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Where Glen Campbell Is Going

In honor of the country music legend, we bring you one of his great songs, written, of course, by the great Jimmy Webb. Webb called Campbell his “big brother and co-culprit.” He described Campbell’s stage presence this way:

Just thinking back I believe suddenly that the “raison d’etre” for every Glen Campbell show was to bring every suffering soul within the sound of his voice up a peg or two. Leave ’em laughin’. Leave them feeling just a little tad better about themselves; even though he might have to make them cry a couple of times to get ’em there. What a majestically graceful and kind, top rate performer was Glen on his worst night!

Sometimes We Do Dance: The Light in London Grammar

Sometimes We Do Dance: The Light in London Grammar

In the past, I’ve sneakily slipped London Grammar music videos into various posts on this site for little reason other than that I just really enjoy them, and I’ve written about their music once before, several years ago. Much of it is slow—a lot of silence accompanied by sparse, echoey thrums from Dan Rothman (guitar) and Dot Major (drums/keys), woven together by Hannah Reid’s almost operatic voice. (Starting off here by setting your expectations low; then you can be pleasantly surprised.)

Truth is a Beautiful Thing is the name of their second album, which was released on June 9. Needless to…

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Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music. See part 1 here.

You don’t often hear a singer downplay the next song on the setlist; you don’t often hear a chapel speaker downplay his achievements. But Rich Mullins was no ordinary singer, and he was therefore no ordinary chapel speaker.

After a monologue that starts at the 17 minute mark in the video below, Rich tells the assembled students of Wheaton College that…

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Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music.

I didn’t know the signs.

Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team revealed ourselves first in a passion play and then in a sign-language performance. I flubbed my way through the signs, and I told myself—I remember this, though I admit it might be a little too on-the-nose to be true—that it was fine that I didn’t get the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

This morning’s devotion was written by Sam Bush.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:31-9:1, NRSV)

I was in the store the other day and…

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We're All Right? Phil Harvey Spector, “Sign of the Times”, and the Horror of Pop

We’re All Right? Phil Harvey Spector, “Sign of the Times”, and the Horror of Pop

The following was written by our friend, Rachel Gaffin. A version of this article was originally published in The Ruckus last September.

The year my brother Richard discovered rock and roll, his Christmas gifts shared a common theme: one uncle bought him a giant red Visual Dictionary of Rock and Roll; another bought him a set of AC/DC boxers. At the time a wide-eyed ten-year-old, I watched my brother the way he watched videos of Hendrix wailing out “The Star-Spangled Banner” in ’69: with reverence and a burning desire to imitate. Since the boxers weren’t exactly accessible, I turned instead to the…

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Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

The first time I saw an audience simultaneously discomforted and reassured was at a P.O.S concert. After he sang one of his new songs, “Wearing a Bear,” he explained that the goofy dance he did at the end was for the day of his death (#ripPOS). He had done a different dance at every show because he wanted his tribute to be thousands of fans doing various goofy dances and posting them to social media.

P.O.S is the stage name for Stefon Alexander. As P.O.S, Alexander has released 4 punk-infused hip-hop albums and has achieved prominence in the underground rap community—especially…

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A Long Strange Trip through Death to Life

A Long Strange Trip through Death to Life

This was written by Deadhead, Luke Roland. 

The highly anticipated documentary on The Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip, is now on Amazon Prime.  I have previously written about the effect that the music of The Grateful Dead has had on me for Mockingbird, and in light of the documentary I thought it would be a great time to revisit them in a Mockingbirdian context.  

The Grateful Dead have had a positive influence on American culture, and continue to do so. They could be the most important American band in our history. I realize that is a tall statement, but think about…

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"Please Come Save Me": An Interview with Evan Thomas Way

“Please Come Save Me”: An Interview with Evan Thomas Way

This one comes to us from Daniel Melvill Jones.

The Parson Red Heads are a beloved West Coast indie band with a cult following and consistent critical acclaim. They are known for their harmony-rich psychedelic sound, rooted in the American folk and rock traditions. Evan Thomas Way, with his wife Brett, have led the band over the past decade, but on a day-to-day basis Evan serves as the worship pastor of Portland’s Door of Hope church. Door of Hope is remarkable for the many celebrated creatives that have been part of its community, including Josh Garrels, Liz Vice, Wesley Randolph Eader, and…

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Das Heimliche Lied (The Secret Song)

Das Heimliche Lied (The Secret Song)

The following comes to us from our friend, Luke Ferraguti:

As an accompanist, I occasionally stumble across a brilliant piece of poetry in vocal music. I recently discovered Louis Spohr’s Six German Songs, composed in 1837. Spohr wrote the poems and composed the music himself. The fifth song of the set, Das Heimliche Lied (The Secret Song), was particularly heavy-hitting — thanks be to God, our forgiving Confidant.

Das Heimliche Lied (The Secret Song)

There are secret pains
Whose lament is never tongued;
Borne deep in the heart
They are unknown to the world.

There is a secret longing
That always shies from the light;
There are hidden tears
A…

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No Ugly Babies: An Interview with Micah Bournes

No Ugly Babies: An Interview with Micah Bournes

This post was written by Daniel Melvill Jones.

Micah Bournes is a hip-hop artist and spoken word poet. He doesn’t play any instrument, yet last year he released No Ugly Babies, an album of original blues songs. The songs are contagious, constantly forcing me to sing along. Yet their lyrics provoke perspectives that challenge my everyday attitudes and actions. For an artist who’s built his career around spoken word performances, spending four years in an unfamiliar medium was a significant financial and creative risk. To learn about why this was necessary, I spoke to Micah over the phone.

Micah sees himself not as…

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Ryan Adams and the Benefits of Being a Mockingbird

Ryan Adams and the Benefits of Being a Mockingbird

This one comes to us from John Alexander.

Ryan Adams has a layered reputation.

First of all, he’s prolific. Since his 2000 debut Heartbreaker he has released 15 full-length albums in addition to a pile of EPs and a mountain of orphaned singles.

Secondly, his work is notably diverse. Adams’ first few releases pinned him as an alt-country artist, but he soon crossed into straightforward rock with 2003’s Rock N Roll, then spent a double album channeling The Grateful Dead with 2005’s Cold Roses before turning to pure country (no alt-) with Jacksonville City Nights. He has criss-crossed that circuit ever since, with…

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