advent songs: scrooge, the music snob, approved.

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Monday, November 17th, 2008

advent songs: scrooge, the music snob, approved.

i’ve blogged at least a couple times about and i continue to check regularly (they also have a blog/rss feed if you’re interested in keeping up) for new music. if you didn’t read about noisetrade, in essence, it’s a free/pay-what-you-want music download website. founded by derek webb, it’s really a cool way for artists to get their music out and for people to check out some music they might not have otherwise come across. i personally have discovered so much good stuff and have paid exactly zero dollars to do it.

one of those music projects i discovered was an unlikely discovery. sojourn music, which is the music ministry of sojourn community church in louisville, kentucky, has released a new album called advent songs. i knew nothing about the church or the music ministry, but the artwork looked interesting and, of course, it was free. (attention artists: when you create good music, make sure you spend the same time producing great cover/booklet art. research shows—and i prove—that people are more likely to pick up albums of artists that they know nothing about if it has visually appealing artwork. it’s only fair to assume that if the package sucks, the music will follow suit.) the music is really incredible and beautiful…but what makes that surprising is that it’s christmas music…
why am i surprised, you ask? let me give you a quick overview of me around christmas: does the name scrooge mean anything to you? sad, but true. don’t get me wrong. i absolutely love christmas and have my whole life. i look forward to christmas. but…there’s a few reasons i’ve sort of become a scrooge:
1. rampant commercialization of christmas. the fact is, christmas is about a savior who stepped down from heaven and came to live with us. not tickle-me elmo. not cabbage patch dolls. not nintendo wii’s. not any of that crap.
2. christmas happens in december, not august. (or july, or whatever). when i walk into a store in august and they have a giant christmas section set up already, i throw up a little in my mouth (or in the nearest stocking…).
3. christmas music is terrible. and cheesy. it’s really bad. again, the main issue is that christmas music has become a commodity that has very little to do with a baby messiah and more to do with a profitable fourth quarter for record labels.
4. removed in order to respect my wife’s wishes… (thus breaking one of my few blog rules about not editing ex post facto, but i prefer my wife over my rules…)
all this to say that in spite of my scrooge-like behavior during this time of the year, i have listened to this album of christmas songs several times today since downloading it (and, just ask christen, i’m an anti-listen to christmas music in november kind of person). what sets advent songs apart from other christmas music is that it’s really beautifully done and it’s primarily a worship album—not just a christmas album. it worships god, not sticks him under a tree with boxes and bows.

one final note concerning sojourn community church. i heard about this church a few months ago, but didn’t make the connection at all until just a little while ago (long after i had listened to the album multiple times). like i said, they’re based in louisville and really have a heart for the city of louisville and the arts. they produce music, foster a community of visual arts and really just connect to the rhythm and culture of the city. you can check out their website to find out more, but this is all to say that some of what they’re doing there is the kind of thing i’m wanting to build here in little rock. i think there’s an overlooked community here in little rock that wants to explore faith through the lens of the arts—music, visual arts, writing, film, spoken words, intelligent dialogue, online communities, etc. i’ve dropped little hints on the blog before about some stuff we have brewing, but soon and very soon, i will give a very detailed and “official” announcement about plans on the horizon. i’m very excited to share it in greater detail!

alright, here’s a couple tracks from the album. (don’t forget to go to noisetrade and download your own copy. it’s free!)
amen, amen:

god is with us: