My new sounds:
Source: SoundCloud / mikestahlme
The stuff that didn't make it on facebook or twitter, an EP
When I notice you I’m standing at the edge of a cliff, water below.
I’m ready to dive in, completely submerge my self in the water, become engulfed in you.
But I hesitate. The timing isn’t right.
If I jump and the tide is low I will be crushed on the rocks.
I don’t see them, but I know they’re just beneath the surface.
If I jump into rough waters I may drown.
If I jump unprepared, I’ll be taken down by my own ignorance.
So I stand there and feel the tension
Between my heart; pulling me closer to the edge,
And my mind; not letting my body fall over.
Just after I take a breath and close my eyes,
only for a moment, meditating and searching for solid reasoning.
I open them and look down.
The water is gone, you’re gone, and what I thought was love is gone.
There is one thing that notice that wasn’t here before.
A hole, a void.
How? I never jumped in. I never even slipped.
I realized where the tension was coming from, and why.
A part of me had jumped into the water before my mind even considered it to be a possibility.
If my heart hadn’t been thrown into the water I would never have felt the pulling to jump in after it.
I divided myself and stood in limbo, because I knew I couldn’t give my self completely.
If I did I faced certain destruction.
And I didn’t realize until it was too late,
That my heart was clever enough to make the jump without me.
I had let down my guard.
With nothing to jump to I find myself avoiding cliffs for a time.
Eventually the hole heals up; With either a callous or scar.
But at some point I find myself out on the edges again….
Here’s my semi-quick opinion (along with link) on contemporary christian culture/media. i.e movies and music….
Christian culture and media needs to be scrutinized and held to a standard just as much as any other professional media source. It’s so common just to accept and praise everything labeled “christian” just because it’s pushing a message.
We do this with movies and music all the time.
- Really cheesy, bad writing/acting, poor production,
- Shallow, over simplifies hard issues or avoids them all together just to put a positive “family friendly” spin on the medium, whether it’s a song or film.
- Horrible stereotyping of non-christians, and usually falling back on a quick extremely emotional conversion to move the story along. Not very realistic.
But we promote it because of it’s message. Even still, we sing along to many christian songs without even knowing or taking the time to think about what we are singing. How do you define worship? Is the song you’re singing even accurate or true? Why do we wholeheartedly embrace songs just because they reference the word “worship” while the rest of the song is completely self centered, without even thinking? We’re fooling ourselves.
How can we expect people to value our message when it is so badly represented by the medium in which we present it?
You can’t say the message is all that matters.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for music, I listen to it because I want to hear good MUSIC.
When I’m looking for a movie to watch, I look for a movie that was well made, with a good story and script.
When I want to hear a good message, I would look for a book, or speaker who can present a topic in an honest and thoughtful manner. Something that takes the time to really pick an issue apart and give me something to think about and learn from.
Some really good movies and songs can accomplish this, and many times that’s the reason people consider them good! You’ll notice their message is more nuanced, the main focus is on the medium, the art of creating the song or movie in a way that makes it interesting. This makes the message all the more powerful because it is something to be “discovered” rather than something that gets pounded over your head.
Well, this article has some more good points and is a little less critical in it’s presentation than I am. These are just some issues I’m pretty passionate about. …and don’t even get me started on televangelist scams promising money and healing in return for donations. That stuff needs to stop.
15 Years. My first and possibly last artist’s blog.
This week marks 15 years since i moved to Nashville by myself with this one electric guitar. Music was only a dream at that point. Since then it has become my reality. Over 1500 live performances spanning the entire globe, working on over 500 studio albums with combined sales exceeding 10 million copies, multiple grammy nominations, a few number one singles and albums, and hundreds of songs written for other artists as well as film and tv. 15 years. Why am i telling you this?
Because when i truly reflect on it everything i mentioned above means NOTHING to me. and THAT is the drive that keeps moving a me forward. My desire to see what lies ahead greatly outweighs my ability to enjoy what happened in the past. Now that may seem harsh to you but most artists i know are like this. the point i’m trying to make is this…… True success for the artist comes from within. You have to work for it, and it’s in the work itself that you find joy.
I believe that creativity is like a muscle; it needs both exercise to build strength and time to recover after being stretched. So i get up every day and exercise that muscle, and then live life outside of art to rest and get ready again. Some days i’m tired. Some days i don’t feel like it. Some days just aren’t good. But every once in a while i have a day where the creativity i bring is combined with the opportunity i am given and that equals true artistic success. it’s the show where the hair stands on the back of your neck as the energy in the venue changes. its the playback in the studio where everyone knows we achieved something greater. it’s when the singer can’t get through a song without crying because they feel SO connected to what’s happening. Those moments are success; not ticket sales or chart numbers.
So what am i trying to tell you here? it’s this…..Be honest with yourself and enjoy the work itself, not the result.
-If you are musician, be honest and focus only on the note you are playing, not the next one and certainly not the one before. Give everything you have to the work of that moment.
- If you are a writer, be honest and write from what’s real. Enjoy the work of writing the song, not where and how it can be exploited. Being true and honest with your work will get you farther.
- If you are an artist, be honest with your originality. Be who you are, and work at it. refine it. get to the core of it. No one wants a copy. Be the original.
- If you are in the music business, be honest and don’t forget that at one point you had a childlike love of music. Don’t make decisions about art based on keeping your job because that will most assuredly lead to losing it.
ENJOY THE WORK. ENJOY THE WORK.
15 years and i feel like i’m just getting started. Just starting to figure it out. I am excited about what’s next. I will continue to pour all of my soul into making music until the good Lord pulls it from my body and into eternity.
Thank you to all the artists who have entrusted a piece of their vision with me. Thank you to all the musicians, managers, publishers, lawyers, a&r and other personnel who have worked with and for me. Thank you to the fans that connect with art and support the artist. Thank you Nashville. And to the good Lord. Thank You. Here’s to another 15.
If this post speaks to you in any way, please leave a comment.
Rolling Stone just unveiled its new cover, which features Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev portrayed somewhat tastelessly as a heartthrob.
The actual cover is just a bum out.
If they label you soft, feather weight and white-livered,
if the locker room tosses back its sweaty head,
and laughs at how quiet your hands stay,
if they come to trample the dandelions roaring in your throat,
you tell them that you were forged inside of a woman
who had to survive fifteen different species of disaster
to bring you here,
and you didn’t come to piss on trees.
You ain’t nobody’s thick-necked pitbull boy,
don’t need to prove yourself worthy of this inheritance
of street-corner logic, this
blood legend, this
index of catcalls, “three hundred ways to turn a woman
into a three course meal”, this
legacy of shame, and man,
and pillage, and man,
and rape, and man.
You won’t be some girl’s slit wrists dazzling the bathtub,
won’t be some girl’s,
“I didn’t ask for it but he gave it to me anyway”,
the torn skirt panting behind the bedroom door,
some father’s excuse to polish his gun.
If they say, “Take what you want”, you tell them
you already have everything you need;
you come from scabbed knuckles
and women who never stopped swinging,
you come men who drank away their life savings,
and men who raised daughters alone.
You come from love you gotta put your back into,
elbow-grease loving like slow-dancing on dirty linoleum,
you come from that house of worship.
Boy, I dare you to hold something like that.
Love whatever feels most like your grandmother’s cooking.
Love whatever music looks best on your feet.
Whatever woman beckons your blood to the boiling point,
you treat her like she is the god of your pulse,
you treat her like you would want your father to treat me:
I dare you to be that much man one day.
That you would give up your seat on the train
to the invisible women, juggling babies and groceries.
That you would hold doors, and say thank-you,
and understand that women know they are beautiful
without you having to yell it at them from across the street.
The day I hear you call a woman a “bitch”
is the day I dig my own grave.
See how you feel writing that eulogy.
And if you are ever left with your love’s skin trembling under your nails,
if there is ever a powder-blue heart
left for dead on your doorstep,
and too many places in this city that remind you of her tears,
be gentle when you drape the remains of your lives in burial cloth.
Don’t think yourself mighty enough to turn her into a poem,
or a song,
or some other sweetness to soften the blow,
I dare you to break like that.
You look too much like your mother not to.
First let me say I’ve been a huge fan of Relient K since I first discovered them, when they released Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right. I was at a church youth group event (I was 10 years old) and I picked their album out of dozens of other “Christian Alternative” bands. I remember thinking how cool it was that they had different album covers you could pick from. I didn’t even have a cd player when I got the album (it was my very first CD) so I just read the lyrics and had to imagine what it sounded like. I loved how they were full of word plays and puns and that’s still one of my favorite albums today. Long story short I’ve followed them very closely over the years, so yes, I’m more than a little biased. That being said, I’ll admit I was really disappointed when I heard Lost Boy for the first time. But in context of the rest of the album it fits perfectly. Like many things, understanding the context of this album is extremely important.
Despite what many say, Collapsible Lung is a great sequel to Forget and not slow down. There are some big differences, but the album is just as solid.
FANSD was pretty heavy lyrically and musically from song to song.
THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS ALBUM was to kinda tie up the last one on a fun more upbeat note.
The message here is not found in each individual song, and perhaps this is the genius of the whole thing…
The first track, “Don’t Blink” starts in the same mindset as Forget and Not Slow Down: Putting the past behind you and moving on.
The story continues from there to a period of time where Matt is still struggling, this is the whole middle of the album. The band intentionally uses the much lamented poppy upbeat sound to balance the wholly honest and regret tinged lyrics.
The last track, Collapsible Lung puts a lid on both albums quite nicely. I say this because even though FANSD was about moving on it didn’t really end in a way that made you believe he was. Collapsible lung is the real ending that actually deals with understanding your mistakes, repenting and moving onward, because time is short.
The more I listen to this album and reflect on where the band has been over the past few years the more I grow fond of it. Matt took a big risk in choosing to make these songs about his real struggles, rather than another album of him giving the expected christian response of perfect clarity on these issues. As if that were’t enough, the band also chose to go in a whole new direction musically as well. That is something i really respect them for. They spent an enormous amount of time trying to get this album exactly how they wanted it. So instead of judging it by your personal tastes and expectations, try to see what their perspectives and intentions were while making it. If they accomplished what they set out to achieve, then the album is exactly what it should be.
Well, Matt actually is the one who initiated the communication between us. After reading my review on the album, he friended me on Facebook and...