Sunday, December 27, 2009


Wanna hear me show off my jingle-writing chops? Wanna see cute pics of my kids? how about a look at the ukulele that my in-laws got me for Christmas? All that and more (well, there's actually not much more, that's pretty much it) if you watch the video below:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas thoughts

With only a few hours until it's actually here, I thought I'd share a bit about the holy day. The holiday.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the beautiful paradoxes and surprises that you find in the Christmas story. They’re really the same kinds of paradoxes and surprises that you find throughout the life – and death – of Jesus. The parents who hadn’t enough influence or charisma to find a hotel for the night gave birth to the baby king who would someday have, still, no place to lay his head. The child whose birth illuminated a star for faraway travelers would grow to become a man whose death would blot out the sun for an afternoon. The infant whose first visitors were shepherds without sheep would one day look upon the uncertain masses among him and see them as sheep without a shepherd. The star-worshiping priests of a false religion, led by the Spirit to usher in His birth, would be replaced by Jehovah-worshiping priests of a true religion, led by Satan to usher in His death.

I suppose the list could go on and on, and if it did, we’d only grow increasingly more confused and perplexed and enchanted by it all.

It’s all so beautiful and mysterious, and – if we’re honest – not at all what it “ought” to have been. Not at all what we thought it would be.

No one anticipated (or wanted) a king born in a barn on a cold and lonely night. Nor did anyone anticipate (or want) a king who offered both sides of his face to be slapped, both hands to be nailed, both shoulders to bear the weight of a trillion criminals, and doing so with criminals at both his sides (two spots that Zebedee’s wife had once requested for her sons; no doubt she would’ve changed her mind on that day).

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The point I want to make could be made at any point in the story of Jesus, and perhaps in the stories of any of His followers throughout history. It is simply this: His Kingdom is not of this world.

Said another way: there are lots and lots of kingdoms in this world, and Jesus doesn’t belong to or submit to or care much for any of them.

It’s not that He’s a superior-acting snob or even a revolutionary. He is, by His nature, Superior. He is, by His essence, Revolution. In every way He is higher and greater and set apart. He is Other. For Him to stop pursuing His business to take interest in our kingdoms would be like a firefighter who stops racing toward a burning hospital to settle a quarrel between two ants fighting over a potato chip. His thing is just infinitely more important than ours. Infinitely.

He is simply too great for our understanding. And that’s why so much of what He does makes no sense to us. That’s why we God-following humans spend so much time trying to over-explain Bible passages that don’t make sense to us. “Oh, it doesn’t really mean that.” “That would’ve been completely different had you read it in Greek.” “He’s not talking about the same thing in that passage that He was talking about in that other passage.” Fire doesn’t mean fire and all doesn’t mean all and He doesn’t change His mind even though He just did.


And on and on we go trying to make sure He stays within our doctrinal understanding of Him, because of course we’ve already decided what He will and will not do. Our poor God is in a theological judo hold, unable to ever do anything that we haven’t pre-destined Him to do.

Don’t hear me saying context isn’t important. Quite the opposite. I’m actually saying that context is everything, and that our context is so small and narrow that we may never – this side of Heaven, at least – comprehend His context.

And even as we try to understand His context, we’re also busy inserting Him into ours. Only He doesn’t really fit into our context. At least not in the way that makes sense to us. Sure, He fits if we’re okay with a baby born in a smelly barn. He fits if we’re thrilled with him scaring off a good crowd of followers with talk of cannibalism. He fits if we like cryptic, down-home parables for the lower class and insulting, crystal-clear metaphors for the upper class.

And of course now I’ve gotten far away from the Christmas story, haven’t I? I’ll go ahead and tie this thing up, lest I lose all 3 of you.

I was just trying to say that I think the Christmas story is alive to me again this year. It’s alive to me because I love how unexpected and surprising it all was. And in that way – if in no other way – our crazy, over-commercialized gift-exchanging is sort of appropriate. Presents, wrapped up and secret, under the tree, waiting to be opened. We all love a good surprise. We all love a gift that changes everything. Even when it isn’t what it “ought” to have been. Even when it isn’t what we thought it would be.

Merry Christmas, world. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I did my best to make that pic cool and interesting, but instead it just came out creepy and odd and well, a little unsettling. Probably not the best way to market my kids' record, right? Funny you mentioned it, because that's the point of this post. Read on...

OK, some of you pre-order-ers may have already gotten the CD, and I know that it's been downloaded some as well. And many of you will get them tomorrow and Tuesday. So let's start getting some reviews. Here's all that I ask. If you like the CD, tell people about it!

Again, the Ross King World Tour Promotion Machine is kind of tiny and sad and pathetic, so I need your help to get the word out.

Here's what you can do. If you use twitter or facebook or myspace or if you blog or whatever, just go on the world wide internets and say "hey, I just got this new kids' CD and it's very, extremely (insert your own verbiage here) and you should go get it too." then you can link to iTunes or Amazon or my website or whatev (I've been hanging out with college students a lot, and they say stuff like "whatev.")

Of course if you don't like the CD very much, I suppose you could tell a bunch of people not to buy it, but that's just cruel. I mean, at least play it for some 5-year-olds and see if they like it before you make a judgment.

Anyway, I'd love to hear feedback from anyone who's got the record, and I'd very much appreciate your free PR help. Hey, I'm more than willing to come do a house concert for anybody who sells some of my music.

Thanks everyone. I hope to have a couple of other fun things up before Christmas. But either way, have a great holiday.

I leave you with a second attempt:
There. Is that better? No? Seriously, I need help here.

Friday, December 18, 2009


go get it!

Check your mailboxes tomorrow and Monday if you pre-ordered!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Christmas song, etc

Three things of import!

First, it’s my awesomely hot wife’s birthday today, so if you haven’t already told her happy birthday, do so now on her blog or, if you’re her “friend,” tell her on facebook. Or, and this is really crazy, call her on the telephone. I know, I know. Who uses telephones anymore?

Well, I do, but only to shoot videos. But I’m getting ahead of myself. More on that in a sec.

Secondly, I have confirmed that the CD will be delivered to my home/office – and available for download – on Friday. Expect to be barraged with info on my various networking sites. And hey, if you want your pal Ross to sell tons of records, get on the aforementioned facebook and tell all your friends to be a “fan.” And if you’re not a “fan” yet, that’s just sad.

Thirdly and finally, here’s something I’ve been working on. Lots of folks have been asking me about my “regular” songwriting career. You know, the songs for grown-ups that I used to write. Well, as I’ve said a few times lately, I am diligently working on those kinds of tunes for a new record that I will hopefully record in, I don’t know, 6-7 months and maybe have out late in the summer. I’m just guessing here, but that’s my plan at this point.

Anyway, in the meantime, I’m going to try to be better about sharing new songs as I work on them. I like the idea of my closest fans/friends/supporters being in on the creative process. It’s a little scary to show things to the world before they are completely done, but I’ve been writing songs – and being critiqued as I do so – for over 15 years now, so I think I can handle it.

Having said that, I’m not totally sure this is the “final” draft of the song, in terms of writing. There are aspects of it that I’m not sure I love yet. It’s not really a song about anything specific (I mean, other than the Christmas story), and that’s not my usual way.

Whatever, I’ll let you be the judge.

Other thoughts, as you listen: I’ve been fascinated for a while with 3 distinct aspects of the Christmas story. In no particular order, they are angelic encounters, massive cultural change, and “favor.” I’ll explain.

Angels encountering humans:
In the Christmas story, there are several angelic encounters. And it seems like every time the angels appear, they have to assure the humans who are seeing them that there’s no need to fear. I think that’s interesting. Are angels scary? They’re never scary in Christmas plays, cartoons, Christian bookstores, or TV shows? I don’t know. It’s just interesting. Some of you may have heard another Christmas song that I wrote called “Song of Gabriel.” I used to have it for free up on my site. Anyway, that song is pretty much centered around the idea that angels are scary beings with weird jobs. I’ll record it formally someday and you can hear it.

Massive cultural change:
This one is simple, but it’s something that I don’t know that I ever thought much about until recently. When Jesus arrived on the scene – as a baby born in a barn, no less – people must’ve had a terribly hard time believing that this was the promised messiah. A messiah coming changed everything about their world and their view of life. Moreover, a messiah born as a baby in a barn changed things further, because it wasn’t at all what most people expected. I won’t go into this too much, because there are countless sermons and books (and probably songs) that cover it in depth. But I just think it’s cool, and I sort of wish I could understand what it felt like to be there in that world at that time. I wonder if I would’ve believed it.

The angel tells Mary that she’s “highly favored.” The scriptures then tell us that she was very troubled by that message. Isn’t that strange? Mary was told that she had high favor from the Almighty God, and it troubles her. Boy, I wish I had some context for that one. But then you jump ahead 9 months or so, and she’s shivering in a barn with her carpenter husband, squeezing out a baby with sheep manure filling her nostrils. You have to wonder if she thought, “favor, huh?” I mean, I’m not doubting Mary’s faith or her tenacity or any such nonsense. Don’t worry. Again, it’s just interesting.

OK, anyway, that’s enough set up. Go watch/listen. Here’s the tech talk, if you care. I recorded the video on my iPhone. I recorded the acoustic and vocal at the same time with my Edirol handheld recorder. And I added the production with Ableton Live. The production isn’t anything fancy. Just some stuff to make it sound more interesting. Oh, and I didn't edit any of the singing, so beware of pitchy notes here and there.

If you have thoughts, feel free to share. But I warned you that it may not be finished yet. I’m being vulnerable here, so don’t beat up on me too hard.

More new CD info coming as I get it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fans of my face: Unite!!!

OK, at the urging of my good friend and pseudo-publicist Andrew, I now have a "fan page" on facebook. I know, I know. But seriously, this is how REAL musicians sell records, so I figure I have to do it.

So, what are you waiting for? Go inflate my ego.

Also, it helps me pay the bills.

But mainly it's good for the ego.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2 mo day

If you haven't already pre-ordered the new CD, hurry hurry! Sometime Monday afternoon I'll be pulling the plug on the pre-order option. After Monday, you'll have to wait until the 18th to get your grubby little paws on it. That's when it will be available at iTunes and Amazon, etc, and that's when I'll be mailing all the CD's out. So go get one (or 20) for $9 while you still can.

thanks! More updates throughout the next week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He likes it!

My good friend Todd Wright has posted reviews on his ubiquitous vlog and on his not-as-ubiquitous-as-it-once-was-before-twitter blog. But he hasn't posted anything on his schlog or his phlob or goobletyglob. Sorry, I just had to do that because I felt so silly using all those words that were only invented in the last week or whatever.

Anyway, go hear what Todd thinks of the record. He's my pal, so I'm sure he would've had a hard time saying "this record is depressingly bad and makes me want to smash my nose with a caveman's mallet," but it as far as I can tell, he likes it. Todd is a fantastic musician and songwriter in his own right, so he's got some street cred. He seems like he's being pretty honest about my record, and I know him well enough that I can tell he ain't working too hard to sell it for me.

So if you're curious to get a song-by-song evaluation of the record, go here and here. And while you're at either of thos places, get to know Todd and his extremely loyal group of internet pals.

Oh, and buy Todd's music.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The continuing saga of self-promotion

OK kids, I've got 3 pieces of news fo ya.

First, I've switched out the songs one last time on the myspace player. Two more songs, plus I've uploaded the actual mastered versions of some of the tunes that you've already heard. Basically, they'll just sound louder and cleaner than they did before. This will probably be the last time I'll mess with myspace for awhile, so you can quit going there if that's been difficult for you. I've heard from several of you who feel as if you need to shower after spending time in my space or in anyone else's space.

Anyway, with these new songs up, it means that if you've been following along, you've had a chance hear most of the record. Lik 9-10 songs I think. There are 13 total, so that's definitely more than half. Basically this means that, if you still aren't convinced to buy it after hearing all those songs, the record stinks. Or you have terrible taste in music. I sure hope that neither of those things are true but I mean, what else am I to conclude?

But you know what? This isn't the kind of negative talk that we champion here at RKWT. Let's not dwell on how stinky my record might be or how knuckleheaded your artistic sensibilities probably are. Let's move on from that. In fact, let's move right over here and give these tunes a listen. Go listen and let the magical whimsy overcome you. Or whatever. Then go buy it. Or if you've already bought it, go buy a few more and give them to friends who have forgotten how to smile. I think this record is a cure for all chronic frowny-faced grumpertons.

OK, second thing. I will officially shut down the pre-order deal one week from today. I anticipate that the record will "drop" (as they say in the music biz, which I am totally a part of even if you think I'm just pretending) on Dec 17 or 18. Both the "real CD's" and the downloads should be ready by then. So I will cut off the pre-orders a few days prior to that, on Mondy Dec 14. That's your warning. One week from now, no more pre-orders, and no more super-cheap pre-order prices.

Thirdly, we're trying out some stuff with the rosskingmusic site, so be patient as it goes thru some random changes over the next several days. I hope to have it all worked out by the time the CD comes out, but the Ross King World Tour and Music Producing Machine is kind of a mom-and-pop deal, so sometimes things are a little messy.

That's all for now. I will probably post almost daily from now until the release, so my apologies if you're already sick of hearing from me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Me on TV

So a couple of days ago, Staci and I decided to take the kids to this new locally-owned yogurt shop here in town. Everybody's been making a big deal about it, and it's basically ice cream that lets you pretend you're not a gluttonous double-wide lardo, so of course we thought we should check it out.

Well, we get there, and there's this news camera guy there shooting video of everybody loading up on yogurt. This particular establishment is self-serve. You choose your flavor and then you add toppings. The topping selection is overwhelming in that way that Toys-R-Us is overwhelming to a toddler on a sugar high. They have sprinkles and chocolate chips and all the normal stuff, plus really ridiculous stuff like cheesecake chunks and brownie bits and -- I'm not making this up -- sweetened condensed milk in one of those hotdog-mustard style squeeze dispensers.

Let me just say this as frankly as I can. Sweetened condensed milk is the elixir of the gods. It is ambrosia flowing like a waterfall down a candy mountain in Narnia. It is the stuff of dreams. I suspect that it is made from Entwash and Unicorn milk, hand-stirred by hobbits who have passed thru the Grey Havens and entered into Hobbit Glory. When it touches your lips, it brings a pleasure so immeasurably decadent, you feel the need to repent and cover your nethers with fig leaves, for certainly you have tasted of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and now you must surely die.

Only you don't die. You live on. Cuz it's just sweetened condensed milk, and ain't nuthin' wrong with drinking it! Live on to run your finger around the rim of that can until it's shiny as a new quarter. Live on!

So they have that stuff out for you to put on your yogurt, just in case you were afraid that eating yogurt was somehow robbing you of the chance to consume butterfat.

Anyway, the news was there filming, and I hate being on TV. Most people find this odd. First, it's odd because, as we know from watching Cops and The Today Show and all of reality television, Americans love being on TV. It's part of who we are as a culture, like our love of ranch dressing and our excellent public education system. Americans will do what they gots to do to get on the TV. So it's odd that I, fine American that I am, don't want to be on TV.

It's also odd because (tangent coming!) about a year ago, I came very close to being on national TV. I've wanted to tell this story for awhile, and I've even promised to tell it once or twice, but I've always chickened out when it came time to post something. There are some legal issues at play (contracts and such).

Anyway, I still won't tell it (contracts may still apply, and I’m too scared to find out), but I will say that due to some extremely strange occurrences, I got asked to try out for a reality TV show last year. Man, I really want to tell this story. It's easily as ridiculous -- and every bit as true -- as this and this. But in the end, it turns out kind of like this. Other than getting to play a couple of my songs in front of the creepiest musician-turned-TV-star ever, it wasn't all that life-changing.

Anyway, in that situation, I only submitted myself to the possibility of national TV because it was a chance to play music for the world, and because (I am not making this up, either) they called me on my home phone and asked me to do it. As a general rule, when a major network casting agent calls your home and asks if you want to be on TV, you at least consider it. So I did. Long story. Someday maybe I'll tell it and just risk getting sued.

In the meantime, ask around and get one of my friends to tell it to you. Or ask me about it next time you see me at a house concert.

But listen, even in that situation, the prospect of being on TV was so scary to me that, in the 3 weeks leading up to it, I lost 15 lbs. I was too nervous to eat. These cameras add 10 lbs! That's what they say, and I am too pudgy to risk not believing them.

So back to the story I'm actually telling (not the one I'm not telling but only giving hints about). There I was about to maybe be on TV, and not only did I not have 3 weeks to lose 15 lbs by being extremely vain and unhealthy, but I was maybe going to be on TV for serving myself dessert!

If you’re just joining us (or if you’ve been skipping paragraphs hoping to get to the point), I’m just trying to stress the fact that I don’t like being on TV. And here was this news guy filming people loading up their self-serve yogurt buckets like pigs at the slop trough. No thanks.

But I really wanted that yogurt. And that sweetened condensed milk. And my kids would’ve cried if we’d left without getting anything. They had already spotted those rainbow sprinkles that taste like candle wax, and they weren’t leaving until they got some.

So we stayed. We got our yogurt on. And I avoided that camera. It was kind of amazing, really. The yogurt shop ain’t that big, but I somehow managed to stealth around that place, invisible as a miniature ninja on a moonless night. I’m not even sure that anyone could prove I was there. I mean, other than an empty squeeze bottle of condensed milk, I left no trace of my presence.

But I had 4 people with me, and they are all beautiful and extremely camera-worthy. So I’m busted.

Go here, watch the video, and see if you can spot me. I was wearing a cap, a brown jacket, and a hoodie. For a ninja trying to not be on TV, I was looking kinda bing-bang-boomtastic. It's a curse, really, to be so effortlessly fashionable. But you won’t see anything but an occasional glimpse of me in the background.

You'll definitely spot my hot wife, who looks insanely hot even when she's carrying an infant and trying to put sprinkles on yogurt.

Wait for the shot at the end of Jude, my 3-year-old, making the place look funner than DisneyWorld.

Now, if DisneyWorld ever starts having self-serve sweetened condensed milk on the Space Mountain ride...

More music in my personal space

I've switched out some of the tunes on the myspace player. Go hear two new songs from the record. I'll change out one or two more in a few days.

Also, I'm trying to think of ways to get reviews for the record. Does anyone know of any high-traffic blogs or kid-focused websites or music websites that might want to review this thing? I'll give a free CD to anyone who can hook me up with such things.

Finally, I'm working on some fun video stuff to promote the record. Think low-budget, very amateur, homemade music videos shot on cheap cameras. I mean, those are the best right? It's all taking longer than I'd hoped because me and the wife are both fighting thru a nasty cold. My voice is pretty much gone. And of course being sick affects my dance moves, which will of course be on full display for any videos.

Prepare for blessed awkwardness, coming asap.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Purchasing has begun!

Thanks to all you extremely trusting folks who have preordered. Both of you are very kind.

No, seriously, thanks. I won't say how many people have pre-ordered because I'm not a bragadocious boastful braggart. But if I was, I'd be seriously bragging about how many copies I've sold. Like a whole bunch.

OK, now that we've covered me not bragging about the truckload of CD's I've already sold because I'm awesome, let's talk about a little bit about me.

I kid, I kid.

Do the people who come to this blog know that I am, at times, a little bit sarcastic? Goodness I hope so.

But now I'm really being serious. Two things: first, I am going to be switching out the songs on the myspace player over the next few days. I want to give people a chance to hear almost everything on the record. So if you have been directing people to go there and hear certain songs, you better warn 'em that I'm changing out the songs later tonight. But I will be replacing them with more songs from the record that nobody has heard yet, so that's the upside. It's like musical chairs, only without the chairs, which are really the worst part of that humiliating, Darwinian game.

Second thing is this. Some of you have asked me when I'm going to do another project of my "normal" music. Like this one or this one. Well, don't worry. I don't have any plans to become Nickelodeon's new high-paid music star (though I'm open to it as a side job). I'm still diligently writing music about Jesus for grown-ups. I won't make promises about how soon I'll do another record (if you haven't noticed, I'm not so good at predicting these things). But I will say that I am already writing for a new record and I'm eager to get back in the studio with an actual band (as opposed to the way I did the kids' record, which was mainly me and a keyboard and some tamborines), and I'm eager to talk about deeper stuff than boogers and juiceboxes and monkeys that know karate.

Wait, maybe not. That actually sounds pretty awesome.

In the meantime, I would still love to plan some house concerts for the spring if anyone is interested. I can do kid shows, grown-up shows, or a mixture. If you have questions or thoughts, comment here or email me (

Anyway, that's all for now. Be watching for more announcements and such as the release date draws closer.

Oh, and if any of you are into the twitter, I'm doing that now, though I'm not sure why.