Jeremy Casella

I haven’t posted in a long while, but one of my favorite artists is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new studio album, so I’m putting in a plug today.

I’ve been drawn to the music Jeremy Casella has produced since the time he was working to put together his first album. If you enjoy the music of Rich Mullins, I think you will likely appreciate the melodies and lyrics which radiate with a soulful Christian authenticity: music by a pilgrim, for pilgrims on the way.  I hope you’ll take a moment to listen and maybe support his campaign that is running now through February 17th.


Update (2/11/2018): The campaign has been fully funded! But there is still an opportunity to contribute to the project until February 17th.

mike mangione & the union

Website: Mike Mangione & The Union

Mike Mangione & The Union is a touring group that combines a folk-rock sound with an orchestrated string section, soulful vocals and literate sensibility. The band’s previous album, Tenebrae, has received favorable press from all corners of the country, including the honor of being an All Music Guide Album Pick, while Blurt refers to their “tearstained folk, Memphis-styled gospel and bluesy-flavored pop” as “luminous.”

I first encountered Mike Mangione & The Union by attending one of the band’s live concerts a year ago at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior, Minnesota (my hometown). In this intimate venue, I was drawn in by their energetic performance and thoughtful lyrics. Watching them play, I marveled at the way that this band—made up of diverse personalities—coheres into a sound so finely-tuned as to resemble one voice. For these artists, music is not so much a performance as a generosity.

The band recently teamed up with Christopher West for a tour called Fill These Hearts, exploring the themes of the Theology of the Body through a blend of talks and musical performance.

complete results of 2011 Catholic Media Promotion Day

The newly minted website has all the details.

The response to the first ever Catholic Media Promotion Day was nothing short of phenomenal. We’ve sorted through the many posts and links and we’ve found that you promoted to the public 290 blogs, 88 podcasts, 199 websites, 77 facebook pages, 42 print and/or online magazines and news sources, 43 phone applications, 171 books, 26 companies, 30 music sites and/or musicians, 57 channels/stations/shows, and 75 additional miscellanea including cool Catholic folks to follow on Twitter, cool Catholic things to see on Youtube and other assorted Catholic coolness.

Many thanks to Greg Willits, Lisa Hendey, Sean Sullivan and Matthew Warner for spearheading (and following through with) this effort!

I will continue to flesh out my picks as time allows. Much to say about each of them.

judd and maggie

Website: Choose Judd & Maggie

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Judd and Maggie have been writing and recording together since 2003 when they released their 1st record, Concentrate. In 2005 they were signed with RCA/Victor Records and Chrysalis Publishing and spent the next two years touring the country and promoting their record Subjects, recorded in Cello Studios (Hollywood, CA) with Lenny and Joey Waronker producing. Lenny has produced greats such as Randy Newman, Rickie Lee Jones, and Rufus Wainwright. His son Joey has drummed for hundreds of artists, notably Paul McCartney, REM, and Beck….

In 2007 they moved to Nashville and recorded Kingdom of Noise with producer Neilson Hubbard. Since releasing that record independently and touring, they have also signed with Media Creature Publishing.

OK, I lifted that from their Facebook page. But they are ridiculously talented. And they performed a house concert at my apartment in Los Angeles back in 2005. Much love for the Bolgers here. I recommend starting with their album Subjects and working your way forward. Discerning ears will sense the influence of JPII’s Theology of the Body in the lyrics of tracks like “A Subject I Am”.

UPDATE (3/30/2011): For a limited time, Judd and Maggie’s latest album is available for free download on NoiseTrade. Don’t miss out!

my picks in Catholic Media

Here are my selections for the Catholic Media Promotion Day (CMPD).

I noticed that many of the participants in CMPD simply chose their favorite blogs, musicians, etc., and that, as a result, the selections many times overlapped with the most popular / well-known offerings in each category, as one might expect from a contest.

I chose a different approach. Wherever possible, I chose to surface artists/media that I considered not only the most deserving, but also the least known… the hidden gems, so to speak. After five years of living in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with artists, I realized that being talented often does not translate into being well-known. I realized how much beauty was being fashioned that never made it to the big screen or to the airwaves. So this is my attempt to give a bit of attention where attention is due. Just to be clear, though: this is not an effort to be egalitarian, but to applaud the finest in craft.

In the movie Chariots of Fire, one of the athletes comments that “when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” That, to me, is a fine description of what it means to truly discover one’s vocation. I imagine that each person / group that I have chosen knows something of what it means to feel God’s pleasure. (Or else God has chosen to give them a life patterned on the spiritual darkness of Mother Teresa of Calcutta…)

Bear with me over the next couple of weeks as I write posts about each of my choices. You’ll see a date next to each choice below when a post has been written about that person/media initiative.

All of the choices include at least a link to the home page or iTunes page for the selection.


Chronicles from the Front
The Duty of Delight
The Crescat…


Verbum Domini
Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Storytelling for the 21st Century


Judd & Maggie – March 17, 2011
Daniel Schreck
Mike Mangione & The Union – April 3, 2011


Catholic Mass Times


The Angelus Student Film Festival
Word on Fire

Some Projects I Am (or Have Been) Involved In…

The Christopher Inn International
RCIA Hollywood
This Is My Body (film)