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  1. Hey y'all- While I am loathe to post the same stuff in two areas, I couldn't decide whether this was more film-like or musical. So, I'm posting in both places. Pardon if that is poor etiquitte. The crux of the situation is that I am currently working on a documentary about the band Luxury for which I am raising support via Kickstarter. A trailer can be viewed here: https://www.kickstar...y-autobiography or here https://vimeo.com/120423456 Here's a bit of background on the band: ____________________________________________________ THE BAND: Luxury is a band that began in the 1990's in the small town of Toccoa GA, but from the start, it was clear that their aspirations and influences were elsewhere. Sounding like Fugazi or Shudder to Think fronted by a younger, more vicious Morrissey, they were an anomaly, in Toccoa, or almost anywhere. They brought together such disparate influences that one could barely imagine them co-existing in a band, much less pulling it off as a thoroughly distinctive sound. The English melodicism laid on top of such pummeling instrumentation was a study in contrasts, but it was of a piece, as there was enough of the melodic in the instruments and enough brutality in the lyrics and vocal delivery that it hung together, just so. As singer, Lee Bozeman describes it, "I write these beautiful, nice songs, and then the band destroys them." Upon the release of their first record, Amazing and Thank You (1995), Luxury seemed poised to move to another level, but a wreck in the summer of 1995 (with tour-mates and fellow Georgians, Piltdown Man) had the opposite impact. All told, there were 3 broken necks between both bands, with Bozeman sustaining the most devastating internal injuries. The wreck changed their fortunes as well (evidently) as their ambitions. With each successive record, there was a greater sense of self-reflection in Bozeman's lyrics, and the music followed that deepening maturity, all the while maintaining the fundamental dichotomy of soaring melodies on top of angular post-punk instrumentation. The first record was essentially a document of their live shows, which were remarkable events in their intensity and the band's posture of defiance directed even at their own audience. On successive records, though, Luxury learned to use the studio as an instrument. While, on the first record Bozeman asks "So, what do you expect from life?" he seems to have spent each of the following records seeking to answer that very question. Causation is a notoriously slippery force to get one's hands around. Yet, humanly speaking, it is hard not to point to the wreck of 1995 when hoping to understand how three members of Luxury are now Eastern Orthodox priests (the other two members are an ordained Presbyterian [PCA] elder and an occasional Lutheran board of directors member, surely cementing their status as one of the most ordained bands in history). Now, it is doubtlessly a noteworthy fact that members of a band went on to become priests, as members of most bands are obliged to go on and do something different with their lives. But what can it mean for a band led by priests to continue making records? On their newly recorded fifth album, Trophies, the lyrical themes may be said to be further musings on the expectations and memories of life. But as with prior Luxury records, spiritual concerns are obliquely addressed, if at all. So does Luxury sound anything like a band full of priests? There are several legitimate answers: 1. Who can say? There are no others. 2. Self-evidently they do. For they are. 3. No. They don't even sound like Christians. ___________________________________________________ It is maybe worth mentioning that I play guitar with Luxury, and it is very possible that it is lame to make a film about one's own band. Check out the trailer, sort that out and let me know. By all means, feel free to share this trailer with your closest living relatives. Thanks, Matt Hinton
  2. Greetings all- As some of you may know, I am currently working on a documentary about the band Luxury. I am raising support via Kickstarter (11 days left!) and a trailer can be viewed here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2019093747/luxury-documentary-biography-autobiography or here https://vimeo.com/120423456 Here's a synopsis: "Biography / Autobiography: A Story of a Band Called Luxury" will trace the path of Luxury, a band who, on the cusp of success, suffered a devastating wreck. In the intervening years, they continue to make records and three members of the band become Eastern Orthodox priests. Through interviews and archival footage, Biography / Autobiography will tell the gripping and poignant story of Luxury and will follow the making of a new record, now as priests. Perhaps it is relevant to your interests. Naturally, I would be very grateful if you were to share this amongst your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and children. Tally ho! Matt Hinton
  3. The High Lonesome Sound (not to be confused with the one on Bluegrass) This is a 1963 John Cohen film that is staggeringly beautiful. (here's Cohen talking about it: ) "Appalachian Journey" & "Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old" These are both Alan Lomax films which were part of his American Patchwork series. Basically though, go to Folkstreams.net and you have arrived. These Lomax films are streaming in their entirety as are tons more... It's incredible. Here are a few more titles available at Folkstreams.net that are pretty mindblowing: Sweet Is the Day: A Sacred Harp Family Portrait (this is about the Wootten Family of Ider AL- Terry Wootten is briefly in our film, and this film is made by Jim Carnes, who is in Awake, My Soul as well) Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison Born for Hard Luck: Peg Leg Sam Jackson (as seen in Amelie) Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen Homemade American Music The Land Where the Blues Began Here are all the films: http://www.folkstreams.net/?list=1 many of which are not just about music... mh
  4. I kinda figured that was the case. Sorry if I assumed to much... Although, I should say, that the trailer makes it seem like there is a good deal of lighthearted-mockery that the subjects are willing participants of. Again, I know that wackiness sells, so it need not reflect the film as a whole at all... mh
  5. Hmm. Really?! Now granted, I haven't seen this film, but the way it is described on it's own website and the trailer make it seem like a pretty different situation from our film. Is there any sense that Awake, My Soul could be called "A musical romp through the Ozark Mountains with a handful of rascally modern-day hillbillies."? Or do folks outside of the south really think that all rural Southerners are either dangerous or zany? I hope it doesn't sound like I'm defending our film. But I am defending the subject matter of our film and Sacred Harp singers from the charge that they (at least the ones who appear in our film) are anything less than a serious, articulate and intelligent bunch of folks. One might as well have said, "if you like Awake, My Soul you'll LOVE this." (Almost) By the way, Jeffery, I know you didn't intend an offense, and I also wouldn't be surprised if the wackiness of HHJ isn't more emphasized in their publicity than in the film itself, giving folks like me a skewed perspective. But, most often, the response we've been getting from people is that they are surprised how articulate the people in our film are (cause, you know, rural southerners are backward, etc), and not, "man, those Sacred Harp singers are some rascally dudes!" I suppose I'm experiencing some cognitive dissonance from your comparison. And maybe a touch too sensitive, as well? Matt
  6. Listen to the samples here and tell me this isn't some of the most amazing, downright psychedelic stuff you've ever heard. For its connection to American music, go here mh
  7. Very kind of you to ask. Our website is best for US. But right now it's more expensive than Amazon. We'll be updating it soon (which will make it cheaper among other things), so if you can wait, that's best for us. If you know you'll forget, then your local independent retailer (or Amazon) will do fine. Thanks so much. It all helps. matt
  8. workie

    Sacred Harp

    I just posted this info on the film board, but much of it may be more suitably posted here. Our Sacred Harp documentary, Awake, My Soul is currently streaming at Pitchfork.tv. Actually, our week on Pitchfork is technically over, but it IS still on there if one just follows this link. Don't know how long it will continue, but by all means, tell yer friends. But I really mean to post on the soundtrack which has been mentioned here before: Awake, My Soul & Help Me to Sing is a two disc set. Disc 1 is the soundtrack to the film. Disc two is a compilation of various artists doing Sacred Harp songs. For more: Go here & here Here's the tracklisting for Help Me to Sing: Disc Two: Help Me To Sing: Various Artists performing Songs Inspired by the Film 1 "Blooming Youth" - Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl) & John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) 2 "Weeping Pilgrim" - Elvis Perkins in Dearland 3 "David's Lamentation" - The Good Players 4 "Africa" - The Innocence Mission 5 "The Christian's Hope" - Jim Lauderdale with Jeni & Billy 6 "Help Me To Sing" - Mac Powell (Third Day) 7 "Columbus" - John Wesley Harding 8 "The Traveler" - Cordelia's Dad 9 "Abbeville" - Liz Janes 10 "China" - All Things Bright & Beautiful 11 "Essay" - Tenement 12 "Windham" - Richard Buckner 13 "Sermon on the Mount" - Danielson 14 "And Am I Born to Die?" - Doc Watson & Gaither Carlton 15 "Kedron" - Sam Amidon 16 "Consecration" - Woven Hand 17 "The Grieved Soul" - Rick Moody and Nina Katchadourian 18 "Vernon / Wrestling Jacob" - Tim Eriksen 19 "Christian's Farewell" - DM Stith 20 "Bound For Canaan" - Murry Hammond (Old 97's) (N.B. There are more links above than you think. Some very worth while.) That's all, mh
  9. I have excellent news for you. You live in that very world. In other news, even though our week on Pitchfork is technically over, it IS still on there if one just follows this link. Don't know how long it will continue, but by all means, tell yer friends. Those of you who like this music will be happy about the soundtrack which is coming to stores near you: Awake, My Soul & Help Me to Sing is a two disc set. Disc 1 is the soundtrack to the film. Disc two is a compilation of various artists doing Sacred Harp songs. For more: Go here & here Here's the tracklisting for Help Me to Sing: Disc Two: Help Me To Sing: Various Artists performing Songs Inspired by the Film 1 "Blooming Youth" - Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl) & John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) 2 "Weeping Pilgrim" - Elvis Perkins in Dearland 3 "David's Lamentation" - The Good Players 4 "Africa" - The Innocence Mission 5 "The Christian's Hope" - Jim Lauderdale with Jeni & Billy 6 "Help Me To Sing" - Mac Powell (Third Day) 7 "Columbus" - John Wesley Harding 8 "The Traveler" - Cordelia's Dad 9 "Abbeville" - Liz Janes 10 "China" - All Things Bright & Beautiful 11 "Essay" - Tenement 12 "Windham" - Richard Buckner 13 "Sermon on the Mount" - Danielson 14 "And Am I Born to Die?" - Doc Watson & Gaither Carlton 15 "Kedron" - Sam Amidon 16 "Consecration" - Woven Hand 17 "The Grieved Soul" - Rick Moody and Nina Katchadourian 18 "Vernon / Wrestling Jacob" - Tim Eriksen 19 "Christian's Farewell" - DM Stith 20 "Bound For Canaan" - Murry Hammond (Old 97's) (N.B. There are more links above than you think. Some very worth while.) Over and out, mh
  10. Well, dang... Thanks, fellas. I was beginning to think that some of the folks who seem most likely to dig it weren't gonna check it out. For what it's worth, this is the version that aired on PBS. The full, feature-length film has an extra 20 minutes of scintillating, too-hott-for-PBS Sacred Harp singing. (It's available on the DVD, naturally). BTW, y'all would have enjoyed sitting in on the production meetings with the Public Television folks who tried to give me pointers about who material I should cut to get it down to the prescribed 56:46 length: Lady:[fast forward, fast forward, play]...Let's see.... OK, here, this guy's talking about God. That should probably be cut... Me: No. That's staying in there. Lady: No, I mean for this shorter version. This part isn't really appropriate for Public TV. Me: Yeah, I get it. It's staying in. Note to self: This is why Public TV is utterly clueless and unable to serve their community effectively. Lady: Uh, what? Me: Nothing. Lady: But you just said something... Me: No I didn't. Lady:... about Public Television. Me: No, that was a "Note to Self"; you couldn't possibly have heard that. Anyway, the first part of that really happened... Jason: I didn't want to appear to be sour grapes/ overly sensitive, but I read it like you did. I'm not sure that his structure served the piece very well. And yes, Sacred Harp rocks harder than anything. What you see in our film is about 50% as powerful as it really is. A friend saw our film,(in which we rather belabor the point of its loudness, and then came to a singing. He still couldn't believe how viscerally loud it was. The kind of loudness you can feel as much as hear. Standing in the hollow square is like standing in front of the subwoofers at a Jesus Lizard show. But with less likelihood of getting David Yow's boot in the side of your cranium. mh
  11. Just so you know, our Sacred Harp documentary is streaming here for a full week. They say (at Pitchforkmedia.com) "Sacred Harp is a haunting form of a capella hymn singing that has deep roots in the South. These songs are sung unaccompanied by any musical instrument, save the instrument given by God: The human voice. That is the sacred harp." So says narrator Jim Lauderdale in this amazing documentary, directed by Erica and Matt Hinton, which explores a little-known American musical tradition that stretches back two centuries." mh
  12. Andy- I think I see! You may be think I am criticising individuals for doing it. My problem is the "structure" of alot of modern worship services I see- that this has become the regular way of doing it. And especially when these are "seeker friendly" churches- people walk in and it sure looks and sounds like a concert (sometimes complete with a light show!). It's definitely a performance model. I'm surprised there's even any dispute there. The question is whether there is anything problematic about that. At first you said it's not a performance, then you said "well, it may be, but what's wrong with that?" (Specifically you said," As far as the performance aspect of worship, I simply don't see it as the menace that you do.") And yet even you said that you left your last church in part because of performance stuff. I think that you sense that there is something unsettling about the prospect of a worship service shifting in that direction. But this seems to be the crux of your problem with my statements- I don't think performance in a worship service is usually the best way to direct folks to God, and you seem to (and understand, what I mean by performance, for our purposes is any context where some folks are singing in mikes and others aren't). It's just a different viewpoint. I certainly haven't said that folks shouldn't attend whatever church they wanna (as you seem to imply.) Evidently, I hit on a nerve that I didn't realize was there. For me to critique a structure (not the people necessarily- there are tons of folks who do this music earnestly, though most that I know are genuinely conflicted by the stage/ performance thing- they don't change it cause their church building was designed that way, with the snake leading to a stage, for example) that I find troubling has turned into your suggestion that I think my "preferences ought to be shared by everybody else". So, forgive me for the inelegance of my first post. I genuinely was talking about the structure (which I am able to percieve and feel the effects of) and not individual's motivations (which I'm not able to percieve). I see how it came across that way, but I just didn't think I needed to take the time to draw that distinction (which I hope is clearer now). For what it's worth, I first had true problems with this aspect of church services when I was playing at a church, and the instructions were that during a prayer musicians would exit the stage. I thought "Why?" and then I thought "Why are we even on a stage in the first place, now that I think of it?" I think most musicians are on the stage cause it's there and that's how it's done. But I can't say that it felt much different to be approached and told "your music just blest me so much!" as it did to be told "you guys rock" after my regular shows. I liked them both. Too much. To my shame. Ultimately, I was just trying to say, for those of you who DO have a problem with performance in worship services (whether it's a choir or a band) there is a much neglected alternative (Sacred Harp). For those who don't, I have nothing to say of much importance to them, I supose... As for Sacred Harp, don't knock it till you've tried it. I know, nobody knocked it. But I imagine that for some of you, my suggestion sounds as realistic as if I had said "let's all become delta blues singers from the 1930's" or even, "let's all sing Handel on Sundays", depending on your perception of Sacred Harp. Like I said, it's hard to put myself in a pre-Sacred Harp mindset, as it IS positively revolutionary, and one cannot look at alot of other church music in the same way after much exposure to it. And together they said "Thank goodness we haven't had much exposure to it." Matt Right, that was the context. Good to see you. They're up there to lead worship. Frankly, the position/place of musicians in a worship service is immaterial to me. I don't care. It doesn't affect my ability to worship (or lack thereof) one iota. My ability to worship depends on me, the attitudes I bring into a worship service, and how I position/place myself before God. Whether someone stands in front of me or behind me with or without a guitar is simply not worth debating, in my opinion. In terms of worship, I think you should find a church where you're able to fully and freely worship. And I think I should do the same. And I think it's problematic for either one of us to imply that our worship preferences ought to be shared by everybody else. As far as the performance aspect of worship, I simply don't see it as the menace that you do. Performance is a potential pitfall in any aspect of the Christian life where communication is involved. I've seen plenty of Christians bullshit one another in entirely convincing ways because they were able to articulately mouth the words they were expected to say. Some of those performances were worthy of an Oscar. But I left a very nice, proper stained glass and pews and robed choir church partly because of the performance aspects I saw, and I'm quite content in a church that incorporates contemporary praise and worship music precisely because I don't see those performance aspects. I see men and women who face me and play their musical instruments and sing, and whose desire is to facilitate the congregation in worship. Most of the people who do this appear to have some musical talent. This is a good thing, in my opinion, just as it's a good thing that my pastor has some insight into the Christian life and can communicate well. Why would it be a bad thing to acknowledge that some people are more gifted than others musically? But again that doesn't impact my ability to worship. Only I can worship. That band up there can't do it for me. And I'm fairly confident that the people in the Samsonite chairs (no pews, although that's yet another thing I don't give an ecclesiastical rip about) understand that as well. But your rule is false. It's not that "there are exceptions to most rules." It's that your rule is based on an incorrect perception of contemporary worship. I don't doubt that there are some people who are involved in leading worship who are doing it for selfish/egotistical reasons. Ego has a nasty way of insinuating itself into even our best intentions. But I don't know anyone (truly, and I know hundreds of people who are involved in contemporary worship music) whose goal is to draw attention to themselves, or who think "Wow, I sure hope, nay, pray, because I want to be spiritual about this, that the congregation notices that cool new guitar riff I've worked into "Now Is the Time to Worship."" The people I know, across the board, recognize that their egos can get in the way, pray earnestly that that doesn't happen, and genuinely desire to worship God and facilitate others in worshipping God. It came across in this statement: The congregation is not exactly playing a critical role. It's a performance. And the musicians want to be seen as much as the audience wants to see the musicians. You're 0 for 3 in that paragraph. First the congregration is, in fact, playing a major role because they are worshipping. They're not watching people worship. They're worshipping. That's why there are there. Can you understand why someone might take offense when you brand huge swaths of the church as passive concert-goers? It's not true. Second, the musicians are not performing. They are leading worship. I've already discussed this. And third, the musicians don't particularly want to be seen. That's not why they're there. Many of the folks who play in our worship band also play in rock 'n roll bands. I've seen them when they want to be seen, on Friday and Saturday nights at the local bars, and I can assure you that their demeanor is quite different on Sunday morning. Although sometimes I think our worship might be enlivened if the guitarist played on his back while writhing on the floor. No problem, Matt. Really. But I am trying to explain why some of your comments seem misguided at best, insulting at worst.
  13. Hi Andy- I remember meeting you (I think I was with Josh J). Howdy! There is an unearthly quality to the music that is both beautiful and worshipful to me. Of course, I say the same thing about rock band Sigur Ros. And I can say the same thing about seeing The Jesus Lizard, Radiohead, Blonde Redhead, Elliot Smith, etc. So we're in the same camp there. Not that I know your feelings about the Jesus Lizard... You say: They're not up there to have people look at them. Then why, pray tell, are they up there? On a stage? In front of people? There is something to be said of the old model of placing the choir behind the congregation. While I certainly don't know the hearts of folks doing this, I know where the dangers lie. For years, I played guitar in front of a church, etc. I don't blame the musicians for the existence of that stage, but would urge music ministers to get musicians off of them. They don't need to be there. By the way, I grant that my statements were of the blanket variety, but as there are exceptions to most rules, I figured that went without saying. You said: But you've essentially branded a huge segment of the evangelical church as inferior Christians. They can't worship. And you're wrong. I hope you'll rethink your position. I'm not sure how this came across. Of course I don't think of any of these folks as inferior anything. I'm simply suggesting that while the music of most churches involves performance on some level, whether it's a robed choir or a rock band, there is an alternative which seems to suit the spirit of Christian worship more closely, to my mind. If you were to attend a Sacred Harp singing (not a performance!), I'd be very surprised if you didn't come away thinking how less like a performance it is than very many Protestant churches. Just a hunch. Sorry if I offended you. Didn't mean to... Matt
  14. Well, I certainly agree that it's different. But to say that it's almost unheard of for people unaccustomed to this style to pick it up without being totally immersed in that environment is not correct. There are thousands of people outside the traditional home of Sacred Harp who have picked it up and sing together in cities across the country- even in the UK and Australia. Now if you mean by "in that environment" you mean "around other people who sing", you are correct. It is community singing and it cannot be done alone. As to whether or not it's easy, most people can't just waltz in to a singing and start singing every song. But it is written in shapenotes specifically to make it easier to learn than traditional notation. What's best is that the priorities associated with solo performance singing are not abided by in this context. In other words, you don't have to have a pretty voice, vibrato, etc. For what it's worth, one of the early tunebooks was printed with the phrase "simple music for simple people" on it. It doesn't sound simple, but when you're in your section, it's far easier to figure out what's going on. It MAY take as long as a half a year of fairly routine singing to get used to "singing the notes" (ie fa sol la & mi) for most of the songs. And then, the rest of your life to master it.... BTW, you say The accusations against modern p&w earlier in the thread had far more substance in them, as it was based on the objective realities of what the lyrics contained, and that many songs were repeated too much. and while I agree that this is a trait of much p&w music, in the end, it is not a substantial critique of the genre because some p&w employs old sturdy texts with new music and may not be repeated frequently. My problem with them is that they are pop songs, which is fine outside the church but problematic in worship. It is all to do with the compositional priorities of such songs. To me, they sound as hokey as can be when sung by a bunch of people precisely because they have the kind of melodies which are associated with pop music. If there is some that is not pop music, I just haven't heard it, and I hope you'll beg my pardon. This issue, by the way, has only occurred to me since I've been an active Sacred Harp singer, so it is in all likelihood more noticable by folks who DO regularly sing music that was well designed for congregational singing. I always knew that p&w sounded hokey to me- I just didn't know why... Finally, I didn't say that p&w is "unsingable." That's not the case. What seems to be true in my experience, is that the performance styles of that kind of music more or less parallel much popular music, in that the folks singing on the stage often employ melisma and syncopations (that they may have heard on the CD that they practiced with, for example) that are inconsistent from verse to verse for example, thus rendering it difficult for a congregation to follow it when it's less common to have written music for the congregation. Thus, "unsingalongable". Also, I hope I don't have to say that the epithets "hokey," etc are my opinions. The words "I think" seem redundant when they precede an opinion. To me. Sorry to start a debate. I forget sometimes that we are not all privy to the same experiences. My bad. Matt
  15. Yeah, even Sacred Harp singers often have a hard time with the old 78s. They certainly don't represent what Sacred Harp actually sounds like- but nor do newer recordings, really. More than most music, you really haven't heard it until you've heard it in person. There's liable to be a different kind of singer in Washington than we have in GA & AL, but they're bound to be friendly. Try here: http://pnwshs.org/ matt
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