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Category Archives: Country Music

Don’t Let The Old Man In

That Clint Eastwood can make a movie! He’s had a string of good ones. You can see a list of them here. Starting out as young Rowdy Yates, a cowhand and cattle drover, in Rawhide (I never missed that one as a kid!), to his most recent role in The Mule’, as Earl Stone, a 90-year-old drug courier for the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, the movies he’s starred in or directed are nearing the 3 billion range in dollars generated! That’s mind-boggling! Whether it was the High Plains Drifter or ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan, Eastwood has always managed to give a stellar, and genuine performance. And if you’ve kept up it appears he’s done nothing but get better at his craft. At 88, he might very well be at the top of his game.

I like a movie that arouses my emotions; one that can make me laugh, make me think, has plenty of suspense or mystery, maybe a surprise or two….and one that’ll even cause me to try to hold back the tears. His last one, The Mule, has all that. Without going into detail and risk ruining the whole story for ya, I’d just say, “You need to go see it.”. The critics gave it mixed reviews but if you like any of the things I like, ….you’ll be pleased.

There was a song closing out the last scene in the movie. It was a great song. I was pretty sure it was Toby Keith singing so when I got out of the theater I Googled it and, sure enough, it was Keith. The song title, “Don’t Let the Old Man In”.  As it turns out, sometime in the last couple of years at a celebrity golf tournament Toby Keith and Clint ended up being paired with one another. And probably just like you and I would be, Keith was enamored with Clint Eastwood. As they talked Clint told Toby that he was about to start work on this new movie. Keith asked Clint, “How do you still work so hard and stay so sharp at 88?” Eastwood quietly replied, “I just wake up every morning and don’t let the old man in.”

Keith realized right then, that would make good material for a great song so he went to work on it. After hearing about the song and then actually hearing it, Eastwood told Keith that he might find a place for it sometime. And, as it turned out he’d use it much sooner rather than later. It is so well placed in the movie that it puts just the right finishing touch on an already great film.

Whatever you do, click on the link above and listen to the song. You’ll be glad you did. But, heads up!! I’ll warn you ahead of time, it’ll get in your head!

And, as for me, I think I’ve decided to be like Clint; I’m gonna start wakin’ up tomorrow……and I ain’t gonna let the old man in!

 

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Running On Empty

As songwriters go, I’d consider Jackson Browne one of the best. In fact, way back in the 70’s, Glenn Frey and Don Henley (the Eagles) moved in above Jackson in a $60 a month apartment in L.A. They admitted that they learned, and perfected their craft of writing songs by listening to some  of those ‘mind boggling melodies’, as Rolling Stone magazine described Jackson Browne’s songs. They agreed that he was just a notch above anyone else who was writing in those days….and there were a bunch of ’em. One of those songs, “Running on Empty”, was the title track of his ‘Live’ album in 1977 and is, to this day, the most played of all his songs on Classic Rock stations. On an interesting note the song was written while Browne was struggling to make it and, in his own words, “I was always driving around with no gas in the car”.

I just returned to the office after five weeks off. Haven’t done anything like that in the 28 years since we started Trinity Fellowship. I didn’t take the time off to fast and pray. That would definitely be time well spent but I took the time off to just get away from it all. No studying, no preaching or teaching, no late night emergency phone calls, no funerals……no nothing! Pretty much everybody’s job has its own level of stress. Ministry’s no different; people ain’t lined up to tell you good news! It took at least a week to get out from under the load of ministry that I’ve been used to. And, maybe another week to get in full, no stress mode. But, with the support I have from the people around me (they’re the best in the business!) I finally started to actually relax. I think I was like a lot of folks who are out there today, running on empty……and maybe not even knowing it! It’s easy to get in crisis mode and if you’re not careful…..never get out. It’s unhealthy!

The Father, Himself, rested on the seventh day…and He designated and set aside a day for us to rest, too. Most of us don’t do it; don’t know how, never tried it. We’re too busy doing all the things we know we should be doing. But, the Sabbath was made for man! We should learn how to do it! When we’re running on empty we won’t even come close to doing our best work.

Hardly anybody can get as much serious time off as I had, I understand that. But, we could learn to take a day a week to get out from under the load. Maybe we could learn to work ‘smarter’, not harder. It’ll take some time, no question.  But if we’ll make it a priority…..we won’t have to be running on empty!

Audio Version:

If you’re wanting a little more:

There’s Something To Be Said For Not Knowing Anything!

‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Click here to listen/watch my favorite Jackson Browne tune (you’ll like it!)

 

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Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Baldemar Garza Huerta, better know as Freddy Fender was born in San Benito, Texas in 1938. He took the name, ‘Fender’, from the Fender guitar. And, he just thought Freddy sounded good and would, in his opinion, sell better with the ‘gringos’. Evidently he was right. He first recorded “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” in 1959 and it was a hit. But soon after, he was derailed when he and a band member were convicted of marijuana possession and ended up spending a stint in the Angola Prison in Louisiana. By the end of the 60’s, Fender was back in Texas working as a mechanic, and attending a local junior college, while playing music only on the weekends. In 1974 he recorded “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and it reached #1 on the Billboard Country and Pop charts. His next three releases all reached #1 and the re-release of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” became his first million selling single. He also won three Grammys in his career. Fender died of lung cancer in 2006. I can’t say I was a huge fan of Freddy Fender but he definitely made his mark. *(I came face to face with him at the Houston airport one time!)

As you know by now I’m a big music lover….and I’m always looking for a good blog title. That’s how I landed on “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”. There’s a very important verse in Proverbs that goes like this, “Without a vision the people perish.” I’ve thought about that verse a lot over the years and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. First, if you’re a regular reader of mine you know I often refer to our ‘destiny’. I believe the subject of destiny is one of the most important things we could talk about. I’m not talking about ‘destination’ so much since, if you’ve made the decision to receive Jesus, your destination is sealed. But destiny includes the events that we encounter on the way to our destination. And, what’s a lot more important than those events, are the people we encounter along the way. It also involves the ‘call’ of God on our lives….which we all have. He has a plan, a meticulous and detailed one, for each of us. And I think that Proverbs verse speaks directly to that point.

“Without a vision, the people perish”. I surely don’t think that it means that if we don’t have ‘vision’ for our lives we die. I mean, we are gonna die whether we have that vision for our lives or not. But, if you think about it, “to perish” could easily involve wasting our lives in pursuit of things that might not matter at all in the long run. I’m afraid there are many who might fall into that category. It seems like a pretty big thing to me…..to miss what we’re on the planet for in the first place!

I don’t want my life to be a string of wasted days and wasted nights! ……and I know you don’t want that either. Here’s the fix: Run to Him! And, I wouldn’t mess around too long thinking about it. Ask Him about the plan for your life. He’s very free with that kind of information. His plan for you is bigger and better than you can comprehend. It’s never too late to jump in!

Let’s let our lives count for something! 

No more wasted days and wasted nights!

Check these out:

It’s Not Too Late to Make a ‘Mark’ With Your Life!

Living Your Life With Abandon

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“Just Because You Ask Me To”

Songwriters are deep thinkers, contemplative, reflective kind of people. It seems fairly obvious to me that many, if not most, songwriters are ‘spiritual’ people. By that I mean that they believe in God. If you look and listen closely you can find bits and pieces of their spirituality in their body of work. Many are not part of a church or engaged in regular church services partly because of how they believe they might be perceived, or treated. I agree that some of that might be imagined…but, in the same token, some of it is probably real, too.

If you’re one of my regular blog readers you already know that I’m kinda mesmerized, fascinated I guess you could say, by good songwriters. There’s an art to songwriting; it’s definitely a gift. I think a lot of people probably have the gift….but only a few take the time…and energy to pen up a good one. And then there are those that seem to just crank ’em out one right after another. One such guy is Billy Joe Shaver. (click to check him out) He’s written a lot of good country songs, ….and if you do a little investigatin’, ……you’ll discover he’s lived most of ’em.

I’m always listening for songs, or pieces of songs, that might have a spiritual connotation. And, seriously, you really don’t have to look far. Shaver’s songs have been recorded by a virtual “Who’s Who” of country artists, none any more prominent than Waylon Jennings. In fact on Waylon’s, “Honky Tonk Heroes”, considered a country ‘classic’, all but one song on the album was written by Billy Joe Shaver.

One of those songs, “You Ask Me To”, (co-written with Waylon) is one that I think has a lot of spiritual implications. And while it obviously wasn’t written for that particular purpose we can still glean some good spiritual insight. This song could easily be about our relationship with the Lord. And with just a little work on that last verse it could totally be construed in a spiritual way.

Long ago and far away
In my ol’ common labor shoes
I turned the world all which a way
Just because you asked me to.

Like unto no other feel
Simple love is simple true
There’s no end to what I’d do
Just because you asked me to.

Let the world call me a fool
But if things are right with me and you
That’s all that matters
And I’ll do anything you asked me to.

Knowing how much I love you
And after all that I’ve been through
I’d turn and walk away from you 
Just because you asked me to.

The first verse could easily tell a lot of people’s testimony, maybe yours, and how those whose life was transformed became world changers.…..“Long ago and far away In my ol’ common labor shoes, I turned the world all which a way just because You asked me to”.

“Like unto no other feel, simple love is simple true”. Ain’t that the truth?! There’s just nothing that compares to the love of the Lord…..or the love of someone else, ….for that matter! 

“That’s all that matters, and I’ll do anything you ask me to”. *In our service and devotion to the Lord…it is, at it’s very purest….and simplest, done out of our love for Him!

“Let the world call me a fool, but if things are right with me and you; that’s all that matters and I’ll do, anything you ask me to.” It’s true that when we get obedient to the Lord that the world (family, friends, etc) sometimes just doesn’t understand. But because things are ‘right’ with God and us….we’ll be obedient to what we believe He’s saying to us, …..and do it!

I’ll bet you’ve heard some song lyrics, from what most folks would call ‘unlikely’ sources, that have some spiritual value. Post ’em if you do. Start lookin’ and listenin’ if you don’t…..they’re there!

(click here to hear Elvis’ version of “You Ask Me To”)

PS-Remind me sometime to tell you about Waylon’s spiritual orientation. You’ll probably be surprised.

Some more music blogs:

There’s a Lot More ‘Spiritual’ Music Out There Than You Might Think!

The Gospel According to Shaver!

No Country For Old Men

“If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin’”

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People Just Love to Talk

I was listening to a Delbert McClinton song the other day titled,  People Just Love to Talk. (click on highlighted links to watch/read) Anybody that knows me well, knows that I really like Delbert McClinton. He’s a Ft. Worth guy whose music doesn’t really fit perfectly with any genre. It’s not country, although it does kinda have a certain country flair. It’s not rock, but again, there’s some similarity. But most of his songs have a nice bluesy edge to them. You oughta check him out. You might find you really like him.

But the song got me to thinkin’; It’s really true you know, people do just love to talk. And a lot of the time that talk is not very wholesome or edifying. I gotta say right here that I’ve been guilty of it myself on numerous occasions….and I’m trying to do better. Gossip…., or talebearing as the Bible calls it, is so easy to get dragged into. I mean, you don’t even have to try and before you know it you find yourself ‘piling on’ (with your words) someone that definitely doesn’t need it.

The Lord gave me what I’d call a pretty profound revelation some years back. There’s a powerful Biblical principle that says, “If two of you agree on anything and ask it in My (Jesus talking) Name, I’ll do it”. Another one, “If one can put a thousand to flight, two can put ten thousand to flight”. Now, that’s pretty amazing math if you stop and think about it! There’s more…but you get the idea. Well, what the Lord showed me was that we are doing the exact same thing….but in a negative way when we agree with someone’s railing on another person, or when we add our own words to the criticism thrown out there! That’s pretty serious, I think! And, it’s just more evidence of how important our words really are.

The Bible talks about how powerful our words are….in a negative sense, “see how great a forest a little fire kindles”. It’s true….people just love to talk……but you and I don’t have to throw fuel on the fire!

…might want to check these out, too!

Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

You Got to Me Too Late!

Talk About a ‘Fixer-Upper’!2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

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Anyplace With You

It was just a couple of weeks ago. I had bought Julie tickets for a Barry Manilow concert. Now, not one thing against Barry Manilow….great songwriter, great artist…..and as it turns out….not a bad performer, either. But, he’s just not up at the top of my list of entertainers that I would pay much to see do a “live” performance. It was the day of the concert and one of the girls she had asked to go with her, couldn’t. Then she called another of her friends who couldn’t go, either. I desperately suggested another person or two. I may, or may not have, even prayed about it! *(okay, I did! “C’mon Lord….help a feller out!) So, then, my number came up! She text me and said, “Well, it looks like it’s you”! I text back, “You think I’ll be the only ‘guy’ there?” She replied, “Probably!”

We had a great drive up to OKC. I always enjoy Julie. But, surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the trip and even anticipating the evening ahead a lot more than I expected. I did, however, leave my ‘man card’ in the car for fear that they’d frisk me at the door and confiscate it from me. But, seriously, I had this thought, “You know, ….anywhere with Julie…..is better than anywhere else, without her.” I’m not trying to be ‘gushy’ but it’s really true when I think about it. Well, the concert was a lot better than I anticipated. I did actually enjoy it! *Keep that to yourself if you don’t mind!

I think I also learned a ‘spiritual lesson’ from that trip. When you step back and think about the bigger picture….it’s actually true in our relationship with the Father, too. It’s inevitable, we’re going to go through a lot of tough circumstances in life. No one’s immune. At this stage of life it seems like a ‘no-brainer’ to me; Given the choice, I’d easily choose to be going through the hardest thing in life than to be sitting in the ‘lap of luxury’ without Him!

“Anyplace (or any situation in life, no matter how hard,unpleasant or painful it might be) with Him……is better than any other place without Him!” 

 

Disclaimer: Now, for those wondering, …..I do have my limits. I did skip the Luke Bryan concert due to another self-scheduled root canal (same with Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line and a few others). I’m tellin’ ya’, it’s hard to get a dentist to do a root canal on a Saturday night,…especially on a tooth that doesn’t need it!

Check these out….and pass ’em along to your friends:

God Moves Through ‘Influence’ ……. Not ‘Control’!

There’s Just So Much of This Stuff in Life We’re Gonna Have to Learn the ‘Hard Way’!

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“Nothing I Can Do About it Now”

A day or two ago I was listening to my favorite XM station and one of Willie’s songs I’d heard several hundred times before caught my attention. The words, that I’ve sang along with by memory for as long as I can remember, caught my attention. And I thought to myself, “I need to write a little something up about that.”. The song, “Nothing I Can Do About it Now”, (click here to listen) is probably a testimony of Willie’s about some of the mistakes he’s made in his life. I think the reason it resonates, so, with me is ……it’s kinda my testimony too. And, truth be known, probably about 90% of the people reading this little blog can readily identify with it, as well.

Willie, whether you like him or not, will go down in history as one of the greatest country songwriters of all time. (I’m a huge admirer of songwriters!) Example: He wrote country classics, “Crazy”“Night Life”, and “Funny How Time Slips Away”, all in a 24 hour period! Think about that one for a minute! And, again, whether you like him or not he’s already staked his claim on country music immortality. Generations after you and I are gone when anyone mentions “Willie”, everyone’ll know exactly who they’re talking about. 

I first saw Willie in the ’60’s on the Wilburn Brothers Saturday afternoon TV show. It was a ritual in the Taylor household to watch country music on Saturdays. Willie was clean cut wearing a suit and tie and was an exceptionally good guitar picker. And he never really reached a broad following until the ’70’s when he donned the bandana and the braids. Armed with “Trigger” (his trademark guitar) he took on the ‘outlaw’ persona and literally millions of new, and younger, fans took note! And, as they say,…….the rest is history!

“Regret is just a memory written on my brow, and there’s nothing I can do about it now”. Like Willie’s song, most of us have a long, long list of regrets and if we’re not careful we’ll let those regrets affect who we really are and how we live out the rest of our lives. After the Lord rescues us we mustn’t let those blunders rule our lives. It just wouldn’t be right, considering what Jesus has done for us! Willie addressed that very thing, “And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted, but that’s a waste of time and tears” “And I know just what I’d change if I went back in time somehow, but there’s nothing I can do about it now”. 

Can’t do anything about it; its true. But what we can do is not keep on doing things that we know will bring deep regret; quit making the same old mistakes. And if you’re a youngster reading this, let the song,….or these words, (or better yet, the Holy Spirit) steer you away from doing dumb stuff. Life’ll be a whole lot better for ‘ya!

And for the rest of us….that got that news too late, ….we’re forgiven! Willie’s concludes his song by singing, “I’m forgiving everything that forgiveness will allow, and there’s nothing I can do about it now”.

Check these out:

“I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart Of Mine”

“I Ain’t No ‘Fortunate Son’”

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