US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Listen: The Invisible Way

By John Christman |
Article

Low (Sub Pop Records, 2013)

The release of a new Low album often feels like an unexpected gift. Not that all of their albums are unqualified masterpieces, but each of them contains a few gems that remind you of the evocative and poetic power of good songwriting.


Listen: Sing the Delta

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article

Sing the Delta
Iris DeMent (Flariella Records, 2012)


Listen: O' Be Joyful by Shovel and Ropes

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article
O' Be Joyful
Shovels and Rope (Dualtone Music Group, 2012)

The band name suggests a Western movie scene of hanging and burial while the album title sounds like a line from a psalm of praise. On O’ Be Joyful, Shovels and Rope make a noise that is rough and rustic but at the same time downright jubilant. The lyrics tell tales of poverty and hardship that also celebrate a life of love and creativity.


Listen: Kin

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article
Rodney Crowell, Mary Karr, et al. (Vanguard, 2012)

Over the past 16 years as I’ve read Mary Karr’s three memoirs, I’ve always heard Rodney Crowell’s music as the soundtrack. Now these two great East Texans have found each other and delivered an album that stands up to the best of either artist’s previous work.


Listen: Rappalachia by Gangstagrass

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article

Just what the title and artist name suggest, Rappalachia by Gangstagrass is a fusion of rap rhythm tracks and old-time mountain music instrumentation and melodies. And it really, really works.


Marley: The Original Soundtrack Bob Marley and the Wailers

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article
Marley: The Original Soundtrack
Bob Marley and the Wailers (Tuff Gong, 2012)

Bob Marley, who took reggae music from Jamaica to the world, is one of the pop culture saints of our age—on par with Elvis, Che Guevara, Malcolm X. Marley died of cancer at age 36 in 1981, but his image is better known today than it ever was in his lifetime. Now there is a documentary about Marley’s life (called simply, Marley) and this soundtrack compilation of live and studio recordings to introduce his work to yet another generation.


Listen: Dr. John's Locked Down

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article
Locked Down
Dr. John
(Nonesuch Records, 2012)

In the deranged days of 1968, New Orleans musician Mac Rebennack decided to join the fun by dubbing himself Dr. John the Night Tripper, taking to the stage in a Mardi Gras Indian-inspired costume and making music thoroughly marinated in his hometown’s Afro-Caribbean musical traditions and religious lore.


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