The Lone Bellow, U2, Bob Dylan, and Aaron Strumpel – or, How I Learned to Stop Scowling and Love Liturgy

bright star

Catholics. Among the fundamentalist evangelicals who surrounded me as I was growing up, the word bordered the obscene. I trusted that there were good reasons for this. I was always quick to believe unflattering things that adults told me about other cultures, communities, and church denominations. I felt more secure if could dismiss as a waste of time—or as the way of fools and villains—what I did not understand. And from a distance, Catholic tradition looked suspiciously foreign, weird, and mys … [Read more...]

Listening Closer to Joe Henry’s “Sparrow,” The Lone Bellow, and Jessica Pratt


It started back when I learned to diagram sentences. Elementary school weirdo that I was, I loved it.I loved taking a complicated sentence and chalking its various parts on the blackboard until it looked like a tree branch stripped by winter. But unlike the dissected frogs in my science class, diagrammed sentences seemed even more alive when we were finished with them. In a way, I’m still pursuing that strange exercise, for there are profound mysteries living within great songs, just b … [Read more...]

Musical Highlights of 2013, So Far…


I've been hearing voices. They've been haunting my earphones, roaring through car stereo speakers, rumbling in the hardwood floor of my living room, rattling the windows of my house.Thom Yorke. David Bowie. Zach Williams. Ashley Cleveland. And more.They've given me a spirit-lifting soundtrack for a new year, helping me move on from the madness of the Oscars, fueling my engine as I engaged the the debate over the movie called Amour, and painting new pictures for me as I invest long … [Read more...]

Start 2013 with The Lone Bellow

I usually marinate in all of the "favorite music of last year" lists through the first few months of a new year. But once in a while, something goes off like a firework and gives you a rush that says, "Hey! It's a whole new world!" … [Read more...]