_For whatever reason, that line from The Beatles came into my head the other day. I hadn’t been listening to Sgt Peppers, nor had I heard ‘A Day in the Life’ recently; but for whatever reason, it stuck. I think it may have been because it seems that almost every newscast these days are talking about the hardships facing so many Americans and so many people around the world.
In the past few weeks we’ve found out that almost half of the population of the US can be classified as either poor or low income. We hear about food pantry shortages, homelessness, hunger, injustice around the world and I know that sometimes I think, ‘Wow, this sucks, but really, what is my 10 dollars really going to do?’
And so we get to ‘I read the news today, oh boy…’
So the new album is done.
Completely and 100% done and mastered (and I think the guys actually did spend the required 10,000 hours, Mr Gladwell).
Now I know the question you are all asking... 'How can I find out when, exactly, I can get a copy?'
It's easy! Just follow this link and sign up!
More news is coming, so stay tuned!
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am seriously excited about the new album, Chroma. They've been playing shows around the Southeast and there have been some initial discussions about the album release show.
Of course to have an album release show, you have to release the album.
This is where the fun stuff comes in...
This is a picture of a recent mastering session at Patchwerk in Atlanta:
Matt was sitting in the same chair that T.I. and Beyonce recently sat in (at different times) during their sessions. Chroma is going to sound amazing, trust me.
Finally, the guys started shooting the music video for Shelter Me last Wednesday in Atlanta. I'll see if we can post some previews soon.
Are you excited yet? I am.
A lot of news recently about hunger. Not much about the raging famine in Africa or the endemic hunger that much of the world experiences (I have a theory as to why, but that's another post...).
No, the recent articles have been about the growing food insecurity and the daily hunger that so many American's experience. It is actually rather startling how many people experience 'food insecurity' in the US.
In 2009, 14.7 percent of households (17.4 million households) were food insecure.
In 2009, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
That's according to Feeding America.
Here are just a few good stories that I've come across recently that illustrate the difficulty that many of our neighbors are facing.
I really like this profile from CNN.
You may have heard about people taking the Food Stamp Challenge and living on a dollar amount equivalent to what they'd get in food stamps. Here is one person's experience. More in depth version on his blog...
This post is just for education. I heard a story the other day from a woman who regularly gave her neighbors fresh food because they didn't have the money to buy it at the store. Of course what was offered at their nearby grocery store was brown and bruised and not anything resembling the type of fresh vegetables and fruits my friend purchased (for less) at a market on the other side of town.
I want to be more like my friend. I want all of us to be more like my friend.
If you haven't heard, the US Census released a report on poverty in the US a couple of days ago. If you haven't had a chance, go check it out...
The big deal in it is that 1 in 6 Americans currently live in poverty. Given that the threshold for poverty is potentially a bit low, if you add in the number of people who struggle to make ends meet but don't actually qualify as 'poor' the true of number of Americans who are hurting economically is probably higher, though I'll not try make an assumption as to how much higher.
While there are numerous ideas on how to help the US economy and to alleviate the poverty we face, I'd like to remind everybody that until we address the injustice facing so many of our fellow human beings, we will never be able to truly combat poverty.
That is not an easy fight and it's not a fight that any one of us can win on our own. But by standing together and supporting leaders and organizations who are committed to fighting injustice and changing how our political and economic systems operate we can work together to create real change. With national elections a little over a year away we have a real opportunity, not to mention a calling, to help start the country down a road that leads us away from fear and self-centered actions and towards a place that is fightin injustice and demonstrating how love can win (to steal a line from Rob
Don't you love a good appetizer? I know I do. A good appetizer really takes your excitement and ramps it up. It doesn't fill you up, but it gives you an idea of what the whole meal will be like and leaves you ready for that entree.
Thanks to our friends at Soul Munchies, we have an appetizer for you from the new album. Check it out and then come to the live show this Saturday at House of the Rock (doors open at 7pm). Trust me, it will definitely leave you ready for more!
As we get ready for the fall mini-tour, I was thinking back to some of my favourite shows from the past and how I'd love to able to relive those shows and the memories I associate with them. Sadly, I can't do that because they weren't recorded.
I mentioned to Matt the other day that we ought to record the upcoming shows, even if we didn't do anything with the recordings, it would be nice to have them for posterity.
He didn't really reply, but it obviously stuck with him because I am now proud to announce that we will recording and selling dvd's on the show on the 17th at House of the Rock in Atlanta. So come out to the show (doors open at 7) and make some noise. You might just end up on the dvd!
While posting may have been a bit sparse lately, rest assured that the guys have been busy.
Let me catch you up...
First, they are embarking on a mini-tour of sorts this September and October.
The first show christens House of the Rock as a concert venue on the 17th of September (Doors open at 7)
After that is a solid weekend of music on the 1st and 2nd of October.
It starts on the 1st as part of the Citizens with the Saints Tour, or check out the Facebook site
After that comes another show in South Carolina that evening.
A show in Hickory, NC on the 2nd rounds out the weekend.
THe guys are in Mooresville, NC on the 15th of October
They round things up on the 21st back at House of the Rock as part of a concert helping ELCA World Hunger promote their Malaria Initiative. (Which happens to tie into our work with Lifestraw quite well!)
As for the album (yeah, I want a copy right now too...), it looks like you can purchase towards the end of October or early November.
More details to come soon!
I was struck recently by how little people know about modern day slavery. I would probably hear stories about sweatshop labour in developing countries and kids making sneakers if I were to ask anybody about it, but sadly the stories get more heartbreaking and can be closer to home than we imagine.
A truly tragic story is told in this article about Dubai. Promising work and good wages to the poor and then robbing them of any way to leave while forcing them into backbreaking and cruel labour is a typical tactic and often times government and law enforcement let it continue.
Similar stories exist in the states and a more prominent one involves the tomato workers in Immokalee, Florida. Here is a good overview on the living conditions and the nature of the work being endured by the workers. Too often we see companies exploiting the fear and ignorance of the law of immigrants for their own profit.
Here are a few other related stories on human trafficking:
'If you don't see it, you aren't looking', Miss Canada speaks out against human trafficking
Georgia gets an opportunity to enforce a new human trafficking law
Unfortunately a large case in Hawaii appears to have collapsed...
Another article on the Immokalee workers
Sadly, many of the trafficking tales involve children and forced prostitution, but some laws are trying to protect the people forced into prostitution from being treated like criminals
This is just a small peak into a very frightening and real world. But we can help stop this. When we know what companies are benefiting from slave labour, we can stop buying their goods or visiting their shops. We can speak up to our lawmakers that this is an issue and we want to see it addressed.
Police departments have community liaisons; ask them what your local PD is doing to combat human trafficking.
Many churches and non-profits offer assistance to people trying to escape slavery, acting like a safe house. Donate and volunteer.
Support the groups that already exist to fight this issue. Some examples include the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Not For Sale organization, and Amnesty International.
If we educate ourselves and act for justice, we can make a difference.
There's been a fair amount of news from across the world recently relating to a wide variety of justice issues. Here is a small sample for you all.
First off, some news from the Horn of Africa
Why is the famine in Somalia so bad? A variety of reasons...
One way to help in Africa...
Others include ELCA World Hunger and the International Red Cross. Bread for the World is another.
For an excellent primer on Africa that provides excellent examples of what citizens of the various nations are doing to try and help their neighbours, check out this article
Reuters gives a more in depth look at the reasons behind the rioting in Britain
Ive not the read the Orwell book that inspired this story, but I am putting it on my 'to read' list. You probably will want to as well after you read this from the BBC
The Starboarders site has some information on why we are supporting access to clean water (and by purchasing Chroma, you can help too!), but here is another look at the impacts of lack of access to clean water.
I haven't seen much else about this, but the UN's World Food Program reports that one-third of Afghans are facing a food shortage.
Food insecurity is, unfortunately, rampant in the US. For kids who grow up in that environment, it can have lifelong health implications.
J Trapp (our resident expert on all things global and social awareness) writes...