Friday, August 31, 2007

music (because I know you love the hyperlinks)

what's more lovely than the music of sigur ros? beats me. and if you need any convincing, watch this amazing trailer (takes a while to load, definitely worth the wait). I need to visit iceland. rebekka, by the way, is definitely my favorite icelandic photographer.

also, found this article today about jack kerouac, it did four things for me: 1. reminded me how much I like "on the road". 2. reminded me that I really need to read salinger's "catcher in the rye". 3. reminded me that a young angst-driven generation of questioners is not something unique to the year 2007. 4. reminded me that music has always been important. especially to people like kerouac, who tend to be the type of people that I like (or so I like to think).

lastly, the new small sails record is fantastic. also, I like the new clare burson and josh ritter records. (ritter has taken time to grow on me, but I really am starting to like it).

oh, and the national's boxer. it's killing me. because it is so awesome.

got a long night of audio editing and mixing ahead of me, and then in the morning I'm off to the new mexican desert. see you on monday.

happy labor day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

3hree things

1. red mountain music is doing a small, somewhat intimate concert, TONIGHT, at cool beans in homewood. I've said this before, and it really does seem mysteriously true - these things always turn out way cooler than I expect...

music from 9-11pm. come on out, have some coffee, say hello. we'd be honored to see you there, as always.

2. A LOT of progress / things happening on the red mountain music front. just last night clint and I were in the studio till 3am working on guitar parts. go here to read more about it. we're going to start trying to do a better job of updating the red mountain blog. especially in the coming weeks / months with a cd project wrapping up.

3. anybody reading from albuquerque? if so, we'll be in your city, playing at heritage christian fellowship on sunday morning (sept. 2), and then a concert at grace church, this coming sunday night.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

a children's song

I write a lot of songs. and I write a lot of music to hymn text. I mean, a lot. I've got over a hundred songs that I'll never get around to recording. so, I've decided that I'm going to start sharing some of my demos. why not.

wrote this song just this week with my friend jon black. I love thinking about songs for children. maybe this one works. the text is nice. thanks jon for helping me finish this one out. and thanks, melanie, for sharing this text with me, and so many others.

audio here

There's a Wideness
Text: Frederick Faber, 1862
Music: Jon Black and Brian T. Murphy, 2007

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where earth's failings
have such kind judgment given.
There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

full text here

Friday, August 24, 2007

God is not close to me.

Yesterday, thanks to a friend I will not call jim, I found an important article which you simply must read.

Turns out, mother theresa wasn’t much different from the hymn writers we like to ignore. you know – the people who wrote beautiful songs about the faith – but at the same time had very little actual faith? or, to put it another way – lived a life of despair – wondering why god would leave them for so long.

Mother Theresa – who lived her life about as nobly as any human ever has – who is held up as the greatest saint of modern times – says that for 50 years, she struggled with despair, and she felt that god was nowhere near her. 50 YEARS.

I can’t tell you how many people have said to me things like this: “brian – I understand that you are going through doubts about the faith – doubts about christianity – I’ve been there – I remember this one time, I struggled for an entire six weeks with whether or not I believed in god…”

I’ve also been told how important it is for me to move away from doubts and struggles, toward faith and belief. I’m not saying I’m anything like mother theresa. but I am saying that her life indicates that maybe it’s not so simple – this process of escaping doubts and unbelief.

The thing is – I struggle with belief on an ongoing basis. and I have, well, for years now. I’m still in the game, and for some mysterious reason I still love the church, pretty sure about that, but I struggle to believe that god is real, that god will show up, that god is good, every single day of my life. I think this is why I write so many songs. why I write so much music to old hymn text. It’s like my way of constantly expressing my desire to believe, and yet my inability to feel like god is anywhere close. these ideas come out in music way better than they do with words.

So for all of you out there who also struggle to believe. who wonder where god is. who wonder why he won’t show up and provide comfort, rest, and hope. please read this article about mother theresa (or if nothing else, the quote below). you are not as alone as you might think you are.

Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love — and now become as the most hated one — the one — You have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone ... Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.

So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them — because of the blasphemy — If there be God — please forgive me — When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?

— addressed to Jesus (from mother theresa), at the suggestion of a confessor

Thursday, August 23, 2007

some people make a lot of noise when they poop

We all poop. It’s funny, kind of, because the most beautiful person ever still has to drop trawl and poop from time to time, and there isn’t much beautiful about that. even my dog dingo poops, and when she does, I am usually with her, because she has to be walked on a leash, for fear that she will otherwise murder something, and when she poops, she usually looks at me with this “don’t look at me while I’m pooping” look.

I look away. I like to give her space.

I like to think that I’m a fairly discreet pooper. back in my younger days I used to enjoy going to public restrooms with a friend and sitting in adjacent stalls and making as much noise as possible. we’d moan and groan and yell and drop things in the toilet (like rocks) and then scream out an enormous, dramatic sigh of relief as the rock hit and toilet-water splashed on our clothes.. It was awesome. especially for the people who didn’t know what was going on.

But these days, I keep it pretty quiet. and I’m amused by the people who don’t. just two days ago, I was in a public bathroom and a guy was groaning so loud I thought I was going to have to go in and assist him (I didn’t). why is all the noise necessary? that’s what I want to know. and why doesn’t this guy think “I sure do like to groan while I poop, but I’m not at home, I’m in a public space, so I think I’ll put a lid on it?” that’s the other thing I want to know.

Even president putin, who recently stripped half-naked for a photo-shoot, and apparently looks AMAZING, poops. (as much as I look forward to the exodus of the W, looking at these photos makes me appreciate that he's not quite as shamelessly self-absorbed as his russian equivalent)

And natalie portman – who I have a big crush on (not really) (okay, really). she poops too. I have a friend named brandon who told me that he was in new york and he was at a bar and natalie portman was there and he totally freaked out and at one point he made eye contact with her and he was trying so hard to play it cool and she looked at him with this look that said “I know you are looking at me – why don’t you come over and say hello…” and he said he was paralyzed and couldn’t move. and then she was gone. and I was like “you totally should have asked her if she pooped. that would have not been awkward at all. and then you should have punched yourself in the forehead real hard for not talking to her when you had the chance.” and brandon said, “nice point, btm. you always make the nicest points.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us."

- martin luther -

thank you dan hames, my favorite englishman, for this one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

red mountain music is better than no music

I want to make a t-shirt that says that. anybody want to design that for me? hey, here’s something different. red mountain is playing in birmingham. we play plenty of other places, but haven’t played locally since our cd release at workplay, over a year ago (well, other than every sunday night at red mountain church). we’re playing at cool beans in homewood, august 28, from 9-11pm. it’s for a college group affiliated with dawson and brookwood baptist. but of course anyone can come who is interested. will be very low-key. just a few of us sitting around singing some of our nerdy hymn music. these things always end up being surprisingly refreshing and - I hesitate to say this, but it’s true – reverent, and even worshipful. I realize that the older I get, the more I have no idea what these christian terms mean.

But there’s truth in these old songs. I can’t get away from that.

Nerdy hymn music. It’s nerdy, but I often feel it’s all I’ve got.

*photo credit liz wells.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

bottled water = public enemy #1

a lot of people are up in arms about the water bottles. saying that they are mostly just re-packaged tap water and that corporations are evil and that plastic water bottles are eating our planet. and it is interesting that supposedly, in places like fiji, the local population has trouble getting clean drinking water, meanwhile americans can regularly access their fiji water at convenience stores and gas stations.

Since this is clearly a massive issue of utmost importance, I am going to implement the clintwells interview format for the remainder of this worstweblogintheworld post:

Robot: BTM – what do you think about bottled water?
BTM – I’m sorry. we have to first address the fact that you are a robot. How did you get here?

Robot: I frequent theworstweblogintheworld. I am friends with the anonymous posters who lurk and tell you that you hate jesus. I also am friends with other robots, but that is to be expected.
BTM: do you have laser beams?

Robot: no. not really. I suppose I could be adapted to use laser beams, but currently I only have batteries and a single mechanical arm, which I use to type questions. I am only a simple robot.
BTM: I hate you, robot. I want a robot that has legs and can talk and can shoot laser beams at whales.

Robot: okay. that’s nice. So. What do you think about bottled water?
BTM: I hate bottles, and I hate water.

Robot: you seem to hate a lot of things.
BTM: and robots. I hate robots too.

Robot: yes. I know. well. do you think that bottled water is a crisis? I mean – it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil just to produce the bottles, not to mention the oil that is used to transport the bottled water. And it is estimated that Americans pay $1,400 a year for bottled water – and the same amount of water could be obtained from the tap for less than a dollar. What do you think about these issues?
BTM: I hate bottles and I hate water. But I love oil because I am an American.

Robot: you love oil?
BTM: yes. I love oil. I love it because it is oily. And I love drills. And I love oil leaks in the ocean.

Robot: now you are being ridiculous. you love oil spills?
BTM: sure. why not? volcanoes erupt and spew molten lava and gas balls and rip holes in the ozone and kill babies and everybody loves volcanoes. oil starts a few wars and kills a few sea turtles and everybody is freaking out about the oil. I say the more oil, the better. sea turtles are old anyway. and did you see finding nemo? sea turtles smoke marijuana. they are old, shell-bound, sea faring pot heads, and I say let them die.

Robot: everybody does not love volcanoes.
BTM: prove it.

Robot: …
BTM: one point, BTM, zero points, robot.

Robot: why do you hate bottles? is it because they pollute the planet?
BTM: the planet? No I hate that too. I hate all of the planets. I’ve addressed this previously. Don’t even get me started on Pluto.

Robot: so you don’t think pollution is a problem?
BTM: no, not really. I put my trash in a trash can and then it goes away and I don’t think about it.

Robot: what about the landfills?
BTM: when I was in 4th grade, which was 20 years ago, I remember them telling me that the landfills would all be full by the year 1996. I was terrified because I did not know what I was going to do with all my trash. But you know what happened? 1996 came and went and I still throw whatever I want in the garbage can.

Robot: what is your point?
BTM: my point is that 4th grade teachers are liars.

Robot: but clearly, you must admit that pollution is a problem.
BTM: …

Robot: amazing. so you love pollution, oil, and volcanoes, but you hate water, bottles, and planets?
BTM: I never said I loved volcanoes. I said I hate sea turtles. I only said that volcanoes spew lava and eat babies. horses also eat babies.

Robot: horses do not eat babies.
BTM: prove it.

Robot: horses eat grass.
BTM: horses eat whatever you put in their mouth. one time I put a nuclear warhead in a horse’s mouth and the stupid horse ate it. another time I rode a horse and it smashed me into a wall. People say that they like to ride horses. I say those people are crazy. You know what I like to ride? Cars. Cars are good for riding.

Robot: plus, cars use a lot of oil, which probably makes you happy.
BTM: exactly.

Robot: so what about the fact that the human body is made up of so much water? They say that up to 60 percent of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70 percent water, the lungs are nearly 90 percent water, and about 83 percent of our blood is water.
BTM: lies. where did you learn that? 4th grade?

Robot: it’s science.
BTM: well first off, I am a Christian, so I disagree with your science. secondly, my body is not water. My body is made of bone and eyeballs and hair. Do I look like a sponge to you? no. I look like a human. And blood? 83% water? I don’t think so. blood is red and water is clear. I’m so tired of people getting blood and water confused. It’s simple. Water is for drinking and blood is for bleeding. Only vampires drink blood and vampires go to hell. Do you want to go to hell, robot? Do you?

Robot: I do not want to go to hell.
BTM: good. well, don’t drink blood. And stop saying that blood is 83% water.

Robot: do you donate blood?
BTM: you mean “do I let women in white uniforms stab the back of my elbow with needles and extract a red non-water substance, in exchange for orange juice and hydrox cookies?”

Robot: yes.
BTM: no. I definitely do not donate blood. I figure the blood is in the back of my elbow for a reason.

Robot: but donating blood saves lives.
BTM: so do life jackets, but you don’t see me donating life jackets, do you?

Robot: this truly is theworstweblogintheworld.
BTM: have I mentioned that sea turtles also spread cancer?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

beach, with family

just today arrived home from a trip to the beach with my family. the best part of the trip? eight beautiful children.

what's better than children calling out "uncle brian"?


the older I get, the more I appreciate and love my family.

Monday, August 6, 2007

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues."
-Abraham Lincoln

Friday, August 3, 2007

shameless self promotion post #437: I know you love hearing about the spots all the time

I went down to the WBHM radio station on wednesday with mr. shawn avery, and together we did our 2nd interview for the tapestry radio show. it wasn't supposed to air until august 16, but surprisingly, it aired last night. several of you heard it, and I know this because you called me saying "btm, you are on air, lying, at this very minute". for those of you that missed it, you can listen here.

friday. august 17. speakeasy. mark your calendars. spots are playing again, and this time, we will be doing a live recording. I'm pretty excited about it because all of the recordings we've done have been live, but never in front of a listening audience. I look forward to hearing how the energy of the room transfers to tape. anyway. plan to be there and plan to shout and yell and heckle or whatever it is you like to do. it will be fun to make this live recording, and it will be even more fun to have you there.

*this photo is one of my favorites. no photoshop at all. I took this one back a few months ago, after a private party we played out in the country. the car drove by before clint and I got in the photo, so the light goes in front and behind various spots. total accident. totally awesome.