In Rotation

I just happened to click on my own Spotify profile, and I found the Recently Played list–the most outward-facing of Spotify’s lists–the most interesting. Here are the 20 artists on that page, with commentary.

  • Colony House: Not on the list yet, but I’m listening this morning. A band formed by two of Steven Curtis Chapman’s sons and a friend, great music, styling, and harmonies. Recommended by Andrew Peterson.
  • Bill Evans Trio: Jazz pianist, whose work I like more and more. Recommended by Josh Gibbs.
  • Andrew Peterson​: One of my favorites, for his songwriting, imagination, and feel.
  • Midlake: I’m a long-time fan of this band, from way back in my In Touch days. I used to listen to the Van Occupanther album front to back. Thanks, Cameron.
  • The Black Keys: Everybody knows the Keys now. Like most people, I started really listening at Brothers.
  • AC/DC: When I need big rock sound, tends to be one of my go-tos, despite long conditioning against them.
  • OK Go: The treadmill video for “Here It Goes Again” was my intro to OK Go. Like their accessible math-rockish feel.
  • Coldplay: What can I say? Oh, probably my son’s favorite band.
  • Great Lake Swimmers: Another In Touch discovery, thanks to Cameron. Have been a regular listener.
  • Lecrae: I’m not a hip-hop or rap aficionado. I do sometimes get the urge, and I like Lecrae’s spirit.
  • Brian Tyler: I listen to soundtracks when I’m writing, and he’s working in action films and video games right now. Also, my son loves soundtracks.
  • Queen: Mainly for traveling to basketball practice, especially “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”
  • Taio Cruz: “Dynamite” is on the other son’s dance list.
  • Sonny Rollins: I like jazz, but have little knowledge or working appreciation beyond the usual suspects. So, working on my jazz appreciation, and Sonny is one of the saxophone greats. From this list.
  • Pharaoh Sanders: Also from the jazz list, Sanders is one of the more innovative and artistic, and sometimes unlistenable, saxophonists.
  • ELO: From a conversation with Derek Monjure about ELO, in which I falsely attributed “Love Is Like Oxygen” to them. (It was by Sweet.)
  • Switchfoot: Enjoy Jon Foreman’s songwriting. This is on my running list, and the kiddos enjoy “Salt Water Heart,” especially.
  • Trevor Jones: More soundtracks, in this case, one of the best: Last of the Mohicans.
  • The Appalachian Guitar: Looking for Appalachian music. I listened to one track. Meh.
  • Josh Garrels​: One of my favorite songwriters. Found on NoiseTrade. Current favorite: “Heaven’s Knife.” I dare you to listen.
  • Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. “Blinded by the Light” is on the running mix.

Reading List Update: October

The fact that I make a list every year is, I think, a useful exercise. But I’m always amazed to get sidetracked by seemingly random, yet perfectly timed, discoveries. Two such books are now on the list.

Mornings on Horseback is David McCullough’s prize-winning and best-selling book about the early life of Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve always been fascinated by TR, and have resonated with his sayings, but I had never read anything substantive about him. McCullough’s book paints a fascinating picture of the boy who would be President. Along the way, I think he gives us a glimpse of the perils and power of fatherhood, and of what it takes to forge an identity.

A headmaster friend recommended Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender. So far, it’s not an easy book to read, but it has resonated with my experiences in school leadership over the past decade or so.

Completely random list this year, except that I’m reading a lot about beauty. I expect to read more, but am really hoping to finish the list this year. Finished. Reading now.


A Long Obedience (Peterson)

The Good and Beautiful Life (Smith)

Living the Sabbath (finish, Wirzba)

Questions for Ecclesiastes (Jarman)

Everywhere Present (Freeman)


Philology (Turner)

Education for Human Flourishing (Loomis)


A Distant Mirror (Tuchman)

Until the Last Trumpet Sounds (Smith)

Bonhoeffer (Metaxas)


Beauty of the Infinite (Hart; yes, again)

Beauty Will Save the World (Wolfe)

The Relevance of the Beautiful (Gadamer)

On Beauty and Being Just (Scarry)

Beauty: A Very Short Introduction (Scruton)

Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (Turley)

On the Good Life (Cicero)

The World Outside Your Head (Crawford)


How Dante Can Save Your Life (Dreher)

The Nightingale (Hannah)

The Fifth Heart (Simmons)

If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler (Calvino)

Silence (Endo)

Complete Poetry of George Herbert (Herbert)

Descent into Hell (Williams)


Antifragile (Taleb)


The Fellowship (Zaleski & Zaleski)

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer/Barrows)

When Athens Met Jerusalem (Reynolds)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Delights and Shadows (Ted Kooser)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Mornings on Horseback (David McCullough)

Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry)

Leading with a Limp (Dan Allender)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Sacred Rhythms (Ruth Haley Barton)

by Jamie Cain