40 Day Fast – Get a Goat

Today is the last day of the 40 day fast that Kat organized, and she is asking people to help buy a goat. “A goat nourishes a family with fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt, and can offer a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market.”. World Vision has a program set up to provide goats for families in need, and Kat has already donated money for two goats from the donations that have come in since yesterday morning. If you want to take part in this, do so before midnight tonight by going here. Kat is asking for just one dollar, but you can give more if you want.

Tonight music moved me…

Andrew Osegna has just written one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a while. Working in the music industry, it is easy to get to the place where I am not really moved by the music, where everything becomes intellectual. After seeing Andrew play a show Friday, he gave me a copy of his CD Photographs, (which I had not yet heard). And listening to it, I was moved.

I’ve heard a lot of good music recently, much of which has me thinking things like “that was a clever phrase”, or “this track sounds really good” (like Chris Rice’s new CD, What a Heart is Beating For). But I hadn’t really been moved by it, not in the way that words can’t really describe. I recently read a quote by the author E.M. Forster suggesting that “the only books which influence us are those for which we are ready, those which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves.” I think the same is true with music. Listening to Andy’s Too Far to Walk, or We Were Sure We Would Change The World, or even Vegas, but especially Too Far to Walk, being reminded that others have taken the same journey, I can feel “hope being restored”, as Andy puts it.

Tonight music moved me. Music pays my bills. Music feeds my family. Music is the feel of the strings and the wood under my fingers. But I lose the music. It turns into a job and what was almost in my hand is back flying in the wind like a kite.

Tonight I am almost touching it again. To list the songs and the artists does no justice. It’s the feeling I’ve found. The moment when hope is restored. The beauty of the melody resting with the groove. The dance, the shift, the feeling that life is here.

Life is rhythm. We lay down and we rise. Our hearts beat. We lose the groove and we stumble, we flail. We lose the questions and only find anger and fear.

We lose each other and only find ourselves. And ourselves are not enough. There is no harmony alone. And no rhythm.

But God is in the rhythm. He knew the dark needed the light. He knew the ocean needed the land. He knew the woman needed the man. The melody and the harmony. The kick and the snare. The hand and the drum. The tension and the release. The grave and the sky.

We feel it. The music that moves us goes beyond our frontal lobes and our language. It goes straight into the bloodstream. It wrenches our gut and grabs our heart. The Minor falls and the Major lifts. The baffled King composes “Hallelujah”.

Music is a dead language if you don’t have people you love.

Music is real like love. You hold it like love. You can lose it like love. It is an echo of love. Maybe we like the sad love songs because they make us hope that tomorrow we’ll grab ahold of what always seems just outside our grasp.

Tonight I’ve found my old friends in the rhythm, my wife in the hope of a melody, my girls in the lilt and the twirl.

Tonight I’ve found God in the groove. The pulse that is always there beneath me, above me, behind me, before me, waiting for me to ride within its heartbreaking, breathtaking, dark and beautiful waves.

Read the rest of what he has to say here. And take the time to be moved by music. Turn off everything else, get away from distractions (as much as you can), and let music wash over you. Whether it is Andrew’s music, or Górecki’s Third Symphony (another piece that blew me away again this week), or whatever your preference is, don’t let it stay in the background. Let it remind you of life, of hope, of God. Listen to the music.

New Music from Andrew Peterson

I posted about this last week on Square Peg Alliance.net, but I wanted to mention it here for those who don’t read that blog. Andrew Peterson went back into the studio last week to start tracking his new CD, Resurrection Letters. I was able to drop by one day to hear some of the tracking and read through the lyrics, and now I’m really looking forward to hearing the finished project. Ben Shive, who plays keys for Andrew on the road, is producing again, and Matt Pierson and Paul Eckberg played bass and drums, respectively. Andrew started a blog for those who want to know what’s going on where he is posting videos, pictures, and summaries of the day’s events (there’s a link in my link list).

To hold you over until Resurrection Letters comes out, Andrew is releasing Appendix M (in part to help fund the new record), the second in his Appendix series. The audio portion of the CD will have 8 tracks, and there will also be videos of a couple other songs (including a cover of Rich Mullin’s “The Color Green”). From his website: The album features live songs, original demos and other rarities, plus access to exclusive desktop wallpapers, chord charts to the songs from The Far Country and Love and Thunder, writings, and lots of exclusive video content.

Here is the track list:

1. Further Proof (Studio Live)
2. Over My Head (Live)
3. No More Faith (Original Demo Version)
4. No More Faith (Strings/Piano/Dulcimer version)
5. Sun on the Moon (Live) – (A James Taylor cover)
6. Dreams (Original Demo Version)
7. Long, Long Ago
8. All the Way Home (Featuring Jill Phillips)

Andrew gives some more details about these tracks and the album on the message board at his website.

The album was sent off to be mastered and duplicated the end of last week and should be ready to ship in two or three weeks. Pre-orders started Monday night and are already pouring in, and since I’m running his webstore for the summer, I’ve already started printing out address labels and getting the packages ready to send as soon as the CDs come in. It’s only available on his website and at shows, so be sure to get a copy soon. Appendix A has been sold out for a while, and there are not currently any plans to re-issue it.

I’ll mention it here again when both CD’s come out, but in the meantime be sure to add Andrew’s blog to your daily reading. The link is http://www.andrew-peterson.blogspot.com.

Music I’ve worked on – Casting Crowns

The new CD from Casting Crowns, The Alter and the Door, releases on August 28th and is produced by Mark Miller (Sayer Brown). The strings for this project were arranged by Bernie Herms. He sent me the MIDI files and mp3 mixes as he finished them, I compared the MIDI files to the audio files, translated and transcribed them for real strings, and created printed music for the session. We used a 20 piece string section for this session back in April, with Jim Gray conducting.

The first single from the record, East to West, was just distributed to radio and broke a record when it was added to the rotation of 78 stations its first week. It was also posted on their MySpace page where it was played 27,000 times in the first 3 days. It has now been up there for a little over two weeks and has close to 112,000 plays. The mix is pretty good – you can actually hear the strings. Check it out here.

40 Day Fast: Andrew Osenga (Day 25)

I’ve been meaning to write more about the 40 Day Fast here, but my work schedule over the last couple weeks has been so crazy (90 hours last week) that I haven’t had the chance. So here’s another post, finally.

Andrew Osenga is today’s blogger, and he draws attention to the Dalit in India. He writes:

I got to travel to India a few years ago with Caedmon’s to write and record an album based on stories of the Dalit.

The first night of our trip was in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, and we stayed in a hotel called the Leela. It was nice, very nice, actually. And down the street was a really nice Hyatt. In between them was a big garbage heap, and over a hundred people living in it. Children were living in it. Children were living in the garbage right outside my window. And somehow I still went to sleep.

We were just surrounded by incredible oppression. It’s not just poverty. Poverty is when no one has anything. Oppression is when one of the richest countries in the world has over half of its people living in poverty.

Read the rest of Andy’s post here.