Listen to the World’s First Augustinian Soul Album!

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On August 28th --- the feast of St. Augustine --- Wiseblood Records will release my first studio LP, Late to Love, a concept album bringing together soul music and Augustine's Confessions. The process has been exhilarating and, most of all, has produced some remarkable music, a testament to the grace of God and fine creative team I am working with. This has never been done before, as far as I know. It is new. Augustinian soul music has never existed before now. At the same time, the music draws … [Read more...]

When the Soul Gets Blues, The Blues Get Soul

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My socks, underwear, and toiletries are stuffed into two guitar cases and a 1945 tube amp. My pedalboard arrives at the studio tomorrow with my shirts and pants and pedals and cords. My wife and children and I will leave tomorrow morning for the Twin Cities (where they will stay) and from there I'll head to Pittsburgh where Dan Bozek, the studio engineer and producer, will pick me up and take me to Steubenville where I'll be recording my first full-length studio album, Late to Love. I was … [Read more...]

“Musings” on LATE TO LOVE with Iguana

Almost two years ago, my good friend and fellow philosopher of education (at Hofstra University), Eduardo Duarte (a.k.a. "Professor Iguana," his radio deejay name), began "Musings," an experimental community radio project trying to think and talk about about the relationship between philosophy and music or even the idea of philosophy as music and vice versa. I've been the featured guest twice and today we recorded the first of an eventual trio of conversations focused on my forthcoming album, … [Read more...]

Profane Praise: On Estuary Music

The expression for 'fresh water' in Spanish is agua dulce — sweet water. I always liked that way of putting it. An estuary is a place where sweet and salty water meet and combine into a brackish ecology of life between land and sea. * I grew up in the sweet waters of the charismatic Roman Catholic Church, leading worship where open major chords strummed in 4/4 and unison choruses ended singing acapella, in men's and woman's parts. Over the last decade of my life, I've discovered … [Read more...]

How to (Not) Destroy Catholic Art

  Catholic art is destroyed at the exact point in which it becomes necessary to have "Catholic" art. * The surging liturgical movement in the Roman Catholic Church over the past decade, often called "traditionalism," is not so much evidence of the strength of Catholic liturgy today but, instead, of its remarkable weakness. We do not see "traditionalists" emerge unless (a) there is no tradition to begin with or (b) until a real tradition is in danger. Otherwise, traditions, real ones, … [Read more...]

LATE TO LOVE: An Augustinian Soul Album

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For the first fifteen years of my musical life, starting at the age of five, I wrote and played devotional music. I recorded a demo when I was seven or eight, but my sister told me it sounded like I was howling — and not in a good way. So I kept working. I would record cassette tapes and offer them for a free will offering at my father's courses and retreats, where I led worship. I wrote mass parts and played on a few projects by local Christian artists. Then, in college, I began writing love … [Read more...]

The Harmonium Project Must Fail

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The Harmonium Project is the name given to a group of students at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) who have made a radical choice. They've decided to live in Steubenville, OH, not by chance, force, or unfortunate accident, they have decided live in a run-down, smoggy, depressed and dirty town that they could just as easily ignore from their privileged perch on a hill that preserves the University from the streets and the people of town. Frannies vs. Townies. These students see … [Read more...]

“A Tell-All Insincerity…”

"A tell-all insincerity..." --- this phrase has prevented me from writing here lately. A dear friend, whom I respect enormously, thinks that most blogs are afflicted with, as he puts it, "a tell-all insincerity." He's right, of course. The quandary for me is that I also value self-disclosure. I've been obsessed with Augustine's Confessions for going on four years now. The response to my friend's challenge is not to shut down. The question is how to self-disclose and confess well, with … [Read more...]

Update: Thank You, Fall Schedule, Books, and Album

It's been just over a year now that I've been blogging at Patheos. That year has coincided with our relocation to North Dakota. The winters here are long and brutal. Without Patheos --- you the readers, and the beautiful motley crew of writers at the Catholic Channel, Los Patheosi --- I don't know what I would've done. Thank you. I should especially thank Elizabeth Scalia, who gave me my shot and who puts up with my antics and promotes my stuff. * This Fall will be my busiest to … [Read more...]

An Aesthetic Critique of Youth Ministry: Miley Cyrus vs. Bonnie Raitt

MARC BARNES' CRITIQUE OF YOUTH MINISTRY has, predictably, gone viral. Today there is a measured and intelligent response posted at Fr. Robert Barron's site, The Word on Fire, written by Fr. Damian J. Ference. This back and forth reveals many studious and sophisticated things: church documents and properly understood Catholic teaching and tradition. The important stuff. The only thing I will add to that discussion is this: there is no reason to assume that, if parents are the primary … [Read more...]


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