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Hammock’s New Album “Mysterium” Features Soundscapes

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I recently received a wonderful surprise in the mail. It was the newest album from the band Hammock titled Mysterium.

Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Hammock I can only describe their music as falling into the genre of soundscapes. The core of the group consists of Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson on guitars with occasional assistance from Matt Slocum, formerly of the band Sixpence None The Richer, on cello.

I first became aware of the concept of soundscapes during the early 1970’s with the release of an album called The Heavenly Music Corporation by Robert Fripp of King Crimson & Brian Eno of Roxy Music. Soundscapes, at least to my ears, would be considered extremely ambient music used not only for listening pleasure but also during times of meditation and prayer. That being said, let’s get back to Hammock.

Unless I am mistaken, this newest project is the band’s tenth release since their debut project in 2005. In the years since their debut they have added on supplemental players on various pieces. This time around that consists of Matt “Frodo” Kidd on piano and Ken Lewis on percussion as well as the aforementioned Matt Slocum on cello.

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“Wondrous Stories” & Appreciation in Freedom to Share Tunes

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Last night during the course of my radio show, I played a tune called “Wondrous Stories” by Rick Wakeman from his album Piano Portraits.It’s a song that Rick had done during his time with the band Yes. It’s a wonderful song and I have played it periodically in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Yet there was something different about last night, I was struck not by the song so much as by its title “Wondrous Stories.”

Working at a public radio station, I am given quite a lot of freedom as to what I choose to play during the course of each program. In the past, I have worked at stations where there was virtually little to no freedom in picking a play list of songs to choose from. Being just short of turning 68 and becoming more and more of a curmudgeon as time goes on, I need to know that I have the freedom to program that which is from my heart and not some restrictive list of songs I am told to play or in some cases not to play.

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Road Trip to Soulfest, August 3-5, 2017, Gunfest Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire

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It seems the older I get the more I seem to be in need of an annual road trip. A time to just get away and reflect on the road my life has gone down. These soul-searching road trips occur during the summer or fall season and usually means a trip to a music festival or sometimes a literary conference.

In the past I have journeyed to the Pacific Northwest for The Kindlings Fest on Orcas Island or to the cornfields of the Midwest for the Cornerstone Festival.

Honestly, I need to get away to refresh my soul and feed my imagination. During these times I am surrounded by people who also, like myself, feel a need to be fed by the arts. Now that might take the form of music, literature, poetry, dance, film.

Over the years I have come in contact with many who have become friends and confidants due to their love of the arts and I thoroughly cherish these times. This year I will venture to the mountains of New Hampshire for an event called Soulfest. It is scheduled the first Thursday, Friday & Saturday of August at the Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire.

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Doxacon 2017: Geek Not Greek Orthodox Event for Sci-Fi Christians

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Right off the bat, let me explain Doxacon 2017. It’s an event where Christian closet geeks (and those who wear their geekiness right out in the open) get together and discuss their love for fantasy and science fiction. Doxacon 2017 is scheduled August 18-19 in Washington DC.

Now rewind 60 years when I was just a young boy growing up in Brooklyn NY. It was all those years ago I discovered my love for fantasy and science fiction literature. In fact, it probably stems from actually growing up in Brooklyn.  Every Saturday, I would go to the movies for the matinee showings.

This started when I was seven years old and continued for many, many years. For 25 cents you would get a chapter of two different serials, a number of cartoons and 2 full length movies.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with serials, they were basically 3-hour movies divided into 20 minute segments with a cliffhanger situation ending each segment putting the hero or heroine into unbelievable peril which would be resolved at the beginning of the following week’s segment. Think of Star Wars as being an elongated serial.

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Max McLean’s Acclaimed Portrayal of C.S. Lewis Onstage is Brilliant

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Last week my wife and I took a trip into New York City to see award-winning actor Max McLean‘s acclaimed portrayal of author C.S. Lewis. The play is called The Most Reluctant Convert and it is truly brilliant. Everything from the set decorations to the acting shouted out artistic perfection.

One aspect of Lewis’s life covered was his sense of longing for something almost intangible, something seemingly just over the horizon. A sense that somewhere there is something better than the life in which we all seem to be locked.

For C.S. Lewis this longing was fulfilled in Christianity.

The play chronicles C.S. Lewis’s journey from determined atheist to Christian. Max McLean is ever faithful to Lewis’s voice. He is witty, thoughtful and intellectually graceful. I absolutely recommend this play to anyone who can manage to see it. Here’s a brief look:

For many, becoming a Christian is a journey. And I’m no different, really. But how each of us sees the world around us after we choose Christianity is an amazing testament.

I am a total media geek and I have no problem confessing that fact.

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