Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Triplicate – Bob Dylan
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You can never put Bob Dylan in a box. He will always surprise you. After 2015’s Shadows in the Night, he followed up with 2016’s Fallen Angels, a similar album of his unique interpretation of standards that had been recorded by Frank Sinatra. His last album of newly written material was 2012’s Tempest. So after winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, what does the 75-year old legend follow Fallen Angels up with, just over 10 months following that album? One might expect a stunning new album of songs about the state of our nation (racial tension, election of Trump, etc.). But Dylan rarely does what we expect him to do.  Instead he returns with the excellent Triplicate, his 38th studio album, a 30-song, three-album (his first triple album), project of newly recorded covers of mostly pre-World War II/rock and roll music songs known as the Great American Songbook.
Dylan, his touring band – guitarists Charlie Sexton and Dean Parks, bassist Tony Garnier, drummer George Recile and steel guitarist Donnie Herron – and arranger James Harper, went to Hollywood’s Capitol studios to record live (vocals recorded with instrumentation) hand-chosen songs from American songwriters such as Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, Harold Hupfield, and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. The project is thematically-arranged in three 10-song albums titled “’Til the Sun Goes Down,” “Devil Dolls” and “Comin’ Home Late”, each 32 minutes in length, which Dylan has said is the number of completion, a lucky number, and symbolic of light.  Dylan has stated that the albums came out at the same time because thematically they are interconnected, one being the sequel to the other and each one resolving the previous one.
Interestingly, Sinatra released Trilogy in 1980, a three-album which too had a different theme for each album, “The Past,” “The Present” and “The Future.” The new project was produced by Dylan, under his usual pseudonym Jack Frost.
The 30 songs on Triplicate include classics such as “Stardust”, “As Time Goes By,” “September of My Years,” “Stormy Weather” and “Sentimental Journey” as well as less well-known songs such as Alec Wilder and Edwin Finckel’s “Where Is the One” and Jack Lawrence’s “It’s Funny to Everyone But Me.”
While many of the songs are slow ballads, often solemn and about loss, there are also a handful of more upbeat songs here as well. Dylan’s now road-weary voice, always an incredible instrument in itself, and which sounded really rough on Tempest, seems perfectly fitted for these songs and arrangements. He delivers vocal performances on these last three standards albums that I never thought I would hear from him again. Listen to his vocal and phrasing on “My One and Only Love”, for example. His touring band never gets in the way of Dylan’s heart-felt vocals within Harper’s intimate arrangements. Herron’s steel guitar is a highlight throughout. Horns are used sparingly, but effectively on songs such as “The Best is Yet to Come”, “Sentimental Journey”, and “My One and Only Love”.
I preferred the more upbeat songs on the album, with some of my favorites being “The Best is Yet to Come”, “Stardust”, “Day in and Day Out”, “It’s Funny to Everyone But Me”, “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plans” and “That Old Feeling”. Dylan ends the album with “Why Was I Born?” written by Kern and Hammerstein in 1929. It includes the introspective lyrics “Why was I born? Why am I living? What do I get? What am I giving?”
While I would prefer new music from Dylan, I enjoyed and appreciated Triplicate, songs that Dylan says are meant for “the man on the street, the common man, the everyday person”. Will you enjoy it? My assessment is that if you enjoyed Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels, you’ll enjoy Triplicate. If you didn’t, you’ll probably want to pass on this one, though I would encourage you give it a listen before immediately dismissing it.

  • New Lecrae Video. Watch Lecrae’s new video for his song “Blessings” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
  • New Fernando Ortega Music. It’s always good to report of new music from Fernando Ortega. His new single “My Song is Love Unknown” is available on iTunes. It features harmony by Audrey Assad and guitar by Alex Strahle.
  • Too Cold. Watch the new video from Trip Lee for his song “Too Cold”.
  • Hard Love. Watch the video for the new version of NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Hard Love”, featuring Andra Day. The band also had a recent collaboration on the song with Laura Daigle.
  • Bob Dylan Interview. Read this extensive interview that Dylan recently had with Bill Flanagan. When asked about which of his songs he didn’t think got the attention it deserved, he mentioned “Brownsville Girl” and “In the Garden” from his 1980 album Saved. Watch this 1980 performance of “In the Garden”, and the song’s powerful lyrics, here.
  • God Speed. Listen to Gaavi’s song “God Speed”, featuring Andy Mineo and KB.
  • Give Me Jesus. Watch this video of Fernando Ortega performing “Give Me Jesus” as a tribute to Ruth Bell Graham.
  • Why I Didn’t Sing When I Visited Your Church. I could relate to this article from Tim Challies. He writes “It’s worth considering: If our desire for excellence puts the music out of reach for the congregation, perhaps we’re pursuing a wrong definition of excellence.”
  • Using Hymns to Build Our Faith. Melissa Morgan Kelley writes “Here, adapted from a seminar given at the PCA’s 44th General Assembly in June 2016, Keith Getty addresses why hymns are essential for worship and teaching, and why it is important for believers to create a canon of hymnody to carry through life.”
  • Misfit Anthem (ft. Riley Clemmons). Watch this video from the Social Club Misfits of their song “Misfit Anthem”, featuring Riley Clemmons.

Music Quotes:

  • God knows our tendency to fear. That is why His Word is full of reasons not to. Chris Tomlin
  • Don’t let their compliments get to your head and don’t let their criticisms get to your heart. Tedashii
  • The heart of worship: The more we focus on God’s character, the less we focus on ourselves and the more like Him we become. Chris Tomlin
  • To try is to risk failure. To not try is to assure it. Andy Mineo

Your Cross Changes Everything by Matt Redman

 

This song was written by Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin and Jason Ingram. It is included on the new Passion album Worthy of Your Name and sung by Redman.  Listen to the song here.

Some see, just a wooden cross
But I can see the grace of
Your redemptive heart

Some say, this is foolishness
But, I believe the truth of
Your redeeming love

And some will say
This place belongs to history
But I can see
Yes I can see

A cross that changes everything
And a love that sets the captives free
A hope that ressurected me
And the power of God
For all who believe
I believe

As real as, the ground beneath my feet
And the very air I breathe
Your mercy meets me here

And some will say
This place belongs to history
But I can see
Yes I can see

A cross that changes everything
And a love that sets the captives free
A hope that ressurected me
And the power of God
For all who believe
I believe

And here I know
The greatness of Your victory
And here I know
[?]
Oh some will say
This place belongs to history
But I can see
Yes I can see

A cross that changes everything
And a love that sets the captives free
A hope that ressurected me
And the power of God
For all who believe

A cross that changes everything
And a love that sets the captives free
A hope that ressurected me
And the power of God
For all who believe …

I believe
This changes everything
I believe
This changes everything
I believe
Your cross changes everything
Your cross changes everything

I believe
This changes everything
I believe
This changes everything
I believe
Your cross changes everything
Your cross changes everything

I believe
This changes everything
I believe
This changes everything
I believe
Your cross changes everything
Your cross changes everything

I believe, I believe, I believe …

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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