long way down...

Dianne has a great ear for new tunes. She is always on the alert for emo, trip-hop and industrial groove songs that cut deep. Last night we heard Tom Odell's "Long Way Down" and it totally grabbed her attention - and thus mine, too.

For the past few years I haven't taken in a lot of new music. Mostly its been wood shedding on the upright bass for me and learning the ways of jazz.  Maybe it has something to do with the dawning of spring - or semi-retirement - or just a new groove. Whatever it is, I find myself yearning for a variety of new songs in my life. I've got to keep up my practice of the standards and I'll always be fascinated by the play of the bebop masters. But I hear Cinematic Orchestra is back out on tour with their electronica meets hip hop sound. And we're taking in Lisa Fischer next Friday with her stellar Grand Baton Band.

Take Gorillaz, for example. It seems I've been doing too much church stuff to get down with these cats - and it is my loss in spades. Check out the fun poppin' on this track.

Same goes for Hugo's remix of Jay Z's "99 Problems."  I'm not a fan or supporter of gratuitous ugly language about women. Like some of the old school hip hop artists say: "these days the industry is filled with dumb 
misogynists talkin' trash as they chase the money." So it is with a ton of qualifications that I find myself enjoying this foray into "gangsta bluegrass" - but I do. (NOTE: For those not taking in the hip hop masters, please know that this is waay less offensive and less challenging than Jay Z's original. Still, to be forewarned is to be forearmed...)

And lest there be any confusion, consider Beyounce's masterpiece: "Lemonade." She gives us a Black, womanist wall of songs in a visual album that is every bit as powerful - and significantly more redemptive - than most her male competitors. If you saw her at this year's Grammy Awards, you saw a staggering Earth Mother of strength, integrity, sensuality and compassion.  

More and more I am convinced that old Walter Brueggemann is right: we are entering into a time of religious, political and cultural exile that holds the possibility of new life. If, of course, we grieve and open our hearts and minds to the sacred imagination. As I listen to the new music all around me I am starting to hear something of the Lord's voice calling us beyond the fear into the beloved community.


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