I Just Love This Stuff!!!


The following is, I guess, a “humble brag.” I apologize in advance.

I’ve been told that I’m a virtuoso on the guitar. I generally play by myself, and occasionally — when not dodging bullets, bombs, slings and arrows — with a few others. Generally for crowds of three or four or seven. I can play in any ensemble, comprised of just about any combination of instruments, and have a great time, and also contribute to the betterment of the music.

Some have told me I’m the best guitarist they’ve ever heard, at which point I tell them they haven’t heard Tommy Emmanuel, or Stochelo Rosenberg, or Joscho Stephan, or Frank Vignola, or Vinny Raniolo, or Frank Varela, or my recently deceased, and much, much lamented friend Greg Dobrov. Or  Martin Tallstrom, or Lawson Rollins, or any of countless others. All of whom are, or were, much better than I. The point. I’m, pretty good. I know a thing or two about the guitar and music.

I know classical music encyclopedically — from a spectator’s point of view — and have the well-worn CD’s to prove the point. I know music. I know, and play, jazz, classical, pop, Russian folk, Italian folk, flamenco, gypsy jazz, Irish folk and a bunch of other genres I can’t even call to mind at this moment. The point: I know so much about music that I feel as though I have a good grasp of how little I know about music. (I’d be thoroughly thrilled to be proven wrong on this score!)

And I still can’t get past performances like this one (Oh, Happy Day!) and this one (Hallelujah) and this one (Amen). One sees the affluent crowd and imagines that maybe, just maybe, the great performances by these non-classical performers are giving them some real, unvarnished truth. Nothing sophisticated. Nothing complex. Just wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall energy and fun, and… These singers are the Harlem Gospel Choir, and they’re singing their praises and thanks to Jesus Christ.

If at 1:55  in this one, you’re not knocked to your knees by the glorious bass of this spectacular singer, then you need to check yourself for human-ness. Are you possibly an oyster? Not possible. An oyster would be up and shouting, “Amen!” in his little oyster bed, at the top of his little oyster lungs.

One imagines that the wealthy, comfortable, well-groomed crowds in the videos, the ones utterly transported by the music and the singers, are also getting a teentsy, weentsy bit of a hint that maybe the singers’ enthusiasm and talent are actually devoted to The One who came to save us all from our sins, and to show us the way to everlasting life and eternal happiness. Maybe they too will find themselves transported to the better place to which He calls us… as the singers are. Maybe, in other words, there’s something big, mind-bending and soul-refreshing, life-lifting and heart-healing there, behind all this sheer, unrestrained joy that pervades every second of  these worship songs.

If you watch the video (reminder: this one) — and if you allow yourself a few moments into it, you will — you’ll see a bunch of dignified, yuppie-looking, or upper-middle class, middle-management types and executives, people who wouldn’t be caught dead with a baseball cap on backward, or voting Republican, acting like giddy schoolkids as they sing at the tops of their lungs old Negro Christian spirituals and hymns that normally raise the roofs in Southern black churches.

At 2:40: “Glory halleluja, sing! All the praises to You, Lord! Praise You in the evening! … Amen, amen, amen!” But, it’s not just the words… it’s how they’re flung joyously and raucously, to the heavens.

Then at 3:10 the mind-blowingly spectacular bass comes back in, only this time in the background. At 3:45, a beautiful woman’s voice decalcifies your spinal column, and she finishes it all, and you, off at 4:10 with a note that will cause you to question all that you previously believed.

Okay, okay, okay… I might have indulged in just a tiny bit of hyperbole, but I love this stuff!!!

It’s not sophisticated, or complex, or overly nuanced, or particularly refined. It’s more raucous, visceral, throaty, celebratory… more “belting.

I’ve played it over and over and over again — loud — from beginning to end. And it’s possibly even more fun to watch than to listen to! There are many, many, many thoroughly LOL-producing moments as you watch what seems like a thoroughly stuffed-shirt-wine-and-cheese crowd shed its inhibitions, as a shaggy dogs sheds water.

You do know how a shaggy dog sheds water, don’t you?

This is living! Amen! And Hallelujah!

— xPraetorius

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29 thoughts on “I Just Love This Stuff!!!

  1. Xprae!
    Xtra special! Loved this. The rendition of Halleluia is off the charts, and you raise a fair point when you ask for humanness to be checked.

    I’m guessing even the most hardened criminal of thought could find solace or even faith in such wonder of the human spirit. The crowds at Andre’s concerts are part of the charm as you know, people like you and I, average joes, who know the tune of goodness as borrowed from heaven.

    The bass fellow was as you said, hard to miss, and cool as all get out. Great post, nice work. Tkx

    1. I agree, CS! Especially with: “ even the most hardened criminal of thought could find solace or even faith in such wonder of the human spirit

      Good point about the crowds! And, it’s a talented performer who can draw the crowd in with him like that! André does that so well.

      Best,

      — x

  2. Hello, I came here through ColorStorm’s blog and am glad I did! Great videos, really inspiring for a Sunday morning. I enjoyed what you said here too,” I know so much about music that I feel as though I have a good grasp of how little I know about music.” Isn’t that the truth about everything? The more you know, the more you discover how little you know….;)

  3. Welcome, Trish!

    Lol! “The more you know, the more you discover how little you know…” So darned true!

    There’s a bit of a story behind that little declaration. I went through a phase (thankfully long in the past) when I considered myself quite the musical sophisticate, and was happy to tell you about it too!

    The more I studied, the more the depth and breadth of all the music out there, and all the possibilities for music, floored and humbled me.

    It was a bit like learning all about little White Lake in New Hampshire, and thinking I had a good feel for Lake Ontario; then when seeing Lake Ontario, and getting some kind of feel for its immensity, imagining that I had a grasp of the Atlantic Ocean…

    Best,

    — x

        1. Hey ark,
          The third paragraph in the post is kinda helpful. But you have had several chances to address the music itself, and what, nothing?

          The imagination and passion of humanity is on display, even a great song about a fallen king who was also a great man, Hope you seriously were moved ,

          1. Interesting. God has revealed Himself through many ways, and while you reject His obvious splendor as the grand maestro in this orchestration called life, yet, yet, yet, you somehow believe in flying pianos.

            Odd.

        2. Well, of course I do! I’m a dictionary fanatic! I never write without one. And, as mentioned in a recent post, I almost never write without powerthesaurus.org.

          However, I’ll be patient with you, Ark. You do realize, don’t you, that if one has a modicum of skills as a writer, one can craft, without too much effort, an online, or literary persona that might differ from one’s day-to-day personality?

          One happy by-product of my colleagues’ rigid insistence on anonymity is a certain very liberating feeling of not being completely hamstrung by social conventions, and of being able to speak one’s piece more honestly, understanding that any social opprobrium will be directed at the online character.

          As both a contributor and an editor at our small but increasingly influential think tank, I admit that I’ve enjoyed immensely, and taken advantage of, that happy circumstance.

          Best,

          — x

          1. @Ark: are you ever going to grow up?

            Quit with the profanity! And cut out the juvenile insults. Were you brought up in a barn or something?

            You don’t see me coming over to your place and wiping mud all over your carpets, do you?

            Grow up and cut it out!

    1. Ark, do you ever actually read the content of the posts you comment on? Or, do you just stop when you start foaming at the mouth and spew your insults?

      That was good stuff, good music. It has nothing to do with how you feel about a person. It’s goodness stands alone.

      1. I read the post, thank you Wally, and I know a fair bit about music.
        I was simply noting the hubris of the host, that’s all.
        Can you imagine Barrios announcing to the world how wonderful a virtuoso he was?
        Oh, sorry, you have probably never heard of him in your neck of the woods. You’ll have to look him up I’m afraid.

        1. I am sure you know plenty about music. My neck of the woods? Really? Again, nothing but insults, slanders..and so it goes. Talk about hubris! You have dipped and drunk pretty deeply from the hubris well yourself.

          1. Apologies to my host xPraetorius in advance for this diversion. Just a thought, then I will make my exit, so this post can return to the appreciation of great music.

            Yes, Ark, I do in fact have a relationship with God, the Creator of the universe. It is certainly NOT hubris on my part, as I bring nothing worthy to His throne. All of my pitiful efforts are, as The Word teaches, as filthy rags. It is my relinquishing of my personal hubris, and recognition of my actual state, that allows me to have that relationship with God…through the person of the One who is worthy, namely Jesus Christ.

            On the other hand, the hubris of those who reject prevents them from having that same relationship.

            Peace to you.

            And sorry for the sidetrack, xPraetorius

          2. Excellent! Then you are the perfect candidate to pop over and actually describe Yahweh.
            Becky seems to be all ethereal and what not about him but as you claim to have a relationship then you must be able to describe exactly what Yahweh s like and how you see Him in your mind and how you would describe to kids who ask, right?
            mean, you wouldn’t say: The Yahweh I pray to looks like a Duck,” now would you?
            So, please, come on over. Tell us how you see Yahweh.
            Oh, and I think the music here is great too, by the way. Superb musicianship.

          3. Hi, Wally! No problem at all with the sidetracking. I don’t mind the new track for the conversation at all.

            One of the things I liked the most about the song is its nature as a worship song. That’s got to be at least part of the reason the performers do it so well. They seem to be real believers, and their hearts seem to be taken with the meaning as well as the music.

            I really don’t mind Ark and his buzzing. He, along with his pal Zande, are the kings of the irrelevant distractions. It’s funny how many perfectly silly questions they can find; how many perfectly meaningless distractions they can fabricate. I gather Ark’s trying to get you to describe what God looks like now? Wow! That’s an important question! Lol! Didn’t we learn in first and second grade Sunday School that we couldn’t possibly take in the infinite? Might as well say God looks like the universe. Whereas the universe that we can perceive would be as less than one single cell of God, we’ve still fallen far, far, far, woefully far short of the mark. As we always will, until we’re able to set aside our finite selves and join with Him.

            It’s amazing how lacking in vision, perspective, imagination and insight is the atheist! Like the local, lefty radio talk show host who got so irritated at baseball players pointing skyward after hitting a home run. Why, he sneered, would God be interested in that one guy’s home run? The ever-so-smart radio host just had no way to understand that God is thoroughly concerned not only with the player’s home run, but with how it, and all else at that moment, affect the potentially many millions of people who were aware of it all!

            It would be a tall order indeed, to “describe God” to one with such a pinched, crabbed, limited vision of things!

            Best,

            — x

          4. Hey -x

            Well thanks for your patience. I hate to comment on a blog to a person who would not get a comment in my own. And Ark and John are both currently caged at my place. There distractions are meaningless sometimes, but I found them to be a detriment on mine. Frankly, their hatefulness was driving honest seekers of truth away, as was their plan I am sure.

            I thank you for the introduction to Andre Rieu, as I had not know of him before your post. Yeah, Ark I live all up in the sticks and if they weren’t playing the jug, I don’t know about them.

            2d grade Sunday School? Hmm..not so much LOL. I was not a regular at Sunday School until I was 45, could count on one had how many times I stepped into a church before then.

            Describe God..Ark says. But, can’t use “philosophy or other such terms” I assume that would include doctrine, theology, or The Bible as well. Kind of like asking a surgeon to describe surgery without using anatomy and then mocking him when he can’t. Duh.

          5. @Ark: you said:

            This from a man who claims he has a ”relationship” with Yahweh.
            Now that is hubris par excellence.

            Question: How is that hubris at all? If God is, as He is, the creator of all things and all creatures, then all things and all creatures — by definition — have a relationship with God.

            Since it’s obvious, therefore, that all things and all creatures have a relationship of some kind with God — again, by definition — how is it difficult to imagine that Wally would have a relationship with God that is greater than the relationship that, say, a starfish has with God?

            Surely you know that it’s pretty basic Christian belief that all creatures great and small are known to God, and that He is quite interested in the fate of them all?

            Why would you say the really, really stoooooooopid “hubris” thing. Why would you ask Wally to answer a question to which the average six-year old would know the answer?

            I thought you said you were knowledgeable about Christianity. The “describe what God looks like” and the “hubris” remarks are really pre-school-level things.

            I ask these questions, because many times you’ve represented yourself as someone who’s knowledgeable about Christianity, but you continue to pose hyper elementary-level questions, and demonstrate really basic misunderstandings.

            I’d like to know what your real level of knowledge is, so that I can interact with you appropriately. For the time being, though, I’m going to have to assume that you’re a beginner, with very little in the way of exposure to what Christianity is all about.

            Best,

            — x

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