All posts tagged: Downtown Presbyterian Church

Rest in Peace, John Lewis

America just lost one of its most clear-eyed, moral leaders. John Lewis — civil rights hero on the front lines from lunch-counter desegregation in Nashville to Freedom Rides through a hostile South, the last remaining speaker from the August 1963 March on Washington, U.S. Congressman for 34 years, an activist to the end, and conscience for a nation — passed away Friday night after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Representative Lewis was a hero to many because in this age of nonstop blathering nonsense, he spoke plainly about the hope for an America that — as Langston Hughes wrote — is the America that the dreamers dreamed. And he not only spoke, but he walked the talk, most famously when his skull was cracked more than fifty years ago while trying to walk across an Alabama bridge working for justice.  There are many wonderful tributes to John Lewis pouring in. I recommend the statement of President Obama, who — when given a ticket to his history-making inauguration as the nation’s first Black American president …

Patty Griffin

Last Wednesday, singer-songwriter Patty Griffin performed to a large and appreciative audience at Washington’s 9:30 Club. Featuring songs from her recent self-titled album, Griffin showcased her significant songwriting chops and wide-ranging musical interests from rock to Latin romanticism to gospel to beautiful acoustic folk. It was my first time to see Griffin live, but not the first time I was smitten with her work. No, that would have been about fifteen years ago while standing in a record shop listlessly flipping through CD bins while fixated on the sound of Griffin’s 1000 Kisses album and the unique, emotional vocals coming out of the store’s sound system. I’m happy to report that the decades haven’t diminished that vulnerable voice. Wednesday evening she performed Long Ride Home, one of my favorites from that 2002 album, as well as the rousing Move Up from the remarkable Downtown Church album, recorded in a historic Nashville house of worship that is an architectural masterpiece and, from a personal interest standpoint, was founded by a great uncle of mine six-or-seven times back. Patty Griffin remains on tour …

Patty Griffin and Downtown Presbyterian: A match made in heaven

I’m glad I was standing in my local Barnes & Nobel a few years ago when Patty Griffin’s 1000 Kisses came on over the store’s speakers.  Mesmerized by the voice, I wandered through the music section until I had listened to a majority of the album.  Needless to say, I took it home and have been a fan ever since. Griffin has a new album out entitled Downtown Church, and it is a winner in so many ways.  Beginning with the wonderful old tune House of Gold all the way through to the beautiful hymn All Creatures of Our God and King, there isn’t a false note here.  Wade in the Water with Regina McCrary – the daughter of the founder of the Fairfield Four and “gospel royalty” to quote Griffin – really rocks.  Never Grow Old with Buddy Miller is beautiful, simple and meditative.  Griffin sang both songs and more on a terrific live stream tonight on her Facebook home page and you can catch the latter in a video below.  Every song on …