There's a Trick of the Light I'm Learning to Do

This is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded in January - March, 2020 while on sabbatical from ministry. They each deal with a different aspect or expression of the Gospel. Click on the image above to listen.

Three Hands Clapping

This is my latest recording project (released May 27, 2019). It is a double album of 22 songs, which very roughly track the story of my life... a sort of musical autobiography, so to speak. Click the album image to listen.

Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes
A collections of original songs I wrote in 2015, and recorded with the FreeWay Musical Collective. Click the album image to listen.

inversions

Recorded in 2014, these songs are sort of a chronicle of my journey through a pastoral burn-out last winter. They deal with themes of mental-health, spiritual burn-out and depression, but also with the inexorable presence of God in the midst of darkness. Click the album art to download.

soundings

soundings
click image to download
"soundings" is a collection of songs I recorded in September/October of 2013. Dealing with themes of hope, ache, trust and spiritual loss, the songs on this album express various facets of my journey with God.

bridges

bridges
Click to download.
"Bridges" is a collection of original songs I wrote in the summer of 2011, during a soul-searching trip I took out to Alberta; a sort of long twilight in the dark night of the soul. I share it here in hopes these musical reflections on my own spiritual journey might be an encouragement to others: the sun does rise, blood-red but beautiful.

echoes

echoes
Prayers, poems and songs (2005-2009). Click to download
"echoes" is a collection of songs I wrote during my time studying at Briercrest Seminary (2004-2009). It's called "echoes" partly because these songs are "echoes" of times spent with God from my songwriting past, but also because there are musical "echoes" of hymns, songs or poems sprinkled throughout the album. Listen closely and you'll hear them.

Accidentals

This collection of mostly blues/rock/folk inspired songs was recorded in the spring and summer of 2015. I call it "accidentals" because all of the songs on this project were tunes I have had kicking around in my notebooks for many years but had never found a "home" for on previous albums. You can click the image to download the whole album.

blogs I follow

random reads

Readings, 2020

Readings, 2020
Paradise Lost, John Milton

Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson

Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

Halos and Avatars, Craig Detweiller, ed.

Fool's Talk, Os Guinness

Brendan, Frederick Buechner

The Screwtape Letters

Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis

Becoming Whole, Brian Finkert and Kelly Kapic

Real Sex, Lauren Winner

Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis

Voyage to Venus, C. S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C. S. Lewis

Listen Local, Save the Planet?

Those of you who stop in at terra incognita on a somewhat regular basis may have noticed that September's CD of the month was this one: Wide World Crashing by tripmeter.

Never heard of tripmeter? CDBaby describes their sound as "up-tempo melodic rock with soaring vocals, rich guitars and creative rhythms. In short: well-conceived songs in captivating and clever arrangements."

Recommended, they say, if you like: Foo Fighters, Mute Math, Nine Inch Nails.

Well, I don't really know Foo Fighters, Mute Math, Nine Inch Nails (in the words of Grandpa Simpson: "I used to be with it, but now what's 'it' seems strange and scary to me... it'll happen to you...").

But I've really grown to love the energy and edginess of this album. From the tintinabular peals of "My Addiction's" opening riff, to the pedal-to-the-metal drag race of "Drive to the Sun," to the ominous-but-hopeful vision of "Somewhere" (Somewhere, you can find the heart to beat this... no one gets left behind without good reason...), there's a lot to feast on, aurally speaking.

But it's not just that.

The thing is: I know these guys. They were all students at Briercrest college during my days there. Took Greek exegesis with the drummer (the guy parsed irregular Greek verb forms with as much flare as he syncopates the down-beat). Was in a small group for a while with the lead guitarist. Even the guy on the cover-art was my next door neighbour (helped him when the waterlines of his trailer froze one 30 below morning on the prairie).

And it's this human difference that makes me love this CD. It's the same difference that makes me love home-made soup over Campbell's Chicken-by-Product Noodle: the difference between what's bagged and canned and mass-produced for anybody and nobody, and what comes to us as a gift from hands we know, have shook, have helped to jump-start their frozen car (another 30 below prairie morning with my neighbour).

It's why I love independent music. And I'm not talking about the kind of "independent" music that's really just a niche-market genre gimmick out of Nashville or L.A. or where ever it is that "indie rock" comes from. I'm talking about music that grows out of the lives and hearts and heads of the people next door, down the street, in our communities, in our neighbourhoods, in our lives.

In his book Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, Bill McKibben develops a pretty cogent argument in favor of making economic choices that promote small, community-oriented, human-scale thinking over the more/massive/mass-market world that we've grown to expect and accept. He argues (again cogently) that the more/massive/mass-market world is pretty de-humanizing after all, and unsustainable anyways, and if we're really serious about building a durable future, we're going to have to start thinking locally.

You know: buy locally-grown food and locally-produced goods from the hands of real people that you can actually shake. McKibben doesn't stop there, though. He goes on to argue (still cogently) that part of building a durable future will include community-oriented, human-scale choices about our entertainment. If we can build community and a sense of place by supporting local entertainment (like our music, theatre, sports, and so on) we might discover a world where words like "more," "massive," and "mass-market" are no longer synonyms for "better."

And this world, he argues, is the kind of world we'll need if we want to build durable and sustainable economies in the coming years.

Well. I don't know if I'll really save the planet by listening to tripmeter, but it's nice to muse. And there's still this: whenever I hear Wide World Crashing, suddenly I'm strolling again along that back alley behind the Sparrow Gardens arena where so many Briercrest bands have had rehearsal space, savouring the muffled sound of rock-dreams thumping through the walls- and whenever I listen to my friend Dale Dirksen's These are the Days, I'm sitting with him again in his office, musing about music and minsitry and life together- and whenever I listen to that rough-around-the-edges worship CD we produced at my old church, I'm there again trading chords and words and laughs with people I love.

I'm grounded. I'm anchored. I'm home.

And the Musik Biz doesn't produce a can of alt-rock-indie-fusion-pop that you could open for this kind of aural experience.

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