Let there be music

Filed under: — joe @ 2:47 pm

I’ve been buying cd’s like crazy lately in a desperate attempt to find a cd that will grab hold of me and not let go. I really feel like if you stuck me on an island and gave me only a guitar, cd’s and a cd player…. i would be a happy man. I need music, pure and simple. So I figured I’d give y’all a rundown of what I’ve been listening too lately. Now, this won’t be a complete list (considering I have nearly 500 cd’s, that’s not possible), but it’ll be my favorites at this moment. Here we go…

Patty Griffin Impossible Dream– I could put any Patty album on here because I’m listening to them all the time… but this is her latest and it’s fantastic. If you haven’t heard of her, go to the music store now and buy a cd. She’s one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters… just brilliant. This album continues to show that she can do no wrong, it’s beautiful from beginning to end and hits me deep in my soul every time I listen to it.

Andrew Osenga Souvenirs and Postcards– Andy is a great singer/songwriter who used to be in the greatest band that no one heard of… the Normals. He’s put out two solo records (this being the second) and both are amazing. It’s very similar to Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” in that it’s a quiet storytelling cd… very haunting. The song Baby, don’t worrybroke my heart… something his writing does a lot. He’s also in the band Caedmon’s Call and just happens to be the producer of my record… not to mention he’s just an all around great guy.

Jars of Clay Who We are Instead– I love this cd, a great mix of rock, pop and bluegrass. Proof that even with your 5th studio album, you can still be creative and surprising.

Glen Phillips Live at Largo– For those of you who don’t know, Glen Phillips used to be the lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket… a fantastic band that broke up too soon. This is Glen’s live album with songs off of his solo record, some Toad songs and some new stuff. Just him and a guitar… check it out.

Lyle Lovett My Baby Don’t Tolerate– This is a great cd… I love Lyle’s voice and just the whole feeling of the cd…. fantastic

Bruce Springsteen The Rising– This cd hasn’t left my cd player ever since it came out… no one writes like the boss.

Damien Rice O– My friend Megan got me hooked on this cd… absolutely haunting. The first song Delicate just gets to me every time… great song, great cd.

Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers– There is just something really cool about Fountains of Wayne… this record has such an eclectic sound, it’s amazing. A fun album from beginning to end and a great cd to put on during the summer with the windows down.

Indigo Girls All That We Let In– Another great record from these two… their harmonies are absolutely amazing and they’re still some of my favorite songwriters.

Norah Jones Feels Like Home– Norah Jones’ voice has this quality that makes you want to set back and take ii whatever she says. I really dig this cd and love the organic sound of it… it just sounds like a few great musicians sitting around playing great music. You can’t beat that.

So there you go, that’s a taste of what I’m listening to right now. If you have any recommendations, let me know… I’m always looking for great music and I’m not quite broke yet. Take care!

Grace and peace



Happy, happy, joy, joy

Filed under: — joe @ 2:36 am

It’s two in the morning and I have no idea why I’m still awake… so I‘m gonna keep this short. It’s been a good weekend and I guess I’m just starting to wind down or something. On Friday, Rhonda and I drove down to Virginia to see our friend Derek Webb play a house show. I’ve seen Derek play a lot over the last year or so but I never got to see him do a house show. If you’re not familiar with Derek, check out derekwebb.com. His album, “She must and shall go free” is about issues that we see in our American churches. He’s been playing small shows in houses and speaking on this as well as having a Q&A time. Derek’s passion for the church never ceases to infect me when I hear him speak. Listening to him gave me a lot to reflect on, especially the way that we view art as Christians (more on that in a later journal). Not to mention, we got to hang out with the infamous Davejac which is always the highlight of any day.

Sunday was pretty much the usual… church (where Rhonda and I lead worship) and then lunch over to our good friends house (a Sunday ritual that involves swimming and bbq chicken). It was just a great time of fellowship as usual and it’s always something that lifts my spirits. We ended up talking about music, sports, theology…. you name it. I’m always thankful for the feeling of community we have every Sunday with them. They’ve adopted us and it truly feels like we‘re just one of the family. It’s the perfect remedy to a rough week.

So like I said, it was a good weekend… I didn’t get much accomplished but I do feel a bit refreshed. Tomorrow I’m going to catch a baseball game and then Tuesday we’re going to hang out with Derek and Dave again. Other than that, life is slow as usual here on the east coast. Spring break is over but the weather has never been more beautiful… I’m planning on getting out and enjoying it.

I hope all of you had a great weekend and that you’ll have a great week… I’m going to get some much needed sleep.

Grace and peace



The wonder of it all

Filed under: — joe @ 5:36 pm

My friend Alisa asked me one time if any of the songs on my ep were written for my wife Rhonda… to which I had to answer no. It didn’t seem like any would fit on this cd and there wasn’t any that I liked at the time. I have written songs for her… but the problem is that I’m very critical of my writing so most of those songs haven’t lasted very long. I’ve played them at shows but that’s about it. I’m not a big fan of corny love songs and I’ve never been good at writing something that isn’t sad or depressing in some way… hence the very few love songs over the last few years. It’s that middle area between corny and sad that I have to find… or something.

Also, love (and therefore marriage) is such an amazing blessing and experience… I’d hate to not do it justice. How do I sum up 11 years of a wonderful relationship in a 3 or 4 minute song. That’s a mighty high mountain to climb. Not to mention that throughout our 6 years of marriage we’ve had it pretty easy… relatively few trials or fights. So writing about that kind of stuff was mostly out of the question.

Well, maybe I’m getting a little older or something but it seems that I’m writing a lot about us lately. Whether it’s some trials that we’re soon going to have to face or just enjoying the time we have together. The other night I was up really late (as usual when I’m writing) and just wrote out a song in what seemed like 15 minutes. It was like the song wrote itself. I like it, I think it’s a fun sounding song that talks about how I enjoy just being able to do something ordinary like riding in a car… and look over at my wife and feel happiness wash over me. Love is a wonderful thing… and it’s something that I refuse to take for granted.

So, I figured I’d post the lyrics for those who are interested and for those that don’t know they are. Rhonda has heard this (and thankfully, she liked it), hopefully I’ll be able to put an mp3 of it on here in the near future. So here you go…

The wonder of it all

There’s a bright eyed morning looking over me
And blue sky as far as the eye can see
And here we are sitting side by side
In the wonder of it all

Everybody needs moments just to take it in
All of where we are and where we might’ve been
Cause it’s a long, long road that we’re riding on
And there’s still so much to see

Oh girl, let the wind rush in
Yeah, let the radio play
We’ll sit right here
Don’t need a thing to say
We’ll just take our time
And let Love show us the way

Well we’re a couple years older then we used to be
When a wide eyed kid dropped down on his knee
And took a chance on a pretty girl
Who deserved so much more than him

Now it’s five years later and so much has changed
I’m a different man with the same old name
But you’re still that girl with the pretty face
You know I wouldn’t change a thing

Repeat chorus

Copyright Joe Bassett 2004

grace and peace


The dark side of love (or 57 channels and nothing on)

Filed under: — joe @ 1:47 am

Television, is there anything more joyful and yet so painful? I think not. Allow me to explain… I have a knack for getting into a tv show only to have it canceled. It happens over and over and over again. I can’t help it, I know that I’m going to get heart ripped out but I still willingly throw my hat into the ring of doom. The reason for this rant is simple, some of my favorite shows have just met the deadly axe known as cancelation. These shows are Angel, Karen Sisco and Wonderfalls. The latter two have barely started into their seasons before they were kicked off the network train.

Let me start with Karen Sisco… a great little show starring Carla Gugino from the Spy Kids movies and based on the character from Elmore Leonards book (Out of Sight… also a movie with George Clooney and J-Lo). Karen is a US Marshall in Miami who is trying to figure out her love life while dealing with catching the criminals. It’s funny, smart and exciting… plus it co-stars Robert Forster as Karen’s dad who is always offering advice (and playing poker with some ex cons that he busted long before). It’s probably one of the smartest shows on tv and yet it dies a horrible death at the hands of reality tv… the spawn of satan (more on this later).

Wonderfalls… a quirky show from Tim Minear (a great writer for Angel, Buffy and Firefly) about a girl who works at a souvenir shop at Niagra Falls. The catch is, the souvenirs start talking to her and telling her to help people. Sound strange? Well yeah, it is… but that’s the beauty of it… it’s original, extremely well written and stars some great character actors. It’s just a really fun show that keeps you guessing… and I guess for that it gets canceled after 3 episodes.

Last but not least is the most painful of the cancelations… Angel. Now, I’ve been watching Angel since the beginning (and Buffy, from which it’s spun off, since it’s first episode). This is possibly one of the best written shows on tv in years. Angel is a vampire with a soul and is always in the pursuit of redemption for his deeds pre-soul (it’s a long story). The show has been on for five years and has kept me enthralled every year. It’s scary and funny all at once with an amazing cast. The brutal part of this is that this seems to be the best year of the show yet… it’s hit it’s stride and has opened up all kinds of doors. Alas, the Wb (or as I call it… the Dawson network) feels it’s not performing well enough and has pulled the plug.

So what does this leave me to watch… well, there’s still Alias, The Simpson’s, CSI and Smallville (The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm on pay tv). The rest is an angry sea of reality tv… I mean, what kind of world do we live in when The Swan or Paradise Island of Moles being watched by Big Brother during an Amazing Race take the place of quality scripted television? I’ll tell you what kind of world… Bizarro world. My only hope is that we colonize Mars and only people who don’t watch reality tv are allowed to live there. On that day, I will turn on the tv and watch Knight Rider and The Greatest American Hero with the knowledge that all is right on the red planet.

My challenge to you is this… watch good tv, take a stand and don’t let The Man tell you what to watch. In a world where MTV doesn’t actually show music videos, we must fight for what is right. That right… is to party… and watch good tv.

grace and peace

Joe (still mourning the loss of Mystery Science Theater 3000)


Dust and ashes

Filed under: — joe @ 1:26 am

Over the last few weeks, I have found myself reading a lot about Job and all of his trials. The amount of tragedy that this man had to deal with boggles my mind. From having his land and livestock taken away to the loss of his 10 children to having a disease more horrible than I could ever imagine. Now, keep in mind that Job was a pretty good guy… he was faithful. Every morning he would get up and offer up a sacrifice for his kids, just in case they sinned against God in any way. He was a family man and was well regarded by other folks. He wasn’t sinless but he did have faith. However, this same “good” guy was put through the grinder by the very God that he served. While reading his story, I found myself asking “why” more times than I can count.

But even more amazing than his trials was Job’s response to them. The bible says that “in all of this, Job did not sin with his lips”… now, I don’t know about you but I am sure that I would’ve handled it much differently. In fact, I do handle trials much differently than Job. I tend to play the blame game or simply lose faith in the midst of what I have feared. That’s the thing that amazes me about him, I see in Job the very faith that I should have in the face of tragedy.

What’s the meaning behind Job’s story? I’d say it’s about learning to trust in the divine wisdom of God in all things… the good times and the bad. We may not know why things happen, why innocents suffer… but we know that God is sovereign over all things. As Job said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?”. It seems the story of Job is about this very point, that we may not understand it all but we are to trust in God’s wisdom. I’ve had a lot of friends deal with tragedy this year, but I find solace in the book of Job. I find solace in the fact that God’s infinite wisdom is working all things for His glory… despite our sinfulness and faithlessness.

So all of this to say that the other night at around 2am, I started playing around with some chords and about an hour later… I had this song. It’s basically Job telling his story and relating the fact that there is indeed “perfect wisdom in all the Lord has done”. Here’s the lyrics…

Dust and ashes

I’ve been blessed with a home, ten children and a wife
And all the land a man could ever want
I rise early in the morning to lay down before the Lord
An offering for each daughter and son

But then came a day that could break a faithless man
The wind and fire came down from on high
Almost everything I loved was gone at the end of the day
What was left was me and my wife

With nothing I came into this world
And with nothing I shall return
It is the Lord who gave and the Lord who’s taken away
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord

In the stillness of the day sickness came into my life
And my wife gave in to the weight of tragedy
But shall we accept only good from the God of all things
Shall we not accept adversity?

But the nights grow long and I grow wearisome of them
Of wondering if I will arise
I’m mocked by my friends, I find no comfort there
What sin did I commit in Your eyes?

Repeat chorus

The deep voice in the whirlwind speaks to this broken man
Who is ashamed of all that he has become
I repent in dust and ashes, oh, of every careless word
For there is wisdom in all the Lord has done
Yes, perfect wisdom in all the Lord has done

Repeat chorus

(C) Joe Bassett 2004

grace and peace


"Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world."
-Francis Schaeffer