Tuesday, April 22, 2008

nashville christian music conference = ?

I have had a number of people (maybe 5) tell me, over the past few days, that they miss me writing here in theworstweblogintheworld. I kind of miss writing here, too. but then sometimes I don’t.

This past weekend I went to a conference in Nashville for church musicians in the PCA. I feel like I lead a triple life. I work during the week for the government. I work as often as I can with photography, or with writing / recording music. And then I work part time for this church called red mountain where we make nerdy hymn music that we think is actually kind of cool. Often, people who I am associated with in one of my triple lives have no idea that I do any of the other things that I do. I think I like that.

So, if you are reading this and are surprised that I went to a conference for church musicians, then yes, please know that I also was surprised to find myself there as well.

I couldn’t tell you much about the conference. They had speakers who talked about things I did not listen to (I meant to listen to this one guy – I really did – but instead my friend jeff Irwin was available to have coffee, so I left and met with him instead, and I’m really glad I did). They had some music that they played. And they had these seminar / workshop times that I mostly skipped, except for this one that kevin twit did, because kevin twit has been very kind to me and I like him. There were about 100 people there, from all over the country, who do what I do – music for weird PCA churches. And many of them I have gotten to know, and it was interesting and surprising for me to realize how much I liked the people at the conference.

I don't know if they are getting nicer, or if I am getting nicer, or maybe neither party was as mean as we all anticipated.

But you know what was better than the conference? It was spending time with good friends in Nashville. Thursday night jeff Irwin was playing bass with thad cockrell, so I caught the show at mercy lounge, while paul scodova stood by my side the entire time and refused to let me pay for my drinks. Saw a bunch of people I knew while I was at the show. Nashville is such an interesting place. After the show (which was really, really great – check out thad’s music for sure), I went back to irwin’s house, he opened a nice bottle of wine and we sat on his front porch talking until about 2am. His wife amy even woke up and joined us. thanks jeff and amy – it was great to catch up. And sorry for scaring your boy.

Friday night I called up my friends brett and chris – friends from college who I frequently lament not befriending until very late in our college years, and brett and I stayed up till I think 2:30 talking about music and photography. In the morning we went to eat breakfast at fido’s and we all high-fived eachother at the register. Nothing like a good high five with old friends. Last time I did that was when I fell on the floor at my birthday party while people sang to me. My pants were around my ankles, that’s why I fell down. When I got up I gave everyone in the room a high five. It was a nice moment.

Anyway. On the way home from Nashville I was thinking about what a great weekend it was. How nice it is to have so many friends in other cities. How nice it is to selectively attend Christian conferences, and how surprised I am to find gentle, kind people at a place like that. and more than anything, how wonderful it is to be with old friends.

oh. and I got some really amazing photos over the weekend. one of them is maybe my favorite shot ever.

okay. I think my next post is going to be about how much I hate laser tag.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

weekend with friends

this weekend I went to the woods with some friends. I was expecting to have a nice time, it was even nicer than I thought it would be. nothing like two nights of sitting around, talking about anything and everything, and days filled with hikes, children, caves, and stiff cold breezes. I am thankful for good friends.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

to twelve people, I am uncle brian

I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and I can honestly say that being an uncle is one of the most enjoyable types of relationship in my life. and it helps when all 12 of the kids are so cool. they make me laugh a lot.

friday night, brooke and I went and babysat for two of them. I won't tell you their names, because I want to protect their internet identity, but we had a lot of fun hanging out for a few hours. and it was raining, and there were puddles, and I had my camera with me like I always do.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

court, and thoughts on the last 5 years of making music

Today I had lunch with court clement, he’s a friend I met back in the good old rock star days of 2003. we were in a band together called parkers back, with eliot morris. we were on a major label, we had a building fan base, and we were pretty convinced that music, rock and roll, and being apart of an important, exciting band was basically our life’s work, laid out before us.

That band did a lot of things for me. It kept me out of seminary. It gave me more musical confidence than anything I had experienced before it. It showed me that life on the road, with a band, is one of sweetest things life can throw at you. it got me to start reading. It opened up a whole new world of music in terms of writing / collaborating / being apart of a collective music writing process (come to think of it, for that last part I owe a big thank you to eliot morris). and it introduced me to friends and musicians in nashville who I still work with and keep in touch with on a regular basis.

The band eventually, well, disbanded, but we’ve all kept playing music. court has stayed busier than any of us, finding gigs with a wide variety of artists (currently mark broussard), traveling the world, playing on night shows, working on some exciting records, finding good, steady work as a professional musician. at lunch today I told court, “man – good for you – I’m so glad that you are able to do what you do…” and I really meant it. court’s a great player and a good friend, and I’m glad to see him able to do something that he loves.

And we talked a bit about the record-making machine that is red mountain. I started working on the red mountain stuff around the time things started slowing with our other band, and what has surprised me, what has really surprised me, and what I told court today, realizing it again as truth as I said it, is how much I really love this music I make with red mountain. like, I really love it. I say to my friends somewhat frequently, “hey, you want to come and play on my christian record?” and they often reply, as court did today, “anytime man – I’d love to”.

It’s surprising how sometimes you get what you want, in the most unexpected ways. I really always had this dream of doing, well, I guess what court’s doing now. and don’t get me wrong – if thom yorke calls me tomorrow asking me to join his band, I’d do it immediately. but in the meantime, I’m finding that making this strange batch of music, and really, being apart of a community of musicians who write and work so well together (something I learned from eliot and need to give him credit for), and seeing these songs be embraced by others, has turned out to be the most satisfying body of work I’ve ever been apart of. kind of a big deal.

So anyway. I’m kind of rambling. but thanks court – for lunch today. It was great to catch up.

And thanks to all the people in georgia, especially Harvey, Matt, and Aaron, who invited us out this past weekend to travel and play and share our nerd christian hymn music with you. music is something I’d be doing alone if I had to, but I’m thankful I’ve been able to share it with so many people over the years.

kind of interesting to sit back and think about it.