Archives For Review

BRO_home

I was exited when my friend Chris, from Brothers McClurg, told me they were working on some new material. When the album came to me I realized that him using the word “new” may have been a bit of false advertising.

If you have heard these guys speak or read anything about them you would have heard that…The band name pays homage to Anthony and Chris’ greatest influence: their maternal grandfather Pastor Bill McClurg, who led the southern gospel group The McClurg Family Singers.

Interestingly enough with the many ministry phases these guys have been on in the world of worship, it is THIS album that first pays homage to that family tradition in it’s sound and not just the name.

Folk rock, or should I say indie folk, is in these days with bands like civil wars, lumineers, mumford and sons and many others. In the worship world we have people like “All sons & Daughters” paving the way for a return to a more folk roots. However it seems that not too many have taken that a little deeper into a mix between southern family band and Simon and Garfunkel like Brothers McClurg does on “Home”. These guys are attempting to bring a few generations together sonically in a sandwich of acoustic nuance.

This album is a great tribute to their heritage, but it’s also not an attempt at trying to recreate that sound. Instead they chose to honor it and create something fresh.

I’m not sure if it is corporate worship friendly and quite honestly I’m not sure if I even care. It is worshipful art. Some art is meant to be hung on a wall to be admired, taken in and enjoyed. From a listeners perspective, that participation is enough for me.

If there is anything I would add or change it would be tracks like “move us on” and “i don’t want to worry” having an even more swampy feel to it. While I know it wasn’t the sound they were going for, I couldn’t help but hear old dirty blues played through pedals with dying batteries on a few tracks in my brain.

This album has a less is more feel instead of relying heavily on a “singer songwriter” vibe. I think Good music like good art has you hearing, feeling and seeing things that aren’t always there. This album captures that.

I believe this is a MUST BUY if you want to hear something different, fresh, fantastic and yet very familiar. – This for sure pushes my comfort zone for country music which is why I am glad it leans more towards simon and garfunkel meets the gaithers rather than Billy ray Cyrus “achy breaky heart”.

“HOME” releases digitally through Sprig Music on Tuesday March 31 st

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this CD free from Brothers McClurg to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Framing Faith
From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World
By Matthew Knisely

I have the privilege of following Matt on the social media platforms and being his “friend” on facebook. This was actually how I first heard about this book. It has been interesting looking through that lens (no pun intended) as I read through these pages.

Matt is a photojournalist and a storyteller. The main reason why I grabbed this book to review is because of my fascination with photography, the arts, speaking and storytelling as well. I loved the clarity that was in this book in regards to intentionality of capturing “worthwhile” moments and encountering God in the midst of the chaos of life.

Over the years I have also had these epiphanies around “carpe diem” or the recognition that each moment matters. I really liked this book and his phrasing. I would have loved to have seen more of his “art” in the book because I think it FRAMES clearly as a visual example his text.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Foundations in Comic Book Art: SCAD Creative Essentials (Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists)
by John Paul Lowe

I have the privilege of reviewing this from a semi-professional view in that I used to work in the comic book business. Recently I have craved to get back into comics and illustration so when I saw this book come up in a list of books for me to review, I grabbed it.

Lowe is really good at communicating and visually the book is of higher grade than most books of it’s kind that are out there. Materials and techniques are covered and what is nice is that while it has an emphasis on comics it also covers the gamut of visual art.

It covers so many topics and techniques and is rich with content. It is not a how to draw book which is also nice. So while it is basic to intermediate in nature it also has value for people who have been drawing for years.

Being a guy who went from classic pen and ink to pretty much all digital, I was glad the topics covered software and techniques that could be used traditionally or with a computer.

I would recommend this book for anybody interested in visual art but especially for those who love sequential art. This is one of the better books on this topic that I have read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from bloggingforbooks to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

stripper

How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just as They Are
By Todd Stevens and Erin Stevens

I was looking through the available books to review and came across the genius marketing title of this book. I know about strip church and organizations like “hookers for jesus” so I decided to dig in a bit more. It was then that the covers’ small print came into view. “and Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just as They Are”.

It was that line that compelled me to grab this book and quite frankly I was not prepared for the roller coaster it had me on. As a PK I have been doing ministry my whole life. The last 18 years have been spent doing ministry alongside my wife. Not even a year ago I co-founded Ember Church and have spent many hours praying with my co-pastors about the unique vision God has given our church. We have done a few “outreach/missional” events that were just for the sake of loving our community and were floored at the difference in response compared to a “need based” event. We knew we were onto something about what God wanted us to do. It was just difficult to really flesh out what this all meant.

I started reading this book and God just hit me. This is it! These guys figured it out. It is so simple, but such a challenging and lofty God sized vision. Friendship Community Church calls it “servant evangelism”. It doesn’t sound revolutionary and honestly it is more ancient than it is modern. It is Jesus’ way. It is all about love.

Here is why I love this book. It doesn’t just give the biblical way of loving and serving. We preach that every week. They went practical too. The Steven’s lay out what worked, what didn’t, success and failure in a way that truly challenged my view of outreach. They lay out one section on intentionally loving your enemy and going a step further than praying for them.

I am still wrapping my head around this book because I think I have stumbled onto the voice of God in regards to a mindset we want to cultivate in our church. Love others and be ready at all times. It is much more than that and I know that sounds like just a simple and basic statement, but it’s often the simple things that we forget. It is the simple things that we stop because we have been paralyzed with apathy and self.

This book took me to a place I haven’t been to in a long time. I ordered 4 more copies for our staff and I am looking forward to reviewing and praying through the implications of their journey on our church.

This is a 5 star book and a must read for any church leader.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklook bloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

dadisfat

Dad is Fat: by Jim Gaffigan

“In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children”

I am a HUGE gaffigan fan. I love his standup comedy and his outlook on life. The dude straight up cracks me up. I remember the first time I heard his “Hot Pockets” sketch a few years ago and I am pretty sure Jim still owes me a new pair of pants.

Needless to say I was so excited to get this book, and after rave reviews from friends I could not wait to dig in.

So I jumped into reading it through the lens of a chunky dad with 4 kids. I found myself smirking and thinking “yeah thats kinda true… I would agree with that”. I got about 3 quarters of the way through and one of the quotes on the back came back to me.

The quote said the book was “laugh out-loud funny”. Here I was almost done with the book struggling with the realization that not only was I not laughing out-loud, but I was pretty sure I didn’t laugh inside either.

In the end it was a nice read with some good humor about what it is like to be a dad with a ton of kids and married to an amazing wife…But thats not what I signed up for. I wanted an excuse to buy new pants and I didn’t get it.

I regret to say this, but I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from Blogging For Books to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”