December 2012


MUSIC&reviews31 Dec 2012 05:19 pm

As promised, I’ve uncovered a handful of releases from August that I missed in the catch-up process. In fact, surprise of surprises, I had more than enough for one and actually pulled together enough for two parts to this month. This feature never ends, right? Well, before the year disappears completely, let’s get to it. 25 words or less in summation of the albums, a couple recommendations for other artists and key tracks, and a random comparison. This week, in honor of the NFL playoffs, I’m comparing each album to a playoff team (Today, is the AFC – part two will be the NFC). okay, let’s go.

Tenth Avenue North – The Struggle
http://amzn.to/WfYIvV (CD) | http://amzn.to/UfKV9V (mp3)

While not initially arresting, it grows on you over time with subtle textures and smooth, controlled melody lines. Contemplative and worth revisiting. New England Patriots.

SEE ALSO: Mikeschair, MercyMe
DON’T MISS: Shadows, Strangers Here
[continue reading this post…]

MUSIC&reviews28 Dec 2012 03:37 pm

Well, this was supposed to be the grand finale that finished up our catch-up sessions. However, it seems like there may be one more I can squeeze in for some August releases that I may have overlooked. And it just so happens that we have one more Monday this year, so you can look for that, then. Right now, though, brace yourself for the final five albums from the month of July as we give them the Music of the Day treatment. A 25 (or less) word summary, 2 songs to make sure to tune in to, 2 other artists to check out, and a random comparison. This week, I’ve broken from the Christmas theme and compared each album to something associated with New Years Eve. Okay, off we go.

Timothy Brindle – Restoration
http://amzn.to/VklLoQ (mp3)

First hand insight into the rise and fall and rise of a spiritual leader, Brindle is brutally honest while navigating nice beats. Times Square Ball.

SEE ALSO: Shai Linne, S.O.
DON’T MISS: I’m the Problem, Christ Restores
[continue reading this post…]

SPORTS28 Dec 2012 12:12 pm

Well, it was another eventful weekend in the NFL and fortunately enough for me, I went 13-3 for my picks and notched 2 third place finishes in fantasy football. I did, of course, cut all three of last week’s duds and revamped just in time to blow out both teams competing against me. Also of note, the Bills lost to the Dolphins, which means this was officially a horrible season for them. The Redskins won, but the Giants and Cowboys lost, making this week’s Cowboys and Redskins matchup for all the marbles. It’s nice to see that rivalry mean something again. The Packers won again, giving them a little more breathing room heading into the playoffs. And the Steelers lost (and were officially eliminated from the playoffs), making it a good week all around.

The AFC playoffs are pretty much locked up. The teams are set, but some of the final positions are still up in the air. However, in the NFC, there are still some teams fighting for a spot. It’s certainly going to be a fun weekend to watch football. And, making it even more thrilling, every game is on Sunday. No Thursday night, Saturday night, of Monday night game. Also, it’s another divisional matchup week. Every game is a rivalry and anything can happen. I mean, the Redskins were terrible last year and they beat the Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl, TWICE. That makes it worth tuning in this week, even if the games have no implications on the playoffs, like say, the Browns vs. Steelers game. (Or, to be fair, the Bills/Jets game.)

Of further interest, the NFL announced the lineups for the Pro Bowl. It’s interesting, not because anyone wants to watch the Pro Bowl, but rather because everyone wants to argue about who the best running backs are in the league. Oddly enough, there were no Bills named to the AFC team. And this is a Pro Bowl team with FIVE members of the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs. 5 Chiefs, 0 Bills. Less surprising is that the the 49ers, Texans, and Patriots are sending the most players (9,8, and 7, respectively).
[continue reading this post…]

MUSIC&reviews27 Dec 2012 11:16 am

Oops! This was supposed to go live yesterday, but I got lost in all the wrapping paper and other stuff. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Back on track today.

We’re coming to a close on the year and on this catch-up series of Music of the Day posts. We’re heading into July with a two parter and this first part has some serious rock for you. To remind those just tuning in, here’s how we do the Music of the Day. You get a summary of my thoughts on each album in 25 words or less. Plus you get some recommendations of other artists that might interest you if you like the album as well as a couple key tracks to check out if you just want to get a bearing on the album. But that is not all… oh, no, that is not all. Only here at theTRu, you get a random comparison of the album according to the theme of the day (today’s is “Things that relate to Santa Claus”) which might make you smile. Okay, the rules are set, off we go.

Damita – Anticipation
http://amzn.to/Sy1ZaM (CD) | http://amzn.to/VklfqR (mp3)

Solid, determined, and mesmerizing vocals laced meticulously through modern, progressive beats. Damita sings like a fighter. When the bell rings, she’s still standing. Flying reindeer.

SEE ALSO: Mary Mary, Tamela Mann
DON’T MISS: Be Revealed, Still Here
[continue reading this post…]

MUSIC&reviews21 Dec 2012 01:35 pm

Happy Friday. No really, it’s Friday and it’s happy. And I have some Music of the Day to share. Today, we dive into June, which was kind of a slow month. As such, this is the ONLY June edition – the cream of the crop, so to speak. In case you’ve forgotten how it works, here’s a brief reminder. I summarize my thoughts on each album in less than 25 words, then assign a random item (today it’s one of the presents from the 12 Days of Christmas). I top it all off with 2 song recommendations and 2 other artists to check out if you like what you hear.

Children 18:3 – On the Run
http://amzn.to/VwBPcE (CD) | http://amzn.to/VwBUx8 (mp3)

I anticipate the energy and pomp of each new release. There’s singing and a-shouting, unexpected rhythmic breaks, guitar riffs aplenty, and more. Twelve Drummers Drumming.

SEE ALSO: House of Heroes, Sent By Ravens
DON’T MISS: What About Justice, All in Your Head

[continue reading this post…]

SPORTS21 Dec 2012 10:41 am

I expected to be 3-13 this week. As I was watching the results come in – and watching the Redskins manhandle the Browns – it seemed like all my pics were coming out wrong. Perception isn’t always reality, however, and I managed to land at 9-7, which is somewhat respectable. Of course, it gets trickier and trickier in the last two weeks, because motives have changed. Teams (not named the Patriots) who have secured their position in the playoffs tend to ease off of the throttle a bit and teams out of contention find individual players trying to assert themselves and prove their worth for next season.

The game of the week was the 49ers and the Patriots, which toyed mercilessly with my emotions in respect to my fantasy football teams. Yes, since I blew my mojo last week by bringing it up, I’m contending for 3rd place in both leagues. I lost both contests last week as both teams grossly underperformed. One team was projected to score over 130 points and barely managed half that. I blame the losses on Bryce Brown, Danario Alexander, and the Detroit Lions, who combined for about 3 of the 60 points they were expected to score collectively. I was still alive through most of the 3rd quarter of the 49ers/Patriots game. Then the Patriots figured out how to counter the 49ers defense and I was quickly done. Ah, humility.

Meanwhile, in the actual playoffs. The Packers clinched the division with a win over the Bears. The Redskins took the lead in a three-way tie for their division and the Bengals got one game closer to stealing the division away from the Ravens. So, there are still some interesting and important games going on this week including duels between the Bengals and Steelers and the Giants and Ravens (2 teams hoping to stop their fall from grace), as well as must-win games for the Cowboys, Bears, Rams, and Dolphins. But the biggest game of all involves the 49ers yet again, as they travel to Seattle and square up against the Seahawks, who have spent the last two weeks running up the scores on lesser teams. It will be a defensive struggle, for sure.

There’s also a slight schedule change. There’s no Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football is on Saturday night, because branding is more important than what the calendar actually says. Plus, the NFL didn’t think it would be fair for two teams to have played an extra game in case the world ends on Friday. I think that was how the schedule makers decided on that.
[continue reading this post…]

Bookshelf20 Dec 2012 11:17 am

Well, this isn’t a young adult fiction book. (The next review probably will be). In fact, I was planning to include more than one book today, but I got a little carried away on this one. We’re taking a look at a book about the faith of football players, coaches, and families, which is appropriate today, since later on I should have my weekly picks, predictions, and comments for the upcoming slate of NFL games. Until then, let’s dive in.

Men of Sunday – Curtis Eichelberger
I’m pretty good with words, but I’m not sure I can adequately articulate how disappointed I was by this book. Described as an exploration of the role faith has in the lives of NFL coaches, players, and wives, MEN OF SUNDAY proves to be a cursory glance at best and a confusing jumble of platitudes at worst. And the confusion stems from the very heart of the book, which is something of an internal argument Eichelberger appears to be conducting.

An intended central theme that emerges from the pages is that NFL players and their families are just like everyone else. They suffer with ailments, struggle with insecurities, fall prey to temptations, and face the same problems we all face as members of humanity. I know this, because it’s written over and over (and over) throughout the book, almost as if Eichelberger is trying to convince himself that it’s true.

However, this theme is betrayed by using terms like “ordinary people” and “regular people” to describe non-NFL employees. Coupled with an inherent weighting system that elevates NFL players above the fray, the stated central theme is modified between the lines to read something more like: NFL players are just like everyone else, except their problems are more severe, their struggles are more monumental, and, because of their success, fame, and fortune, they’re way more interesting, wise, and worth writing about.
[continue reading this post…]

MUSIC&reviews19 Dec 2012 05:23 pm

It’s time for another Music of the Day and we’re continuing to play catch up and go through the music that released earlier this year, while I wasn’t paying attention. Today we finish up May, with five more albums from a diverse crowd that makes things interesting. My neck is a little sore today and I’m not entirely certain it didn’t have something to do with the whiplash of switching back and forth between these artists.

Okay, you know the deal (or you should, at least). I take these albums, sit down with them, listen to them, and summarize my thoughts in 25 words or less. Then, feeling random as I often am, I’m assigning each one a classic Christmas movie. Finally, I’ll give you some recommendations on specific songs and other artists that may garner your fancy if these albums are up your alley. Got it? Good. Off we go…

Point of Grace – A Thousand Little Things
http://amzn.to/SxZvcr (CD) | http://amzn.to/YOMtMz (mp3)

I’m clearly not part of the target audience, but it’s hard not to enjoy these harmonies. Not their best, but still done well. Holiday Inn.

SEE ALSO: Karen Peck and New River, The Isaacs
DON’T MISS: Might Be Today, Good Enough
[continue reading this post…]

features&front page&Left to Write19 Dec 2012 11:41 am

I don’t pretend to have any answers a lot of the time, unless you’re one of my sons. That’s my premise. That aside, I didn’t write any book reviews yesterday as I had planned, because I was processing a Left to Write feature. In case you don’t know, Left to Write is a series I began years ago as an outlet for deeper discussions than whether or not the latest album release was any good or which artist signed on for a worldwide tour. I used to do these once a month and I’m trying to get back into that habit, but we start with one foot and follow with the other as time allows.

This one’s about asking the question of “Why?” as a response to tragedy or anything we disagree with. Obviously, it is something of a response to the recent school shooting, which has weighed heavily on our hearts. I’ve got two boys in elementary school and a wife teaching Kindergarten, so it hits home. Of course, there are questions. And some of my thoughts are captured in this issue of Left to Write. (I plan to have a Music of the Day ready for later today and maybe those book reviews as well.)

peace… love… bdg…

MUSIC&reviews17 Dec 2012 05:42 pm

I’m just going to dive right in, since it’s a busy Monday and I’m way behind schedule. We’re going through the music of 2012 and we’re in the midst of May. This is part 2 of 3 covering May releases and we’ll have part three on Wednesday, when I have a little more room to breathe. For now, enjoy these five selections and laugh out loud if you need to at the 25 words I use to describe them, the recommendations, and/or the famous Christmas character I’ve assigned to each of them. Off we go.

MeWithoutYou – Ten Stories
http://amzn.to/UeWBXu (CD) | http://amzn.to/UeWBqw (mp3)

Beautifully orchestrated cacophony of energy and sound like none you’ve heard before. A unique blend of singing, shouting, crafty melodies, rhythms, and hearty lyrics. Grinch.

SEE ALSO: Children 18:3, Listener
DON’T MISS: Cardiff Giant, Bear’s Vision of St. Agnes

The Choir – The Loudest Sound Ever Heard
http://amzn.to/R83Gyz (mp3)

Every few years or so, The Choir needs to come back together and remind us from whence we came as a sub-industry. Old Man Winter.

SEE ALSO: Charlie Peacock, The Longing
DON’T MISS: Cross That River, The Forest

[continue reading this post…]

Next Page »