Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year...

Momma and Ames Emmanuel
New Years kissin'. 
I'm pretty sure everyone needs some party music for tonight, right? Well, here you go. The King of Pop always brings the jams. My earliest memories of music involve me, at five years of age, standing on a pool table, singing Michael Jackson songs for my brother and his dates. He paid me in assorted candies and fruits. He denies this ever happened, but it it did.

My wife and I entered our wedding reception with MJ's "Rock With You" blasting through the speakers! My pal, Kevin McClain and I were going to record a cover of it for the reception, but during the run up to the wedding things were too hectic to get it done. Well, we finally did it, four years later. I enlisted a couple of other amazing musicians to play with us on it.

I hope you enjoy and happy new year!


Christopher

     Recorded November 29 and December 6-11, 2012. Kevin McClain played drums. Rudy Landa played guitar. Brett Banks played bass. These dudes are good. Thanks, brothers!
     "Rock With You" written by Rod Temperton. Originally performed by Michael Jackson. From the album Off the Wall

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmastime Is Here...

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It is magical. I love seeing my kid's faces light up over the decorations. I love settling down with my sweetheart, after all the hustle and bustle, late on Christmas Eve. And who doesn't love the music?

If you didn't already know, I have a Christmas record for your listening enjoyment over at CKandWinter.com. That was a fun project to put together. Lord knows, I couldn't stop there. I've recorded a few songs for a little 52 Christmas present! Download them all for free and tell your friends and loved ones about it. Let me know what you think. Thanks for listening.

Merry Christmas,

Christopher

     Recorded November 11-13, 2012. My good friend Rudy Landa played banjo on this. Man, I love that guy. I know my sons, Lucas Grey and Christopher Avery, and I already recorded "Jingle Bells" for And Winter, but... I was recently contacted about doing a version of "Jingle Bells" for a company's Christmas video. The videographer said, "we love your version of the song, but the kids will not work for what we are doing. The video is for Bushmills Irish Whiskey." Understandably so. I went straight to my office and started working on about seven different variations. They liked this one the best. You can check out their Christmas video over here. Thanks, Bushmills! 


     Recorded December 6-8, 2012. It felt incredibly weird to sing the words "ding dong, ding dong" in three part harmony. I'm just saying. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" written by Edward Pola and George Wyle. Nice work, gents.


     Recorded November 29 and December 11-12,  2012. "Angels We Have Heard on High" written a long time ago by an unknown French person. The tune was written by Edward Shippen Barnes. Thank you, Ed and aforementioned anonymous French person! I love this song. Nichole Broome sang all of the super high parts. You can hear more from her over at NicholeBroome.com. Kevin McClain played drums. You can hear more from him and his bandmates over at AmericanAquarium.net. When Kev wasn't recording, he was letting my son, Ames Emmanuel bang a bit. Here's the proof!

video


     Recorded December 20-21, 2012. We had some more Dropbox action on this one. Anderson Hall recorded the drums at his place, then sent them over to me. He has done some great work on his contributions to 52! Thanks, Anderson. I wish I had more to offer you. You deserve it. 


     Recorded November 29 and December 18-21, 2012. Kevin McClain recorded drums on this one, too. His tracks were hastily recorded at the end of our time together. He said, "you want to hear the ideas I've been messing around with for "Light Into the World?" I said yes, but secretly pushed record. He unknowingly took one take. I asked him, "could you do that one more time, so I can record the "ideas?" He agreed. The final recording is from his second take. At the end, I had to fade the last cymbal crash quite quickly because Kevin, knowing me, said, "DO NOT... USE THIS!" Hah. Well, Kev... I did. Sorry, but your trash tracks are my treasure tracks. You are gifted, brother.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 44...

Last Friday was our fourth wedding anniversary. We've been keeping everything really low key around here, because of the new house. So, no big gifts this year. I did want to do something sweet for my dear one, though. I took a bag of clothing options for her to change into, a card and flowers up to Rachael's workplace and hijacked her before she left for the day. I forced her to get into the car. I then twisted her arm until she ate sushi with me at our favorite place. Oh, the kicking and screaming! It was a nice evening away.



On our wedding day, we had so many good friends and family fill the room around us. Rachael's brother, Tyler Brown, was a groomsman in the wedding. He wrote a song for us called "Our Colors are the Same." He was gracious enough to sing it during the ceremony. It was a touching moment. His version included just an acoustic guitar and his voice. I thought it would be a great keepsake to add to 52. I took it in a little different direction. See what you think.


Enjoy,

Christopher

     Recorded November 18-22, 2012. Tyler has some great stuff up over at www.TylerBrownMusic.com. Check it out, if you get a chance.

     "Our Colors are the Same," written by Tyler Brown in October, 2008. From his "Mono Season."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Week 43...

My friend, Rusty holding a
fresh from the oven, Isaiah Jane
We performed "Show Me What I'm Looking For" one Sunday morning as an opener, over at Ridge Church.

When I started leading worship at Ridge, I was basically a contracted musician. There was an ever-changing crew of leaders coming through a big revolving door. It worked well for a while, but at some point, they decided that they wanted some continuity from week to week. I figured that out after a couple of people stopped me in the halls and said, "We're pulling for you," or "You have my vote." I was a little thrown off at first, but was honored by their support and encouragement. Eventually, they asked me to come on staff as the Music Director.

Stepping into the job was interesting for me. I mean, I'm a guy with a past. I have history. I have baggage. I didn't understand how God could appoint me to this post. But He did! I couldn't have been more excited or petrified. I know that God has done wonderful things in spite of my many thoughts of inadequacy.

I was lucky to have someone to take me under their wing. At the time, the Service Programming Director for Ridge was a guy named Rusty. He's full of creativity.  He was great at challenging and encouraging me. He was an even better friend. He's moved on and I miss the mess out of that guy. He was forever trying to get me to do a Carolina Liar tune. It took a while, but here you go, Rusty!

Enjoy,

Christopher

     Recorded Dec 1-5, 2012. My pal, Anderson Hall recorded the drums in his practice space, then Dropboxed the files over to me. He's a good drummer and a great dude! I'm thankful for his hard work.
     "Show Me What I'm Looking For" written by Carolina Liar. From the album Coming to Terms

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Week 42 (or something...)

I got to sing at Nick and Laura's wedding
even though I was still angry about the
Cincinnati Chili fiasco. 
I don't even know why I am still labeling these by weeks. Like I said in an earlier post... THIS IS THE BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR! Between the family, moving into a new building for Ridge Church, and moving to a new house, there isn't a lot of time left over. I have been working though. I promise. I'm just going to dump stuff on here, from now on.

Ok, "Your Children" is a song I wrote for my former church, Warehouse 242's Tenebrae service. I've talked about this Good Friday service before over here. It really was special to be a part of. I loved seeing God-given creativity and the Gospel, colliding.

The song was the final piece of the night. It's based upon the Bible verse John 19:30, which says, "when he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." Jesus died for a reason. Because we, all of us, are His children. He loves us like a daddy. He laid down his life just like any loving father would. He wants the best for us. He does.

Enjoy,

Christopher

     Recorded June 23, 2009 and November 2-7, 2012. This is another song that I thought was long lost on that dead hard drive. I'm glad it has gotten to see the light of day. Nick Nichols played drums with me for the Tenebrae service and later recorded them for me. While taking a break from working on the song, he ate all of my leftovers of Cincinnati Chili that Rachael had made the night before. I'm not gonna lie, I'm still pretty bitter about it. Thanks a lot, Nick. Seriously. 

Lyrics 


Rest well, beloved
for you have been chosen
the son of man

Rest well, beloved
you body is broken
as a covenant

You carried me 
every step of the way
Oh, the weight of your gift
Oh, what a debt to pay

Rest well, beloved
your hands have brought glory 
to all the land

Rest well, beloved
the door has been opened 
to bring us home again

Rest well, beloved
for you will rise and reign over
every nation

You carried us
every step of the way
Oh, the weight of this gift
Oh, what a debt to pay

And with your last breath
you exclaimed

We are all your children
Every treasured life
We are all your children
You alone, our God

We are all your children
Your own flesh and blood
We are all your children
You alone, our God

We are all your children
Each one wrapped in light
We are all your children
You alone, our God

We are all your children
Precious in your sight
We are all your children
You alone, our God

We are all your children
Each and every one
We are all your children
You alone, our God

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 41...

So, when I married Rachael, it was actually my second time around the block. My oldest boys are from my first marriage. My relationship with their mother was never easy. I didn't understand that at the time because it was all I had ever known. I don't think this is the place for sharing all of the gory details of how my first marriage fell apart. Just know that it exploded and shattered my entire world into thousands of tiny pieces. Some of it I glued and duct taped back together. Some parts had to be completely replaced. Some parts I never regained, and in most of those cases, it was a good thing. I hit the bottom and found out exactly what I was made of. I had never been so afraid to look at myself in the mirror. I had never been so afraid, period. 

I do know that I would not be the man, husband, father, leader or friend I am today, had I not gone through that pain. "Parable of the Broken Man" was written deep within the belly of my trials. You can hear that in the lyrics. Rachael doesn't like this song. She doesn't like remembering or thinking about things that scarred my heart.

I don't hold any grudges. It all worked out exactly how it was supposed to. I am thankful for it.

Today, my ex and I have a pretty great relationship with each other. My wife and my ex-wife have an even better relationship with each other. Crazy... I know. It has been a true blessing for everyone involved. We are all on the same team when it comes to the big boys. Every time my ex comes over, she loves on the three little ones as if she is family. 

If you had asked me twelve years ago how I thought my story would play out, I wouldn't have even come close to scripting this. I'm glad I'm not the one who is doing the writing. 

Enjoy, 
Christopher

     Daniel Owen played bass guitar. Kevin McClain and I tracked drums for a rerecording this song in 2009. It sat on a hard-drive, that I thought was dead, for a few years. A buddy of mine recently showed me how to retrieve all of my lost data! There was some good stuff on that joker. 
     "Parable of the Broken Man" will be a decade old in December, 2012. Wow. The original demo version had a super dancy outro part, complete with some sweet electronic drums. Due to the subject matter of the song, that part didn't make the cut for future versions performed by One Amazin' Kid

Lyrics

I'm waiting on the phone call
That says you're coming home 
With willing hands 
And a heart that won't give up on this again

So many things we've held precious
Were left here beside this open door
Now who is to own them
Without us, what can there be?

I'm waiting on the light
That once filled your eyes and heart with hope
But every time I reach
I am crushed beneath the weight of your words


So many things we've held precious
Were left here beside this open door
Now who is to own them
Without us, what can there be?

I know now what Hell is
I've felt it's touch
I've seen it devour the one I love
I've run into the fire
And come out empty handed
My heart is broken

Tonight, I will wait for you for the last time
Don't give up, don't let me down



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Busy Times...

This past weekend, this was my respite
 near the top of the mountain.
I have been really, really busy as of late. Ridge Church, Concerts, weddings, CharlotteOne, a men's retreat... Oh yeah, and I have five kids and a deserving wife to love on. The rest of 2012 is going to be even busier. I feel like this year has been a steady mountain climb. This final ascent to the summit looks to be the steepest part of this journey. Winter is upon us. The holidays are filled with extracurricular events and family time. That means I will have less and less time to put towards 52. I am already behind a few weeks, but please know, I am working. I am going to conquer this challenge. 

All that being said, please partner with me. Spread the word about 52. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it to everyone you know. It's all free! It all sounds somewhat decent, (I hope.) Thank you for all the support that you've already given. It means the world to me. 

Alright... Let's finish strong!

Christopher

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 40...

This is another Ridge Church opener! We used "The Waiting" to crank up our latest series called "The Waiting Room." I changed the feel of the song a bit. It definitely drives a little more than the original Tom Petty version. My partner in crime, Adam Locklear did an amazing job singing the song last Sunday. Anderson Hall played the drums that morning. Anderson, or as I sometimes call him, Arsenio and I sparked up a conversation about possibly recording it for 52. He said he just recently acquired some recording equipment and that he'd love to try to track it at his place. I said, "that sounds great!" All the while I was thinking about how much of a nightmare it would be to try to make this newbie's drum tracks sound decent. To my surprise, he killed it. I was so impressed. 

In other news, this song reminds me quite a bit of my relationship with my wife. "The waiting is the hardest part." Waiting and patience have been an ongoing theme in my life and in our relationship. We've had some hard rows to hoe, but we've always focused on the important things. We set our goals high and kept working toward them, even through trials and stresses. We are just now beginning to see and experience the fruits of our cooperative labor. I am so proud of this woman. She's a fighter and a go-getter! Sometimes, I can't believe she picked me to go with her on this crazy journey called life. She saw something in me that I couldn't even see myself. Slowly, but surely that man is coming out from within. Talk about patience?! She's got it. Sorry... I'll stop rambling.

Enjoy, 

Christopher

     Recorded October 16-20, 2012. Anderson Hall played the drums. While I was recording guitars for this, my almost three year old, Ames Emmanuel opened my office door and said "please turn that down, Daddy." It was absolutely priceless and had to stay on the recording. Listen for him at the end of the song. Oh, I immediately followed his request by saying, "EXCUSE ME? This is my house, young man..." Then, I went off into a long Bill Cosby inspired mumbling session. 
     "The Waiting" written by Tom Petty. From the album Hard Promises.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 38 (Reason in retroactivity...)

When I was in high school, a friend of mine named Ryan would take me home from school almost every day. We would fly down the road listening to our music as loud as possible. That's when it happened. Ryan, without even knowing, caused an addiction. Yes, I'll admit it. I was addicted to the Pixies. 

They were quirky. They made little sense. They were loud and abrasive. But something in the music spoke to me. They were also the gateway to other addictions, such as the Breeders, Belly, Tanya Donelly, Throwing Muses and Juliana Hatfield. 

Ryan and I got to see the Pixies open up for U2 on their Zoo TV Tour. It was a joyful time in my life. Every time I listen to the beginning riff of the Pixies song, "Velouria," I am back in that Maxima, speeding down Sharon View with the music blaring. Those were some good, good times.  

Enjoy, 

Christopher

     Recorded in bits and pieces September 22-October 17, 2012. In 2004, I was recording some demos Hopesfall at my studio. Their producer came to sit in on the sessions. His name is Steve Haigler. Steve was the audio engineer on the Pixies' records Bossanova, Doolittle and Trompe Le Monde. Needless to say, I was stoked to hang out with and learn from him and incredibly intimidated to work in front of him. Goodness. Sorry this took so long. I had discussed having a guest guitarist, but the schedules never worked out. In the end, I had to do it myself, (and it isn't nearly as good as he could have done.)
     "Velouria" written by Black Francis. Or is it Frank Black? I'm so confused. From the album, Bossanova.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 39...

Put these on and listen to Week 39.
My three year old, Ames Emmanuel
calls these a "phone necklace."
My buddy Brett Banks has had 80's fever lately. If you don't know him, you will 'cause he just became a winner of my amazing Twitter contest!! (Fireworks and thunderous applause!) Brett plays bass, or should I say, orchestrates bass... better yet, he makes his bass guitar glow and sing in the band at Ridge Church. I told him that we'd work a Tears For Fears song into a set as soon as I could find a place for it. Last Sunday was the day. I think he had a good time with it. 

If you are bored next week, we will be performing "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" at a FREE CONCERT at Sycamore Commons Shopping Center next Friday, October 5, from 6-8:30 pm. You can come out and eat dinner at one of the many restaurants, have frozen yogurt for dessert, then listen to me and Brett and some other friends play some songs. It should be a good time! We'll have a DJ and a pumpkin patch as well. All proceeds from the pumpkin patch will go to Piney Grove Elementary, a title one school that we at Ridge Church love on as much as we can. Let me know if you have any questions! 

Enjoy, 
Christopher

     Recorded September 27-28, 2012. If you want to come to the concert, the address is 10530 Northeast Pkwy, Matthews, NC 28105. We'll be near the Qdoba. Just to be clear, I like Chipotle way more! Barbacoa for life!! (Chipotle, please send your delicious food to this address... 2 My Mouth! Thanks.) Come out! We'll have a good time. I promise. 
     "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes. From the album Songs from the Big Chair

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 37 (finally back on track...)

This one is pretty simple. I've always loved this song. It's a sweet hymn with a wonderful melody. I left out the third verse. In doing so, my mind wandered back to my old baptist church where the Minister of Music would have said something like this... "Please stand with me as we sing hymn number 337, "Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus." We will sing the first, second and fourth verse."

Let me know what you think.

Enjoy,
Christopher

     Recorded September 13, 2012. Speaking of the Minister of Music at my old church... His daughter, Joy was my first big crush. I remember meeting her and her twin sister at Vacation Bible School when I was 5. I started attending the church regularly in 8th grade. From that point up until college, I chased that girl everywhere. Such good memories! I'm lucky that my first effort of the heart was for a good one! 
     "Tis So Sweet" written by Louisa M. R. Stead in 1882. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Week 36 (kinda sorta maybe...)

Justin and I at a One Amazin' Kid show in 2005.
Remember that Twitter contest I did a couple of weeks ago? Well, it's time to unveil winner number two! 

His name is Justin Petty. I've known this guy for a long, long time. He used to live for the his friends and his music. His old band recorded at my studio several times. They used to do some super aggressive rock'n'roll stuff. His song request, "Over the Rainbow," was not aggressive at all. Weird, huh? What happened to that dude? Why'd he go soft? I don't get it. Oh, wait, yeah I do. He fell in love, got a real job, got married, and had a baby. That's the kind of stuff that can make even the hardest man all melty inside. 

So Justin, here is your song. I hope that your sweet little Lorelei likes it. I know you chose it for her, you big teddybear of a man, you. Also go Panthers!

Enjoy, 
Christopher

     Recorded September 13, 2012. Back in high school, my sweet wife, Rachael was Dorothy in her school's production of The Wizard of Oz. I'll be honest... I love it when her hair is up in braids.
     "Over the Rainbow" written by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. From the movie The Wizard of Oz, as if you didn't already know.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week 35 (sorta kinda...)

So, I started a little Twitter contest last week. The stipulations were that the first five Twitter followers to post about my blog then request a tune, would have their song wish granted! And the first winner is... (drums drums drums crack!) Mrs. Jessica Masanotti! This girl has been following along and supporting this project from the get go. I am so thankful for her encouraging words and playful jabs throughout the process. Thanks for being awesome, Jess.

The song Jessica requested is "Somebody That I Used To Know," by Gotye. It features Kimbra on vocals, as well. I covered one of her songs a while back! Check it out over here. Jessica had a second part to her request. It was that my sweetheart, Rachael had to sing Kimbra's vocal part. Sounds good to me! We had fun tracking this. My favorite thing about it was, after the recording session, I got to make out with the talent! Bango! Let us know what you think!

Enjoy,
Christopher

     Recorded Sept 4-5, 2012. Rachael Rebecca Brown Kincaid sang and played the rhythmic cups. If you don't know what they are, you're missing out. Go for a tutorial over at KincaidParade.com
     Yesterday, Rachael and I took all the kids out for lunch. We ate at one of our favorite Thai places. I, as usual, got the #74 Spicy Green Curry with tofu (hotness level 3 out of 5.) My oldest, Lucas had never eaten Thai food before so he was trying all of the different dishes. When he tried mine, he said "Why would you get that? It's too hot to even enjoy!" I laughed. A few minutes later, I accidentally inhaled some rice that was covered in the spicy sauce. When I coughed to dislodge the rice, it went straight up into my nasal passage. It was the hottest burning sensation I have ever felt. My eyes started to water like a mountain stream. It took a minute, but I finally got it out. Rachael made sure I was ok, then chuckled at me. I told you this story because I recorded the vocals soon afterward. My nose was all kinds of stuffy from the incident. Sorry about that. 
     Also, I payed homage to my amazing Klean Kanteen in this one. It has been through thick and thin with me. I took a sip from it while I was tracking vocals. I love that thing so much that I left it in the song. Haha. It has a sports cap on it, so when you drink from the pop top, it sounds kinda like a turkey gobbling. That's all for now, (Klean Kanteen, send me free stuff, please! I'll record a theme song for you, if you do)
     "Somebody That I Used To Know" written by Gotye. From the album Making Mirrors

Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 34 (Sorta...)

A while back, Patrick Mitchell, the family ministries director at Ridge Church, asked me to play "Lean On Me" for our Student Impact service. I got to work immediately. I didn't want to just do a carbon copy of the original, so I started brainstorming. Somewhere along the way, deep within my brain the song morphed from Bill Wither's "Lean On Me," to Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." I mean, they kinda have the same message and feel, but they are definitely too different to mix up, right? Not for this numbskull. Sure enough, I worked up something I was pretty excited about. Even made a little video for my Sunday bandmates. Later that week, I had a conversation with Patrick. I said, "you are going to like the version of "Stand By Me!" He said, "you mean "Lean On Me, right?" Haha... I had to email my guys immediately to tell them about the confusion. I felt like a dummy.

Anyway, it was not all for loss. Here is my version of "Lean on..." I mean, "Stand By Me."

Enjoy,
Christopher



     Recorded August 28-30, 2012. This song always makes me think of the movie. Then my mind wanders to, "lolly pop, lolly pop. Oh, lolly lolly lolly..." Anyone? Anyone? 
     "Stand By Me" written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. From the album Don't Play That Song.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week 33 (kinda...)

I know I'm behind. I have been busy lately. In between the kids and church, my wife and I have been working hard to procure a little piece of heaven on earth. We've fallen in love with an old farmhouse not far from where we now live. By old, I mean it was built in 1890. It's slightly bigger than our current home and sits on a little bit of land, which we need for all of these kids. We put in an offer and it was accepted. We've been weaving through mounds of mortgage loan papers, inspection results, lease agreements for our current house, insurance options, and what to do with this or that. It has been a sweet, sweet whirlwind of a time. If everything goes smoothly, we will be closing on the house in mid October. God has been so good to us.  

So, here is something for week 33. At Ridge Church, we are opening this Sunday's services with "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles. I thought I'd give you a scaled down glimpse of it. This is just three guitars in a room with a couple of mics. Sunday's version will have a full band and extra vocalists. If you like this, come out on Sunday for the real deal. We'll make it a fun morning. 

Enjoy, 
Christopher

     Recorded live, August 28, 2012. I asked a couple of whippersnappers to help me out on this one. My brother-in-law, Tyler Brown is on guitar and BGVs. My buddy Christian Spence was slicing up the lead electric stuff. These guys are young and green! When I was their age, I would have been lucky to have half the talent they already possess. I ain't jealous, though. Ain't nothin' but love over here. 
     "Eleanor Rigby" was written by the Beatles. From the album Revolver.

***ADDENDUM***

September 7, 2012

Last Sunday, we did open the services with "Eleanor Rigby." We had obviously demoed the song, as you heard above. When I sent it to the rest of the band, I did not give any direction on how the rhythm section should sound. I just let them have at it. I walked into rehearsal at 7:30, having never heard or even talked about their ideas for the song. We started playing it, and bam, the song came to life. I definitely had not heard it this way. In fact, I'm glad I kept my mouth shut. I love the feel of the song. It is way more solid and edgy. Enjoy!

     Recorded at 9:33 am on September 2, 2012, at Ridge Church in Matthews, NC. Patrick Moore - Audio Engineer, Brett Banks - Bass, Nichole Broome - Backing Vocals, Tyler Brown - Acoustic Guitar and Backing Vocals, Skyler McNabb - Drums, Christian Spence - Lead Electric Guitar.

credits

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 32...

I call this my Paunchy Pigeon. Thanks
Jacob, for the nice work!
I am the Music Programming Director/Worship Leader at Ridge Church, in Matthews, NC. We are in the middle of a series called "When God?" It is all about the questions and doubts that arise when we feel God is being inattentive, uncooperative and/or late. We opened last week's service with a Nickel Creek song called "Doubting Thomas." My guitarist for the morning, Jacob Hare* tried to mess me up** by changing the title to "Doubting Tumnus." The song has nothing to do with Narnia, but it sure is pretty. I asked Jacob if he would play some guitar on it. In true twenty-twelve technological fashion, he recorded his parts at home, then Dropboxed them to me. Then, at the eleventh hour, literally, I asked my friend Nichole Broome, who sang with me last Sunday, to sing some harmony parts into her phone. No joke. I threw those vocals through some processors and mixed it down! It is pretty cool what you can do, nowadays.

Enjoy,
Christopher

PS... If you like it, tell a friend or an enemy. C'mon, do it!

     Recorded August 16-17, 2012. This song goes out to my friend Nicole Godshall, or Nikki G, for that time when we were riding in the car and I skipped a Nickel Creek song when it came on the shuffle. You got really mad at me. I hope this makes up for it! To everyone else, I am sorry for the delayed release. This has been a crazy week for us. It might get even crazier in the next few. 
     "Doubting Thomas" written by Chris Thile. From the record Why Should the Fire Die?

     * Jacob Hare makes some really sweet custom guitar pedals. I have been using one of his overdrive pedals for the past couple of months. I'm stoked about the tone, the look and the price! Up next, I'll be rockin' one of his compressors. Hit him up if you need anything. 
     *I've had some issues in the past where I have mixed up or replaced lyrics in songs. Here are a couple of examples. Once, I was singing a John Mark McMillan song called "How He Loves." I was supposed to sing the line, "I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory," but alas I sang, "I am unaware of these eclipsions affixed by glory." Yeah, one of those is not even a word. I don't think anyone noticed. Another time, I was doing a Matthew West song called "My Own Little World." The lyric was, "so I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye." All week during rehearsal I sang, "so I rolled down my window and I poked her in the eye!" Seriously. Couldn't get it out of my head. I am the father of three boys, though. It only makes sense. My favorite was a song I had to learn for a wedding reception. It's a Kenny Chesney song called "Don't Blink." Yeah, I know. It's not my favorite either. Well, in each chorus of the song I was supposed to sing, "Don't blink. Just like that, you're six years old and you take a nap. Then you wake up and you're 25 and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife." Of course, I sang, "Then you wake up and you're 25 and your high school TEACHER becomes your wife." Yeah, It happened... and it was awesome. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week 31...


I had a request for "Sink, Swim" by my old band, One Amazin' Kid. I just had to oblige. 

When I met my wife, Rachael, I knew I was in trouble. She was young and inexperienced. I was pretty much the opposite. My experiences included being married, divorced and being the father of two little boys. Alas, there was an immediate connection with Rachael, regardless of age or baggage. I fell head over heels for her. Along the way, we've dealt with a lot of that baggage. There were moments when I  deeply regretted and was saddened by my past decisions, (none of those regrets have anything to do with my boys.) I've mourned the chunks of my heart that I gave away, previous to knowing Rach. If only I'd have known she was out there. If only I could have introduced myself to her, whole and unbroken. Hindsight, right? I know for a fact that I would not have been the man she needed without my trials. They have sharpened me along the way. I am a better man. The journey has been long and rewarding. 

"Sink, Swim" is a song about regret and the aftermath. Those "old bones" from our closet or the bottom of the sea, where ever we might hide them, will always make themselves known. I am so thankful that I found someone filled with grace and understanding. Rachael Rebecca, I am glad that fate fell upon the two of us! 

Enjoy, 

Christopher 

     Recorded August 6-7, 2012. My dear friend and ex-bandmate, Grayson Berkowitz recorded the electric guitar parts at his house, then Dropbox-ed them to me. He does good work, I tell you. Thanks for your time, Grumpa.

Lyrics

The sea came alive with old bones
And ours were held responsible
Who's to care if we sink or swim
As long as there is air

Let's hope we've brought enough harm
To every single soul
Now that fate fell upon us
Now that fate fell upon us

This mother only cares for the young
And aged are we by blistering suns
The cradles song ever begs me to rest
It's always in the air

Let's hope we've brought enough harm
To every single soul
Now that fate fell upon us
Now that fate fell upon us

If we could spend our nights
Eyes locked and opened wide
Consequence would fade
Beneath every blink
These names I have held from you
But all to hold onto you

Now that fate fell upon us
Now that fate fell upon us

The sea came alive with old bones
And ours were held responsible

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Week 30...

Sunset over the sound in Avon, NC.
I recently went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my family. My brother and two sisters were there with their families. We had a wonderful time hanging out together at the pool and the beach. It didn't matter that there was some rain. It didn't matter that sneaky raccoons stole our Cornhole bean bags. It didn't matter that the back window of our Suburban blew out. Or that my debit card was compromised, (good luck hitting the jackpot on a card that belongs to a family in ministry, haha.) None of it mattered. All that did matter was I had my sweetheart, my babes, my siblings and my niece and nephews. It was so glorious and filling.

Every evening while preparing dinner, we would put on a Pandora radio station. Sure to follow was boisterous singing, dancing and laughing. One evening, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" came on. I had forgotten that it was so melodic and fun. I made a mental note to cover if for 52. And, here it is! Let me know what you think. 

 Enjoy, 

 Christopher


     Recorded July 26-August 1, 2012.  One evening, while at the beach, "Oh What A Night" played on Pandora. My sister said, "I love some Franki Valli." I challenged her, because I thought it was Billy Joel. Turns out, I am a moron. I had no clue I was a moron until that point! Nice work, Sheila!
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You" written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. Originally performed by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Week 29...


One of my all-time favorite musical artists is a guy named Jeremy Enigk. He was the frontman for the bands Sunny Day Real Estate and the Fire Theft. More recently, he has been releasing solo material. Every bit of it is great. His emotive sound, vocal range and inspiring creativity continue to move me. When I listen back to some of his records, complete seasons of my life appear in front of me, incapsulated within the music. They are engrained in my soul.



"Heaven" is from the Fire Theft's 2003 self-titled album. It took my breath away the first time I heard it. So, so good. Let me know what you think.

 Enjoy,

 Christopher


     Recorded July 16-18. I've been missing purity in my voice for a while. Is it tired? Is it allergies? Is it over worked? All I know is, I'm getting frustrated with it. It hasn't been easy for a good long while. "It" isn't there right now. Sorry about that.
     "Heaven" written by the Fire Theft.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 28...

A friend of mine from Ridge Church recently lost her mom. In those situations, I don't always know the right words to say, so I thought I'd sing them. The old hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul" has always been there to comfort me in times of grief. Here is an instance.

When I was young, I did not like school. Nothing interested me. It wasn't that I was bad at certain subjects. It wasn't that it was hard. It was mostly that I didn't like doing something I wasn't interested in. Still don't, honestly. My eighth grade year, something changed. I was given a teacher who made me excited about learning. Mr. Ozment was my science teacher. He found a spark in me and knew how to build it into a flame. I performed wonderfully on his projects and tests; Even did my homework. That year, I started a Bible study group that met before school. Mr. Oz was our sponsor. I loved everything about the man and was sad when the year ended. Even though he was no longer my teacher, I would often make my way to his classroom, just to hang out with him.

One day, I was sick and stayed home from school. Later that afternoon, one of my friends called me on the phone to see how I was. He said, "I heard the news and figured you had to leave school." I was confused and said, "What news? That I was sick?" He replied, "No, that Mr. Ozment died of a heart attack this morning on the way to school." I remember not being able to speak. I was genuinely crushed to the point that no air was moving in and out of my lungs. When I finally could talk, I told him, "I have to go," and hung up the phone. I sat down on my bed, leaned over and turned on my radio, then laid down with tears in my eyes. The song that was playing through the speakers was, "It Is Well With My Soul." I just wept.

If you don't know the story behind the song, you can read it over here. Horatio Spafford lost everything, but he knew he served a God who is just and righteous. The same one that I serve. Sometimes the words may be hard to find, but there is peace in the arms of the Great Comforter. When everything seems to disappear, He is the only constant in this world. I am glad that I know who He is.

Enjoy,
Christopher

     Recorded July 16-18, 2012. This one goes out to Danielle and Brett. Praying for peace for you and yours.
     "It Is Well With My Soul" written by Horatio G. Spafford. Tune by Philip Bliss.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation...

Betty Droppin' Bombs (the Suburban) heading out to sea...

Ummm... Yeah... I'm on vacation with my sweetheart. I'll be back next week with a double dose. I promise. In the meantime, listen to this song I penned for my dearest one.

Enjoy, 
Christopher

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week 27...

Celebrating America! Happy Fourth, y'all.
One of my latest obsessions is the talent and voice of Kimbra Lee Johnson. If you haven't heard her, go check out some of her live videos like this one! I promise you will enjoy it. She is powerful and creative. That's a fun mix.

I decided to take on a song called "Settle Down" from Kimbra's album, Vows. There are layers upon layers of vocals in this one. Tension filled and angelic harmonies all put together in this entertaining four minute piece of musical perfection. I don't know if she can do any wrong with that voice. I, on the other hand have been nursing a summer cold. That is why I was late posting. Please forgive the tardiness and raspy-ness of the recording. My bad.

There is a fun little circle that goes with this release. My buddy Adam introduced me to Kimbra's music. Kimbra is from New Zealand. Yesterday, I ate at New Zealand Cafe for the first time. New Zealand Cafe is Adam's favorite sushi place in town. See what I did there?

Happy Fourth of July! Go America!

Enjoy,
Christopher

     Recorded July 1-4, 2012. Thank you to Rachael, Lucas and Avery Kincaid and Michael and Austin McCallum for helping create the stomps and claps for this recording. Nice work, people. I recruited my two year old, Ames Emmanuel for the "Hey" parts near the end. He had already been singing them all week long. I figured it was only right to put him in there. He kills me.
     "Settle Down" written by Kimbra Johnson and Francois Tetaz.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Week 26...

First off... OFFICIALLY HALF WAY THROUGH 52!!! 

In all honesty, I never thought I'd make it this far. Like I said in the intro to 52, I am not a very disciplined person. Maybe I've taken some steps in the right direction, though. Stay tuned this week. I will be having a Half Way Party Contest. 

This is my friend Joe.
I have an old friend named Joe. He's a pretty great guy. For years, literally years, he has wanted the two of us to cover Queen and Bowie's "Under Pressure." I thought 52 would be a perfect place for our version to reside. Joe used to play in a band named the Radio Silence. He also filled in for One Amazin' Kid, for a stint. I first met him at our old church. He was this long haired, skinny kid who had a feather hanging from his Peavey Predator. He took guitar lessons and I'm pretty sure he wanted to be a shredder. Thankfully, he matured into a tasteful player and a great songwriter. It was nice getting to reconnect with him for the weekend; even though his son, Noah bullied my littlest sweetheart, Isaiah Jane. Noah is now banned for life from ever trying to date one of my daughters. 

I recorded the Radio Silence several times. The last time, I remember stopping during one of the vocal sessions to ask about the inspiration behind a song called "Graves." For some reason, it kept resonating with me. Joe cracked a small grin and sighed. He said, "Well, It's kind of about you." We had both gone through some rough times due to relationships ending. I was touched by his silent and sincere support. I don't know if he would have ever told me about the song if I hadn't asked him. I am truly glad I did. 

Well, Joe, we did it. I hope it exceeded your expectations. I hope the whole world enjoys it. 

 Christopher 

     Recorded June 21-25, 2012. Guest vocals by Joe Lieb. If you listen closely near the end of the song, you can hear some sleigh bells. I sampled these for Joe's old band back in the day and have purposefully used them on every recording I could. All of the sleigh bells on my Christmas record, And Winter, are these very bells. Because Christmas is not Christmas without sleigh bells. Thanks, Joe, for making Christmas what it is today!
     "Under Pressure" written by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and David Bowie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 25...

Honor Rose tryin' to look fat.
Growing up, I heard a lot about Elvis Presley. My mother has always been a big fan. I remember her telling me the story of where she was when the story broke that he'd passed away. She was in a supermarket. They announced the news over the intercom system. She and everyone else in the store were crying.

This past Friday was my mothers XXth birthday!! She's a super stubborn broad, I'd say, but I love the stuffing out of her. She loves her kids and all 19 grandchildren, (I am responsible for 26.315% of them.) I thought I'd honor the day she was born with the sweet tune, "Love Me Tender." Happy birthday! I love you, Roberta Lee!

Enjoy, 

Christopher

     Recorded June 16-18, 2012. Yesterday, while I was working on vocal ideas for the song, I had a thought. I called my older brother, Levi to see what he was up to. I made him drive over and sing the lower harmony part. I thought mom would like that. Don't worry, I paid him with a homemade gourmet lunch. 
     "Love Me Tender" written by Ken Darby.