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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Artsy Fartsy Wednesday ~ Mufreesboro

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Artsy Fartsy Wednesday ~ Mufreesboro

In the summer of 2007 I went to a music and arts festival called Purple Door in Lewisberry, PA which is just outside the state capital of Harrisburg. Some of my favorite bands were there such as mewithoutYou, Anberlin, and Spoken. I also discovered a few artists that I now enjoy listening to now like The Chariot, Derek Webb, and Cool Hand Luke. Today I would like to talk about Cool Hand Luke, the band, not the movie.

I had heard of Cool Hand Luke before but never really heard their music. I was browsing the merch section of the festival with my friend Jesse when he told me Cool Hand Luke was going to be playing soon. Before we left the merch section I picked up a Cool Hand Luke CD on a whim that I would like it. Plus it came with a free t-shirt. Anyway we went to see them play and they were awesome. I like most genres of music but I try to find ones that are unique to the genre they are in and Cool Hand Luke definitely fit this description. Plus they didn't just come, play a show, and then leave. They stuck around all weekend and hung out with the fans. The next day I saw the bass player playing hacky-sack with a bunch of kids. Later I walked by the bass player and he pointed at me and smiled probably because I was wearing the Cool Hand Luke shirt I had bought the day before. By the way, you never wear the shirt of a band that is playing that day, it's improper band shirt etiquette. That's why I wore it the day after they played. The bass player also came out on stage during the mewithoutYou set and belted out some of the Arabic lyrics from the song "The Dryness and the Rain" with Aaron Weiss. Below are a few photos I took at Purple Door '07 of the band.

The album I picked up is called "The Balancing Act". The cover art is found at the beginning of this post. It's a compilation of songs from previous albums and maybe a few new ones. This is the only album of theirs I own, but I plan on getting the other ones. A booklet came with "The Balancing Act" which give a history of the band. I'm going to share a few sections of that. Mark Nicks wrote:

"I met Brandon and Jason in 1998 at a Ruby Tuesday in Mufreesboro, TN the night before the last exam of my freshman year at Middle Tennessee State University. The first thing they said to me was, "Do you play drums?" I did. They asked me if I wanted to play in a Christian punk band. I didn't. I was losing interest in punk music and I didn't know much about Christian music except that I usually didn't think it was very good. For some reason, though, I called Brandon the next week. His number was scribbled on the back of a picture of Gwynneth Paltrow that one of their friends had in his wallet. A few days later I met up with Brandon and Jason, and we walked around 2nd Ave. in Nashville. They informed me that the band already had a name - Cool Hand Luke. They had never seen the movie. In fact, they didn't know it was a movie before I told them. They had heard someone say it and thought it sounded like a good name."

"I was very impressed that Brandon suggested we pray before we started playing. I wasn't accustomed to praying about something like playing music, but I thought it was a great idea. It immediately showed me that Brandon and Jason were real about their faith and they really wanted it to be a part of the music they played. It became an important part of Cool Hand Luke."

"It didn't take long for us to realize that our vision for what we wanted this band to be had very little to do with entertaining people or playing music that made our audiences mosh. We started to take our faith more seriously and how we could get that across musically and lyrically without it seeming trite or cliché."

"We could all write pages and pages of funny, ridiculous, moving stories from those days. Stories about our 25-year old van with linoleum floors and more cabinets than seats that got so hot that we had to drive with the side door open, stories about that van breaking down just about anywhere in America and praying that it would start again, stories about dumb shows in which the number of bands playing was greater than the number of people in attendance, stories about staying in a house that was so gross we drove through a tornado just to leave it, stories about Joe Creep (the band's manager) putting the WRONG water bottle on stage so that I took a big gulp of my urine after our first song, and lots of other stories"

Those are just a few blurbs from the booklet. Say Mufreesboro, it's fun to say. I especially like how he said they wanted to share their faith through their music without it sounding trite or cliché. I think that is a huge problem in the Christian music industry. There are too many artists out there who have written piss poor music and then say that it was inspired by God. I think that is so wrong. What if God doesn't want to be associated with that song because it doesn't represent what he is truly about? I think we should use our God-given talents to just create art and music and allow God to flow out of it rather than try to cram him into it.

Well, I've rambled on long enough, time to bring this one to a close. I'll leave you with a video and the lyrics to a Cool Hand Luke song called "Wonder Tour". This song helped me during a rough time in my life. I had just graduated from college and I hadn't found a job in my field yet. This song really spoke to me, I hope it speaks to you. God bless.

You've already made to many mistakes
To ever amount to anything great
You're not allowed to dream out loud
You're far too young to even count
And much too poor without any doubt
And you haven't done nearly enough
To deserve any grace or anyone's love

God speak truth
To the lies that we've believed instead of you

You're in the wrong city for that line of work
And you'll never make it unless you're a jerk
Live for yourself and store up more wealth
We've traded in dreams and youthful ideals
For less noble things of paying the bills
And trying our best to look like the rest
While hiding our fears by the way we all dress

God speak truth
To the paychecks we have trusted instead of you

Visit the official Cool Hand Luke site here.

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