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Matt Conner

writer, music journalist

Matt Conner is a freelance writer and journalist who has interviewed nearly everyone who has ever played music. That isn't entirely true.

Creative Arson (or Get Off Your Arson)

It goes beyond knowing that we’re not alone. It’s not even summarized in having a place to belong. The desire for the artist to hold membership within a creative community moves past the pain of loneliness or the need for identification into a real longing for stimulation. We yearn for like-minded sojourners to help shape and form our words, our music, our work. And yet outside of circles equally beautiful and rare (like the Square Peg Alliance), many of us find it difficult to locate others we can partner with.

One of the common threads at Hutchmoot last fall was this very desire. I met artist after artist (although so many are reticent to name themselves as such) who used words like “isolated” and later terms like “afraid” came rolling after. The two are linked — fear and isolation — and so many of us hope and wait for someone to join us, to help us shed our fears and create without obstacles.

Rabbit Room Interview Part 2: Jason Gray

Now that Jason Gray has officially released his new album, it’s the ideal time to disclose the second half of our interview with the Minneapolis-based songwriter. If you missed Part One, you can hear all about the lead single “Remind Me Who I Am” there. Here, Jason discusses writing with Andy Gullahorn, confronting his fears and using the word “doppelganger” in an actual song.

Matt: The best place to start seems to be the title: A Way To See In The Dark. We were discussing identity earlier in our conversation as the album’s primary theme, so is the title an allusion to that? In other words, does our Christian identity provide a way to see in the dark?

Rabbit Room Interview Part 1: Jason Gray

With Jason Gray’s recent release of his single “Remind Me Who I Am,” it seemed the perfect time for another Rabbit Room interview. One beautiful facet of the Rabbit Room lies in the direct access to the artists that we love so much and the opportunity to hear them expound on their own feelings, behaviors, or experiences. Yet from time to time, a conversation will illuminate more than merely an essay. Here, Jason talks about the violent “one-two punch” of fear and shame and why he wanted to sit apart from heavy hitters like Third Day and Michael W. Smith.

Josh Garrels: Love & War & The Sea In Between

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this all by and by

A few tears streamed down my face the first time I sat, mesmerized, watching a video performance of Josh Garrels playing this song from his latest album, Love & War & The Sea In Between. It’d been a while since I’d checked in on Josh’s music, and I found a couple new tracks from a forthcoming album. “Farther Along” was the first listen and it reached me at a specific place that I didn’t even realize needed words of hope.

I felt something beyond me saying things were going to be okay, yet it’s not that I was surfing the web looking for music videos to fill a void in that moment. That’s the beauty of Josh’s music–a musical gift that beautifully yet forcefully expresses the intersection where divinity meets humanity. And he’s been doing this for years.

Rabbit Room Interview: Ron Block

What more can be said about the storied career of Alison Krauss and Union Station? Krauss has 26 Grammy wins to her name — the most for any female artist in history — and her colleagues provide the stunning canvas upon which she sonically paints. Each record is equally inspiring, beautiful and haunting, and Paper [...]

Rabbit Room Interview: Andy Osenga

Andy Osenga hopes the force is with him. Or perhaps he’s boldly going where no songwriter . . . you get the picture. In case you haven’t heard, the talented songwriter/producer is making a sci-fi concept album and asking you to blast off with him. And if you think that sounds nerdy, you haven’t even [...]

Altars Among The Mundane

It’s often the story between the lines that’s most striking — and most surprising. As I’ve prepared for a five-month long teaching journey through the life of Abraham in our church, I recently found myself moved by one of those side notes that seemingly came from nowhere to inform not only my own life but [...]

The Resonant Opportunity

In grade school, my report cards were continually marred with the letter ‘X’ — not that my academic performance was so poor, but that alongside my ‘A’ or ‘B’ effort, each teacher felt compelled to let my parents know that I “talked excessively.” It’s no wonder, then, that I ended up as a writer and [...]

Fear is a Good Thing

Let me put this out there. Over the next month, I’ll find myself with a long span that will fill inevitably itself with fireplaces, family, friends, and falafel (first food with ‘f’ that I could think of). It will be a joyous time of crisp nights with hot cider, memorable moments with my wife and [...]

Art & The Professional

In the last decade or so, I’ve read several books on the subject of art. I can count on one hand the number that I would call essential. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield is one such book. If you’re unfamiliar, you should immediately read Ron Block’s post on the book from two years [...]

Rabbit Room Interview: Jill Phillips

If you’re a Rabbit Room regular, then Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn should be common names that display on your iPod or iTunes. Both songwriters continue to release albums year after year that become important for the spiritual journey for many of us — an old friend reminding us of what is true amidst a [...]

Rabbit Room Interview: Jonathan Rogers

[Note: The Charlatan's Boy is now available for pre-order. Get thee to the Rabbit Room store and reserve your signed copy now!]

I s’pose since The Charlatan’s Boy will be thereabouts in right ’round a week, we best get to talkin’… Okay, I’m being ridiculous. What is not ridiculous, however, is the fantastic yarn spun by [...]

On Homework

The power of story. The beauty of community. Those, I would say, encapsulate the dominant themes and conversations from the initial Hutchmoot gathering. Both are sexy. Both require work.

The common bond between so many convening around the Rabbit Room these days is a love for story and a feeling that God has given them a [...]

Power, Money, and Obligation

I’ve seen people in this game for all the wrong reasons. Heck, I’ve even been at this for those very same ones. And I’m sure it’s the same in other fields as well. I’m talking about pastors and ministry, since that’s a field I’ve learned much about in my last decade or so of vocational [...]

The Resonance of David

I prefer Sad David. Sure, there’s Victorious David. King David. Shepherd Boy David. The iconic leader and heroic figure dominates so much of Biblical lore and landscape, but the Psalmist brings other gifts besides some of the most epic stories in Scripture. Indeed, it is David’s raw emotional bursts like the one in Psalm 10 [...]