Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Roll with the Punches – Van Morrison
****

Anytime you have the great Van Morrison covering strong material with excellent musicians you know you’re in for a treat. Morrison follows up 2016’s strong release Keep Me Singing with his 37th studio album, which he self-produced. The album contains ten covers of old blues and soul classics along with five songs written by Morrison.  Van’s voice is still an incredible instrument, and he brings passion to these blues songs, whether cover or original. Morrison has stated that from a very early age he connected with the blues. A strong group of collaborators join him on the album including Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Jeff Beck (who contributes to seven of the songs), Paul Jones and Jason Rebello.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Below are a few comments about each song:

Roll with the Punches – This song was written by Morrison and Don Black. While an original, this sounds like a classic blues song.  It features some excellent piano, guitar, keyboard. It’s an excellent opener.
Transformation – This ballad was written by Morrison. It features organ, an excellent guitar solo by Jeff Beck and backing vocals by Chris Farlowe. Key lyric: Get used to righteousness ’cause it makes you feel whole, gonna be a transformation right down in your soul
I Can Tell – This song was written by Bo Diddley and Samuel Bernard Smith in 1962. It has an instantly infectious beat, featuring keys, backing vocals, guitar solo and harmonica solo from Morrison.
Stormy Monday/Lonely Avenue – These songs were written by T-Bone Walker (in 1947), and Doc Pomus, the latter of which was a hit for Ray Charles in 1956. The songs previously had appeared on Morrison’s 1994 live album A Night in San Francisco. The song features vocals from Chris Farlowe, a guitar and harmonica solo from Morrison along with backing vocals.
Goin’ To Chicago – This song was written by Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing in 1941. It’s a slow blues number featuring a duet with Georgie Fame, harmonica by Morrison, and Chris Hill on double bass.
Fame – This song was written by Morrison. It had originally been included on Morrison’s 2002 What’s Wrong with this Picture? album. This version features backing vocals, a great blues beat, guitar and harmonica from Morrison. Key lyric: Oh no don’t believe all that old Andy Warhol guff. It takes a lot more than 10 or 15 minutes.  
Too Much Trouble – This song was written by Morrison.  The band really shines on this breezy blues song featuring guitar, horns, piano and Morrison on sax. He wants the trouble in his life stopped.
Bring It on Home to Me – This song was written by Sam Cooke in 1962. It appeared earlier on Morrison’s live album “…It’s Too Late to Stop Now…” Volume 1.  The new version features a strong vocal from Morrison, organ, piano, backing vocals and a great guitar solo by Jeff Beck.
Ordinary People – This song was written by Morrison and originally appeared on his 1998 album Philosopher’s Stone. It features some excellent guitar by Jeff Beck, piano, keys, and backing vocals. Key lyric: Ordinary people, they just don’t seem to comprehend.   
How Far From God – This song was written by Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1946. The toe-tapping arrangement is led by some excellent piano, along with organ, guitar and a passionate vocal from Morrison. A highlight.
Teardrops From My Eyes – This song was written by Rudy Toombs in 1950. This breezy arrangement features piano, guitar, keys, backing vocals, and a great sax solo from Morrison.
Automobile Blues – This song was written by Lightnin’ Hopkins in 1949. Morrison’s sax playing is the highlight of this song, which also features piano and guitar.
Benediction –  This song was written by Mose Allison in 1971. It was originally included on Morrison’s 1996 collaborative album Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison. It features piano, backing vocals, organ and sax from Morrison. Key lyric: Wherever you wander, whatever your breed, there’s just one thing baby, that comes from above. When push comes to shove, thank God for self-love.   
Mean Old World – This song was written by Little Walter in 1951. It’s a slow blues number featuring, some excellent piano, a guitar solo, and harmonica solo by Morrison.
Ride On Josephine – This song was written by Bo Diddley in 1960. This upbeat track features Morrison on harmonica, along with good backing vocals and guitar. It would be a great song for Morrison and band to tackle in concert. A highlight. Continue reading

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed Present Magic & Bird
****

Andy Mineo returns with his first new album (mixtape) since 2015’s excellent Uncomfortable. The album debuted at #2 on iTunes Albums chart and #1 on their Hip-Hop/Rap chart. On this release, he teams up with good friend Wordsplayed (as Magic and Bird), the son of Nigerian immigrants who came to the United States in the early 1980’s and met Mineo in 2008. This playful and basketball themed release is a perfect summer listen, and builds on their 2015 single “Lay Up”, which is included here as a bonus track. Along with BEAM, the release includes production from GAWVI and !llmind, who also produced Uncomfortable.

Below are a few brief comments on each song: 
Hi-Five –  A short introductory track, mostly speaking.
KIDZ –  The song was produced by Tyshane and Daniel Jordan. It was written by Tyshane, Jordan, Wordsplayed and Mineo.  This was the first release from the new album. The bridge contains a brief piece reminiscent of the Doxology.
Key lyric:
I’m in the pocket like Brady,
Magic and Bird like the 80’s
Kobe, I might put up eighty
Look only Jesus can save me

Dunk Contest –  This song was produced by Young Sidechain and Beam, and was written by Wordsplayed and Mineo. It was the second single to be released from the album. The two trade lines about basketball, cities, single moms, etc.
Key lyric:
Yeah, so shout out all the single mothers
2 jobs, 3 kids, I call that a triple double Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

music news

  • The Gettys Spearhead Call For a Global Hymn Sing. Ed Stetzer writes that Keith and Kristyn Getty are joining with OMF International to promote a “Global Hymn Sing” February 21, to reintroduce the nearly 100-year old hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished”. Our church will be participating. Watch the Gettys speak about the song here.
  • Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Did you see Billy Joel perform his classic song “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” recently on The Tonight Show?

Matt Redman Quote

Favorite QuotesA great work is to grow yourself. The greatest work is to help grow others. Andy Mineo

Don’t chase accomplishments, people or positions to find your worth. You’re loved as you are by the Father. Chris Tomlin

faceHow come I keep acting surprised when Steph Curry plays like Steph Curry? I watch every game like this……  Trip Lee

Song of the Week

Now I Know by Andy Mineo

This is the latest single and my favorite song from Andy Mineo’s excellent album Uncomfortable. Watch the creative video here.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Yeah, uh, look
The older I get, the more I realize
Almost everything that I believed
In my life was a lie
It started as a child, first was Santa Claus
Then I believed that a brawl would never come between my dawgs (wrong)
My sister Mary filled me in when I was 7
Told me Hulk Hogan only existed on television (what?)
The Stone Cold Stunner and the Leg Drop?
All scripted, N.W.O and X-Pac? Dang
I used to walk up to them automatic doors
My momma told me that my finger was the power source
So I pointed with my pointer, then pow
It was open, then come to find out she was joking
Had to let it soak in, my mind as a boy
Didn’t wanna believe that McGwire or Barry were on the ‘roids
But uh, when I was young, I thought the world was alright
It’s funny, I even thought that Jesus was white, but yoAndy Mineo

All that glitters ain’t made of gold
It’s the thing you’ve heard a million times before
It took a lot of time, now I realise
Now I know better
It’s better late than never
Now I know

Over the years you get more accustomed to pain
Used to believe my dad when he said he’d come to my games
Even believed my mother was a saint and could do no wrong
And then she sat me down and told me how I was born (shoot)
Mind-blown, but now it all makes sense
Why she didn’t spazz on me when she caught me having sex, uh
I was perplexed but now I get it
I used to think America was finished with racism
How could I miss it?
I’m mad so many people don’t get it
Holding this list of black names but now I’m blacklisted?
Got older, it’s like it got no different
I found out these independent artists isn’t independent
Cause major labels fund them quietly to keep perception
That’s deception in the game
Used to believe I wanted fame
Plus my name written in them lights
Now I know it’s so much greater cause it’s written in the hand of Christ
And I used to say the radio would play what the people wanted
Now I know they playing what’s payin’
Feeling jaded, but somehow I still believe in God
I even thought a college education got me a job, man

All that glitters ain’t made of gold
It’s the things you heard a million times before
It took a lot of time, now I realise
Now I know better
It’s better late than never
Now I know better
Yes I know better
Now I know better
Yes I know better
Now I know better
Yes I know better
Now I know better
Yes I know better
Now I know
Too many times before


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Uncomfortable - Andy MineoMusic Review: Uncomfortable by Andy Mineo
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27 year-old Andy Mineo follows up his 2014 Never Land EP with a very strong effort, one of my favorite albums of the year. It is an effort that has a variety of music styles with mature, transparent, serious, and at times, painfully honest lyrics. The album debuted at #4 on iTunes overall chart and #2 on the Hip-Hop/Rap chart. Mineo includes some special guests on the album, but surprisingly no Reach Records label mates (such as Lecrae, Trip Lee or KB). Ramon “Illmind” Ibanga serve as executive producer of the effort. Below are a few thoughts and key lyrics for each song:

Uncomfortable – Right off the bat, Andy sings that if you want live a comfortable life you should be sure not to love anyone, be selfish and never sacrifice. Key lyrics are:

My own people owned people, but they don’t own that
They say racism dead, man our president is black
Two terms in the White House, that don’t mean jack
If we still believe our present ain’t affected by our past

I apologize for Christians with pickets sayin’, “God hates fags”
I promise Jesus wouldn’t act like that

Uptown – I first listened to this Latin- flavored song while on vacation last week in New York City. It is a song about Mineo’s Washington Heights neighborhood located in uptown New York City. Key lyrics are:

Ain’t no other city make me feel this way
I been all around the world baby, but I’m here to stay

Now I Know – This song has a great beat, but it’s also about some serious things. Andy sings that the older he gets the more he realizes that almost everything he believed was a lie. This is the first of the less than positive references to his father. Although he feels jaded, he sings that he somehow still believes in God. Key lyrics are:

All that glitters ain’t made of gold
It’s the thing you’ve heard a million times before
It took a little time, now I realize
Now I know better, it’s better late than never
Now I know

Desperados – with guest Mali Music who handles the hook. Key lyrics are:

I’m sick and tired of songs that don’t dignify a lady

I gotta speak on my peace
Man, I can’t keep it a secret
The only way that you get acceptance is when you know you don’t need it, yeah

Hear My Heart – In this song Andy apologies to his sister Grace, who was born deaf, for never learning sign language. Key lyrics are:

My big sister Grace, I’m sorry I never learned to sign
And even though you were born deaf
I pray you forgive me for the years I lived blind

David’s Roof – This is a brief interlude sung in Spanish with soft horns. Translated it reads:

Prepare me for the war
Because comfort is the fall of kings
Is the fall of kings

The lyrics refer to King David on his roof looking at Bathsheba.

Rat Race – This song features Jon Bellion, known for his production on Eminem’s “The Monster”. Key lyrics are:

Tell ’em we don’t wanna play, yeah, yeah
We’re so okay with last place
We already won the game, yeah, yeah
No, we won’t run your rat race

And I ain’t tryna be another one of fame’s victims
Make a name for myself but never make a difference

Know That’s Right – Andy sings of knowing where he is going (Heaven). He also brings some of his humor here. Key lyrics are:

My Savior is Jewish, my lawyer is Jewish
My stomach is Buddhist
I’m trying to lose it, but I need to chill on Fig Newtons, I swear

There’s nothin’ left to say
I know where I’m goin’
We’re startin’ here today
And you know, you know that’s right

Vendetta – This song includes another reference to his father (and mother). It’s hard-hitting and features some of the best lyrics on the album. Andy includes part of the hook from 2 Pac’s song “Hail Mary”. Key lyrics are:

You wanna know the real problem in America?
Always has been and it always will be, me

Cause Pac did a lot more for me than Barack

I wanna snatch my generation out this apathy

Ghost – This song is about a close friendship that dissolved. You can feel Andy’s sadness as he tells us about it. Key lyrics include:

A thug changes and love changes
And them best friends become strangers (from “The Message” by Nas)

Love – Andy sings about what he’s learned about love, with references to his recent marriage. Key lyrics include:

Watch a man real close, what he choose to do with his money
That’ll tell you the truth about what he really (love)

Strange Motions – On this song, Andy states that that he taps into a psychedelic rock vibe trying some new stuff with Willow Stephens. Key lyrics include:

When these strange motions
They tell me don’t get lost in heaven

Make Me a Believer – This song features the incredible vocals of Third Day lead singer Mac Powell and addresses King David’s repentance after being confronted of his sin by the prophet Nathan. Key lyrics include:

Make me a believer
Cause all I’ve ever seen is pain
Make me a believer
Promise me I’m not the same
Make me a believer

I’ve listened to this album several times since its release. Each time I hear something new. Give this album multiple listens, it deserves it and you will hear something new and exciting with each succeeding listen as you experience Mineo’s growth as an artist.

Song of the Week
Pressing On by Bob Dylan

Perhaps the best thing about the disappointing film Captive was the version of Bob Dylan’s song “Pressing On” by Judith Hill. Listen to Dylan’s live version of the song from 1980.
Well I’m pressing on
Yes, I’m pressing on
Well I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord

Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind
Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”
What kind of sign they need when it all come from within
When what’s lost has been found, what’s to come has already been?

Well I’m pressing on
Yes, I’m pressing on
Well I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord

Shake the dust off of your feet, don’t look back
Nothing now can hold you down, nothing that you lack
Temptation’s not an easy thing, Adam given the devil reign
Because he sinned I got no choice, it run in my vein

Well I’m pressing on
Yes, I’m pressing on
Well I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

musicnewsSmoke Break. Did you see Carrie Underwood perform her latest single on The Tonight Show recently?

  • Andy Mineo’s Toca Tuesdays Freestyle. Andy Mineo stops by Shade 45 and freestyle for DJ Tony Touch’s “Toca Tuesdays.”
  • Switchfoot is back in the studio recording album number ten. Can’t wait for it.
“The idea that art should reflect the beauty and order of God’s creation dispels the notion that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”   Fernando Ortega

Song of the Week

Uncomfortable by Andy Mineo

This week, to celebrate his new album Uncomfortable, we feature two songs by Andy Mineo. First, we look at the title song from the new album. It’s one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. This was one of the songs you received when you pre-ordered the album, so I’ve been enjoying it for weeks. Watch the video here.

Nobody told me you die like this
Nobody told me you could die from bliss, yeah
Nobody told me, nobody told me
We never ever saw it comin’, no, no
Live it up, live it up
Nobody ever told us we could die like this
Live it up, live it up
Nobody ever told us, we never saw it comin’, no
Live it up, live it up
Nobody ever told us we could die like this
Live it up, live it up
Corrupted by the comfort we…

God prepared me for the war
Comfort be the thing that’ll make a king fold
Eyes on the Lord, gotta grip that blade or the sword
Tell me how you plan on gettin’ swole if you don’t ever get sore (hold up)
They say, “Andy, this ain’t music for your core”
If they jumpin’ ship now, they was never on board
I got enemies, man they wanna see me on the floor
I got frenemies, couldn’t even tell you who they are
If you’re not driven by the mission, you’ll be driven by the cars
Focused on what you been given more than becomin’ who you are
I tried to point ’em to the Son, but why they callin’ me a star?
Who woulda thought we set their minds free with these bars?
In this game, in this biz
Want the fame, gon’ get rich
Comfort, everybody wantin’ it
Never knew I could be lost in this
This my sophomore, gotta go hard
When the show over, no encore
I got enough but I want more, want more

Nobody told me you die like this
Nobody told me you could die from bliss, yeah
Nobody told me, nobody told me
We never ever saw it comin’

My own people owned people, but they don’t own that
They say racism dead, man our president is black
Two terms in the White House, that don’t mean jack
If we still believe our present ain’t affected by our past
First class with a Coach bag, I forgot
When you start eatin’ you lose your hunger then grow fat
I apologize for Christians with pickets sayin’, “God hates fags”
I promise Jesus wouldn’t act like that
He said it’s hard for a rich man to get to heaven
When we feel like we don’t need God, then we forget Him
We tell ’em that, “If you don’t make me money or make me happy
Then I ain’t makin’ time for ya’, so make it snappy”
And I think lately you mistake me for a cabby
Cause this drive that I got put everybody in the backseat
So if you wanna live a comfortable life
Make sure you never love nobody, be selfish and never sacrifice

We got legal weed that’ll keep us high
‘Round the world other people die
Where on earth is my wi-fi?
Our stomachs full and our pockets fat
I need love, there’s a site for that
I had more when I had less

I think I got too comfortable, yeah
I think I got too comfortable
I think I got too comfortable, yeah
I think I got, I know I got
I think I got too comfortable
I know I got, I think I got
I know I got, a little too comfortable

“You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo was recently voted the top “Walk Up” song in Major League Baseball. Watch the video here.

You can’t stop me

Huh, can’t stop won’t stop, where the brakes at?
I give ’em that diddy bop, like take that, take that, take that, take that
I’m a put in work, I’m a do that ASAP
Throw my faith in rap, but they say don’t say that huh?
What I’m a turn down for, I feel like Shaq in nine four
Breaking glass in that backboard, or like Kobe in Toronto, huh?
Dropping 81, Yo I drop the 88, Ricky Bobby, shake and bake
Sleeping on us should have stayed awake, huh?
Everybody make mistakes like VJs trying to say my name
It’s Mineo, say it with me, Mineo – Okay great
Two forks high, raise the stakes, risk it all, I take the hate
It’s the winning team, get the Gatorade
My God good, but he’s not safe, nah

They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide
Only thing I fear is God and he on my side
That’s the confidence of God, cause he got me
That’s why I really feel like

You can’t stop me
That’s all you got? Come on with it
That’s all you got?
You can’t stop me

(You) don’t got the power, (can’t) shut me down
(Stop), that’s not an option, (me) I’m my biggest problem
(You) don’t got the power, (can’t) shut me down
(Stop), that’s not an option
You can’t stop me

You’re my biggest opponent, you know me I know you we know it
Whenever I fail, you’ve always been there to simply remind me I’ve blown it
You don’t see when I’m growing, you don’t see where I’m going
You only see in the moment, you know my mistakes you never let go it
Huh, don’t cease to amaze me, and it drive me crazy, huh
That you catch every detail that I miss in the songs I’m making, saying
You will never write a verse like Kendrick
Never be the rap or rock God from Hendrix
Top 10 alive you will never be mentioned
Why aim so high, won’t survive the trenches
Plus, you a Christian Andy, they will never listen Andy
Plus, where your pigment Andy, huh, you ain’t got skill you a gimmick Andy
Well, if I listen to you, and everything you put in my ear
I’ll be living like woulda, shoulda, coulda, I’ll be paralyzed by fear
Huh, ain’t that the truth, if I quit the only way I lose
I got two choices when I do this – make moves or make excuses
Huh, if you know who I’m talking about, then you got me
My biggest enemy is me – and even I can’t stop me

I said if I cannot stop me then you’ll never stop me
Oh no, can’t stop, oh no, won’t stop


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Lecrae Concert Review, Music News and Song of the Week

anomaly_tourLecrae, Andy Mineo and DJ Promote at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis April 30, 2015

DJ Promote opened the recent joyful three hour show before a mixed crowd of 3,000 mostly young fans at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, one of the final stops of the Anomaly tour.

We were seated in the second row of the balcony. As the crowd started moving at the beginning of DJ Promote’s set, so did the balcony – a lot! We had never felt anything like that before. Think of going through some turbulence on a flight, except you are sitting in the balcony of a theatre. The person sitting next to Tammy said it always happens. Later, in discussing this with an usher, we were told that the building was built that way to withstand an earthquake. They said we should have been there for the Lady Gaga concert when it was really shaking!

After a short set from DJ Promote, Andy Mineo came on to play an excellent high energy set, featuring songs from his Neverland EP and full-length album Heroes for Sale. Featured were such songs as “Neverland”, “The Saints”, “Bitter”, “Wild Things”, “Uno Uno Seis” (Spanish for 116), “Paisano’s Wylin”, “Rewind”, and “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Lecrae’s set contained mostly songs from his latest and chart-topping Anomaly album, beginning with “Welcome to America”. He effectively used video and song to tell the story of his life, as he was accompanied by a background singer, DJ Promote and a drummer. Other songs performed from the new album included “Outsiders”, “Fear”, “Wish”, “Dirty Water”, “Nuthin”, “All I Need is You”, “Good, Bad, Ugly” and “Give In”. This was more than just a concert, as Lecrae didn’t avoid the hard issues, including driving his girlfriend to an abortion clinic. He also played “I’m Turnt” and “Tell the World”. Andy Mineo joined Lecrae for a rousing “Say I Won’t” closer.

Along the way we had a marriage proposal by Lecrae’s former road manager (she said “yes”)! DJ Promote then led the crowd through some celebratory music.

Throughout the concert Lecrae talked about how much he loved St. Louis and how he felt that the city had adopted him. He thanked those from the St. Louis rap community who had helped him (including Thi’sl, J.R. and Flame), and then called on Thi’sl to join him for a powerful great version of “Fakin” from Gravity.

Lecrae is the real-deal. There is no artist I like or respect more. This was the second time we had seen him in concert, the first being a much shorter set at an outdoor festival. He and his fellow Reach Records artists are making a difference in an otherwise mostly dark genre by consistently producing high quality music.

MUSIC NEWS:

 Song of the WeekThis week’s song, O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, is a favorite of my wife’s. Few hymns paint such a vivid picture of God’s love as this one by Samuel Trevor Francis: vast, unmeasured, boundless free; rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me; Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love …It helps us visualize the immensity of Christ’s love, overwhelming us in the depths of His tender, triumphant heart. Ephesians 3:18 ~ And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

You can learn the tune and sing along at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/t/othedeep.htm

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!