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I did a radio interview on Sirius a couple months back. One question was "Who was instrumental in molding my passion for music?" Well -- there was always music in our house, but my first real music teacher was David Zimmerman, Bob Dylan's brother. He instilled a belief that music comes in all ways shapes and forms and has a message for someone somewhere. He taught respect and tolerance for music and encouraged his students to explore. I remember how he would let us experiment with autoharp, chords, keyboards and percussion. Let us stay in during lunch and recess to actually learn. That was where I learned my first chords and harmonies...music came alive for me then.
Hi Everyone, Over the last few months, I have pulled back on my performing and recording schedule -- the summer tour was delayed. My apologies to all, but I've have had to devote my time and energies on the home front these past months. Now, we are looking getting the "Refresh" and the "Life's Heart" projects finished and released by Spring 2015. Here are some of the highlights of what is coming up: I'm teaming up with the awesome Dee Rock Country (writer of American Chopper Theme) this summer starting with a Benefit for Safe Passage at the Nashville Celebrity Centre on June 14. The line up for the benefit includes gospel jazz fav Ben Tankard, Jon Statham, Deborah Bishop, Bobby Pizzaz and of course Dee Rock and I. Dee Rock and I plan to combine forces with a great new line up and all star band this summer hitting Nashville and Texas! A blend of country, soul, southern rock and classic rock! Julius "The Genius" Fisher and I have been working hard to finish arrangements for the Refresh project. Originally it was a gospel jazz/blues footprint, but it has evolve as a "refreshing" of classic hymns and gospel pieces each with its own twist -- Holy Holy Holy to a Katy Lane style; an old blues classeic, "Without My Lord", and new takes on Oh How I Love Jesus, and bringing Fat Daddy sounds to a couple other classics. We plan to be at The Sound Office with John Behrens, Engineer, in June. "His Eye is On the Sparrow" and "Wayfaring Stranger" are set to hit the airwaves June 15th! Oh yes, my country CD, "Life's Heart", is set to be finished this summer. With great songwriters -- Chip Davis, Bobby Terry, Chad Smith and Buffy Lawson, plus some new co-writes brings a collection of ballads and up beat tempos with a mix of pop and country. The theme of this CD is Life and the Heart.
Come into his courts with praise and a heart of worship....seeking His holiness. Spent some time with a good yesterday with a great musician and close friend...so psyched for what is happening musically that is truly blessings and the presence of the Lord. AMAZING GRACE Says it all... One song from our upcoming album, "I am Not the Enemy" by Chip Davis we recorded last week in the studio with Buddy Hyatt and the gang .... brought me to tears on my knees thinking of Christ saying, "Beloved, I am not the challenge, I am not the War, Please lay down your armor, your don't need it anymore....I am not the enemy, I am the one who loves you like you've never been loved...Surrender to this love" ...Jesus so wants our burdens to be light and yoke easy by laying it all -- all the junk, the worries, the agonies, the pain, and even the joys at his feet, at the cross --- He says, "come ye who are heavy laden....come as you are.." total acceptance from Jesus, who gave the greatest gift on Calvary....
If anyone had asked me a couple of months ago if the gospel project being worked on would evolve into a gospel blues project...I would have said, who? Me? Really? A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to be a part of a Gospel Blues Jam Band Night at the Dallas House of Blues...wow to really go back and listen to some of my childhood and Moody Bible day favorites was inspiring and a seed was nurtured in my heart of worship. So, three weeks ago, we got a bunch of gospel and blues players in the studio with the thought of seeing what would happen if we just let it flow ... and the progression is now a Spirit-led project of gospel favorites with new blues arrangements: Amazing Grace to House of the Rising Sun, Wade in the Water, Wayfaring Stranger, What a Friend We have in Jesus, Near the Cross, and more.... Jerome Preston, a great bassist and singer, helped bring in the keyboard genius of Julius Fisher, and a the rest of the gang. We started with just thinking we would jam a new arrangement of Amazing Grace and go from there.... From the first moment, the we were at His Gates in worship and praise. No vocals were laid, but we came away with the instrumental tracks for 5 great gospel tunes after a very long day in the studio. I didn't want to do "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"...and Julius said let's do it....you would have thought that we were a whole congregation praising from the rooftops ... We were in His courts with Praise, the Angels were singing Holy Holy Holy and we are coming to Him in His holiness seeking our Lord and Savior's presence. This coming week, we will be back in the studio doing some overdubs and adding complete vocals. Please enjoy the instrumental rough mixes that have been uploaded and look out for the complete versions soon! Lift our Voices and Hearts in Praise....We are Set Free by Amazing Grace, and the Gift of Life for His Blood Shed on Calvary.
This past week, we recorded at The Tracking Room in Nashville with Buddy Hyatt producing, musicians: Steve Hinson, Danny Parks, David Dunseath, Jim Hyatt, James Mitchell. We recorded the instrumental tracks for "The One That Got Away" by Buffy Lawson (from BomShel) and "Heaven Knows" by Chad Smith. The rough mixes sound great. Can't wait to lay the vocal tracks and get the songs out for everyone to enjoy!
I am so looking forward to two new songs we will be recording in April -- "Heaven Knows" and "Without the Lord" along with Wayfaring Stranger and Come to the Well.
Heaven Knows is a poignant song written by a close friend, Chad Smith who is best known for "Rubbin' It In" (sung by Chely Wright). When I first heard Heaven Knows, it totally struck a chord with my heart...about the innocence and love of a little girl who writes to her Grandpa up in Heaven. The innocence and belief a child has is precious....can't wait!
Just finished tabbing the rough of "Without the Lord" which is based on an old gospel blues song that simply states we can't "do nothing without the Lord" -- prayer, worship, faith, living, being! It is a simple and catchy song I hope will be appreciated as simple words proclaiming the Lord is the center of a life of faith!
Also, I am looking forward to recording one of my all time favorites --" Poor, Wayfaring Stranger" with some new guitar sounds and contemporary wording. Yes, I know -- everyone and his brother seems to record their version of "Wayfaring Stranger" -- this song is a strong foundation in how I worship and believe about my daily walk with God.
Another new song, Come to the Well, is still being written and refined...Jesus did not just associate with the righteous, good people -- he paid particular attention to the faith of those who came broken and unwanted ... bound in the murmurings of men!
In May I look forward to sharing the music reality of these songs that have come to mean so much to me and speak of faith and redemption in Christ!
Time does spring and land at your doorstep ... I've been looking forward to the goal of beginning recording over last couple of months. Alas, certain things happen outside of one's control that must push plans a little later than planned, but not for the worse!
Finally, recording will begin in April. At first,the goal was to have 2 full cds recorded by May -- one positive Country, the other southern/blues gospel. I still plan on having 2 full cds, but am going to aim for 2 eps to be finished the end of May. I am booked heavy in June and July so this will be a greataddition to performances.
Looking forward to sharing some really great music with you!
Last night I attended a Christmas by Fire party where professional musicians and those who just love to worship came together. A friend, LaMar, chose wonderful Christmas songs and scripture that we all sang and read to tell the story of Christmas.
The old traditional songs bring tears to my eyes when I think of the wonder and power of the God's only Son, Jesus Christ, being born to fulfill the prophecies and promises of God in the Old Testament and to the world. To think one little baby, born in a humble stable, is the perfect lamb of God, the redeemer, the Savior, the most wondrous gift of love ever......
Been asked several times over the last couple months as to why I don't do contemporary worship...I do, but my heart and passion are with the old hymns and gospel folk tunes that appear timeless.
On my upcoming CD, "Going Back", the focus will be on reviving some of these old tunes in hopes they can be shared in worship and praise settings.
So far, "Poor Wayfarin' Stranger", "Eye on the Sparrow", "Amazing Grace", "Without The Lord", and"Wade in the Water" are the first picks.
A lot of prayer and study of the original lyrics for each song has taken place...the revelations that God makes through many of the lyrics are timeless and deep. I will begin blogging more about them on another site.
While in Nashville recently, I had the opportunity to perform my versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Amazing Grace" with new added lyrics. The response was positive and the anointing of the Spirit evident.
As we get closer to recording, i will be posting the acoustic/vocal versions of both songs.
Stay in prayer, Seek after Christ, Live for Christ, Stand fast!
Old folk hymns and blues that are simple and long-lasting are very special to me. In my upcoming Gospel CD, "Going Back", I plan to take a number of these favorite oldies and put my twist on them using simple instrumentation, subtle rhythms, and a hint of the old with the new.
So far, I will be doing new versions of "Amazing Grace", "Without The Lord", and "Poor Wayfaring Stranger".
"Poor Wayfaring Stranger" is one of my favorites ... and one many have done. My favorite is Eva Cassidy's.
Poor Wayfaring Stranger is a traditional folk song with possible origin being Appalachian Folk, Old Irish, and Catskills Folk. One theory is that it originates from the Negro Spirituals and there was a deliberate concealment of the songs origins. Clearly the song is of a spiritual style as the Wayfaring Stranger sings of the hardships of his temporary life passing by and talks of his journeying on to a better place. Regardless of its origins, it is a hauntingly beautiful piece of music that I look forward to recording and sharing.