Dallin Crump

music

For several years I've been paying for a Family plan with Apple Music for me, my wife, and my son.

I've been willing to pay the $14.99 per month ($16.04 including tax) for this family plan because of the convenience in being able to listen to their vast music library ad-free, on-demand, on a variety of devices.

Last week I received an email from Apple informing me that, starting in November, they are raising the price of this plan from $14.99 to $16.99 per month.

Over the past three years I've paid $577.44 for this service. Over the next three I'll pay approximately $650 with this price increase. I have to seriously consider whether it's really been worth what I've paid thus far and whether it will be worth paying even more.

Despite my frustrations with streaming services – particularly the fact that albums and songs that you may have added to your own “library” can disappear without warning at any time due to licensing agreements – I have to admit the convenience and selection are probably still worth paying for even with the price increase.

My wife and son probably use Apple Music more than I do, and they both enjoy it. And most of the time I enjoy it, too. If we didn't use Apple Music, we'd probably use a similar service like Spotify. Can we live with out it? Sure. And we would if we needed the money more than the service. But for now, we'll keep it.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but I personally prefer to hedge my bets. I'm a big fan of Bandcamp and regularly purchase and download music from there. And if there is an album I particularly like and I want to ensure I can listen to it when I desire, I will purchase it on CD, if available. I've been burned too many times by disappearing content on streaming services.

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#100DaysToOffload (No. 34) #tech #music

I've been a fan of the band Dirty Loops for years. I was looking for YouTube videos featuring their bassist, Henrik Linder (who is an absolute BEAST), and stumbled across a video that had been buried by the YouTube algorithm, but deserves to be seen and heard!

Check it out: Henrik Linder and The Effect – mini concert

It's a jazz fusion project and, as the video title suggests, they indeed put on a mini concert of four tunes for a performance just under 31 minutes.

The impressive thing is that it's uncut – a straight single take where they play four tunes in succession. The camera work is nothing to rave about (the camera should always be pointed at the soloists!), but the music is excellent. This trio knows what they are doing and the musicianship and synergy are a joy to experience. Seriously, it's good enough to be an EP.

This is a more subdued Henrik Linder on bass than I'm used to seeing (Dirty Loops tends to push things over the top in the best way possible), but he's no less impressive in skill and musicality. This guy may very well be my favorite bassist of all time.

I had never heard of his band mates before seeing this video, but I came away equally impressed – Henrik obviously surrounds himself with spectacular musicians.

Jonathan Lundberg on drums doesn't just keep time or lay down a beat, he weaves a percussive tapestry, leaving plenty of space for the guitar and bass interweave their own threads.

Carl Mörner Ringström sure can put together some insanely technical and stratospheric electric guitar riffs. But the harmonies and effects he does when the spotlight isn't on him also add something essential to the songs.

The first three tunes of the set were written by the guitarist, Ringström, the last by the drummer, Lundberg.

I've listened to the entire set all the way through at least four times now, including as I write this post. I enjoy it more every time I listen to it.

If you're into jazz fusion – or even if you're not – it's worth giving this a listen. If you only want to try one tune, the last one Nebula is my favorite.

Discuss... ___ #100DaysToOffload (No. 19) #music

A few days ago I was listening to the General Conference talk by Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt who spoke about the many names of Jesus Christ.

He said:

Just as Jesus knows each of us by name, one way we can come to better know Jesus is by learning His many names. Like the names of Israel and Peter, many of Jesus’s names are titles that help us understand His mission, purpose, character, and attributes. As we come to know Jesus’s many names, we will come to better understand His divine mission and His selfless character. Knowing His many names also inspires us to become more like Him—to develop Christlike attributes that bring joy and purpose to our lives.

As I listened to this talk, my musical mind traveled back in time 20 years to my full-time missionary service in Brazil. It was there that I was first introduced to a recording of The Garden: An Allegorical Oratorio. With lyrics by Michael McLean and music by Bryce Neubert, it is beautiful and moving. There is no spoken word – the story is told completely through music. It's an allegory about Jesus Christ from the perspective of four objects in the Garden of Gethsemane, each with unique troubles:

  • A seed that can't grow.
  • A ram caught in a thicket.
  • An olive tree that can't produce fruit.
  • A millstone that has no feelings.

Each of them sings a song explaining their dire circumstances. And to make matters worse, there's a snake slithering around and quite happy about the sorry state of the garden.

Then a Gardener comes and brings hope. He tells the garden's beleaguered residents about someone who will come to help them. The song the Gardener sings is called The Man With Many Names. And it was this very song that began playing in my mind as Elder Schmitt spoke.

That evening I listened to the song for the first time in probably a decade or more, and it moved me just as much as it did the first time I heard it. I listened intently to the lyrics as I reflected on all of the beautiful talks and music about Jesus Christ I had heard during General Conference.

There is One who to this garden comes Like a most unusual rain Drink it in and never thirst again Living Water is His name

There is One who comes to find each one Who has lost his way again He will lead the way back to the fold The Good Shepherd is His name

There is One who when your crying's done Gives the gift you've never known He'll give fruit because He is the Vine And life, for He's the Living Stone

He is known by oh so many names And will be forever more Hope comes from the One with many names And He's not forgotten yours

No, He's not forgotten yours

I won't spoil the rest of the story for you (though you may already have an idea of how it ends), but it's well worth a listen if you can find a digital or physical copy (which I have discovered is sadly not easy to do these days).

I'm thankful for this divine blast from the past. Only God could have brought a memory made 20 years ago to the surface at the perfect moment. It reminded me that God is and has always been aware of and concerned about me and what I do with my life. As the song says, He hasn't forgotten my name. It reminded me of the powerful testimony of Jesus Christ I gained during my 2-year missionary service, and which has grown steadily since.

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#100DaysToOffload (No. 18) #music #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist

Jamey Johnson performing at the Grand Ole Opry on 9/20/2022

I've never been a fan of country music. Until now.

It's not that I have particularly disliked it or avoided it, but it's never really resonated with me. Yet music has always been an important part of my life.

My father was a high school and elementary school band director for 40 years, my mother sings and plays the piano. Music was always in our home. I started taking piano lessons at a young age and took up the clarinet in 4th grade. Later branching out to the saxophone, flute, even a little percussion, all the way through college, my educational experience revolved around my participation in concert band, marching band, solos and ensembles, jazz bands, jazz combos, and anything else related to instrumental music. Music is in my blood. I just never took particular interest in country music.

In recent years, however, I have discovered Bluegrass music. I had a co-worker a few years back who loved Bluegrass and even liked to get together with folks to play it. He tipped me off to a few Bluegrass bands and something about it spoke to me. I love the folk-heavy acoustic sound, tight vocal harmonies, and often Christian themes to the lyrics. There's even an improvisational aspect to it that appeals to me as a longtime fan of jazz music. But I still didn't feel drawn to more mainstream country music.

Then I saw a show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. I live in Utah and work full-remote for a company based in Nashville. My company brought me in for a week to visit the corporate office and meet and work with people in-person. My father, who in retirement has moved to Nashville and become a tour guide for the Grand Ole Opry House, took me to see the Tuesday night show on 9/20/2022.

It was phenomenal.

Ticket and program from the Grand Ole Opry

The lineup for the evening was:

  • Jeannie Seely
  • Hailey Whitters
  • Dailey & Vincent
  • We The Kingdom
  • Charles Esten
  • John Crist
  • Jamey Johnson

I knew Daily & Vincent from their Bluegrass albums, and I knew Charles “Chip” Esten was one of the regulars on the Drew Carey version of the improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but I had never heard of the others. Regardless, there was not a single bad performance. Every act was fantastic and enjoyable.

What struck me was the variety. Before my Opry experience, I had what you might call a stereotypical perception of what country music is and what it sounds like. But every act was different – different styles, instrumentation, sound – they had different vibes. Some used the house band. Others brought their own. One just brought his voice and a guitar.

Jeannie Seely – who just celebrated her 55th anniversary as a member of the Opry – opened the show with classic country flair.

Hailey Whitters – a new and budding artist – brought youth and spunk with her hit Everything She Ain't.

Daily & Vincent departed from their Bluegrass roots and played a few tunes from their new country album. They were fantastic, both as musicians and vocalists, and were one of the highlights of the evening for me. They also got to talk a bit about their new cover of I'll Leave My Heart in Tennessee being made a new state song for the state of Tennessee.

We The Kingdom brought a lot of energy with their Christian rock sound. They were all over the stage and I saw a lot of believers in the audience in full praise and worship mode. Definitely the most energetic act of the night.

Charles Esten sounded great – I had no idea he had this kind of talent. His duet with Julia Cole singing Worst Day was particularly memorable.

Jon Crist – a comedian – was hilarious and had the audience laughing pretty much his whole act.

But they saved the best for last with Jamey Johnson. I had never heard him before. He walked intentionally onto the stage with only his guitar and his voice – no band, no backup singers. A man of few words, his performance was just breathtaking. The audience particularly loved his rendition of In Color. And he ended with a stirring tribute to fallen military members called 21 Guns. He got a standing ovation as he quickly thanked the audience walked off the stage.

If there's one thing I learned about country music that night at the Opry, it's that it deserves a spot in my personal music library. From this single show it was obvious there are so many different styles, sounds, and themes in the world of country music. Like any other music genre, some flavors of country may not appeal to you, but others will.

Music from that night at the Opry has been playing in my mind ever since. I looked up the artists, listened to more of their music, and found a lot to appreciate and enjoy.

Later in the week I went on one of my dad's tours at the Opry. I learned more about its history and legacy, what makes it so special, and why artists like Garth Brooks consider their membership in the Grand Ole Opry to be the pinnacle of their career. There's something special about it. I know, because my first visit to the Grand Ole Opry was a special one. And it won't be my last.

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#100DaysToOffload (No. 17) #music