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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Day 4 - "Your Song" by Earl Madary - 25 Days of Christmas Angst

Snow And Choke Cherries
Snow can be beautiful and add beauty. 
It is also cold, unpredictable, and harsh. 
This is one of the conundrums of the natural world
and our relationship to it.
I regret not telling Earl Madary just how much I admired him.  I also regret not keeping in touch with him after I graduated from Viterbo.

Earl was chair of the religious studies and philosophy department at Viterbo University.  He was involved in many other things at Viterbo and in the La Crosse community.  He died December 16, 2007 at the age of 42. 

I was not involved in choir or any of the other non-academic activities that Earl organized, and I only took three classes with him.  Even with this limited amount of interaction, he made such an impact on me that I still think of him often.

And then there is his music.  Earl released two CD's before his death.  All the songs on both are his original works; some are inspired directly from Bible passages.  For example, his song based on Amos 8 is powerful and memorable.

As far as I can tell, Earl's CD's are not for sale at retail anywhere.  There is one used CD of Prodigals available on Amazon for $35.00.  I know that there were only 1000 copies of this CD made and that they all were sold.  If I somehow lost my copy, I wouldn't think twice about purchasing it at $35.00.  Since I don't know how else you might hear "Your Song," I am making this one track available here (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6334339/11%20Your%20Song.mp3).  If anyone reading this knows of another source for Earl's music, please let me know.

Earl's faith was deep and central in his life.  I could never reconcile how such a deep faith could coincide with such a rational outlook.  He was not, however, a zealot in his religious pursuits.  He was accepting and open to everyone.  In many ways he was one of the best examples of being Christ-like I have ever personally known; I continue to respect that he never allowed the fact that he was Christian/Catholic get in the way of that.

He also was deeply connected to nature.  You can read an essay of his about ecospirituality here:
http://www.fspa.org/ecologicaladvocacy/personalreflections/ecospiritualitymadary.html.

In many ways his views seem to be transcendentalist.  "Your Song" is inspired by this same admiration of nature.  It isn't really a Christmas song.  Yet, it is set in winter and it evokes a feeling very similar to "The Christmas Song."  The instrumentation is a single acoustic guitar which gives this track a folk feel.  Combine that with Earl's clear, beautiful voice and you have a very relaxing, reflective look at a winter scene.

Though I don't have the same spiritual connection when I look at a similar scene I share completely the sense of wonder and appreciation of beauty that this song expresses.  Even though I don't connect entirely to the religious aspect of this song, I admire the beauty of the lyrics and the skill of the musical phrasing.

Earl viewed all of us and nature as part of God's symphony.  We are surrounded by noise that often resolves itself into music if you listen closely and long enough.  As long as it doesn't become a reason to exclude, hate, or kill it is fine with me if people want to attribute that noise to a maker.  There are far worse ways to look at the world.  And the music gives us all something to share, a way to connect outside of all differences in faith. 

Your Song
by Earl Madary

Oh, the snow continues to fall,
singing the earth to sleep, tonight.
Twisting melodies fall to earth.
None are the same from their birth.
They sing the gentle song.

Oh, I close my eyes and see
visions of You loving me.
And like the gentle falling snow
this songs the only one I know.

In the distance I see the gentle bluffs.
The snow gathers there on highest ground.
The earth is silent.  All I hear is Your voice
singing in the wind tonight.  There's a great
peace and holiness in Your song.

Oh, I close my eyes and see
visions of You loving me.
And like the gentle falling snow
this songs the only one I know.

Sister Moon illuminates the frozen ground,
creates a field of stars.
And as I fall to sleep I know I love You
my soul and heart is Yours to keep.

Oh, I close my eyes and see
visions of You loving me
and like the gentle falling snow
this songs the only one I'll know
and as the snow sinks to the earth
my God I've loved You from my birth.

25 Days Of Christmas Angst
Day Song Download/Purchase Info
4 "Your Song" by Earl Madary I could not find a digital or physical version of this song available anywhere for sale. So I am making it available for you to listen to.

Click To play in your browser or right click to download.
Some people add much to our lives in such a limited time. Earl Madary is one of those people in my life.
3 "Breath of Heaven" by Vince Gill Buy the CD:

A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary:

note: The song is available only as part of the full album.
Read my blog post for more about this song.
I recommend buying Vince Gill's Christmas album titled, Breath of Heaven: A Christmas Collection. I have only been able to find it available as a physical CD, however.
You can get this one song as an mp3, but you have to purchase the full album listed to the left.
2 "Ave Maria" by Aretha Franklin Buy the full album:

Buy the song:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Don't settle for the version from the This Christmas album. Get the older and better version from One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.
1 "White Christmas" by Uncle Crow
FREE!
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Get this free album from C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply. There are other Christmas cigar box guitar albums discussed here.

Click this link to preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days:  http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas- angst.html
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