Primary effects

Guest post by Michael Hicks.

I’m not always consistent. But I’ve been consistent about two things for many years.

First, in discussions of Mormon music I always say that the masterworks of indigenous Mormon hymnody are mostly in the Primary Song Book. Second, whenever I hear Janice Kapp Perry spoken of in a disparaging or even mocking way–not uncommon among BYU music majors–I always speak up in her behalf.  [Read more...]

Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas, or Why I Might Be Okay With the 3-Hour Block

Last night, my wife and I went to hear the final performance in this season’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chicago residency. Pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel performed all five of Beethoven’s sonatas for piano and cello.  [Read more...]

The Shape of Faith to Come

ornettejazzWhen I was in high school or college, I bought The Shape of Jazz to Come, Ornette Coleman’s seminal 1959 free jazz album. I listened to jazz at the time, especially Miles’s electric stuff, but even more I listened to James Brown and Prince and P-Funk and various alternative rock bands. In fact, I’d probably never heard Ornette Coleman before I bought the album.[fn1] I bought it because I knew it was important, and I wanted to like it. [Read more...]

Is Church Music “Good”?

BCC guest blogger Sharon H. has a background in Humanities education and arts administration, and in her free time, she’s been organizing a pretty epic Christmas concert for the New York, NY stake.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 9.59.27 PM

I remember it was over a mediocre burger within my first week of moving to Texas. My colleague was being friendly, telling me about her church in case I needed one. As we were both music educators, she went into extra detail about her church’s music. She told how their previous music minister was a good Christian man but really impossible to work with as a director. But they had just hired a new minister and purchased a completely new sound system all built directly into the sanctuary—I should hear it—and this new music minister was full of ideas and was already asking her opinion for upcoming events. Exciting, I agreed. Had I found a church yet? I had, actually. Do they have good music?

[Read more...]

Songs I Wish Were in the Hymn Book

Growing up I always thought the image on the hymn book was Angkor Wat.

On my mission, in one city my companion and I had to walk 45 mins to get to our area to teach.  We were newly together and frankly, she was driving me nuts.  She insisted on singing hymns the entire time we walked through the banana fields and winding rural paths. Relentlessly.  Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, so I started belting out Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”  She recoiled as if I had just taken a big swig of Vodka, wiped my mouth, and then offered it to her.  But then, she accepted the proffered folk song olive branch and started to sing it with me.  She shrugged and said she guessed it was not inappropriate even if it wasn’t a hymn. [Read more...]

Liahonaroo: A Mormon Music Festival in Music City

Next weekend is the first-ever Liahonaroo Festival, a family-themed art and music show just outside of Nashville. Cool idea, right? It’s like Bonnaroo, but without the drugs, public drunkenness, and traffic jams. Which is to say, it’s not at all like Bonnaroo.

The two-day event kicks off Friday at 7pm at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, and the lineup includes more than 30 artists and musicians from around the country (I believe the majority are not LDS, though the show organizers are). My own band, Shakedown at the Majestic, will be playing Saturday night, so be sure to say hi if you’re around.

Tix and info are available at Liahonaroo.com. And if you think this kind of event would work in your community, leave a comment and say so. Maybe the organizers could be persuaded to take this thing on the road next year.

Reader Question Box #9: Is Sufjan Stevens Mormon?

Sufjan wings

Sufjan Stevens

Reader Question Box is a series where we answer questions that show up in our website traffic monitoring statistics as Google search terms that led people to us. Copious oddities are to be found in the search term logs, and some worthwhile questions. (In case you missed our previous editions: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8)

Questions: “sufjan stevens lds?” “is sufjan stevens mormon”
Answer: Oh, I wish it were so! However, it is easy enough to prove that he isn’t:

As you can see in the photo, Sufjan has wings. We all know that Mormon angels don’t have wings. Therefore, we can say decisively that Sufjan is not Mormon. QED.
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 73: Ken Jennings vs. GST

BCC’s beloved podcast returns! It’s been months since the last podcast, but we hope the new episodes are worth the wait.

In this episode, Scott B. listens in as John C. outlines his hopes for the upcoming General Conference (Hint: 2-hour block!), BHodges talks with long-time BCC friend Ken Jennings about Ken’s new book “Maphead,” and Mormon blogging legend GST makes an appearance to tell the world what it feels like to be humiliated on national TV. And if that lineup isn’t sufficient, we also have the sound of our very own Kristine Haglund listening to songs by Michael McLean.

Episode Content Guide (below the fold) [Read more...]

Call to the Brain Trust: New ‘Mormon Moment’ as Jimmer enshrined in Lil Wayne lyric

Forget running for president or having a show on Broadway–Mormonism’s next big moment is here: BYU athlete Jimmer Fredette has been featured in Lil Wayne’s newest song in the following lyric:

“I got a chopper in the trimmer, shootin’ like Jimmer.”

This website helpfully translates:

Lil Wayne is describing his “chopper” — which is a gun for those that aren’t fluent in hip-hop — by saying it shoots like Jimmer

I think we should do our part to foster more positive press and public awareness of Mormons by encouraging more Mormon-theme lyrics to be included in popular songs. Jimmer has the advantage of being easy to rhyme, but I think we could come up with many other helpful 1- or 2-line suggestions for vocal artists to adopt.
[Read more...]

Scriptural Band Names

A member of my Elders Quorum started a band, and a few weeks ago he used our EQ email list to request the help in voting on a name for the band. We were given a handful of options, and voted according to our preferences. However, during the email conversation, the idea of Scriptural Band names was tossed around, with several excellent examples being suggested by one participant (e.g., “The Reformed Egyptians,” or “King Men Revisited”). [Read more...]

Music for Easter Morning

First, Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs Since I was a little girl, Easter has arrived for me with the opening Rise, Heart (skip to 25 seconds in to avoid annoying announcer). The rest of the five are here. If I ever understand atonement, it will be because of “Love Bade Me Welcome.” [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 67: Jonna

In this episode, Scott B. is joined in the virtual studio by Jonna, a pop music singer in Finland and a convert to the LDS Church. Topics include Jonna’s musical career and current projects, her conversion to the Restored Gospel, and its impact on her personal and professional life.


[Read more...]

God Likes Brass Instruments

 

That is all.

Elaine Bradley: RM, Rock Star

Neylan McBaine is a recurring guest at By Common Consent.

By now, it’s old news that rock star Brandon Flowers of The Killers is Mormon. And perhaps you’ve heard of our other coolest Mormon performer, internationally renown DJ Kaskade. But what if I told you we could also claim a female rock star? A drummer, at that? A drummer whose band’s single reached #1 on the Alternative Rock Chart? Meet Elaine Bradley of the Neon Trees at the Mormon Women Project. [Read more...]

Music for Advent

Same text, new music-

Gabrieli

Palestrina

Byrd

What I Wish I Had Said (II)

So, yeah, I’m lousy at the extemporaneous thing.  In this Zeitcast, I only forgot to say the most important thing–WHY it matters whether our congregational and choral singing is good.  Here’s why:

1) Singing is the closest we get to understanding what an exalted body might be like and what it might be for.

2) Singing together, especially as a choir that works hard, but also as a congregation that sings enthusiastically, is the best approximation of Zion we have. [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 61: MoTab Has Its Moments

In this episode, Scott B. listens in while Kristine Haglund and Nicholas S, aka Latter-day Guy, get their musical geek on. First, Nicholas and Kristine share some highlights and lowlights of their LDS music experiences. Later, the group discusses ways to improve music in LDS settings and opine on their favorite and most hated LDS songs.

Links for your convenience:
[Read more...]

Music for Advent

Old (Cristobal de Morales) * and new (Pierre Villette) again. See here for text.

*Here’s another recording, problematic in different ways. (I’ll turn you all into choral music critics yet!)

Music for Advent

(I’ve stopped counting :))

For this week, a single text:

O magnum mysterium, [Read more...]

Music for Advent XI

You already know I love Mendelssohn’s motets.  His Sechs Sprüche for various occasions in the liturgical calendar are short pieces for 8-part choir.  I love them for lots of reasons, not least the recurrent use of my second-favorite German word “frohlocken.”  (My very favorite is “Wonne”.  I know you were wondering.)  This video has good notes, with translations and links to the other five (of which my very favorite is Am Neujahrstage, in case you were wondering).

Movies, Mormonism, and Meaning

I’m going to start this off with a couple of Nike commercials that I watch on Youtube when I am trying to motivate myself. No endorsement of Nike (or YouTube) is implied. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 10

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. BCC has been pleased to have him as our guest for this special series of posts.

In the last entry I talked about my “Low experience” with Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, an experience that many Latter-day Saints in music share.  This is the tenth and final installment of The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of.  Before I complete the list I just want to thank everyone at By Common Consent for allowing me to evangelize for my musicians.  I feel quite honored by the opportunity, and I also feel quite overzealous and protective of our Latter-day Saint musical community sometimes.  Some of the friendships I’ve made through Linescratchers will indeed last a lifetime, and I’m always incredibly happy to talk about our artists, promote their music, and help them through the unique challenges that members of our faith community experience in the world of music.

Now I know what most of you will think when you see this last installment:  “What a cop out!”  Let me explain myself.  I selected the “Top 10″ based on my own personal preferences and a desire to see many different genres and diverse backgrounds represented.  I’ve had to respect the wishes of certain musicians by not featuring them.  Also, there are of course time and space constraints.  The musicians I’ve featured are by no means the only LDS musicians in this world, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some more artists.  Therefore, my last installment will be a few artists that didn’t make the full list, but that I think are still worth listening to. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 9

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

In my last installment I took us all on a trip down to the American South, to hear the dark yet soothing songs of Jeff Zentner. This time, I’ll be writing about a band that changed everything for me. Many of you were probably expecting this one, so it’s a little daunting to write it.

I realize that this series has been called “The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve NEVER Heard Of”, and I also realize that many if not most of you are aware of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, but this essay is for those of you who are still not familiar with them. As I said above, Low changed everything for me, but I was a latecomer to finding out about them.
[Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 8

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time I told you all about the kicking classical composer Jennifer Thomas, who both plays and teaches violin and piano but also  composes music for short films, television, and lullabies.  This time, I’m moving you to the South that I love, where this next artist, to me, represents the best of the chilling and spiritual tradition of Southern Gothic music.

The American South is a beautiful and mystical place that is near to my heart.  Readers who are familiar with the beginnings of the LDS Church might notice a strain of folk mysticism that Joseph Smith grew up with, and I believe that in many ways those traditions were carried over in the American South.  It gives the whole South a spiritual feeling that can only be experienced here.  Some of you might listen to the more “traditional” LDS musician Michael R. Hicks, who writes lots of faith-based music, but fewer of you might be aware of his brother-in-law, Jeff Zentner, who, after a time in Nashville playing with Creech Holler, has been living and writing music near the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 7

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time, we traveled the world musically through the New Age music of Oscar Aguayo, better known by his songwriting alias Australis. This time, we’ll continue with our theme of instrumental music, but move to the classical side with Jennifer Thomas. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 6

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time, I detailed the musical career of Gregg Hale, who played guitar for Spiritualized and currently serves the Salt Lake Area (and Linescratchers) as a writer, reviewer, engineer, studio owner, and guitarist.  Unfortunately, the next two artists I had lined up for #6 and #7 had to be changed.  One of them doesn’t want people to know he’s Mormon, and the other feels that God called him to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, so he has left the Church to pursue his own prophetic mission.  Too bad, because they’re both amazing musicians. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 5

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time I talked about the spooky, yet technically proficient Halloween tunes of Kristen Lawrence.  Now we move to a friend of mine through Linescratchers, who is just as well known for what he’s done with our music scene (he has played and is playing with several well-known bands) as he is for what he’s put into it. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 4

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time I talked about the fun garage antics of Fossil Fools and the 5th Friday Open Mic in Portland.  This time, we move to a spookier kind of music.  Her tale might seem out of place this time of year, until you get to know Kristen Lawrence.  For her, Halloween is all year round. [Read more...]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 3

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time, I highlighted the amazing story of rapper Young Sim and his family’s escape from war-torn Liberia. This installment takes us out to the relatively peaceful and characteristically damp Portland, Oregon. Last year, my family travelled out to Portland to see my sister get married in the Portland Temple. There in the Celestial room, I was introduced to someone who plays in a garage band there and also is in charge of the 5th Friday Open Mic, an open mic at the Beaverton, Oregon stake center featuring LDS musicians.

Intrigued, but also realizing that the temple isn’t always the best place to discuss Rock ‘n Roll, I later found Mark Simnitt and his band Fossil Fools online and interviewed him for Linescratchers. This band is awesome, and Mark is a funny, talented, and nice guy. Such are the blessings of attending the temple. [Read more...]

Living and Dying in 3/4 Time

But mostly dying.  Also in 4/4, 2/4, and 6/8.

I’ve been a church-goer for decades now, and thought I’d seen everything.  But yesterday I attended church (no, it wasn’t my home ward and I won’t tell you where) and saw something I have never seen before.  [Read more...]

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