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ten after nine eleven :: imagine no religion

11th Sep 11 (Sun) 2 comments

Sorry if I offend.  Sorry if I lose readers.  Just some thoughts.

Ten years after 9/11/2001, I think it can best be summed up with John Lennon’s words as such…

While I think our world would be in a better place if there were no religion, religion is not evil.  With that being said, demanding one religion have preference over another or taking violent action against others due to something your ‘god’ told you is a corrupt worldview.  Tolerance of a person’s right to believe or not believe in religion or god is what we should strive for as a people.  Tolerance of acts of aggression in the name of a god or religion should not be considered acceptable behavior.  Retaliating against innocent people based on their religion, skin color, customs or culture is evil.

We will likely never find peace.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to look for it.

Free Nellie McKay download (“One’s On the Way”)

9th Jun 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

As performed on Mountain Stage, Nellie McKay just made available a free mp3 download of “One’s on the Way” (right click & “save as”)…  it is available as a call for support of WV Free – Advocates for Reproductive Health & Justice.

“One’s On the Way” is is a previously unreleased track.  You can pick up Nellie’s latest album, Home Sweet Mobile Home, at the Amazons.

As far as future not-for-profit collaborations from Nellie, she’s contributing to a Farm Animal Benefit CD (to be released in September).  It will feature new music from Moby, Yoko Ono, Matisyahu, members of the Buzzcocks and more.  It’s called Home On the Range and is put out by CFEI & Planet CD NYC.

‘Home On The Range’ is a benefit compilation CD presented by the 501(c)(3) non profit organization CFEI. All proceeds from the sale of this CD are donated to a collective of farm animal sanctuaries including Woodstock Sanctuary, Happy Trails, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Animal Acres and Kindred Spirits. These organizations rescue, feed, provide safe shelter and care for abused and neglected farm animals.

The benefit CD features eco-friendly packaging and includes “Compassion 101”, an exclusive accompanying educational booklet and resource guide. Simply by purchasing this music you are helping protect the lives of thousands of cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, horses and rabbits. Home On The Range will be available in selected retail stores as well as a download via iTunes and Amazon.

MORE INFO

~Dan – np: ReptetDo This!

George Hrab :: Trebuchet

21st Jun 10 (Mon) Leave a comment

George Hrab‘s 6th album, Trebuchet, is now officially out.  It’s available in its entirety on his podcast feed (actually many science & skeptical thinking podcasts’ feeds)…

Geologic Podcast #170 (the whole album)

GeologicRecords.net

Buy the physical CD or mp3 from CDBaby.  It’s also available on iTunes, but I think CDBaby is a better company, in the long run.  Support indie music!

~Dan – np: Pink MartiniSympathique

REVIEW: Derek Webb & Jennifer Knapp @ Aladdin (Portland, OR – 4/27/10)

28th Apr 10 (Wed) 11 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

There’s something about songwriters that draw me in.  With Derek Webb, I’ve been a long time fan since 1996… ever since first seeing him with his folksy-poppy band Caedmon’s Call.  While I dug Caedmon’s a lot as a group, I really enjoyed Derek’s songwriting the most.  He seemed to have the more “real life” songs – ones I could relate to the most.  His initial departure from the band went OK with me, as he kept making solo music… starting out in the traditional acoustic and then morphing into more rock and even electronic-infused meets acoustic.  His last album, 2009’s Stockholm Syndrome, was one of my favorites from last year (#3 to be exact).

Stockholm Syndrome fuses some great keys & beats from fellow Caedmon’s Call member Joshua Moore with Derek’s solid songwriting.  Lyrically, Derek tackles many issues that I think are relevant and important to everyone (not just christians) – including, but not limited to, addressing Fred “God Hates F-gs” Phelps from the hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church (“Freddie Please”) to one-side of a superficial relationship with a club beat (“Jena & Jimmy”) to the conflict of a walk of faith and easier route living in the world at large (at least, that’s my take on “The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum”) to the seemingly-singling out of homosexuality in the church as a major sin (What Matters More).

“What Matters More” is a song that resonates with me, as it is a big part of why I eventually left the church.  The church’s singling out of one sin over another really hit me as hypocritical, legalistic, and not loving.  If this was the god that the bible talked about, I didn’t want to be part of this disease.  If this wasn’t god’s view, then I didn’t want to be part of this group of “believers.”  Regardless of my personal road that led to a lack of faith and becoming an atheist, I still hold Derek’s music closely, as I think of any christian artist, he seems to “get it.”

Derek going out on tour with Jennifer Knapp ended up being a perfect match (she just “came out” as being in a long-term, committed same-sex relationship).  This isn’t shocking to me, and I wish it didn’t even have to be mentioned.  Why is someone’s sexuality any of our business? I suppose that in this day and age, especially coming from a christian musician, this “coming out” has to occur to set the record straight that there is nothing wrong with this.  I’m happy that she was finally comfortable coming back into making music, touring and coming out to be true to herself.  I didn’t know much of her music prior to this show (though she was on my radar back when I was a music buyer at a christian bookstore in the Midwest), but I was equally excited to see her play alongside Derek.

Amy Courts opened the show right at 8pm.  She only played about 3 songs, but had a lot of banter (she was up there about 20 minutes).  Her banter was quite adorable, and her songs were in a similar acoustic singer-songwriter vein to both Webb & Knapp.  Amy had a gentler song in the middle, but her opener and closer showed off her powerful voice.  Definitely a good warm up…

Derek Webb went on immediately after Amy.  I guess with a bunch of acoustic guitars and no backing bands, it’s easy to stack the artists right after one another.

Prior to the show, I wasn’t sure how the Stockholm Syndrome songs would translate to solo acoustic, and according to Derek – he can only play about half of them on a solo tour.  With that being said, he played a good mix of older tunes, newer tunes, and even a brand new Caedmon’s Call song…

Derek’s Setlist: about 50 mins

  • Heaven
  • A Love That’s Stronger Than Our Fear
  • New Law
  • My Enemies Are Men Like Me
  • Freddie, Please
  • Nobody Loves Me
  • God’s Home Town (new Caedmon’s Call song)
  • Wedding Dress
  • What Matters More
  • American Flag Umbrella

My favorites from his set were the last three, but I enjoyed his set throughout.  Derek was fighting some form of sickness, which contributed a little bit to his normal raspiness (which I love).  Hopefully he’ll come by soon and be able to be more talkative, as that’s usually where things get interesting. :)

After a short 10-minute break, Jennifer Knapp hit the stage.  As mentioned previously, I was not too familiar with her music, but I did recognize one of the tunes early on from my old christian bookstore days – “Whole Again.”  I also recognized “Dive In” from her webpage.  She definitely had a powerful voice and stage presence.  I can totally see her draw… she’s a great performer and has some vocal and guitar chops.

Some of her songs were a bit too “christianeze” for my tastes.  Though, she is decidedly less CCM-y than most, and I can definitely appreciate that. :)  One funny moment (to me) was her describing how “such and such” song was written a while ago but never put on a record because it didn’t have the right mentioning of “Jesus” and wasn’t as religious, etc – but to me, it definitely seemed religious… I mean, why do christians many times think that songs aren’t religious if they don’t use “god” or Jesus’ name directly?  This song’s mentioning being “in need of mercy” (among other things) definitely had a religious bent, if you ask me.  Anyway, christians’ perceptions of christian songs gets a chuckle out of me.  That’s all.  She is enough of a cross-over lyricist where I think she’ll do fine on the Lilith Fair circuit… she’s a powerful woman musician warrior.

I enjoyed just under an hour of Jennifer’s set before heading out back home to Eugene.  I did catch a few songs with Amy Court joining her, and I’m sure Derek joined her later in the set (as he has done in the past).  All in all, I thought it was an A+ triple singer-songwriter bill.  If you have any thoughts on Jennifer’s set or if you have her setlist, please post in the comments.

This was one of the last shows featuring both Derek & Jennifer.  Derek Webb will likely be more involved in the Caedmon’s Call album wrap-up in the coming months (I’m hoping they tour with Derek).  Jennifer Knapp will be on the Lilith Fair tour in 2010 alongside many other great artists.  I’d highly (HIGHLY) recommend Derek’s latest album, Stockholm Syndrome.  Also, check out Jennifer’s album, Letting Go, when it drops on May 11th…

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Erin McKeownHundreds of Lions

AMY COURTS, DEREK WEBB
& JENNIFER KNAPP PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Howard Zinn dies at 87

27th Jan 10 (Wed) Leave a comment

Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist A People’s History of the United States became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts.

Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, Calif., daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said. The historian was a resident of Auburndale, Mass.

He was 87.

He will be missed, but he left a legacy.

~Dan

dredg & Salmon Rushdie

12th Oct 09 (Mon) Leave a comment

One of my favorite rock bands around right now is dredg.  I’ve seen them twice this year, and their 2009 album The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion is at this time the easiest pick for album of the year for me.  Easiest.  It’s fantastic.  The aforementioned album is a concept album inspired by Salmon Rushdie‘s “Imagine There’s No Heaven: A Letter to the Sixth Billionth Citizen.”

Well, SPIN just put out an article with a review, live videos, and music downloads from a joint performance by dredg & Salmon Rushdie at Manhattan’s Housing Works’ Bookstore Café (click the picture below).

dredg and Samlon Rushdie

The videos included are Salmon reading his essay and then dredg performing “The Pariah,” “The Ornament,” and”Information.”  Also available for download on the site are mp3’s of three dredg songs:

DOWNLOAD (free music):

~Dan – np: Foo FightersFoo Fighters

Church and State

10th Jun 08 (Tue) 3 comments

Wow… very level headed and rational take on how religion & politics should interact…

And then there’s this guy who doesn’t know what the Constitution even says… and he doesn’t know that “In God We Trust” was adopted in the 1950s (not in the Constitution by the founders of this nation)…

Why do McCain and other politicians (Romney, Bush 41, Bush 43, etc) who say these types of things want to exclude 16%+ of their constituents who are non-believers/unaffiliated with religion?

Barack has claimed to be a religious person; and while I don’t hold his views, I’m completely fine with a politician having views contrary to mine. That’s what freedom of/from religion is all about. What I like about Barack’s speech above is that it separates him from the common pandering politician. He doesn’t try to force his religion on the populace (like other legislators). Hopefully it’s not “too good to be true.” Hopefully Obama can beat McCain in November.

~Dan – np: Charlie ParkerWith Strings

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