Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison

I grew up listening to Van Morrison. I remember Moondance playing at my dad’s house very consistently when I was there. He’s always been one of my favorite songwriters, and he’s Irish, so that instantly brings him up a notch in my book. He has a very diverse collection of music, from his time with “Them” to his gospel music, he’s covered the gamut of musical styles.

Tupelo Honey is a perfect example of a relaxing Van Morrison tune.


 

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t keep us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t stop us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You know she’s alright
You know she’s alright with me
She’s alright, she’s alright (she’s an angel)

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around the seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because she’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like the honey, baby, from the bee
She’s my baby, you know she’s alright…..

40 Mark Strasse by The Shins

The Shins
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

My friend Kyle explained to me recently that The Shins’ career really took off with the soundtrack for the movie Garden State. I have MPR/The Current to thank for my exposure to The Shins and many other great indie-rock bands over the years.

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I’ve kinda been obsessed with it lately. It may be that it is so musically pleasing, yet unpredictable at the same time.


 

Is it all so very simple
And horribly complex?
You’re suffering
And there’s nothing coming next

Your mom smokes in the kitchen
Her voice a cutting drone
You’re creeping out, you pass the bar
Your father’s second home
That leaves you on your own

Nights I’d often watch you
Float across the grounds
Out the gate to the motorway
What secrets have you found?

You had to know I wanted
Something from you then
Too young to know just what it was
Something more than a friend
Is that you at the end?

Well, you play in the street at night
You’re blown like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
Are you gonna let these Americans
Put another dent in your life?

My mother says your dirty
They’re gonna find you dead
But have you got that final chapter
written in your head?

‘Cause every single story
Is a story about love
Both the overflowing cup
And the painful lack thereof
You got the heart of a dove

But you play in the street at night
You blow just like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
You’ll have to lose all them childish notions
If you’re gonna let these American boys
Put another dent in your life

You play in the street at night
You’re blown just like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
You’ll have to lose all them childish notions
Are you gonna let these Americans
Put another dent in your life?

Everybody’s Hurting by Jakob Dylan

So, I’m a couple of years behind on listening to this album, but hopefully it’s new to some of you. Anyone from my generation should be familiar with Jakob Dylan from The Wallflowers. I really like the turn he’s taken with his solo projects.

“Women + Country” was produced by T-Bone Burnette, who also produced “Raising Sand” – the collaboration between Allison Krauss and Robert Plant. I attribute my instant approval of Dylan’s newest album in large part to Burnette’s involvement. “Raising Sand” is one of my favorite albums because of the subtle, yet beautiful harmonies, the use of the pedal/lap steel, and the western style guitar parts. My experience with “Women + Country” has been comparable thus far.

Jakob Dylan – Everybody’s Hurting (Spotify)

Been walking the dirt floor, my eyes are open Lord
Where did you go, have we left you bored?
On down this unholy well we rolled
Stirring barrels in hell to be warm
It’s further back down than to high ground
Only one thing is certain
That’s everybody
Everybody’s hurting

We come from the country where the rain follows plow
And the evenings are cold enough to pluck your feathers
out
We hear your engines roaring deep and loud
As we work the mules on this bludgeoned ground
We’ve hunted these hills dry
We’ve long outlasted the winter and our last wood pile
Only one thing is certain
That’s everybody
Everybody’s hurting

Through rolling acres of boneyards we drift
Our spirits’ been broken been splintered to bits
Faith is believing what you ain’t so
My sweetheart we’ve got to learn to live with these ghosts
They can’t leave and we can’t go

We’d sell this valley if we could go up north
Where the sun sets dripping buckets of gold
Through snow topped thunderheads and rows of wind
clouds

Coming down this mountain how sweet salvation sounds
With our hands out like lowly pilgrims
As the old men death salute the young ones in
Already know what we’re just learning
That’s everybody
Everybody’s hurting

That Wasn’t Me by Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile
Location: Seattle, WA

When I think of Brandi Carlile, I think of the range between strength and vulnerability in her vocals. She has mastered the art of giving just enough control of her voice to her emotions to keep her songs musically pleasing, yet heart-wrenching as well. I remember hearing her first hit song, “The Story” and being immediately impressed by the dynamics in her vocals alone.

I love the gospel feel of her new song, “That Wasn’t Me.” I don’t know who she’s singing to, but there sure seems to be a story behind this song. I love how you almost get the idea that she’s trying to tell this person that she knows she’s screwed up and she wants to turn things around, even if she says it in a roundabout way.

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I’ve got something to say
I’m not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you’ve changed.

Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, that wasn’t me.

When you’re lost you will toss every lucky coin you’ll ever trust
And you’ll hide from your god like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
But you’ll learn who you are even if it doesn’t take your life

But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone
I wanna believe do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will catch you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that’s what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

Cannot Keep You by Gungor

Gungor
Location: Denver, CO

I really appreciate Michael Gungor’s desire to dive into scripture with his songs and really tell a story. In songwriting, for me, it can be easy to either take directly from scripture without letting the truth about the words really sink in, or try to tackle a subject so obscure that its meaning is lost on the listener/worshiper. Gungor has a great balance of these two things. They also have an amazing ability to add the subtle use of uncommon instruments to produce just the right sound.

I chose to highlight “Cannot Keep You” because I believe this song really reflects the trap I can fall into. So often I catch myself feeling as if I am saved by my ‘righteousness.’ Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.” I have been forgiven much; more than I could ever imagine. But I am on a constant journey to discover how offensive my sin really is and how long, how wide, how deep and how high the love of Christ is. The more I understand the weight of my sin and the love it took to wash me clean, the more I will overflow with that love in the streets, in the prisons and in the churches.


 

They tried to keep you in a tent
They could not keep you in a temple
Or any other idols, to see and understand

We cannot keep you in a church
We cannot keep you in a Bible
Or it’s just another idol to box you in

They could not keep you in their walls
We cannot keep you in ours either
You are so much greater

Who is like the Lord
The maker of the Heavens
Who dwells with the poor
And he lifts them from the ashes
And seats them among princes
Who is like the Lord

We’ve tried to keep you in our tents
We’ve tried to keep you in our temples
We’ve worshiped all our idols, we want all that to end
We will find you in the streets
We will find you in the prisons
And even in our Bibles and churches

We cannot contain, cannot contain
The glory of your name
We cannot contain, cannot contain
The glory of your name

Who is like the lord
The maker of the heavens
Lover of my soul
Who takes me from the ashes
Who heals me of my blindness
Who is like the Lord

Born and Raised by John Mayer

You have to admire John Mayer. His career has taken many twists and turns, musically speaking, over the years. The greatest thing about him is obviously the ease with which he handles a guitar. Be it electric or acoustic, he is incredibly talented. His 2006 album, Continuum, is most certainly one of my favorite albums of the last decade.

With his new release, Born and Raised, he is pursuing more of a country/folk feel. Along with the new album comes a new look. As my friend Trevor Cook said, “John Mayer transitions to the Johnny Depp Dirty Pop Country.”

I’d like to highlight the title track. So far, it is my favorite song on the album. Take note that the video here has a weird pitch/modulation thing at the end because I couldn’t find a better version.

 

Now and then I pace my place
I can’t retrace how I got here
I cheat the light to check my face
It’s slightly harder than last year

Then all at once it gets hard to take
It gets hard to fake what I won’t be
Cause one of these days I’ll be born and raised
And it’s such a waste to grow up lonely

I still have dreams, they’re not the same
They don’t fly as high as they used to
I saw my friend, he’s in my head
And he said, “You don’t remember me, do you?”

I still got time, I still got faith
I call on both of my brothers
I got a mom, I got a dad
But they do not have each other

So ride on up, take your place
And show your face to the morning
Cause one of these days you’ll be born and raised
And it all comes on without warning

One For My Baby by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen (Performed by Frank Sinatra)

Frank Sinatra
1915-1998

Frank Sinatra is a man that is known to most of us as a great performer, and that is why I’ve chosen one of his songs for the “Timeless” pick this week. This song was written around 1943, and first recorded by Sinatra in 1947. I really enjoy listening to guys like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin from time to time. Something that my mom said about the guys from the Rat Pack really stuck out to me. She said, “It reminds you of a simpler time.” Although I wasn’t alive during this era, I see what she means. There’s just a feeling about it.

I should also mention that it’s my wife and my anniversary today, “So make it one for my baby, and one more for the road.” I just wish I could pull off a fedora like Ol’ Blue Eyes.


 
It’s quarter to three,
There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set em up Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know

We’re drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I got the routine
Put another nickel in the machine
I’m feeling so bad
Won’t you make the music easy and sad

I could tell you a lot
But you gotta to be true to your code
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You’d never know it
But buddy I’m a kind of poet
And I’ve got a lot of things I wanna say
And when I’m gloomy, you’ve gotta listen to me
Till it’s all, all talked away

Well, that’s how it goes
And Joe I know you’re gettin’ anxious to close
So thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn’t mind
My bending your ear

But this torch that I found
It’s gotta be drowned
Or it soon might explode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

Gold by Interference and Glen Hansard

Interference
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Most of us probably know this song from its appearance in the movie Once with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The band that appears in the scene featuring the song Gold is Interference. Led by Fergus O’Farrell, the band has epitomized Irish folk in this song.

A quote from their website reveals the influence they had on bands like The Frames:

“We used to go up to the attic where they played and just watch in awe… we were always learning from them.” – Glen Hansard (The Frames)

And I love her so.
I wouldn’t trade her for gold.
Walking on moonbeams
I was born with a silver spoon.
Hell I’m gonna be me.
Gonna be free.
Walking on moonbeams
And staring out to sea.
And if a door be closed
Then a row of homes start building
And tear your curtains down
For sunlight is like gold.
Hell you better be you
Do what you can do.
Walking on moonbeams
And staring out to sea.
Cause if your skin was soil
How long do you think before they’d start digging.
And if your life was gold
How long do you think you’d stay living.
And I love her so.
I wouldn’t trade her for gold.

Cold, Cold Heart by Hank Williams

Hank Williams
1923 – 1953

I chose Hank Williams for the “Lyrical Highlight” this week, although, we can see his influence in much of the music over the past 70 years in more ways than just his lyrics. My friend and pastor, Spencer Bernard, pointed me in the direction of Hank Williams years ago. Since that time, Hank has always been someone I can listen to for inspiration with his simple, yet profound music.

I tried so hard my dear to show that you’re my every dream.
Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do
In anger unkind words are spoke that make the teardrops start
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind,and melt your cold cold heart

You’ll never know how much it hurts to see you sit and cry
You know you need and want my love yet you’re afraid to try
Why do you run and hide from life,to try it just ain’t smart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
The more I learn to care for you,the more we drift apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Murdered Son by John Mark McMillan

John Mark McMillan
Location: Charlotte, NC

I have my friend, Kyle Lindsay, to thank for introducing me to John Mark McMillan’s honest, yet unique style of worship. I feel that John Mark’s heart for his Savior is richly expressed in all his music, but Murdered Son particularly reveals a broken spirit singing out for the priceless gift of Christ.

You set us up above all the stars
You set us on a high place by where you are
While we were dead you made us your friends
And scattered our debt upon the wind

Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Once from the dust, once from the grave
Daughters and sons from the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves

Glory to one
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection

Glory to the one who
Who overcame in death
Glory to the one
Who paid for my offenses
Glory to the one

Once from the dust
Once from the grave
Daughters and sons
From the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults
Even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves
And scattered our debt upon the waves

© 2011 Integrity’s Alleluia! Music/SESAC (adm at EMICMGPublishing.com) CCLI#5921818