Archive for the 'FAITH' Category

Oof. So bad.

If you’re not already convinced that “Jesus is your friend”, then perhaps this awesome throwback video from the super-group Sonseed will convince you.

Is that Bob Saget?



The Guitar Strap Saga (TM)

I can no longer call myself a “hobbiest guitar player”.  I help lead worship at my churchwhich I enjoy very much — and in that role I have to take some things more seriously than I did before.  My guitar has to be in tune.  I need to have a decent pickup system installed.  I have to be able to play standing up!  (By the way, that was a bigger issue than I thought it would be).  I also need a decent guitar strap.

Don’t mock me on this.

Between rehearsal and the worship “set”, if you will, you end up with a guitar strapped around your neck for a considerable amount of time.  The guitar strap is important.  My previous strap has given up the ghost, so to speak, and easily pops off of the straps nuts.  Not cool, and not fun.  I set out to find another strap that is both stylish and comfortable.

My first trip was to Guitar Center in hopes of finding a good, reasonably-priced replacement.  I figured that leather would be a good long-term solution, but I was unpleasantly met with $70+ guitar straps.  Wha? I don’t think so.  Too rich for my blood.  Shortly thereafter, I found that Levy’s Leathers makes some nice guitar straps that can be found for a reasonable price.  I found a 2.5″ black embroidered strap that cost me less than $40 shipped.  Nice!  Well…until it arrived and I found that it was too short for me.  You see, I’m 6’4″ tall, and I tend to play with my guitar hung a bit lower.  Not “punk rock”, mind you, but lower.  Most leather straps tend to max out at around 53″ long, which was about 4″ shorter than what I was set at previously.  No matter how I sliced it, it didn’t work for me.  After some emails back and forth with the fine Levy’s Leathers folks, I find out that they make “XL” versions of almost all of their straps, which lengthens the strap by 12″ or so.  Wish I’d known that earlier.  I also wish I’d had a better up-close shot of the strap that I was ordering — a bane of “online purchases”, I suppose — because the suede finish was not entirely to my liking.  I decided to return that strap and keep looking.

Upon further reflection, I decided that I didn’t have to have a leather strap — it was enough to have leather at the ends for long term use.  In fact, nylon and/or cotton straps can be quite comfortable, practical and affordable.  Somehow or another, I ended up stumbling upon a company called Franklin Strap.  I liked the looked of their stuff, and I was immediately taken with their ‘Seatbelt Series‘ strap.  Very cool!  Sadly, I couldn’t find them online anywhere.  Grasping at straws, I emailed the Franklin Strap company themselves to inquire as to where I might purchase one of these fine straps.  I had no idea about pricing, availability and so forth.  Well… a few hours later I get an email back from the company owner himself — Greg Bennett of Greg Bennett Guitars!  He let me know that a shop called Artisan Guitars carried these and could help me order one.  Good deal.

Here’s the great part: I call Artisan Guitars — friendly folks, by the way — and tell them my story.  They find the strap I’m talking about and get me going on ordering one.  I still had no idea on pricing, so when the sales person mentions that the strap is $6 + shipping, well… I’m pretty blown away!  Needless to say, I ordered two of them.

So… here’s hoping that this strap is as awesome as I hope it’ll be.  If not, well… atleast I got a cool story out of the whole process.

Lyrics o’ the day

One of my very favorite bands (ever, Ever, EVER!) is Over the Rhine.  Incredible music, beautiful vocals, and haunting lyrics.  It’s strange to think that I’ve been listening to this band *actively* for 15 years now!

Anyhow, I wanted to post a selection of their lyrics that I love.  It was difficult to choose any one song, to be honest, because they have so many great selections.  That said, this song showcases how even early on (circa 1994) they could paint pictures with words…

Within Without“, from the album Eve

is it because I cannot see you
that you feel so free to steal
my excess baggage full of darkness and despair
while I fumble with my locks
you’re content to stand and knock
yet I know your knack for thievery is rare

do you know they call it arson
setting fires without permission
in my heart for sure and maybe elsewhere too
though your lack of inhibition
captures my imagination
I end up a wiser person thanks to you

it’s coming to fruition
the sympathetic vibration
your train is at my station
within without

then there is your flare for murder
there’s a dagger in the border
of your cloak and I suspect a captain’s gun
as you put to death suspicions
kindly kill my fears as well
exorcise and slay the demons one by one

though I’m usually pacifistic
you are mercifully sadistic
and I didn’t know that murder could be good
but the roses came crimson
springing from the prison
of the floorboards where there once were stains of blood

it’s coming to fruition
the sympathetic vibration
your train is at my station
within without
it’s calming my suspicion
with soothing intuition
your train is at my station
within without

If you’ve never listened to Over the Rhine, you are truly missing some incredible music.  Go check ’em out right now, then get back to me!  Some of my *personal* favorite albums of theirs are… Eve, Ohio, and Drunkard’s Prayer.

Musical musings

I absolutely *love* music.  In fact, I can hardly trust people that don’t.  Equally as important to me as the music, though, is the content of the lyrics.  I’ve never been much one for instrumentals, though they’re fine from time to time.  I’d really rather chew on the words like a tough piece of steak — over and over until finally taking it in.  A competent mix of good music and great lyrics is what really floats my boat.  That was a clever pun, by the way, though you won’t know it until later…


One of the bands that I consistently enjoy both musically and lyrically is a group from Pennsylvania called mewithoutYou.  Ever heard of them?  To be fair, their musical style may or may not be to your liking.  I enjoy it.  Very much, in fact.  But I can see how some may not appreciate the vocal style or musical noise.  I would hope that anyone could respect some masterfully written lyrics, though.  I mean…. C’MON!  The first track off of their latest album, “Brother, Sister“, is titled Messes Of Men.

Here are the lyrics (mostly correct, I hope):

“I do not exist,” we faithfully insist
sailing in our separate ships, and in each tiny caravel
tiring of trying, there’s a necessary dying
like the horseshoe crab in its proper season sheds its shell
such distance from our friends, like a scratch across a lens,
made everything look wrong from anywhere we stood
and our paper blew away before we’d left the bay
so half-blind we wrote these songs on sheets of salty wood

you caught me making eyes at the other boatmen’s wives
and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters
I’d set my course for land, but you well understand
it takes a steady hand to navigate adulturous waters
the propeller’s spinning blades held acquaintance with the waves
as there’s mistakes I’ve made no rowing could outrun
the cloth low on the mast like to say I’ve got no past
but I’m nonetheless the librarian and secretary’s son
with tarnish on my brass and mildew on my glass
I’d never want someone so crass as to want someone like me
but a few leagues off the shore, I bit a flashing lure
and I assure you, it was not what it expected it to be!
I still taste its kiss, that dull hook in my lip
is a memory as useless as a rod without a reel
to an anchor-ever-dropped-seasick-yet-still-docked
captain spotted napping with his first mate at the wheel
floating forgetfully along, with no need to be strong
we keep our confessions long and when we pray we keep it short
I drank a thimble full of fire and I’m not ever going back

Oh, my God!

“I do not exist,” we faithfully insist
while watching sink the heavy ship of everything we knew
if ever you come near I’ll hold up high a mirror
Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as you

Such great imagery.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes me think, feel, and ponder.  Your mileage may vary.