Archives For Music

 

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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CBrown-Cmas

Earlier this week, we featured Christmas music for those who don’t like Christmas music

But sometimes, I can be a sucker for the Christmas classics too. Here are 10 of my favorite Christmas albums:

 
You won’t find Bing Crosby here, but rather the classics nicely arranged in a variety of styles…

Download these digital albums and enjoy… 

Home for Christmas
Amy Grant

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SnowAngels

Music is an inevitable part of the Christmas season…
But what if you are weary of hearing the same old songs done over and over again? 

 
As we ramp up this week toward Christmas Day, here are eight of our favorite albums that don’t fit the typical Christmas music mold.
 
Download these digital albums and listen now… 

Songs for Christmas
Sufjan Stevens

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  

Swing Time: A Novel

Zadie Smith

 

Read a review of this book from NPR

 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

 

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Hildegard_von_Bingen

Tomorrow (Sept. 17) is the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen.

St. Hildegard was not only a prominent mystic and theologian, she also was a composer.  Her works are reminiscent of the tradition of Gregorian chant, and will appeal to those who appreciate medieval chants.

Here are four albums that introduce her music:


VISION

*** DOWNLOAD from Amazon 



NEXT >>>>>

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The Urgency of the Unremarkable
 
A Feature Review of
 

The Noise of Time: A Novel
Julian Barnes

Hardback: Knopf, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle

 

Reviewed by Andrew Stout

 

In addition to being one of Britain’s most esteemed contemporary novelists, Julian Barnes has distinguished himself as an eloquent and knowledgeable commentator on art. His most recent book of essays, Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (2015), is a series of reflections on the works of (mostly) French painters. In The Noise of Time Barnes is again reflecting on art – though this time it is the music of the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, and the commentary comes in the form of a novel.

From one perspective, the entire narrative is a meditation on the role of the artist. It is a meditation rooted in the specific circumstances of Shostakovich’s life and his conflicts with Soviet authorities. It asks questions about destiny, time, cowardice, courage, and the artist’s use of irony. Shostakovich ran afoul of the party for the themes of his early opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, which was denounced as “Muddle Instead of Music,” in the party paper Pravda, conceivably written by Stalin himself. This incident is the catalyst for the story’s drama, and the review’s final line sets an ominous tone: “It is a game of clever ingenuity that may end very badly” (27).

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The Source of all Genius
and all Music and all Poetry

Review of

The Small Books of Bach
David Wright

 
Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  
 
Reviewed by Gina Dalfonzo

 

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, perhaps the fear of Bach is the beginning of a true love and appreciation of music. The word “fear” may be even more appropriate here than in the original biblical context. I can’t speak for the professional musician, but the amateur musician like myself approaches Johann Sebastian Bach with a sense of awe bordering on—or rather, crossing the border into—profound intimidation.

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The Rhythm of a Movement

A Review of

Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement
Robert Darden

Hardback: Penn State UP, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Review by Sam Edgin

 

At the end of his introduction to Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, the book’s author, Robert Darden, uses a quote from a former slave to wrap together the themes of intensity, adaptability, community, and especially rhythm and religion that he says beat within black sacred music. The slave, remembering the songs of his childhood, says that the “…weird and mysterious music of the religious ceremonies moved young and old alike in a frenzy of religious fervor.” These spiritual songs, paired to a religion that stood on the side of the oppressed and promised a better world, fueled what Darden calls a “movement” (emphasis his) that spanned generations and changed the world.

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