The Welcome Wagon made a pretty big splash in 2008 when they released their first album under the wing of Sufjan Stevens. The album came out on Sufjan’s label, and Sufjan himself produced and even arranged much of the album. This was enough to gain the band attention, but...
In 2012 I began teaching a course called “Christianity & the Arts,” and in 2014 I published a book on the same subject but directed specifically toward music, entitled Resonate: Enjoying God’s Gift of Music. In the process of researching for both the class and the book, I ended...
One day, during my sophomore year in high school, a friend introduced me to MxPx. From that moment, I listened to virtually nothing but punk rock music for five years. I’m hardly exaggerating. Punk is not my favorite style of music anymore, but I keep coming back to it....
I recently saw Wilco play at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s fascinating to hear the way other people respond to music that has become meaningful to me over the years. I typically listen to Wilco through headphones, so my experience with their music has been fairly individualized. I’m not sure what...
What makes so-called Christian music, “Christian?” The answer that comes to mind—and one that I’m sure most readers of this blog would give—is that it sings about Christ. It praises God; it exalts Christ; it sings of his beauty, glory, salvation, and grace. Christian music is Christ centered through...
My parents’ church is relatively small. As you travel north through California, their little town is nestled right at the end of wine country and the beginning of the Redwoods. It’s both beautiful and sparsely populated (both great reasons to live there!). But this also creates unique challenges for leading...
We often think that popular culture is all about mindless entertainment. But we shouldn’t. In many ways, musicians and filmmakers are the philosophers of our day. Whether or not we realize it or care, they guide us in thinking through some of life’s most important issues. This week I’ve been...
Yesterday I shared a couple of critiques of the Christian Music Industry. But let’s not try to do away with the Christian Music Industry just yet. More needs to be said. There are some positive aspects to having a Christian Music Industry.   On the Positive Side A couple of good musician...
Fiction writers create characters. By putting words on a page, the fiction writer makes these characters come alive in the imagination of readers around the world. The fiction writer also creates plots, weaving these characters together into intricate storylines that reveal the unique personality of each character, revealing and...
A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, Sufjan Stevens released the latest installment in his Christmas music dynasty. Many, many, many musicians create Christmas music. But no one does it like Sufjan. For most people, Christmas music means Mariah Carey, Chris Tomlin, or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. But Sufjan has a small army...
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