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

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

random reads

A Few Random Dispatches from the Movies

Not sure if it's because we're trapped in the late-winter doldrums, or what, but the last few weeks at the Harris household we've been watching more movies than usual; and this may be a result of the late-winter doldrums, too, but today I can think of nothing more profound for blog-fodder than to share some of my random impressions of what we've been watching.


Iron Man. This was better than many of the films I've seen in the super-hero genre, and the story of Tony Stark's redemption is not entirely without merit (even if it is a redemption-by-works-not-grace), but the idea that he created an arc-reactor-powered-battle suit out of spare parts while holed up in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan was such a big pill to swallow at the outset that my sympathy for the film was greatly diminished going forward. I'm as willing to suspend my disbelief as the next guy (usually more), but even science fiction has to set the terms of believability somewhere. But then again, lots of things blow up.

The Simpsons Movie. I stopped watching The Simpsons somewhere around Season 11, so maybe this film was just the final throes of a gradual decline that I've not been privy to, but I have to say I was pretty disappointed with this movie. I felt like all their best jokes had been told by the 25 minute mark, all their best characters were reduced to cameos and catch-phrases, and their best satire amounted to little more than obvious cheap shots at easy targets. Probably one of the biggest challenges in producing a film based on a long-running television franchise is to tell a real story that stands on its own merits while staying faithful to the series; this film, I think, did neither.

The Social Network. "Film of the Year" (Rolling Stone) seems a bit grandiose to me, but I really enjoyed this one, nonetheless. With the exception of the final exchange between Zuckerberg and the Junior Lawyer for the Defense, I appreciated how carefully they handled the (fictional) Zuckerberg as a dynamic and complex character. The lawyer's line in that final scene, "You're not an a**h*le, you're just trying too hard to be one" seemed a bit too preachy and transparent to me, as though the film didn't trust the audience to draw its own conclusions about Zuckerberg but had to force-feed us a verdict. Oh yeah, and as characters, the Winklevoss twins were almost embarrassingly flat and cliched.

The King's Speech. This was an inspiring and enjoyable movie, and Bertie was one of the most genuinely sympathetic characters I've seen in a long time: he's dynamic and complex and well-portrayed. The cinematography took creative risks that worked, and the way the film conveys the ominous uncertainty that must have overshadowed this period of history is effective. That said, it lost me (though not irredeemably) at two points: 1) Timothy Spall's Churchill seemed like he'd just stumbled out of a Monty Python sketch, or off the set of SNL (if SNL ever parodied historical British politicians, that is); 2) Bertie's "I have a voice!" assertion when Logue taunts him by sitting on St Edward's Chair seemed almost laughably contrived and transparent. This scene almost sank the movie for me. As with my critique of The Social Network above, it left me wondering: when did film-makers get the impression that audiences were so stupid that they had to club us over the head with the theme of their film at least once before the movie is done?

2 comments:

Jacquie B said...

Hi Dale!
I am desperately trying to find you guys! I stumbled across this blog and I am now very excited! Please send me your mailing address so I can get back in touch with you!

Hugs and Luv to you and our fmaily
Jacquie Bouchard
scrappin_jacq@yahoo.ca

Jon Coutts said...

Great reviews Dale.

As for your critique of The Social Network, I agree. However, film audiences have been trained by film itself to need that clunk over the head, haven't they? In other words, they do need it, don't they?

I'm with you though, I prefer the subtler method.

Its true, King's Speech was great. The bit about Winston Churchill may be true, but I get the impression he was like a great cartoon character in real life anyway. So maybe you just never get away from it. He seems like the guy where you don't have to spoof him in Monty Python, you just have to play him. I could be wrong.

I actually really liked his character because he was so good to the king. Truth of fiction, I liked that part.