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Monday, October 19, 2009

In Praise of Out Walking

Out Walking is probably the first blog I ever read. When exactly I began reading it, I am not quite sure. It was a few years before I took up blogging myself. I discovered it by looking up some Christian Artist on Google. I think it was John Fischer but it may have been Randy Stonehill. The blogs author, Steve West has years of involvement in Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and he is a gifted communicator. His blog topics include movies, books, music, and culture just to name a few.

Mr. West makes many recommendations at his blog. He writes so eloquently and persuasively that I have found myself that I have found myself acting on many of his recommendations. To date I have been genuinely pleased with the results.

First, it was the movie Once. He described so glowingly that I found myself looking for it through our local library system. Once I found Once I discovered a thoroughly engaging film about an unusual musical collaboration.

Once was filmed on a much smaller budget than the similar themed Hugh Grant Drew Barrymore vehicle Music and Lyrics. In actuality, Music and Lyrics is a poor man's Once. The story is less engaging, more predictable and the music is far inferior.

The word vehicle I used to describe the Barrymore-Grant coupling ,may be one reason. Once is story and song driven not star driven. Sorry! I didn't mean to shift into review mode. Click here to see the original review that caused me to watch Once and ultimately buy the soundtrack.

The next piece of advice I followed in Out Walking had to do with an Album called Making God Smile. It is one of those artist tribute anthology compilations that the CCM industry tends to produce with reckless abandon.

The tribute is to Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson. It turns out that West was the executive producer of the album. I purchased it through his amazon store. When I received it I only recognized a few of the artist and less of the songs. But, I enjoyed what I heard.

What I appreciated most was the artist liner notes that spoke so powerfully of Wilson's influence on the musicians covering his work. Much focus was on an album, Pet Sounds, that was being hailed as a seminal work of not only the Beach Boys but of Pop music as a whole.

I was so intrigued by the music and the noted that I again went to my public library (I don't buy much) and procured it.

Pet Sounds, given high praise at Out Walking as well, is worthy of all the accolades it has received. I hope to review it soon in these very pages.

There has been so much that I have enjoyed of what Steve produces at Out Walking. Here are links to two fairly recent posts that I highly recommend. One is about his travels and the other is a story he wrote.

I dig this blog because of it's eclectic style and highly personal nature. The personal fuels the eclectic, and vice-versa. These are also 2 major goals of my blog. I hope that my readers enjoy my work even a fraction of how much I enjoy his.

Next Time: A Purple Present with Lucy Inside.

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