Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Rules for the Gospel and Purgatory at CPAC


Did you know that Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy all wrote their own versions of good book? People might not worship the literary giants, but the literary greats might just be bold enough to try their hands in revising the sacred scriptures.

In 2014, a writer for HBO and liberal comic legend Bill Maher, Scott Carter cooked up a brainy romp about legendary figures with the audacity to write their own versions of the Bible. Now, that show has showed up in Cookeville—in the Backstage Series at CPAC, with four more opportunities to catch this stunning run, through this Saturday.  
The Bible is a beautiful collection of stories and poems and profound teachings, if at times a confusing and contradictory canon. But for some reason, the stories in our culture that are the most enduring sometimes elicit the craziest of challenges.

“The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord” is a hefty title, and certainly, audience members versed in literature, history, and theology will pick up on more of the inside references. But you don’t, for example, need to know the ways in which Carter borrows from Sartre to get most of the heady gags.

Three egomaniac philosophers get locked in a barren cell of eternal conversation—what could go wrong?! With three of Cookeville’s most charismatic male leading men filling the roles, it’s truly a battle of the betters who cannot quite best their Creator at the gates of forever, no matter how hard they try. With Dave Johnson as Jefferson, Matthew Wilson as Dickens, and Patrick Mannle as Tolstoy, the seasoned actors embody their roles as though their salvation were at stake. These thespians are all forces of nature with any text to work with, and with Carter’s “Gospel,” they take us to every forward edge, including the edges of our seats.

Behind the scenes we find another local theater stalwart in director Steve Gwilt. After he suffered some personal setbacks during the days leading up to opening night, assistant director Michael “Birdie” Birdwell stepped up to see the show through to the first curtain. Thanks to Birdie, the production is enhanced by a great playlist that any DJ would envy for its sonic message as added subtext. Actors Wilson and Mannle added their expertise to technical and light design respectively.

Of the three revised “gospels,” Thomas Jefferson’s might be the most famous. But placed in conversation with Dickens and Tolstoy, Jefferson’s version is just one attempt to make sense of how portable certain premises of mystery and love are for a world steeped in misery but perpetually seeking liberty. Prepare to be surprised by the moral and emotional weight of what is still a sometimes serious, sometimes silly, comedic sendup. Your views on the afterlife and the Bible might not bend, but fans of Bill Maher’s late night show will be blown away by these new rules.


“The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord” at CPAC. Remaining shows are August 23, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 pm. Call 931-528-1313 for tickets. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Just Another Day (TOTR 268)


Oasis – Champagne Supernova
Radiohead – High & Dry
Chumbawamba – The Good Ship Lifestyle  
Fugees – Ready or Not
Arrested Development – Ache’n For Acres
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Positive
Jewel – Little Sister
Natalie Merchant – Where I Go
Tori Amos – Putting the Damage On
Ani DiFranco – Out of Range
The Cranberries – Dreaming My Dreams
Beck – Hotwax
Pavement – Black Out
Alice In Chains – Brother
The Wallflowers – 6th Avenue Heartache
Toad The Wet Sprocket – Little Heaven
Live – Pillar of Davidson
Wilco – Should’ve Been In Love
Son Volt – Tear Stained Eye
Meat Puppets – Comin Down
Soundgarden – The Day I Tried To Live
John Mellencamp – Just Another Day
R.E.M. – New Test Leper
U2 & Pavarotti – Miss Sarajevo

Monday, August 1, 2016

Trouble / Rise Up (TOTR 267)


Pamela Whitman - Beloved Community
Guy Carawan - Come & Go With Me To That Land
Kris Kristofferson - Why Me
Ron Sexsmith - Get In Line
Ray LaMontagne - Old Before Your Time
Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
Coldplay - Trouble
TV On The Radio - Trouble
Cat Stevens - Trouble
Peter, Paul, & Mary - All My Trials
Joan Baez - Birminham Sunday
Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam
Aaron Neville & Sweet Honey in the Rock - Ella’s Song
Joss Stone - Eyes On The Prize
Annie Lennox - I Put A Spell On You
Lenny Kravitz - Love Revolution
Andra Day - Rise Up
Katy Perry - Rise
U2 - City of Blinding Lights
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered
R.E.M. - I Believe
Bright Eyes - I Believe in Symmetry
Paul Simon & Celtic Woman - Bridge Over Troubled Water
Pete Seeger - I’m On My Way To Canaan’s Land
Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders - The Harder They Come

Monday, July 25, 2016

1976 - Let's Do It Again (TOTR 266)


Paul McCartney & Wings – Let ‘Em In
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Boz Scaggs – Lowdown
Steve Miller Band – Dance, Dance, Dance
Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing
Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
Parliament – Mothership Connection
The Sylvers – Boogie Fever
Johnnie Taylor – Disco Fever
Stevie Wonder – Black Man
The Staple Singers – Let’s Do It Again
Starland Vocal Band – American Tune
Jimmy Carter – 1976 DNC Acceptance Speech
Jackson Browne – Your Bright Baby Blues
Bob Dylan – One More Cup Of Coffee
Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
The Modern Lovers – Modern World
Ramones – I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement
The Damned – New Rose
Eagles – New Kid In Town
KISS – Beth
Rod Stewart – Rosie
Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Things I Should Have Said (TOTR 265)


Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Summertime is in Our Hands
Chris Kenner - Land of a 1000 Dances
The 5 Royales - Think
Jerry Williams - Philosophizer
Them - Philosophy 
The Grass Roots - Things I Should Have Said 
The Sons of Champlain - Things Are Gettin' Better
Willie & the Red Rubber Band - Try A New Day On
Blind Faith - Presence of the Lord
Link Wray - Tail Dragger
The Duke Spirit - Don't Wait
Yeasayer - O.N.E.
The Head & the Heart- All We Ever Knew

Frightened Rabbit - I Wish I Was Sober
The Replacements - Talent Show
Steve Gunn - Lurker 
Steve Gunn - Night Wander
Humble Pie - 30 Days in the Whole 
Jerry Lee Lewis- Deep Elm Blues
Chuck Berry - Memphis, Tennessee
Indigo Girls - Midnight Train to Georgia
The Avett Brothers - Smithsonian
Grateful Dead - U.S. Blues
My Morning Jacket - This Land Is Your Land
Crosby & Nash - My Country Tis of Thee 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Be The Change (TOTR 264)

[photo from the Black Lives Matter Nashville Facebook page]

Blind Boys of Alabama - People Get Ready 
Blind Boys of Alabama - Freedom Road
Sweet Honey in the Rock - Freedom Suite
Martin Luther King Jr. - All, Here, Now

Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde - Freedom
J. Kwest - Whatever Happened
Jonathan Emile & Kendrick Lamar - Heaven Help Dem
Sidewalk Chalk - Them, Us
Zami Tinashe Hyemingway - Black Rage Black Love
Black Violin & Pharoah Monche - Invisible
Macklemore - White Privilege
MC Yogi - Be The Change
Indigo Girls - Rise of the Black Messiah
The Pinkerton Raid - Sins of the Fathers
David Rovics - I Can't Breathe
Queen Ifrica - I Can't Breathe
Martin Luther King Jr. - Where Do We Go From Here
Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On?
Ben Sollee - A Change Is Gonna Come
David Rovics - We Are Everywhere
Nahko & Medicine for the People - We Shall Overcome
I, Star - Song of Freedom
Love & Valor - Old Time Religion
Indigo Girls - Kid Fears 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Freedom Is Coming / True Sadness (TOTR 263)


Gospelchoir Wildschonau – Freedom is Coming
Joan Baez & Mavis Staples – Oh Freedom/Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
Uncle Tupelo – No Depression
Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys – In Heaven We'll Never Grow Old
Bob Dylan – High Water (For Charley Patton)
Bob Dylan – Things Have Changed
Colvin & Earle – Tell Moses
The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers – Amen
Forlorn Strangers – Bottom of the Barrel
Bruce Cockburn – Soul of a Man
Paul Simon – Street Angel
The Avett Brothers – Victims of Life
The Avett Brothers – True Sadness
Band of Horses – Throw My Mess
Ray LaMontagne – Another Day
Mumford & Sons & The Very Best – Fool You’ve Landed
Sinead O’Connor – All Apologies
Indigo Girls – Spread The Pain Around
Elton John – Indian Sunset
Rusted Root – Back To The Earth
Michael Franti & Spearhead – We Are All Earthlings
Rev. Sekou & The Holy Ghost – The Revolution Has Come
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals – Dance Like Fire
Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Dolly Parton – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Etta James – Blowin’ in the Wind
Mavis Staples – MLK Song
First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn – Freedom Is Coming