The Sixties Were Groovy — But So Is Today

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Last week, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. This was a beautiful moment for my family as we gathered with friends in our adopted home in Northern Kentucky. By “adopted” I mean our extended family mostly lives in and around the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where my mom grew up and my parents met. I’m the only member of my immediate family that was born in the Bluegrass State. My parents are transplanted Southerners in a border state.The fun part for me as a student of cu … [Read more...]

The Apotheosis of Grunge: the Nirvana Exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project


In Seattle this past weekend, I had the opportunity to take in the Experience Music Project’s Nirvana exhibit. The show at Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s personal rock-n-roll hall of fame draws connections between the iconic grunge band and the blossoming of the Seattle sound in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It marks the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s first album and the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.At one particular moment in the exhibit I was struck by a spark of a memory while st … [Read more...]

The Grammy Wedding: ‘Same Love,’ Different Interpretations

The Wedding Party.

Last night, we were treated to one of the stranger spectacles in awards show history, even taking into account Miley Cyrus’ twerking on the MTV Video Music Awards last fall. This was a mass wedding of gay and straight couples, presided over by Queen Latifah, with music supplied by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, and Madonna. It’s a strange commentary on equality when you can say same-sex couples are now “free” to participate in legally-binding rituals every bit as weird as the straight m … [Read more...]

Finding Grace in the Loud Places


I'm slowly gearing up for my first extended writing foray into non-film subject matter with a book on the prophetic implications of the work of singer/songwriter Todd Snider. I've got a stack of music and theology/religion books to get through. The first (and shortest) is Don H. Compier's Listening to Popular Music, part of Fortress Press' Compass Series, a Christian exploration of daily living. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking (or daring) here, but Compier does lay a strong … [Read more...]

Favorite Songs of 2013: Part 2

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“With you it’s always Nick Cave and David Bowie…”-       Dave Lemley (@lemdavely) Guilty as charged.  When putting together the five most spiritually significant songs this year, I’m always going to start with St. Cave and the Thin White Duke.  Push the Sky Away is a slow burn of an album that is pregnant with sacred themes which I have spent most of the year digging into and Bowie's The Next Day talks a ton about coming to grips with the world passing by.Overall, pop music s … [Read more...]

Favorite Songs of 2013: Part 1

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Over the holidays my twitter feed was blowing up with end of the year lists.  Best of this, worst of that... most overrated/underrated...  you were dumb if you didn't know...  you get the point. Most of the lists play to whatever the general pop conscious was this year with a couple selections no one has heard of to prove that the writers are still way cooler than we are.  If you are interested in what other outlets thought this year, here are lists from Paste, Pitchfork, NPR, Gua … [Read more...]

Overlooked Christmas Albums

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Looking for something outside of your normal Christmas playlist?Every year we get new holiday albums that vie for the coveted spots along side Mariah Carey and Nat King Cole as Christmas classics.  This year is no different with offerings from Kelly Clarckson, Mary J Blidge and Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas.  With so many options on the market most holiday music gets discarded or replaced by whatever the newest version happens to be.  What I wanted to do was to give you a list … [Read more...]

Live: Justin Timberlake 11/26

Justin Timberlake Performs At The Staples Center

Justin Timberlake fails to inspire in his 20/20 experience.It was one missed opportunity after the next for Justin Timberlake at Staples Center on Tuesday night. What promised to be an amazing pop celebration ended up being an unimaginative and poorly produced 32 song disappointment.The night was designed to demonstrate how Justin is a continuation of the great soul and pop music that he was raised on. As the band emerged from the stage, donning tuxedos and placed behind monogramed music … [Read more...]