Saturday, February 17, 2007

Real Power Sharing in Northern Ireland?

We're at the start of an election campaign here in Northern Ireland. It looks like the DUP may well agree to share power with Sinn Fein sometime very soon. The political term for this form of government is (surprise surprise) "power sharing".

Here's a spiritual angle on the same idea:

""He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:11,12)

That's liker it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

News Letter 2006 RECORD sales, "SOBAH" Volume 2 & Smithsonian CD for "My Ain Countrie"

Just got word last week that our debut "Gran Time Comin" was the best selling cd for the Northern Ireland daily newspaper the News Letter last year (the print edition is light years better than the online one- they need the services of a good graphic designer! - here's a good overview of the paper's history - it's the oldest English language newspaper in the world, founded in 1737 ). They have a shop facility for readers to buy books and CDs etc. We outsold the next best selling cd by almost 3:1.

The amazing news is that the News Letter have ALREADY ordered more copies of "Sangs o Bairns an Hame" than they sold of "GTC" to fulfil postal orders they've received - and it's only mid-February.

Things are going well. Just need to get back into the studio and get Volume 2 finished. With me having been knocked out of action for most of January we're behind schedule, but hopefully we'll have it out before we head to Washington in June.

•••• STOP PRESS•••• "My Ain Countrie" from "Gran Time Comin" has been selected to appear on the forthcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival audio cd. It is one of the first gospel songs ever recorded in the world, by William MacEwan the Glaswegian evangelist.

(Apologies to everyone whose email we haven't replied to yet - will try to do so over the weekend)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Victory in Jesus" and Sixteen Horsepower

What? Strange title eh? Let me explain. I bought a clever turntable (record player) a few weeks ago which will allow me to start to digitise the old 78rpm records that have been in the family for a few generations. Last night I digitised The Gleaner Quartet, an old Belfast gospel group, singing "Victory in Jesus", on the Evangelical Records label. I have no idea what year it was recorded, but it's absolutely magnificent. If all goes according to plan, and if I can get legal advice on copyright, I'd like to produce a CD of some of these old gems called "Fae Ma Granda's Oul Records" later in the year, with the title unashamedly inspired by the Johnny Cash album My Mother's Hymn Book

If you've never heard "Victory in Jesus" you're really missing something special.

David Eugene Edwards is the Colorado-based frontman of a now-defunct American alt-country band called Sixteen Horsepower. For a sheltered Ulster-reared believer like me (and maybe like you) he's a highly unconventional man. But I wonder how John Knox and Robert Blair were viewed in their generation? Did they look as foreboding as that photo of David? Musically, Sixteen Horsepower is impossible to describe - if you think that some of the Johnny Cash "American Recordings" gospel stuff is heavy, it's featherlight compared to Sixteen Horsepower. You can download a wonderful vocal-only recording of David and his grandfather singing "Victory in Jesus" here

"O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood"

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57

In this interview, he says "...“Religion is kind of a weird word today … you know I grew up in the Church. My Grandfather was the preacher of the Church that I went to. It was small and he led the music. Socially that was a major part of my life. There are a lot of people that grow up in the Church or what ever and they don’t care about it or they don’t follow it. Just because your parents believe doesn’t mean you are going to. But I have always believed in it, in the Bible, and it’s a huge part of my life, it affects everything I do. There is no separation between it and my regular life … you know what I mean … That’s what I sing about..."

and also

" one wants to be thought of as a Christian because it’s not cool. It’s not the cool thing to be in the world's eyes for the most part, but I can’t do anything about it because that’s what I am. You know it’s not even necessarily a choice really. I mean there is a choice involved, in a sense, but I believe that God took hold of me rather than me taking hold of him. I mean there is that exchange but it starts with him rather than me..."

Here's another interview with David, and here's another, and here's another, and here's another. Worth reading, and worth thinking about.