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Archive for January, 2010


This is a picture of my first guitar strap. I got it a long, long time ago. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, I’ve decided to give it the honor of being my strap of choice as often as I can this year.

I know it’s a bloody rainbow. But I’m secure.

I remember when I bought this. I was a beginning student at Rysavy Studio in Houston and I was looking for a strap to go with my new, first guitar. I thought brown would be an obvious complementary strap color but my mom suggested the rainbow because it had ALL the colors in it, not just one. I guess that reasoning checked out with me.

This is the first time I’ve used the strap since I got it long ago. I would have brought out my first guitar and played him in honor of its anniversary but, having been made of something like cardboard, it didn’t really stand the test of time.

If you happen to see me with the strap, please – don’t point and laugh.

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Here’s a confession of mine: I’m not a big fan of worship music. Seriously. Not unusual really, but it’s only slightly odd with me because the majority of music I play and have played has been worship music. I was worse several years ago. I didn’t buy worship albums so I didn’t really know what was new, what was current or anything like that. And I didn’t really care. Since then, I’ve been better about knowing what’s out there and keeping track of the trends. I still can’t say that I’m a huge fan of a lot of it though I do enjoy and keep up with the Hillsong and United releases and I try to be aware of what Tomlin songs are out there, etc. I do accumulate a lot of worship albums but it’s mostly for the sake of reference. I want to be aware of what’s out there so I’m ready to recall and play a song at a moment’s notice.

I think part of the issue with me is that it feels like a lot of artists are releasing worship albums for the sake of releasing worship albums. It’s not that they’ve crafted a number of songs they feel are inspired and will help lead people into worship but it’s more that they’ve been given a deadline by their label and they have to have a certain number of songs ready to go.

Sometimes it feels like an album is written with the mindset that if a tune contains “Jesus” enough times it becomes an acceptable worship song. That’s fine. What bugs me is the lack of respect given to the art. Fresh, creative writing is thrown out for trite, recycled phrases and lyrics that no longer possess any flavor and now only serve to make the rest of the track more bland.

There’s the other extreme of writers who try too hard to be different and fresh and they end up with a worship song that people have a hard time worshipping with. It’s a tricky balance, sure. But we all expect no less than creative masterpieces from artists bringing us other genres of music; why do we let “worship artists” get away with being lazy?

I have strayed far from my point, sorry. So yeah, I’m not always crazy about worship music. However, for today’s “Sounds For My Soul,” I bring you a track from one of my favorite worship albums.

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I was introduced to Jason Upton‘s album Faith sometime in 2002. I’m not sure why it stuck with me the way it did but I’ve only grown more fond of it since then. It isn’t a modern worship wonder. It isn’t filled with innovative songs and sounds. It doesn’t contain masterful musicianship. It doesn’t even make for the best soundtrack to a cool, youth worship video.

Here is what it is: It’s a very flow-y, raw (and not just in the cool sense) prophetic-style worship record. There’s a purity in it and a sincerity that I connect with. I have other albums of Upton’s and, while they have the same traits, they don’t hit me the same as Faith.

I know it’s not for everyone. A lot of people don’t get into this style very easily. And that’s perfectly understandable.

This album is so significant to me that I’ve placed it as part of my Desert Island collection. You know – if you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only bring three CDs with you, what would they be? My other two are constantly different at any given moment but I’m quite certain that Faith would have to be one that comes with me. And it’s also not that I listen to the album a whole lot either. It definitely doesn’t get as much play time as other records. But it’s a great go-to worship album for me. So I gotta have it ready to go when I need it.

Here’s one of my favorite songs, “Come Up Here.”

http://www.joshuapthomas.com/06ComeUpHere.mp3″

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Previous entries of SFMS:

Pt. I
Pt. II
Pt. III
Pt. IV
Pt. V
Pt. VI
Pt. VII

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#TeamConan

If you haven’t heard yet, find any internet news site to catch up on the mess NBC has on their hands regarding their late night lineup.

In essence, NBC wants to move The Jay Leno Show, which is currently broadcast before the nightly news (which has led to poor ratings for local news affiliates) to a later slot after the news, which would then push The Tonight Show back another half hour to 11:05 CST. Not ideal, especially when considering you’ll now be following a show that led people to change the channel before the news came on.

Of course, in perspective, it’s TV and this is all grossly insignificant. But I’m a fan of Conan’s and I think he’s a classy guy, not to mention brilliant and hilarious. And I think his latest statement is a testament to that fact.

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan


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This was a gift from my friend Shelly Paige. She’s super cool and pretty hilarious and really odd.

Really odd.
🙂

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Watching the BCS Championship game this past week, I have to admit I cringed a little at the marching bands during halftime but that was only in comparison to the teams playing the game. Marching bands don’t usually get a lot of respect. I should know – I spent my entire high school career as part of one.

Fortunately for my reputation’s sake, I was a part of the drumline. I had a blast playing in band and I’m not ashamed to say that. I am slightly ashamed to say that we weren’t all that great. But that’s what normally happens when you have a mix of passionate and apathetic members.

In any case, I’ve always been a fan of great marching bands and great drumlines. Whenever the Drum Corp International Competitions came to town I’d do my best not to miss it. Watching the Blue Devils, the Cavaliers, Santa Clara Vanguard and the Phantom Regiment pull off stellar performances inspired me… to the point of once considering joining a real-deal drum corp.

I was an okay drummer, but never that good. But I liked to pretend I was. Here’s a video I stole from Roommate Tanner’s blog of a killer drummer. I mean killer. I’m too removed from this world now to be jealous. I think I’m more just flat out impressed.

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