Wednesday was not a great day. Nothing bad happened. It just wasn’t good. Have you ever had one of those days?
I stayed home from work to wait on the exterminator (another long story…) who never came. I tried to record a new song for the YouTube Sessions on keyboard and I just couldn’t get a good take. At about ten o’clock I decided to pack the recording stuff up (it’s New York – there no room for a dedicated studio) and try again another day. I must’ve spent five hours or so working on that song. Nothing to show for it. I wanted to write a blog – no dice. I even wanted to go for a run…didn’t happen.
It’s been a long time since I tried so many different things and nothing worked out. But I guess it’s just one of those days.
One of thosedays
One of those days
One of those days
No matter how you say it (write it…whatever!) it just doesn’t give you any more satisfaction.
But just before midnight as I was packing up the gear to shove into my closet I stumbled onto something. I put a vinyl copy of James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James on the turntable and I just enjoyed it.
Didn’t sing along. Didn’t play along. Just enjoyed.
So I did accomplish something after all on one of those days. Something I could have done all day long: Listen to the sounds of some really great songs.
So it’s Friday and I need to write a review / recommendation today….I know you’re counting on me! 😉 The one tune that hit me on the way to work today was a Sugarland song: “These are the Days.” I had heard it before, but I had to listen to it twice because it was so good (that’s my measure of good). I love Kristian singing…it was a true duet.
Country music has such a rich history of duets: George and Tammy, Conway and Loretta, Kenny and Dolly, and on and on. There’s definitely something about the harmony, particularly when it’s a male and female.
Do you have a fav duet? Country or not. Maybe you can turn me on to some I don’t know about!
A couple months ago I posted a status on Twitter/Facebook stating that I loved live albums and asking people for their favorites. I got a great response. Lots of classics. So I decided to follow that up with a list of my favorites in no particular order…
This week, for the review, I asked Stephen Simpson if I could reprint the following review. He is benwardmusic.com’s first guest blogger!
“WASH AWAY” (Integrity Music, 2009) Don Poythress 5 Stars out of 5
The long-awaited major label debut from singer/songwriter Don Poythress arrives in the form of a fresh – and refreshing – praise and worship expression entitled “Wash Away”. Don is known and loved among many of our One-to-One readers as the leader of the annual Gatlinburg Conference worship team; but he is also highly respected among some of the most prominent music artists in America.
Over the past decade, Don has quietly built an exceptional collection of songs – classics that have been recorded by artists such as Clint Black, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., Travis Tritt, Jaci Velasquez, Sir Cliff Richard,and The Martins (the Dove Award-winning song “The Promise”).
With “Wash Away,” Don presents an exceptional blend of his original songs, along with two much-loved hymns. As a lyricist, Don Poythress has few peers … he has an uncanny knack for presenting timeless truth with an unvarnished biblical perspective that is devoid of clichés or pat answers; these songs are deeply personal, yet can touch something unique in the heart of every listener. Strong and memorable melodies are offered in a Modern Country style, played by some of the best musicians in Nashville.
The worship experience begins with the chiming “Expectation,” which is the perfect invitation to go up together into the presence of God. Don’s leadership and the song selection throughout is a study in how to flow in the Spirit, soaring into “I Will Call Upon Your Name” and then, a thrilling vocal collaboration with Paul Baloche on “Brand New Day” – definitely two of the many songs here that your congregation will want to sing. The poetic, gently flowing “Fill Me Up” makes room for the searingly honest and moving heartcry, “Wash Away.”
The modern hymn “Before the Throne of God Above” is the natural response to the deep repentance and cleansing of “Wash Away,” followed by the peace-imparting “I Will Bless the Lord.” On “The Faithful Love of Jesus,” Don is joined by the incomparable bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs on vocals and mandolin… “I pray you’ll know the love of God, the love that never leaves us, the height the depth, the width the breadth, the faithful love of Jesus.” Just hearing this song is an answer to that prayer.
Don again displays his poetic gift with “Lord of All” which leads into a powerful promise-filled proclamation: “A Thousand Generations”. The simple eloquence of the “Doxology” closes out the time of congregational worship. But Don isn’t finished yet: he offers one of those signature Poythress real-life stories – as only Don can tell them – about “Joseph,” the human father of Jesus. It’s a masterful and moving portrait of the man God chose and tested and used to care for His own Son.
TO SUM UP …
A fresh – and deeply refreshing – collection of songs that flows perfectly in the presence of God. Those who love and seek truth will find this authentic expression a welcome respite from market-driven artiface. Those who enjoy Modern Country music will enjoy the excellence of the singing and musicianship offered. Brilliantly produced, but thankfully not over-produced, by Paul Mills, this is one of the warmest and best-sounding music releases of the year.
Don is the worship leader at Abundant Life Church in Mt. Juliet, TN (Pastor Larry Grainger), along with Jim LaVerde (of Barren Cross) and a stellar team of musicians, singers, and tech support.
This week, instead of reviewing an album, I thought I would give you a few of my favorite tracks currently “in rotation.”
“Where I Belong” Matt Gilman & Cory Asbury, Holy – From the IHOP-KC free album download. When it first came on, I had to listen to it several times before I could listen to anything else. Musically, it’s got a great soaring chorus and some nice drum programming. Lyrically, it’s got such a spirit of joy about “finding the place I belong – Your presence.”
“Closer” Matt Gillman, IHOP LE Volume 18 – From a series of best-of compilations from the Prayer Room, this is a highlight in 9(!) that sounds natural and builds from very intimate to grand and sweeping.
“Every Tear” Jon Thurlow, Songs About Jesus – I wrote a review of this album a few months ago and have recently been listening to it a lot again. This track is just beautiful (that seems to be a theme here) and the truth of Jesus wiping every tear from our eyes is comforting and powerful.
“The Hardest Part” Coldplay, LeftRightLeftRightLeft and X&Y – I had heard this on X&Y and didn’t think much about it, but when I heard it on the new live (& free!) album I flipped. For the past three weeks I have literally woken up with it running through my head. The stripped down version with just piano and the singing crowd is awesome. Coldplay’s melodies and general vibe are so unique and captivating.