Going to Church with Chance the Rapper

Full disclosure, I’m a late comer to all that is hip-hop. I thought Macklemore’s The Heist was pretty stellar, but that’s about as far as I ever got. I stay pretty close to my Americana sensibilities most of the time. But over the last year or so, I’ve found that Americana and rock haven’t had a lot to offer me. They seem, in many ways, out of touch with a world that seems to be spinning out of control. 

I first started to “get” rap when I saw Kendrick’s Grammy performance last year. It hit right on a lot of the ideas I had been exploring (privilege, systemic racism, you know, easy stuff). I went and dug into his record (about a year after everyone else), and I found a voice that I had been missing in my music. A voice of a prophet, you might say. 

Fast-forward to this 2016...

ThoughtsJameson Elder
Adding to the Noise - When Silence is No Longer An Option

I don’t speak much about my thoughts on political and social issues. I’m fairly non-confrontational and generally prefer friendly debates over coffee or beer to Facebook and Twitter. I have also felt that as a straight, white, Christian male who has all of the benefits of privilege that one could possibly have, that my role was to make room for other voices to be a part of the conversation

On Opening Up

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy over the past several days. Two weeks ago, a friend I’ve known since I was in the first grade passed away suddenly. Over the following days I watched the grief over Kappel’s death take shape both back home and here in Nashville through social media. It really was a huge blessing to see, and it made me proud to have known him. It has been an odd mix of sorrow and joy to read the stories of his life...

Beyond The Price Tag

Quality is often judged by price tags. That’s just how it is. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be deceptive. In music, it can be easy to judge he quality of a musician by the price tag of his gear. Oh, he has that guitar, or that amp, or that badass pedal that does what mine can’t.

Jameson Elder
The Story Behind The Song: Fine Wine

Sometimes it can be hard to nail down the exact story behind the song. Songs are elusive by nature, and it’s rare that I can recall that exact moment where a song truly came to life. But this one is different, this one is one I’ve shared from the stage so many times that it is permanently engrained in my memory.

Jameson Elder
The Story Behind The Song: Your Time Is Coming Soon

Imagine that it’s 2AM you’re in bed, eyes closed, somewhere between waking and dreaming. It’s that place where the cares of the day have started to fade and your mind goes into autopilot. Suddenly you hear a voice in your head, a voice that feels like it’s in the room with you. Oh, and that voice sounds an awful lot like Johnny Cash.

Jameson Elder
The Story Behind The Song: If I Die Tonight

On July 31st, 2014, as I was driving home from my girlfriend’s house after reveling in the terrible glory that is Sharknado 2, I did what I often do and turned on NPR (does that mean I’m a real adult now?). During that drive home I heard the heartwrenching news that an Israeli airstrike hit a school in Gaza killing at least 10 people, many of them children. The school was a designated UN shelter and was supposed to be a safe haven for Palestinians to seek refuge from the war that plagues their homes. Immediately, I was overwhelmed with a mix of sorrow, anger, and confusion about how something so terrible could happen to the most innocent of human beings.

My Top 5 Netflix Binges of 2015

We’re all students of the Netflix binge. You start your Saturday, or Sunday (or Tuesday if you’re a real champ) watching just one episode and by midnight your eyes are glazed over, your shirt is covered in crumbs from the entire bag of chips you ate, and you still have no idea whether or not Steven Avery is guilty. So, I’ve compiled a list of my best Netflix binges of 2015. Some of these were in the course of 24 hours. Some required weeks, even months of daily dedication.

Let There Be Sorrow

It’s been a hard few weeks to be human. From Paris, to Beirut, to Colorado Springs, and now San Bernardino, we’ve been forced to stare the darkest side of humanity right in the eye. People react to in different ways. Some react in fear, some in anger, some in hopelessness. And it’s never long before those reactions find their way to Facebook, or the news, or worse, the comments section. Then suddenly we’re met with all sorts of arguments about who has the right solution. And then another dark side of humanity emerges, the side that starts throwing insults and blame in the midst of tragedy.

Bruce Springsteen & The Art Of Joy

Bruce Springsteen is my favorite songwriter. It’s not Dylan. It’s not Simon. It’s not Lennon or McCartney. It’s Bruce. That’s not to say I don’t love the other guys, it just that I find myself drawn over and over to Bruce (we’re on a first name basis here). I’ve never really sat down to figure out why until now, but I think I’m figuring it out. 

Bruce has, and has always had, his finger on the pulse of America. He is a chronicler of the stories of this nation. But more than that, he is a spokesman for humanity itself. Bruce has a way of merging together all of the complexities in the human experience, sorrow, frustration, anger, love, and joy in a way that makes them make sense.