The WordPlayers Present: Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë’s masterwork Jane Eyre is something most of us read in grade school. We remember the gilded Victorian prose laid over absolute reams of paper. We remember, perhaps, vaguely liking parts of it—the curious figure flitting about Thornfield Hall, the fire, the mystique of the rolling moors—but having rather a difficult time with the pacing and the oppressive atmosphere. I may have to revisit the novel, though. Firstly, of course, I’m older. Secondly, I spent a delightful afternoon viewing the WordPlayers’ rendition of Paul Gordon’s and John Caird’s musical stage adaptation, playing this coming weekend at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville.

The cast gives life to the characters in such a way that I wish they had been there for me in high school Senior English. After leading last year’s Little Women to great effect, Casey Maxwell returns now to play the steadfast, stoic Brontë heroine with evocative depth. Coke Morgan’s Mr. Rochester is the perfect cynic, giving you just enough reason to dislike him even while drawing on your sympathies.

Read More

An Interview with Dave Trout

Dave Trout is the busy head of one of our favorite organizations here at Foundling House, UTR Media. For years, Dave has been spinning truth-telling, high-quality music and supporting the artists who make it. UTR puts out heaps of excellent, in-depth podcasts and runs amazing giveaways that you should all look into. Dave’s now gearing up for UTR Media’s annual music and arts conference, Escape to the Lake. Despite the whirlwind of activities, he was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of my questions.

Rachel Mosley:  Where would you say you got your start in media?

Dave Trout:  The unofficial start was in high school. I was one of those “only Christian music” kids, but it was a personal choice, not a rule given to me. By the time I was fourteen, I knew music was a force in my life, and that the music I chose to consume would affect my worldview and spiritual health. I wanted to share music I was in love with and started making mix tapes. My cousin Dan helped me plug a microphone into a double-cassette deck, and I would DJ an “episode” of Christian rock music, then pass out these tapes to kids in my youth group. I loved the idea of absorbing faith-infused music, allowing it to have a positive impact on my own life first, then passing it on to others. 

Read More

Album Review: Joy Ike, Bigger Than Your Box

Joy Ike’s new record is going to take you places; your only job is to enjoy the ride. Ike’s fourth full-length studio production, Bigger Than Your Box bears surprise and yearning in its arms. The songs address you by looking you straight in the eye. The experience is like sitting at a welcoming table, talking to that person who both intimidates and encourages you at once. Yes, you listen to the album, but lyrically, spiritually, it feels like the album is listening to you. If you’re ready for it, it’ll flip your world in the best way.

Read More

An Interview with Wild Harbors

Chris and Jenna Badeker are calling it quits. Kind of.

The husband and wife duo have been playing shows as Chris & Jenna for years in addition to other facets of their careers. Jenna has been a leading lady in a venerable big band outfit. It’s hard to tell, but there might be a picture of her meeting a president at a show. Chris maintains an inspired art and design gig. There’s certainly a picture of him with a penguin, which is nearly as cool, depending on how you feel about presidents. The running thread through all of it has been their folk-pop pairing. Now though, Chris and Jenna say Chris & Jenna are done. They’re stepping up their game with a new album under the moniker Wild Harbors, produced by Andrew Osenga.

Now entering the make-or-break week of an exciting Kickstarter campaign, the pair were kind enough to sit down and answer a number of my questions.

Read More

Son of Laughter: No Story is Over

An Interview with Son of Laughter

Carrie Givens: One of the things I love about your music as Son of Laughter is what I would call its density. There is a lot happening in every song, both lyrically and melodically (not to mention the complexity of the recorded music). Can you share a little about your writing process?

Son of Laughter: Sure. In terms of my process, I don’t aim for complexity. Instead, I would say I am inspired by synergy. I have trouble developing an idea unless I am connecting it with a lot of other ideas in a way that interests me. I discovered that about my songwriting when I was writing the title track for The Mantis and the Moon. As I was trying to write about the stepsister from the German Cinderella story I realized the line “I don’t want to be someone who does not want to be who they are” reminded me of a lot of other stories, particularly an African folktale about why a praying mantis prays, a story a friend told me about his advice to follow dreams influencing someone leave their family, and my own discontent with who I am and the dangerous ways I deal with it. That last part is key. No matter how many ideas I have simmering in the pot, I have trouble tying it all together without deep personal conviction. “The Fiddler” combined a lot of stories and images, but I couldn’t finish it until I connected it with my own distracted prayer life. On the new record that was a missing ingredient for the longest time with “The Hurricanes.” I wanted the narrator to wrestle with his own destructive internal hurricane and I couldn’t finish it until I informed it with my own.

Read More

Created for Worship

Over this last year I have found myself grumbling more than usual. I have always had a cup half-full personality. Yet, I became lost in the mundane tasks of life. We all know it, house cleaning, laundry and trips to the grocery store. Necessary tasks that we can’t ignore to keep our homes running began to dig into me. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated about being a slave to these tasks. I started to despise them and dread them. It was a negative mindset I had created for myself. Through some quiet time I was led back to some old notes I had taken while listening to a podcast. I didn’t write down the speaker but it clearly punched me in the gut then, and without a doubt I needed the reminder.  I needed to be reminded that I was created to worship. Now first let me say that I always associated worship with music. But my heart was stirred to a deeper level of worship for our heavenly Father than just pelting out words from my mouth. Worship, I realized, was and is based on His worth and it is our opportunity to value God for who He Is in the midst of everyday life.

Read More