Tag Archives: music

There is This Moment…

Have you ever done theatre? If you have, you know the moment I’m talking about, the moment when the stage is set, the audience has been seated, the cast is backstage, the lights are down, and the show is about to begin…

It’s beautiful, it’s terrifying, it’s exciting, it’s what you (as an artist) live for.

Performing is great. Applause are rewarding. All the multitude of hours of prep are an amazing challenge. But that moment backstage, that’s the one I love.

All your work is ready, it’s as good as it’s going to be; all that’s left is the delivery, and the chest-tightening nervousness to see a response.

I feel that today. Luke Dowler’s new album drops in 9 hours. It’s crazy good. I really hope you dig it.

Blank Stage


Change The World

Last night before bed I read two great blog posts, the first was by Steve Jones who is the author of a business book called “Rock Star Branding” it was about how, “When you do your job with passion and purpose, you change the world” you can read it here. Shortly after I read a post by my friend/family member/fellow blog writer with his name cleverly disguised as “Christhompso”, in it he challenged himself, and by extension me, to really take life and run with it. To fight the power of apathy and so called “realism” that tries to inject its self into our lives. You can read it here.

While I don’t want to blatantly copy either of these writers this morning, their thoughts are strong in my mind. As some of you may know, few things ring in my mind stronger than the ability/responsibility to change the world. Anything less, is well…less.

It takes a certain brashness, a certain incautious spirit, a lack of realism. But it’s what makes life worth living.

I spend a lot of time booking concerts for Mr. Luke Dowler in the long grind of leaving 100 voicemails it can be easy to lose track of why. It can be easy to forget that we are there to change the world.

I also edit a lot of wedding videos, it’s enjoyable work but sometimes, after watching the same 2 minutes of someone’s wedding for the 48th time, it can feel a little tedious. Unless you remember you are there to change the world.

I have 3 kids and they are an unending joy to my wife and I, but when I’m changing the ______th diaper of my life…Unless I remember.

Luke Dowler has an incredible ministry. I have seen his music and his conversations with fans after the shows change lives. He changes the world. That comes after hundreds of phone calls.

I hope and pray that when I edit someone’s wedding video I give them a chance to remember that they promised “forever”. I hope that plays a small part in changing their lives and marriage. That comes by nailing a transition.

When I see my kids, I see promise, I see hope, I see little world changers! But they have the best shot at it if someone, loves them, cares for them, and gives them clean bums.

What are you going to do today? How is it going to change the world? Comment below and let’s get changing the world!


Nothing Looks Easy Without a Lot of Hard Work

It has been a long time since my last blog.  A combination of insane busyness, both work-wise and personally.  Back at it now!

Yesterday, my wife and I took our kids to the park, my oldest daughter rode her bike.  She’s still working on mastering the bike and often (once she gets tired) there is some whining that accompanies the second half of the trip.  For her biking is hard work.

At one point in our journey her bike fell over while trying to navigate a curb.  After we got her up and dusted her off, she said she was done.  She wanted to walk home.  But I reminded her of what we were up to last weekend.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to do the video work for Shake The Lake.  Shake the Lake is a great music/action sports festival in Alberta, one component being BMX.

My kids were amazed at the things these guys could on on their bikes. Huge flips and tail whips that looked almost effortless.  The kids also took note of how often they fell.  But they got back up.  That was the lesson I reminded Lilah of yesterday.

I was having breakfast with a good friend a couple days ago.  We haven’t seen each other for a few years and were catching up.  As time went on we came to the subject of marriage and relationships.  Some marriages of our mutual friends are strong and others that have dissolved and many are in between.  But all of them, maybe even especially the strong ones, require hard work.  I believe my wife and I have a very strong marriage.  It may even look pretty easy to most people.  My wife is a wonderful woman, a great mother, makes me laugh a lot and is the kind of person everyone loves to be around.  In some ways it is easy, it’s certainly easy for me to keep falling in love with her.

But it still takes hard work.  I can be a selfish guy.  It takes me reminding myself on a regular basis that I promised to always put myself second, even more than that, that God calls me to give up my life for her.  It takes effort, to observe how she is doing and remember to take appropriate time away from work when it’s too much for her.  It takes work to have difficult conversations when I don’t want to.  I love my wife and I love my marriage but as easy as it is to love her, it takes hard work to be a good husband.

I was catching up on podcasts yesterday, listening to “The Rockstar Branding Podcast”  which is a regular for me.  They were talking about Carly Rae Jepsen and her “instant” rise to fame; they pointed out that it has been far less than instant.  I pay quite a bit of attention to the music industry and that was my impression.  However, it’s not true. She’s been working it for years.  She placed 3rd on Canadian Idol five years ago, released a full album 4 years ago and has been working hard and hustling ever since.  I know what that is like.

As you many of you know I have the privilege of working with an incredible artist by the name of Luke Dowler.  I have been working with Luke for about 4 years and he was pushing hard for another 5 years before that.  I cannot tell you how many hours Luke has put into performing, rehearsing, mastering the guitar, writing songs, creating videos, interacting online, etc.  I have also put in countless hours making phone calls, landing interviews, blasting links, talking to promoters, working the label, sending e-mails, etc.  I have spent many nights without going to bed at all so we can make deadlines.  Luke has spent many days driving half dead vans across the continent.  It is a crazy amount of work.

Luke Dowler has a new Album coming out on Sept. 18th.  It is crazy good, and we are very hopeful that it will do really well.  When that happens, I’m sure, Luke Dowler will be called a newcomer, an instant success.

Nothing looks easy without a lot of hard work.

p.s. if you are willing to help Luke and I, we would really appreciate it.  Below is his latest video.  They did a great job on it.  If you would be willing to share it/pass it along to some friends, in honestly makes a MASSIVE difference.

Band That Name!

I get confused rather easily…  I have liked music for a lot longer than I have really followed it, as such there have been many time when I mixed up artists and bands, here are some examples:

The Cardigans and The Cranberries – Two different bands…who knew?
Michael Bolton and Ray Boltz – Not sure I can be blamed for this one…both born in 1953, both with crazy long mulets, both “mom” music.
Amy Grant and Rebecca St James – It actually wasn’t until a year or two ago I realized these were two different people.  Saw there names on the same article or CD or something…blew my mind.
Journey and Foreigner – I didn’t realize this had even happend until I was telling my friend Scott about the Amy & Rebecca mix-up and he told me he used to get Journey and Foreigner mixed up.  That was a big surprise…like that they were two different bands… big surprise!
Carly Rae Jepson and Lana Del Rey – Cannot be blamed.  Came out around the same time, got famous really fast, 1/3 of each of their names is “Ray”

And this next on is the most emabarssing…don’t judge:

Savage Garden and Soundgarden In my defense…there isn’t one.  However you can imagine my confusion when people kept talking about this seminal band that influenced Nirvana, Soundgarden, and I all could think of was “Truely, Madly, Deeply”…

How about you guys?  Anyone else have some band mix-ups in their past?

Why Don’t We Get Invited to More Parties?

Jesus was at a lot of parties.

This is something that has struck me over and over again this past year. It’s nothing new but for me it’s been a challenge as I think through my life, faith and art.  We are consistently reading about Jesus going to feasts, banquets and parties

Luke 5:29-30 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

And apparently enough so that people tried to use it against him (not that, that probably took much)

Luke 7:34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

And it’s not that he was there that surprises me.  Jesus was very clear that he came to reach the lost.  It doesn’t surprise me at all that he would go where the people who needed him were hanging out…it surprises me that he was invited.

In the church we expect to be always be rejected, we assume no one wants to hear from us Jesus followers; that no one is open to it.  But maybe Jesus proves us wrong.  It would seem that these people who were not living lives that lined up with God’s ideals were more than willing to hang out with Jesus; and I don’t think it was because he was “a drunkard and a glutton”.

So the question becomes why?  Why did they want to hang out with Jesus?  Why did they invite him into their subculture?

I think it’s at least partly because he clearly wanted to be with them.

Most groups aren’t as closed as outsiders think.  For instance, did you know that every time I have ever started a mentorship program I have no problem finding youth?  Most students are desperate for positive adult relationships!  But yet, the vast majority of the adults are hesitant.  Why are they hesitant?  Because “the youth wouldn’t want to connect with an old person like me”.

A couple months ago, we hosted a metal show at our church site.  There were a ton of people there that many church goers would assume wouldn’t come to something at a church.  But yet there they were. They told me how “f’ing awesome” (my edit) it was, that we would host their scene.  I could also give tons of examples of bands that make a huge impact because engage people honestly in all kinds of venues; but you get the idea…

Maybe people aren’t as closed as we assume.  Maybe they are just assuming we are closed to them.

Maybe we would be invited to more parties if people KNEW we wanted to be there.

What has your experience been?

Descriptors of Goodness

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post by the name of “The Dangers of Safe Art“.  In it I explored that I don’t think “safe” is a great target when it comes to great descriptors of art.  In it I also suggested a few words that I think are much more compelling, words like Honest, Challenging, Prophetic, Yearning, Leading, Calling for Action, Real, Raw, in various comments and conversations afterwards people used other words like “Redemptive” & “Reflective”

It’s always much easier to state the negative (Art shouldn’t primarily try to be safe) and much more difficult to point in the right direction.  I suppose you could say…it’s less safe.  Nothing is easier than throwing rocks from a distance.  However just like good art, I think good blogs point to something rather than just criticize.  Criticism is easy and unless accompanied with hope is largely a waste of time.

All that to say, I am no expert but let’s start to build a list of positive descriptors of art; I’ll use some of the ones from my original post as well as some of the follow-up

  1. Honest – To say Art should be honest seems too obvious and cliche but yet…true.  Art is expression. Art is voice.  If it doesn’t reflect something that is true about the creator or how they experience life, the planet, other people.   Honesty doesn’t mean obvious, guys like David Bowie were famous for writing form other characters perspective, but it still contained an obvious piece of the artist and their thoughts on the human condition.  Artists can create in a multiplicity of different vantage points and use “un-truths” like satire etc. but it still needs to be honest.  Maybe it’s eternally true, maybe it’s honest in a moment, but it has to be real!  If the creator doesn’t believe the piece, why should anyone else? (Example: Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars)
  2. Challenging – Not all good art challenges us directly.  But I think the BEST art does in some way.  Challenges us to act, challenges us to understand, challenges us to have compassion, challenges us to challenge the system, maybe even challenges us to appreciate a new beauty. (Check out Silence is Shameful by Luke Dowler)
  3. Prophetic – This one is a little trickier, but I love art that paints a picture of where we could be, or what ought to be.  Pictures of good relationship. Pictures of hope.  Pictures of where I am called to go.  (Check out Under Bridges by Brave Saint Saturn)
  4. Redemptive – Redemption is such a beautiful word and concept.  Taking something that has been corrupted and restoring.  Reflecting the ugly but showing beauty and in doing so bringing freshness.  There is a lot of hip-hop that does this well. (Check out Wavin’ Flag by K’naan)
  5. Reflective –  This one is a little different.  It’s not a call to change.  Great art is reflective of goodness as well.  There is some fantastic art that not only reflects the human creator but also the Creator.  A painting of a flower, a sculpture, a photo of true friends smiling, a doll reflecting the innocence of a newborn.  Some great art simply acts as a mirror to take us out of our own heads and condition and remind us that beauty is all around! (Check out this video: http://vimeo.com/24456787)

What do you think?  What are some descriptors of goodness in art?

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