Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I really want to dig into scripture, but I just don’t know where to start”? Did that one poem from Isaiah give you goosebumps, but then when you tried to read more of the whole book, you got lost and unmotivated? If you answered “no,” well then good for you! But if you answered “yes,” you are in good company, and Russ Ramsey might be able to help you.
Greg LaFollette wants his music not only to be beautiful and true, but to be helpful and useful. Over the past year, he has been writing church music with his own specific congregation in mind; in this endeavor, practicality has become a virtue of his craft right alongside aesthetic nuance. And the result is an album that is truly useful and beautiful, all at once. In fact, he just released it into the world on Friday the 26th. Read on to listen to one of the songs and learn about Greg’s journey towards the unification of utility and art.
Good news: Jess Ray is releasing a new album called Parallels & Meridians, and she began with its first single last week. I had the opportunity to talk with her about this record a couple months ago, and I was deeply compelled by the idea behind it—songs that represent lines of communication both horizontal and vertical, between fellow humans and between humanity and God.
A few years ago, Leif Enger came to speak at Hutchmoot, the annual Rabbit Room conference. That year, he and I had both gone through sudden medical crises. We bonded then over recovery stories and continued that friendship in the form of a fairly regular correspondence. When I was preparing to release Struck, a memoir about my experience, I asked Leif if he might be willing to read it and write an endorsement. He graciously obliged, providing one of the true high points in my career as an author—support from a literary hero.
Back in November of 2017, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Gullahorn about his new record, Everything As It Should Be, the craft of songwriting, the balance between boldness and humility, and what he has learned from the arc of his career. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
Andy is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter project to fund the finishing of his new record, and he’s got twelve days to go. Click here to learn more about the project and choose how to support him.
In case you haven’t heard, A. S. Peterson (aka Pete Peterson) has written an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein for the stage. In Pete’s own words, “this is not your mama’s Frankenstein.” Show up to the play and you’ll find an eloquent Monster, theological questions of creation and death just as abounding as questions of scientific progress, and a Victor Frankenstein indelibly shaped by the drama of his family.
In case you haven’t heard, A. S. Peterson (aka Pete Peterson) has written an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein for the stage. If you’re anything like me, you have long assumed, without even realizing it, that you know all there is to know about Frankenstein. I mean, it’s just a cautionary tale about the hubris of scientific progress at the expense of our humanity, right? With a Monster that groans inarticulately, groping in the darkness of his brutish existence, his mad scientist-maker laughing maniacally in the background?
In case you missed it, Andrew Osenga is back with Season Three of his podcast, The Pivot. He kicked off the season with a fascinating conversation with rapper/speaker/activist Sho Baraka. They talked about Sho’s winding career path, from hip hop to insurance to musical theatre to Faith & Work conversations in Atlanta, and the years where speaking his mind became a liability.
Last week, I got to sit down with Buddy Greene and ask him all about his new retrospective record, Looking Back, as well as the narrative of his musical and spiritual life and how they have informed one another. Our conversation was a delight and I am pleased to share it with you here.
Sometimes, especially if you’ve grown up in the church, Scripture becomes so familiar that it’s easy to miss the beauty and poetry of those old words of life. So we look for ways to shift our focus—trying out a new translation, diving into an intense study, or learning ancient prayer practices that engage the text. And for the Psalms, there is nothing quite like hearing them sung.
Chances are, if you listen to much Christian music, you’ve come across Christa Wells’ songwriting without even knowing it. (She wrote Natalie Grant’s big hit “Held,” along with songs for Plumb and Ellie Holcomb.) But Christa has been quietly crafting her own singer/songwriter indie pop songs for years, even though she feels most at home behind the scenes.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Taylor Leonhardt, whose album River House has thoroughly caught the Rabbit Room’s attention with its lyrical subtlety and invitational, spacious production style. Whether you are already familiar with this album or new to the scene, this interview will have something for you.
Taylor Leonhardt will be joined tonight at the last Local Show of the season by John Tibbs, Andy Gullahorn, and Jill Phillips, and there are still a few tickets left. You can grab them here at the Rabbit Room Store.