Category Archives: Life
About October every year I start to search for new Christmas songs to add to my growing list of carols… I have enough for a whole days listening so far.
However wading through some of the new albums is like listening to the sound of a wrecking ball smash all your favourite Christmas songs into 1000 little tiny pieces.
So what is the best of this years Christmas offering?
For Those about to ROCK:
OK… so for the lovers of Christmas songs that rock a little harder than the usual…. here is this year’s picks:
John Schilitt: The Christmas project
For those who remember the good old days of Christian rock, you would remember the legendary band Petra. John Schlitt was lead singer for the popular Christian rock band from 1984-2006. For those who like the whole 80′s hair rock, and the rock from the 90′s such as Def Leppard, Aerosmith etc, this would be a good fit… rocking up some old classics, and like any good rock band from that era the vocals are enough to break window panes… let me hear you Scccccccccreeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmm!
Side note: If you are looking for a little rocking single, download ‘Little Drummer Boy’ by Whiteheart… a bit of a Christmas rock classic that you should have in your collection
For those looking for some soul:
Ok something heavy isn’t your thing what about some Gospel based stuff.
Marvin Sapp: A Christmas Card
Marvin, who made his name in the contemporary gospel group ‘Commissioned’ with his distinct Gospel sound, gives a rounded Christmas album with ‘A Christmas Card’ . This album gives a good mixture of new Christmas focused songs as well as a scattering of old classics with a modern Gospel twist.
Jonathan Butler: Merry Christmas to you
The first Christmas album by the two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler is a little gem. Gospel, soul and jazz tinged Christmas songs with a couple of new songs to make sure this album is one for the stocking. It has some great gentle jazz infused guitar colouring this album from the start to the end… just enough to keep you wanting more, like that turkey you’ll go for seconds for!
A little poppy and something new:
I LOVE discovering people who are doing some of my favourite songs in new and exciting ways… and I love finding albums that bring new Christmas songs and that tell the Christmas message (which is thousands of years old) in a new and exciting way!
For King & Country: Into the silent night
This has to be the greatest find for me this Christmas.
With the Indie pop infused feel of the likes of FUN (Some Nights) this EP is just a cool little album, mixing great harmonies with beats that push the songs forward and the pop sensitivity of a marshmallow in a hot chocolate – sweet and gooey with depth and flavour.
The single ‘Baby Boy’ is my favourite new song this Christmas with a chorus that cries ‘Allelujah’… pushing towards the phrase “Endless hope and endless joy started with a Baby Boy” – isn’t that how Christmas started?
Citizens: Repeat the Sounding joy
For some funky Indie pop from Mark Driscolls ‘Mars Hill Church’, check out Citizens. Funky guitars and horn sections give a feel of SKA music without actually being a SKA band… it’s great to hear this sound re-imagined. This is a fun album and will almost guarantee to get your foot tapping at some of the arrangement. The great thing about albums that sit with more of an Indie feel is that they often aren’t as polished as some other albums… and believe me for albums like this it’s a great thing.
The Classic ‘Christmas’ album:
Some people are just looking for a Christmas album that does stray to much from the norm… it’s the sound of the malls and I understand that… so hear are some new albums with that middle of the road Christmas sound.
Brandon Heath: Christmas is Here
“Chestnuts roasting by an open fire…” accompanied by the sound of strings and a soft snare drum being played by sliding brushes. This sums up this album. For those who like Micheal Buble then this is the type of album you need to add to your list this Christmas.
Sidewalk Prophets: Merry Christmas to You
Like Brandons album the Sidewalk Prophets ‘Merry Christmas to You’ is filled with strings and fun as the band focus on bringing you faithful renditions of some of the classic arrangements that we know for Christmas… From the ‘doo wops’ from ‘White Christmas’ to the haunting melodies of ’What Child is this’…
Just for Fun:
A Christmas is a time where we remember the gift we were given by God at Christmas, his son Jesus Christ. It should be a celebration, and while there are times to be reflective it’s about coming together as a family and celebrating.
If only I could find an album that is fun, but Christ focused, family focused but not stiff around the neck…
The Robertson Family: Duck the Halls, a Robertson Family Christmas
The Robertson family have shot to fame with their fly on the wall reality TV show called ‘Duck Dynasty’, that show’s a multi-millionaire Christian redneck family, that made it’s money from making Duck callers. The focus of the family is Christ, family and the love for the south, and these guys (and gals) will make you chuckle out loud as they just say things as they see it.
The albums is true to this also, with members of the Robertson family reading parts of the Christmas story and a mixture of a few classics like “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Away in the Manger” with award winning bluegrass star Alison Krauss. Most the album is a fun country/bluegrass redneck Christmas with “Santa looks a lot like Daddy” “Camouflage and Christmas lights” and “Hairy Christmas” with Country stars like George Strait, Luke Bryan and Josh Turner also helping out along the way.
This album is worth the money for the closing prayer alone… remember what Christmas is about and thanking Jesus for dying on the cross and raising again so that we could too. If only every Christmas album could be as upfront about the gospel message as this one is.
I think it’s when the artist can release an album that when stripped back stands on it’s own merits, both lyrically and melodically… and still makes you feel like it’s relevant and forward focused.
This is why I love Luke’s approach to his music “I try write each song as if it’s my last” says Dowler.
Lets be honest, with all the hype of album releases and hit songs and the occasional craze hit single, isn’t the thing the music buying public is most interested in songs that connect to them?
These new songs from Lukes newest EP ‘West’ are the best he’s produced yet.
The EP starts of with the pulse of the bass drum , and some percussive clicks, before the familiar groove of the acoustic guitar pull the song ‘Revelation Firewater’ in.
I knew when I heard this track that Luke had grown. It was a strange mixture of Dave Matthews and Bruce Springsteen but still uniquely Dowler…
‘Good Enough’ has to be my favourite track on the album… this is the type of track that Luke fits best in. Sure, he can do other styles well (as this album will show) however this type of track is where Luke is G.O.L.D.
‘Good enough’ is a heart felt track that has a swag of a southern song, the gospel feel church and a whole heap of soul… it starts off beautifully with an acoustic guitar and Luke lamenting “You’re taking me for a ride, but I’m doing all the driving”. It’s a soul searching song that leaves Luke asking “Let me know when it’s good enough for you”… as the song grows so does the soul of the song.
‘Hold up the Sky’ a simple bluesy track that again showcases Dowler’s craft of songwriting. This is the most stripped back track of the album and is what Luke is all about. This is heart and soul. This is about love. This is about adventure. This is about creating. This is about holding on to the things you treasure the most.
“Most people want the best things in life, but they don’t want to watch them grow”
The EP finishes with what I think is a bit of an odd choice. ‘Halfway’ is a track that is heavy on the drum machine beats and is a bit of a distraction from the path the other tracks have laid before it. While I can see the need to try and highlight the fact that Luke is multi-dimensional and can do a variety of styles… it just feels a bit out of place… It’s great that Luke tried to push new ground, however what Luke does best is the heart felt, soul tinged melodies that connect with you when you least expected.
And so ‘West’ seems to show a new ‘all grown up’ version of Luke Dowler.
Luke has discovered his groove, his soul and his heart and this is the most complete album from Luke yet.
If this is the new direction that Luke is going to be going in, I really look forward to see more of it.
Jars of Clay have found the sound that defines them…. they have found their place on the musical landscape.
From their debut self titled album in 1995 where they were “the Christian Toad the Wet Sprocket” to “If I left the Zoo” where they almost had a ‘Counting Crows’ feel to them, there have been touches of 80′s instrumentation added to the mix over the years too, but now…. here is a band comfortable in who they are…. a band with it’s own sound that is a real accumulation of their musical journey.
‘Inland’ is the first album since Jars of Clays 2010 collaborative effort ‘The Shelter’ – so which Jars of Clay will turn up?
From the very first tracks you hear that this is going to be a very organic album…. it has a very Indie heart to this album and it’s no surprise as you see that Tucker Martine who has worked with the likes of The Decemberists, R.E.M. , Beth Orton and Sufjan Stevens all of which are Indie alternative folk artists.
Tucker is definitely at the helm and you can hear his influence on the album with tracks like ‘Fall Asleep’ bringing back memories of R.E.M.’s ‘Night swimming’.
One of the greatest things about Jars of Clay is they aren’t worried about ‘the usual’ radio sound…. and that has to be rewarded. The music is something that is onomatopoeic in it’s approach you hear the lyrics and the music is almost mimicking the feel, the sound, the tension of the song and you hear the alarms ring as they sing about getting your attention.
This isn’t a comfortable album to listen to… it’s alternative in it’s approach, it doesn’t have nice edges to it and will push you… if not lyrically…. maybe musically. I like that… music with dimension to it…. (who would have guessed that it could happen in this day and age) . The band even touches on previously untouched ground like ‘Loneliness and Alcohol’. While I’m sure other Christian artists may have touched in the subject Jars of Clay have given it the real focus it needs:
“Tell me of the world you’re leaving
While you’re swinging like a wrecking ball
Bury all your love in secrets
And loneliness in alcohol”
I love how the album signs off…. with the song ‘Inland’- no man is an Island and it’s a multi-dimensional approach to it… community and the God that never leaves you.
“Just keep heading inland and come on home to me
Yeah come on home to me”
This is the most complete album that Jars of Clay have released (maybe ever) and certainly deserves a listen…. even if it’s only for tracks like ‘After the Fight’ and ‘Fall asleep’ however it’s an album that has the best of what the band has done previously (in sound and lyric) but has enough foresight and edge to give this album longevity that would leave other Christian albums that will be coming out this year lost in this years offerings as the compete for the latest sound.
Inland will stand alone as a pioneer album in a world of albums that are happy to be in the safe flow of the mainstream…. and this is the Irony of Jars of Clay.
Yesterday, Kanye West’s latest album Yeezus dropped with the third track titled, “I Am A God (Feat. God).” The song has already sparked reaction and has been likened to John Lennon’s remarks about the Beatles’ being “more popular than Jesus.” But maybe Kanye’s song is something we identify with more than we’d like to admit?
There are times when our culture presents to us controversial statements and issues which cause us to respond with a sense of urgency. We instinctively know that what is being communicated is wrong and therefore we become anxious to make our (presumably right) perspective known. In the case of Kanye West’s new song “I Am a God,” the immediate reaction from the Christian community is to get offended and defensive.
Kanye’s worldview quickly reveals itself with ridiculous lines like:
I’m not the most high,
but I’m a close high.
Wait, did Kanye just compare himself to God? Yes, he did! He draws this conclusion based on his genuine power and influence in the culture. It’s not only what he is saying that offends us, but it’s also the platform from which he says it. The size of his soapbox makes the sting of his statements all the more severe.
Issues of the heart
As we survey the culture and pass judgment, it is easy to bypass the issues of our own hearts (Jer. 17:9). The things in the culture that offend us most can often act as a mirror into our own souls. As Kanye presents himself as a “god” in his lyrics, we do the same in our thoughts and with our actions, desiring to be a god over our own little kingdoms. How many times have we esteemed ourselves more than our brothers? How many times do we exploit our position of influence for our own benefit? Even good theology can become a point of arrogance when we lord our understanding over our weaker brothers. As we praise God for his grace, we conveniently find ways to give the credit back to ourselves. We compare our achievements to others and pat ourselves on the back for all our accomplishments. The heart of the issue is a desire to be bigger, better, and more known than all the people around us—including God (Rom. 1:18–23).
The things in the culture that offend us most can often act as a mirror into our own souls.
In this way, we sing the same song as Kanye. His lyrics reflect back the reality of our sin. We share the same sin and contribute our own verse of self-exaltation to Kanye’s song. We all, whether we acknowledge it or not, are contributors to this track, which is the soundtrack to our lives. And rather than peering into culture and placing ourselves above it, we must take this opportunity to see ourselves as a Kanye. We must repent of our own idolatry and look to the one who truly sits high above the heavens on his eternal throne.
We are not a “god”
The truth is we are not a god. We are creatures made by the one true God. We have been made to reflect him, not be him.
But what is God like?
Consider the life of Jesus and the characteristics he displayed as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). Being all-powerful and worthy of all praise, he emptied himself and became the suffering servant to fill our greatest need (Phil. 2:5–8).
When you think about power and influence, consider God, who created the entire universe, including the very voice box of Kanye. He lowered himself by becoming a man and dwelt among us in humility. He came to serve, not to be served (Matt. 20:28). The bread of life did not come “demanding croissants” but rather offered himself as a sacrifice for others. He demonstrated compassion toward us by taking upon himself the judgment that we deserved because of our sin and our claim to be our own god.
So when the radio plays “I Am A God” fifty times a day, remember your idolatry. Remember we are a Kanye, and remember the length to which God went to save us from our sin
Why my friends frustrate me, annoy me and get under my skin … (or …how I’m growing thanks to my friends)
Isn’t it funny how you make friends?
There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to it.
Some are like you… some are not…
Some are for a short time in your life… some are for life.
There is no real scientific equation that can be proven that if you followed it would guarantee that you will have a true friend for life… sure there are always words and phrases that people use when they talk about friends… Loyal… trusting… support you… are there for you… have got your back… Are always there for you… etc.
And when I look at my closest friends a lot of these phrases are true, but there is something that surprised me as I looked closer at my friends… it was the things that I admired about my friends… it was the things that frustrated me about my friends… and the things that made me stronger because of them.
If I was to describe myself I would use phrases like:
- Big Picture
- Breaks rules
- Likes to play/have fun
- Takes risks
- Talks a lot
- Vision focused
It starts to paint a picture of someone who is creative and always on the go…
My brain is usually pretty full of new an creative ways to do things for people, express myself and communicate.
However it also paints a picture of someone who maybe isn’t as grounded all the time as I maybe can be.
So I sat down and looked at my closest friends… and it was actually amazing to see how the people I valued the most were people who were almost the exact opposite to me.
My closest friends were:
- Reduces risks
- Goals and objective focused
And I wondered why I kept getting frustrated by them on one hand… and drawn closer to them with the other.
And when you look at the two lists it doesn’t take much to notice it’s because we go about the same tasks in a totally different way...
We look at things differently…
We fulfill different parts of the same vision or job.
Where I would be used to come up with an idea… I’m not the best person to follow through with the idea, that’s where people like my friends excel…
While I think about things in big picture form… my friends are all about the detail.
While I am being emotional about the people… my friends are looking at the facts
It’s frustrating sometimes because they will sometimes tell me something and I’ll be like “Darn they’re right… AGAIN”
But there is this real sense of Iron sharpening iron… my closest friends have free reign (within reason) to tell me the true as they see it… they can pull me up on things that they think I may be lacking or neglecting… they can be truthful even when they know it may be something I may not want to hear.
But here is the thing… I trust them so much that they have permission to talk into my life… and as a result I have learnt so much from the closest of my friends
I said to one friend not that long ago how much I admired them and the things that they have shown me… but I was surprised when they said to me how they had learnt from me the art of “looking to the left and the right when moving forward…” and it made me think… “Yes this is what about true friendship is about”
There is a verse in the Bible that is often used at weddings:
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)
You see it seems to me that we are to join with other to help minimise our weaknesses… and maximise our strengths.
If I was with someone who was to much the same as me… I wouldn’t grown anywhere near as much and I certainly wouldn’t have someone with me who helps me where I am weak.
Or to use the famous quote from Jerry Maguire “You complete me”
Because if you look at my two lists above… my closest friends literally complete me!
We’re two sides of the same coin.
It’s been starting to frustrate me how people talk about faith as something that ‘just happens’ but the more I read the Bible the more I discover that God often requires us to step out first… and at THAT point God comes and takes over.
Faith is a VERB… a DOING word.
I’ve heard it said “If God wants it to happen it will” and while that is true, it seems that we still have to do something to prepare.
It seems to me that God has placed dreams in our hearts for a reason… and it may be days, weeks, months, years before we see the fruit of that dream… but it must be in our heart for a reason.
So what are you doing to prepare?
I read through the Bible and I see miracle after miracle where the person had to ‘step out’ first before the miracle happen…
A few examples are:
- The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and God commanded the priest to step into the river (Joshua 3:8) – it wasn’t until they had stepped into the river did the river part.
- Jesus asked the staff to fill the jugs with water and take them to the head manager of the house before the water turned into wine… not only did the staff know they were taking water to the head of the house but they knew it was from the place where the people got water used to clean their feet.
- Mark 16:20 says people went forth and preached everywhere… with signs following
- God told Joshua that he had given the City of Jericho to Joshua… however they still had to walk around the walls 7 times in faith before they saw the miracle happen.
It seems that the Bible is FULL of stories where God asks us to step out in faith first, and then the miracles happen.
We shouldn’t just pray about our dreams… we should act on it.
Act as if God is going to deliver on his promise.
Now let me give FULL disclosure!
- We don’t want to put God in a box and say “This is the only way that God works miracles” because our God is certainly bigger than anything we could ever believe or imagine.
- This is NOT some “name it and claim it” scheme. You see it HAS to be in the will of God.
- It’s not about getting God to give us what WE want.
- It’s not about working hard to prove anything to God, in exchange for a miracle
So don’t just pray… because if our prayer isn’t accompanied by acting then there is a good chance we won’t go anywhere. It’s about putting feet to our faith or put another way:
“After kneeling down, we need to stand up and step out in faith” – Mark Batterson
I like that…
I once heard Pastor Francis Chan use the analogy of cleaning your room. He says:
“When my daughter comes to me and I say to her “Go clean your room” she knows better than to come back and say
“Hey Dad I went away and memorized everything you said… you said to me ‘Go clean your room’ ” …
She’s also not going to come back and say “I remembered what you said and I can tell you now that I can say ‘Go clean your room… in GREEK’
Or “We’re going to get our friends together every week and we’re going to study what it might look like if I was to clean my room.”
It doesn’t work does it?We have to at some point we have to step out…
Do you believe that God has planted that dream in your heart… do you know in your knower, that this dream is from God?
Then after you pray… Stand up… and step out in faith.
Today we celebrate Mothers day.
Now it has to be said Mothers have one of the hardest jobs that you can have… not only do they have to carry the baby inside them for 9 month (while it takes first pick of all the nutrients etc…), they then have to give birth to him/her, and from that point on they are assigned to a full time job with no weekends EVER… In fact there is as saying that says
“Yay it’s Friday, the weekend is finally here… oh wait… that’s right I’m a MOTHER”
Isn’t that true… and lets be fair how many Mothers still had to make their own dinner and tidy their houses for their family today? (guys you really need to step up!)
As much as I think days like Valentines day have been “Hallmarked” to sell as many cards as possible… Mothers day is one I will happily buy into.
However there is a trend in our society that is getting darker and stronger… and I wonder how good it is for our society as a whole.
Women are now choosing to their job over their children… in other words they are choosing to let someone else raise their child.
Now I understand that in some cases a mum going back to work is a necessary thing… Mortgages, rising bills costs etc… and then all of a sudden you get pregnant… It’s hard…I understand this.
What my issue is that women are so intent on being shoulder to shoulder with men in society that they are BECOMING like men, and that’s not a good thing.
It used to be that the Mother stayed home and raised the child… taught it the values that the family had and gave the children boundaries that they used as building blocks in life.
The Father went to work and brought home enough money to keep the family clothed and feed and pushed them to excel and stand up for themselves… however in today’s society there is such a sense of entitlement that all this has been left in the gutter.
Today parents want the new house, the new car, they want to use the degree that they spent time and money working on… but you see once you start to look at it like this you start to notice… it’s about ME.
I want a new car…
I want a new house…
I want a holiday…
(and sure you can come up with 50 reasons to justify your decision but the reality is still the same isn’t it???)
The role of a Mother is far to valuable to throw away as a part time job…
A Mother is the hub of a family group.
With the trend to work instead of home… what ends up happening is the Mother always loses.
She may work hard and get all the way to the top of her field… but when you talk to a lot of these people they will tell you about the sense of guilt they had letting someone else raise their kid…
Someone who doesn’t have the same values… someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs… and a lot of what they end up doing is buying things with the kids in mind, taking them places, buying them things, filling the weekend with the things they couldn’t do in the week to make up for the time they didn’t spend with their children…
When all the child wants… is time with their Mama!
You see they are cheating on their child… running away with work.
We’re all cheating time from someone… who are you stealing your time from?
And then on the other hand…
You have the Mother at home… working hard to raise their child, not having the same amount of money, meaning they have forfeited the new house, they have passed by the new car, they have to wait for that holiday. They are helping give their child the tools they need to live as a valuable member of society as a member of their family group.
However… they still feel like a loser, they’re guilty because they can’t support the family (especially if they’re living on a lower income), they are aware they’re letting their degrees and study go to waste as they spend time up to their waste in nappies and snacks and laundry.
Around this time of year I’m reminded of the famous story of a nun who worked in a men’s prison.
One day, she said, a prisoner asked her to buy him a Mother’s Day card for his mother. She did, and the word traveled like wildfire around the prison. Deluged with requests, she called Hallmark Cards, who obliged with huge boxes of Mother’s Day cards as a donation. The warden arranged for each inmate to draw a number, and they lined up through the cell blocks to get their cards.
Weeks later, the nun was looking ahead on her calendar, and decided to call Hallmark again and ask for as many Father’s Day cards, in order to avoid another rush. As Father’s Day approached, the warden announced free cards were again available at the chapel. To the nun’s surprise, not a single prisoner ever asked her for a Father’s Day card.
Fathers who are not an active part of their families often leave a child wounded by absence–emotional as well as physical.
And it’s harder to recognize than others. However what often happens is it leaves women who may feel the need for physical intimacy that they have never felt from a guy before… women who have never known what a love from a guy should look like… If you have a look in society you will find that this is leading to so many unplanned pregnancy’s.
Or guys who have never been taught how to treat the opposite sex so a young boy thinks that being a man means the need for fast sex, to drink large amounts of alcohol, which then often leads to isolation and sometimes violence. No wonder our prisons are bulging.
Yet the scary thing is that even the average, law-abiding man today hasn’t had a father who said, “You’re my son and I love you,” or who helped him discover his unique talents and abilities. It would be too easy for a young boy to mis-focus his muscles, intelligence and energies destructively instead of creatively.
Yet this is often what Women are wanting for their children… wanting for themselves.
They are wanting to be more like men…
They want to run away and leave their families to be brought up by someone else…
But here’s the thing.
It’s the women who are actually holding our communities together…
It’s just that the society has chosen things like Money and Jobs and Degrees and success to be the measurements of what it means to be a good person… and ‘just being a mum’ falls way down the list and way of societies radar.
If you want to REALLY succeed in society being a great mum is the best thing you could do… both for your child… and your wider community
Mothers I tip my hat to you.
You have the hardest job in the world… it’s often the least rewarding… but I have a sense that if this was removed from our society (as we are already seeing) it all starts to fall apart.
Don’t give up on becoming a great mum …
I’m an extrovert… a ‘people person’… I love being around people, in fact I’m actually energised by people.
If I don’t get a chance to really communicate with people… if I don’t get the chance to connect with people… If I don’t get the chance to relate with people, I actually start to find my energy levels drop.
I’m the kind of person who loves the chatter, the sounds of talking… I like music in the background… I really love the buzz of it all… it really picks me up… it really gets me going – I love the sound of a positive working environment.
Now I know for some people, a noisy work place would frustrate them… but for me it’s the opposite, I love the hubbub.
So when today I found myself separated from my team I found myself slowly fading… I got grumpy… I got tired… worse of all I got quiet, which for someone like me who is a natural talker starts to get people worried… I felt isolated.
Here’s the crazy thing… I was moved to my position because a manager wanted me to not get distracted (which is fair I can be distracted easily) however they didn’t understand how energy levels of an extrovert can be determined by the people around them. You see it was fair for my manager to want to make sure I didn’t get to distracted, as a creative, people oriented person like me can be easily distracted… however is it really for the best?
So what can a manager (or any team leader) do with an extrovert that gets distracted easily?
What they shouldn’t do is put the person in a place where they feel isolated.
I can understand the urge to want to separate them from a group, however quite often you find that the person is more productive in a place that is right in the middle of the business, they are more creative, their mind is engaged and they seem to find their natural rhythm.
What you should do however is put them around people who are organised… putting two people who are easily distracted together is a recipe for disaster… however putting them in a place where they can distract when it’s quiet (and help keep the communication of a team together) but when it’s busy and time to get back to business, the people around them are focused and force the extrovert to do likewise.
You don’t need to do much to keep energy levels up… fun emails, just checking up on them… talking to them… keeping them in the middle of the buzz… and you will have a productive extrovert.
You see for someone like me… an extrovert… I don’t even need to be talking… just listening… just hearing the fun environment energizes me.
So please, leaders of teams… don’t be tempted to segregate an extrovert, but manage them by surrounding them with people who can keep them grounded. It actually does two things… it grounds the extrovert but quite often can pick up the vibe of a team in a positive way.
Have fun managing your extroverts.
I live in New Zealand, it’s a small place in the bottom of the pacific that is a melting pot of great music.
One of the things that works the best with the pacific musical blend is Dub and Reggae vibes, with bands like The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop pushing the boundaries. So its fair to say I know what great reggae, dub and roots sound like.
So I was excited when I heard the vibes around the group Tasman Jude, a reggae based group made up of Bravehart (from Trinidad & Tobago) & Al Peterson (From Canada) an unusual combination on paper if you look at just the countries of origin you would have to admit – however what I heard was something fresh, and I liked it.
‘El Norteno’ starts off with an acoustic reggae based groove that reminded me of Jack Johnson, until the vocal came in with a Matisyahu type of flow and sets the rest of the album up with the track ‘Fountains’… it was great to hear people taking reggae back to it’s roots more.
I loved seeing pictures of Bob Marley early in his recording career with an acoustic guitar surround by his band all circled around one mic. That to me symbolizes the essence of great reggae music.
Our radio-waves are filled with over produced reggae with hundreds of dubbed over tracks and beats and while they might be what people are calling for it takes away the innocence that reggae resembles… rebels with peace and love and truth in their voices with the promise of a new revolution based on these things.
‘El Norteno’ is filled with this vibe. Tasman Jude are cutting across the grain to give you something that others aren’t giving you… reggae with heart.
‘Take You Away’ is the perfect example of great acoustic grooves with a reggae vibe that Tasman Jude lay before you… it’s the way Canada and Trinidad & Tobago work together… great catchy melody’s and sunny island attitude that’s relaxed and feelin’ great.
It’s the essence of this combination that makes Tasman Jude’s sound work so well.
The track ‘Whoa’ is certainly the standout track on this album, and starts to push Tasman Jude’s sound to a place that becomes a bit more raw, and gives a really good example of how the band would sound live. It almost brings some harder elements into the sound reminiscent of groups like Sublime.
An album with more tracks would hopefully highlight some more of these sounds, as it’s a fine balance with Tasman Jude’s type of sound between too much of the same and trying to fit too much in which can make the sound seem cluttered.
I love how this album is raw, not over produced and highlights the basics of what this group represents, great melody, a fresh relaxed vibe and clean sounds.
This is the best of what acoustic sounds are on the radio at the moment…
Its great to hear bands not just bragging about going back to their roots… but actually doing it.