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Emily and I

What did you love in your high school years? A band? A movie? A book that kept you up all night? It’s amazing how, in that fragile time between becoming an adult and still hanging on to childhood, those attachments you can’t explain can shape your passions for the rest of your life.

If I think about it long enough, go back far enough, I’d say I write poems today because of Emily Dickinson.

She’s a staple of the earliest literature classes, like Shakespearean tragedies and Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” the old stuff you have to read. Demure in photographs, with wide collared dresses and hair pulled back tight. But for me, and I suspect many other slightly awkward and shy teen girls, her poems burrowed deep into something I didn’t have a name for yet. My text books taught the “cleaned up” versions that toned down her eccentric obsession with dashes, but being drilled into memorizing “To make a prairie” and “I never saw a moor” stirred a sense of vast possibility.



Sustainability and Place

The antidote to an unsustainable life is to stick around a place.

I have been thinking about this a bit. At the university where I work, this semester I am teaching as an adjunct, handling the course “Sustainability In Action” for a colleague on sabbatical. Texts on sustainability tend to focus on the very real challenges of climate change and emerging economies and dematerialization. It is good to think about these issues when we think about sustainability, and to try to work on solutions to them. But preceding the sustainability problems that make news headlines comes a decision that regularly goes unnoticed. It is a decision by some person or persons to leave. Here is the versified form of what I am attempting to say.

People these days pack up to get to the next place.
No one seems to stick around anymore.
Who can say they’ve heard laughter after the decades;
the same laughter that they’ve heard,
over and over before,
or the same tears splashing down on the same old floor?
People these days hurry off to the next place.
Everyone seems headed through a door.



Showing the Locals

Last night’s Local Show was pretty incredible. Thanks to Andy Gullahorn for leading the team and to Jill Phillips, Jeremy Casella, and Andrew Osenga for such a great evening of music. Jill played some new songs, Andy played some funny (and some heartbreaking) songs, Osenga played an old favorite (“The Ball Game”) and some new favorites too, and Jeremy reminded everyone why Death in Reverse is such an awesome album. Special thanks to Arthur Alligood who was a good sport and played a new song when we asked him, and to Randall Goodgame for the Dylan tune. The evening wrapped up with the group covering Rich Mullins (the second Mullins cover of the night), and we even got it on video for you (sorry about the audio quality).

Thanks to all who came out to last night’s show. We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did.

The next show is on September 30th and features Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive, Lori Chaffer, and Buddy Greene—but there’s no telling who else may show up. Tickets are available here.

The Local Show – “Calling Out Your Name” from The Rabbit Room on Vimeo.



Hutchmoot 2014 Special Concert: Jill Phillips’ Mortar and Stone

I know it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to announce this year’s special Hutchmoot concert. Jill Phillips is both one of Nashville’s best songwriters and one of its most extraordinary vocalists, and she’s been working on a new record for most of the past year. There’s no firm release date yet, but I can tell you for 100% certain that on Friday night, October 10th, at Hutchmoot 2014, folks will be treated to a full evening of Jill and a stellar band of players performing the songs from the new record (and more). If you’ve only seen Jill perform solo, you’re in for a special night—prepare to be blown away.

The new album is called Mortar and Stone and those who have heard the new material know this record is going to be yet another fantastic collection in Jill’s line-up of classics. We couldn’t be more delighted to have Jill play such a big part in this year’s moot.

Don’t have tickets to Hutchmoot? You can also see Jill (along with Andy Gullahorn, Jeremy Casella, and Andrew Osenga) tonight at The Local Show (tickets available here).



Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I’ll go ahead and assume everyone’s already heard that U2′s new album, Songs of Innocence, is available for free from iTunes. That’s a great deal right there. I’m a giant U2 fan and I’m still waiting for a chance to listen to the record. My fingers are crossed. The release reminded me of this, though, which I meant to share several weeks ago. It’s a cover of U2′s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by Jenny & Tyler, with special guests Sara Groves and a virtual choir of internet folks (anyone here in that choir?). It’s pretty darned awesome. Check it out.



Rabbit Room Recap 09-12-14

Hutchmoot-20141-535x266There’s less than a month left until Hutchmoot 2014! I can’t believe how quickly it’s sneaking up on us. Ninety percent of the sessions are set, and I’m hoping to get the website updated with the schedule very soon. It’s time to start making name tags and printing linocut folders, so look for an email later today to confirm the names associated with your tickets. I’ve been contacted by a couple of folks who are trying to sell their tickets, so if you find yourself in need of one at this late hour, send me an email (pete@rabbitroom.com) and I’ll see if I can put you in touch with someone who might be able to help.

localshowrrNext up: The Local Show. We had a packed house last week for the first show, and the songwriters treated us all to a great evening. We got to hear new music from everyone involved, which was pretty darned awesome. A personal favorite was a new tune from a grumpy Eric Peters (is there any other kind?). The next show is coming up this Tuesday, and the featured songwriters are Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga, and Jeremy Casella. Tickets are on sale now. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or just $5 if you are a Rabbit Room member. Come out and enjoy the show. Here’s Randall and his wife Amy at the September 2nd show singing one of the best songs ever:

Rebellion-shakes-fist-600x250Sam Smith is “Sticking it to God” in his latest post. We’re not entirely sure what “it” is, but we hope he’s not using duct tape to do it—that stuff is almighty painful when it comes off. In all fairness, the subtitle of the post does hint at meatier fare: “Rebellious Stories as a Cliche to Play Against.” As his editor, I choose not to point out that the correct subtitle would have been “Rebellious Stories Against Which to Play,” because that would seem rebellious and I don’t want Sam to play against me or duct tape me to a pole. His post, however, is far more edifying than this description would lead you to believe. If you’re feeling like a rebel, don’t click here to read it.

cover storeJonathan Rogers’ The World According to Narnia has been out of print for years, but Rabbit Room Press is rectifying that situation. The new edition is in the final phase of production and we should have them in hand within the next week or so. Pre-order now and we’ll get your order in the mail just as soon as the books arrive. Available in the Rabbit Room store.

map_of_seekonk_maJen Rose has a new post up called “The S Towns” in which she reveals that there’s an actual town called “Seekonk,” which was named after one of the entries in Pembrick’s Creaturepedia. Okay, that last bit isn’t entirely true, but we wish it were. All Seekonking aside, Jen writes about the need to sometimes get lost in order to really know where you’re going. Read the post here.

Tokens Shame and Presence show graphic2We gave away quite a few tickets to this past week’s Tokens Show. Congratulations to the winners. We hope you enjoyed the show. I know I did. The topic of the night was “Shame and Presence: Fig Leaves, Truth-Telling, and the Encumbrance of Things Hidden”—did you get all that? Well, over the course of the show, we actually did get all that, believe it or not. It was a fine evening featuring music by Ellie Holcomb, Andy Gullahorn, and some crazy-talented kids called Brother Parker. Brother Preacher brought the comedy, Odessa Settles brought the soul, and Al Andrews of Porters Call brought the wisdom. Great show. Thanks for coming.

SoulAndrew Osenga recently released the second EP of his Heart & Soul, Flesh & Bone project, which many of us kickstarted. This time around the music’s got a groove and Andy gave us a song-by-song breakdown of the record in Monday’s post. Check it out, listen to the tracks, and pick up the EP in the Rabbit Room store if you like what you hear. What I want to know is whether or not the next EP, Flesh, is going to be entirely comprised of Bobby McFerrin-style music using only sounds made by Andy thumping his chest and beatboxing—because that would be awesome.

narnia-535x266Chris Yokel delivered a great post called “The Thin Places of Fantasy,” in which he discusses the ache we feel for enchantment in our stories and our lives. If you’ve ever peeked at the back of a wardrobe—you know, just in case—then this post is for you. It’s also got some Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry to recommend it. Read the post here.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.38.20 AMFrom Smallest Seed is a new album put out by a whole slew of familiar songwriters. It’s part of the A Rocha Project, and Sandra McCracken wrote a great post describing its origins. A Rocha is a great organization centered on creation care, something that goes sadly overlooked in far too many churches. The album features folks like Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Don and Lori Chaffer, Rain for Roots, Julie Lee, Buddy Greene, Sarah Masen, Sara Groves, and lots of others including Sandra. Click here to read about it and here to pick up a copy in the Rabbit Room store.

topiariesAnd finally, Jamin Still has been painting a series of Christmas cards. He’s been working on the project for a while now, but it’s recently taken a slightly new direction. Click here to read more.



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