21 July 2014

Song of the Month: July

This month's prompt was "finish a song"--i.e. take something that's been sitting around unfinished for some time and just get it done.

I had been hoping to possibly figure out a couple other seeds that I'd been unsuccessfully chipping away at, but then Psalm 46 came up in another context, which got me back to a setting of it that I had started a while ago.  I had put it away since it felt too derivative at the time, but I decided to go with that direction and then even attempted to write a chorus that was "Hillsong"-ish (which is not my go-to style).

The Psalm has a refrain that happens a couple times:

The LORD of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.

And it also points to the new Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

Demo here.

18 July 2014

Song of the Month: June

The prompt for last month's group was "three chords and fear."

Demo here.

31 May 2014

There Was A Time

A songwriter at my church recently started a songwriting group for anyone interested.  Writing is (at best) maybe 4th on my list of things I do musically, but I do enjoy it sometimes.  We had our first meeting last month, and we left off with an optional writing prompt for this month's meeting:  Freedom.

Since I tend to focus on the brokenness and struggle of the Christian life, I ended up writing something more about the absence of freedom and lack of growth in my life.

Rough, one mic, no click track, demo here.

Next month's prompt:  three chords and Fear.  Not sure if I'll finish anything, but we'll see.

09 February 2014


My father passed away fifteen years ago today.  It was a Tuesday.  I was a freshman in college, a few hours away by car.  I had gotten a call in the middle of the night on Sunday and got picked up Monday morning by some family friends, so I was able to get home and go to the hospital and everything.

Soon it will be more than half my life without him than with him.  In terms of my conscious life of memories, it's already reached that threshold, I suppose.  I don't really know what to think of all that.  I sort of don't even know what I'm missing--who I've become and who he would have been and what our relationship would have been like as I became more of an independent adult.  Whatever milestones he's missed (hard to see those things from here).

Both my grandfathers had already passed away before I was born, and both my grandmothers since then.  I think about death fairly freely.  My own.  My mother or brother's.  Family friends.  It's not so much "frequently" as much as it is a regular undercurrent, a perspective that I have on life.  I don't think that it's too morbid.  (Maybe it is.)

In light of that, I try not to assume my life and the steady steps of numbered days.  Sometimes it helps color my interactions with loved ones--not taking them for granted and not assuming that I'll see them or talk to them again.  And I think that's a good thing.  Heartbeats and breaths--smooth muscle cells that I can't control, after all.


Lately I feel like life has been more disappointment than joy.  More fear than freedom.  I feel like I've lost touch with the transformative power of the Gospel working itself out in real ways in my real life.  It's easier for me to dwell on the broken and the unsatisfying than on the restoration and redemption of those sad, disappointing, frustrating, tiresome, heavy things.

Prayer of a certain kind comes easy--the immediate, the conversational, the pleading and crying out and thanking.  The community around me (whatever that means) is good, I think.  But I want a magic bullet.  I want the easy.  I want what I want.  And when I don't get what I want, my brain is able to be rational and grateful to God for keeping me from what he would not have me have.  But the rest of me is just wondering when it's all gonna change and when I'm going to be satisfied, content, happy, at peace in Christ.

Which I suppose isn't the point, looking to some future time.  Today is the day and right now is the moment.  Repentance and returning.  Resisting and rejecting.  Rejoicing and...resting.

27 January 2014

Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners

Time for the 2nd Annual January New Song post.  This might be it for the year, who knows.

Sometimes we write new music to old hymns that have fallen out of common practice as a way to bring them back into circulation and remind us of the truths that they express in a particular way.

I've decided to take a well-known hymn with a well-known melody and set it to new music to perhaps let the words resonate in a new way.  Familiarity can sometimes bring its own obscurity.  It won't be for everybody.  It might just be for me.

You can read the words here.

You can listen to a rough demo here.