Category Archives: Music

My Church

I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

When Hank brings the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
‘Til my sins wash away

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse

Yeah I guess that’s my church
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church

“My Church” is a song by American country music singer Maren Morris. It was released in January 2016 as her debut single and serves as the lead single from her debut studio album, Hero (2016). Morris co-wrote and co-produced the song with busbee. The song won the award for Best Country Solo Performance and was nominated for Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

The church in the song is used figuratively to describe the sanctuary that she feels is her car when she plays music on the Highway FM radio while driving. The song refers to listening to country icons like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and is about “the simple joy that comes with turning up the volume, rolling down the windows and singing along to the radio at 65 miles an hour.” She compares the experience to a church revival, saying, “Yeah, I guess that’s my church.” She co-wrote and co-produced the single with busbee.


My Funny Valentine 

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Unphotographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art

Is your Figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentines day

Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to Speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day.

“My Funny Valentine” is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015 it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker’s version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for the song’s “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy”.


Holly Dunn

The year 2016 was a sad year for celebrity deaths. If you Google “2016 celebrity deaths” the numbers are staggering. One of those deaths truly broke my heart though. She was a singer from the 80s and 90s and one of my all-time favorite country singers. Holly Dunn, a country singer who wrote the hit “Daddy’s Hands” as a Father’s Day gift for her preacher father, died on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Albuquerque. She was 59. The cause was ovarian cancer, said her nephew, Daniel Dunn, the mayor of Temple, Tex.

Ms. Dunn’s wistful “Daddy’s Hands” won two Grammy nominations (best female country vocal performance and best country song) in 1987, and her “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” and “You Really Had Me Going” (both written with her brother Chris Waters Dunn and Tom Shapiro) reached No. 1 on the country charts, in 1989 and 1990.

Those three also wrote “I’m Not Through Loving You Yet,” a Top 10 country hit for Louise Mandrell in 1984. Ms. Dunn recorded the duet “Maybe” with Kenny Rogers and sang on records with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. She was named the Academy of Country Music’s top female vocalist in 1986 and the most promising newcomer by the Country Music Association a year later.

She also described herself as a pioneer in a mostly male-dominated recording industry because she wrote (often with her brother), produced and performed her own material. “I think this gives me a real legitimacy, a genuineness,” she told The Associated Press in 1990. “I’m not just up there standing where they tell me to stand, singing what they tell me to sing.”

Holly Suzette Dunn was born on Aug. 22, 1957, in San Antonio, the daughter of Frank Dunn, a Church of Christ minister, and the former Yvonne Campbell, a Texas Hill Country landscape artist. Reading her obituary in the New York Times, I was amazed to find out that “She is survived by her wife, Melissa Taylor, and her three brothers, Chris, Jerry and Rodney.” I had never known she was a lesbian. She was a very private person and had retired from music in when she released her final album, Full Circle, which was her first gospel album, in 2003. Her paintings deal primarily with subjects from the Southwestern United States, and are available through the Peña+Dunn Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Though she had not produced any more songs since 2003, she was always a favorite of mine. I never got to see her in concert and I had always hoped to visit her studio in Santa Fe to one day meet this hero of mine. Sadly, I will never have that change. Maybe someday, I will have a chance to own a piece of her art.


Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Thro’ this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace: “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10b ESV)

This song is one of my all time favorite hymns. Though I was raised in the church of Christ, my mother was raised a Baptist. She and her sister played the piano and the organ at their church growing up. Mama always loved to sit and play hymns at the piano in our living room. More frequently than any other song, mama would play “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”


I’d Grown Accustomed to His Face 

I’ve grown accustomed to his face
He almost makes the day begin
I’ve grown accustomed to the tune he whistles night and noon
His smiles, his frowns, his ups and downs
Are second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I was serenely independent and content before we met
Surely I could always be that way again and yet
I’ve grown accustomed to his looks, accustomed to his voice
Accustomed to his face

He’s second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I’m very grateful he’s a man and so easy to forget
Rather like a habit one can always break and yet
I’ve grown accustomed to the trace of something in the air
Accustomed to his face

Originally this song was “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” from My Fair Lady. Diana Krall, however, changed the lyrics a bit. I’d change one thing. I would change I’ve to I’d as in I had. You see, a year ago, one of my dearest friends died. I woke up almost every morning to texts from him, and there would be his smiling face. We would always text as we were getting ready for work, or soon thereafter. We would text during the day, and each night before we went to bed, we’d text “Goodnight. I love you.” I never heard him whistle but I knew his ups and downs. I knew his mood from the type of texts I’d get, and I knew when something was wrong.

I was independent if not lonely before we met, but he encouraged me to get out there. He encouraged me to date and he encouraged me to get the job I have now. I’m trying to be what he encouraged me to be, but it’s hard. I feel as if I’ve let him down in some way. I fell into a deep depression when he died in a sudden and horrible car wreck a year ago today. I haven’t wanted to put myself out there, though I’ve tried a few times. New England just isn’t that friendly of a place, and Vermont has tons of lesbians but is a little low on sane gay men.

Texting him was like second nature to me. We were constantly in contact though we lived many hours apart. When I lost him my breath, not to mention my joy, left me. I’m doing better these days. It’s been a year, and I am coping much better. Antidepressants help with that. He’s not so easy to forget, however. He was one of the most loving and generous person I’ve ever known. He wanted to be able to give as much as people had given him when he’d been on hard times. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to be as generous as he had wanted to be. He left a legacy though that can’t be forgotten. He will always have a place in my heart, and I’ll never forget his beautiful face. The face I’d grown accustomed to.


In the Morning of Joy

Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58


In The Morning of Joy

When the trumpet shall sound,
And the dead shall arise,
And the splendors immortal
Shall envelop the skies;
When the Angel of Death
Shall no longer destroy,
And the dead shall awaken
In the morning of joy:

In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy;
In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy.

When the King shall appear
In His beauty on high,
And shall summon His children
To the courts of the sky;
Shall the cause of the Lord
Have been all your employ,
That your soul may be spotless
In the morning of joy?

In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy;
In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy.

O the bliss of that morn,
When our loved ones we meet!
With the songs of the ransomed
We each other shall greet,
Singing praise to the Lamb,
Thro’ eternity’s years,
With the past all forgotten
With its sorrows and tears

In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy;
In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We’ll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy.

I’ve had this song in my head lately. As I sang it to myself, tears rolled down my face. This song was sang at my grandmama’s funeral, and I often sang it when I was the song leader of my church. It brings me comfort, since I know that in that morning of joy, I will be reunited with my friends and family.

The above sculpture is called “Angel of Grief” and is an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story which serves as the grave stone of the artist and his wife at the Protestant Cemetery, Rome.


Game 7

I didn’t watch the World Series. I pulled for the Cubs, but it just made me too nervous to watch. So last night, instead of watching Game 7, I watched the Country Music Awards. It was the 50th Anniversary so a lot of classic country music people were on their. I enjoyed seeing Alabama, Alan Jackson, Reba, and many others in the first eight minutes of the show. The newer acts though were hit or miss. Some I thought were just awful. However, anytime I get to see Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, it’s a good night. He’s so impossibly handsome and even more so in person.

The CMAs or the World Series, it didn’t matter because I didn’t stay up to see the end of either one. I just can’t stay up that late and still get up and go to work. At least not go to work and be productive.


Travelin’ Thru

Travelin’ Thru
Lyrics by Dolly Parton

Well I can’t tell you where I’m going, I’m not sure of where I’ve been
But I know I must keep travelin’ till my road comes to an end
I’m out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it
I’m a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit

Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I’m just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home
Where that is no one can tell me, am I doomed to ever roam
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ on

Questions I have many, answers but a few
But we’re here to learn, the spirit burns, to know the greater truth
We’ve all been crucified and they nailed Jesus to the tree
And when I’m born again, you’re gonna see a change in me

God made me for a reason and nothing is in vain
Redemption comes in many shapes with many kinds of pain
Oh sweet Jesus if you’re listening, keep me ever close to you
As I’m stumblin’, tumblin’, wonderin’, as I’m travelin’ thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru

Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on
But holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone
When everything is broken, we can mend it if we try
We can make a world of difference, if we want to we can fly

Goodbye little children, goodnight you handsome men
Farewell to all you ladies and to all who knew me when
And I hope I’ll see you down the road, you meant more than I knew
As I was travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, travelin’ thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’
Drifting like a floating boat and roaming like the wind
Oh give me some direction lord, let me lean on you
As I’m travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, thru

I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru
I’m just travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, I’m just travelin’ thru

Like the poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I’m just a weary pilgrim trying to find my own way home
Oh sweet Jesus if you’re out there, keep me ever close to you
As I’m travelin’, travelin’, travelin’, as I’m travelin’ thru

When this posts, I will already be in the air and about to land at JFK Airport. I then fly from JFK to Long Beach, which is (by my best calculations, I’m not good with the time changes) a six hour flight. I’ll take my Xanax and be just fine, but ready, oh so ready, to land in Long Beach and get to my hotel.


Let Him In

There’s a Stranger at the door,
Let Him in;
He has been there oft before,
Let Him in;
Let Him in, ere He is gone,
Let Him in, the Holy One,
Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,
Let Him in.

Open now to Him your heart,
Let Him in;
If you wait He will depart,
Let Him in;
Let Him in, He is your Friend,
He your soul will sure defend,
He will keep you to the end,
Let Him in.

Hear you now His loving voice?
Let Him in;
Now, oh, now make Him your choice,
Let Him in;
He is standing at your door,
Joy to you He will restore,
And His name you will adore,
Let Him in.

Now admit the heav’nly Guest,
Let Him in;
He will make for you a feast,
Let Him in;
He will speak your sins forgiv’n.
And when earth ties all are riv’n,
Comfort, rest, you will be giv’n,
Let Him in.


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms 

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.Deuteronomy 33:27

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.  Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27.
Isn’t it a great thought to think that God is supporting us, and that His arms are strong enough to hold us during difficult times?  That truth should provide a refuge for us.  In times when relationships disappoint us or finances fail us, it is encouraging to know that there is one who is everlasting and whose arms are there for us to lean on. 
The Apostle Paul tells us about a weakness he had in 2 Corinthians 12.  He referred to it as a thorn in the flesh.  (I have heard of some scholars that speculate that it was homosexuality, since Paul was Greek and his relation to Timothy was thought to be pederastic.  However, this is pure speculation and remains a 2,000 year old mystery.)  Paul prayed that this weakness would be taken away.  He prayed 3 different times, and God chose not to remove the “thorn.”  He then tells us about an important spiritual truth.  If the “thorn” was Paul’s homosexual urges, then I would speculate that God did not remove the thorn because God did not see it as a thorn or a weakness.
Whatever the perceived weakness was, the truth is that God uses our weaknesses, our flaws, and our personal challenges, and does something extraordinary.  He takes His strength and our weaknesses, and He does something awesome with that combination.  He allows us, in weakness, to share in His glory and power.  Paul then makes the following statement “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  What an amazing statement!  Delight in weaknesses? insults? hardships? persecutions? and difficulties?  To be honest, I struggle with having that kind of mindset, even though I know it is truth.
Sources:

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