Serendipity at Work: An Interview with Drew Miller

Every year, for the past several circles around the sun, the community known as The Rabbit Room has convened in a rich and elaborate gathering known as Hutchmoot. This past Hutchmoot, I was excited to sit down for a few minutes to talk shop with Drew Miller, editor of the Rabbit Room blog and member of the delightful folk chamber group known as The Orchardist.

ADAM: How long have you been editing The Rabbit Room?

DREW: Let’s see, I think it’s been—well, I’ll think of it in terms of Hutchmoots. Last Hutchmoot was my first, and I think I had just started that summer, in July. At that point, I was only doing two posts a week, just to help Pete [Peterson]. As far as managing the blog myself, it’s been since the beginning of this year.

ADAM: Where did you and Pete come across each other?

DREW: A lot of similar circles overlapping. The church that Kelsey and I go to, I think, is where it all comes together. So, Hutchmoot used to be at Church of the Redeemer [in Nashville], and our church is actually a plant of Church of the Redeemer called St. Mary of Bethany Parish. Andrew Peterson and his immediate family started going to St. Mary’s as well, so they’ve been there all the time that we’ve been there. So we got to know them.

And I think it started when the Orchardist had just finished our record, and I was like, “Can you listen to this? Can this maybe be on The Rabbit Room?”

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Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Editors note: This series was first published at Biblical Counseling Through Song. It is our hope that sharing this journey of heartache and worship with Tom Murphy will be an encouragement to our readers who find themselves in similar situations.

Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. It was made official in 1948. It was an idea of Frederick Mockford, who was a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He came up with the idea for “mayday” because it sounded like the French word m’aider, which means “help me”. Thank God for the French.

On this first of May—Mayday— I am crying out, “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Help!

I need help.

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A Letter to My Past Self

I see you scribbling out words in the bathroom stall, grinning to yourself about the silly thing you’re planning to do. You doubt it will accomplish anything to give a handwritten note to a musician you admire, but you secretly hope that it will. You have no idea if he’ll read this note, or if he’ll consider your idea to add more female voices to the website he and his brother recently launched. You’re feeling nervous about shaking his hand and looking him in the eye as you hand the note to him, but you’re determined to take this risk.

And here I sit, nearly ten years later typing on a laptop at ten o’clock at night, feeling incredibly proud of you. You have no idea how this one little interaction will change your life for the better. You just can’t imagine how many writers and artists and friends you’re going to meet during the next ten years because of this night. You don’t know if this guy will even read your letter, let alone invite you to submit some of your writing for his fans to read. You don’t realize that in a couple of years you’ll be helping plan a conference for this burgeoning community of creative types from all over America and Europe. You can only dream of having your words printed in a book someday, but little do you know that you’re about to take the first step down a path that leads to this very thing.

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Arthur Alligood: Portage, Vol. 1

 

My first introduction to Arthur Alligood’s work was his stripped-down acoustic album The Shadow Can’t Have Me. The honesty in his lyrics struck me, and I looked forward to his new project with anticipation. Portage, Vol. 1: At the Edge of the World offers more of his lyrical depth with a new musical approach, setting aside the acoustic guitar as the primary instrument and instead moving the songs through a forest of synths, piano sounds, and drum beats.

The EP kicks off with a dreamy soundscape on “Foolishness of Man.” It calls forth the moodiness of quieter Springsteen songs in a way that prepares the heart for lament but simultaneously comforts with a familiar tone. The use of the title as a refrain ending each verse emphasizes the plaintive lament about our culture’s tendency toward judgmental attitudes and actions. The Portage project name comes from the ending lyrics, “I stand here on the shoreline / I will take the portage path / ‘Cause only love will end this hatred: the foolishness of man.”

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From Dust To

The Lord God, our Word, pressed round wild David,
Brought to bloom within the cathedral of Mary.

He is Spring reigniting—the glory of impossible
YES, a sapped ointment cooling the leprosy of NO.

He is instructor and extractor of self,
Plumb-line Thought and lush-dipped Feel.

Selah—my blood and marrow under chatty inked skin
Draw no distinctions, as no formal presence

Contains my name on His breath—sung
Beyond and before my family’s embodiment.

To live is Now and Then—Silent and Blistering,
Water in mooned cycles melting mountains.

You and me—Exhaled into dust each one—
So content claiming Genesis in the wind.

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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.

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