Matthew Smith & "Can't Help Myself"

Matthew Smith was in Crystal Lake, IL last night and thanks to some generous church members my family was able to go. I've known of Matthew and Indelible Grace for a long time, and preached at Michael Spencer's (iMonk) school in 2006 alongside Matthew's worship leading. What's remarkable about Matthew is that he sounds as good or better live than his recordings. There's nothing wrong with his recordings. His voice is just true and rich. His music fills our house often, especially on Sunday mornings.

If you don't know Matthew, introduce yourself by checking out his albums All I Owe or Watch the Rising Day. Here's Matthew playing "Reedemed, Restored, Forgiven."

And let me add a video to the opening song from his concert last night. It's really the one song that's stuck in my head from last night. It's not a video from the concert or a recording by Matthew. It's Sandra McCracken from In Feast or Fallow with "Can't Help Myself." Just beautiful. Loved Matthew's version a lot. Lyrics are below and if you don't know the song I encourage you to follow along.

"Can't Help Myself"

I confess the things I am afraid of:
thorns and danger just around the bend
I pray for tongues of fire and bands of angels
to come and circle 'round me like a fence
I lift my eyes to the hills, where comes my help?
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself; no, I can't help myself

My enemies surround me like an army--
within, without, the battle's raging on
I pray the Spirit will be strong and mighty
for courage through the night until the dawn
I lift my eyes to the hills, where comes my help?
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself; no, I can't help myself

Oh trust the Lord--my soul and all that is in me--
oh trust the light to show your darkest parts
With wounds of truth and love, a friend who has known me;
a fool would keep his secrets in his heart
I lift my eyes to the hills; here comes my help
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself, can't help myself
Can't help myself; no, I can't help myself; I can't help myself

The Gray Havens | Live Stream Concert

Live stream The Gray Havens 1 hour Kickstarter Kick-Off show tonight at 7pm (central). I'll remind you via Twitter & other social media later on as well. You can still get their Where Eyes Don't Go EP for FREE. And check out their new Kickstarter campaign and video describing what's in the works for The Gray Havens.

Live streaming video by Ustream

Jack White | Austin City Limits

Here's one of the great rock stars of our time playing a full set of his music live, including songs from my #4 album of 2012. He's better live than on recording, and that's saying something. Here are songs from Jack White's solo album, Blunderbuss, as well as songs from White Stripes, Raconteurs, & Dead Weather. UPDATE: I can't seem to get the full set to embed, so here's the 20 minute preview which is also great. See full video here.

Watch Jack White on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Once Soundtrack | $3.99

Once Soundtrack might be the best soundtrack ever, and it's $3.99 today only. Glen Hansard (of The Frames) & Markéta Irglová star in the movie and create the music. If you need convincing, here are two of my favorite songs, "Leave" (live, Hansard) and "Lies" (via the Soundtrack, from both artists). Consider yourself convinced.

Brandi Carlile Live at Benaroya Hall

One of my favorite singer-songwriters, Brandi Carlile, has a new live album coming out. Here it is streaming in full exclusively at Paste. We've seen Brandi live in concert twice and this album captures her live show beautifully.

Shearwater | The Island Arc


You can stream free the new live album from Shearwater, The Island Arc. Or buy it, 10 tracks for $8. One of my favorite bands. Just listen to the first track, "Hail Mary," to find out why. Amazing mix of fragile melodies and vocals that often explode into confident proclamations. These songs are pulled from a 3 hour concert...

On January 15, 2011, Shearwater presented the three albums of their thematically-linked 'Island Arc' Trilogy - Palo Santo, Rook, and The Golden Archipelago - in a sold-out, 3-hour epic concert with longtime friends and collaborators at Austin's Central Presbyterian Church. This album consists of excerpts from that concert, mixing favorites like "Hail, Mary" and "The Snow Leopard" with rarely-performed tracks like "Lost Boys," "Going is Song", and "Missing Islands".

Millennium Park FREE Concerts


I attended with Sarah (14) the free Besnard Lakes concert at Millennium Park in Chicago last summer. It was a fun trip in on the train and we loved the concert. The free concert list is up for this summer and it's a great one. From the Trib...

...10 free concerts at 6:30 p.m. Mondays from May 23 through July 25. The lineup will include the following performers:

May 23: Bonnie “Prince” Billy featuring the Cairo Gang and special guest

May 30: Justin Townes Earle, Andre Williams and the Goldstars

June 6: Iron and Wine and special guest

June 13: Headliner to be announced and Campbell Brothers

June 20: Kings Go Forth, Ben L’Oncle Soul

June 27: Low and special guest

July 4:  Seefeel and special guest

July 11: Delicate Steve and Bombino

July 18:  Blonde Redhead and special guest

July 25:  Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Rachel Ries

Damien Jurado | Tiny Desk Concert

I saw Damien Jurado in concert a few years back. His band was opening for Okkervil River. The show was compelling, but I really didn't dig into his music right away. I liked his 2009 album, Caught In The Trees. But his latest release, Saint Bartlett, is what made me a fan. Here's his recent Tiny Desk Concert. Hear Ya calls Jurado "wildly underrated." Maybe so. If you are looking for slick, super-polished, and ready to sell--this isn't it. It's a dude, his guitar, and good songwriting. Enjoy!

Samantha Barks as Eponine

My family loves to watch and listen to Les Miserables. We own the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert DVD. Today we've been watching the The 25th Anniversary Concert and I was taken by Samantha Barks' rendidtion of "On My Own" from the character, Eponine (Lea Salonga is also amazing on the 10th Anniversary edition). It's one of my all time favorite songs, and it's here for you. Lyrics are below if it's new to you. Also look to DVR the concert as it's showing on PBS right now.

And now I'm all alone again nowhere to go, no one to turn to
I did not want your money sir, i can not hear 'cause i was told to
But now the night is near
And I can make believe he's here

Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping
I think of him and then I'm happy
With the company I'm keeping
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head

On my own, pretending he's beside me
All alone I walk with him till morning
Without him, I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And he has found me

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is him and me forever and forever

And I know it's only in my mind
That I'm talking to myself and not to him
And although I know that he is blind
Still I say, there's a way for us

I love him, but when the night is over
He is gone,
The river's just a river
Without him the world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers

I love him, but every day I'm learning
All my life I've only been pretending
Without me his world would go on turning
A world that's full of happiness that I have never known

I love him
I love him
I love him
But only on my own