The DOVES

 

"By and By"

                       

 (Click HERE for video)

 In my youth, I became preoccupied with the desire to hop aboard the “Rock and Roll Rollercoaster”, and ride it to some distant, dark, and veiled land of undefined fulfillment and contentment.  A notion, that, it seems, is “common as a sparrow”.

 

I took all the obligatory preliminary steps in pursuit of that desire and dream:  learned to play the guitar (serviceably — taking care not to kill passion with technical proficiency, though in reality, there was little danger of that); took up drinking, smoking (both filtered and “non”), and the pursuit of physical pleasure; maintained a long, tenuous relationship with higher education that ultimately ended in divorce; and embarked on a lifestyle defined by a series of low-skilled jobs — everything from ditch-digger to waiter to retail to security guard, and all things in between — punctuated by periods of unemployed idleness, which afforded the opportunity to read widely, listen intensely to the music of the day, carouse the nightlife of Macon and Atlanta, and document the imprint of these experiences through a growing list of original songs. 

 

By 1989, I was certain that God, fate, or both — the two were a little jumbled in my mind, at that time — would smile upon my endeavor.  I had assembled a band, which was centered around my artistic relationship with a female bassist of unsurpassed intuition, and stalwart Scottish temperament.  Her name:  Trena McRae.  We had been working together for 4 or 5 years.  Not only was she a beauty, but she truly liked and admired the music I was writing (most of it…), and had an intuitive feel for it, utilizing her superb talent as a vocalist in interpreting the bass lines she invented.  So smitten was I with her looks, her intelligence, her knowledge, her talent (she could command a room with her performances of Childe Ballads), and a sort of feminine, working class toughness that was novel and intoxicating to me, that I later made her my wife (or did she make me her husband?) and she has remained so for 25 years.

         

We partnered with a drummer that I had seen playing in a jam band around town, who I enlisted in making a song for a local video show.  It was recorded under the auspices of the legendary Paul Hornsby, at his Muscadine Studios.  A hundred dollars did the trick, if I recall; the song was “In My Town (Blood Southern Streets)”, and I may put the video up on YouTube one of these days, if I can ever get it formatted correctly (a task since accomplished, with the aid of the original videographer, Mark Storey.  See blog entry, below).

 

We literally woodsheded at the home of a friend of Trena’s, in the far eastern reaches of Bibb County, almost to the old Camp Wheeler, out Riggins Mill Rd...

In Memoriam: Michael Kilpatrick

(Michael Edward Kilpatrick entered eternity on Sept. 28, 2017)

 

I first became acquainted with Michael Kilpatrick through the letters that he used to regularly submit to the Macon Telegraph.  His views on politics, culture, and especially faith, corresponded closely to mine; and his style and wit, I had to concede, surpassed my own by some margin.  It became a daily ritual for me and my wife, Trena, who would look at the paper together over dinner, to ask each other “anything interesting on the op-ed page?  Michael write a letter?”

 

I decided to reach out to Mr. Kilpatrick on the occasion of Barack Obama’s first victory speech in Grant Park.  I wondered if he found it as interesting as I did, that not only did the President-elect say that this nation “is not, and has never been… a collection of individuals…”; but that the verbiage was excised from the official transcript of the speech that ran in the paper the following Sunday.  For some years, I had been (to borrow a phrase from C. S. Lewis) “flying the flag” of my Christian faith with my own letters in defense of it.  But I steered clear of politics, owing to the PC environment where I worked, and my need to draw a paycheck.  I hoped Michael might find my observation regarding Obama’s collectivist rhetoric, and the fact that it was excised, interesting enough to comment on it.

 

So, I looked up his number, called him up, introduced myself to his wife, Teresa, who told me she would tell him I called.  A short time later, my phone rang.  By the end of our conversation, Michael had invited me and Trena to join him and Teresa for “date night” — dinner at the Cracker Barrel.  For two hours the four of us sat and talked, animatedly, the words coming out in a rush, punctuated with joyful laughter, excited and delighted to have encountered another couple whose view of the world was in accord with our own — complete with a shared, and somewhat mordant, sense of humor.  

 

Our friendship grew over time.  We watched Michael and Teresa’s lovely daughters grow, through the pool parties our families shared during the summer holidays.  Michael introduced me to the joys of target shooting at the range where he had a membership, in Twiggs county.  He once demonstrated his proficiency by putting two successive rounds through the center of a paper plate with a .38 revolver, at a distance — while leaving only a single hole.  We would get together for lunch occasionally — I now realize far too infrequently; it always seems like you have all the time in the world, until it runs out — and talk over the latest events; and find laughter (if only gallows humor) in the continuing degradation and decay of our society, as it steadily abandons truth and reason for a vague, incoherent, and corrupt politically correct secularism....

The Alkleins -- "Blood Southern Streets (In My Town)" Video

“Where have all of the years gone…?”

Here’s a bit of history:

By the mid 1980s, the “Southern Revival” was beginning to flourish in earnest, spearheaded by REM, Mitch Easter, and the Athens scene. Macon’s own nascent Gen X Alternative scene was learning to stand. Remember Vex? Chompfish, Siamese Left…?

There was a TV show on the local access channel at that time that featured local music. I can remember seeing the incredibly talented B. Keith Williams doing a solo version of “Locomotive Breath” on guitar at a local bar, accompanying himself on bass with some sort of foot-switch device.

I had spent a year or so in Raleigh, NC, earlier in the decade, absorbing the bands that surged down from the Boston to NYC to DC corridor, and which played The Pier in the Cameron Village Underground. The Bad Brains, Minor Threat, 999; I remember an all-girl ensemble that no one had ever heard of called The Go-Gos, who’s ebullient and melodic power pop was a welcome departure from the angst-ridden hardcore punk of the time. My attempts to forge a band based on exposure to The Jam, The Clash, Elvis Costello, and others turned out to be premature, however. Back in Macon to continue my lack of education at Mercer and Macon State U., I kept abreast of the music pouring out of the U.K., through visits with my musically astute friends in Raleigh — Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, The The, New Order, U2, etc., etc.

I was therefore eager to share the results of my songwriting efforts with the world — and determined to put together a music vid for the show, as part of that endeavor...

 

"Confession"

From the CD Baby entry for "Confession":

(AUDIO and download available at tab; Video at right of page)

 Short Description: 

 The DOVES revisit the melancholy lament of “Dirty Words” with “Confession”, a concordantly lush and spare arrangement that evokes Americana — with synthesizer.

 Notes:

 The DOVES tip their hat to homespun Americana, while maintaining their distinctive disregard for boundaries and categories with their own “trans-genre” approach, in “Confession”: a song which is both lush and spare, utilizing a dolefully sweet signature on synthesizer to carry its tale of longing and betrayal, given life by Wade and Trena’s plaintive harmonies.

“Confession” is a nod to the couple’s early all-acoustic work together as The DOVES; echoing the melancholy lament of “Dirty Words”. It follows the more expansive pop-rock of recent offerings “Shut My Mouth”, “Wild and Strange”, “Mirage” “The Fine Line”, “The Day You Were Born”, and “Pulse”; as well as the Brenda Lee-Connie Francis retro of “Why Did You Hurt Me?”, and the joyous gospel of “King of Kings”. Please visit The DOVES website for the complete catalogue of The DOVES, links to videos, and music downloads.

“Confession” video url:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_kwsgkx9Hg

The video is taken, with apologies, from Stanley Kubrick’s breathtakingly beautifully cinematography in the appropriately somber masterpiece “Barry Lyndon”. The idea was to present images of courtly composure and dispassion, and there are no finer examples to set such a tone than those presented in that film.

Lyrics:

I decided not long ago
That I would try to be the last one to know
To my surprise, I can’t say I don’t
She lied to me again

Jedediah, strong as a stone
He tried to hide, his heart was already broke
No one remembers the ex-act words he spoke
But now and then… ahhh, maybe…

At times, I confess…
At times, I confess…
At times, I don’t confess…

Lylah sighed and felt all alone
He said goodbye and grabbed his hat and his coat
So why would she not pick up the phone?
Or buy the milk for the baby?

(At times, I confess…
At times, I confess…
At times, I don’t confess…

I will never leave or forsake you
Through all the trials you bear
And in your time of facing trouble, then I’ll be there)

Belladonna, what have you wrote?
I touched the page, and got a chill to the bone
This masquerade just couldn’t go on
It’s time for it to end.

"Pulse"

The 120 mph motorcycle spree through the stalled traffic of the rush hour metropolis…

Standing on the edge, with nothing between between you and the ground but 3,000 feet of air and a nylon canopy folded into a pack…

To feel your heart pumping in your chest, adrenaline firing every nerve in your body, dancing on the razor thin line between life and death, with no margin for error.

To escape, if only for a moment, the bland banality of a world devoid of significance, where meaning and purpose have been evacuated, and everything runs together into a homogenous slurry of mass-produced objects and images and sensations.

To go beyond the limit of fear, into an immediacy which screams with extreme danger, and enter into a mode of existence where you are truly and fully alive…

Or to sit in peaceful contemplation of such a phenomenon.

Either way, the steady drumbeat of your “Pulse” — thump, thump, thump —

is all that stands between you and eternity.

(Video widget at side of page, or click HERE for video)


I began writing “Pulse” more years ago than I care to say (in order to “protect the guilty”). I played a version of it for David, who drummed with me when Trena played bass, and we went by a succession of names that included The Alkleins (“al-kaline”, as opposed to “acid”), The Scanners (“we’ll make your head explode”), Wadown in Trenadad, and The Whales. His sister-in-law enthused that “it reminds me of U2”, which of course I took as encouragement. My friend Bill, not easily impressed, who I recruited into the band; and who played guitar the way Babe Ruth hit home runs — forcefully and seemingly without effort, as a distraction between more compelling pursuits — provided offhand praise. “Like that part (the B-D-A-G power chord progression). It sounds Who-ish.”

The form of the song is essentially unchanged from those days. Most of the lyrics remain the same, as well. There was a line or two I could never quite get to my satisfaction. It’s for that reason that the song never made it into our rehearsal rotation before the band went its separate ways, and I entered the “real world” — marriage (to Trena, of course), full-time job, the whole bit.

But it was a place I never felt entirely comfortable. And as Zimmerman (Bob — not the guy from Florida) so adroitly summed it up: “one day the axe just fell”.

I once played a solo gig at a coffee house during that interval. “Pulse” was in the repertoire.

When Trena and I decided to become The DOVES, we embarked on a journey to record the material we had warehoused over the years, as well as the new stuff we continue to come up with, in a manner that was systematic without being overly planned.

Five years in, and after learning so much at the feet of the master, Joey Stuckey, and improving with each new project, it seemed like a good time to produce “Pulse”. I started working on it late last year, around the same time as “The Day You Were Born” (as well as a couple of other forthcoming tracks — “Confession” and “Let Me Go”), setting it aside several times — Trena had bronchitis over the winter, which affected her vocals; we moved…

I finally got to a point where I had completed the basic tracks, and was ready to start the mixing process. Since I’m doing that myself now, there was no pecuniary urgency associated with it. After a week or so, I was nearing completion.

On June 12, with the “Pulse” project 95% complete, I arose, poured a cup of coffee, and sat at my desk to see what was going on in the world. Another mass shooting. 50 dead. Orlando.

God help us.

I read to find out what details were available. The killings took place at a nightclub. The name of that nightclub: “Pulse”.

“It can’t be…” I thought.

It was unnerving. I wondered if I should postpone, or even shelve, the project.

Ultimately, I decided that any control over events in my own life was mostly illusory. And I have none at all over events in the wider world I inhabit. I resolved to finish the song and vid, and release it to that wider world.

And allow the listener to ponder whatever significance lies in its opening lines —

“We seem so full of time, it’s hard to think that it’s running out…”

and the ones that follow.

At some point in the last few years, I noticed that my pulse was visible at the wrist. A conspicuous little palpable throbbing. Maybe it always was, and I just didn’t see it. Maybe I’m getting more wiry with age.

All I know is that it is a visible reminder — pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse —

listen to your own.

that steady beat is all that stands between each of us and eternity.

 

 

"RAW and Unique British Rock Style..."

I think my favorite response to “The Day You Were Born” may come from Gerald at RAWDOGGTV, a hip hop site out of Atlanta. He said “…gave your music a listen: RAW AND Unique British Rock Style (Great songs — “The Day You Were Born” could be a hit)”.

It’s gratifying that someone would reach out, unsolicited — and definitely across genres — to praise our work, and adroitly nail its essence. As I said on our facebook page:

“in an age where streaming sales of your music net you $.01 on Spotify, moral victories are sometimes the only compensation you get — and Gerald’s note is a big boost to us!”

TDYWB has also caught the attention of “Psychedelic Baby” magazine, from Slovenia. As well as radio stations from Chicago to Chattanooga to St. Louis to Yuma to Colorado Springs, as well as the UK; joining the list of stations both here and abroad that have featured The DOVES music on their playlists.

We appreciate all of them. Links to their websites can be accessed by scrolling down our facebook page.

 

 

Springtime in Macon

The DOVES gave our annual Cherry Blossom Festival performance today. We had a lovely time, as always. A steady breeze, building clouds, and temps in the 70s — along with the midway and open air soundstage and massive PA in Macon’s historic Central City Park — made for a perfect atmosphere. And the rain held off until we were done. We played an hour — here’s the set list (all are originals, unless designated; and can be accessed on our website, unless Not Yet Recorded [NYR]:

Maybe Tomorrow (NYR)
The Same Time (YouTube only)
Out of the Wood
Why Did You Hurt Me?
Nancy Whiskey (Traditional)
Mad World (Tears For Fears)
The Day You Were Born (video in progress)
It’s Not Unusual (Tom Jones)
Some More Than Others
Everybody’s Happy But Me
Pulse (NYR)
I Will (The Beatles)
Blessed Are You (NYR)

The band before us was really good — I wish could tell you their name. They closed with a cover of “Fly Me Courageous” by Drivin’ and Cryin’. Damn, I’d forgotten how good that song is! Almost done with the vid for “The Day You Were Born”.  The accompanying pic is from a previous CBF performance -- "Wild and Strange" and "Shut My Mouth" vids are clickable on the right sight of this page; and songs can be downloaded at the "AUDIO" tab.

 

Catching Up

It’s been awhile since our last entry — it’s time to get caught up.

The DOVES were recently featured in John Holland’s blog, “Voices to Hear” — “the best music you’ve never heard”. 
http://www.avoicetohear.com


Last week we were added to the radio lineup of South Waves Radio, located on the beautiful southern coast of England, about 75 miles south of London. A very cool station in Sussex. 
http://www.southwavesradio.co.uk

We offered “King of Kings” to the world back in early September. We have received some enthusiastic and encouraging response from it, for which we are truly grateful. It was our hope — well, mine, anyway — that KoK would be widely embraced, and distributed across Christendom; for worship and devotion: public, congregational, and personal. Our gift to the Kingdom.

That was the plan. But the Lord has yet to sign off on it — so far, at any rate, that has not been the case.

I joined a plethora of “Christian” Facebook groups, dutifully posting a link to KoK on each one. Some of these groups have 25K members. Others only a few hundred. It seemed like a good way to promote the song and vid, to an audience who would be receptive and likely to enjoy it. I imagined it was possible that the song might get widely shared, and if not go viral, then at least undergo a mild contagion.

It hasn’t. And I’m somewhat mystified as to why. I really don’t understand Facebook; and am no enthusiast of it. It seems a repository of the shallow and simple-minded; a superficial reflection of our superficial culture. It doesn’t increase my estimation of it that my own personal page was disabled, because I was using it, along with others, to promote The DOVES. That violates some arcane, arbitrary set of rules. An incoherent form of legalism, considering what’s permitted on there.

I was even accused on one of the Christian pages of being a “spammer” — presumably because I had made the same post of KoK on quite a number of pages. I guess for some people, Facebook is a hobby; and people are usually far more fastidious and vigilant in regard to their hobbies than their jobs.

So be it.

Right now, Trena and I are in the process of compiling a new batch of material. We have the music beds completed on three tunes — “Pulse”, “The Day You Were Born”, and “Set in Stone”. They await our finished vocals, held up by extended bouts of bronchitis. With me, that’s not such a big deal. But it is with Miss Thang — “The Voice”.

We picked up a bug on the plane (always) on our trip to Oregon in early December, and it is persistent.

Can’t wait to get those in the bag; along with the other two (and perhaps three) earmarked for our first compilation release since the “Day (One)” EP — “Maybe Tomorrow” and “Let Me Go”.

As usual, the only things the tracks have in common is Trena and me.

I’m handling the recording and mixing this time; along with the instruments, including bass, keyboards — and, of course guitar. I will be accompanied by my new BFF Kyle, who is resident in the garageband program on my updated MacBook Air. The cat can play.

Joey Stuckey, our long time collaborator (Shadow Sound Studios — engineering, production, and bass) and local musical genius, will handle the mastering for the project. It’s hard to imagine attempting anything in the field of recorded music without Joey’s input and support.

So — Lord willing, we’ll begin vocals soon, and have this project completed and to you by early spring!

 

 

One last thing -- I just put this post on some local music Facebook pages, as well as our own:

________________

A tune from our first album, “Day (One)”. I was at Shadow Sound Studios one afternoon, when Joey (Stuckey) played me a tune he was collaborating on with an artist in Detroit [a long distance, Was (Not Was) sort of thing]. It was a musical bed for the guy’s song; who would then overdub his vocals in the Motor City. It floored me. I thought, “I gotta do me a little electronica!” I had a song that had been bouncing around for a long time. It had never been played except on acoustic guitar — strummed triplets, to simulate the synth bed in my imagination. I brought it to Joey, and asked him if he could make something of it. Boy, could he. And he did. 
Here is “a song that addresses loneliness, suffering, and the universal need for love within the spiritual void of the post-modern landscape”: “Some More Than Others”

 

"King of Kings"

Well, it’s taken awhile — but we finally completed our “King of Kings” project. If “Why Did You Hurt Me?” is “straight from the heart”, then this one — “King of Kings” — is “straight from the Spirit.” At least, that is our hope.

We’ve taken everything we’ve learned in the last few years in terms of audio and visual production, and thrown it into this project. We pray it will be an honor and a blessing to The Kingdom. If you like it, and think that others might, as well — would you consider sharing it? Perhaps on your Facebook page, or as an email?

A dear loved one of mine and Trena’s commented, in regard to WDYHM, that “none of our songs sound the same”. That is not so much by design, as that we simply try to create music that we like, and hope other people might, too. I think it’s safe to say that “King of Kings” is unlike anything else we’ve done so far. We like it, and are grateful to have been given the opportunity to produce it. And we hope that you like it, too.

Here is some more info about the tune, from our “CD Baby” entry:

________________________________

W. Wade and Trena Stooksberry (The DOVES) depart from their regular fare of trans-genre “sad songs”, blues, and introspective retro pop-rock (“Why Did You Hurt Me?”, “Shut My Mouth”, “Mirage”, "Wild and Strange”, “Everybody’s Happy But Me”, et. al.) to take a Gospel turn with their latest effort, “King of Kings”.

“King of Kings” is an old-fashioned, drop-beat, stomp-your-feet praise and worship song: marked by its stately, unhurried rhythm; underpinned by the rhythm section of Joey Stuckey’s sinewy bass line, and Tim Alexander’s syncopated kick drum and choice percussion. Joe Turner’s keyboards add a soaring element that puts you in the pew of “that old time religion”, as does Trena’s angelic “choir”, which supports Wade’s calm, halcyon vocal melody.

“With a name like The DOVES, we get asked if we’re a Christian act,” said Wade. “It is not overtly evident from our body of work. I always tell folks ‘we don’t make “Christian music”. We’re Christians who make music.’ ‘King of Kings’ is an exception — and, I guess, puts the question to rest.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. — John 1:1-3

“The idea with ‘King of Kings’ is to extol Jesus Christ as the Creator of ‘time and space, energy’ — our dimensional environment, and shared reality; which we know now is but a limited, bounded subset of a larger, ‘hyperdimensional’, spiritual one,” Wade continued. “That’s an office that is frequently overlooked in our praise of Him; and an exclusive attribute of His that we wanted to focus on. It is because He is our Creator, that He can be our redeemer.”

He offered the following on his own creative process regarding the song: “Some songs, you really have to go after. You might get the germ of an idea, and then knuckle down to follow where that idea needs to go.”

“ ‘King of Kings’ is one of those songs that came in a moment of inspiration. It practically wrote itself. It’s the first unapologetically ‘Christian’ song I’ve written; and it came along during a period in my personal walk where I was beginning to understand who Jesus truly is: not just a worthy teacher, or good role model, or radical prophet. But ‘very God of very God’; the ‘voice of the Burning Bush’; the self-existent, uncreated ‘I AM’ (John 8:58).”

“That occurred at a definite point along the way — my personal journey from what could be called a ‘typical’ atheistic materialism, that rejects the category of the spiritual, and relegates God to the imaginary — to the gradual realization that ‘everything that has a beginning must have a cause’. And since the universe has a beginning, it must have a Cause, a Creator. Of course, that is a pretty intellectual approach to faith; which is really a matter of the ‘heart’, or soul — the whole person. There were experiential events in my life that turned me towards Christ, in addition to the intellectual arguments of men like C. S. Lewis. A lot of the music I’ve written over the years draws on those experiences, I think; and I now can see they trace an arc from unbelief to faith.”

“And the awesome thing — the God-blessed thing — is that I’ve had Trena by my side for the whole journey. And that we are ‘equally yoked’. And she can sing pretty good, too,” he said with a smile. “And is a terrific songwriter.”

______________

 

Oh So Close...

The DOVES new video, “Why Did You Hurt Me?" is now on YouTube.  We think it captures the message, and the flavor, of the song, which is addressed in more detail below. It was an interesting video to put together, to say the least. Trena and I want to express our appreciation to Joe Turner and his Epic Audio Recording Studio (EARS) for his assistance with the project. Couldn’t have done it without ya, Joe! Joe is an awesome musician, writer, and engineer, and a solid brother in Christ.

And, of course, if handing out appreciation, we can’t do so without props to our dear friend Joey Stuckey. Joey has been a mentor to us — and a huge number of Middle Georgia artists — in addition to recording our entire body of work at his fabulous Shadow Sound Studios (Trena and I appear at the 20 min. mark). And his unsurpassed bass playing has graced every song of ours that has drums and bass. He truly is a legend, and an incredible artist in his own right, and producer and engineer and overall maestro. And we’re blessed to be associated with him.

 

 

Speaking of that association, Joey encouraged us to submit an entry for the “Macon Music CD Vol. 1” contest, sponsored by NewTown Macon. The top 10 submissions got included in the compilation. We were number 11, out of about 50.

Mixed feelings about that. Obviously, we would love to have been included, and it would have been a career boost for us. But it’s hard not to take a measure of pride in being so close, in an area that is as traditionally talent-rich as Macon and Middle Georgia, going back to before Lena Horne, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Capricorn, and all the others cited in our Bio.

I take particular satisfaction in our placement, considering our music really doesn’t fit into any pat categories, or reflect a strong regional influence. For example, it would be hard to find a comparison for “Mirage”, the song we entered, due to its varied influences, which even includes a little Jethro Tull-ish flourish near the end. I can’t help but wonder if “Wild and Strange” or “Angeline” or “Shut My Mouth” or “Everybody’s Happy But Me” or “Why Did You Hurt Me?” (if it had been recorded) might have finish “in the money”.

At any rate — our congratulations and best wishes to those on the CD; and appreciation to NTM for the opportunity.

Now it’s on to the video for “King of Kings”, and its launch. And the next project, which we’re eager to get rolling on: “The Day You Were Born”:

“There doesn’t seem to be another way out
Keep on pushing forward like the day you were born
A universe of loneliness surrounds me
Staggers and astounds me like the day I was born

I want you
To show me
I need proof
So show me…”

(more to come)
_________________

All the best,
Wade and Trena

Our First Blog Entry -- "Why Did You Hurt Me?"

thedovesback2backThe DOVES are excited about the release of our latest single, “Why Did You Hurt Me?” – the first to be launched on our brand new website!  You can hear the track in its entirety (and get more info) at the “AUDIO” tab on this page.  We’re in production of the video right now – our first video collaboration, with the supremely talented Joe Turner, through the auspices of his Epic Audio Recording Studio (EARS).  Heretofore, I’ve been putting the vids together using iMovie, with my ancient but trusty and battle-tested MacBook.  Joe – who is an extraordinary keyboardist, as well as producer, engineer, and proprietor at EARS – plays keys on our upcoming full-bore gospel recording, “King of Kings”, which is in post production as I type this.  He also gives us Hi-Def capability on the WDYHM vid, which is a first for us.

Trena and I made the announcement of the song’s release last week on this site and on facebook.  By the way, the song is one of Trena’s; and I should probably point out that it is neither directed to, nor about, yours truly.  The release of new material is always a joyful event in the life of an artist; representing the culmination and fruition of a lot of effort, of which the initial moment of inspiration is just the beginning.  The song has been getting a good reception.  One of our close friends, whose opinion we trust and admire, said “Trena was made to sing that song.”  

It is a song that, we believe, expresses a pretty universal feeling.  Almost all of us have, at some time and in some way, had occasion to think or say “hey man – why you treatin’ me like that?  What’d I do to you to make you treat me that way?”

Because it seems that it is part of living in this world that sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions – and sometimes deliberately, because of our worst – we wind up hurting each other.  It just seems that no matter what, there will be times when, either idiomatically or literally, the swinging of one person’s fist will coincide with the position of another person’s nose.

That being the case, the song takes on a rather urgent poignancy to us:  because our joy over its release is tempered by the events in Charleston, in which nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ were slain in yet another recurrence of senseless evil – an act which has preoccupied the media for the last week; its examination focused on the same questions that these atrocities always elicit:  “why?”  “How?”

The DOVES are just a little musical duo, whose music is our small attempt to express our perception of the world around us.  But since this is our first blog entry, on our new website; and since the timing of our new release has transpired simulatneously with what happened in Charleston, which is part of that big world which surrounds us –

it compels us to point out the following, with the hope that it is honoring to those who lost their lives, and to those who mourn their loss.  

Because whenever an atrocity such as the recent church shootings in Charleston occurs, the same questions are always focused on the killer.  “How could he have done it?  What makes a person do such a thing?”  I don’t know how a person can take a weapon, and murder several innocent people.  But I know what causes it.  It is the same impulse that makes us see another person as having no (or limited) value; especially in relation to ourselves.  Fortunately for us all, that universal impulse is rarely expressed as pathologically as in the mass slayings we’re all too familiar with.  But it is expressed in the banality of evil.  The robber who slays the clerk, almost as an afterthought.  The dreary litany of shootings listed virtually every day in the newspaper -- blessedly, only a few of which are lethal.  It is an impulse as old as Cain.  It inspires the entire history of “us against them”.  It produces domestic violence, barroom brawls, and suicide bombers.  

The Bible teaches that “murder begins in the heart” (Matthew 5:21,22; 15:19).  It is from the “heart” of man – his central being – that hatred and anger spring.  To be truly angry with someone – not merely annoyed; but to wish them harm – is to devalue them, if only for a moment.  How can you wish harm to a creature of God, created “in His image” (that is, a creature who shares a likeness with its creator; the way your photograph is a likeness of you)?  It is necessary to forget, or to deny, that likeness.

When an entire society forgets or denies both our likeness to God, and God himself; and that denial is systemized into its constructs: then that leads directly to the gulag.  And to the gas chamber.

Is it any accident that as our society becomes more distant from the faith that informed it for generations, that incidents such as Charleston become more frequent?  Along with the mundane mayhem that fills the ‘local’, ‘state’, and ‘national’ sections of the paper?  So ubiquitous as to no longer be shocking?

They are the expressions of a completely anti-God state of mind. 

Unless, and until, we are given “new hearts” (Ezekiel 36:26), then the same question will be asked, again and again:  “why, why – why did you hurt me?”

The DOVES thank God for His forgiveness for our daily trespasses, which hurt Him and others.  And for the forgiveness shown by the survivors, family, and friends of the victims in Charleston, which could not be more beautifully exemplary of their faith.

RSS feed