This has really been a journey. Many of the songs I am producing were written over the last ten years. My taste in music has changed... is constantly changing. I know more about song structure than I did, and I cringe a little when I look at some of the older songs. I have changed and updated many of them... but one of the challenges is, I care more about the accompaniment now. Many times when I was writing a song for the children or a soloist to sing, there was a deadline, and being the world-class procrastinator that I am, I would wait until the day it was due, before I would start to think about the song. I cared the most about the words, I think, and the accompaniment suffered. Now that I am recording the songs, in many cases the accompaniment is ruining my enjoyment of the song. I realized when I rewrote the accompaniment for The Gate, that I can breathe new life into the music, by coming up with a concept for the accompaniment that really speaks to me.
I record the vocalist while playing the old-style accompaniment. But then when I begin to work on the finished product, I simply throw that accompaniment in the trash and start new. I rewrote three accompaniment parts this week! This is one. I kept it very, very simple. In most of the cases, the new accompaniment is not fancier, but simpler... in line with my new tastes, perhaps? Maybe you liked it better the old way... I kept a little of that, in the middle. So many of my friends have listened to this song for the last five years, and there may be a rebellion when they hear what I have done. Just remember, we have traveled far...
They traveled far along the dusty way
To reach Bethlehem by close of day.
Come Joseph, hasten down the winding road.
Bring your donkey with its precious load.
As they entered through the city gate
Shadows fell; the hour was growing late
Then in the purple of a falling night
Shown a brand-new star in glory bright.
Who will share a room, a loaf of bread?
Where will Mary lay her weary head?
A tiny manger in a stable bare
Will be the cradle for her baby fair.
Come, shepherds, watch and wonder at the sight.
Find the stable bathed in holy light.
Enter softly; see the babe foretold
By prophets far and near since days of old.
Baby Jesus, now it’s time to sleep.
Close your eyes; angels their watch will keep.
And when you wake the night will fade to gray
Then you will smile upon a brand-new day.