Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. My first generation iPhone still works.

2. Going to see Patty Griffin this Friday. Not sure if you knew that.

3.Ummm, if you think those protestors are right about Wall Street, can I have all the stuff you own because of rich Wall Street bankers? You should probably get rid of your stuff. Thanks.

4. My first ipod had 64 GB. My first computer had about 500 MB and it was only 5 years older.

5. When my wife goes into the kitchen to cook some kind of magic happens and life becomes more awesome.

6. Last night I was retweeted by Dale Murphy, a childhood hero. No big deal, I will never wash my Twitter stream again.

7. Some pastor will will probably tweet something from his iPhone about idol worship and Steve Jobs.

8. I wonder if bacon thinks I’m awesome too.

9. If you would have told me a couple of months ago I would know what I know now about banking and the world of finance, I would have laughed in your face.

10. God, Family, Meat, Country.

Buying 1000 Kisses

(It’s Patty Griffin week. She will be in concert at the Alys Stephens Center this Friday.)

A couple years after purchasing Patty Griffin’s first album, a new one was released.

It was friday night and I had a softball game. We only had one car in Seminary so I picked Bethany up from work and we went to a place called Crazy Bowls and Wraps for the first time. Next to it was a music store local to St. Louis. After eating we went over there to kill some time before I had to turn double plays at Short and then hit home runs.

And that is when I saw 1000 Kisses. We had been listening to lot of peers lately – Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Alison Krauss, Gilian Welch – so we picked it up, paid for it and got in the car. From the first song – “Rain” – we were hooked.

I can remember sitting in our Honda Accord listening to her sing and being moved by the power of her voice. I can remember being anxious to hear more after the game. And I can remember listening to that album so often we had to make the decision to listen to something else for awhile.

A few months later I acted as the head of her street team to get the word out about her show in St. Louis. She played almost the whole album that night.

It’s a flawless album. Below is the first tune that filled our car on that friday night nine years ago.

Tuesday’s 10: Some Favorite Songs By Patty Griffin

It’s Patty Griffin Week all week at Echoes and Stars. If you don’t like Patty’s music you might want to come back next week… actually we can’t be friends so don’t come back at all.

Just kidding.

She will be in concert here in the Magic City this Friday at the Alys Stephens Center. But some of you may not know her music. Well, here are 10 songs to get you started. In no particular order…

1. Truth #2. From the unreleased album Silver Bell, it’s perhaps my favorite and one I can listen to over and over and over.

2. Blue Sky. A perfect song for driving fast under cobalt-blue skies with the sunroof open and the windows down. Favorite line? “Be my singing lesson/Be my song.”

3. Stolen Car. A Springsteen cover that may haunt you for days.

4. Every Little Bit. Third song, first album. Patty wails on this one and it’s a heartbreaking tune. The line “It’s funny how a morning turns a love to shame” blew me away the first time I heard it. And when she sings at the top of your lungs, “I am sold by a lie” you will feel down to your soul.

5. When It Don’t Come Easy. One of those slow burners meant to be listened to under the night sky.

6. Be Careful. I could write a whole on this one. With all the female singers now singing tough songs full of revenge, as a father I want more of this. “Be careful how you bend me/Be careful where you send me/ Careful how you end me/Be careful with me.”

7. No Bad News. The similarities between this one and Truth #2 are obvious. And that’s why I love it.

8. Little Fire. One of the few songs she actually wrote on an album full of covers of gospel tinged blues and country. A gorgeous little song.

9. Long Ride Home. A song about just burying the person you shared a bed with for 40 years. I got chills right now just thinking about it.

10. Moses. First song, first album. “Diamonds, Roses/I need Moses/To cross this sea of loneliness/Part this red river of pain.”

Patty Griffin Week: "I Hated Every Day of High School"

I may have already told this story before but it may be worth telling again…

Not long after Bethany and I got married, I was driving home from work one day and stopped by one of local music stores. While looking around I saw a CD called “Live In the X-Lounge.” Our local Progressive music station was called “The X” and this was an album of in studio performances by a number of artists who had come through town. I bought the album without thinking twice.

It was a great album and I wish I still had it. But there was one song that stood out enough for Bethany and I to drive around on a Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks later looking for an album by the artist of that song.

“Tony” by Patty Griffin was one of the most powerful songs I’d ever heard. And it still is. It’s painful too. And I know of more than one person who has trouble listening to it. One look at the lyrics will explain why:

Does anyone remember Tony 
A quiet boy, little overweight 
He had breasts like a girl 
When I wasn’t too busy feeling lonely 
I’d stare over his shoulder 
At a map of the world 

He always finished all his homework 
Raised his hand in homeroom 
He called the morning attendance 
With the pledge allegience to the gloom 

Hey Tony, what’s so good about dying 
I think I might do a little dying today 
He looked in the mirror and saw 
A little faggot starin’ back at him 
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away 

I hated every day of high school 
It’s funny, I guess you did too 
It’s funny how I never knew 
There I was sitting right behind you 

They wrote it in the local rag 
Death comes to the local fag 
I guess you finally stopped believing 
That any hope would ever find you 
Well I know that story, I was sitting right behind you 

Hey Tony, what’s so good about dying 
He said I think I might do a little dying today 
He looked in the mirror and saw 
A little faggot starin’ back at him 
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away 

Hey Tony whats so good about dying, dying 
Hey Tony whats so good about dying, dying 

Hey Tony, what’s so good about dying 
He said I think I might do a little dying today 
He looked in the mirror and saw 
A little faggot starin’ back at him 
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away 
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away 
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away Tony…

I actually did hate every day of High School. And so I was lonely enough to get it. But I also dished it out and probably caused a great deal of loneliness in my insecurity. Like Patty I was so wrapped up in myself I never even noticed the loneliness around me.

It is no exaggeration to say this song had a profound effect on me. Not only have I not stopped listening to her music 12 years later but I’m not sure anything other thing, humanly speaking, had more of an effect on me going to into youth ministry. No matter where I went we, as a youth group, listened to this song and discussed it. In my wake I think I left a wake of not a few fans. And hopefully a little compassion for the lonely too.

Two versions of Tony below. The first is Live from the X-Lounge. The second is the studio version. Enjoy this painful and profound song.