Category Archives: Music

A Secret Date: Panera and Ingrid

A few weeks ago I sprung a surprise on my wife just when she thought we were headed to the Y for our usual evening workout. “Change of plans.” With those words we made a few stops including home and then set out on our secret date. First stop…

Panera Bread. It just so happens that Panera is one of my wife’s favorite restaurants. Chances are good that you will find us there every couple of weeks scooping up our favorite soups (mine=Broccoli Cheddar; Annie=Baked Potato) with a French Baguette. Slam that home with half of a turkey sandwich and you have a winner. It’s a golden meal.

After picking two at Panera, we hit the road for destination #2. Annie tried everything to make me give up the location but I was rock solid. Initially she thought we were headed for a drive-in movie which would have been a great date. Nope…I had bigger plans. As we approached the spot, she caught a glimpse of the sign and broke into a high pitched scream with rapid hand clapping. Destination #2…Exit In for a live performance by Ingrid Michaelson. Annie is a big Ingrid fan and it was her first time to see Ingrid live. Ingrid is a very creative artist and the show highlighted her creative personality. She was telling stories and cutting up most of the evening. We felt like we were all just hanging out at a party or barbecue. It was a really good show. Most importantly, Annie had a great time.


At the end of the night we were exhausted but it was well worth it. The look on Annie’s face throughout the night was priceless. Secret dates are a lot of fun and a great way to keep your wife on her toes. Trust me, she’ll appreciate it.

(As you can tell, the guy who took this pic was a little tipsy. It’s hard to get that sixth finger out of the flash.)


New Artist Alert: Josh Wilson

I have known Josh Wilson for a few years now. He is a fantastic musician and clever lyricist. Josh’s creativity knows no bounds. I was blessed to be able to serve with him in the college ministry at Judson Baptist Church a couple of years ago. During that time I caught a glimpse of his work ethic and dedication to his craft. Josh has worked very hard to get to where he is at. And now his debut album on Sparrow Records titled Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup has just recently hit stores everywhere. CMCentral caught up with Josh and asked him a few questions about his new record.

Be sure to go out and support my friend by picking up the album. It is seriously fun. Figure that out.

Also…for your viewing pleasure…enjoy Josh’s tasty rendition of Amazing Grace.

New Coldplay – Violet Hill

Here is a taste of the new Coldplay album. I am really diggin’ the grittier sound with the dirty guitars.

No Music in the Church?

Greg Gilbert over at Church Matters has posted a thought provoking article about music within the church. Here’s a little taste:

“I think the entire evangelical world ought to put a moratorium on any kind of instrumental music, and just chant psalms in their worship services—for the next ten years.”

Read the rest of the article to find out exactly what he means by this statement.

Who’s In Your Fave 5?

No, this is not a T-Mobile commercial. A couple of weeks ago I picked out a CD from my collection that I have not listened to in quite a while. Inevitably, I started thinking about all of the music I own and which albums I enjoy the most. But why confine this exercise to myself and my thoughts. Why not get others involved as well. So I thought it might be fun for all of us to play a little game. Let’s call it My Fave 5 Albums. I want you to submit 5 albums that you absolutely cannot stop pumping through your headphones. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the 5 best albums in the history of music. It also doesn’t mean that this list won’t change. If you are a music lover like myself, you know it will very soon. I’m already eyeing several new purchases as we speak. This list is simply 5 albums that you find yourself going back to and enjoying through and through. It can be any style or genre. It can be major label or local indie. Heck, it can even be your mom on tape singing Michael Bolton if you are into that sort of thing (confession…my mom loves Michael Bolton).

There is a small catch or stipulation. It’s not enough that you just give us a list of your favorite albums. You need to briefly share with us why they are your favorite 5 and thus why they should not be missing from anyone’s collection. If I get enough submissions, I will compile it into the ultimate Fave 5 based on the most listed albums. So…let me get this party started.



  1. Blackbird – Alter Bridge
    The reemergence of Creed with a new lead singer. This band is much better than its predecessor. I was a Creed fan (laugh if you want to) mostly because of Mark Tremonti and his amazing guitar work. This album is his best work yet. It has the screaming solos, catchy riffs, and beefy tone while exploring some more artistic elements. It has a more dramatic feel while still retaining the in-your-face rock sound. This is the type of music I always envisioned making during my band days.

  2. Silence – Blindside
    They have a style all their own. No one sounds like Blinside from the guitars to the melodies. Though it is one of their older albums, it is my favorite. It has a unique screamo, rock, alternative sound. It also has the perfect mix of singing and screaming. It is aggressive yet melodic.

  3. The Open Door – Evanescence
    I love dramatic music. So this band is a natural fit for me. This album might be best described as beautifully nasty. Crunchy metal guitars meet angelic vocals. It is the type of music that moves you in many ways (reflective mood and heavy head banging are both appropriate).

  4. Fiends – Chasing Victory
    A very creative album. It is the second and last album for this band (they recently called it quits) which is sad. The biggest attractions for me were the driving guitars, dirty riffs, and surprising falsetto. Chemicals is a fantastic song. The whole album is excellent. I have been listening to it non-stop for months.

  5. End of Silence – Red
    At first listen it might be easy to compare these guys to Linkin Park (prior to Minutes to Midnight). However, this album is not the Christian alternative to Linkin Park. The string section really gives this album not only a epic feel but a big sound. The production is top notch, very creative. Driving guitars and great use of the acoustic on occasion. A great freshman release.

Of course I left out a few bands and albums that I love and listen to regularly. So let me mention them quickly: Ghosts by Sleeping at Last, Vices by Dead Poetic (great thematic album), The Everglow by Mae (great concept album), A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds to Mars, and Coldplay Live 2003.

So go out and get these albums. Buy them as Christmas gifts. They make great stocking stuffers (if you have a big stocking). Now it’s your turn. What albums should I be listening to? “Hit me with your best shot, fire away.”

Indie Music At Its Best

fundamental-1.jpg  scratch-track.jpg

My wife and I went to a concert with some friends last night that featured two amazing bands: The Fundamental Elements and Scratch Track.  Let me first go on record as saying that this show was quite possibly one of the best indie concerts around.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that it is one of the best shows I may have ever seen.  What this show lacked in big budget sets, pyrotechnics, and video screens it more than made up for in showmanship, creativity, and top notch musicianship.  I was not familiar with The Fundamental Elements prior to this show.  They fuse elements of blues, jazz, pop, and hip hop into a style that is accessible to all types of people.  On multiple songs frontman Russ Mohr will go from rapping to singing to showing off his chops on the trumpet.  Of course no great show is complete without a drum solo.  Top it off with a bass showcase like you’ve never seen and you have the makings of a fantastic, seasoned band.

However, let’s not forget about the headliners.  Scratch Track is comprised of two guys, Jason Hamlin and DJ Lee.  Jason is a guitar mastermind who knows no limits when holding an axe.  DJ is the voice of the band.  He not only sings and raps but he also beatboxes.  Still, how big of a sound can two men and a guitar make?  Well, add in effects, a loop station, and plenty of creativity and you have something that sounds like a full band with the unique offerings of two men.  Both men showcase their talents with solo sessions.  DJ begins with a beatboxing display that has him playing the role of a DJ who is scratching his way through tracks and beats.  Then Jason steps up to show the variety of his skills with the guitar.  He switches gears from the acoustic hip hop sound and shows the crowd a little of his classical side.  He then lets loose by turning the guitar over on his lap and playing it with pencils.  I am a firm believer that he can do whatever he wants to do with an acoustic guitar much in the same manner as Phil Keaggy (though I say that with a little hesitation and much respect for Keaggy).  Watching Scratch Track perform is an experience.

The show ended with The Fundamental Elements coming on stage to join Scratch Track for a super band performance.  I would like to add that I thought the venue, 12th and Porter, did an outstanding job with the light sequencing.  The light sequences transformed this venue from a small club into the feel of an auditorium.

So go listen to their music online.  If they are coming to your town, be sure to go check them out live.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

The Opposed

muse.gifAs I have done in a previous post, I want to bring attention to a few more friends who are laboring for the Gospel through music.  The name of the band is The Opposed.  They are a new band started by two of my old bandmates, Brian Volckmann and Edwin Rivera.  Their music is not for the faint of heart.  If you dig crunchy guitars, crazy effects, and a thundering double bass then you will want to add these guys to your list of favorite new bands.  They are currently in the studio but have released a little taste of what’s to come.  You can listen to it on their myspace page.

And if you are in the Nashville area, they are playing their first show this Friday night at The Muse.  You can order tickets in advance at The Opposed website.  They are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  So come out and support these guys as they take the message of the gospel to a music culture that desperately needs it.  And one more thing…be sure to bring your rock fist.