The Archives

Adam Whipple @ the Ghost Motel

Knoxville-based Adam Whipple is no stranger to most of you. But check out this fantastic video from Ghost Motel. This is Adam at his best. Check out the Ghost Motel website for more great music.

Box Canyon: Start a War

The folks at Laity Lodge just can't seem to stop making awesome videos in their Box Canyon series. Claire Holley fell in love with The National’s “Start a War” when she heard it while watching the movie Warrior with her family. “I didn’t know what the song was about . . . but it was pitch perfect,” she says. “Not every song I fall in love with I want to sing, but I just decided that was one I wanted to do.” Claire, accompanied by Dan Phelps, played several songs on the day she ventured into Box Canyon, but her cover of “Start a War” stood out for the way she made it her own. For more, visit theboxcanyon.org

The River Fox Chapter Five: The King’s Guard (Or Lack Thereof)

[Fantasy adventure and slapstick cartoon humor. Martin runs from dragons and bandits, while Marco tries to break out of a desert camp. The River Fox, volume two of The Dragon Lord Saga is now premiering one episode a week at Webtoons (also check out volume one, Martin & Marco).] 5-2It's a quirky thing, adapting two-dimensional characters to three dimensions. I think I remember reading that when the first Snoopy toy was manufactured, Charles Schultz rejected dozens of prototypes before landing on a design that recreated the pen-and-ink dog in three dimensions. I don't have any multi-million-dollar toy deals, but when I discovered the sculpted art of Jenny Dorf last year, I knew that I needed to commission her to sculpt my characters for the following reasons:

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Truth and Meaning

Meaninglessness and meaninglessness and meaninglessness mixed with a good bath towel and conveniently placed feelings of right and wrong. Such is the world portrayed by Douglas Adams, best-selling author of the 1979 classic, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hilarity in the face of irreverence in the face of randomness in the face of general upsidedownedness. It’s an intoxicating cocktail if you’re looking for a laugh or some quick nihilism, but downright disheartening if you’re hoping for some sort of purpose in life, the universe, and everything. I’m not a Douglas Adams scholar. Are there Douglas Adams scholars?* Do they present at the same conferences as Tolkein and Lewis scholars or do they prefer to share space with Trekkies and Star Wars experts? Whoever and wherever they are, I’m not one of them. Nevertheless, I imagine the following assertion put forward by characters such as Frankie the Mouse and Slartibartfast is indicative of Adams’s irreverent materialism: the now-destroyed earth was a manufactured planet created to find the Ultimate Question, the answer to which must be 42.

Baseball: The Perfect Game

Last season Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper posted an astonishing stat line: four plate appearances, zero at-bats, four walks, four runs, one RBI. Before Harper last year, no one had posted that stat line since 1914. Remarkably, Harper achieved that stat line by taking twenty consecutive pitches. He did not once swing the bat in the game.[1] That a batter could achieve a kind of “perfect game” without once swinging the bat is for baseball not anomalous. Baseball has a counterpart in the pitcher’s perfect game---also known as a "game in which nothing happens": no runs, no hits, no walks, no hit-by-pitches, no errors.

Interview: The Gray Havens

While some of our readers will be familiar with your music through the Local Show or other members of the RR family, so to speak, a lot of others will be completely unfamiliar. For those readers, is there something you want people to know more than anything about who you are? I remember listening to N. D. Wilson on a panel with some other authors. They said, 'What are you aiming to do with your novels?' He thought about it for a bit and then I forgot everything he said except for one sentence. He said, "I want to awaken wonder." I think his example was for the guy who has ceased to be in wonder about anything, just a regular joe going about his life and is stuck in the mundanity of things. That really struck me.

There Once Was a Baby Named Merle Haggard

'Merle Haggard' was such a perfect name for an old country singer-songwriter that it's hard to believe it wasn't a stage name. But Merle Haggard actually was the birth name of the country music legend who died earlier this week, on his seventy-ninth birthday. Just ponder that for a moment: there once was a baby named Merle Haggard. To understand Merle Haggard's origins, The Grapes of Wrath is a good place to start. Jim and Flossie Haggard left Dust Bowl Oklahoma in 1935, after their barn burned down. The Haggards piled their children (there were two at the time) and all their belongings into a 1926 Chevrolet and a homemade trailer and, like the Joads, followed Route 66 all the way to California. They settled in Oildale, across the Kern River from Bakersfield. Jim got a job with the railroad and converted a refrigerated boxcar into a home for his family. There, in 1937, was born the baby they named Merle. That's right: Merle Haggard was born in a boxcar.

Leaving The Weeds

If you know me well, or have ever had a conversation with me outdoors, it is more than likely I've stooped to pull weeds. I am an incorrigible weed puller.  A couple of years ago, while talking with my son in our backyard, I bent over and began picking weeds near our feet. He stopped and asked me point-blank, "Why do you always pick weeds when we talk?" I was stunned. I was aware of my habit, but oblivious to what it communicated. I asked him if my actions hurt his feelings, to which he replied, yes. Crying, I apologized, and told him to always feel the freedom to tell me when I am distracted, rude, or appear checked out. I’m not nominated for any Dad Of The Year awards. A natural-born weed puller, I started a lawncare business in 2011, the object being to apply my obsessive-compulsive behavior to financial gain. Four years and five full mowing seasons later, my side business had grown into something more than side work---it became a near full-time job. At the beginning of 2016, after much deliberation and a slew of second thoughts, I decided to shutter the operation, to sell the equipment, and to abandon a known source of income---physically toilsome though it was.

New Music: Ghost of a King

If you haven't heard the Gray Havens yet, allow me to introduce you. Here's the title track off the new record. You're going to need this link when you're done listening. Enjoy. Click through to listen.

Last Day: The Wingfeather Saga

In case you've been living in a Gargan Rockroach den and didn't hear, the Wingfeather Saga is on its way to becoming an animated TV show. The team behind the project are asking for your help to get things off the ground and give it the best chance of flight, and today is the last day to get on board. To date, the Kickstarter campaign has unlocked a TON of stretch goals, and here's a quick look at some of what's available to backers: -A whopping SIX new Wingfeather stories collected in a new book (an ebook until we hit the next stretch goal and get it in print) called Wingfeather Tales. These stories will be written by six different authors including Andrew Peterson himself, N. D. Wilson, Jennifer Trafton, Jonathan Rogers, Doug McKelvey, and A. S. Peterson. And on top of that, they'll be illustrated by the likes of Joe Sutphin, Aedan Peterson, Doug TenNapel, Justin Gerard, John Hendrix, and Cory Godbey. -The short film the team is making as a pilot episode (and which backers will receive) has grown by leaps and bounds over the course of the campaign. Stretch goals have allowed the team to add content and characters to the film such as Thwaps, Podo, Nia, Commander Gnorm, and Peet the Sock Man---and if the next goal is met they'll not only add the entire township of Glipwood, but the episode will DOUBLE in length! -We've even got a Florid Sword comic by talented artist Jay Meyers. -Patches for various guilds -Temporary tattoos -Coloring pages -Posters -T-shirts ...the list goes on---but today is your last chance to claim these rewards. Check out the campaign page here. Help us tell the Wingfeather story is this amazing new way. It's going to be awesome!

The Do-Something Day

"Bernie wanted to help. It was a sparkling, sunny, do-something day." Those are the opening lines to one of my favorite picture books as a boy: The Do-Something Day, by Joe Lasker. It’s a simple story about a boy who feels unimportant and unneeded by his family. As a result, he decides to run away from home. He passes familiar businesses in town, telling each shop owner his decision to run away because no one needs his help. As a result he finds that each one of them needs his help for something, and as payment they each send him away with a gift. In the end he has a whole bag full of gifts to share with his family. Its a cute story, but the story isn't what hooked me as a kid. I didn't read well, and this book had really interesting illustrations. I loved all of the details in the various storefronts. Most of all, I loved the costume shop filled with Halloween costumes. I would scour its details nightly. They told a greater story to me than the words ever could.

Episode 47: Batman vs. Superman vs. Take Shelter

Much like a Dark Knight after a long and mysterious hiatus (though far less angry and cynical), the Rabbit Room Podcast has returned. Here in Episode 47, John Barber and Pete Peterson discuss the merits of Batman vs. Superman before moving on to Jeff Nichols' acclaimed film, Take Shelter.

The Life Imagined

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes. The Henry David gem had been buzzing at my mind all day, and all day I had been tenaciously smiling it down. I had smiled it down when I cut out one of the skirt pieces upside down, and when I had to trot back to the store to buy the lining fabric I had somehow managed to forget, and—gritting my teeth a bit—when I found I had to rip a whole long careful row of neat stitches that just happened to be on the wrong side of the fabric. “I need to do this for myself,” I insisted to the air as I took a deep breath and hunched over the billows of pale blue eyelet on my lap. For weeks I had been so busy I’d scarcely had time to breathe. I had a barn-full of newly acquired baby goats and lambs and a whole litany of new responsibilities to go with them. A household regimen threatening to implode under the pressure of forestalled spring cleaning. A garden that had gone in by the sheer grit of one last burst of exhausted productivity. Not to mention a world of needs and their care that clamored outside the boundary markers of my own particular place on earth. And we were leaving on vacation the next morning, leaving all those babies and seedlings and dust bunnies to the oversight of others and packing-ironing-unpacking-repacking-cleaning-out-the-fridge-changing-the-sheets-watering-the-garden-remembering-to-feed-the-fish-and-don’t-forget-the-chicken-feed to get on the road first thing the next day. So, of course, it followed that the very best thing I could possibly do for myself was to make a new dress.

Tonight: Marc Martel Live @ The High Watt

Remember a few weeks back when Marc Martel blew everyone's mind by taking on Whitney Houston / Dolly Parton @ The Local Show? Well if you're after a chance to hear more from Marc and his band, tonight's your chance. He's playing at The High Watt here in Nashville and he'll be singing lots of Queen and other covers as he does when he's on tour with the Queen Extravaganza. If you've never heard Marc, don't miss the opportunity. He's a force of nature. Where: The High Watt 1 Cannery Row, Nashville, TN When: Doors are at 7pm Show starts at 8pm Cost: $10 tickets at the door!

Taking on Life

Now that you've given up something for the past forty days, what are you taking on for the next forty?

"If Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things on. . . . If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving." ---N. T. Wright