My lovely sister just hooked us up with tickets to a Mumford & Sons show in November. Huzzah!
My husband is a shift worker so we’re not actually sure if he’ll be able to make it. Sounds like a job for Facebook, I hear you say! Yes, indeed. So I’ve recruited a back-up friend in case he’s working that night.
Friends who belong to a Vineyard church then posted this article from The Cresset on my Mumford gig thread, which got me thinking again about lyrics.
The other day we were scattershotting through the radio frequencies looking for music to help SBJ get to sleep. One station we tried was playing a song that went ‘Ooh, baby. Baby, baby. Ooh, ooh, baby.’ You get the idea; I wouldn’t even say there were exclamation marks in it. We didn’t stay to listen to more, so I suppose we may have missed the metaphysical musings that grew out of pedestrian inanity, but I’m happy with our choice. Because I like songs to, you know, say something.
Sophie introduced me to the lush, angsty lyrics of Counting Crows songs when we were supposed to be doing calculus. Around the same time I heard my first Tori Amos. ‘Angst’ doesn’t come anywhere near describing how she works through dysfunction with her piano and poetry.
I’d always read lyrics when they came with an album (this was before the internet, if you can believe it) so I could sing along, but like most teenagers, it was then that I started to relate to music and find my experience reflected or broadened by music. You can probably look back through your collection and find that turning point too – please comment below with the first bands that made you listen and feel and think.
Calvin was pretty suspicious about using music in church life, being so inflammatory of the senses, but Luther saw things differently, and set to writing a whole hymnal, putting theology to music, for the glory of God.
I’m with Luther. Music connects me to God, and especially music with words. Singing it with other people it church, yes. And also listening to not-particularly-churchy songs like those written by Joanna Newsom, Feist, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Harper, Turin Brakes, Johnny Cash and Marcus Mumford, all of whom I have played in church services as part of my preaching.
You may know that Mumford, the singer and main songwriter of his band, grew up in a Vineyard church with parents who were leaders of the movement in the United Kingdom.
The Cresset article is just a tad gushy, given Marcus Mumford’s steadfast (and entirely reasonable) silence on the intentions of his songwriting, but it’s a good overview of the first album and how one person has experienced God through their music and lyrics. I’m not too interested, myself, in squeezing out of Mr Mumford all the ‘meaning’ of his words. I like that there’s room for lots of us to fit in the hall together listening to him.
I’ve played a couple of songs from their first album at church. You can check out the blog posts making the connections at the West Baptist website if you like: one on ‘Awake My Soul‘ and one on ‘Timshel‘.
On message boards analysing the lyrics of ‘Timshel’ (yes, that’s boards plural), there seems to be general agreement that the song speaks to a pregnant woman. But opinion is divided on whether it’s a statement of solidarity with a woman after an abortion, or an affirmation of support to a woman carrying a child alone. Or neither. I like that there’s enough space between the lines that it can go either way.
I’m looking forward to the gig.
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