Techno Jeep!

This kid guy amazes me!  From the guy who brought you “25 Things I Hate About Facebook”


Tenth Avenue North

Tenth Avenue North - Jason, Jeff, Mike & Scott

Tenth Avenue North - Jason, Jeff, Mike & Scott

I just can’t say enough about these guys. I was blessed when Mike & Jeff came in to my life. Yet this bittersweet symphony has led them to move on to bigger & better things thus leaving my quaint rental house! (Check it out HERE!

I’ve written about the band before HERE and how their song, Beloved, gave me back my relationship with Christ. But since I met Mike & Kelly (his beautiful wife) for coffee on Monday, I’ve been restless to share more about them.  

Mike is a rare soul. A prolific artist, writer & teacher. His true calling to lead people to Christ with his music is unmistakable. Listening to some of their music tonight, I was touched. Just like the first time I listened to Beloved , it resonated with me so much that it brought me to tears. 

The song is called By Your Side, which is on their latest album, Over and Underneath

Why are you striving these days

Why are you trying to earn grace

Why are you crying, let me lift up your face

     Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love

Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough

To where will you go child, Tell me where will you run

     To where will you run

Cause I’ll be at your side, wherever you fall

In the dead of night, whenever you call

And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you

    My hands are holding you

If any of you read my blog fairly consistently then you will know that one of the things I’ve struggled with is letting God be enough. I’ve been working on that part of my life for a while now. But recently, I’ve began to slack off. Partly because I’m not running as much and that was my designated chat with God.  It’s also because I’ve stopped seeking and searching as diligently as I was a month ago. Why? I’m not sure. I’ve been distracted, busy, stressed. And although it’s these times that we often pray the most for God’s assistance, I haven’t been. And when I don’t seek Him, I feel it. And I end up like this song… striving, crying, searching as if He is not enough. 

What hit home for me tonight is the chorus. Isn’t it so wonderfully true? He is with us. He is waiting patiently for us to call on Him. No matter the circumstances in our lives, no matter the time of day. He is here. He is with me. And what do we do… we fight it. We resist the urge to give ourselves to Him. We defy being vulnerable and needy. We fear obedience and submission. So we fight the One who can bring us healing and peace like we have never know. We want love and acceptance and acknowledgement. We crave someone to hold us and remind us that we matter, that we are loved. Still we fight.

I must admit, I’ve struggled, but I’m tired. I’m so tired of fighting. So tired of the pursuit of love. So tired of trying to make sense of what rambles around in my head and my heart because of what genetics gave me and the world has taught me. It’s time. It’s time to lay down the bitterness, the brokeness, the emptiness. All of it, not just the easy parts. It’s time to let Him love me. The way He intended. 

As I started this post I just wanted to share with you a few thoughts and it’s turned in to a thesis. But here is the best part. Mike and the entire band are writing (blogging/journaling) on their website. I’ve pulled out a post Mike wrote recently and attached it below. Read more of Mike’s blog/journal HERE

Have you heard the new Coldplay record?  You really should, it’s absolutely beautiful.  And there’s this line towards the end of the record where Chris Martin exclaims, “I don’t want to cycle and recycle revenge, I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends….”

And a line like that will get you thinking. Coupled with the fact that I just got done leading a small group all week at a middle school camp in NJ, it’s got me thinking. We dealt a lot with the idea of returning evil with good, meanness with kindness, hatred with love. In middle school terms, we likened grace to buying a soda for someone who calls you names; treating someone better than they deserve. Or to put it in grown up terms, absorbing more pain than I inflict.”

As Christians, we are called to break the cycle of revenge. More so than any other group of people, because we see that that is exactly what Christ has done for us.  In the middle of his suffering under the weight of our sins’ judgment, He cries, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Man oh man, most of the time that seems like the greatest impossibility that I could imagine.

To be a willing door mat to those who take advantage? To treat those who would never treat me?
To buy a soda for the bully who takes my lunch money? To wash Judas’ feet?

Coldplay and Jesus are reminding me of my privilege of a Christian today.
The privilege to forgive.The privilege to show grace. The privilege to break the cycle of revenge.

I don’t want to believe the lie today that being bitter towards those who have wronged me will change things.  I don’t want to believe the lie that I need to show people how they’ve hurt my feelings.  I don’t want to believe the lie that a prison of being offended is better than the freedom of forgiveness. I don’t want to cycle and recycle revenge. I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends. 

God give us grace to give grace.

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Peace Friends,  Mike

I’ve Got A New Boyfriend!

I Heart.... Matt

I Heart Matt

His name is Matt. He’s a little on the shy side, so we dont go out in public together – we’re home bodies! I havent known him very long, but he really gets me. It’s like we’ve known each other forever. Ahhhhhh…… He is so sweet. He has an amazing heart & is so deep. I know what you’re thinking… I’ve had really bad luck with musicians. But this time is different. I swear. I can tell he’s really into me too because…. get this…. he writes me songs and sings them to me!!!! OMG! I mean he knows exactly what to say to me to make me weak in the knees!  Check this out!

The one below is my current fav. I thought it was so good that I convinced him to put it on iTunes. He did. So consider yourselves lucky! You can find it under his name Matt Nathanson.  Go download it today! 

Come On Get Higher

I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the rush of your skin
And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what’s next
I’d make you believe
I’d make you forget

So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love
So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

I miss the sound of your voice
Loudest thing in my head
And I ache to remember
All the violent, sweet
Perfect words that you said

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what’s next
I’d make you believe
I’d make you forget

So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love
So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

I miss the pull of your heart
I taste the sparks on your tongue
I see angels and devils
And God, when you come on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on

Sing sha la la la
Sing sha la la la la

Ooo Ooo Ooo…
So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love
So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me, drown me in love

It’s all wrong, it’s all wrong
It’s all wrong, it’s so right
So come on, get higher
So come on and get higher
‘Cause everything works, love
Everything works in your arms.

Derek Webb Blog: The Long Tail of Noisetrade

There has been a lot of talk about how the music industry is changing. Indie solo artists , labeled bands & mega bands are giving away music. Bloggersare blogging about it. Living in Nashvegas, it’s kind of hard not to be touched by the music industry or at least learn be intrigued by it. 

What I found intriguing tonight was an interview with Derek Webb on Stereo Subversion. Here’s a man who gets it.  What’s ‘it’? The marketing, the connection, the long tail. Here’s what Derek had to say…

There are two other factors which make Noisetrade different – the main one for me being the aggregate aspect, what some might call the ‘Long Tail’ aspect. You get all these artists giving away music and put them in one place, especially blue collar artists, like I said who make their living between the head and the tail of the sales curve, and little by little, you get 50 niche artists, none of whom have more than several thousand fans but suddenly there are a lot of fans in one place. They start finding other artists and it really does start to make up for the time difference. Two years ago, it was very progressive and radical to give away a record for free. It’s interesting how quickly perception changes. People don’t remember that it was unheard of even a few years ago. But now, and rightfully so, it’s par for the course.  Check out the full article here.

I found this article on the new blog at Noisetrade. The only part of it i didn’t get was his 3 sentences on his first post. Here’s what he had to say…

WELCOME NOISETRADERS – i can’t imagine that i’m writing this blog, for a few reasons.  first of all, i don’t blog.  almost as a rule.   

This “I don’t blog. almost as a rule.” statement just throws me. It seems a bit of a contradiction in terms. So I think he’s only getting part of it. The part that many artists are reluctant to dive into and that’s connecting with their fans directly at that personal level ~ the blog. What Derek writes in the balance of that post is great…

for those who have walked with us through the dreaming and development of the site you realize what we’ve gone through to get here.  this idea died and came back to life a dozen times.  but we persisted and fought for what we believed to be something truly beneficial and effective towards connecting artists to music fans.

So, he’s almost there because ‘connecting artists to music fans’ is what blogging is all about. Now I’ve poured my heart out here at times and posting your deepest fears for the world to read is not for everyone. But that’s not what artists do on their blogs in general. I’m not an artist so I wouldnt know, but maybe it’s easier to hide behind the curtain in the land of Oz, than to put yourself out there. But then I look at what Skor, Inc is doing with Mercy Me and Natalie Grant and I’m thinking it totally ROCKS! Both of their blogs are real and fun and a great connecting point with the fans. So why doesn’t Derek Webb blog about his life, his music? Dont get me wrong, I think it’s amazing what he’s done and that he is blogging on Noisetrade. But what the fans want to see is Derek Webb’s blog about Derek Webb. 

So I’ve bounced around in this post quite a bit. But overall, I think it’s an amazing journey Derek’s been on to make this happen. I always find it exciting to run across someone who is wanting to take things to a new level. Like Brody & Randywith Skor Inc. People who want to make a difference in their industry, their church, the lives of others in a way that is unique and creative. For me that’s inspiring and challenging. It challenges me to think of my life and the choices I’m making. How can I reach the next level? What difference am I making in this world?

For the Love of Music: 50 Bands, 50 States


 Click here to go to website!
Click here to go to website!

As the dog days of summer settle in and hanging out at barbecues and listening to music take on a high priority, we thought it was the perfect time to direct you to the cool Web feature 50 Bands, 50 States.

Put together by the staff of the alt-weekly newspaper The Boston Phoenix, the interactive feature spotlights the all-time best band, all-time best solo artist, and best new band for each American state — the last category being especially excellent as a primer of unknownish talent worth knowing about. Each state’s page features artist videos and MP3 downloads in addition to written commentary, and you can stream choice cuts from the selected bands.

While we may not always agree — Florida’s all-time best band Lynyrd Skynyrd? — we did discover some terrific new-music gems, most notably Wisconsin’s Bon Iver, New York’s Yeasayer, and Idaho’s The Very Most. And if you come across something that really burns you up, you can vent: Every page has a section for comments.

Tennessee results caused a stir in the comments because of confusion with the votes. The artist has to be born in the state. Thus Elvis is not on option, but he didnt win for Mississipi either.  Go check out your state!

This is a part of Watercooler Wednesday.  


ht: VSL


Free Music from NoiseTrade!

I have read several posts and articles recently that discuss the changes in the music industry.  They are coming on hard and fast. Many of them focus around giving away free music.  While this may not seem such a new idea for a brand new artist starting out, it is something new for established artists and bands to give it away.  But it is brilliant! 

Take these 2 artists for instance… Jeni Varnadeau and Rory Partin. They have been around for years, have multiple CDs and been on tour. They are using a website called NoiseTrade.  Brody just had a post about this site within the last week or so.  So I think these guys are definitely on the right track.  What I like about this website is that it is a middle ground for both artist and fan.  To get free tunes you load in 3 emails of your friends.  They will then get the opporutunity for free tunes too!  This serves a couple of purposes: 1) fans get free music – Yeah! 2) The artists get to build their fanbase for future communication.  And we all know in Web 2.0 it’s all about reaching the people, the fans, us.  Making a connection that lasts and building a community that is going to make a difference in your career.  So there you have it.  Jeni and Rory are embracing the cutting edge and building their community while churning out some incredible tunes.  So go take a listen.  It will only take a few minutes of your time and you’ll be happy you did. 

Just click on their pic to go get some free tunes. The links will take you to their websites where the NoiseTrade widget is set up for you to use.  It’s really easy!



This is a post for Watercooler Wednesday and Works for Me Wednesday!

I’m Surrounded by Rockstars

No, not because I’m participating in GMA Week, but in a host of peculiar ways my life has been touched by GMA artists for a little over a year now.  Here’s the strange turn of events that has introduced me to the community. 

  1. Max Hsu - SuperchicMax Hsu from Superchic bought my previous house in late 2006.  I didn’t know who Max was, so I got aquainted with his music.  He’s a really nice guy.  He put a studio in my bonus room upstairs when he moved in.  It’s weird looking at my former house on his blog and seeing the changes.  Here’s a quote from Max’s blog.  He’s a great songwriter and a great photographer. I like what he says..”It is impossible for me to My former bonus roomcreate great art. It is only possible to do art. Some of it is good, some of it is not, but I can only write what comes out and the best stuff tends to come out when I’m not under self imposed pressure. It helps to do lots of art. Then you have the numbers in your favor. When I find myself winding up again, losing perspective, trying to write the music that will bring peace to the world and end poverty, I just tell myself…“how hard can it be? Scooby doo saves the world, has adventures in a van.. blah blah blah.”
  2. In September of 2007, I ran an ad on Craig’s List to find renters for my rental property in Nashville.  I got a lot of great hits in the first 12 hours. Then this guy Mike called… we’re in a band… moving from FL… there are 3 of us in our 20’s. Yeah, ok, I’ll get back with you, right behind the young banker and the retired couple from Hilton Head. I put his number in my purse and did’t think of it again until I got a call from Jeff.  Jeff was a little bit pushier than Mike.  What do we need to do to get in this house?  He handled me, the way I would’ve handled the situation – aggressively.  They were in a hurry to close the deal because they left to go on the road again that next afternoon. So they invite me to the studio that night to listen while they lay down tracks. (I think I said that right)  I really didn’t get a good feeling because paperwork was not in order and Jeff had bailed. But every person in that studio came up to me that night and said, “These guys should get the house.  We’re praying for them to get the house.”  Let just say stranger things have happened, but within the next 12 hours the others renters pulled out. Then I broke every landlord rule in the book.  I let them sign the lease without checking a multiple references or confirming bank accounts, etc.  Mike loved it when I told him I felt compelled because they’d been praying on it for 2 days. The band? Tenth Avenue North.  They ROCK!!!!  And I’m the luckiest landlady in Tennessee.
  3. I was cruising the web and looking at blogs when I ran across this organization called Compassion International.  So I started reading this blog written by Spence Smith.  I was enthralled. He wrote about children living and dying in poverty and a trip they were taking to bring awareness through the web. It was an eerie sensation being so fixated on this tragedy. I know I’ve said several times since that in America, we turn the channel because we can not stand to face the reality we see on the TV. We can not look at the child on the TV and pretend it does not make us uncomfortable, so we change the channel. Except I could not. I haven’t been able to since having the twins. So I sponsored a girl from Uganda. But that didn’t feel like it was enough, so I contacted Spence to see if I could donate some JEMS taggy blankets that I make.  Sure, so we had coffee and he explained Compassion, his job and the blogging trip. I said you have to meet Mike from Tenth Ave. North. Yep already did that. And BTW, he knows Max and what a brilliant photographer he is.  It’s such a small community this world of artists and musicians. How nice it is.

 Well, since meeting Max, Mike & Spence, my life has been touched spiritually, emotionally & physically.  I’ve grown closer to God through music and have been inspired to write and run.  Thanks guys! Have a great week at GMA.  My best! Amy


One Song, One Take, One Cab

This one is for Brody who is always asking for new indie music & a part of Rocks in my Dryer Works-For-Me-Wednesday and Ethos – Watercooler Wednesday.

It’s a cross between Taxi Cab Confessions & Unplugged Karioki, only better.  If you are looking for options in music that you can appreciate and also laugh at, look no further than Black Cab Sessions. Check out Chapter 20 – Johnny Byers, Ch 31 – Spoon (1st dude to wear shades, good tunes), Ch 25 – The Kooks, Ch 13 – The New Pornographers (who will be at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge on 4/18/08).


Ultra-unplugged: a quirky high concept, charmingly executed

As repeated viewings of a certain Martin Scorsese film and a lifetime of living in New York City have taught us, good things generally do not happen in the back of taxicabs. Until now: A British website lets us temporarily believe that hired cars, in addition to being cramped and grotty, can also be mobile stages for brilliant acoustic rock performances.

In each episode of “The Black Cab Sessions,” a different indie artist gets one car ride and one unedited take to perform a song, and the results are more invigorating than an 80-mile-an-hour taxi ride home from the airport: Spoon’s Britt Daniel plays a stirring version of “I Summon You” all alone; the New Pornographers’ Carl Newman delivers a heartbreaking rendition of “All the Old Showstoppers” with his niece accompanying him on accordion. (And what eccentric indie-rock project would be complete without an appearance by the genre’s ultimate weirdo, Daniel Johnston?) Enjoy; you don’t even have to tip the driver.

 “The Black Cab Sessions”

 Compliments of VSL

In the Name of Love – Africa Celebrates U2

So many posts, so little time.  I have to post on my race, 2 charity events & my first Compassion volunteer experience.  Until then, VSL has this….

U2 Celebrate AfricaU2 covers performed just the way Bono would want them

While we sometimes cringe at the sight of the globe-trotting do-gooder that Bono has become, it can’t be denied that the man and his band mates wrote some powerful music — music that, truth be told, has become slightly shopworn from years of constant play. On a new compilation, In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, those resonant songs are reinvented and revitalized by artists who truly understand the messages in them.

The performers here may be familiar only to devoted fans of world music (i.e., there’s nobody with the last name Kuti), but their interpretations of the U2 catalog are as diverse as the nations they represent: Nigeria’s Keziah Jones turns in a cover of “One” that strips the song of its messianic overtones and gives it a funky percussion section, while Guinea’s Ba Cissoko brings a new urgency to his understated version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Needless to say, proceeds from the album go to global charities, so come on, buy it in the spirit of Bonoism.

Release Date:  April 1

*** The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of beyondJEMS. (especially about cringing on Bono’s do gooding – I personally like Bono’s globe-trotting activism!)  

Quick & Easy Cutting Edge Culture

Being a  SAHM I yearn for adult conversation that does not involved talk of potty training, preschools or poptarts!   I mean let’s face it folks, my TV consists of Little Einsteins & The Backyardagins.  And once the kids are down for the night, TIVO and I have a wonderful love affair with mind-candy shows like Grey’s Anatomy & Desparate Housewives.  The only thing that I watch that makes you think a little is Lost. 

Unfortunately, when I get that rare chance to go out with those folks who dont stay at home with 2 YO twins, I didnt always feel like I could contribute something new and exciting or edgy to the conversation.  Until I discovered a quick and easy solution…

VSL (Very Short List)


 What is VSL – well, it’s a SHORT, SWEET EMAIL that gives you the skinny on GREAT DISCOVERIES on HIGH/LOW CULTURE. 

Here’s the email I received today.  They are always 1 pagers that are a quick read.  You delete the ones you dont like, pursue the ones you do.  They are always in the same exact format with a summary and options to click at the bottom to either share with a friend or go to a website or just watch a video clip, etc.  I would say that 70% of the stuff is really good and interesting and 30% I have shared with friends because I think the content is great! 

Go sign up for VSL and stay edgy with me!   

This post is part of Randy Elrod’s Watercooler Wednesday and Rocks in my Dryer WFMW.


MARCH 26, 2008


venn diagram


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Martin Scorsese has dipped into the Jagger-Richards songbook many times over his amazing career: Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed all have soundtracks goosed by Stones songs.

Therefore, who better than Marty (yeah, that’s what we call him) to document the tireless Rolling Stones’ 2006 appearance at New York’s Beacon Theatre? Shine a Light (in theaters 4/5) captures a relatively intimate charity concert — part of the 60th-birthday celebration for (the then totally beloved) Bill Clinton. (Warning: Arrive late and you’ll miss such surreal moments as Hillary’s mom surrendering to the charms of Keith Richards.)

Scorsese periodically cuts away to hilarious vintage interviews with the band — a group of far-less-energetic twentysomethings speculating on the future. By now jokes about Mick’s age are a little, well, old, aren’t they? Trust us, when you see this British knight still sashaying through a song like “Shattered” — shouting “Look at me!” — you’ll have only one thought: Our pleasure, sir (and may we be half so spry at your age).

WATCH the trailer for Shine a Light

VISIT the website for Shine a Light

SEARCH for more information on Shine a Light

FORWARD to a friend

BROWSE the archive