Monday, December 31, 2007

To Write a Book

I have had the idea for some time that some day I might like to write a book. But until recently I haven’t had a clear idea on what I would write a book about. A few months ago I started what was to be a series of blogs entitled My Life as a Wrestler. While I began composing the few essays that would appear under this series title it occurred to me that this would be the best title and overarching theme for a book that I would want to write.

I have come to realize in recent years the value of wrestling and struggling with faith and doubt and life and art and sin and redemption. If I have anything to offer in book form it’s not of the “7 steps to a better you” variety. The book I’m envisioning will be more about the process of redemption in all its painful glory. So, I intend to make writing this book my goal for this coming year. So as to not give too much of the book away, my blogs in this next year may be a little more of the online journal variety than the short essays which have been predominant in my blog for the past couple of years.

It may be that after giving book-writing a go I might conclude that music is a much better investment of my creative ability but I feel like I just have to give it a try.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top 6 Albums of 07

Here is my choice for the best albums that I’ve come across released this year (*with the exception of Ways Not to Lose which came out at the end of 06).

1. The Trumpet Child – Over The Rhine
Like a fine wine, Over the Rhine just get better with age. The husband/wife combo turn out some of their finest crafted musical gems to date on this ode to American music.

2. Here is What Is – Daniel Lanois
The sound track to uber-producer Daniel Lanois’ documentary of the same name is perhaps his overall most cohesive project to date. There is no shortage of his beautifully emotive trademark pedal steel on these tracks which range from folk, to psychedelic to ambient. Interspersed between tracks are snippets from the movie which feature conversations between Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as they phylosophize about art, religion, and music.

3. Ways Not to Lose – The Wood Brothers
This album was released at the end of last year but has moved into my top-ten albums of my collection. Its charm is its simplicity. These two brothers turn out some incredibly soulful songs that will make you smile.

4. The Enchantment - Chick Korea and Bella Fleck
While I’ve never been a huge fan of either of these musicians in their other endevores, this combo is magical. I would have never thought of an instrumental album of piano and banjo, but it works. The music is hard to describe being a mixture of Latin, Appalachian, jazz, classical and blues. A very cool find.

5. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
What can I say, it’s Wilco and it’s good. These guys have yet to turn out an album I didn’t like and this is no exception. This one lacks a lot of the experimental stuff that has been commonplace on other Wilco releases but has it’s own charm. The songs are less dynamic than on other releases but I find myself returning over and over to this one.

6. Give Yourself Away - Robbie Seay Band
Long live the worship band! This is a worship band CD. These songs sound like they were actually written, and practiced and recorded by an actual band, and a good one at that. In a day when so many worship albums are cliché ridden, over-produced and performed by hired studio musicians it’s so refreshing to hear a solid album by an actual band. This lends to the authenticity of the project which comes through in all of the songs.