Saturday, October 31, 2009

Duet... by Remote Access?

Rachel came out two weeks ago, and recorded “Will You Hold Me On Christmas Eve?” (not a love song, despite the title). The only problem is, it is a duet. I tried a couple of different guys to sing the other part, and while they were great singers, it is hard to match the brightness and power of Rachel’s voice. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

But then... Garry came down from Montana this week. He had listened to the song, and told me that he could pull this off. I trust Garry’s ears like I trust my own, so of course I believed him. But the finished product was... wow! So much better than I expected! It was a lot of hard work on Garry’s part to match everything up. Don’t you think that is pretty crazy? Singing across time and space? Remember... these two have never even met! I was slightly tempted to put the song up for you to listen to. It is my favorite. I have listened to it now about a hundred times, I think. But there have to be a few surprises, and this is going to be one of them. As the old saying goes, we have to save a little something for the honeymoon. So please enjoy the other songs that are posted below, and wish me luck... in the next six days I will be finished!

Will you hold me on Christmas Eve?
Can we sit by the fire, underneath our big tree?
Will you tell me the story of baby Jesus in the manger?
Will you hold me on Christmas Eve?

Wise men and shepherds; angels so fair
Don’t leave out anything... make me feel like I’m there.
I know I’m getting older, but I still believe
When you hold me on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Try It Now...

My mp3 host apparently went out of business? So I have figured out a temporary fix to get the players to work. Hopefully all five work now. If you have any problems, please leave me a comment so that I know that I need to fix it. Scroll down and listen to ALL the songs! Enjoy...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It Really IS All About the Baby

I have actually tried to write some secular Christmas songs. Apparently, I am not very good at it, because no matter what, they always come right back around to the baby Jesus. That is why it is called “It’s All About the Baby.” This one is about the magic of Christmas Eve, and it is called “Christmas Dream.” I hope you like it.

Christmas Dream

The stockings are hung now and it’s getting late
Tomorrow is Christmas and I just can’t wait
The presents are wrapped and tucked under the tree.
Soon I get to find out which ones are for me.

But now that I’m older I know what Christmas is for
It’s not just presents and candy; no, it’s oh, so much more
So I go to sleep now that in my dreams I may go
To a faraway place and a time long ago.

I close my eyes and I am there
Following that bright star
The shepherds hasten ‘round me
Drawing me forward
Into the stable
Pushing me closer
Until I kneel upon the straw.

And there he lies, the baby king
Snug in his manger bed
And all I want to do is
Stay there forever,
Lost in the feeling,
Be with my Savior
Warmed by the love he has for me.

Soon I am touched by the first morning light
And I can’t get the dream back now, try as I might
But the feeling still lingers, and then I know deep inside
The baby Jesus is with me
For Christmas
And every day of my life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Did You Know?

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
~Matthew 16:15-16

“…He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come….”

From “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”

Did you know when Jesus was a baby

That his mother laid him in the hay?

Did you know he slept among the oxen

Safe and warm until the break of day?

Did you know he was the promised Savior,

Born to bring us love and show the way?

Did you know that Jesus was a shepherd?

That his lambs were people just like me?

Did you know that Jesus blessed the children?

Did you know he held them one by one?

Did you know that Jesus came to save us?

Did you know that he was God’s own son?

Did you know that Jesus healed the blind man?

Did you know he made the lame to walk?

Did you know he walked upon the water?

Did you know he calmed the troubled sea?

Did you know that Jesus loves the children?

That is how I know that he loves me.

That is how I know that he loves me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why I Didn’t Get Any Singing Talent

It’s obvious. Rachel hogged it all. The singing talent, that is. I don’t know that I am going to put up anymore full-length songs after this... I don’t want to ruin all the surprises on the CD. But I thought you would like to hear a work in progress. This is the recording with just piano and voice we did on Friday. This is a traditional Christmas carol called “In the Bleak Midwinter,” based on a poem by Christina Rossetti. I love love love it, and even without editing, I think you will, too. Enjoy it, and then scroll down and listen to the other songs I have on here, and leave a comment or two, so that I know you were here!

Painting “Silent Night” by Joseph Brickey

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hush! There's a Baby in the Manger

So I wrote this little song, “Hush,” a few years ago for an 80-voice children’s choir to sing. They belted it out, and they loved it. When it came time to make this cd, I was not planning to include it. I couldn’t think of a way to do it that would work. Then I thought, well, I could have a small group of children sing it, and mix in some of my young adult singers… and yesterday Tandy came over to do some recording. This is Tandy… isn’t she beautiful?

And I asked her to lay down a track of “Hush.” And there it was. The answer… of course she had to sing this song. And then these cool people stopped by to add some harmony to the mix. This is Stephanie (gorgeous, right?)...

And then Michael and Drew…

And now it sounds like this. Enjoy the sneak preview.

Hush! There’s a baby in the manger.
Hush! If you wake him he will cry.
Hush! He’s our tiny Lord and Savior,
Sleeping in a stable here in Bethlehem.

Hush! Hush! Hush!

Don’t cry now, sweet baby Jesus…
Your mama’s holding you all through the night.
Joseph’s watching over the manger.
Everything’s gonna be alright.

Look! In heaven there’s a new star.
Look! It’s bringin’ shepherds from afar.
Look! Now the wise men are a comin’
Come to see the baby here in Bethlehem.

Look! Look! Look!

I love you, sweet baby Jesus…
All I want is to feel your light.
I know if I just try to be like you,
Everything’s gonna be alright.

Hush! There’s a baby in the manger.
Hush! If you wake him will cry.
Hush! He’s our tiny Lord and Savior,
Sleeping in a stable here in Bethlehem.

Hush! There’s a baby in the manger.
Hush! If you wake him will cry.
Hush! He’s our tiny Lord and Savior,
Sleeping in a stable
Sleeping in a stable
Sleeping in a stable here in Bethlehem.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

...And Now For Something a Little Different

Some things are never finished, it seems. I thought I put “The Gate” to bed weeks and weeks ago. But it was not quite right somehow. So this week I have taken it apart and changed the accompaniment entirely. If you want to listen to the original version, you will find it in the playlist over at the Welcome Mat. But this is how I wanted to hear this song. No… it is not, strictly speaking, a Christmas song. But it will be on the Christmas CD just the same.

The painting is “Gardens Beyond Autumn Gate” by Thomas Kinkade. It is what I picture when I listen.

Following are the words, inspired by Matt. 7:13-14 in the New Testament, as well as this beautiful chapter in the Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 31.

The Gate

I am just a wayward child
I wander in winding paths
Through dark and danger.
There is one who calls me
To walk in the way of truth and love.

But I am not alone.
The Savior lights my way,
Leads me through the narrow gate
To everlasting day.

I am not the only one
To struggle in unbelief,
To blindly roam.
Jesus bids me find his sheep
And to bring them safely back home.

Lost, but we are not alone
The Savior lights our way.
Leads us through the narrow gate
To everlasting day.

Few there be that find the gate;
For narrow is the road.
I will walk the path that’s straight,
Then he’ll welcome me into his fold.

Lost, but I am not alone.
The Savior lights my way.
Leads me through the narrow gate
To everlasting day.

I am found,
I’m freed from worldly cares,
The Savior lights my way.
Leads me through the narrow gate
To everlasting day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Turning Simple Beauty Into Pure Magic

Friday I held a rehearsal for my “choir.” It is actually six people: Dillon, Drew, Michael, Tandy, Stephanie and Cambria. They are singing on three of the songs, and it was so, so fun! Love those guys, and they sound amazing. So I am recording them this week. I am also recording Ric, who is coming out from Utah, Rachel, and possibly Michelle. Crazy, crazy week.

I just wanted to tell you a little story. One of the songs my “choir” is recording is backups for “Did You Know?” You can listen to it over on my other blog, The Welcome Mat. When Garry was here last summer, he recorded it in between some other numbers that we were working very hard on. It was almost an afterthought, but somehow he made it so pure and beautiful that it is my favorite thing he recorded. I have listened to it practically every day since then.

But I have had a special vision for that song ever since last December. I was asked to put together a musical number for a baptism for a very dear friend, Ruth. She was a young mother who found the true gospel of Jesus Christ and wanted to be baptized. I had originally written “Did You Know” for my son Dillon’s baptism, and then a year later added the first verse to make it a Christmas song. So I got my “choir” together (pretty much the same people a year ago, except that Ethan was still here, and he sang, too) and we rehearsed “Did You Know?”

It came time for that musical number, and the small group stood in front of Ruth, who was all dressed in her white clothes and holding her little baby, and they began to sing. By the third verse, several of them were singing in harmony. It built from a very tender beginning to a very powerful third verse, and I don’t even know how to describe the spirit there… it truly felt magical. Everyone shed tears that day. The next day in church was the Christmas program. Bishop Gregson stood up right before the last song, and asked that in place of the closing congregational number, that we perform that musical number again. I figured that in that much-larger setting it would not be the same, but they all stood around the microphone in the chapel, and gave it their best. And by the time we got to the third verse, it felt like an electrical current was going through my body. The spirit was so strong there, that I looked out at the congregation, and again, they were all moved to tears. So what we are doing this week is recapturing the magic. We are adding vocals and strings to the already breathtaking performance that Garry laid down two months ago. And I promise I will give you a sneak preview by the end of the week. Meanwhile, you can read the words here, and enjoy Garry’s performance on the Welcome Mat. Merry Christmas! Are you feeling the love? I’m sending it out there…

Photos are 1:Garry recording and 2:Ruth; gorgeous painting by Joseph Brickey.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why I’ve Been Eating Peppermint Ice Cream

I almost skipped over Halloween entirely… zoomed past Thanksgiving and on into the Christmas season. I have been reading Christmas stories… and, yes... eating peppermint ice cream. Why? Because of my project I have been hinting about. So… you probably guessed. It is a brand-new Christmas CD! I didn’t want to announce it until I was sure I could complete it in time. I figured out it is going to take 40-50 hour weeks for the next four weeks, but I can do it. I have been making good progress. Within the next week, I will have a way to take pre-orders, and I will be ready to ship CDs in the second week of November.

The CD will include four traditional Christmas songs, which at the moment, I believe will be “O Holy Night,” “Still, Still, Still,” “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Silent Night,” with a possible bonus surprise. In addition to those, I will be including nine (yes, count them… NINE) original songs that I have written. I have to tell you that what I have so far is better than anything you have heard here on the blog. It is not a solo effort… there are over a dozen musicians singing and playing, including some of my favorites: Rachel, Tandy, Michael, Garry, Ric, Shelley... and the list goes on! This is work that I am very proud of, and I am super excited about it. I hope you are, too, because I am counting on you to help me spread the word. I promise you will not be disappointed! I will be putting up a few samples in the coming weeks, so that my loyal bloggy friends will have a sneak preview. Please consider purchasing multiples, as this will be a fun and uniquely Christ-centered gift.

Stop back here when you need a little Christmas... I will try to oblige with some great Christmas stories, recipes and music. Now, do me a favor, and click on the “Follow” button over there on the left. That way you will know when I post new content about the CD. Invite your friends to follow, as well. Thank you:)