To say that music is an intrical part of my life is an understatement. One of the goals of redoing this site was to share musings and thoughts on more topics than what was by-and-large a political and theological blog. Music was one of the topics on my list. You’ll find musings on songs, lyrics, artists, and instruments here. And the occasional acoustic cover.

You know everybody’s seen
The way you’ve waged this war against me
You thought that you’d be free
Looking back you lost what you need

These walls that you’ve built up
You knew, they’d all come collapsing around you
And I know
The suffering, it feeds away at your soul

The poison seeping deep within
You drink it down but it comes up again
The lie takes a hold onto
Don’t know where it ends or begins with you

The Suffering by Red

We’ve always loved Red in my house. My wife and I got engaged after a concert of theirs in Chicago back in 2009 and every album seems to just hit at the right time for me. I’ll be sharing some of the new album’s best this week.

Here is some war music to start your weekend.

When the enemy says I’m done, I’ll lift my praises
When my world come crashing down, I’ll lift my praises high
‘Til the darkness turns to dawn, I’ll lift my praises
I choose to worship, I choose You now

Sometimes the dark is darker than dark. But as Psalm 139 reminds us, “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” The darkness cannot steal my song. Nothing can. Storms, floods, armies, and persecution can try but none of it can take my song. Why? Because it comes from the Lord. The Lord that is over all. So, as Chris Llewellyn beautifully writes, “I build my alter right here and now. In the midst of the darkest night it won’t burn out.”

I needed this song today. Maybe you do to.

This young man is singing our song. I’m ready to go home.

Son, we’re on the brink of the next world war
And I don’t think nobody’s prayin’ no more
And I ain’t sayin I know it for sure
I’m just down on my knees

Beggin’, Lord, take me home
I just wanna go home
I don’t know which road to go
It’s been so long
I just know I didn’t used to wake up feelin’ this way
Cussin’ myself every damn day
People have really gone and lost their way
They all just do what the TVs say
And I wanna go home

Revival or civil war is looming. The dragons are creeping in closer and closer. The darkness wants nothing less than total victory. To snuff out the light. ”[P]ray for resolution, for resolve, for repentance, and for restoration.”

Narrative and Storytelling

Stereotypes are helpful. Sure, some aren’t reality, but others help us start our understanding of a situation, a community, or an individual. The Right in politics has long been seen as facts-driven, dry, and lacking empathy— after all, facts don’t care about your emotions. The Left, where they might lack facts, the raw emotion they employ to tell their story, to spin a narrative and to dissuade men and women from disagreeing is powerful.

Now, that isn’t to say that the Left fully lacks facts or the Right fully lacks creative artistry. But there sure is a dichotomy.

And here is something many on the Right have started to realize and rectify. On the Right, if we want media— art, music, movies, novels— we have to consume Leftist viewpoints and narratives all the time. There just isn’t much good stuff coming from our side. So we learn to cringe quietly to get past the pushing of this topic or that topic and we keep buying and nothing changes.

The Left doesn’t have the same problem. There is little reason for them to consume non-fiction books the Right writes on this political or that philosophical topic, there is little reason for them to listen to our Holy Hip Hop, our Christian Metal, or our worship music.

We want to watch a superhero movie with our kids and we get Leftist talking points pushed on us. They don’t want to read a non-fiction book from our perspective.

So two problems.

First, we have little to enjoy but that which the Left produces. We sing songs that go against our views— even our deeply held religious views—, we watch movies that insult Christians subtly and overtly, and we binge TV that hates us. Slowly these views start to seep in, because of course they do. You cannot consume hours of opposing views a week without changing. And that is as an adult. Children are targeted harder and are so much more susceptible to the teaching. The Left is winning hearts by speaking to hearts really well— not a good message, but good messaging.

Second, we have nothing the Left can enjoy to hear our viewpoints. This is where so much division has come from. Most on the Right intimately understand the positions of those on the Left because unless we have no TVs, no smart phones, no social media, we have their views being pumped into everything we consume. But the Left tends to only know what the Left tells them about us. Stereotypes, mockeries, and characterizations designed as easy-to-tear-down straw men. You could respond that the Right does the same thing, but how many on the Left are watching our terrible church movie nights? Even we know how terrible the characterizations are because we know the Left well enough, but the Left doesn’t.

We have to get better at telling our perspective through stories. Guys like Brian Sauvé are doing this well in music and podcasts. We have to tell stories that everyone needs— an innate, irresistible draw— to hear. And we see what happens when we do. In the last couple months two songs have dropped that have shook the industry. Try That in a Small Town wouldn’t have been a blip had the Left not tried to shut it down. Country music is not generally loved outside of country music fans. But the Left branded it “racist” and, instead of succeeding, the song rocketed to the top of the charts. Why? Because folks that wouldn’t have listened to it listened and heard a story they could unite around, we need to come together as a community and protect our own.

Then Oliver Anthony came out of no where with Rich Men North of Richmond. Viral hit, 26 million views as I’m writing this. This song is a focusing. It is not you vs. me, but us vs. them. Our government no longer represents us— Left or Right— and the number of hurting Americans is growing and groaning. The Left-wing media is trying to find a way to respond to this, largely attacking the Right for adopting it as an anthem, but they are failing again. Why? Because narrative and storytelling is how to speak to hearts. And 26 million views shows the impact it is having. Oliver hit a vain and struck a nerve.

Conservatives.discd We need to protect these men, feed them, train them, and let them do their thing. That is what the Left does, for better or worse. Storytelling is central to humanity. We need it, even the most intellectual, facts-driven of us. Just this week I watched Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers instead of the latest drivel for “modern audiences.” For the countless books, blog articles, podcasts, and more discussing the topics, Jason Aldean and Oliver Anthony in less than 5 minutes captured hearts and brought diverse people together to rally and unite. Go look up react videos for both of these. People that we have been told shouldn’t be enjoying these songs, shouldn’t be agree with this, are soaking it up because what we were told was stereotypical lies.

We do not need to control the narrative, but we do need to start using the narrative. So let’s march forth. Festina Lente.

I could wrap myself in the warm cocoon of a song and go anywhere. I was invincible.

Johnny Cash

Some great thoughts from Austin Kleon on songs and their ability to snatch you up.

Sitting in Worship

It has been a week. Psalm 57 keeps coming back this year. Our captors demand we worship their gods, but at least Christ is Lord has been trending on Twitter most of the week? Our culture is retching, to say the least. It would be too easy to collapse under the weight of it, the sorrow, the hurt. But, as the dragons prowl outside and I grab my lyre and belt out worship.

This morning this song came back to me and I repeat this prayer:

Give me the strength
To be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Staring down the dragons when the Lion of Judah stands at your side eases the nerves.

These words echoed last year. I stood amongst the Church and cried more than I have in my entire adult life. I stood on stage, hidden behind the brim of my hat and my guitar, praising God that my instrument wasn’t my voice, tears streaming down my face.

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

Even If by MercyMe

Church got me through. Being with the Body, amongst the Body, surrounded by the Body. They were my legs when mine didn’t work. And music. God speaks so much through art and worship.

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

The lyric “but even if You don’t.” Last week we talked about sovereignty and God’s will during our Wednesday night group. We must pray to God as if He will answer our prayers and praise God even if He doesn’t.

But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Leaving mountains unmovable. That was my 2022. But I lit many campfires and sang many dark nights, after the kids and the Sun went down, “it is well with my soul.”

I wanna be a child climbing trees somewhere
Breathing in the fresh, outside air
Before I knew this life was unkind
I wanna well-trained dog on a couple of acres
A kind, kind lady and a place to take her
A few good friends I can count on one of my hands

Got my couple acres, my dog, and my lady. This song just hits, as the kids say. There’s something about Zach Bryan’s normal-guy-at-the-campfire music. I’ll be catching him later this year in concert. In the meantime, I’ll be chilling by my campfire with my mando, my lady, and my dog. The kids don’t have any chill. lol

I’m not a huge fan of modern country music, but this is a banger with great lyrics. Strongly agree. So much of the crap that is happening right now in cities would never fly out here in rural America.