The Gentle Wolves are very excited to finally share our new musical setting of Psalm 133 that we contributed to an epic new Cardiphonia/Bellweather Arts compilation. What’s even more beautiful than this collection of music is the accompanying devotional book that can be purchased (either digitally or physically). Check it out!
When we set my final date back in the fall I knew what my last liturgy would be called: Do Not Be Afraid. We didn’t, however, know how turbulent things would be within our community and in our denomination. Though my departure is completely unrelated to both of these circumstances, it seems that God is already planning the next phase in the life of Servant Church, and his Church worldwide. It can be a time for fear or a time for hope.
Because of all of this, in collaboration with long time Wolves Ross Gilfillan, Paul Price, and Molly Kentopp, I wrote and recorded this song for the people of Servant Church. I hope it can offer encouragement to those who mourn, and peace those who face an uncertain future.
Friends, look to the Lord together and do not be afraid!
Here is the chord chart.
Dear sisters and brothers of Servant Church,
I don’t think anyone has been to more Servant Church worship gatherings than I have. I’ve lead music at over 400 of them. Most Sundays I’m the first person there. I unlock the doors and turn on the lights. Often I will stop in the middle of the sanctuary and look around, thinking of all of the possible futures that could unfold when you arrive.
Over the next couple of hours, I go about my business as as a building becomes a Church. I’ve often been too busy or self-absorbed to notice the magic that God is working around me; but in retrospect, it’s been one of the great honors of my life to serve and sing alongside you each week.
In 2014, Mosaic, a sister church of ours, folded into Servant Church. Because I was on staff at both, my full-time pastoral job became half-time. I was forced to look for other work, and in 2015 I stumbled into the software industry. I quickly found my niche. In that niche, many of my gifts and talents are, to this day, being put to use building software and websites that feed the hungry and clothe the poor.
Working a highly-demanding full-time job, combined with the 10-15 hours that I typically give Servant Church each week, has left me spread thin. Too thin.
After much deliberation, prayer, and conversation, it’s become clear that it’s time for a new season of my life.
It’s time for a season where I only have one job.
It’s time for a season where I don’t leave my wife alone with two young children for most of the day every Sunday.
It’s time for the Kentopps to load up into the car and drive to church together.
It’s time for my incredibly patient wife to have her husband by her side when she walks into worship.
It’s time for my boys to celebrate the Eucharist with their dad.
In short, it’s time for my time at Servant Church to come to an end.
My last Sunday to lead music at Servant Church will be in early 2019, probably around the end of February. Between now and then we have work to do! We must wait together through Advent, and celebrate that God came near to us at Christmas. After the New Year we will probably have some special times set aside to drink, reminisce, and sing together. I will cry and cry, but if I’m I’m being honest, I will be very relieved in the end.
As for what comes next for you, my sisters and brothers of Servant Church: I don’t know. I’m not worried. I trust Kelly. I am so thankful that God gave her to us last year. I trust that, under her leadership, you will hear the Shepherd's voice no matter who sings into the microphone.
As for what comes next for the Kentopps: we don’t know. We probably won’t be around Servant Church on Sundays anymore. However, we certainly hope that we will continue to see you in the backyards, playgrounds, music venues, bars, and eateries that make up this fine city of ours.
Finally, it’s important to me that you know that I love the work that I do at Servant Church. I truly believe that making theologically important, liturgical music is my life’s calling. I am not done. You can plan on hearing more recordings from The Gentle Wolves over the next couple of years. Maybe someday I’ll be doing it regularly on Sunday mornings again, but there are no plans for that in the foreseeable future.
Friends of Servant Church, I love you. I am thankful for our remaining time together and will cherish each song we lift.
Alex Dupree had long been a fixture of the Austin music world before he relocated to California a few years ago. He was incredibly influential on the early music of Mosaic, one of the churches I helped lead from 2008-2014. Seth Woods hatched the idea to do a tribute to Alex's songs and his broad body of work.
The Gentle Wolves of Servant Church, like Mosaic before it, has long valued his song The Revolution Choir, singing it regularly in worship. It's an incredibly powerful poem, of which Alex never released a proper recording. For the compilation, No Sense in Stopping Here: A Tribute to the Songs of Alex Dupree, The Gentle Wolves have contributed a live version of the song.
I was also able to help record, produce, and mix the Teen Idyls brutal version of Mind/Maker.
I'm very proud to present Scenery's Lady Bird Cassette. It's our first release since 2017's full length Two Stares. While the latter was a sweat-filled summer of partying, love, and loss, Lady Bird is a quieter, more intimate night on the lake.
There's a lot I could say about it, so I'll just say it in bullet form:
- The album cover of this release is very special to me. The photo was taken by my grand-uncle Roland Chatham in 1947. The subject was his girlfriend, my beloved Aunt Catherine, whom we lost in 2016. She was truly a Lady Bird, as she flew airplanes in WWII in an elite women's air group. I love how my talented friend, Bryan Butler, took the photo and brought it together perfectly.
- The title track, Lady Bird, is a story about falling in and out of love in Austin in the late 90s and early 2000s. Back then there used to be impromptu concerts in the middle of the Lamar Street pedestrian bridge. That's what I'm referring to in the chorus when I sing "Meet me on the bridge over Lady Bird and I'll sing you my song." It has since been pointed out to me that Austin's Town Lake wasn't renamed "Lady Bird Lake" until 2007. I think that really just speaks to how our memories and nostalgia can be so wildly approximate, with people, places, and times conflated into a single picture; a single feeling. That's what we tried to do with this song.
- The B-side, Queen of the Night, is also very special to me. When my good friend Elizabeth Lodowski passed away in 2016 her boyfriend gave one of the most moving eulogies I've ever heard. She wrestled with cancer for several years, but they only met a couple of years before she died. This is my best attempt of catching that moment and putting it into a song.
- This is the first album I've put out of my own music that I didn't play a large role in mixing since the passing of my best friend and partner in music, Travis Bannerman. Major props to John Michael Landon at Estuary Studios for mixing the two featured tracks with such skill and care.
- This was also the first time I've employed anyone for mastering except for Travis or the ever-so-talented Tim Gerron. Big shout out to Kevin Butler at Test Tube Audio for last-second mastering that was perfectly crisp and clean.
On Sunday October 29th, 2017 Servant Church celebrated All Saints Sunday a week early. I was asked to share about a saint from my past. I was honored to talk about my high school literature teacher Carl Henry.
With the anticipatory season of Advent being imminent, I'm proud to announce Waiting, the second live album from the Gentle Wolves. It's a collection of seven songs recorded at Servant Church's worship back on July 30th, 2017. It is now available digitally on the Gentle Wolves' website, and through their bandcamp page.
Relying heavily on Tom Waits, the patron saint of reverent agnosticism, we were able to extract a meaningful thread that week which perfectly fits the pregnant pause that is Advent. I hope that this can be both meaningful and useful for you as we prepare for Christmas.
1) We Are Waiting Blessed Savior (an RK retune)
2) Way Down in the Hole (Tom Waits)/Wade in the Water (traditional)
3) Jesus Gunna Be Here (Tom Waits)
4) When Morning Dawns (an RK retune)
5) Song is So Old (Seth Woods)
6) My Shepherd Is (an RK retune)
Guitar/Vocals: Richard Kentop
Vocals: Katy Evans
Guitar: David McClendon
Drums: Andy Beaudoin
Piano: Redding Hunter
Bass: Mark Epstein
It will be difficult to say goodbye to Eric Vogt, who was the founding pastor of Servant Church. But, being a United Methodist community, Eric and Valerie have been moved to a church in San Antonio at the end of June.
Before they go we wanted to do something special... especially for Eric, who has (both figuratively and perhaps even literally) given everything he has to birth the community we now call Servant Church. So we'll be throwing him a rager to say goodbye.
In our first bar gig in almost two years, The Gentle Wolves be playing some originals, some covers, and we'll be toasting Mr. Vogt's for all that he's done for us. Our friends/brothers in Good Field will be closing out the night.
Click on the brutal flier (made by the one, the only Josh Gamma) the RSVP to the Facebook Event.
Last summer my good friend Seth Woods sent me this picture with a text saying:
"Dude. I'm doing some childcare for my friend's Mennonite congregation today, but they are having their retreat at a baptist camp. I am going through a hymnal. Most baptist hymns annoy me, mostly because they have no mystery or subtlety. But i came across this short, weird hymn called "into the woods my master went. It's awesome and creepy."
I quickly responded: "Weird. What does this song even mean? Let's each retune this thing and put it out in time for Holy Week... because it's talking about Gethsemane and Golgotha right?"
The retune project grew as we invited our talented friends Chris Simpson (Mineral, The Gloria Record, Mountain Time), Alex Dupree (Idyl), Jana Horn (Reservations, Knife in the Water), and Bruce Benedict (Cardiphonia, Hope College) to submit versions as well.
It is now available, just in time for Holy Week.
I'm so proud with how it turned out.
Click the album cover to listen, and you can download it for free from the bandcamp page.
The Gentle Wolves are proud to announce the release of their first live album. These recordings come from Servant Church's lament worship gathering on 1/29/17. The purpose of the liturgy was to confess and mourn the way we, the Church, have failed when it comes to dealing with our people's sexuality and gender.
You can download this album on the Gentle Wolves bandcamp site. You can get it for free by going to the Gentle Wolves' site, clicking on "Buy Now," and then entering $0. With a download of the album you also get chord charts for all of the enclosed music.
This powerful set includes some of The Gentle Wolves' most emotive music, including adaptations of songs by Mahalia Jackson, A Silver Mount Zion, Mineral, The Whiskey Priest and Chris Simpson. We try to ensure that the Gentle Wolves aren't a 'cover band' by thoroughly reworking the material to fit God's purposes in our context.
The setlist looks like this:
1) O God We Waited So Long (original)
2) Troubles of the World (Mahalia Jackson)
3) When the World is Sick (A Silver Mount Zion)
4) Holy Ghost With Light Divine (Seth Woods)
5) Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song (Lori Chaffer)
6) Been in this War for Too Long (Chris Simpson)
7) Blessed Lord in You is Refuge (original)
8) Modern Living (Chris Simpson)
9) The Last Word is Rejoice (Mineral)
If you ever wonder where some of the best indie-rock musicians in Austin are spending their Sunday mornings, the ones who aren't sleeping in are at Servant Church.
Guitar and Vocals: Richard Kentopp (Scenery)
Vocals: Diana Rudd
Guitar: Mitch Holt (Ex: The Rocketboys)
Guitar: Ben Lance (Booher, Broken Gold)
Bass: Paul Price (Good Field)
Drums: Andy Beaudoin (Nori, The Eastern Sea)
Piano: Kyle Robertson (Good Field)
Horns: Jonathan Hoyle
Album Art: Trina Bolfing
Recording, Mixing, and Mastering: Richard Kentopp
My friends and I in Scenery are so excited to celebrate the release of our fist full-length album Two Stares on Jan 6th. We'll be partying this Saturday night 12/3 at Cheer Up Charlie's with our good friends in Good Field, Kady Rain, and Ronnie Heart performing. THIS SHOW IS FREE!
Even though Two Stares doesn't come out until January, we'll have our cd for sale for only $10.
We can't wait to see you there!
Here is a link to the event.
Here's the schedule:
9pm Good Field
10pm ronnie heart (Dallas)
11pm Scenery (LP release)
12am Kady Rain
1am The Bristol Hills (Shreveport, LA)
In anticipation of our first full-length record, Two Stares, Scenery is proud to announce our third single Smoke & Mirrors. It's, by far, the most rocking track on the album, but it's not all fun and games. Though the lyrics for most of Scenery's songs are general and applicable to many of the past relationships in all of our lives, this one has a bitter root of truth for me. Underneath all the rock guitars, tight grooves, and soaring keyboards there's a lament of the times I've wronged those I was close to... and vice versa. That said... I hope you enjoy the track, but can't relate.
I'm so excited to share what my friends and I in Scenery have been working on for the last year. May we present Scenery's first full-length record, Two Stares. While there will be lots of sights and sounds to share in the next two months, here's the basic info along with the album cover (designed by my good buddy Bryan Butler):
Scenery - Two Stares
Release show/party: Sat 12/3/16 @ Cheer Up Charlie's in Austin, TX
Release date: Fri 1/6/17 on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp
Produced by Scenery
Mastered by Timothy Gerron
Album Art by Bryan Butler
Physical CD copies can be preordered here in December and will ship 1/2/17. But, of course, they will also be available at our live performances, including the 12/3/16 release party.
Austin synth rock band Scenery is proud to announce the release of their first full-length album, Two Stares. It will be available the first week of 2017. Having been a band just under two years, this collection of Austin music veterans has already cultivated an avid following through their electric live performances.
Two Stares is a collection of 11 songs that reflect on being young, growing up, not being young anymore, and yet somehow still being young. Vocalist Richard Kentopp recalls stories of long drives, sneaking into the woods, being an angry drunk, and fires on the beach. Underneath the idyllic pictures of days gone by, the rhythm section of Shane Wood (bass) and Austin Hegarty (drums) pound out their tightly angular grooves. Dean Stafford douses the sound with swirling guitars while Ali Sanders tops everything off with lush keyboards and vocals.
It all comes together in Two Stares, leading the listener to believe that no matter how old they are the stories of the young can still move their body and heart.
UMC Young People's ministry recently interviewed me for their podcast. I'm pretty rambly and not particularly helpful to their larger conversation. I hadn't slept much the night before because of my baby. But... if you're interested in hearing how I got into music and music ministry, my current listening, my thoughts on worship music in general, and lots more... this is the episode for you!
The past week has been a rough one for many of us; the police killings, the police being killed (in my hometown).
Yesterday while many were posting on social media to process the societal carnage, I wrote and recorded this song.
"O Lord Our Words Don't Work Anymore" is meant to be sung communally, and so it will be. I'm not exactly sure if I like it or not, but maybe it can be helpful for you to confess with me in these dark days.
O Lord our words don’t work anymore
We talk and sing till the air is warm
But we can’t convey what needs to be said
We need your Word to cure our dread!
Yes we need your Word to cure our dread!
O Lord our ears don’t work anymore
Our neighbors cry but we’re deaf for sure
So we cannot hear what your Spirit says
We need your voice to raise the dead!
Yes we need your voice to raise the dead!
O Lord our hands don’t work any more
We thought they did but they’ve grown quite worn
From building shrines to gods unknown
We need you Lord to reclaim your throne!
Yes we need you Lord to reclaim your throne!
O Lord our feet don’t work any more
We crawl around in the dirt evermore
We’ve chosen paths that scar and mame
Savior bring healing to the lame!
Savior bring healing to the lame!
O Lord our heads don’t work any more
We think we know the truth for sure
But we get so lost in thoughts base and vain
Humble us with wisdom’s reins!
Yes humble us with wisdom’s reins!
Here is a link to the PDF song sheet.
Several folks have asked me about the song's dark nature, and who I might have kissed in 1993 that would be giving me such present-day alcoholism. Well, in a dramatic departure from the overly heady and deeply spiritual music I have become known for, I have let my songwriting for Scenery be fictional, universal, and as sappy as Robert Smiths'. It has been a lot of fun. Seeing as I have never allowed myself to just write songs that weren't part of a concept album or meant to be sung in liturgical worship.... it's very refreshing.
So hopefully you, or anyone, can find something you identify with enough to sing along or get down on the dancefloor.