Tone Tree Music
Release Date: July 23rd 2021
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Tone Tree Music
Release Date: July 23rd 2021
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Maybe I’ll just say this from the outset…I don’t know how to start off this blog, or at least I didn’t know, when I initially decided to take the plunge, and give blogs 81-100 over to my brother Josh, and I then decided to take over the blogs that he was writing, 41-50. With the possibility of that even occurring, and how my brother and I were discussing it over the last few months, I was in fact very eager to have a change, per se. Let’s just say that writing about a certain ‘type’ of artist- the more established, while my brother explored more artists that were ‘new’, took a little bit of a toll on me. Not to say that artists like Keith Urban, Lady A, John Legend, Creed, Coldplay, John Farnham, John Mayer and Goo Goo Dolls (to name a few) weren’t good, quite the contrary actually. But you know how if you’ve been doing something long enough, you’re in need of a much-deserved change? Looking back on it now, I know I did. Having said that, now that my brother has embarked on the journey that I was on this last 2 years, posting the 81st post not too long ago about Tim McGraw, here I sit about to start writing…and I don’t have much at all. Usually when I write, I just do- the words flow out, and more often than not, I stare back at the page, and I’ve already written a page in about 5 minutes. Now, the words don’t come that easily anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve been exploring more well-known artists that I’ve felt more at ease in writing about them, than compared to the up-and-comers I’m about to explore now, but whatever it is, at this moment I’m getting a massive amount of writer’s block. You know how you take over a task from someone, and then you feel pressure (either from yourself or even from outside sources) to make the continuation of the task, as good or even better than whence you first took over? That’s how I have felt, a little, since I started to listen to The Shires, in preparation for the 41st blog of the series ‘Influential Artists of the Next 5 – 10 Years’, what my brother Josh has been embarking on, from April 2019 onward.
The other day I was contemplating, reflecting as we often do during this uncertain time of COVID-19… with no end in sight. I was contemplating as to why people have certain likes and dislikes, and why other people have others. I know, I know, it’s a strange topic to dwell upon. But bear with me for one second. See I love Chinese food, and most things Asian. Noodles, rice, laksa, curries, stir fry, satay, teriyaki, tom yum soup, wontons, dumplings… you name it, anything remotely Asian I will try, and I will most definitely like. I’m pretty much easy to please on that front. Food-wise I’ll give most things a go- and perhaps it’s because my mum’s Malaysian; that an innate part of me will always be drawn back to Asian food. On the other hand, though my dad is German, his cuisine has hardly grabbed a hold of me- not in the same way that Chinese food has. Sure, there’s Adendbrot, and Kassler, and Red Cabbage (maybe that’s a family tradition on Dad’s side rather than a German tradition!); but aside from that there isn’t much more that resonates with me. Though there are a lot of German dishes– some that probably Dad hasn’t heard of! Dad really loves liquorice, and Jon and myself do not. Dad loves Dominostein, and we don’t. Pfeffernüsse is ok-ish, but again- Dad loves it! And this got me thinking. That if our likes and dislikes in terms of food can be so contrastingly and vastly different, with only a few things in common… then does that translate into other areas and aspects of our own lives? And more specifically in terms of music (of course I’d go back to music… as I am in the midst of a blog series on artists and their burgeoning influence!), how do we all find one artist resonating and deeply impactful, and someone else find the same artist downright horrible and uninspiring?
Have you ever had a dream where you thought it was simply that? Just a fanciful dream? An idea, probably not fully formed, a lofty vision that you thought was so very far off in the distance, a target you could never reach… but would be nice to dwell upon said idea anyway, maybe just to pass the time? Have you ever had thoughts about the future, and immediately dismissed them, simply because they were too big, or too grandiose, or too complicated; and you were too ‘fill in the blank’? Too young, old, fat, thin, short, tall, arrogant, calculative, shy, reserved… whatever you want to place in there… have you ever had a dream ‘die’ even before it was birthed; simply because you never got passed the first hurdle of starting, and you listened to the lies of the devil? If the answer to all of those is ‘yes’, then boy do I have good news for you! And this news is that you aren’t too ‘____’ to achieve your dreams. Because if you were, then all of us are too _____ in any particular aspect of our character. Just as we can’t please everybody one hundred percent of the time (because we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that someone will be ticked off and unimpressed by… I don’t know, our eye colour or hair colour or some other feature!), let us remember that all we need to do is our best, and better our previous efforts. As long as we’re running in our own race, and we don’t look to the left or look to the right (and hence we’ll fall down because our eyes won’t be straight ahead!); then I reckon we’ll be ok in life. As long as we ask for help from family, friends and acquaintances, and don’t even attempt to try to struggle to do life on our own; then I think we’ll be alright. And as long as we give everything our best shot, and leave nothing left in reserve, then I reckon we’ll be alright. As long as we know that God has our life in the palm of His hands, and as long as we know of and believe His love and faithfulness, then I’d say we’ll be alright.
It’s been about a couple of years since blog #2 in this Top 100 Influential Artists blog series that I embarked upon. Why I signify blog #2 is of a fair amount of importance, let me remind you. It was the blog about Switchfoot, and was in fact, a blog where I highlighted many songs by this San Diego quintet that have shaped music history and the lives of people over the years- songs like ‘Meant to Live’, ‘Dare You To Move’, ‘Stars’, ‘Oh Gravity’, ‘Mess of Me’, ‘Love Alone is Worth the Fight’ and ‘Restless’ are just many, many songs by a band that have had an influence in both the Christian music industry, and the mainstream as well. It was the first blog post after the first, which was Michael W. Smith, an artist that will always be sentimental to me, because it was the artist that in fact started off this whole journey of thinking about music and the impact, influence and power of artists, songs, and their discography on not only people’s lives, but throughout history as well. And here I am 2 years later or so, ready to commence on blog #74. And what better way to speak and discuss about something and someone totally from left field, that it is, to introduce the topic of discussion in this post…Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot (see blog post #2).
Stone Table Records
Release Date: February 5th 2021
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
It’s always been a fear of mine that whatever I write about will never be good enough. Maybe that’s just a fear that was unfounded, or based in things of the past, maybe I was trying to get good at being good at writing when all throughout high school, I wasn’t. But whatever the case, I’ve found that at numerous points throughout my blog post series, I’d get this idea, or this thought in my head, that what I’m writing doesn’t make sense, or it is just mere folly, for what I’m discussing about and who I’m delving into and trying to analyse for that given week within the series. So lemme back track a little bit. I’ve always loved writing. I think when I was younger (a teenager), my brother and I started writing a ‘book’ if you will, a series of passages and pages about our lives. I think I have that file on my computer somewhere, but from where it stands, I think it’s about a couple of hundred pages long. I still haven’t revisited that in a long time, but herein lies the point. I’ve found that every time I’ve written something that is substantial in length, it’s not necessarily because I have a lot to say about whatever I’m writing about. You can probably check through all my blog posts up until now, and you can probably realise that the Switchfoot post that I wrote about in week #2, and the post about Sugarland that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago…my writing style hasn’t really changed between the two, even though they were two years apart. What has changed was the length of these posts, and maybe sometimes, unfortunately so, because re-reading some of my later posts, I realised that I was writing more than what was needed. I would write and write and write, not necessarily because I have a ton to say, but because I’d write, to prove to…my parents, myself, to my brother, to people on the internet, to my old teachers at school, I guess to prove to people that I could write long, that I could write good, that I was good enough to be writing. Because I reckon it all went back to when I was in Year 7 in high school. I was in English, and I can remember that we’d all have to do a creative writing piece, 1 per term (there were four terms in 1 year back then). When it was time to submit this, my teacher would more often than not, read out a person’s work, and this work that we’d all hear, would either be really good, mediocre, or even terrible. There was one term where my creative writing piece was read out. I don’t know what I wrote about, nor can I even remember if people even knew that it was my piece of work that was being read out. But suffice to say, the English teacher read my stuff, and then they stopped in the middle, put the paper down, and said to the class in no uncertain terms, ‘now this is an example of how not to write’. I felt small from that moment on, and after that point in Year 7 onwards…I was never good at English. I loved it, don’t get me wrong. But maybe at a subconscious level, if the teacher said that I wasn’t good, in Year 7… then maybe I wasn’t good? Looking back on it now, I know now that reading aloud was not the way to go if the teacher wanted to correct someone. But analysing my writing skills now, and delving into the question of ‘why I write longer and longer blog posts as each week progresses’….I think it’s unfortunately because of this moment where I was basically told ‘I wasn’t good enough’, that with every passing blog post, I felt the need to write more and more, to prove to myself, and maybe to prove to my family, that I was capable, and that I still had these skills in me. that I was good.