Monthly Archives: January 2010

I’ve been wanting to blog about my time in Uganda but it’s been difficult. Mostly because the feelings and thoughts I have for the people there seem so big and the words I have are so small. But here’s me giving it a shot:

Uganda is beautiful. Kampala is a city born from a lush jungle, full of high rolling hills green as the thousands of banana trees that dominate the landscape. The people of Uganda are happy and hopeful, even in the most desperate situations. They carry about them a glowing joy that fills their singing and shines through brilliant toothy smiles. They’re a people who have learned to adapt, and they live and laugh in the moment. Ugandans love to dress up and can be very dignified in the least dignified of circumstances. It isn’t unusual to see a suit clad gentleman trucking through the trenches of Kampala’s dusty red clay on a motorbike, with his woman, dressed to the nines, always riding side saddle.

I met hundreds of children who love to sing, dance, and drum. Children who love to play soccer and dream of growing up to be doctors and lawyers. But children in Uganda regularly die from diarrhea and other conditions that wouldn’t even get an American kid excused from class. Most of the kids I met didn’t know their fathers. Many of the mothers we met were living with HIV and worried about what would happen to their children after they were gone. More than once we ask a child what he/she wanted to be when they grew up and they told us that they’d never thought about it because they had HIV.

My first reaction to Africa was one of awe at the beauty of the people and the land. But following close behind was an underlying feeling of anger and frustration. How can such a dignified people, so rich in grace and culture also be so completely marginalized?

I wish I had a great way to “wrap this one up”, but the truth is that it’s almost impossible to bring any resolve to this blog when I’m totally unresolved in my heart. Meaning that it’s difficult to think about how my Starbucks budget alone can feed a kid for a year, and my car payment can send a young Ugandan man or woman to law or medical school. I guess what I would have to say is that it isn’t the level of poverty that blows me away it’s our level of ignorance.

Don’t feel guilty. Feel informed. Feel empowered. And for God’s sake do something about it.

You can help: Compassion International

New Tour dates!

Texas, South East, and Midwest Dates. More to be added shortly.

We will be selling different sets of collectors edition vinyl each leg of this tour while supplies last!
Digital Press Kits

… to this guy:

I’ve seen a sliver of success in my short 30 years. says I’m the 5,172nd most popular band on the internet. That’s not famous at all. But I do occasionally get recognized, and sometimes it feels good.

Do I want to be respected for my work? Absolutely. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar, a moron, or has achieved the state of the ultimate fullness of Christ. Still, more than anything, I want to be famous at home.

There are few things in life that are as good as being a legendary dad.

“AllTheBrightLights’ self-titled debut-10-track record uniquely combines this sort of moody vibe with a celestial sound that sonically spells out an underlying theme of redemption... It’s creative. It tells a story– a story of redemption. It’s addictive, but only because of the powerful divine edge that’s unashamedly holds down its foundation musically, spiritually, and creatively. AllTheBrightLights’ record will impact you, move you, and awaken your soul.”
Luke Goddard at The Blue Indian

James Duke (my guitar player /the guy who makes my music good), his brother Jon Duke, and their good friend Jacob Arnold just put out this album called “All The Bright Lights”. If you like moody vibey stuff like Sigur Ros and Explosions In the Sky, you’ll love it.

Go buy it. You’ll thank me.

ALL THE BRIGHT LIGHTS - All the Bright Lights


The ultimate measure of a song comes down to whether or not it moves someone. If a song is going to move someone, it has to start with you. I have many principles that I apply when it comes to writing, but only one rule:

If a song doesn’t move me, then it isn’t a song.

Write music that is, first, meaningful and important to you. If the music doesn’t touch you, then why should it touch anyone else?

As far as “worship” songs go, why would you offer Jesus a song that doesn’t even touch you? Would a song move Jesus if it didn’t even move you? Don’t y0u think he’s worth more than that?

I think it’s the difference in Cain and Able. Able offered something that he valued himself, but Cain only offered what was obligatory. Cain fulfilled a requirement, but still never gave God what God really wanted. I don’t think the object they offered was ever the issue. Though it may have symbolic significance, I don’t think God liked the sheep better than the produce. It was what each offering meant to the giver that God was concerned about. God doesn’t need the sheep or grain. He doesn’t need your song to feel good about himself. He wants you. If you come with the song then God wants the song. Otherwise it’s just an activity, a program… a ritual.