In a scene from "Remains of the Day":

A lady servant (single) has fallen in love with the head servant (Anthony Hopkins, the perfect servant, seemingly married to his job).  She corners him in his room, where he is reading a book.  She snatches the book out of his hands, and discovers it is a romance novel.  Hoping to find a romantic underneath his official manner, she asks him "why do you read this?".  He answers, matter-of-factly, "to increase my knowledge of customs and command of the Eng-lissch* language (*there is no way, using Roman letters, for an American to reproduce the way an Englishman pronounces the word 'English') (*One of my profs, Dr. Peter Racine Fricker, said, 'I am so English I can barely talk [tauwhlk]!)


Movies are full of great music, and my wife, who makes crocheted blankets and has great curiosity, buys videos of all sorts, which I hear daily.  I have no idea how any of these movies begin, because I am gradually drawn in by the music.  The music, besides just sitting in my head being good, turns on my creative genes.  Thus, the theme from "Captain Skyhawk" bobs up in fragments in an Easter drama, etc.  Some music is interdisciplinary;  I turn on Bach when I'm doing artwork, just as Chopin played Bach rather than practice for a concert, for "it gives me ideas."  The Bible provides its own music between the lines, as does Van Gogh or a walk on the beach (ever walked on the beach without music paper in your pocket, and an idea came up?  Arrghh!)


What turns you on?  What feeds your soul?  What brings you out of your own little music box?  Whose music changed your life?  Any favorite artists who are not merely good, but they motivate or bring a special richness to your heart and vigor to your spirit?

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Hey, I was fourteen years old at the time.  What did I know?  And California has great tomatoes and lots of other wonders.

Showing my age, maybe, but "there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert."  A live Grateful Dead CD comes close enough, though :-)  Maybe even a good Dead cover band (Dark Star Orchestra, or, here in AZ, the No Hobo Band).


I suppose Larry Norman changed my life in the sense that he showed that Christian Music didn't have to be about Bible stories or Psalm Texts, and in a way, Ralph Carmichael changed my life because it showed me that Christian Music didn't have to be hymns or country gospel :-)  And at some point in my life, after years of ignoring Amy Grant because she was "too wholesome," I realized that she just absolutely nailed what the "Christian life" is all about - I think it was when I started listening to Christian radio for some songs to do with our worship band (1994 or so) and realized that the only songs they played that I could stand were old Amy Grant songs.


But, ya know, Grateful Dead.  Totally in a class by themselves.  "Once in a while, you can get shown the light / in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

My wife, first of all! She is a class act. She can relate to anyone and be instantly loved. Race or sex doesn't phase her. She loves me like no one else can...except for my Saviour.

  Musically, just good worship music will get my motor running.  I've been influenced in the past by many people, places and things. Secular bands in my early life like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bruce Sprinsteen and Jackson Browne had impacts on me. That's all history now. I love too many Christian bands to go into detail. But I can say this, every year I buy Hillsongs new DVD/CD and I've always seemed to be inspired so much that I write a song. No other group or DVD does that to me like Hillsongs or United.

  Kent Henry in the 80's and early 90's changed my whole perspective of worship.


  The Word of God when it comes in the power of revelation to my spirit. Nothing amps me up more than when God speaks a specific Word into my heart. That's where faith comes from...hearing the 'rhema' of God.

I feel I must add after my ending statement,  "I am not a Hillsongs Wannabe". lol

  I'm a Jesus wannabe.

Oh man, how about "Railroad Blues" or, "I wish I was a headlight, on a north bound train" from Europe '72.


You're alright in my book mate!

Just hearing a train at night takes me out to lonely places of the night (aren't you glad they designed locomotive whistles that way, and for the Doppler effect?)
Oh yea. My grandmother used to have an express rail in her back yard and nothing would put me to sleep at night like the sound of a 2 mile long freight train clicking down the tracks.

By the way, the song "And We Bid You Goodnight" that the Dead used to close shows with, is basically a calypos version of a hymn called "The Christian's Good Night" by Sarah Doudney and ira Sankey:


For several years I sent scans of sheet music from The Cokesbury Hymnal to various emails in the Dead organization, but as far as I know they've always just credited it as "public domain."  Which is true, given that it's a hymn from the 1800s, but I still wish they'd credit the original author and composer...



You guys are so righteous.  I bought my first Christian album because the chick on the cover (Debby Kerner) was awesomely good-looking.  It turned out to have some great songs like "I'm gonna jump down, turn around, touch the ground and praise my Lord", plus beautiful backgrounds and acoustic guitar work -- I didn't know at the time (1972) that Christian groups used guitars and such (my church was all organ), and it was a revelation.

I also was a Deadhead in a former life and pretty regularly saw them and Garcia's band (their version of Dylan's 'Forever Young' can still give me goosebumps) whenever they were in SoCal along with the Allman Brothers, SRVaughan, Hot Tuna, Crazy Horse, and a few others. 


I vividly remember my first year or so as a Christian being torn apart with the music I was hearing.  Praise music in church was great to listen to there (Majesty, I Believe in Jesus, and stuff like that), but I couldn't imagine listening to that style at home.  I tried Christian radio and was bitterly disappointed with all the schmaltzy stuff.  It wasn't till about a year later that I moved and was looking for a church that I went to a Vineyard Christian Fellowship.  It was roughly an hour of God centered praise with music that I absolutely loved.  I wept most of the service.  A couple weeks later I was listening to an afternoon show called 'Searchlight' on a station out of Las Vegas that the Victor Valley had an antenna to get locally and openly wept again upon hearing a band called White Heart do a song called 'Once and For All'.  It was the first Christian song on radio that wasn't torture on my ears.  This gave great hope that I'd be able to get away from the influence of the music I'd listened to for years and be able to praise my Savior at home. 


Through the years there have been many p/w songs that have hit the right spot as well as songs from bands that were Christian but not heavy into p/w songs (the 77's, Vigilantes of Love, Violet Burning, much of Third Day's stuff, etc.)  and I rarely listen to the other stuff as a result.  Much of the Vineyard and Vineyard UK stuff still moves me and now is moving the congregation as we've been adding a bit of it in the past year or so (and yes, even much of the newer material we find good). 


Finally, playing p/w music and seeing the effect it sometimes has on the congregation is amazing.  A few months ago we pulled 'I Exalt Thee' out of the mothballs and tagged 'How Great is our God' on the end of it.  It was almost chilling watching what was going on in the room.  Seeing the Holy Spirit moving people---that's what turns me on.

That moment of hearing something - usually something excellent - that changes your viewpoint!  As a teenager, I had no use at all for rock; but while in the military I bought an album of Chicago (simply because I was born there).  Wow!  Real music!  It blew my entire circuit board, and instantly widened my scope for what I could do with my life in music.

I feel moved by all of these in varying degrees...

  1. a great story
  2. complex music composition
  3. lyrics that touch reality
  4. artful cinematography

... but when they're combined, each carefully supporting the other, they can be as emotionally stimulating or encouraging as though they were part of your life.

Being able to identify with what I read, hear or see moves me. Great artists, even if they are narrowly focused on the work at hand, touch the emotions in others even if they never look beyond what clearly touches their own emotions.

A great movie to me is never as good as the book and despite the potential for mistakes or odd nuances a live performance is always more stirring than a recording.


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