Monday, March 31, 2008

Steely Dan - 31 years later

My married friends with (3) grown sons tell me all the time how uniquely different each of their sons were growing up and how they continue to be different.

I am finding that true as my boys grow older. It is fascinating to watch as their interests expand and take shape.

Ben seems to be the more musically interesting of the (3). That's not to say that Seth does not have musical talent - he does having taught himself the guitar and mandolin. Matt has the best singing voice of the (3) even though he wouldn't be caught dead singing solo in public.

Then, there is Ben who blew me away recently when he told me that I told him once that if he were going to be serious about his musical talents, then he would need to make sure he develops an appreciation for all styles and genres of music.

I don't ever remember telling him that, but if he says I did, then I must admit every now and then, wisdom somehow escapes out of my mouth.

Ben is definitely appreciating music...not to mention becoming one heck of a bass player and soon to be the section leader of the "tenors" (or "quads" as they are sometimes called) in the percussion section of his marching band at school.

Yesterday, Ben gets in the truck with me and immediately asks if I have my iPod in the truck. I have not seen my iPod since Matt borrowed it months ago. He then asks if I have any CD's in my truck - as he put it, "I have to listen to music when I am in the car."

So, I happen to have Michael McDonald's Motown CD, a CD of Sting, and one of my all-time favorites - "Aja" by Steely Dan. I asked if he had ever heard of Steely Dan - what was I thinking - Ben is 15. "Aja" was released in 1977.

We had a blast listening to all the songs - appreciating the sparseness of the production - able to hear every instrument cleanly - marveling at the bass lines, the classic Fender Rhodes sounds, and just great music.

I was thrilled that my 15-year old could appreciate something as classic as Steely Dan....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The End Of March

There is so much I have wanted to blog about since my last post. I can't figure out when and how to write.....just one of those seasons.

I am sitting here now writing because today we buried yet another person just 3 months into this new year - a person who had immeasurable influence on my oldest son.
During the very meaningful memorial service today, I was reminded of the time that teachers have with my kids - the potential for unforgettable influence. Mark Madison had that kind of influence on Seth. Seth's whole life is wrapped up in telling a story in a format that people can watch and listen and experience. Mr. Madison - the Media/TV Production instructor at Brentwood High School - shaped Seth's passion in his most formidable years - 4 years of high school. I know Seth's heart is broken over the passing of this man at the too young age of 58. I am grateful that so many people came today to acknowledge the impact he had on their lives.

Barely a month ago, my friend for many years and the first songwriter I ever signed to a publishing contract, Gary Driskell passed away. He was 50. Just not supposed to happen, but it did. His memorial service on March 1 was a celebration of everything that Gary wanted his life to be about - in giving honor of God. Tomorrow in worship, our whole service will be about heaven. One of the songs I chose to be sung is one of Gary's best songs - yes, it won a Dove Award for Song of the Year in 1991, but more importantly, as I reviewed the words of that song tonight - I realized how powerful and hopeful they are. I look forward to how they will minister to the many hundreds of people who will be in attendance in our worship services.

Then, to top all of this off - (and I know how trite this will appear as you read it), probably the saddest, but so profound movie I have ever watched is CASTAWAY. It has been on all weekend on TNT. I can't not watch it. I keep catching bits and pieces of it. I own the DVD, but resist ever opening the package to place in the DVD player to watch because I know the effect it has on me. I still remember watching it in the movie theater. It took me weeks to get over it, and I am not sure if I ever did. So powerfully written and acted - not to mention the incredible musical score - wow......what emotion.....

Sadness, sorrow, pain, hurt, suffering.......all of these things will pass away, but they are so very real for so many people - maybe that is part of why I keep doing what I do.....I am not a doctor or a nurse or a brain surgeon - I don't have that power or ability to literally save someone's life. I am simply an encourager - I am a believer in the hope of the message of the Gospel. More and more, I am experiencing first hand those people who have no life without that hope. So, every Sunday we gather to remind one another - to encourage one another that apart for Christ, we have nothing.

My ramblings continue to ramble......tomorrow we talk about heaven - tonight I am sad for my wife who lost her father earlier this year - I am sad for the family members who still grieve the death of their husband, father, son named Gary Driskell, and now the wife and son and brother of Mark Madison. At the same time, I must praise God for giving us hope - where would we be without it?