Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and More Musical Magic


Let it be known for the record that I was a Bob Dylan fan BEFORE he was a Nobel Prize recipient. I actually can’t remember when I became a fan, but it’s been at least ten years.

i geek out whenever I find one of his bootleg series albums at Grimey’s. I’m still buying CDs over vinyl because the former fits into my budget much better than the latter. Plus, I don’t really have a record player.

Periodically, I go back and revisit the older stuff, like Blonde on Blonde or The Times They Are A-Changin’, but my sentimental favorite is still Slow Train Coming, partly because of the Muscle Shoals sound he incorporated on it and partly because of the overt faith elements.

For my commute, I’ve embarked on Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings 1952-1959. I’m in music heaven. You really get the sense that you’re sitting in on the birth of R & B (although true musical purists will probably disagree with me). What no one can deny is that this music holds up even 60 years later.

I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Timothy B Schmit album via snail mail, hopefully by sometime in 2016. I’ve heard snippets on the radio, and I really like the old-school 70’s vibe on it. Think a dash of Eagles with some Poco thrown in, plus elements of country rock, funk, soul, and everything else in there.

I hope to continue my classic country music trend in the days to come. I hope I make it to McKay’s to supplement my already ridiculous amount of music.

I do love music. I still think one of my favorite things is driving at twilight on an overcast fall day with the windows rolled down and the perfect song playing. It takes me to my inner happy place.

That covers my musical adventures for the month of October. More to come at some undetermined time in the future.


A Little Glen Frey for the Night Ride Home

Note: I inadvertently took the night off from blogging last night after getting home a bit late. I supposed I was more tired than I had originally though.

My Wednesday adventure started off after work with dinner at The Smiling Elephant. For those not from Nashville or not familiar with this place, it is an amazingly fantastic Thai restaurant a little over a mile down the road from my church, The Church at Avenue South.

I had some Pad Kra Pao on a dare (to myself). It was super spicy. I was quoting Paris Hilton non-stop– “That’s hot.” It’s probably the hottest, spiciest thing I’ve eaten on purpose (not counting that wasabi that I thought was guacamole).

From there, I went to Ave South for a Summer Series Bible Study, led by my friend Parker Bradley on 1 Timothy 3. It could have been very dry and academic, but he did a great job of making it interesting and relevant.

After, some of us headed over to The Sutler, where I had maybe the best dessert known to man. I don’t remember the name, but I remember that it had chocolate and peanut brittle and about 50,000 calories. It was Christmas and Easter combined and made edible. It was that good.

On the way home, I had the music of one Mr. Glenn Frey to keep me company. It was one of the rare moments when the music matched my mood and perfectly fit the nighttime setting.

More people are familiar with his work with the Eagles, but not as many know about his solo projects. He was as good a musician, singer, and songwriter as just about anyone in the business. He was the real deal.

I got home and had some quality therapy time with one very sleepy and very geriatric cat (you probably know her as Lucy the Wonder Cat a.k.a. Lucy Furr).

It was one of those days filled with a multitude of small blessings and graces that I hope I’ll always remember for as long as I live.


Deep Album Cuts

I’ve been listening to some Eagles albums. Most people associate them with songs like Hotel California and Takin’ It Easy. In fact, if you listen to most adult contemporary radio stations, you’d only think they ever recorded like five songs.

I personally have always been one who’s been drawn to the less popular stuff. Most of my musical tastes don’t necessarily align with what’s popular with most other people.

So far, the songs that have caught my attention are Saturday Night and I Wish You Peace. I doubt you’ll ever hear either one of those on the radio, but they’re really good songs.

I do believe the life of faith is like that. Some of the best people and experiences  come from the most unlikely of places. Sometimes, the best relationships are the ones where you have to dig a little deeper to find the proverbial diamond hidden in all that rough.

God’s motus operandi is to look for the least likely kind of people to do His best work. He almost never goes for the obvious choices– the learned, the religious, the well-to-do. He usually picks peasants, shepherds, foreign astrologers, fishermen.

I’m thankful He operates that way. I’m one of those God chose. So are you. Some of you probably know what it’s like to be passed over and always picked last. But not with God.

God chose you and me not because there wasn’t anybody else left to choose. He didn’t choose us because the people He really wanted were unavailable.

He chose us because He wanted us. He pursued us because He had set His affection on us and desired that we be a part of His Kingdom.

That’s a good reminder on a cold and rainy day where the sunshine seems a long way off. That’s something to hold on to in the midst of a long week full of Mondays.

So take heart and give thanks for a God who likes those deep album cuts as much as the popular stuff.


Out Among the Stars

“Oh, how many travelers get weary
Bearing both their burdens and their scars
Don’t you think they’d love to start all over
And fly like eagles out among the stars?”

I had Johnny Cash keeping me company on my drive home from work today. Not literally, as that would be a bit creepy.

I had a CD of his that I checked out from the library. It’s an album of previously unreleased material that Cash recorded back in the early 80’s. I don’t know why these songs didn’t see the light of day until recently. I’m not a music exec.

I do know that the song “Out Among the Stars” spoke to me, particularly the chorus.

How many out there are carrying burdens and scars from a lifetime of things they did and things done to them? How many cry out incessantly for a chance for a do-over?

The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that it is the Gospel of Second Chances and Do-Overs? When you belong to Jesus, what you did in the past no longer matters. It’s who you are now that counts. It’s WHOSE you are now that really counts.

Sure, past actions have present consequences. But those actions don’t have to define you or the choices you make today. They don’t have to determine your future.

There’s a line in an old Switchfoot song that I love: “Every breath is a second chance.” That’s what Jesus offers. Not just one second chance, but multiple do-overs. In fact, each new morning is a clean slate filled with God’s new mercies and lovingkindness.

That’s what I cling to these days. That’s what I hold on to on those dark and dreary days.

By the way, that Johnny Cash CD is worth picking up if you haven’t purchased it already. Just follow this link: