Music I’ve Made

June 27, 2009
A Brief Note . . . The songs below were all recorded by my in my own home studio set-up over the last decade. Over that time, my gear has changed, and my style of working has changed– so these songs will have differences in sound quality between them. Because of the limitations of my gear and circumstances, for the most part it has not been possible to work with other musicians so all the music you hear below comes from my own playing and singing. Except for some of the Taize-style songs (from the Taize canon, published by GIA) and one of the love songs below, the all words and music you hear have been composed by me. When there are variances from this, I have noted them in the intros to the songs below. Taize-style songs Taize-style music originates in a village in France called (oddly enough) Taize. There is a religious order there, founded by Brother Roger during World War II. They provided shelter for fleeing Jews and others being sought by the Nazis, and after the war Brother Roger dedicated himself to the work of praying for peace. His order created a unique style of worship built on chant, Bible verses, and ancient prayers. Their worship style and commitment to living in peaceful community attracted young people, and today millions of youth have gathered for life in the community of Taize, a week at a time. They come, they camp, they pray, they get to know each other, and through this the peace of God grows in their hearts and in the world. Some of the music below is actual Taize music, although my style of creating it is different than pure Taize style. Other songs are songs I have created from my own prayers and meditations. I hope you find this music helpful to your spiritual journey. I suggest that you sing along, repeating the Bible verse or prayer, and let the accompanying music support and carry you in your prayers. Nada de Turbe (Nothing can Trouble) This is an original Taize song, and the instrumental melodies are largely taken from the published Taize music.I have used some freedom in how I have combined them together.

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Be Free (Based on John 21) This is a song I created for a sermon I did out of this chapter. I led the congregation in the verses, and preached the sermon in between them.

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Wait for the Lord Another Taize song.

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Holy Spirit, Come to Us (Veni Sancte Spiritus) This is a favorite of mine in the Taize canon. You can get lost in the chanting of “Holy spirit, Come to Us” or, if you are of a mind to, chanting it in the Latin “Veni Sancte Spiritus.”

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The Love of God is With Us This is a song I created for use in prayer workshops I lead. we usually use it in a circle dance, and if there are enough people we dance in two circles, inner facing outer, as a way of introducing ourselves to one another within the context of worship.

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O Lord, Hear My Prayer Another Taize song

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Spiritual Songs (for worship and listening along) Some of my song writing and music production has been focused on “praise and worship” songs and other spiritual songs that express my own viewpoints on the journey of being a faithful and spiritual person. The songs in this section are all my own original songs, created from an urge to say something from my heart to the heart of others making the spiritual journey. Your Love is Our Home The narrative structure of the lyric is loosely based on Psalm 107. This is the only song on this page with someone else playing– my friend Brian Horsley came over and laid down a really fine bass guitar track.

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Have This Mind among You (based on Philippians 2) I have always loved the hymn that Paul records in this chapter, and enjoyed the challenge of setting it into this kind of song-form.

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Love Is the Way, Love Is the Plan (a statement of my faith) This one took a long time, word-wise. I had the music written and arranged and had largely finished the music¬† on the recording before the words came together. I think that’s because this feels like a very personal statement of what I really believe.

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Open Rose (Instrumental, for meditation) As I wrote and recorded this one, I kept before me a picture I took of a large open rose in a rose garden at an Orthodox church in Louisville we visited one summer.

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Let Love be the Rule of Your Life This one has a story attached to it that is worth telling. For a few years, I was invited to be the speaker at the Christmas convocation at a local high school (one of the faculty there was my music minister at the time.) One of the years I was the speaker was the year of 9/11, and even by December people were still upset and torn about what had happened. I knew I had to try and address the feelings people were having, even though I didn’t quite know if I could address the politics and policy of it all. In the weeks leading up to that speaking event, I got this song written. Again, it felt like a very personal expression of my faith at the time. The week before the event, still unsure of what exactly I was going to do, my music minister called me to tell me she had had a dream of me singing a new song to the students. She did not know I had written this song, and so I took that as a sign to sing that song for that assembly. It was a big moment for me, and created some opportunities to talk with the students afterwards.

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By Water and the Spirit This was a song I created for use in our conference (Kentucky, United Methodist) as a part of an emphasis on teaching our theology of baptism. This song follows the movement of our baptismal liturgy.

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May the Words of My Mouth (Psalm 19) I created this song at the request of a classmate of mine at seminary. She wanted a setting of this psalm for her ordination as minister in the Disciples of Christ church.

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Time With You This song was one of the first I recorded in my home studio, and a long time ago it was a number one hit for a month on an independent music website called MP3.com. I got a tote bag from them as a reward.

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Hold On This bluesy little number was a song I wrote and recorded to encourage myself as I was going through a truly horrific experience in my minstry.

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Just Songs . . . I also just write songs that express something about my life without an explicit reference to my spiritual self. Of course, I don’t really believe that there’s any part of my life (or anyone’s life, for that matter) that isn’t “spiritual.” But, some folks (especially church folks) have a hard time with the music if you don’t give them some labels for what they are hearing. So, the following songs are love songs– they express something I was feeling in my heart for someone else. Again, all are originals except for one (which will be noted) which I co-wrote with a friend a long time ago. (I’m a) New Man I don’t remember the circumstances of this song’s origins– I don’t think I’ve ever been in this much trouble at home, but you’d have to ask the missus. I do love the opening guitar solo (realized later I borrowed the idea of the “feel” of the beginning from a Doobie Brothers song) and the last solo is the ONLY KNOWN EXAMPLE of me using a wah-wah pedal.

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Dreamin’ This was written while I was in college the first time, at my second school where I was a music major. I do remember the girl’s name, but that is something I’ll keep for myself since she and I have both moved on to happy lives and, as you’ll hear from the song, the relationship felt doomed even while I was in it. This is the only song I’ve written that a band I’ve led actually wanted to perform. We did it a lot back in the day, always to a good response.

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Dance with Me This one came to be during some recent years. A lot of love songs are about “kid-love,” that kind of hot infatuation that just eats you up alive. I realized I had come to a new way of being in love with my wife, and I wanted to try and write something that captured love from a “maturing” angle.

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First Move This one is just kind of fun– a song about that kind of obsessive thing that happens when you need to talk to someone, and you just can’t figure out how to get started.

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Lady of the Country A fun little country-flavored number, with a steel drum break in the middle. Just ‘cos.

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Last Love This one is the co-written one with a friend a long time ago. Marty Mencer and I were Kroger management people together in Lexington, KY., and he had written a couple of country style song lyrics to which I put the music. He paid, and I put together the band, and we recorded demo versions of both songs. I lost my copy of the demo tape, and years passed. I built my home recording set-up, and wanted to do this song– my favorite of the two. I found him by doing an internet search, and we reconnected briefly and shared some happy memories together around this song and those days.¬† It’s still one of my favorite songs.

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The Words Funny– this song is from the same relationship that produced “Dreamin'” above. Hmm . . . Anyway, the first time I recorded this one was after my band had broken up. A few years later, on a lark, I saved up some money and bought studio time and got some of the guys together to work on a few songs, this being one of them. That was a great time, and was the last time I worked musically with my friend Eric who a few years later ended his life, a victim of mental illness. So, while it’s a love song about a girl, it’s also become a good-bye song for my friend, in feel if not specifically in content.

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