Edge of Grace at Got Coffee, tonight

February 29, 2008

Edge of Grace will playing tonight at Got Coffee tonight around 6:30, or so.

If you’re within a few hundred miles of Wichita, Kansas, you should hop in your car and come check it out.  If you live farther away – say Mesa, AZ or Ft. Lauderdale, FL – both Frontier and Airtran offer some nice discount fares.

It ought to be a lot of fun; and according to Mike, the Chai Tea is not to be missed.

Got Coffee is located at Maple and 119th St West, next to Shorty Small’s.  (directions, if you need them)


Kids and kittens

February 28, 2008

While taking a picture of my tat for a little project of Carlos’, I came across this picture of my two kids on the SD card.

Kids and Kittens on the Farm

Last Christmas, we spent some time with my wife’s parents and grandparents in SW Oklahoma. The picture was taken at her grandparent’s farm. The farm cat had recently gave birth to two very cute kittens. All of the kids (not just mine) couldn’t put them down. On Christmas Day, when all of the family was out at the farm, the parents were frequently hearing whinings such as “Grace won’t put down her kitten and let me hold one!”

Sharing is hard when there aren’t enough cute, cuddly kittens to go around!

More on songwriting…

February 26, 2008

I feel like I’m getting close to beating a horse, but I’d really like to share this…

I’ve been sitting down reading the March/April issue of Worship Leader magazine.  David M. Edwards wrote an article about Fanny Crosby that blew my mind.  (Unfortunately I can’t link to the article, or anything, because there’s no content from this issue on their website yet.)

As I’ve been reminiscing about songwriting, several things jumped out at me:

  • Fanny wrote over 8,000 hymns in her lifetime.  And she didn’t even start until she was 44!
  • She had a contract for a mere 3 hymns a week, but was actually writing 6 or 7 a day!  I’ve been struggling to write one song a month.
  • And most interesting… “she kept track of her lyrics mentally until she could find someone to record them for her on pen and paper.”  You see, Fanny became blind at the age of 6 and couldn’t write.  She would have several songs at a time in her head until she could find someone to write them down for her.  No songwriting journal.  No recording software.  No voice recorder.  I can’t even fathom that.

(After this, I promise to take a break from blogging about songwriting for a while.)

Songwriting (part 3)

February 26, 2008

Today, I got the March/April issue of Worship Leader magazine in the mail. It’s a whole issue devoted to songwriting. How appropriate.

For quite a while, I was wanting to write a song about the “peace that surpasses all understanding” based on Philippians 4: 7. I spent a couple of months pondering this idea. Then one day, I experienced an incredible peace in a difficult circumstance. A few days later, the song “Peace” was written.

I wrote the lyrics before figuring out the music. In my head, it was a electric guitar-driven rock song. Kind of in the style of Creed. I sat down with my acoustic guitar to work out the music, and realized that it sounded really good as an acoustic song. I added some “nah-nah-nah’s” as placeholders for the lead guitar riff that was in my head. I ended up with a very nice acoustic song.

With this song, I began to notice that I try to cram a lot of words into each line. I also tend to have several words before the one-beat which makes it worse. When I was teaching the vocals to Mike, I had to show him where to breath. The verses had that many words in them! With the next few songs that I write, I’m going to make a deliberate effort to use as few words as possible.

When I played this song for the rest of Edge of Grace, they actually liked it! On December 16, 2007, we played it acoustic during the Sunday Morning Experience at GracePoint. The tempo was a little slower than I envisioned, but at least it didn’t drag. Chris had just bought an upright bass, which he played with a bow on this song. It was a nice touch.

You can listen to the live recording from that Sunday in our Virb music player here, if you’re interested.

Let me know what you think

My Top 10, Shuffled

February 26, 2008

 Conner over at Worship City suggested that we go to itunes (or whatever you use), hit shuffle, and list the first 10 songs that come up.

Here’s mine:

  1. Across These Waters by Spoken (awesome, awesome song!)
  2. First Time by Hawk Nelson
  3. Kaulana Kawaihae by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (weren’t expecting that, were you?)
  4. Adding to the Noise by Switchfoot (another good one)
  5. All For Love  by Hillsong (didn’t know that was in there…)
  6. A Million Lights by Tree 63
  7. Ka Huila Wai by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (so much for random…  out of 2130 songs, I get two Israel songs?)
  8. Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers (Edge of Grace did a great cover of that a month or two ago)
  9. A Few More Days by Matthew West (never heard that one before)
  10. Ralph’s Banjo Special by Sam Bush & David Grisman

Give it a try!

Songwriting (part 2)

February 25, 2008

In my last Songwriting post, I discussed a song that was inspired by a situation. The second song that I completed last year was inspired by a chord progression.

I was practicing a song for Sunday morning, when I mixed up the chord progression and strum pattern a bit to see what happened. For some reason, I really liked what I heard. I immediately realized that there was a song buried in there.

The chord progression is Am7 – G – D. But here’s the thing, I think it only sounds good on the mandolin. I can’t find voicings on the guitar that work for me. The second funny thing is that I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the chord progression. It worked great for a chorus, but you need verses too, right?

I talked with some of my friends who understand music theory better than I do, and didn’t come up with anything that worked. So I gave up and wrote a whole song where the chord progression and rhythm never vary. My previous songwriting efforts were marred by complexity, so I figured I’d go simple.

It’s called “No Longer Alone”. If you are insanely curious, you can stream or download a very basic recording with my rather pitchy vocals on my Virb page. (I’ve discovered that I have a knack for writing songs that are out of my range. Good thing I don’t fancy myself a singer…) (I’ve also discovered that I have a tendency to try to cram a lot of words in each line. More on that next time.) Someday, I’d like to go back and record some lead guitar/mandolin and bass with it.

It’s not going to sell any records, but I think it’s a fun little song that I can be proud of. Now if I could just get someone else to sing it…

Free song downloads

February 25, 2008

Just came across this site today, www.FreeCCM.com.  Right now there are free downloads from Addison Road, The Afters, and Laura Story.

Thanks to Tony for helping me stumble across this.