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I’ve posted enthusiastically about the work of Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell a number of times over the last few years (here and here, for example).  His music has long been a refuge for me, in many ways.  So today was a happy day as I was able to finally get my hands on his new album, Kindness.  I’ve just finished a first listen and it is fantastic, as usual, both musically and lyrically.  There are a number of contributors to this album (including the title track, written by none other than Brian McLaren), but overall the sound is delightfully familiar.

An early favourite for me, is Steve’s version of Pierce Pettis’ “Absalom, Absalom.”  I remember Steve doing this song during a concert at Regent College a little while back, and being moved by his honesty at how the song reflected some of his own journey as a parent.  Here’s what he says about the song on his website:

Any parent who has watched a child grow to adulthood knows the agony of wishing we could have given more, loved better. We are so grateful for the good we were able to muster; while at the same time we grieve the wounds we have passed on. Finally, we must return children to God and trust that grace will have the last word.

My children are still some distance from adulthood, but I already finding myself grieving my inability to love them as well as they deserve, and trusting that in their lives, too, the grace of God will have the last word. A beautiful hope, and a beautiful song:

      Come and smear me
      With the branches from that tree
      Hyssop dipped in innocent blood
      To make me clean
      Let an old man’s broken bones
      Once more rejoice
    Absalom, you were my little boy
      Absalom, Absalom
      My son, my son, my son
      Caught in the tangles of deciept
    Hanging lifeless from that tree
      Absalom, Absalom
      My son, my son, my son
      Caught in the tangles of your hair
      The fruit of my own sin to bear
    Oh Absalom

You can listen to a portion of “Absalom, Absalom” (and the other eleven tracks from Kindness) on the link above.  But you really should just buy the album.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. EDH #

    I like how the music fits so well with the words – both which seem like they’d come from some unknown radio station in the middle of nowhere. Too bad the clips weren’t that long 😛

    February 8, 2011
  2. Paul Johnston #

    Can’t say I’m a big Bell fan. He’s definitely likable but a bit to lyrically earnest and musically obvious for my taste. Check out Robert Plant’s “Band of Joy”. Many spiritual themes…a record that grows on you. Saw Mr. Plant two weeks ago at the Sony Centre here in Toronto….incredible.

    February 10, 2011
  3. Gil #

    Ryan, I have to commend you. This is the only blog I’ve ever visited where someone will nearly always disagree with or find something to object to within your post. You must be doing something extraordinary 🙂

    Btw, I took your advice and bought the album. Excellent as always.

    February 10, 2011
    • In my more perverse, er…, I mean curious moments, I’ve thought about posting “the earth is round” just to see what happens… :).

      Glad you’re enjoying the album.

      February 10, 2011
    • Paul Johnston #

      At least I have the courtesy to direct my disagreement towards the person with whom I disagree.

      February 11, 2011
      • Gil #

        I meant no discourtesy Paul and I have no disagreement with you. Just an amused observation.

        February 11, 2011
  4. Paul Johnston #

    Protestant round or Catholic round?

    February 11, 2011
  5. Paul Johnston #

    My first comment is directed to Gil, sorry but I think I hit the wrong reply button.

    February 11, 2011
  6. Paul Johnston #

    hmm…well, keeping in character, I’m not so sure I would agree with your interpretation, Gil. But no harm, no foul.

    February 11, 2011

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