubbish.
#7 and #8… yes!