Psalms/Psongs for Lent 2011

Update on 3/16/2011: I couldn’t create another page on this website where I could create posts by date. So, while the first two Psalms/Psongs are on this page, the rest are on the main page, under a new category called Psalms/Psongs for Lent 2011. Sorry for any confusion.

PsalmsI woke up today and wondered what the day after Ash Wednesday is called. I decided to call it Speck Thursday, the scrawny, insecure little brother of Ash Wednesday. Anyway, I woke up this Speck Thursday and decided that one of my Lenten disciplines this year will be to find a Psalm in the music I’ve been listening to this year.

Initially, I wanted to limit this exercise only to Psongs that came out this year. However, there are a few jewels that were released before this year, but they’re new to me this year. So, that’s my one loophole. I’ll post a Psong every day of Lent in 2011, with a little explanation of why it grabs me. If I have time, I’ll also post the Psalm that it reminds me of. But I’d love for this to be a dialog.

YOUR MISSION SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT: Tell the rest of us about a Psong that is a Psalm for you. Tell the rest of us what Psalm one of my chosen Psongs reminds you of. Ask the rest of us to suggest what Psalm goes with your Psong, or what Psong goes with your Psalm. This is intended to be a musical potluck. All genres of music are eligible, but the rule still stands: it must either be a Psong that came out this year, or it must be a Psong that is new to you this year.

Psalm/Psong for March 10, 2011 (aka Speck Thursday): “The Mightiest of Guns” by A.A. Bondy.

I love that a Psong called “The Mightiest of Guns” is so quiet, lush, and layered. I love the sense that “the mightiest of guns” takes on different meanings: in the first verse, it could be referring to guns that people shoot; in the third verse it could refer to The Big Bang; for all I know, in the second verse it might be referring to some guy’s biceps, or to heroin. I think it’s that shifting meaning that makes it feel Psalmy to me, but I don’t know the Psalms well enough yet to match this Psong up with one. And there’s no app for that kind of cross-reference. Not yet, anyway. So help a sister out!

The third verse gets me every time:

With every breath you drink in the night
You won’t give up your blue without a fight
And looking at the sky there is no pain
See the stars all falling down like burning rain
They were fired by the mightiest of guns

Psalm/Psong for March 11, 2011 (my pal Greg’s birthday): “Charlie Darwin” by The Low Anthem

Like many folks on the east coast, I woke up this morning to the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This Psong has been in my head ever since. It’s a few years old, but I only heard it for the first time a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve gotten all caught up on as much of The Low Anthem’s music as I can. I recommend you do the same. I also recommend that you listen to the other Psong recommendations in the Comments–great stuff, guys! I also recommend keeping the people of Japan, and in other areas sitting in the path of the tsunami, in your hearts, minds, prayers, thoughts, meditations, or whatever it is that you do to remind yourself that you’re not the center of the universe.


3 responses to “Psalms/Psongs for Lent 2011

  1. This is a tremendous idea, Joy. Thanks for even putting it out there, and then introducing it with such a gem. Great. Thanks.

    Okay, so those who know me….well, most people think of me as, I’d say, steadfastly optimistic (!). Polly-anna at my worst/best. But the last 15 months have tested my view of life’s journey. Reading the Psalms – which had been an annual part of my meditation practice for years – took on a new meaning….as the pervasive darker sentiments felt more at home than the “Gee, let’s Praise the Lord” Psalms. I somehow felt more at home in the depths than grabbing my timbrel and lyre.

    Even so, to join your conversation right now today, I’m offering out a contemporary version of all those “Praise the Lord” Psalms. Since, frankly, I think they’re harder to find nowadays. John Bucchino’s “Grateful” – a discovery for me during the blackest times of my path in the last year.

    Whether you prefer the sultrier version of Natalie Weiss

    or the original key with Lucas Steele (Bucchino at the piano)

    the “we can all learn to dance” part touches a part of each of us.


  2. Well, THIS is fun! Here’s an old song recently covered by Gregg Allman (yes, he is still alive, against all odds) on his new album Low Country Blues, which I love. It’s the old Sleepy John Estes song “Floating Bridge,” and the lyrics are about drowning and being rescued – or even resurrected. This isn’t much of a video, but the audio’s pretty good.

  3. From my teen years to now, this is MY Psong.

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