_ It's almost 7:30 Friday night now and I've missed most of the set with Sidewalk Prophets. Back on my computer that's not behaving there are three albums from this group, all with more 5-starred songs than the majority of my albums. You might think that's because I listen to a lot of Christian music and you wouldn't be far from being right, but the whole truth is, I listen to just about everything and a big portion of that is right there in the muck and mire of the world.
_ I've been a paid disc jockey since I was in the 8th grade. Armed with a portable turntable, a cassette player, some crudely rigged wiring to output the sound to a small electric guitar amp, 4 Air Supply records, K-Tel's "Heart of Rock" LP, and three or four mix-tapes recorded off the radio, my class elected me to DJ our 8th grade semi-formal. Since that time, I've collected a couple thousand CD's, albums and digital releases from iTunes totalling nearly 20,000 tracks. At heart, I'm a classic rocker, a closet techno and dance enthusiast, and you might even catch me listening to fusion jazz or country, but I probably will deny it if you ask me about the country stuff.
_ Why so many five-stars on these guys?
_ That question is best answered as I tell you that those computer problems I'd been having all day, well, I was supposed to let that go, get into the mix and just shoot, let God have His way with me worshipping on the mountain and letting Him pour out His love for me as I raise up songs to His Name. But I didn't do that right away. After Pablo LaTorre from Compassion International wrapped up, I thought I'd try just one more time to catch up on the editing, posting and real-time marketing we were trying to get done backstage. I thought I'd go back and pick up what I was supposed to put down an hour ago and struggle with it one more time. What was supposed to take ten minutes quickly consumed nearly the entire time Sidewalk Prophets were on stage.
_ Ever catch yourself doing that? Yeah. I do that all the time too.
_ So you'll see that there's only a few shots of this band that I hold in high regard. You'll also notice they aren't that sharp. There's a bit of shake in the image, I didn't get the focus quite right. In short, I botched the whole set by beating myself up again for something still not in my control. Check out River Rock Festival's Facebook album that Joe McKenney shot most of. Those images are amazing. There's a reason he's a pro and the lead photographer on this project.
_ But the lack of images is not due to my moping around, beating myself up, or my timing. I could have clicked off a few dozen more shots at the end of their set. I just didn't. As I got up to the stage, the music consumed me. The lyrics drove home what I'd been resisting all day and I found myself hands raised, resting the camera by my side and just letting it all wash away. I went running back like a prodigal.
_ The three albums on my iTunes that Sidewalk Prophets have produced are all Something Different. "Live Like That" reminds me of where I need to be heading in my relationship with Christ. "Something Different" is a collection that challenges me to stop worrying about the little things and just get back to being right with him. It comes from the heart and it's healing to a broken one. "These Simple Truths" is the oldest and my favorite of the three. To me, it's all about connecting with biblical truth and a reality unjaded by the world and it's twisted views about right and wrong and who is in charge. Unlike so much of my collection of music, these three albums strip away the world. They excel with a style of music that recharges me. The songs get under my skin and leave me singing words that reaffirm the kingdom, rather than glorifying a world that is lost.
_ So I came close to missing another great thing reserved to recharge and heal me, because I refused to give up the distraction. Someone once said, "Music is food for the soul." I didn't know just how hungry I was before I arrived at River Rock. I begin to wonder if snapping pictures was a distraction I should have put down too. "Come, sit down at his feet and be with him." Gotta find a way to meet him with empty hands, outstretched arms and nothing that can take our focus from what He wants to do in us. Like a prodigal with nothing, we need to find a way to run back home.
_ There's a hint I might be welcome on the team again next year, to shoot and to participate and I know that I'd like to do it again, but if you've come this far on the journey with me, I'll ask you now. What's stopping you from booking the date? 2017's River Rock is July 7th and 8th. You can lounge in the shadow of the mountain with a spectacular view of Maine's scenery, soak up all the goodness of a weekend in worship and spend less on tickets than you would to see one band for a couple hours. http://www.riverrockfestival.com - I suspect you won't have to fight with a computer that won't cooperate. You won't even need to work. There might not be a fatted calf waiting, but the celebration in store for you is worth turning your back on the world and its distractions even if it's only for a couple of days.
_Be the story in 2017: http://www.riverrockfestival.com
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