Archives For Music

 

The Story of Carols

A Meditation for the Advent and Christmas seasons
 
By Tim Dowley,

Author of 

Christian Music:
A Global History

Tim Dowley

Paperback: SPCK, 2018
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]

 

Christmas Music for Those
Who Don’t like Christmas Music

 

*** All The Holiday Music
You Will Ever Need!

Carols fall into that category of things that people either love or loathe. Many warm to their traditional imagery and annual memories of Christmases past; others do their utmost to avoid them, associating carols with sentimental words and mawkish music.

Carols are normally narrative, contemplative or celebratory in content, often with a simple, straightforward sentiment and in strophic form. Most of the surviving medieval carols were written for the professional cathedral singers of Europe. Among the oldest is ‘Puer natus in Bethlehem’ (‘A Boy is Born in Bethlehem’), dating from the thirteenth century. Though the majority of carols were for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, others were for Holy Innocents’ Day, Epiphany and Twelfth Night  – for instance, the ‘numeral’ carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, which appears in England from the eighteenth century onwards. The carol ‘The Seven Joys of Mary’, which appears with many variants in the UK and the USA, grew out of pre-Reformation devotion to the Virgin and has survived for centuries in vernacular devotional verses in the folk tradition. The carol ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In’, for which the earliest known printed text dates from 1666, possibly derives from European folk memory of the supposed journeyings of relics of the Magi, the ‘Three Kings of Cologne’.

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My Soul Grows Straight
 
A Review of 
 

The Hymnal:
A Reading History
Christopher N. Phillips

Hardback: Johns Hopkins UP, 2018.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle
 
Reviewed by Grant Currier
 
 
 
Christopher N. Phillips concludes his The Hymnal: A Reading History in a most unexpected study of Emily Dickinson. The cursory glance will undoubtedly produce a moment or two of bafflement, perhaps curiosity as to her occupying an entire chapter in a book about hymnals, but Phillips writes that “Dickinson understood the hymn as a form of hopeful communication” in which the act of receiving, not giving, constitutes the poem as a hymn.

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Aretha Franklin

The sad news broke this morning that Aretha Frankin, the Queen of Soul, had died…

 
In remembrance of her extraordinary life and work, we offer these seven of our favorite songs.

Do you have other favorites of her songs that should be included here?
 

*** Albums by Aretha Franklin

 
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This great new book was released this week…
 

Playing Changes:
Jazz for the New Century

Nate Chinen

 
Hardback: Pantheon, 2018
Buy Now:
Amazon ] [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]

 

*** The starred review of this book
from Publishers Weekly…

 

Listen to a great NPR interview with the author,
from Morning Edition:

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Over the last year, we have done a number of features on our favorite holiday music…

We recap these all for your listening pleasure in Advent, and the coming Christmas season!

Advent Music – A Playlist for the Season of Waiting

Rain for Roots, Josh Garrels, Tom Petty, Over the Rhine, MORE
Includes a Spotify playlist for streaming…

 
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Hailing from Cincinnati, Over The Rhine has been making some of the finest music around for over a quarter century…

 
OTR has especially made a name for themselves for with their annual Christmas tour, which they have been doing for almost two decades.
 

To liven up your holidays, here are three superb Christmas shows (from three different tours) that you can stream or download for FREE (via Archive.org)…

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Too often in our consumer culture, we jump over the season Advent and straight into Christmas. It is especially easy for us to do so with the holiday music to which we listen.

As we prepare for the beginning of Advent on Sunday, we offer this playlist of Advent-themed songs. Some of these are were not necessarily written as Advent songs, but they wrestle with vital themes of the season nonetheless. 
 

A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

*** includes most, but not all the songs below
Browse the list below for other excellent songs 
that are NOT available on Spotify

 

  1. Josh Garrels
    O Come, O Come Emmanuel
    from The Light Came Down


  2.  
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Bob Dylan’s Best Albums

Compiled by Madeline Cramer

 

“I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me,” said Dylan Thomas (the poet who inspired Robert Allen Zimmerman to legally change his last name at 19), and perhaps Bob Dylan’s poetry and music has achieved its legendary, timeless status by encompassing those three parts of the human experience so well.
 

*** For a limited time, the ebook 
   The Gospel according to Bob Dylan
   by Michael Gilmour is only $1.99 for Kindle!

 
(Albums arranged in the order they were released… )
 

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan 
(1963)

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I’m a big fan of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series.  I’ve found it a great (and FREE) way to be introduced to wonderful new music. 

SO… In honor of International Women’s Day, which was earlier this week, I count down my ten favorite Tiny Desk Concerts featuring women musicians!

See also:

Ten Important Women Theologians

 
 

#10 – Torres

Mackenzie Scott’s quiet early music gave hints that she could get loud, but I still wasn’t prepared for the ferocity of her new work. Recording as Torres, she spends her new album Sprinter unleashing as-yet-unheard intensity and power, all while performing with incredible prowess. (NPR)

Latest album:  Sprinter (2015)

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JohnTheSilent

A glimmer of hope on this Inauguration Day. 

American society has been rapidly fragmenting over the last century, and amidst this crumbling edifice, we have elected a president that conservative pundit David Brooks has called “professionally unprepared, intellectually ill informed, morally compromised and temperamentally unfit.” Today is not our nation’s finest day.

And yet, in this season of chaos and uncertainty, our hope runs deeper than the future of an empire. Since the election, I have been finding hope in the quiet-yet bold folk music of John the Silent, the nom de plume of Orthodox priest Joel David Weir.  Weir’s keen songwriting bears witness to the hope we find in vulnerability, friendship, mutual care.

Here are a couple sample songs for you to check out…
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