News, Volume 9

John The Silent – Vulnerable Music for the Resistance


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…

Getting the folk music tradition of Woody Guthrie just right,
JtS offers us this timely “Ballad of Old Man Trump”

Woody Guthrie sings for everyone,
Woody Guthrie sings for you and me,
Woody Guthrie sings for the losers,
But Old Man Trump can’t sing a harmony.


And with just a hint of The Velvet Underground’s sound, “Gina” is song about the ways we daily wound one another with our infidelity to what we have promised. 

Gina I’m sorry
I said I’d be there for you
Gina I’m sorry
but I left when the first shots flew
When push came to shove
those words about love
were just words I didn’t believe
words about love are not really love
when you leave someone there to bleed
Gina I’m sorry


John the Silent’s newest EP is “Closet Songs I,” which you can check out and buy via Bandcamp (as I did after a listen or two).

Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities
and the life of the church." 

-Karen Swallow Prior

Enter your email below to sign up for our weekly newsletter & download your FREE copy of this ebook! 

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

Comments are closed.