I recently released my first documentary short film, “Reason to Bleed.” It’s a story that many artists can relate to, myself included. I hope you enjoy it.
A story about taking risks and living with the consequences, Austin singer-songwriter Matt McCloskey, wrestles with the dark reality of self doubt and fear through a year long struggle to release his 3rd album, The Hard Rains.
Everyone bleeds. But artists bleed in a unique way. Hemingway understood this well when he wrote: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” But why endure the pain of creating? An artist must have his reason. Steven Bush’s documentary short film “Reason to Bleed” tells the story of Matt McCloskey, a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, and the discovery of his reason to bleed.
In an early scene, Matt McCloskey sits on his back porch and tells his story with brutal honesty. In January 2010, Matt explains, he released “Let It Burn”, his second record. It was enthusiastically received and he experienced the euphoria of success. But when the enthusiasm dwindled, so did the euphoria, leaving Matt in an artistic lull that bred depression and anger. After a conversation with his father, Matt realized that his depression and anger was rooted in his need for success, which adulterated his original love for music and creating. Acknowledgment of this tainted view of art led him to write “The Hard Rains”, a record he loved and was tremendously proud of. But fear of how the record would be received drove him to shelve it for a year. Matt’s decision to release this record did not come easy.
“Reason to Bleed” focuses on the time leading up to the release of “The Hard Rains”. The camera follows Matt as he navigates his busy daily life as a father of three beautiful children, a husband to a loving wife, an owner of a successful web design business, and a singer-songwriter in the Live Music Capital of the World, a city teeming with artists searching for their reasons to bleed.
It’s been three years and four months since we moved from Nashville, TN to Austin, TX to lead worship at The Austin Stone Community Church. In that time God has done some amazing things in our families, our band, our ministry, and our church. One of those things is the soon to be released ‘Austin Stone Live’ record.
This is the first live record that we have released from The Austin Stone, and it definitely won’t be the last. This eleven song album was tracked in downtown Austin, TX at The Austin Stone. It features songs from worship leaders Aaron Ivey, Jimmy McNeal, and Andy Melvin. The album includes songs like ‘God Undefeatable’ , ‘Love Shines’, ‘Solid Rock’, and many more.
I met Jeff Mangum almost seven years ago while leading worship with our old band Spur58. Jeff was a traveling preacher and we would cross paths from time to time at events all over the country. He has become a dear friend of ours. Jeff came on staff at The Austin Stone almost three years ago, around the same time I started. It’s been awesome to get to work alongside him in ministry for the last three years.
This summer the Aaron Ivey Band traveled and played at four summer camps. Jeff just so happened to be the camp pastor at three of the four camps that we played at. It made for an awesome summer. There is nothing better than leading worship at a camp when the speaker for that week is an actual pastor at a church. It is even better when that pastor is from your home church. It was like having The Austin Stone on the road for three weeks this summer. There is so much more depth that comes from a pastor who lives day in and day out with the people in his church. Needless to say, it made for a great summer to be with Jeff that many weeks.
On a cloudy April morning, Marcus Hsia and his missional community gathered for an informal baptism service at a small lake in north Austin. “We wanted to do things the way Jesus might have done them…just at a lake with family, friends and relatives,” he explained.
A simple, intimate celebration.
It’s been an incredible summer for us here in Austin. We have been extremely busy at our church and on the road with the band. Summer is GO time for us, and it’s been that way for eight years now. We were gone almost the entire month of July traveling and leading worship at camps. We got back in August, and the next thing we know it’s already September. Wow…where does time go?
Maris and I try our best to find some down time after a busy season like the one we just experienced. If we don’t take time to rest we find ourselves trying to live life on our own strength, and it usually ends in one or both of us burning out. It’s an unhealthy place to be as a husband, father, friend and pastor.
I’m thankful for my church, and the fact that our pastors and elders teach us how to live out gospel rest and sabbath and the biblical reasons for it. I am thankful for a church that allows it’s pastors to take some personal time for vacation. I am thankful I get a chance to take some vacation throughout the year. It is always a healthy and much needed time for my family and I. It’s a time for us to get away and focus on each other and our relationship with God. Two things that can be severely neglected if we allow ourselves to continually work without ever resting.