Monday, December 29, 2008

Honing one's craft

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Holidays, you know how it goes. Anyway, I thought I'd fill all of you in on a little something that I'm doing. Starting Saturday evening, and continuing until tomorrow, I am on a writing retreat. Since songwriting is a fairly significant portion of my income, sometimes I like to make time to get away and write intentionally. This is always a little weird for me because, for all the years that I've been writing songs, my primary method has been to write in response to inspiration. What I mean is that I would wait until something kind of "hit me" and then I'd grab a pen and some paper and go to the guitar or piano and work it out.

That method worked great until we started getting kids around here. All of a sudden it wasn't so easy to jsut stop everything to respond to the voices in my head.

So for the last few years, I've been trying to write more intentionally. I still get inspired, and when I am, I try to take good notes or record a little chunk of music on my nifty Edirol handheld recorder. Then later, when I get some time, I'll go back and take a look/listen to the "inspiration" and go from there. But other times I just try to sit and "listen" to what the Lord might be sitrring in me. When I can actually get time to do that, songs often come out.

And other times it's (I think) way less spiritual than that. I just think about things that I've been saying or feeling a lot and I try to build songs around those ideas. Or if I'm working in another genre -- like children's music or country or instrumental or whatever -- I just write songs around ideas that seem appealing/interesting/funny/thought-provoking to me.

And yes, you did see "country" back there. That's a long story that maybe I'll get into someday, but a few times in my career, I've actually had songs (primarily "wake up" from Big Quiet Truth and "why me Lord" from Perhaps) that have garnered some interest in the country music world. Nothing significant has ever really developed, but occasionally I'll come across an idea for a country song and I'll work on it. Think whatever you want about this, but if I "sold" a country song to a remotely successful country artist, I'd make enough money to do house shows for free for a few years. I'm not going to dedicate my life to it or anything, but my philosophy is that I write because I'm a writer. And if I open myself up to the Lord, He'll bring the songs that He wants me to write.

So that's what I'm doing for the next few days. I'm just writing. so far I've worked on 2 country songs, 2 "Christian" songs, 1 children's song, and 1 instrumental. My goal is is to finish at least one song for every day that I do this. So I'm hoping for at least 4 finished songs in my 4 day retreat. We'll see. But if you have a little time, you can pray that I'll write to the glory of God, and that great music will be the fruit.

Thanks to all of you for your support of what I do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Today is my wife's birthday. I'll post more on that later, but in the meantime, go here and wish here a happy birthday in the comments.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

To each as they have need. No, really.

Tonight at the Sunday gathering of Community Church, something really beautiful happened. It was actually kind of a weird night. If you’ve ever been to Community Church, you know that we have a lot of meetings that, if you’ve grown up in a highly traditional or formal church environment, could easily be labeled as “weird nights.” It’s not something that we try to do or anything. It’s just sort of the way things happen around there.

Anyway, tonight was especially weird for a few reasons. One, we were kind of down because the college semester has come to a close, and over half of our regular attendees are in college. Two, we had an unusual “service” because it was “member meeting night.” We needed to talk about the 2009 budget, so we just had a music/singing/worship time, and then said, “anybody who wants to stay can stay, but now we’re having a member meeting to talk about money.” That always runs a few people off. And three, it was a weird night because there were just a tremendous amount of prayer/mission needs/requests that came up.

I won’t go into all the details. There are some funny and interesting things that I could share about the way that Community Church handles things like budgets and budget meetings, but most of it would just sound like I’m bragging or trying to sound odd or something. Suffice it to say that we do things in a way that is absolutely our own and, hopefully, very biblical and beautiful. Com Church hates “business,” but we know that all organizations of any kind (and the church is, at some level, an organization, whether we hippies like it or not) must deal with various kinds of structure and administration. And we just think that, if we’re going to have to do those things, we ought to make them fun, communal, worshipful, and joyous. Have you ever heard those four words used when describing a business meeting at a church?

I didn’t think so.

Well, at the end of the meeting, after everybody looked up on the screen and saw how much money me and Scot and Thad all make, we had a short time of sharing and such. Several different people talked about needs that they had or were aware of, and people committed to help one another with their time, their money, etc.

There was one particular need that was rather close to my heart. I’ll give the brief back story.

A young woman in our church – we’ll call her Molly – has joint custody of three boys who she got to know a few years ago when she lived in their neighborhood. Molly is white and the boys are black. That shouldn’t matter for the sake of the story, but this is America, so it probably does. Staci and I have spent a significant amount of time with these people. Our kids and Molly's kids all play together a lot, and there's just a good bit of hanging out in one another's homes. We're all really close.

Molly shared some difficulties she’s been having in trying to live life as a single mother (she has a birth-daughter as well) and some of it was pretty heart-wrenching. None of it was a surprise to me or to Staci, but it's always hard to have to share things publicly. So I helped Molly articulate some of what is going on. Again, lots of folks in the church prayed for her – and her “family” – and offered ideas and help, etc.

But one really cool thing happened. This is the point of the story, in case you're in a hurry.

After the meeting concluded, everybody was just kind of milling around and chatting, etc, and Molly came up to me and we talked a little about how the meeting went and about how her week was looking as she continues to love and house these boys. While we’re talking, she just sort of casually says, “and I just realized today that I don’t really have the money to buy them Christmas presents.” Now, you have to understand that these boys have spent their entire lives in poverty, abuse, neglect, and utter despair. I can’t over-sell the drama and trauma that they’ve seen in their short lives (they are 11, 14, and 16 years old). So Molly really wanted to bless them with gifts.

Well, right as she’s saying this, another one of our members walks by. We’ll call him Jeff. Jeff is a good friend of mine and God has blessed him with lots of money. Jeff and his wife are extremely generous and hospitable. So I just grabbed Jeff as he was walking by and said to Molly, “tell him what you just told me.” It was just like that. No warning. I honestly didn’t even think it thru, you know?

So Molly tells Jeff what she told me, and he says,

“Oh nonsense. You have money. It’s just not in your wallet yet.”

He takes out his wallet right then and empties it into Molly’s hand. I couldn’t see how much money it was, but I saw some twenties and I saw some ones. It was at least $70-80, at most $200-300. Really, I have no idea. But it was just that fast and that simple.

Hey man. You have money. She doesn’t. Whaddaya say?

Bam. Cha-ching. Boo-yah. Whatever.

We don’t always have a “teaching time” at Community Church. But there’s always a sermon if you know how to listen for it.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Just a reminder for all you local BCS folk that I'll be playing tonight at the Frame Gallery at 7:30. Michael Steele will join me. Downtown Bryan is decorated for the season, so it will be a really nice and beautiful down there. Come see me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


How about that title, huh? I had two other great ones, both based upon the Ebeneezer Scrooge character from Dickens. They were "Blah-blah humbug" and "Bah hum-plug." Seriously, how have I not made a fortune in comedy writing? I'm like a creative fountain of brilliance and wit and what-not. For reals.

So, that third one, "bah hum-plug," leads me to the reason for this post.

I am not a huge fan of Christmas music, but as I get older -- and probably because I have young children -- I am starting to warm up to it a little. I think Christmas music is funny because people tend to buy and listen to singers/artists at Christmas that they otherwise wouldn't. For example, I don't listen to Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Linda Ronstadt, or Harry Connick Jr all that often, but during Advent/Christmas time, they get some serious play in my home.

Anyway, the main thing for today is to send you to some great new Advent/Christmas music by friends of mine.

Go here and here to check it all out. These are both really great records by really great people who love Jesus and will spend your money well. Enjoy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Last-minute change

Just in case anyone was thinking of coming to tonight's concert in Sugar Land/Houston, the venue and time have changed. Here are the new details:

7:30 at Meadows Place Community Center in Stafford, TX. The great Johnny Simmons will be joining me, which is always a treat.

If you want details, contact me or this guy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Behold: shows!

I've got 2 concerts coming up quick. The first one is this Friday, December 5, in Sugar Land, TX (basically Houston, for those of you who don't know Texas). The exact time is 7 pm, and the exact place is here. My good friends Billy Newhouse and Travis Cardwell are hosting/organizing the event.

The second one is next Friday, December 12, here in Bryan. The exact time is TBA and the exact place is here. Fellow Com Church members Randy and Greta Watkins are hosting.

If you live near either of these locations, or if you just like driving to see me play my songs with acoustical guitar, come on! If you need more info, email me or comment on this post.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And people actually came to see me.

I did a show for Woodcreek Church in Richardson last Wednesday. It was a blast!

It wasn't even in a house. It was in a big church building. There was a cover charge! I'm serious. They charged people $5. About 200 very kind, very optimistic folks paid money and sat thru about 80 minutes of my songs and -- of course -- my ranting/preaching/joking.

The band was amazing. I mean it was top-notch. Michael Steele was on drums, as usual. Josh Taylor of Clairmont and Com Church was on electric. The legendary Brady Redwine made his "comeback" on various keyboards and organs. And JP Mendez, bass player to the stars, laid down the low end. It was nice.

Also, these girls opened up. Usually, anyone who gets stuck opening up for me is pretty terrible. I mean, I'm like, nobody, so if you open up for me, well, just make sure you know how to whip up a tall non-fat something-or-other, because the prospects for fame ain't great on the Ross King World Tour Opening Act Stage. I owe it to you to tell you this. You'll thank me later. I mean, literally, you'll thank me. You'll be like "thanks for coming to Starbuck's."

Here's a pic of said talented females:

Anyway these girls (can I say "girls"?) were fantastic. I'm serious. I told them after it was over that they were like Colbie Caillat meets Natalie Merchant and they get saved and start an acoustic duo. It was that good. You should all go to their myspace and send them messages telling them to let me produce their next record.

So in summary, the show kicked booty. Great crowd. They laughed at my jokes (which only made me tell more jokes, cuz I get all drunk on the power and approval). They clapped after my songs (and occasionally -- gasp! -- during them). Nobody threw anything. Only a few people left in the middle of the show (and of course I mocked them). I'm telling you, it was enough to make a man want to hit the road again.

Well, maybe not...

All pics were taken by Jon Lilley, a cool dude on the staff of Woodcreek Church. Except the ones of my baby. He should be so lucky.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Concerts? Really? You're still doing that?

Of course I am. What a silly question. For example, here is the info on two upcoming concerts:

-- Wednesday Nov 5 (7 days from now), I'll be playing at Woodcreek Church in Richardson, TX. It's a full band show, which I haven't really done in nearly a year. Should be really exciting. DFW area people, come on out.

-- Friday Dec 5, I'm doing a show in Houston. Details coming soon.

Also, just because I'm proud, below is a recent pic of baby Naomi. I mean, are you kidding me?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I know I do this a lot...

... but sometimes my wife just says it better.

The word you're searching for is Yippee!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And on the other side of the world...

... in more ways than one, there's this. Don't click unless you're at a place where you can cry like a baby and maybe lift your hands like a crazy person.

While we're waiting...

... on a baby, you can go here and be sucked in by the magical wonder of it all.

Also, in case you feel like saying the Kings have it rough with their whole infertility/adoption thing, you can be reminded that my in-laws take us on awesome vacations.

So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


In response to what feels like a bajillion emails from nice people who just want to know what's up, here is the latest on our current adoption situation. Thanks for all the prayers and kind words. We'll post more when we know more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learning to love her

“In order for me to get what I want, someone else has to go through the hardest experience of their life.”

My wife said that to me tonight. We were on our way to the movie. With the new adoption situation, we figured we ought to get a date while we still can. So we took the boys to my parents’ house and went out to eat and to a movie.

While we were at the restaurant, Staci actually talked to the woman who very recently gave birth to the baby that will probably be our daughter.

See how weird that sounded? I promise I tried to find an easier way to say that so that it actually communicated the truth, but I just couldn’t.

People talk about adoption being hard. I suppose when they say that it’s “hard,” they’re talking about all of the crazy stuff that adoptive parents go through: the infertility, the “my kids don’t look like me,” the financial expense, the mountain of paperwork and formality and hoop-jumping, the various difficulties of bonding with a child that you didn’t give birth to, the numerous and weird conversations that are necessary. Etc.

All of it.

People sometimes say that it’s hard. But if you want to know that truth, it’s not really that hard. Losing a child to a tragic death is hard. Cancer (and cancer treatment) is hard. Being left by your spouse and then raising your kids by yourself is hard. Losing a limb. Living in the poorest, AIDS-stricken parts of Africa. Serving a prison sentence and knowing that, even after you get out, you’re still going to be an “ex-con” even though you feel like you’ve changed.

All that stuff sounds pretty hard.

But adoption? It’s not really that hard. I mean, it’s all relative, really.

The odd thing is that, for us, it’s actually kind of normal. We’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what to expect and how to process it all and how to find a balance between hoping/planning for a baby and guarding your heart in case it all falls through. We’re actually okay at all that. It’s not like it’s a walk in the park, but it’s not too bad.

Everybody has their “normal,” and that’s ours.

So when we got word, a little over a month ago, that a birth-mother had chosen us and that she’d be having a baby by the end of October (meaning we’d be having a baby by the end of October), Staci and I just sort of looked at each other with teary eyes and said “here we go again.”

So it’s with great confusion and sobriety that I say to you (many of you who have followed our adoption stories) that this time – this “here we go again” to hopefully adopt a baby – feels hard.

I know, I know. I just took several paragraphs to tell you that it’s not hard. I’m aware of the flip-floppiness.

Why go to all that trouble to tell you one thing, only to tell you the opposite thing immediately after?

I guess it’s because every adoption is different. I really don’t want to go into too many details, out of respect for the birth-mothers with whom we’ve interacted and known, but I can say that, each time we do this (we’ve actually done it 5 times, even though two of the times didn’t “produce” another member of the King family), I’ve grown in my love and understanding for what it takes to “give up” your baby.

Did you see Juno? If you haven’t, you really should. It’s a great movie on lots of levels, but as a study/story of adoption, it’s an absolute masterpiece. I don’t even think that’s an overstatement.

Anyway, there’s this heart-wrenching scene in the movie where Juno, a teenage girl planning to place her still-in-the-womb baby for adoption, realizes something that isn’t very pleasant about the adopting family, and she pulls her car to the side of the road and weeps. All the emotion of what she’s about to do – and the unexpectedly flawed folks she’s about to do it with –just slams into her and she’s simply unable to handle it all. So she cries. And if you’re watching the movie, you probably cry too.

The perspective that the scene reveals is, in a word, eye-opening. There’s a whole pile of blog posts that could be mined from the 90 seconds or so that I’m referring to. But mainly, for me, it just raised questions. Questions that, as I first saw the scene (I had already adopted 2 children and almost-but-not-quite adopted 2 others), I sort of couldn’t believe I had never truly, honestly, thoroughly asked:

Who is this being who can carry a child in her womb and then give it to someone else?
After doing all the heavy lifting, why in the world is she going to hand over the pay-off?
Can we possibly understand her?
And how can we ever love her?

Pretty good questions.

And the reason why this adoption – normal as it is – feels so hard is that I still don’t have the answers to those questions.

In the absence of the answers, I suppose it comes to down to this:

Somewhere tonight, not that far from where I sit, there is a sweet, precious baby girl. She was born yesterday. She has spent the last several hours in the arms of her mother. Her mother. Right now, I’m not her daddy. Right now, Staci is not her mommy. But if things go as we hope and plan, she will be our daughter very soon. And if that happens, we will look back on this night – this night when I sat on my couch and wrote about stuff that was nobody’s business – and we will say, “even then, we were her mommy and her daddy, and she was our daughter.”

(See, even when adoption isn’t all that hard, it’s still weird.)

And, somewhere tonight, a sweet, precious woman is holding a baby that is absolutely her daughter, and she is trying to prepare to let go. Maybe she’s trying not to glance at that picture of that couple that has offered to be the parents of the baby that was, then, still in her womb. That couple that met her a few weeks ago and, with expectant eyes and awkward words, told her that they loved her and loved her baby, even though they had no real reason to. Maybe she’s trying not to glance at that picture because right now, if only for a little while, this is her time; time that she’ll never get back and that she’ll never forget and that she’ll never regret.

It’s their time; mommy, worn out from the labor of labor, and baby, overwhelmed by the world all bright and noisy and new. And maybe mommy’s looking into the expectant little eyes of her baby and, with awkward words, trying to say – more for herself than for the baby, really – that this thing she has to do is the best thing. This way is the best way to show love to the tiny, fragile gift that God has been growing in her womb and is now in her arms.

And that’s hard. That’s actually hard.

“In order for me to get what I want, someone else has to go through the hardest experience of their life.”

If anyone could identify with this, I suppose it would be God.

So here we are, with teary eyes, looking to Him and saying “here we go again.” As always, He’s coming along.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey kids, rock and roll

It's contest time again...

One of the tough things about my crazy traveling schedule last year was that I had a lot of trouble finding space in my brain to write songs. I mean, I had spent a good chunk of 2006 writing and recording the music for Soulspeak, and then a good chunk of 2007 writing and recording the music for Perhaps, so I guess I was due a break.

But writing songs is what I do. Though I’ve got lots and lots of jobs, song writing is the thread that binds all those jobs together.

So when I found myself overwhelmed with organizing and booking house concerts (not to mention actually doing them), which included a tremendous amount of phone calls, emails, flight-booking, place-to-sleep-finding, receipt-keeping, and money-counting (mostly one dollar bills, but still), I just really didn’t have anything left for the creative endeavor that is song writing.

That was tough, but obviously I had a blast. As I’ve said before, the whole experience has been really fantastic, and I look forward to getting back “out there” again soon.

In the meantime, my new job, though busy and time-consuming, is consistent and predictable and, at some levels, easier on my pea-sized brain.

So I’ve been writing again. A lot. And, cooler still, I’m actually writing really different stuff. For example, I can’t tell you the whole story, due to a contractual obligation (that’s not a joke), but some stuff happened this summer (someday I’ll either be able to tell you the story, or perhaps you can see it for yourself) that got me thinking about writing for advertising. Like jingles. So I’ve actually been writing some jingles. Just local stuff, but it’s been a blast. I write 30 seconds of music and lyrics, and people pay me. It’s been a blast. It’s challenging and weird, and of course it’s the absolute epitome of “selling out,” but you know what? I don’t care. I make money for writing music, and that’s the dream. So there.

In addition, I’ve been writing some hymn-type worship music. Long story, but I’ve been studying old hymns and old styles of worship, and I've been writing in response to what I've learned.

I've actually got almost all the music ready for an entire project of half-original, half-re-worked or re-arranged hymns. I can’t wait to show it to you. I don’t know when I’ll do it. Hopefully early in the spring.

And finally, I’ve been writing children’s music (that's the reason for all the pics of my kids; it's not just an excuse to rub your nose in the fact that they're so cute and talented). Those of you who are parents know that there is just a lot of bad children’s music out there, especially in the “Christian” category. And I just decided that I’d try my hand at it. I don’t know how good I am at it, but I’ve been writing a lot.

And also…

OK,OK, I’ll get to the contest. You know how I am. It’s not like you ever expect me to just come out and say something. I have to give the whole, long, drawn-out delivery. It’s my way, and you love me for it.

I mean, “Clear the Stage” is nearly 6 minutes long, and it’s your favorite. Just admit it, and we can move on.

So, the contest:
I’ve got about 7 songs completed (and about 3-4 half-completed) for a children’s record. Some of the songs are overtly “Christian,” meaning I wrote them deliberately trying to point people to Jesus. And some of them are just about “kid” things.

Here are some of the topics of the songs:
--The books of the Bible
--Being ok/secure with who/how God made us
--Playing outside (as opposed to spending all day in front of the TV or whatever)
--Trying new foods
--The concept of the Trinity (I’m serious)

Stuff like that. It's sort of all over the map, I admit. Some of the songs are kind of funny/goofy, and some are more serious. But it’s all aimed at kids. It’s been a blast working on it all.

I’d like to have 12-15 really solid songs for the project, but I’m running out of ideas. I need ideas!!!

So you folks have to send me your ideas, and I’ll pick ones that “inspire” me. If I write a song based on your idea, I’ll give you a credit on the CD, and of course I’ll send you a couple of free copies.

That's the contest. That's the pitiful prize.

Lots of you are parents, and you know that music helps your kids to learn things. So just be thinking about what kinds of things you’d like to hear your children (or any children) singing, declaring, learning, etc.

Send me whatever you’ve got. I don’t care if the ideas are explicitly “Christian” or not. I don’t care if they’re silly or serious. I just need ideas.

Within a month or so, I’ll try to post a demo or two of some of this stuff so that my faithful blog followers can get a taste of what’s to come (kind of like I did before the release of Perhaps).

OK, bring it on. Who wants their name in the liner notes?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The lesser of a whole mess of evils, perhaps?

After watching two presidential debates (during which I sighed and threw up my hands and talked to the TV a lot) and reading way too much news on the topic, I decided to break my own rule and talk a little politics.This one might get too academic for some of you. My apologies, right up-front, for that. But if I’m going to talk politics, that disclaimer seems only fair.

And so…

I’ll start by saying this. I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. this political season has me so flustered and bored and confused that, at least in terms of this particular topic, I'm feeling sort of like a urinal cake: always getting doused in some kind of liquid, and never quite sure what's clean water and what's tee-tee.

Oh, don't be so offended. It's actually not a bad metaphor.


This is The Over-Reaching, All-Encompassing Truth: Only the Lord is able to make all things right. He has The Way. No other way will do. Not the Republican way. Not the Democratic way. Only one Way.

Thad posted something a few days ago about all this over on his blog, and as usual, it’s way better than what I could say, so go here an read it. Then come back and read the rest of this.

OK, now that we’ve established that politics aren’t the answer, let’s do some theorizing.

What if there were an influential, politically-motivated man or woman in this country (for reasons that make lots of sense to me but maybe not to you, I’d prefer for it to be a man, and I’d prefer for him to be unmarried or maybe married but without young children) who woke up one day and said, “you know what, I think I’d like to run on a ticket that is absolutely, in every sense of the word, PRO-LIFE!”

Let’s say this person had thought it thru pretty well, and he/she just felt like consistency in conviction was the most important thing. So he/she figured “pro-life” meant pro-LIFE, even in ways that seemed difficult and uncomfortable to him/her. Pro-life. So anti-abortion, of course. But also anti-death-penalty. Pro-animal-rights. Pro-adoption and pro-family. Anti-war. Anti-violence. Pro-environment. Pro-religious-freedom (except in the rare occasions when religions condone or promote violence). Pro-affordable-health-care. Pro-everybody-getting-along. Etc. Any area that had to do with preserving life and encouraging the public to preserve life, this man or woman would be for that.

A truly and comprehensively Pro-Life candidate. Can you imagine it?

Me neither, but still...

Let’s not spend a lot of time parsing thru the various problems that this person would run into as one “pro-life” conviction slammed into another, causing (I would imagine) all kinds of moral conflict. That’s not the issue. Politicians are already – by nature and by the necessity of their vocation – forced into ethical conundrums of one sort or another every day. I would venture to guess that the President of the United States, throughout history, moment to moment, has had to balance one deeply held conviction against another and try to sleep at night with the way the scales are finally tipped. That’s nothing new. So a person with these kinds of convictions would probably be no more or no less likely to be able to stay true to their promises and convictions than any other candidate running for public office.

So for the sake of this particular post, let’s just agree that we don’t need to delve into all that. That’s not the discussion I want to have today. If you’ll bear with me for a few more paragraphs, I think you’ll see why.

And let’s not talk about whether or not I’d vote for this person. I’m not sure that I would. I certainly don’t agree, out-right or whole-heartedly, with all of the positions that I listed (or rather, I should say I’m as suspicious as anyone of how a serious conviction on those various positions would play out in terms of public policy). Again, these aren’t necessarily the issues.

What I’m getting at is that this person would have no place in either party as it exists today. My mythical, Totally-Pro-Life Candidate is just a personification of consistency taken to an extreme degree. Is it a sensible personification? I don’t know. Remember, that’s not the point. I’m saying that somebody could arrive at this place. I’m not saying that they should, or that I would (I’m definitely not saying that I have). I’m saying someone could. And if they did, they’d have no place in either of the major parties.

And of course that means that it's possible that lots of people in this country don’t fit easily into either of the major parties. Perhaps (hey, it's possible) it’s even true that a majority of the people in this country don’t fit easily into either of the major parties. And yet those two parties still garner the vast, vast majority of the votes.

Doesn’t that seem weird?I don’t like it. In fact, I don’t like a lot of what’s happening in the political world, but no one really cares what I think about such things.

So let’s just move on.

The short version is that I’m getting less and less interested in politics these days. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that politics don’t matter or that we shouldn’t pray for our leaders or involve ourselves in the political goings-on of our nation.

And I’m certainly not saying that people shouldn’t vote. I’m just less interested than I used to be. Most of you probably don’t know that I was a Political Science major in college, and that before my phone started ringing with offers to play my songs (for real money!), I had plans to go to grad school and hopefully end up with a job in research and/or law.

The Lord graciously intervened, and the rest is indie-wanna-be-rock-star history.

Anyway, I still vote, but I’m that voter that everybody hates, because I vote based almost entirely with specific issues in mind. I’ve stopped trying to find a perfect political party, and I’ve certainly stopped hoping that I’ll actually be able to discern the character and motives of the politicians who covet my vote.

By the way, Thad (who, as many of you know, is one of my co-pastors at Com Church) has been doing a fantastic sermon series on real hope and how it’s not ever going to be legitimately provided by politicians and world government. You can check it out here if you want.

So I still vote, even though I don’t pretend that I can greatly alter the nature of the world or the hearts of people when I do it. I have a smaller and more attainable goal in my voting. That is, I try to do a small part to secure (in that flimsy way that our political/governmental system allows for anything to be “secure”) certain things that are important to my family, my faith, my way of life, etc. In short, I vote with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (at the macro level) and the family of Ross King (at the micro level) in mind. If you want to know how I vote and whom I vote for, I don’t mind telling you. Actually, that’s kind of what I’m about to do.

I’m thinking about voting for this guy. For president. I probably won't do it. I'm just saying that I'm thinking about it.

Yeah, I know he won’t win. But as far as I can tell, I basically agree with this dude more than anyone else who is trying to run the country (and again, we’re talking about an extremely flawed political system that has no power to really save or even change the world, and we're talking about a level of "agreement" that is pretty shallow, but still...).

Of course, this is a guy who I’ve only read about and watched on the internet; it’s not like I’ve hung out with him or played with his kids or anything. I don’t assume he’s perfect or that he espouses every opinion and belief to which I adhere, or even that I’d like him much if I met him. He might be a pompous, cold-hearted moron who puts on clown make-up to go strangle kittens that exist solely to bring comfort to blind orphans. Who knows?

Either way, if I did meet him, I’m sure I’d say something like, “seriously dude, you don’t really think you can change the world this way, do you?”

He probably wouldn’t listen. Or maybe he would. I don't know, but right now I'm not sure if my conscience will let me vote for either of the major-party candidates (sorry mom and dad). Like I said, I don’t really know this guy. But I don’t know any of the other people either. What I do know is that the major-party candidates are doing their best to please every single person in the very diverse respective parties to which they are loyal. These people want to please all the Americans who say they are Democrats, and these people want to please all the Americans who say they are Republicans.

Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

This guy is trying to please his party as well, but the slight difference (and it is very slight) is that his party seems to be concerned with adhering to one thing above all others: The Constitution.

I don’t think the Constitution is the Bible or anything, but I do think it’s the document that was carefully, thoughtfully (perhaps, for some of its architects, even prayerfully) considered as it was written, and it stands to this day as the -- at least theoretical -- basis for much of what we do and believe as a nation. And as long as I live in America, I have to have a certain modicum of respect and awareness with regard to that document.

It’s complicated. Again, I don’t want to veer too far off-point. I’m just trying to say that this guy seems to be posturing himself in such a way that he might actually be forced to some level of accountability. The Constitution, though flawed and worldly, is a well-known benchmark that he’s very publicly saying he would honor with a sense of priority. We could actually monitor that.

I mean, theoretically.

(Like I have any idea what I'm talking about. Are you still reading? Seriously, I'm so full of crap.)

In other words, this guy’s party seems like a viable “Third Party.” There are others. Some look postively loony, at least to me. This is just the one that I like (and it might seem positively loony to you).

And if you ask me (no one did), I say let’s have three parties. Hey, I don’t care if we have fifteen.
Someday maybe I’ll get into more of my whole speech (see bits and pieces of it in the first few paragraphs of this post) about the great problem with the two-party system and the other glaring flaws (according to ME) in our way of doing government in this great country of ours.

That last phrase wasn’t a joke, by the way. I do think this is a great country. Really. I’m not so cynical and rebel-obsessed that I’ve stopped appreciating where I live and what it affords me. No way. I feel blessed to live in this place. Lots of folks have fought, bled, and died to keep this place, at least at some level, free. I get all that. I really do love America. For lots of reasons. One of those reasons is that, in America, I can vote for anybody I want to.

And right now, I’m thinking about voting for him. Tomorrow I may change my mind and want to vote for him. I'm pretty sure I won't be voting for him, though.

Speaking of crazy people who hate liquor enough to run for president, here's something that you can quote me on: if you're so passionate about liquor (one way or the other) that you're thinking of starting a politcal party to spread your views, it's probably best if you just move commit yourself to some kind of institution. Or have a beer and think it over. Whatever.

One more thing. Some of you might be tempted to say that, if I actually go thru with this crazy one-man-plan (and I probably won't), I’m throwing away my vote. That’s certainly a way of looking at it. But I prefer to think of it like this. If I just keep voting in one of the two parties, despite my discomfort with doing so, I’m being untrue to myself. Moreover, I’m affirming an over-generalizing, polarizing, crippling system of segmentation and people-wrangling and broad-stroke-painting that I have no belief in whatsoever. Perhaps if a few million people (starting with me) place their vote elsewhere, something might change.

OK, you're right. Who am I kidding?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'll be honest. I miss doing house shows. Don't get me wrong. I am absolutely loving my new job. But I am looking forward to getting out and playing again some time soon. With the adjustments of the job and the soon-arrival of a new baby, it's kind of nice to be at home and not out on the road.

But I still miss it. There's just something special and unique about that kind of ministry. Those of you who attended and/or hosted know what I'm talking about. Unless you hated it. Then you're just a dum-dum who wouldn't know a good house concert if it sat on your couch and rocked your brains right out of your ears like goo from an over-filled jelly donut.

Well, it won't do any good to mope around about all that (the lack of concerts, not the donut goo). My life doesn't have room for such nonsense (though it does have room for jelly donuts). I feel confident that I'm doing what the Lord wants for now, and I'm equally confident that He'll continue to lead me into exciting and blessed things. In other words, I think I'll be doing a lot more house concerts someday soon.

But in honor of the year that I spent doing those shows -- and in anticipation of the "someday soon" when I can do many more -- I give you this not-very-true-but-not-that-far-from-the-truth list.

Worst “compliments” I’ve ever gotten after a Ross King House Concert:

--Thanks for not playing very long.

--Your music is the perfect soundtrack to enjoying these corn chips and avocado dip.

--My favorite part was when you sang that song about how you hate mega-churches.

--It’s nice to come to a show that isn’t very crowded.

--I’ve always known Larry's couch was big, but until tonight, I never knew we could fit four heavyset Christian ladies on it.

--My dad loves your music. Me, not so much.

--I would be so insecure if I had to play little tiny concerts liket this, but you handle it great.

--Your songs are good. Like Carman good.

--You’re not quite as fat as you look in your pictures.

--It’s cute the way you bring a microphone even though you don’t need it for 9 people.

--My favorite part was when you sang that hilarious Chris Tomlin song about your girlfriend.

--You should come play at our youth lock-in. It would help calm down the middle-schoolers.

--You have a really nice house.

--Thanks for the free CD’s. I took 2 of each!

--Sorry you didn't get any money in the box, but here are some pigs-in-a-blanket to go.

--I need to get my grandson to listen to your music. He's into all that rock-n-roll jibberish, but your songs are more easy-listening.

--I love that you didn’t play that one song that I hate.

--You remind me of that lead singer from Rascal Flatts. Not your voice so much, but your double chin. And the fact that both of you do musical things.

I'm actually in the process of scheduling a few shows for the late fall and early new year. Check back for updates and let me know if you're interested. There are still so many places that I never got to go (sorry Floridians! sorry Chris!), and many that I can't wait to come back to (Robert? Babe's? Djembe?).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Is there a way that I can use this to make myself look cool?

I am so proud of these guys. As many of you know, I've been traveling and working with the great Michael Steele (on the left) for a good while. As my drummer/percussionist, he's done about 90% of my house concerts with me, as well as lots of worship gigs and some studio sessions. In addition, Ben Love (in the middle) has been playing bass, off and on, for me for the last year or so. And finally, Josh Taylor (on the right) has been playing some electric for me for the last few gigs. Well, those three guys also make up Clairmont, a really great band whose recent CD I co-produced at the MixLab.

Anyway, the Clairmont guys have a good friend who is in film school, and that guy volunteered to shoot, direct, edit, etc a new video for them. It's so cool. All I did was record this song, but I'm totally going to find a way to ride these coattails.

Watch here. This is SOOOO COOOL that I know these people.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Many of you know, from reading my hot lady's blog, that my son Sam turned 5 last week. In celebration of said occasion, I decided to let him watch Star Wars (Episode 4, which will always just be Star Wars to me) for the first time. Staci and I weren't sure about this decision, as it represented Sam's first foray into semi-mature cinematic viewing. We are admittedly pretty protective of his little brain and heart (because, you know, God has commanded us to be so), but many of his friends from church had already seen it, and he has been getting interested in the toys and the folklore and what-not, and I just figured that, worst case scenario, I'd turn it off in the middle and at least he'd finally know which one was Obi-Wan and which one was Han, etc.

He got a little scared at one point, and we paused the movie for about 10 minutes, during which time we refilled our popcorn and had a quick light-saber fight.

Anyway, after the movie was over, he was pretty geeked up. He went to bed talking about all the characters and generally wanting more of everything.

This brings me to the point of this post. Sam is absolutely convinced that grown-up, evil Anakin is actually named Dark Vader. And you know what? The more I think about it, he may be right. I mean, the dude is totally dark. From an esoteric perspective, he totally sends out a dark vibe. His past and history? Dark. Which side of the force does he lean into? Dark. Color of his threads, head to toe? Dark. Color of the skin of the iconic actor dude who does his voice? Dark.

So here's my theory: Lucas originally named this guy Dark Vader. But that was too simplistic, so he thought he ought to change it. Only he had too much other crap to think about, like putting light bulbs in the skulls of those little robot-smuggling dwarves, or trying to figure out how to work Billy Dee Williams into the sequel, or choreographing the fight moves between the alien chess pieces on the Millenium Falcon. Stuff like that was in his brain, plus he was already working on the nuances of the Jar Jar character. That had to take him like, I don't know, 25 years to perfect that.

So he tells his personal assistant to get a pen and paper and help him brainstorm a less-obvious name for Dark AzmaBreether (which was the originaloriginal name), and he spent so much time coming up with "Vader" (short for "invader," because he was, like, always invading stuff and what have you) that he was just too darn tired of thinking and his personal assistant, Garth, finally says, what about "Garth Invader? I like how that sounds." And Lucas is like, "no that's ridiculous. Besides, we got rid of the 'in' part like 10 minutes ago. Weren't you by the catering table when i decided this?It's just 'Vader' now. You know what? You're fired, Garth."

But then right after Garth leaves, Lucas is like "that kid was kind of onto something, cuz I could combine 'Garth' and 'Dark' and I'd have a totally sweet name for this guy."

Only problem was that 'Gark Vader' was aleady copyrighted by somebody at Universal. So they switched it and got 'Darth Vader.'

And we haven't even begun to talk about Chewie Tobacca and Yoga.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Surprise, surprise

Listen, I'm the first guy in line (or at least I'm trying to cut so I can get there) any time people want to pick on the cheesy art and media that most Christians try to make and propagate. I don't care for much mainstream Christian music, I never watch Christian networks (I usually just end up cussing at the TV), and hardly ever go to the movies to pay actual money to see "Christian movies." But even a cranky old cynic like me enjoys it when we actual get some decent reviews for one of our efforts.

Check this out.

At the time of this posting, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 63 score, which is better than it gave pretty much every other movie among the recent releases (except for the new Coen Brothers flick, but I mean, come on). Depending on when you read this -- and what other publications have chimed in at that point -- that score may have dropped. But right now, it's a 63. Not bad. And hey, no matter what happens, we can all stop and pick our jaws up off the floor knowing that the New York Times actually kinda liked Kirk Cameron's latest movie. Just that by itself could very well be a sign of the apocalypse.

...We now return to our regularly scheduled cynicism...

No, I'm probably not going to pay to see this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's just that kind of world.

I know I've been a little lazy with the blogging lately, and that even when I have been posting, it's been lots of links and other boring stuff, but I just couldn't pass this up.

First, I ran across this article. It's not that long, but in case you don't want to read it, it briefly describes a trip that Matt Damon (who is really awesome at pretending to be somebody else and admittedly does an awesome impression of the world's worst actor) and Wyclef Jean (who is really awesome at producing songs that actually waste lyrics to announce the names of whoever is singing the song somewhere during the intro section) took to storm-battered, insanely-poor Haiti. The people of Haiti are facing bleak, mind-blowingly harsh conditions, and that shouldn't be ignored. But that's not actually the point of my writing.

I'm getting to what the point is...

One quote from the article:

"Damon and Jean are encouraging more people to help the United Nations raise more than US$100 million for an estimated 800,000 Haitians in need of aid after four devastating tropical storms and hurricanes since mid-August."

Cool. Thanks Matt. Good work Wyclef. Glad you guys are trying to raise money. And gee whiz, a hundred million bucks is a lot. Right? Right?

Well, maybe not.

Thanks celebrities. You've really helped me put it all in perspective.

Friday, August 29, 2008

If my house concert career were a sentence...

I suppose you could call this a semi-colon.

As of a few weeks ago, I have taken an almost full-time job with these people. It’s a long story, but here are the basics.

They bought the building that Community Church meets in. They didn't kick us out, but instead fixed the place up and said "let's all meet here!" Then they came to me and offered to pay me good money to help them out. They wanted to pay me to not travel for a while. They said they’d give me real, actual money to mentor/train/teach the people in their worship ministry to be a little better at their jobs and a little more certain in their callings. After 13 years of being basically self-employed and full-time-traveling-the-country, this is kind of a dream job for me. Most of you know that I’ve kind of always considered myself a “shepherd” type of person. I like playing music and pretending to be a rock star and all that, but my passions are writing songs and exploring the vastness of the Kingdom with others. The fact that I can make money doing those things is so great it almost feels scandalous.

So this job is, at least at this time in my life, a great thing.

A steady pay check (something I've never really had) means that Staci and I can pay off debt. It means that we can adopt more babies. It means that I can sleep in my own bed with my wife a lot more. It means that my sons don't have to say "please don't leave Daddy" every weekend.

Anyway, they’re totally cool with the fact that I still live with and co-lead these people. How about that for a Kingdom of God perspective? Two churches getting along, sharing a building and a worship leader? I'm working for and helping to lead both of these groups of believers. That’s where the “almost” in my “almost full-time” description above comes in. Since we all meet in the same building (but at different times), it actually works out really well.

It’s officially an “interim” position. I don’t know how long it will last, but once it’s over, I’ll probably go back to doing more traveling.

So, as you may have already guessed, that means I’m going to be doing a lot less traveling for now. I’m not done traveling. I’m not done with house concerts or leading worship for other churches and ministries. But I am trying to devote an appropriate amount of energy to the job that I’ve been hired to do.I’ll be blogging and explaining more as things progress, but I felt it was only fair to let my dozens of adoring fans know that my calendar will be looking a little different for a while.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in booking me for something, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m still in.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

But then again,if you need to recalibrate the system:

There's always stuff like this.*

*No holograms were used in the making of this story.

I'm not sure what discourages me more:

This article, or all the Christians that will defend their favorite celebrities when they read it.

I can't imagine God would be happy about this.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Producer's Corner

One of my many jobs is producing/recording records at this place (we don't update the site very often, because we're too busy churning out hits). I've been doing it for many years, and I've had the great privilege of recording some killer projects, like this, this, this, this, this, this, and this, to name a few (basically, I just gave you a link-list of great CD's that you should most definitely buy). What a cool job.

From time to time, I've thought about writing an occasional article/story/etc about my experiences in this field. I'm no expert, but I have been making inexpensive, decent-sounding independent records for a while now. So I guess that qualifies me to at least wax philosphical or whatever.

Anyway, the bad news is that I still haven't written anything. The good news is that my current first-call drummer (and good friend and co-laborer in the kooky lovefest that is Community Church), Michael Steele, has written something on his blog. I like what he has to say for several reasons. But mainly I just like how he explains, in simple, easy-to-understand language, what a new/aspiring session musician can expect when getting into studio work. I don't know how many of you will find this remotely interesting, but I thought I'd send it to you anyway.

One added bonus is that the article links to new music (recorded at The MixLab) by this dude, who is extremely talented, and a cool guy to boot.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Something somebody else said

This is so worth reading (thanks Johnny). Obviously I don't agree with every word of it, but it sure is interesting to hear these kinds of thoughts from someone who thinks some of the same things that I've been thinking. I, too, am pretty sick of all the slickness and kitsch and plastic posturing that we do in the name of "reaching" people. And I suspect that much of the world sees right thru it, the same way they see thru the spin-doctor game-playing of politicians or the "reality" of reality tv. Anyway, there's no reason for me to elaborate. I'll let her do it.

By the way, as an experiment, I went to google images and typed in the phrase "trendy pastor," and this was the very first picture that came up. I'm not saying it means anything. I just think it's interesting...

In other news, they gave me "name credit" on that cool video that I referenced a couple of weeks ago. Did some of you harass those poor (but creative) folks? I really hope not. They seem like nice people, and they make really good videos. Either way, I can no longer use this particular situation in building my case as a misunderstood, underappreciated, brilliant victim. And that just makes me feel sorry for myself. Why me, Lord?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the "I'm not famous but my song almost is" category...

I present you with this.

A "fan" sent me the link not long ago. The video is nicely done, which is a bonus (the sidebar on youtube revealed a couple of less impressive efforts, which I won't link to out of respect for the well-intentioned-but-not-very-talented among us). But more interesting than that was the number of views. Something in the realm of 21,000 and change. That seems sort of significant, I think.

In classic "Ross King's Career is So Sad" fashion, there's absolutely no mention whatsoever of me, my website, or any other way to throw money or fame my way.

This could easily lead into a longer story -- one which I used to recite to myself daily, making me extremely bitter, and now it only makes me a tiny bit bitter -- about all the times in my life that this kind of thing has happened. Some of these could possibly even be qualified as RBT stories, because they are so ridiculous and yet so true.

A few of these stories might have titles such as:

That Time I Met The Most Successful CCM Producer in The World in the SkyCap Line, Gave Him One of My CD's, and Never Heard From Him Again Because He Was So Unimpressed

That Time That I Led Worship For the Largest College Bible Study in The History of America, And After 5 Years Most People Still Knew Me Only As "That Stuttering Guy Who Plays Acoustical Guitar for that Band That Shane Barnard's Drummer is In, and By The Way, Shane Strums Way Faster Than That Guy"

or maybe
That Time I Wrote Lots of Songs With a Guy for Several Years, and Now He's the Most Famous Christian Musician in the World, and I'm Still Just a Doofus on a Blog, and People Think We're Pals Because One Time We Did a CD Together, But Really I'm Pretty Sure He's Forgotten My Name Even Though He Once Borrowed One of My Shirts To Go Out On a Date, So Now There's No Way I Can Exploit Our Former Friendship For My Own Gain, Which Sucks Royally

or, my personal favorite
That Time that Grassroots Sold Several Thousand Dollars Worth of My CD's Only to Go Bankrupt Before Paying Me

I'm still working out the kinks in some of those titles.

Anyway, when I'm really in my sanest place and walking in the Spirit, these stories make me laugh, and then I usually feel like a moron for even complaining at all, when lots of people in the world never get to have such a cool job like me.

I guess, if nothing else, I can hope for the day when Christian Music is cool enough that it will have it's own VH-1 type channel, and maybe they'll have a show that could feature me and a bunch of other sad wanna-bes and never-wases. The show could be called "Have You Ever Wondered Who Wrote that One Song That Lots of People Heard But Nobody Had Any Idea Who Wrote?"

I'm still working out the kinks in the title.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here's where I find out if you people really love me

Sometimes I find that really twisted and unnecessary things run thru my head. I’m not happy about it. But it is what it is.

Case in point: Last night I got to thinking that, if I was bound and determined to be a social misfit, I could easily accomplish it by sabotaging conversations every chance I got. I could just start talking with someone about whatever, and then just as things started getting interesting, I could drop a bomb that would end everything right there in a tsunami of awkwardness and oddity. I wouldn’t even have to cuss or scream. I could speak in an absolutely calm and quiet voice (that might even make it better), but with a few choice words, I could abruptly interject my little deviant thoughts, ruining any chance for further dialogue.

I’d have to spend a lot of time apologizing and stuff, and even then I’d probably lose tons of friends and probably my career. It would be really terrible.

I told you it was twisted and unnecessary, didn’t I? But it still made me laugh. So I thought I’d share. I'm a little nervous, because this might be a little too weird for some of you. Oh well, what's life without a few risks.

Here you go…

20 things you can say, at any time at all, that will ruin any conversation (and most friendships):

1. Do you know what your problem is?

2. I’m sorry, I haven’t been listening to anything you’ve been saying.

3. You have really aged poorly, haven’t you?

4. Oh yeah, I’d expect someone like you to say that.

5. That’s so cute the way you’re all naïve and ignorant about stuff.

6. If I fart right now, will you forgive me? Oops, too late.

7. How’s your little career thing going?

8. Can I eat the rest of your food?

9. Are you sure you’re saved? Really sure?

10. Out of all of our friends, who do you think has the ugliest kids?

11. You would not believe what I just left in that bathroom. High five!

12. Whoa there, tough guy. Settle down before you get all sweaty and worked up.

13. Are you a boy or a girl?

14. No, seriously, you’re way older than that.

15. I almost just beat you up just then. You are so lucky.

16. Wow, your wife is a lot prettier than mine. Seriously, wow.

17. How much money did your outfit cost?

18. Would you mind washing your hands again? They don’t seem clean to me.

19. You have got to smell my armpits.

20. Oh, you thought we were friends? Bless your heart.

Yeah, that's the best thing I can think of to blog about right now. I'm telling you, it's a good thing I've got Jesus in my heart and all, because I'm a pretty messed up dude. This may be the low point of the blog. But if you people really love me, you will endure in your readership, accepting me as I am.

And if not, you may find yourself in an awkward conversation with me someday real soon.

High five.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My job...

... rules sometimes.

For example, see my wife's latest post about our recent "work" trip to the beach.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Despite my noble and heartfelt efforts...

...people still don't know how to talk.

It started innocently enough, with a well-intentioned -- but cluttered and somewhat confusing -- little phrase that many of us seemed forced to utter from time to time:

"What it is, is..."

I understand. Really, I do. They're wanting to know what it is, and we want them to know that we hear them asking what it is, and we really want to tell them what it is. So it just seems necessary to say "is" twice, right there in a row like that. It's a conundrum, I agree. No hard feelings. Let's move on. No need to dwell on the past.

But then something happened. We apparently got really used to saying "is" twice in a row like that. We started thinking that every time we said "is," once wasn't enough. It seemed to us, in our moronic, linguistically-challenged ignorance, that "is" was no longer a strong enough word to merely utter once. If we want to tell people what something is, we have to say "is, is."

And so we find ourselves here:

"But the reality is, is that..."

People, listen to me. This is stupid. Stop. Public speakers, preachers, especially. You're the main culprits here. Pace yourselves. Don't throw out unnecessary is's. I know you're always wanting to tell us what the reality is. I appreciate that. This is your bread-and-butter. First you tell us how crazy and dumb some widely held belief is (and we all try to pretend that none of us hold to that crazy-dumb belief, even though we so do). Then you tell us What the Reality Is. This is your big moment.

"But the reality is..." Cue dramatic music, every head bowed, blah blah blah.

But you get so excited, and you forget something; something very simple: The reality simply is. The reality isn't is is.

I think this might be Clinton's fault. I mean, W butchers some serious words, but it was Slick Willie who first called into question the meaning of "is." I mean, who could blame the poor man, at a time like that, all caught with his pants down and such.

But hey, however we got there, I don't care. I'm not here to dwell on the past. I'm not concerned with was. I'm concerned with is.

The reality is that people don't know how to talk. But don't worry. I'm here to help.

Also, I write songs too as well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I used to have a blog where I, like, posted and stuff

Sorry for the long absence. Hopefully I'll feel chatty this week. I've got some pseudo-interesting things to tell you about, but I'm a moody fellow, as many of you know, so we'll see.

In the meantime, here are some pics from my concert at Royer's Round Top Cafe last month.

That's me rockin' the acoustical guitar. Duh.

That's Michael holding down the 2 and 4; maybe a few smooth ghost notes; perhaps a li'l syncopationary goodness.

Tasty desserts were served. From the photo, it would appear that we were mad at the pie. We weren't.

I like this photo because it looks like I'm reaching for booze.

This is Matt Chauvin, a friend from college and easily one of the kindest, most genuinely joyful persons I've ever known. If more pastors were like Matt, the church of America would be as beloved as Barack Obama, or at least as popular as that idiot who does all the impersonations on the Dish Network commercials. Matt helped host/organize the show.

This is most of the Royer's clan, plus me, Staci, Michael, and a few friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I've had some great shows lately that I haven't had a chance to post about.

About a month ago (yeah, I'm kind of behind), I did two shows in San Antonio. Big thanks to my pals Darrell Smith and AJ Navarro, who played along with me at both shows. And thanks to New Heights Church, for hosting, helping, etc.

And last Wednesday, Michael Steele joined me for a really fun show at Royer's Cafe in Round Top, TX. Royer's is -- literally -- a world-famous restaurant with fantastic food. It was a very fun and blessed evening. Big thanks to Matt Chauvin and Tara (Royer) Steele for putting the event together. Also, I was blessed that evening to meet Jim Arruebarrena, who claims to be a long-time fan. Jim is battling (and beating!) cancer, so we swapped stories and praised God for victory, miracles, and the Body of Christ. Go read about Jim -- and write him an encouraging note -- on his Caring Bridge site.

Speaking of people kicking cancer in the shins and making it wear a baby doll dress while everybody points fingers and laughs, my brother is about ONE WEEK away from being done with his chemo and radiation. To put it mildly, he is miserable -- physically, emotionally, and otherwise -- and eager to be done. Here's what I'm asking. Everybody who reads this and has a heart (that's nearly all of you, I think) needs to go here and write him a "press on" kind of note. Or write a prayer that you -- and everybody who reads it -- can be praying together as my brother finishes well. This is a relatively easy thing that you can do that will be a huge blessing to someone in need. Everybody is always looking for opportunities like that. I'm handing you one.

Finally, I have a house show this weekend in New Boston, TX. If anyone is interested, let me know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still taking that break

Too busy to blog. I know it's hard to imagine, but I swear it's true. However, my wife blogged here about our super-awesome vacation to Tahoe, so if you're really dying (and I know you are) for some scoop on the King family, go read about it.

More later...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Taking a break

Lots of stuff going on right now. I'll blog about it as soon as I can. Too busy to blog about it now. But I promise to have one of my best stories ever when I finally get a chance to write about this.

Staci and I are headed to Austin for the weekend, to be with her family, and then we're leaving on Monday for a trip to Lake Tahoe, to celebrate 10 years of marriage. Time flies when you're married to a foxy lady.

I've got a crazy, busy summer ahead. I'll report back soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The moron in the mirror

I’m 36 years old, and from time to time, I still get a big nasty zit on my face (how’s that for an opening line?). Sometimes even 2 or 3 at once. My wife gets them too. When it happens to either of us, we always make some bitter joke about being in our 30’s and breaking out like we’re in our teens. We stand in front of the bathroom mirror and moan like our lives are over. We try to think of all the upcoming social engagements that are destined for ruin and ridicule unless God, in His divine goodness, intervenes and eradicates all manner of blemish from our faces.

When it’s me, I usually think something like “why can’t I just have a nice, attractive, pimple-free face? Is that too much to ask?”

For the past 4 days, I’ve been staying with my brother who, as most of you know, is in the beginning stages of highly aggressive cancer treatment. One of the side effects of the treatment is something called an “acne rash.” Lots of the terms that we’ve been running into during this time have been cryptic and foreign-sounding. Not that one, huh? Everybody knows what that is.

The rash covers his entire upper body. On just his face and neck alone, Ken probably has, I don’t know, 500 pimple-like marks. And – sorry to be graphic, but I want you to get this – we’re not talking about just red bumps. We’re talking white-on-red bumps. Depending on your zit-doctrine, these are the kind just begging to be squeezed.

All over his face. Hundreds.

In addition to being horribly itchy and painful, it looks, well, you can guess how it looks.

This stuff is so out-of-control that Ken’s face is swollen-looking. He has difficulty turning his head because the skin on his face and neck are pulled snare-drum tight from all the rash bumps.

Ken told me that he avoids mirrors now. He said, “I used to look in the mirror all the time, but not anymore.”

The other night, he and I went to the movies and, afterward, to pick up some take-out at PF Chang’s. People stared at him. I don’t know how much he noticed, but I noticed it every single time. I wanted to punch them all in the face. Repeatedly. I was thinking I could even the facial playing field with a couple of good bruises and a crooked nose. Maybe some of those nasty-looking yellow bruises with some crooked stitches running across them. Who’s funny-lookin’ now?

Hey, he’s my brother. What do you expect?

But then I thought about all the times I’ve stared at strange-looking people. I don’t even want to get into this, because I might reveal that I’m the meanest, cruelest person in the known world. But let’s just say I’ve done my share of name-calling and joke-making. And even when I miraculously kept my mouth shut, I thought things. Things that seemed witty and just-being-honest at the time.

Shame on me.

That doesn’t even begin to sum it up, but it’s a start. Shame on me.

And here’s something else. I’ve decided that, at least for a week or so, I’m going to quit looking in the mirror so much. I’m not all that great-looking, but I sure care about my appearance a lot. I check to see how fat I look in certain clothes. I stretch out my neck to make it look like I’ve got a better jaw-line. I suck in my gut. I check my hairline and thank God for whatever gene-combination keeps me from going bald. Then I curse Him for the same genes that give me a big nose and a funny-looking smile.

Yeah, I do a lot of mirror-looking. You probably do too, but that’s not my business. Right now, I’m concerned about the vanity-gauge in me. I’m looking to recalibrate that sucker, if for no other reason than – in some ridiculously tiny way – to understand my brother. One part suffers… like that.

So, less mirrors. At least for a while.

Again, it’s small, but I just feel compelled to do something. When you know that you need to change and you don’t do anything to help make that happen, well, let’s all be honest. That’s not just “neutral.” There is no neutral.

So if you see me out some time soon, and I look a little unkempt; if my hair isn’t right or my clothes seem wrinkled or my shaving-job looks off, you’ll know why.

And before you judge me, take a look in the mirror. Or don’t.Whatever. I think you know what I mean.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The number "Five"

We're in Birmingham today, and for the next several days, visiting my brother. I’ll probably blog once or twice about that in the next few days. I’m so happy to be here and see him and his family, but I’m sad that Ken has to deal with so much pain and discomfort. Cancer – and the stuff we do to kill it – is a real crappy deal.

My wife “tagged” me with some blog game. I’ve only done one of these before (Johnny, you know I must like you a lot), and that one was actually kind of fun. This new one was okay, but it sort of seems like the kind of thing that girls would enjoy more than guys. But I love my wife a bunch, so I agreed. I did this yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to post it. Maybe it will be interesting to you, maybe not. Here goes.

What were you doing 5 years ago?
Let’s see… I know I was writing and recording a theme song for Camp Olympia (I do this every year in May). I was probably also getting ready to do camps with then-bandmates, Andy Crawley, Joseph Degelia, and Russell Wedelich. I may have been trying to figure out how to pay my bills, since Grassroots Music had sold 600 of my CD’s and, just before paying me, gone bankrupt (I’m not mad about this, but you asked). I know for sure that I was eagerly awaiting the 5-year anniversary trip to St. Lucia that Staci and I were planning (it ruled, by the way). And, most importantly, I was helping Staci put together all the paperwork for our first adoption (she did most of the work, poor woman).

What are 5 things on your to-do list today (not in any particular order)?
I don’t have “to do” lists. I have informal, only-in-my-head stuff like “I hope I write a hit song today, but if not, maybe I can answer a bunch of emails or eat a really good cheeseburger.” Today I didn’t write any hit songs, but I answered lots of emails. And I played with my kids. No cheeseburger, but there’s always tomorrow.

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
1. Chips and pretty much anything that can qualify as “dip.”
2. Various beverages that are only sinful when consumed in excess.
3. Any ice cream that has the word “pecan” in it.
4. Pistachios.
5. Cheese in any form.

What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Adopt lots and lots and lots of kids and build a house big enough for them.
2. Pay off the debt of everyone I know, even the stingy people.
3. Build houses for all of my friends, right next to mine, so that we could have a hippy commune thing, only without any mind-altering narcotics, polygamy, or goat herds.
4. Pay a ninja master to teach me the ways of the ninja.
5. I don’t know what I’d do with the rest. I’d give it to my church and let them decide what to do with it. We might end up with a whole army of Jesus-loving ninjas, but more likely they’d start an orphanage or something like that.

What are 5 of your bad habits?
1. Talking too much.
2. Interrupting people.
3. Cussing too much.
4. Looking up myself on the internet to fill up holes in my soul that only God can fill.
5. Being too honest when asked to list my 5 bad habits.

What are 5 places you have lived?
This one is really boring because, aside from 3 months in 1994, I’ve always lived in Bryan/College Station. Believe me, I’ve tried to leave, but this place is like some kind of magnet.
1. My parents house. B/CS
2. A ratty apartment. B/CS
3. The house on Sandpiper. B/CS
4. T Bar M Sports Camp in New Braunfels.
5. The house we live in now. B/CS

What are 5 jobs you've had? (only 5?)
1. Sno-cone salesman.
2. Food delivery driver.
3. Janitor/maintenance man.
4. Video store manager.
5. Cotton picker/field hand

What 5 people do you want to tag?
None of these guys will probably do this, but I’m going to play along anyway…
1. Thad (his will be interesting and funny if he'll do it, but he won't)
2. Johnny (his will be, I'm sure, filled with tons of surprises, if he'll do it, but he won't)
3. Joe (his will be dry as a butterless biscuit, but hilarious, and he actually might do it)
4. Michael (he'll do it, and his will be humble and thought-provoking, because that's just him)
5. My brother (the only blog he has is the one that he uses to update people about his cancer, but maybe this will give him something fun to do instead of writing about rashes and chemo and such; but he won't do it)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A rare moment of joke-free honesty

Staci and I have been doing something for, I don’t know, the last year or so, that has changed our lives and our marriage. There’s a good chance that it’s changed more than that, but I really don’t know for sure.

Here’s what we’ve been doing. Any time that we’re together (and often when we’re not, but I’ll explain that later), if one of us says “we really need to be praying for/about…” we just pray right then. If we’re at home, we just sit down right where we are (if the kids are around we drag them into it) and pray for a few minutes. If we’re in public, we find some way to do it with minimum obviousness and “show.”

I know this isn’t any huge thing. Lots of you probably live your lives like this, but it’s new for us. We’ve always prayed together. Every couple handles this kind of thing differently, I know. But we’ve never had excessive feelings of weirdness or discomfort with it. I pray pretty much the same way I talk, and so does Staci (only Staci sometimes prays with a kind of intuition and intensity that’s a little bit mystical), so it’s all pretty much the same as having a conversation, only The King of The Universe is in on it.

The new part is that we have a “let’s do this right now” kind of thing going. And, for some reason, it’s just made our prayers feel more real and more connected to who we are and who God is.

I’m not saying it’s easy to explain. I’m not about to give you a method to a better life or anything. I’m just telling you that we’ve changed the way we’ve been praying, and it’s been significant for us. It is what it is.

But it has changed us. It’s pretty much obliterated that whole “I’ll be praying for you” problem, which I assume you’re familiar with. You know, where you don’t really end up praying for the people who are counting on your prayers.

That’s over. Sometimes the whole thing is comical, because someone will tell me something that they want me to pray for, and I’ll say, “let’s just pray now.” I don’t do it to be “edgy” or shock-jock or odd-for-God or whatever (at least not most of the time). It just makes the most sense to me to take care of it right then. But of course you can imagine that some people are a little thrown off by it.

Hey, I’m a little thrown off by it. Sometimes the “let’s pray right now” line just flies out of my mouth before I really process it. Sometimes I am feeling a little full of my spiritual self – thinking how blessed this person is to be getting advice from a smart guy like me –and I realize that I’ve just invited someone to pray with me (for them) and I don’t even know what to pray for.

There’s a little bit of reckless idiot still hiding out in my corners and cracks.


As far as I can tell in searching my own heart, I don’t think I’m bringing this up to say how super-awesome my/our prayer life is. Even if I was trying to say that, it wouldn’t be the truth. We pray for stuff when we think of it, but sometimes we’re too busy or too selfish or too cynical to think of it. Sometimes we only think of stuff that is helpful or life-giving for us, completely forgetting about the needs of others. Usually Staci isn’t guilty of any of those things, but even she’s a human. A super-hot human with really good hair, but a human no less.

No, I’m writing this for a couple of other reasons. First, I’ve run into a lot of people lately who feel like they just don’t know how to pray.

I know this feeling. I've had it many times. Like maybe somebody showed it to me at some point, but I forgot to write it down, and now when I have to do it without the help of an experienced pray-expert, I just freeze up and clam up and stumble along until I finally say “oh forget it, God you know what I want.”

Or -- for better or for worse -- I just turn my praying into a fill-in-the-blanks test, inserting every cliché I can think of until my prayer sounds like the half-hearted, prepared statement of a high school football coach speaking to the reporter of the local rag after a game that everybody knew they were going to win anyway.

Lots of people pray like that. I pray like that. For many of us, this is prayer-as-usual. If we even pray at all, we pray without passion. We apply more purpose and sweat and effort to blogging or voting for American Idol or trying to figure out Lost than we do to praying.

Lord, have mercy.

Hey, this is me, too. I’m the chief of sinners.

So that’s the first reason I’m writing this: to remind us that praying is just something you have to practice and repeat if you want to “master” it; that praying is something you have to make yourself do so that you’ll actually be doing something eternal and right amidst all that is temporal and silly (and that's a lot).

Second, I’m writing this because I want to tell you about a few things that I’ve been praying about today.

Here’s a big one. Lots of you have already heard about this, so I won’t try to act like it’s my exclusive scoop. The more I think about it, I’m pretty sure this is the worst family scenario I can reasonably imagine. Aside from all the obvious stuff that everybody knows about the patriarch of this family, here’s something else you should know: these people are on a mission to save orphans, and they use their own actual, personal money to make it happen. Moreover, they started an organization that helps others do it too. They gave my family $2000 when we adopted Jude. We didn’t have the money to adopt Jude. Then we did. Because of them (and some other generous folks who would rather not be linked to). So pray for it. Right now. They need it.

The other one is nothing new. My brother is in a miserable state right now. You can read more about it all here. You can even look at pictures that show you the awful rash that covers most of his body. The rash is exacerbated by heat, so he can’t really go outside much at all, because it’s summer in Birmingham. Also, he’s nauseous and weak and lonely. And he signs off every one of his blogs with “God is good.” I’m telling you, this guy is a hero. And so is his wife, who is limping around on bad feet (long story) to keep everything together in their life. Pray for them. Right now. They need it.

Oh, and in case that’s not enough to get you on your knees or whatever, you can go global with your praying. Myanmar is facing a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And Rwanda is totally screwed up. I could continue, but then it might sound like I don’t have any faith.

Sometimes I don’t. But that’s why I pray. I don’t just pray because I have faith. I pray because I need faith.

And in those times, the Lord reminds me that He does stuff like keeping this kid alive when no one said it was possible (lots of folks prayed for this one, and I have to believe that it mattered). He reminds me that He brought us these little guys even though we can’t make babies the normal way (though not for a lack of blessed procreative activity). He reminds me that I have more friends than people should be allowed to have; that I have a career and a house and a wife that really loves me.

I wish my faith wasn’t so tied to results, but there you go. I’m a mess.

If I sound preachy, forgive me. This is the stuff that’s all over me today, and the only way to get it off is to throw it on you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I want to spend your money

I posted a couple of weeks ago about CD's that I think you should buy. But like a big jerk, I didn't even provide go-buy-it-here links on a couple of them. I'll remedy that now.

John Sherrill's new record, which contains at least 2 of the best worship songs I've heard in a long, long time (and a bunch of other really great ones), is available for pre-order (and sample-listening) here.

And Clairmont's new CD, which I co-produced and recorded at The MixLab, and which features my sometimes-bandmates Michael and Ben, and which rocks harder than I could ever rock even if I was in a quartet super-band with Nikki Six, Eddie Vedder, and Ted Nugent, is available for pre-order here.

I'm telling you, you won't regret these purchases, unless you hate music or have some kind of disorder that causes you to always regret purchases. But we don't deal with that kind of thing here at the World Tour HQ. We deal with music lovers. As far as disorders, we really only deal with mine. And when I say "deal with," I really mean that we laugh at them and, sometimes, applaud them.

In other news, I'm hoping to get a second tutorial done this week. I've got to work on some more weird voices for the "ross mocks his own song" portion of the video.