Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Concert Poster

This is a revised version of what I had posted earlier. I ended up thinking that the first was too busy, so I cleaned it up a little and changed some of the fonts so that it could be read more easily. These are going up around Kent on Friday -- but I'm holding one back, at least, for autographs by the rock stars and, eventually, framing.

One and a half weeks to go!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Carolyn Was My Co-Pilot

Last Sunday I took my younger son back to college - estimated (by Google Maps) at 235 miles, and 4 hours and 15 minutes. From there, I swung by my older son's place in Bloomington, IL. Another 106 miles and 2 hours 30 minutes. Finally, I headed home - 158 miles and 3 hours. Total trip: 600 miles and 9 hours 45 minutes. I was actually on the road for 9 1/2 hours, making the afore-mentioned stops, plus one for dinner and two for gas.

I was alone for more than half that trip - though I had my cell phone and took a couple'a calls from home. Plus, I had my I-Pod! So, other than listening to a couple of different preachers on low-power AM stations I got to re-discover Carolyn Arends!

I didn't go through the whole catalog, of course, but I did make note of two Christmas songs we must play at church this year: Come and See and Angels We Have Heard On High.

I'm always on the look-out for "jazzy" versions of Christmas tunes. I consider "Angels" to be on par with the better-known version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings done by Sara McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies. Heck, even people who don't like most Christmas songs like their version. I'm willing to bet that Carolyn's cover would be as popular as that were it to get the right amount of airplay.

And you have to consider the scene: it's dark, there are few cars traveling north on I-39 and there's a little Honda speeding by (at exactly seven miles-per over the speed limit so as not to attract un-due attention). Inside, the driver is singing out loud, and not even trying to cover up that fact - first the lead, then different harmony parts of the chorus - as the odometer counts off the miles: 1.2 each minute. But we've probably all been there, haven't we?

And besides the Christmas songs there were other favorites from Travelers and This Much I understand. And no, I didn't "Dance Like No One's Watching" in my car, though I do, sometimes, at home).

Suffice it to say that I made it back home alive and in one piece, at 12;30 AM, without once even feeling like I was falling asleep. Thanks for the great music!

P.S. And Thanks!, I-Pod for the great battery life!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time to Love Out Loud

A little over one week ago, my father-in-law went into the cardiac cath. lab at Evanston hospital for a procedure to, at least temporarily, fix his heart. Bill is eighty, and has had various health problems for many, many years. The last thing I expected, though, was to get a call from my wife at a little after ten that morning, after a family consultation with the surgeon. she told me, "My father didn't make it through the operation".

If the story ended there it would be one thing: a funeral, stories, a luncheon, a few drinks, a few laughs, old friends seen for the first time in years, perhaps even decades; but it doesn't end there. You see, Bill didn't die. The world-class cardiologist who performed his surgery, a man who is as experienced as a surgeon can be, teaching others throughout the world new procedures he's invented, well, he was wrong. Bill pulled through and is still alive.

I need point out that the surgeon took steps to keep my father-in-law alive for a while so the family could come in and talk to him (though he wasn't awake), and those same steps probably saved his life. The additional medicine he was given seemingly gave him a chance to recover.

Now, to say that what happened is a miracle is probably not correct; to treat what happened as a miracle is. And that's where "loving out loud" comes in.

When I arrived at the hospital the family was upstairs in the ICU waiting room. "Why" was the operative question, of course, after I thought that Bill had passed. As the day wore on, and the mood remained somber, I took a walk outside the hospital in the beautiful neighborhood that surrounds it. And a song popped into my head:

If I had only known that you were leaving here so soon
I would not have been so flippant when I offered you the moon
I'd have pulled my chair up closer to the railing of your bed
And chosen much more carefully the words I said

I would ask you for your stories
And I would tell you mine
I would give you much more credit
I would take more of your time
There's so much I left unspoken
If you were here right now
I would love you out loud

If I had said the words "I love you" every time they crossed my mind
Then you would have heard me tell you at least a thousand times
I know you knew it anyway, I guess you understood
But I would like to go back if I only could

I would ask you for your stories
And I would tell you mine
I would give you much more credit
I would take more of your time
There's so much I left unspoken
If you were here right now
I would love you out loud

I would touch you much more often
I would laugh at all your jokes
I would worry through your worries
I would dream through all your hopes
I would pray with you to heaven
Are you watching from there now
Do you know what I would give for the chance somehow

To ask you for your stories
I would tell you mine
I would give you much more credit
I would take more of your time
There's so much I left unspoken
If you were here right now
I would love you out loud
Oh, I would love you out loud

And now the whole family has that chance . . .

Thanks, Carolyn, for expressing sentiments that we all feel at times like these in such a beautiful way.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas . . .

. . . At least for this Carolyn Arends fan!

(Okay, that's the second ellipsis-ladened post introduction that I've used in a row on this blog. I'll restrain myself in the future.)

I just got the "green light" this morning from my church to book Carolyn for a Christmas concert in December. My cup runneth over! So, the tentative date is December 9, waiting only to be signed off on by the Big C herself. Merry Christmas to me and everyone else at Calvary Chapel South!

What a delightful way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year! I wonder if we can coax a divergence from seasonal offerings for just one song and request the "resurrection song" that I heard at Barnabas. Or, is that too much of a Christmas hope? It may indeed suit, because, though we celebrate the Holy Birth, the shadow of the crucifixion and joy of the resurrection are always waiting just beyond the stable doors.

Early Merry Christmas!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Being a Carolyn Arends Fan Means . . .

. . . well, for one thing, at least, it means never seeing headlines in the tabloids about your favorite folk-pop-rock star like:

1) Wardrobe Malfunction
2) Checking into Rehab
3) "Forgetting" to Wear Underwear
4) Nightclub Brawling
5) Serial Marriage or Dating

Ever feel really, really, REALLY disconnected with popular culture?

Goodness gracious -- give me inspired songwriting, honest music and an understated, but powerful, stage presence any day. Don't you just feel so sorry for these young people out there who had fame, fortune and folly thrust upon them at such an early age? It is not good for them. A pastor once told me that "we humans are not built for fame -- it most often destroys us." And I wonder how Carolyn escaped.

There are four reasons that come to mind as to why Carolyn is so well-grounded. The first is, of course, that she knows that she is a sinner redeemed by the blood of Jesus. That's enough to knock even the most phenomenally talented person back on her heels with humility and awe. Too few entertainers are sustained by anything more than their own pathetic personalities. They do not have eternal perspective nor anything bigger to trust in than the fame and money that simultaneously make them larger than life and smaller than the people they were created to be.

The second is Carolyn's parents, who obviously did an admirable job in raising her. If you have the stomach to dig at all into the personal lives of the young, rich and destructive, their dysfunctional families are the common melody upon which every variation is based. I've met Carolyn's parents, and they are warm, encouraging, interested people -- and that was how they treated me, a complete stranger! It is easy to see how being raised in that environment would be nothing but a positive inheritance when facing the challenges of living a public life.

The third is that Carolyn was not a goofy teenager when the spotlight was shone upon her. She was in her mid-twenties when she released I Can Hear You, and I remember when first hearing it that it did not sound at all like a "debut album." There was depth and maturity, professionalism and vision that is usually lacking in the initial offerings of even the most in-earnest Christian artists. Here was a woman -- a young woman, but a grown woman -- doing exactly what she was created to do. It could only have helped to have had some living under her belt before hitting the recording studio. She had had time to acquire a life outside of the rigors and imbalances of the music industry.

The last reason that occurred to me is that Carolyn never reached an insane level of fame. I saw her and Mark listed in the phone book when I was in British Columbia on my honeymoon in 1999. That was after she had released three albums and been around the continent on tour. It is difficult to understand, sometimes, why the best and the brightest are not usually the most feted and financially rewarded, but, really, it is often by the grace of God that they are not. While, as a fan, I want to see Carolyn get all of the proper recognition that she deserves for the amazing body of work she's produced, it is God's higher wisdom that keeps her where He needs her to be. She has stability, security and support surrounding her as she writes. She does not have to take up precious creative energy fearing for her safety or her family's safety. She can shop without being hassled at the local grocery store. These can only be conducive to a sense of community and rootedness that very, very few modern celebrities can relate to, with alien cameras flashing constantly and a restful haven nowhere to be found.

What a blessing to be able to enjoy unreservedly the lyrics, music, and person of Carolyn Arends! Though I sometimes find myself wishing she had the fame to fill Key Arena and the wealth to buy her own island, I'm so grateful that the Lord has kept her sane, balanced, focused, and oh so productive. She is about her Father's business, and that sure beats the hell out of being about the world's business, especially the business of celebrity.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Simply Reaching

One of everyone's favorite Carolyn Arends songs has to be "Reaching". I've been thinking about the lyrics lately; the've been swirling around in my head, along with "I'm Not That Girl" from Wicked, Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues" and my own rewrite of that song, "Deacon's Redemption".

But I'm not sure why - why those lyrics?

Maybe it's because I'm 51, heading into the next phase of life now that my youngest son is away at school. That phase, of course, is when all of your children have moved out on their own. You might not be there yet, but I am. The kids are in southern Illinois, Michigan, western Illinois and, next week, Prague.

You see, I've reached the future, and I think I'm beginning to reach for the past. Everyone says that your kids will grow faster than you can imagine, and that you need to enjoy them while they're young. But no matter who tells you what, life happens, and you get busy, and they've grown. And out on their own.

Maybe one of the things that is bothering me most is that I haven't always had the "right words to say". The words have often stayed "out of reach". Not that I wanted to be more of a friend to my kids than a father. No, a father needs to be a father first, with all of the things that implies - work hard, provide for your family, give the kids a good education, take them to church, encourage them to participate in music, drama, and the arts, love them out loud and love their mother.

I understand that there's more than one "quiet ache" - not only is there the yearning for the Divine, there's a yearning for a bit of quiet time to simply sit and reflect on what's happened and what is happening in your life, both with regard to yourself and your loved ones. That doesn't come often, and is almost certainly followed by a yearning for the way things might have been. As Elphaba (the green witch in Wicked) sings it, "Every so often we long to steal to the land of what might have been, but that doesn't soften the ache we feel when reality sets back in."

I take comfort in my faith in God. I know that whatever happens in this life, I'll be together with my loved ones in the next. And, believe me, I'm in no hurry to get there. There's so much left to do, in terms of work and living and writing and giving praise to God through music. And when I concentrate on those things, when I simply live life, the ache isn't as noticable, though it's still there.

There's no doubt I'll keep reflecting on those lyrics. They're floating around in there for some reason. And I'll love my family out loud, because that's the thing to do. And I suppose I'll have questions, and aches, until I see the face of God. As the "redeemed Deacon" says:

I learned to love the Lord and pray
Think about Him every day
Drink His word in, like a song
It's He who makes me strong

Strong in thought, strong in Word, strong indeed . . .

Friday, August 03, 2007

Carolyn and Sadie: Kicking It Barnabas Style

Okay, so I've been a very bad blogging fan of late, and I'm sorry (or, in Canada, "sorey").
(And "sorey" about the spacing between some of the paragraphs, too. I can't get this to work correctly, and I'm fed up with it.)

I owe at least a mini-post on the Barnabas Experience 2007.

Camp this year was amazing as always, though, surprisingly, less Carolyn-oriented than in the past. This is due to our now visiting Barnabas (on Keats Island, BC) as seasoned campers and not so much as odd groupies (at least I am hoping that that is the vibe we're giving off). Carolyn and Mark make a fantastic team, and I hope that they continue this partnership for many years as Barnabas presenters. They're very funny and engaging together, and Jason and I both learned a lot from what they had to say. We shall ponder these things in our hearts.

Carolyn said that she has been so busy lately that she's only written one song this year (weeping and gnashing of teeth from the fan base ensues *now*), but WOW what a song! She sang it at camp, and I cried. I cry at a lot of Carolyn's songs, no matter how many times I've heard them or sung along to them. I'm only sharing this with you, because we are all so closely knit here. I hope this new song comes out as a download soon, if Carolyn has no albums currently in the works. It's one that has stuck with me, though I know I'm remembering it incorrectly. I want to learn it by heart.

The most disconcerting thing at camp was that Carolyn took me to school for what I wrote a while back on this blog about "Just Pretending." I haven't a clue as to how she discovered this site (it's after page ten on a Google search, I well know), and I was rather sad that she did. Not because I'm ashamed of this blog, nor do I regret writing out a disagreement with her lyrics or sentiment, but, rather, just because I wanted a place where I and other fans would always feel free really to talk about her creative work without the shadow of Rose or Carolyn hanging over the discussion. I think Carolyn's music is so important and so relevant that it can be looked at from any kind of angle and its merit will hold.
Anyway, Carolyn thinks I missed the point of "Just Pretending." I'm not so sure. I think I understand the first layer of message that she was conveying; but I was simply, in my critique, unearthing some other layers that she may or may not have intended. Of course, this is the problem and power of art -- the piece offered by the artist in one light may be heard by the listener (seen by the viewer, interpreted by the reader, etc.) in an entirely different voltage. That's one of the most frustrating parts of taking college English courses -- if you get something out of a novel that your teacher does not see, or you fail to see something your prof finds obvious, well, red marks are made, marginalia is written, and office hours are spent in fruitless argument.

Now, until something better comes up, I am going to be teased without mercy about my supposed dislike of "Just Pretending." I think I'll go tip over a canoe.
I was fortunate to have more in-depth conversations with Spencer Capier and his wife, Kikine (who does fascinating work with cancer drug research), and we shared a Parents' Dinner table with Carolyn and Mark, so I got to hear about the trip to Japan. But, really, there is not much more to tell than that.
It really is an edifying experience that is so different from a concert (though there was one of those at the end of the week) to spend an extended time with the Arendses and other thoughtful, prayerful, scholarly, genuine Christian men and women. Rob and Kathy Bentall who founded and maintain this wonderful ministry on so very many footsteps of faith astound and humble me. Barnabas is a blessing.

I got these nice pics of Carolyn and Sadie at camp. Enjoy!

Yep, that's Mark "Von Dutch" Arends in the background working the security detail for Canada's favourite rock star.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Moments caught like old hair styles

The Gospel Music Channel was recently added to my cable lineup. Every Tueday night, the channel has a show, The Best of the Doves which I watch (or dvr for later). It's fun to get a blast from the past- the music, the clothes, the hair. With each show I wonder if Carolyn might be included.So tonight, I was watching the show I recorded on 6/5 and Steven Curtis Chapman introduced a segment with these words.." the early years the genre was dominated by solo acts, many of whom paved the way for many of today's Christian acts..." Cut to clips of Russ Taft, Twila Paris, Charlie Peacock, Cindy Morgan, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and, wait for it.....from 1996...CAROLYN ARENDS with Spencer right next to her.


And speaking of old hair styles.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Author, Carolyn fan, and all-around nice fellow, Brendt Waters, has posted on his blog the lengthy interview he did with Carolyn Arends in 1995.

Read and enjoy and leave him nice comments!

P.S. Ya gotta love a guy who gets his blog up and running before his bread-and-butter website.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Love Thy Neighbor: A Story from Barnabas

I had originally written this for the website 43 People, but, as it is one of my favorite Carolyn stories and I now have this wee blog, I decided to "reprint" it here. Enjoy!

One of my favorite stories about Carolyn Arends is one that she related in 2005 at Barnabas Family Ministries on Keats Island, BC. The theme of that week’s retreat was “What Love Looks Like.” That also happens to be the title of one of her best songs.

Anyway, Carolyn was talking about the neighborhood where she lived (at the time). She and her husband had carefully picked this particular cul-de-sac because it was filled with young families and offered the chance for their children to grow up with the same group of playmates in a safe environment. They bought this house, and, one-by-one, the other families started to sell their houses and move away (presumably this was not because of the Arendses). In the place of the young families, people started moving in with, shall we say, less desirable occupations and household structures. To wit, what Carolyn fancifully and ruefully described as “horticulturalists” moved in next door, and the potted plants they were growing sure weren’t begonias.

Well, as these things happen, there was a police raid and their neighbor was taken to jail. Carolyn and her husband were furious with this particular man, since he was contributing to making their carefully chosen neighborhood unsafe and horrible for their children.

Then, when the neighbor was released, Carolyn saw him outside the next day, weeding (no pun meant here) the common mailbox block in the middle of their cul-de-sac. Every time one of the residents would approach to get his mail, the neighbor would apologize for his misdeeds while crying. Carolyn, though still angry, suddenly saw the hopelessness and despondency of this man—his humanness and frailty—and realized with a sigh that “this is my neighbor.”

This story really has stayed with me. Sometimes it’s easier to be a Good Samaritan and love the helpless, bleeding man on the side of the road than it is to want to reach out to someone who is actively and perceptively making your life a harder, more scary and uncertain place. But, to whom are you a neighbor? Surely, while being a neighbor to the stranger in distress is important, being a neighbor to those who have been placed in your life on a more consistent basis is even more important (and much more difficult). Anyway, it was a great illustration of a tough precept and one of the first that comes to mind when asked to share a story about my favorite singer/songwriter, Carolyn Arends.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How's the Sound Out There?

Well, this guy, Brendt, whose unusually-spelled name makes it seem vaguely familiar to my eyes, has posted an interesting little essay about the first interview he ever did -- for a now-defunct on-line Christian music magazine. Guess who his first interviewee was?

Since I'm posting this information here, you've probably guessed by now.

Okay, enough of the suspense -- it was Carolyn! Right before the release of her first album (all together now: I Can Hear You) and her first tour (with -- let's proclaim in unison -- Rich Mullins and Ashley Cleveland) he got to interview her for three hours.

I'd like to find that interview someday. Of course, I'd also like to know what the missing six verses of "Seize the Day" sounded like, too.

Ah well, go to the link and give it a read. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Chance to Play Fetch

This is an involved, but I think very funny, story that requires two pieces of background information. Because the first of those is knowledge of Carolyn Arends's B-Side, "A Chance to Dance," which is a lot more difficult to explain than the second, I'll write this story for Carolyn's fans.

"A Chance to Dance" was written by Carolyn Arends for a "The West Wing" episode. Apparently, there was a character on this show that was in the very early stages of a new relationship with someone who then died unexpectedly. I never have watched that program, but the scenario is evident by Carolyn's lyrics: Now you're gone/What am I supposed to do?/I was just getting good at loving you/So how do I let go/Of what I never got to hold?/We never even had a chance to dance.

Sadie, my daughter who has a very definite morbid streak in her, absolutely loves this song. She's always asking me to play the song "about the woman whose husband* died before they got to dance." Then, she sits back with an euphoric expression and drinks in the sad, wistful words and the emotional music.

One day, while we were listening to this song again in the car, Sadie sighed and said, "I love this song. It makes me think of Jingles." My jaw dropped. "What?" I exclaimed.

Jingles was Rylee's dog. More exactly, Jingles was Rylee's mom and dad's dog. Rylee is the little baby girl we nanny part-time. When we first started to watch her, we'd go over to her house and see Jingles there -- eighteen years old, senile, and incontinent. Now, Sadie loves dogs. She dreams of them, seeks them out, and longs for one of her own. She was so excited that Rylee had a dog -- a dog we could visit with anytime.

But, you see, Jingles was so very old and rather sick. She had to wear a diaper in the house and spend most of her day locked in the family's downstairs bathroom. She was getting grumpy and nippy, in the way that dogs do when their losses of smell and hearing are leaving them feeling vulnerable and scared. With tears and sorrow, two months after we started watching Rylee, her mom and dad made the decision to put Jingles to sleep.

Eventually, I had to tell Sadie that the next time we went to Rylee's house Jingles would not be there. Sadie cried and cried, but she became reconciled to it by the next morning. I'll admit that I did not spend any more time or thought on that aged canine. Not so Sadie.

Apparently, when Sadie had first been introduced to Jingles, she began to make plans about their future fun together. The thwarting of those plans by cruel mortality affected her deeply. In the anguished reflections of what-had-never-been that Carolyn wrote for a television character, Sadie found an outlet for her grief. And so, when Sadie mentioned that the song reminded her of Jingles, upon my questioning her, she added this:

"I think of Jingles, because we never had a chance to play fetch together; and I never got to pet her and brush her; and I never got to feed her treats or take her for a walk."

And, while I was impressed with her transference of a lover's loss into her own dog lover's loss, her revelation completely changed the way I now listen to the song. I keep bursting out with spasms of laughter at the most inappropriate places, because, of course, I'm thinking of Sadie and Jingles and not a woman who lost a love.

The verse that most cracks me up now is this: Guess we never really had a prayer/There for just a moment it was heaven/And it's a kind of hell to stand here missing/Every kiss we never had/We should have had it all/And now you're gone . . .

And, as I'm snorting with ill-suppressed mirth in the front seat, Sadie's indignant voice rises from the back. "Hey Mom! Why are you laughing? This is a sad song. Stop your laughing!"

And I really ought to. Sadie's mourning -- while hilarious to me -- is so very real to her. And I love her sensitive little soul and her ability to feel such things so deeply. I can only hope that another dog will someday come into her life with whom she will finally have a chance to play fetch (and linger over dog biscuits).

*Sadie only views male/female relationships in terms of "husbands and wives" at this point.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oops! I Did It Again! Carolyn Quiz the Third (And Possibly Last)

Okay, this is the third and (maybe) last time I'll post a quiz about Carolyn. That is, unless I find out a lot more trivia to tease the brains of other fans in the future. Anyway, relax and enjoy this latest (and goofiest) offering:

Carolyn Quiz the Third

Good luck and have fun!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Persistent Widow and I

For the third time in as many years, I have asked the pastor at my church to host a Carolyn Arends/Spencer Capier concert.

I am awaiting his response.

I would lose heart except for the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. Though I have nothing to avenge and nothing to seek that can be called "justice," I have no doubt that eventually the time will be right for my church to experience the blessing of a CA/SC concert. My job is just to be faithful -- but never annoying or belligerent -- in pursuing the event. God will arrange the date.

Here's praying that that date is in 2007!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jeffrey Overstreet: Being a Non-Carolyn Post About a Carolyn Colleague and One That Was Originally Written for Carolyn's Boards, But Ran Too Long

I was so fortunate as to attend a Seattle Chesterton Society meeting recently at Seattle Pacific University, at which the featured speaker was Carolyn's Christianity Today Movies colleague, Jeffrey Overstreet.

His new book is Through a Screen Darkly, and, though I haven't read it all yet (being knee-deep in my beloved and highly prolific Gilbert Keith Chesterton), I am appreciating his ability to take seriously and explore this idea of Madeleine L'Engle's: "Basically there can be no categories such as 'religious' art and 'secular' art because all true art is incarnational, and therefore 'religious.'" (Walking on Water, p. 19)

Here are some interesting thoughts (at least to me): Why have almost all of the movies made to serve Christians as a niche audience failed at the box office? Why, with Hollywood suddenly desperate to gain the entertainment dollar of believers and throwing money into such production companies as Fox Faith, has very little come out so far that will not burn up as stubble in the fire? And why, in 2004, was Mel Gibson's The Passion not on the CT Movie reviewers' top ten lists?*

I think one answer to these questions can be found in the reality of living within a holy mystery. When I begin to accept the subtlety of God's hand -- His poetic reticence that booms out in the stillness of creation -- I can no longer be satisfied by the sort of artifice that tries to force a religiously relevant experience under the cover of entertainment. Jeffrey Overstreet's main point seems to be that, for the faithful, spiritual themes in any great movie can not help but be recognized, because all art is, at its fountainhead, an expression from that same creative force that spoke the universe into existence.

Mr. Overstreet spoke passionately and entertainingly about this recently discovered "Christian niche market" and his belief that there is so much more to be gained spiritually from great art produced by non-believers than from bad art produced by Christians. Christians are not idiots -- flocking en masse to a pandering parade of sentimentality and banality. We have held claim to brotherhood with the greatest artists the world has ever seen; and these created from the wellspring of revealed truth within and not with an eye on converting the lost and getting their theological ducks in a row.

This was a fascinating presentation, and I am so grateful I was able to attend. It is always surprising to me to find out how many wonderful writers whom I admire live up here in the Seattle area or greater Pacific Northwest region. What a blessing to get to meet so many of them in person!

*This is a great story that Mr. Overstreet related in his presentation. I do not know if he included it in his book, but I hope it's there. All I can say is that Mark Moring is a brave man with loads of integrity. Of course, we rather knew that -- he is a Carolyn fan, after all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jacob and 2 Women

I first heard this song on the Rich Mullins tribute album in 1998. It was the first time I ever heard Carolyn sing.

I just got the first verse in this song a few weeks ago. Now, I feel totally lame.

Jacob he loved Rachel/And Rachel she loved him/And Leah was just there for dramatic effect/
Well, it's right there in the Bible/So it must not be a sin/But it sure does seem like an awful dirty trick/
And her sky is just a petal/Pressed in the book of memories/Of the time he thought he loved her/And they kissed
And her friends say, "He's a devil."/She says, "No, he is a dream."/And this is the world as best as I can remember it

I do not know why, but I always assumed the first verse was about Rachel. Of course, the song is "Jacob and 2 Women," but I always took the assertion that Leah was just there for dramatic effect as rather leaving her out of the song. Then, all of a sudden -- epiphany! The first verse is Leah's take on the famous Biblical triangle. Surely, in the tent after their wedding, before Jacob was disabused of his notion that he had married his true love, Rachel, he must have kissed Leah ("the time he thought he loved her and they kissed"). Of course Leah, always the despised (though very fruitful) wife would have treasured up this brief moment when she had received passion from her husband (though it was meant for her sister) in her internal book of memories.

The song makes much more sense now.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Carolyn Quiz the First

Okay, this one is pretty easy, because I am pressed for time.

How well do you know your favorite recording artist, Carolyn Arends? Put your knowledge to the test in this quickie quiz:

Carolyn Arends Quiz

Good luck!

Monday, January 08, 2007

This One is For Matt Rabjohns of Poole, Great Britain

Matt, you are awesome. I love the way you have coined your own nickname for Carolyn Arends to use in your reviews on "Caz." That is such a cool moniker -- I hope you do not mind my borrowing it.

For those of you not familiar with Mr. Rabjohns, here are his enthusiastic amazon reviews*:

For I Can Hear You
5 Stars Debut of the Century, January 22, 2003
Reviewer: Matt Rabjohns (Poole, Great Britain) - See all my reviews I usually don't buy debut albums. Most seem not to have a finished quality to them. And some just don't have any good and well-written songs on them. But here is something different: A debut album with massive production and deep down, bright, and well-written songs. I first heard Carolyn's I Can Hear You when I was round my Auntie's place. She told my Dad, "You would like this CD," and so Dad took it; and then I heard it when I came home one day. The most awesome song that struck me right between the eyes was the brilliant "You Take My Soul By Storm" and to this day this is my fav song of Caz's! The other amazing standouts are the lovely quiet "Reaching" and the brilliant marriage-orientated "Home Fires Burning". The best heavier song has to be "The Power Of Love" -- amazing dulcimer and guitar on this song! All in all, a fantastic starting album that to me has an out of this world feel! Carolyn is destined for a great future!

For Feel Free
5 Stars: Getting Better, January 22, 2003
Reviewer: Matt Rabjohns (Poole, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
Didn't know what to expect when I first picked up this second release by Carolyn. Thought it would be lesser in sound and song strength. WRONG!! This CD is even better and is so different from her debut! I love people and artists who change and don't stay the same. The blend of rock and light jazz and even just a hint of country on "Do We Dare" is brill! This album has some of the best songs ever on it. Listen away to "Big Deal" and "This I know", they will blow you away. Lovely song about Mark, her hubbie, on this CD (although I think "The Day Will Never Come" on her next one is better; but still, this song is not flawed!). AWESOME! KEEP IT UP CAZ!

For This Much I Understand
5 Stars: The Best Effort So Far by Carolyn!, January 22, 2003
Reviewer: Matt Rabjohns (Poole, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This is the best album, so far, by Caz. The songs are just out of this world and the strength of her writing is getting better and better each time. So, it starts with "Happy" -- this song has that almost supernatural touch which makes it stand apart from the rest of the album. Then comes "Life Is Long." "Go With God" is her best song with Connie Harrington so far, I think -- a lovely guitar section! "Life And Death" was an instant hit for me -- long and hard hitting -- and the rest of this amazing CD follows this trend.

I definitely think we, her fans, ought to make a concerted effort to refer to Carolyn as "Caz." It is so rock star!

*As I am a persnickety little geek, I edited a bit for grammar and punctuation and clarity. I realize that one of the dubious charms of cyber-writing is being freed from stodgy language rules to express one's self in the moment, but I simply cannot stand to let those rules go. This is more a reflection of me than of Mr. Rabjohns who, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way (at least as far as his Carolyn Arends fan-dom goes).