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is CT planning a new focus for its music channel?

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I just read this, immediately bristled at the notion that Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay were as good as anything in the mainstream. Really?

Edited by bloop

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I just read this, immediately bristled at the notion that Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay were as good as anything in the mainstream. Really?

For those who went hunting for this reference, it's from a Mark Moring post from 2004 earlier in this thread.

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I just read this, immediately bristled at the notion that Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay were as good as anything in the mainstream. Really?

Depends on your definition of "mainstream." If "mainstream" is Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, then heck yeah.

I just noticed that the Swarbrick version is on youtube. Since I love this piece like no other, I thought I'd dig out this thread and

Enjoy the fire.

Well, that's quite an elaborate version of the tune — Swarb & Nicol stretched it out into a beautiful arrangement. Swarb is peerless among English folk fiddlers as far as I know (although he has plenty of competition from the Irish and Scots). It is indeed a good example, I think, of what Jeffrey was talking about earlier in this thread, i.e., music's ability to show you something you didn't know was possible ... in this instance taking a simple and very well-worn Irish tune and plumbing it to new dimensions melodically, harmonically and emotionally.

Edited by mrmando

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Well, that's quite an elaborate version of the tune — Swarb & Nicol stretched it out into a beautiful arrangement. Swarb is peerless among English folk fiddlers as far as I know (although he has plenty of competition from the Irish and Scots).

Glad you enjoyed the Swarb. I'm hoping to go and see him in September, think he's playing with Martin Carthy. I don't know much about folk fiddlers, but have a friend who is pretty darn good - Tom Kitching, he's steadily making his way up the ranks of young English folk musicians. I quite enjoy a Scottish guy called Archie McAllister as well.

(everyone else, sorry about the ancient thread...)

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I just read this, immediately bristled at the notion that Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay were as good as anything in the mainstream. Really?

Depends on your definition of "mainstream." If "mainstream" is Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, then heck yeah.

My definition of mainstream would be broader. Since the statement was in a historical concept (so Bieber and the like aren't playing), we're saying those albums were at least as good as what had recently or was coming out of the woodwork from U2, Radiohead, Bjork, and Smashing Pumpkins at the time? Um, 'fraid not.

(everyone else, sorry about the ancient thread...)

Hey, some of us are new here.

Edited by bloop

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I wasn't sure if Swarb was still alive, let alone still performing ... he had quite the health scare a few years back IIRC.

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(everyone else, sorry about the ancient thread...)

Hey, some of us are new here.

And we're glad you're here! One of my favorite aspects of this board, being a long-timer, is when old threads are resurrected and I'm reminded of the discussions we've had over the years. This is quite a place. Has been for a long time.

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My definition of mainstream would be broader. Since the statement was in a historical concept (so Bieber and the like aren't playing), we're saying those albums were at least as good as what had recently or was coming out of the woodwork from U2, Radiohead, Bjork, and Smashing Pumpkins at the time? Um, 'fraid not.

Well, maybe Smashing Pumpkins ... :D

I guess you'd have to ask Mark Moring if he had anything specific in mind when he wrote "mainstream." None of the above were one-tenth as good as this, though.

News flash: Dave Swarbrick suffered from emphysema for years, and in fact the Daily Telegraph published his obituary in 1999 ... which turned out to be premature. He received a double lung transplant in 2004 and is back at it with a vengeance.

Edited by mrmando

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Well, maybe Smashing Pumpkins ... :D

If I'm getting the era right (and I am), I stand by my statement as written, and I could have easily continued naming more. :)

I'm pretty sure that he's not including the linked album as mainstream. As for comparing it to pop or alt./rock music, I try not to as I don't consider them alike enough to compare.

Edited by bloop

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I'm pretty sure that he's not including the linked album as mainstream. As for comparing it to pop or alt./rock music, I try not to as I don't consider them alike enough to compare.

That's right ... from my frame of reference, discussing the relative merits of pop or alt-rock albums is kind of like trying to pick the best ant out of the thousands swarming around the anthill.

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That's true for trying to pick 'the best' of almost anything, and it only gets worse if someone is highly knowledgeable in-genre.

Edited by bloop

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Huh? You mean, actually caring about it doesn't make it easier?

I think I was trying, hyperbolically, to say something about the insignificance and pointlessness of the whole exercise by comparing it to choosing the best ant ... but if you want to use the same metaphor to say something about difficulty instead, I guess you can.

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I wasn't sure if Swarb was still alive, let alone still performing ... he had quite the health scare a few years back IIRC.

He's not well, but he's still playing. I saw him play with Richard Thompson a couple of years ago - a tubby old man in a garish shirt, fiddling away, occasional clearing his throat very loudly into the microphone.

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Huh? You mean, actually caring about it doesn't make it easier?

I think I was trying, hyperbolically, to say something about the insignificance and pointlessness of the whole exercise by comparing it to choosing the best ant ... but if you want to use the same metaphor to say something about difficulty instead, I guess you can.

Yes, I misunderstood what you were saying.

I don't think it's any more insignificant than comparing any of the other art forms for purposes of discussion, although it may be insignificant in a broader sense, or next to more urgent things. Definitive conclusions aren't likely in such a discussion, though.

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I don't think it's any more insignificant than comparing any of the other art forms for purposes of discussion, although it may be insignificant in a broader sense, or next to more urgent things.

It's significant if you care about popular music. It's insignificant if you don't. I have never listened to Jesus Freak or anything by Smashing Pumpkins, so when it comes to which one is better, I don't have a dog in the fight.

Definitive conclusions aren't likely in such a discussion, though.

Ah, but this is about the journey, not the destination.

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I agree with you. In an absolute big picture sense, I would call it insignificant straight out (that is, no one's life depends on how a DC Talk vs. Smashing Pumpkins debate turns out), but it's not insignificant from certain individual perspectives.

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While this thread gets resurrected, it's interesting to note that since they let Mark Moring go, CT has decidedly swung away from any music reviewing at all. Moring's last few years were a high point for their music coverage, and while they're running the occasional thinkpiece/interview now, they've definitely de-emphasized music.

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Moring was let go about 1-2 years ago.  He successfully moved CT's music coverage from basically CCM-only to mostly CCM to mostly non-CCM during the time I was writing for him. He was laid off due to budget cuts and CT hired a freelancer (Alissa Wilkinson) to take over as movies editor, but hasn't made music a priority. I assume this is because movies gets way more traffic.

 

CT sold all its "Christian Music Today" content to some Christian media conglomerate (I forget what they are called) maybe 5-ish years ago -- those are the reviews you're thinking of.

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That's an interesting article. My point is that CT had become one of the only hubs for thoughtful music coverage from a Christian perspective, and now it isn't. I should point out that none of the music/movies content on CT is in a blog format, and the decision was made at a higher level than Alissa. CT could've hired someone to deal with music coverage, but they didn't. They have a right to do that but it's disappointing to me, if only because it's harder for me to write for them now!

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That's an interesting article. My point is that CT had become one of the only hubs for thoughtful music coverage from a Christian perspective, and now it isn't. I should point out that none of the music/movies content on CT is in a blog format, and the decision was made at a higher level than Alissa. CT could've hired someone to deal with music coverage, but they didn't. They have a right to do that but it's disappointing to me, if only because it's harder for me to write for them now!

 

Sad for many reasons-- not the least of which is that I honestly don't know of any other publication that engages with both CCM and more mainstream pop, rock, country, and folk music with the seriousness that CT did, for a time.

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That's an interesting article. My point is that CT had become one of the only hubs for thoughtful music coverage from a Christian perspective, and now it isn't. I should point out that none of the music/movies content on CT is in a blog format, and the decision was made at a higher level than Alissa. CT could've hired someone to deal with music coverage, but they didn't. They have a right to do that but it's disappointing to me, if only because it's harder for me to write for them now!

 

Sad for many reasons-- not the least of which is that I honestly don't know of any other publication that engages with both CCM and more mainstream pop, rock, country, and folk music with the seriousness that CT did, for a time.

 

I appreciated CT's music coverage, and wrote my share of articles and reviews for the magazine, but it was an uneasy alliance with the audience. Every time a review of a non-CCM album showed up on the site or in the magazine, the outraged comments would come in like clockwork. "I thought this was a Christian magazine." "How is Jesus honored by Artist <x>? I heard Artist <x> cusses." Etc. It just got old. That's not a reflection on the staff, or on Mark Moring, in particular, who was always supportive. 

Christians are not going to always agree on everything, and they're certainly not going to agree about musical taste. Fine. But these disagreements were of such a fundamental (no pun intended) nature that it often seemed hopeless and pointless; people speaking different languages, and talking past each other. At least that was my take. I appreciate that CT fought the good fight, and that Alyssa continues to fight the good fight on the movies front. Do I miss the music coverage? Not that much.

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That's all fair enough, Andy. I would like to think that what you and Joel and the rest of the CT Music team and I did made some kind of a difference; that we opened some doors, expanded some horizons, turned some CCM fans onto great records they may not have given a chance otherwise, and maybe even encouraged a more critical engagement with popular song in all its guises. I have no evidence that this is true, and no real reason to get my hopes up-- but I do think it is a possibility, and for that I miss the CT Music glory days.

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I hear you too, Andy -- I'm not really one to turn to these kinds of sources first when I look for writing about music, but writing about (and reading about) music from a spiritual/religious/Christian perspective is imortant to me, and I'm always sad when there are fewer options for that.

 

I will add that oddly enough, First Things -- a magazine that has only reall come up in this music forum for their wholesale condemnation of hip-hop -- actually runs some great stuff on occasion. Carl Scott, who I don't know, has been doing an astounding project called "Carl's Rock Songbook," and the theologian Steven Webb had a piece on Patty Griffin last week.

Edited by Joel

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I thought it might be worth adding (and sorry if I'm repeating others who may have posted about this) that the lack of music coverage at CT makes the music forum here at A&F all the more important to me. I don't have stats at hand on the popularity of this section of the site, but the "Music" area does seem to have trailed off in the past year.

 

I understand that people who wrote music reviews for CT got paid, and that posting at A&F is ... well, it's more along the lines of an offering. No compensation. But I value coming here when I have the funds to buy music. I look over the threads to see what's been talked about, and now, with Spotify, I can sample the music and decide if I want to purchase it.

 

I posted in the past year somewhere on the board (in a discussion of Spotify, I think) that I'd hit a wall of sorts and could no longer muster the minimal energy required to explore new music. I've come out of that trough, although I don't see myself becoming as interested in newer music as I've been in the past. That said, I do still like to read about the more interesting acts out there, even when I don't find them all that interesting. smile.png Although I almost completely rely on others to point me in new directions, I appreciate this forum as my go-to place for new-music discussions. So I encourage those of you who are so inclined to post here about what you're hearing and what you're liking. Don't kill yourselves! I don't need 600-word reviews. Just a quick note with the name of the artist, the album, and maybe a very brief description of an artist's sound. I can take it from there.

 

I think/hope I speak for others in this post, and that I don't come off sounding like an entitled ass.

Edited by Christian

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