From the blog

New music is coming from Vandalia River!

I have a new piano solo for you.

There is a moment in late winter when the wind brings warmth, and you know that this time the weather isn’t teasing. The trees are still skeletal, but the new grass glows…

Turning thunder into song

My father surprised me one night by telling me he liked thunder. I didn't like thunder. Thunder made me feel like unseen powers were about to crush my bedroom between their hands. Thunder made me rise and go to my…

Playlist Round-Up

I was nursed on light jazz and CCM, weaned on secular and Christian rock-alternative, tutored by Bach and Beethoven (and spanked by Rachmaninoff), described by Sara Groves, and charmed by samba, bluegrass, Yo-Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer. 

In my late…

A poem for Daylight Savings

This week in March, three hundred eighty-seven years ago, a country parson in England finished his race with Time. Shortly before, he had given his unpublished poetry to a friend. That country parson was George Herbert, and his poetry, published…

Let them not sing alone

"No one knows exactly what day, or year, Scott Joplin was born." 

The fact fell on me like a sand bag. My daughter and I were listening to the umpteenth episode of the Classics for Kids podcast and so far…

Songs that fascinate me

Sometimes certain songs become a kind of study. Here are a few that have my attention either because of the composition, mix, or instrumentation. 

“Siren” by Samuel Sim was the theme music to the British Home Fires series. A female…

Poem for a birthday

The poetry of Christina Rossetti doesn’t tower like that of some others in the British tradition, but it has a pointed strength nonetheless. My eyes fell on her short “A Birthday” in early 2018. 

My heart is like a singing

Vandalia River is now on Pandora

Vandalia River is now on Pandora radio! This means you can choose Vandalia River or a particular Battlescapes track and create a station based on that style. The more that Pandora listeners do that type of thing, the more likely…

Music is a servant

Music is a servant. Sometimes it is center-stage, but usually it’s supplementing some other thing. It’s the soundtrack to a film, or the animator of a dance, or the atmosphere of a party, or the distraction-soothing ambience of the office. 

Wrapping up winter break

The collective wisdom of successful songwriters and producers seems to be quantity. Make stuff. You’ve got to craft stuff to craft better. I also once read an exchange that went something like this:

“I have some ideas that would make

What I learned in jail

“Her name’s Becky.”

That’s the description I once heard of the average listener of Christian radio. 

Having answered to that name before, I searched inside for a witty comeback and never found one. 

I’m not enamored with the music of…

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