It’s been a busy week in the Rabbit Room office where final typesetting and design is underway for The Warden and the Wolf King and its Kickstarter rewards: a hardback edition of Monster in the Hollows, Pembrick’s Creaturepedia, and a giant full-color map. You guys are going to love this stuff. We’re hoping to start handing artwork off to the printer next week.
While that’s been happening around here, here’s what’s been happening on the website.
Enter Rebecca Reynolds with her first official Rabbit Room post, “Writing Our Tragedies,” in which she begins with Oedipus and Antigone and ends by taking a look at the importance of perspective in viewing our own tragedies.
“Our sad stories are important, too. And knowing how terribly they end can invite us to rewind through them, looking not for the great reveal, but for bits of sea glass hidden on broken shores.”
This week’s Monday Music Update includes news from Ron Block, Rebecca Reynolds, and Jeff Taylor (they’ve got a new project in the works!); Jeremy Casella; Don and Lori Chaffer; Jason Gray; and Randall Goodgame. Read the update for full details.
On Tuesday, Jason Gray released his new album, Love Will Have the Final Word. We posted a video of a great acoustic performance of our favorite track from the record, “Not Right Now,” and Jason gave us the story behind the song. Check it out.
Painter Jamin Still is one of our new contributors. He’s busy right now preparing for an art show, so he hasn’t had time to write at length, but he did pop up this week to say hello and give folks a quick look at a bit of the magic he brings to his work. Can’t wait to see more from him.
Ben Shive has been Andrew Peterson’s full-time right-hand man for over a decade. But with his producing schedule bursting at the seams, he’s decided to step back. As this season of his life comes to an end, Ben looks back to say thank you and reflect on what it means to serve from the sidelines.
If you’re near Nashville next week, take advantage of this opportunity to catch some great lectures by Baylor University professor and Flannery O’Connor scholar Ralph Wood. He’ll be speaking on a range of topics and authors including O’Connor, Tolkien, Lewis, Dostoevsky. The lectures are free to the public. Click here for the schedule.
And finally, here’s a trifecta of One Minute Reviews for you. Enjoy.Tweet
Baylor University’s Ralph Wood is one of the great Flannery O’Connor scholars. His Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South has done more to shape my thinking about O’Connor’s work than any other secondary source. He’s just as strong on Lewis and Tolkien. Also Dostoyevsky. He is the best sort of literary scholar: while his colleagues in English departments throughout the land are going to work on the texts, Dr. Wood gets out of the way and lovingly allows the texts to do their work.
Dr. Wood will be giving four public lectures in Nashville on Monday and Tuesday of next week (March 10-11). These are going to be great. All four lectures are free and open to the public. If you are in Middle Tennessee, you really need to attend as many of these as possible. I insist.
Here’s the lineup:
Monday, March 10, noon to 1pm
“C.S. Lewis and the Matter of Moral Formation for Physicians”
Vanderbilt University Medical School, Light Hall 208
2215 Garland Avenue (615) 343-4664
Monday, March 10, 5:45 to 7pm
“C.S. Lewis on Driving the Devil out with Laughter”
Montgomery Bell Academy, Lowry Hall, Dead Poets’ Society Room
4001 Harding Road (615) 298-5514
Tuesday, March 11, noon to 1pm
“J.R.R. Tolkien: Writer for Our Time of Terror”
4210 Harding Road (615) 297-7545
Tuesday, March 11, 6:30 to 8pm
“Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Flannery O’Connor, and Christ Pantocrator”
Vanderbilt University, Benton Chapel
411 21st Ave S. (615) 322-2457
Twelve years ago at a Wesleyan college in Indiana, I played my first show as Andrew Peterson’s full-time right-hand man. Tonight in Greeley, Colorado, I played my last. At least for now.
In January of 2002 I was 22 years old and newly married. I had come to Nashville two years prior to pursue my goal of playing sessions. I also hoped to be a sideman to a great songwriter. I just didn’t know who that might be. Rich Mullins had died in 1997, my freshman year of college. I figured eventually somebody had to pick up that torch and run with it. I wanted to run alongside.
I met Andrew through my friend Mark, who was AP’s college roommate. Mark told me I was meeting the next Rich Mullins. The magic words! I wrote a string arrangement of Andrew’s song “Faith To Be Strong” for a class project and sent the recording to AP. It worked. He hired me to write strings for Behold The Lamb Of God, which was then in its second year of touring. After the show, AP asked me to come on the road in the spring.
Little did I know . . .Tweet
I’m so grateful for the invitation to contribute to this community. When I learned what many of you write and listen to, what some of you sing about, I often think, “Yes! That’s what I paint! We mine the same material, plumb the same waters.” The themes of rebellion and redemption, brokenness and restoration resonate with me as they seem to with many of you.
And so it’s a privilege to offer you a glimpse into my world. I’m currently preparing for an art fair in April and so every few weeks I’ll update you on what I’m working on. I look forward to getting to know you all better.
[Editor's note: Today is release day for Jason's new record. Click here to order.]
Following is the piece I wrote as an essay for the special edition of my new record, Love Will Have The Final Word.
The suffering of others can make us talkative, loosening the tongues of even the most timid among us. We mean well, we want to help, but more often than not we end up being like Job’s comforters: doing more harm than good by offering half-baked answers, which are no comfort at all and leave the hearer feeling even more alone. When we do this we are asking the suffering person to be okay, to cheer up, and in doing so we are rejecting their pain.
The loneliness of our own suffering can make us introspective. It can lead us into the shame and regret buried deep in our hearts, warranted or not (a friend of mine who had a miscarriage told me that all she wanted to say over and over again was, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” though she had done nothing for which she needed to apologize). In this we see how pain has the power to unearth our deepest wounds, driving them to the surface where perhaps God can begin to heal them.
Several years ago, I experienced one of the most healing moments of my life. It happened in the back lounge of a tour bus. I had just poured out my broken heart to my friend, Andy Gullahorn, when I recognized in the silence that fell between us that I was bracing myself for what he would say next. Would he try to fix me? Correct me? Would he reject my pain by offering answers?Tweet
Ron Block and Jeff Taylor are working on a new album that Ron describes as “sparse and restful.” The album features lyrics from RR contributor Rebecca Reynolds and will feature 12-13 new songs, many in the style of old hymns. Some tracks have already been featured here at the Rabbit Room. Check out “Come, Children of this Long, Discarded Night” and “Everything Broken and Everything Beautiful” for a preview.
Jeremy Casella successfully met his Kickstarter goal for his forthcoming album, Death in Reverse. Don’t miss Jeremy’s post on the album’s background entitled “My Search for Joy in the Presence of the Future“.
Don Chaffer has been busy writing and producing, including a new instrumental album for licenselab.com. As a producer, he finished up a new album for Sara Swenson and is working on another with Ben Kilgore. Don says he and Lori are slowly working on a new Waterdeep album.
Randall Goodgame has an upcoming Slugs & Bugs StageIt show on Saturday, March 15. Check out the Slugs & Bugs Facebook page. Official details coming soon.
Jason Gray‘s new album, Love Will Have The Final Word, will be available this Tuesday, March 4. Check back tomorrow to listen to one of the new tracks.
Andy Gullahorn has a show on March 15 in Columbus, GA at Crosspointe Church for their Poets, Painters, and Storytellers concert series. He will be joined by songwriter Allen Levi and painter Wellon Bridgers.Tweet
[We were so delighted to publish this at Story Warren because it zeros in on so much of what we are aiming for. But this doesn't only apply to children and families. Thank you so much for this, Alyssa. ---Sam]
—– —– —–
“Can we go to school the long way today?” My daughter’s brown eyes watched my reflection in the mirror as I stood behind her, brushing her hair. ”The view is better when we go that way,” she said.
“Do you mean when we pass the big field?” I asked, returning her reflected gaze. She nodded.
“What do you like to see in the field?” I asked her.
This was a first.
You can now listen to Rabbit Room artists and podcasts every waking hour of your day—assuming you have a good internet connection. Rabbit Room Radio is available through the player below, through iTunes (look in the “Religious” category), or through any internet radio player. Tune in on Saturday morning for kids’ music. Let us know what you think.
In the Store
- Writing Our Tragedies (12)
- Leslie Sheridan: I missed this on it’s first day! Boo! I’m with Jennifer K – though – that line about screaming...
- Jen Rose: Lovely. Thank you.
- Don’t You Want to Thank Someone? Yes, I do. (35)
- Jaclyn Lewis: Ben, I’m really going to miss you at your keyboard. Maybe it’s the budding Samwise in me. When I first heard you play...
- An Epic Tale in Eight Hours a Day (29)
- Peter B: Jen, this is magnificent in its humility. Thank you — and welcome Like James, I could have used this twelve (or twenty) years...
- Brad Griffith: Sorry to post again. Just wanted to say, Amy S., what a beautiful poem that is.
- Brad Griffith: Jen, this really resonates with me (and apparently with many others). I think you’re right that our generation feels entitled...
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S. D. Smith
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David Michael Bruno
writer, poet, teacher
singer, songwriter, teacher
poet, writer, teacher