Shekinah Glory

Music to Move Your Hindquarters

In my life I often encounter those who are in the arts. Painting, writing and music are creative outlets that intersect with the deepest spiritual yearnings of humanity. In my limited experience it seems that music is one of the most difficult to break into. There is the time that it takes to perfect an instrument and craft coherent music. As a musician one must work collaberatively with a variety of people that have much different expectations. There are promoters, club owners, fans, agents, record label execs and other musicians. Over the years I have watched a friend hike through the mirade of paths that this profession offers.

I first met John Austin when we were both attending Moody Bible Institute. I remember visiting his dorm room and falling in love with the record collection on his shelf. I wanted to steal all his Elvis Costello records (My copy of King of America was wearing out). John was a communications major and his final project was to make a film called “Sloth.” I made the perfect lead for that role. So, John shot hours of film of me acting slothful.

John was also an accomplished singer and songwriter. It was not long before he scored a recording contract and made his first album under the direction of the incredible folk musician Mark Heard. I still remember vividly listening to “John Austin and the Embarassing Young” in my dorm room and watching him play at the legendary Lounge Axe in Chicago. I will confess that I was envious of his talent.

Over the years John has visited many genres, but has consistently put out a high quality music. His current album is an anthology of music from over the years. Listening to it brought back many wonderful and frightening memories of a time in the midst of evangelicalism. Another album that I am constantly listening to is Austin Echo. This is an album that he did with his wife Erin (who also has an incredible voice). I would highly recommend picking up one of his albums on line at or you can link to his myspace page at and listen to the music gloriously pulsing through your computer.

Try it for a test drive I am sure you will love it!

I have put John’s website on my Blogroll for easy access.


3 Comments so far
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i saw john at wrigglyside and can vouch for his mucicmanship- last compilation cd was great.

Comment by Jesse Quam

Brian, thanks so much for the overwhelmingly kind words. Happy to know you for so many years! You have a beautiful family and Erin and I cherish the few times we get to spend with y’all.

Concerning the should-have-been masterpiece ‘SLOTH’…it was supposed to be my big final film project, but the big tragedy is that I was unable to make the film because Moody’s cheap mixing board broke at semester’s end. I was crushed. But I suppose it’s no surprise since I was taking a film-making course from a school that wouldn’t allow us to see movies! Geez. Just last month I was sorting through some old boxes in my parents house and I found the original VHS tapes of ‘SLOTH’. And you are correct! There are hours and hours of you looking slothful, in many different settings. It’s a little bizarre. (At one point I had crawled into a bulldozer with the camera and was raised and lowered to shoot you in your pajamas out on the plaza!) Someday I hope to clean it up and transfer it all to digital and maybe finish what we started (the tricky part will be locating Walter Kappel. lol.) But, in some ways…maybe it would be cool to just leave it as it is…it would really be mind blowing if someone on the outside stumbled upon it! Anyway, next time you’re in town we’ll have to make some popcorn and watch it. Hilarious. Brian Merritt *is*…SLOTH!

Thanks again for supporting our music over the years.

(I think I remember your favorite Elvis Costello record at the time was IMPERIAL BEDROOM. Does that sound right? That’s one of my faves, too.)


PS – Hi Jesse!

Comment by John Austin


Hope you are having fun in Chicago! I still dust off my copy of IMPERIAL BEDROOM from time to time. Everytime I hear ISLAND GIRL on your anthology for some reason it takes me back to Moody’s auditorium. That was the same one that I slept through Benware lectures. We will have to get up to Hersey some time soon. When are you back?

Comment by pastorofdisaster

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