How do you top treadmills? Well…

This video by OK Go (the dancing treadmill guys) will make you smile. Pay close attention at the 50 sec mark when the video starts to get a little bizzarre.

The whole thing is goofy, catchy, and endearing. The thing is pretty amazing once you see that they choreographed the Notre Dame Marching Band plus dancing children with streamers, recording the music live in a field in one take using a cherry picker for aerial shots. The audio setup alone must have been pretty impressive.

And you apparently can downlod the song and video for free from the band’s website.

Groove Goodies

CeU (seh-yoh’) is a Brazilian artist who reminds me of Bebel Gilberto or a Latin answer to the UKs Morcheeba. Imagine chilled-out, acoustic, bossa-nova-infused grooves with sultry vocals. You can download a live KEXP studio podcast from the artist here. If you are a downtempo fan, this is a treat.

KEXP in Seattle is my favorite online radio station. I subscribe to its regular podcasts and get a regular pulse on some pretty good new music from a lot of different genres. They offer one free song download a day, which has introduced me to some pretty nice freebies, like today’s pop track from the Raveonettes.

Poetry: Come My Way

I was listening to my daily payer podcast, courtesy of the Jesuits at Pray As You Go, and I heard something familiar. The words of the meditation song were the same as the meditation sung by my best man at our wedding twenty years ago. But it was some other arrangement, not the Ralph Vaughan Williams melody I was familar with. This made me smile, and I started trying to sing the old tune I knew.

Later, Heidi called me on her way out to class. “Did you listen to the prayer podcast this morning? Anything sound familiar?” So we shared a quick moment.

It makes some great poetry. Better when sung. I wish my voice were in shape enough to do this justice. Anyway, here it is.

Come My Way, from The Call, by George Herbert

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.

A Love Supreme for the Supreme

It’s about that time of year. John Coltrane recorded “A Love Supreme” on December 9th, 1964 and left the world one of the greatest musical recordings ever in any genre, any decade.

I’ve been thinking about him for the last couple of weeks ever since we had this prayer session in adoration at Church. We had about 40 guys all in the chapel and the prayer leader had arranged to play some spiritual music for our reflection. Personally, I prefer silence in adoration, but I especially did not jibe with the schmaltzy orchestral religio-kitsch he chose for this 20 minute period.

I began to wonder, “Wouldn’t Jesus like to hear something updated for a change? Something good, something not churchy, something with a beat, perhaps?” There is quality music out there that gives glory to God regardless of whether it is “Christian.” And then I though of Coltrane. Jesus definitely does not get to hear enough of John Coltrane. And what would be a better selection for adoration than “A Love Supreme?”

I’m going to give it try one night. I have the midnight hour tonight by myself. Maybe I’ll bring my own tunes…

Meanwhile, here is the eponymous poem he wrote in his liner notes for “A Love Supreme.”

    A Love Supreme

I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord.
It all has to do with it.
Thank you God.
There is none other.
God is. It is so beautiful.
Thank you God. God is all.
Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses.
Thank you God.
In You all things are possible.
We know. God made us so.
Keep your eye on God.
God is. He always was. He always will be.
No matter what…it is God.
He is gracious and merciful.
It is most important that I know Thee.
Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, thoughts,
fears and emotions — time all related…
all made from one…all made in one.
Blessed be His name.
Thought waves — heat waves-all vibrations —
all paths lead to God. Thank you God.
His way…it is so lovely…it is gracious.
It is merciful — thank you God.
One though can produce millions of vibrations
and they all go back to God…everything does.
Thank you God.
Have no fear…believe…thank you God.
The universe has many wonders. God is all.
His way…it is so wonderful.
Thoughts–deeds–vibrations, etc.
They all go back to God and He cleanses all.
He is gracious and merciful…thank you God.
Glory to God…God is so alive.
God is.
God loves.
May I be acceptable in Thy sight.
We are all one in His grace.
The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement
of Thee O Lord.
Thank you God.
God will wash away all our tears…
He always has…
He always will.
Seek Him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday.
Let us sing all songs to God.
To whoma all praise is due…praise God.
No road is an easy one, but they all
go back to God.
With all we share God.
It is all with God.
It is all with Thee.
Obey the Lord.
Blessed is He.
We are from one thing…the will of God…
thank you God.
I have seen Godd–I have seen ungodly–
none can be greater–none can compare to God.
Thank you God.
He will remake us…He always has and He
always will.
It is true–blessed be His name–thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely…
so gently we hardly feel it…yet,
it is our everything.
Thank you God.
All from God.
Thank you God. Amen.

The Least of These

Two homeless guys sing a charming rendition of “Amazing Grace” at Current TV. A heartwarming evocation of humble faith? An ironic commentary on the plight of the homeless? A calculated schmaltz designed to extract dollars from subway riders? Who cares. You’ll see what your current state of faith allows you to see. But the words and the voices and the smiles have power independent of their intent. Enjoy.

And don’t forget Matthew, chapter 25.

G-Love teaches the world to chill

I took a break and went to see a movie yesterday and there I saw it; My favorite acoustic blues group G-Love and Special Sauce leading a remix of the old Hilltop “Teach the world to sing” coke commercial. Only this time they were teaching the world to “chill” holding Coke Zero bottles on a Philly rooftop at sunset. (you can see the commercial here if you haven’t seen it already. You can also download the song and the ringtones for your phone.)

Several things ran through my mind:
1. Cool. Good to see G-Love getting some mainstream exposure after all these years.
2. He’s gonna catch a lot of crap for “selling out.”
3.Why didn’t they just have him sing “Cold Beverages?”
4.I wish they’d play it again. I’ll Google it later.

G-Love is his own thing. He raps, yeah, but he imitates nobody. After several decades, rap is no longer a genre of music unto itself. People sing in all sorts of genres and nobody refers to it as “singing music.” Rap can and is being incorporated into all sorts of other types of music beyond hip-hop. A white blues guy who raps like G-Love owes a debt to the black pioneers of the rap form but don’t compare him to them. So far as I know, there is no one out there doing acoustic blues with rap as well or as long as G-Love and Special Sauce. If there is, I’d love it if you’d enlighten me.

He hasn’t sold out either. Yet. Any long time listener knows that the commerical totally reflects his vibe and, of course, he loves Cold Beverages. It’s a perfect fit. I just hope it doesn’t go so far it becomes self-parody.

For those of you that are crying “sell-out”, those of you that think that all rap must be hip-hop, or especially all you posers that think anything not from your avant-garde ultrahip corner of the music world is lame, you need to listen to my man G-Love and just chill. Coke Zero is optional.