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PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

Episode 188: Scuppernong

Tupper Saussy (1936-2007) was a composer and musician that helmed a group in the late 1960s who were called The Neon Philharmonic. Even if you have never heard of The Neon Philharmonic, you’ll recognize their famous hit entitled “Morning Girl”.

Tupper Saussy — it’s a Huguenot name — was also a wanted fugitive for ten years, a devout and thoughtful Christian, a painter, a playwright, and a famous libertarian.

What interests me, though, in addition to his music as The Neon Philharmonic, is his personal fate. Saussy came into the sights — by his “own deliberate fault” (BCP) — of…

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Introducing Tupper Saussy

Introducing Tupper Saussy

It’s painful to have to label myself “artist” or “composer” or “writer” or “musical director.” Yet I was gifted with abilities to do what these persons do. Can’t I do the things without taking the names? One day the answer came in a letter from a Texas student of my works: “I’m not attracted to your uniqueness. I am attracted to the Substance of your uniqueness which is ‘Christ in you.’ It’s His workmanship that attracts me.” -Tupper Saussy

Well, I lived his music, back in the late ’60s, but I didn’t understand the music.

I’m talking about Tupper Saussy, who was…

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I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

Saw Love & Mercy last night, and wow. As reviewers have been noting, it is not your average biopic, and certainly not much of a summer film, despite the source material. Which makes sense, I guess, since Brian Wilson is not your average bear. It has more in common with I’m Not There, than, say, Ray or Walk the Line, choosing as it does to focus on the two most dramatic periods of Brian’s life, his 1967 breakdown and his 1988 “comeback” (played by separate actors), rather than depict the full arc.

I’d read interviews where Brian himself decried the heaviness…

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Reading Memoirs: David’s Little Helper

Reading Memoirs: David’s Little Helper

I love reading memoirs. Turning to personal accounts of people’s paths through life is fun; it allows me to enter into their experiences for a while. I can’t deny, though, that implicit in my reading is a vague desire to live vicariously through the subject. I read stories to be transported and transformed. Art that deserves merit can have this transformative effect, but with memoirs I think my aim is less lofty. Some of the more memorable ones I’ve encountered were by Chuck Lidell, Rob Lowe and Jony Ive, among others– an eclectic bunch, yes, but all with flourishes of…

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We’re All Gonna Die: Sufjan Stevens and the Unavoidable Reality

We’re All Gonna Die: Sufjan Stevens and the Unavoidable Reality

This one comes to us from Connor Gwin:

It was perhaps one of the most interesting gatherings of people that I have ever seen. Bearded, flannel-clad hipsters crowding into a concert venue next to political operatives in dark suits wrinkled by the days ordeals. Teenagers with their parents, young and old couples, friends and strangers – the whole muddled mess of humanity gathered in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. to see Sufjan Stevens.

While not up-to-date with his current work, I still had a place in my heart for his warbling falsetto when a friend of mine offered me a ticket…

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June Playlist

As a special bonus this time, we’re proud to get to debut the title song from the forthcoming record There Will Be Rest by the ultra-talented Blake Flattley (who you may know from such places as Our Saviour NYC). You can listen to the song at the end of the playlist, or download the song by clicking here. The release party happens in NYC on June 26.

Musical Duo Lowland Hum Talks Freedom, Performancism, and Toulouse-Lautrec

Musical Duo Lowland Hum Talks Freedom, Performancism, and Toulouse-Lautrec

“I hope my body is only a shell, a shadow at dusk, the ring of a bell.” So sings Lowland Hum, husband and wife Daniel and Lauren Goans, in their new song “Older, Wiser.” Lyrics like these, both subtle and intense, reflect the substance of their second full-length project, a self-titled album released this past April. As one reviewer put it, “It is a sin to take for granted the lyrics in this album.” Spilling out from one guitar and some incredible vocals, Lowland Hum’s wide-ranging music ultimately serves as a reminder of freedom, and grace, and death, and how all of…

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Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

This one comes to us from Caleb Stallings:

Recently, I found myself listening to a favorite band from my adolescence: My Chemical Romance. I know, I know… The certifiable kings of emo rock! I should be embarrassed by this, right? Some people certainly think so. When I mentioned my appreciation for them recently on Facebook, I was met with an immediate and sarcastic reply, “So are you gonna start painting your nails black now?” The response got me thinking about why I used to (and still do) find MCR compelling. I can hardly think of a more vilified band from my…

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No Human Voice: A Review of Doug Burr’s Pale White Dove

No Human Voice: A Review of Doug Burr’s Pale White Dove

This comes to us from Matt Redmond:

And I stepped out slowly between that sordid throng
Comin’ not a word – soundin’ like a song
While it just kept goin’, I just walked on
A song with no human voice

I don’t know where Doug Burr gets his songs from. But I would assume they come from a similar place as Flannery O’Connor’s stories. You expect Hazel Motes or The Misfit to show up any moment.

The first song I ever heard from Burr came out of nowhere. After stumbling onto a website looking for something else, I found myself listening to…

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May Playlist

Bill Fay Asks Who Is the Sender?

What a supremely pleasant surprise to find out that Bill Fay, one of our all-time favorites, has a new record coming out next week, Who Is The Sender? It’s streaming over at NPR as we speak. The tracklisting alone yields several possible future offertories, e.g., “Bring It On Lord”, “A Frail and Broken One”, and the title track, which Bill explains in the press release this way:

What the piano taught [Fay] was how to connect to one of the great joys of his life. “Music gives,” he says. And he is a grateful receiver. But, it makes him wonder, “Who is the sender?” Fay – who after more than five decades writing songs is finally being appreciated as one of our finest living practitioners of the art – asserts that, for him, songs aren’t actually written but found…

The joy and sadness are indeed deep in this material, which Bill describes as “alternative gospel”. Though it clearly stems from his belief, he doesn’t seek to proselytise or convert anybody, but just hopes to share the concerns he puts into the words and the feelings that he receives from the music: “Goodness, beauty, comfort. If something gives in the world, that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what music wants to do.”

You’ll Always Be a Part of Billy Joel

You’ll Always Be a Part of Billy Joel

For the first few years I sang our son lullabies, I was very intentional about him only hearing church hymns. We’d rock to “Lift High the Cross” or “Let us Break Bread Together.” Sometimes, if I was feeling really crazy, I’d throw in the Doxology. I know, I’m intense.

My aims were good. I wanted the music of the church to be a part of his earliest memories. And what better way to do it than in those sweet moments just before bedtime?

And then, at around the age of 2, he started to rebel. It was the Christmas season that did…

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