Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 5

On October 8th of last year, I lost a friend. Kortney Blythe Gordon, her unborn baby (Sophy), and three others were driving down a Georgia highway. They were hit head-on, and  Kortney and Sophy died instantly. You can read more about Kortney, here. She was always, always smiling. She had an incredible joy inside. When you were in the same room with her, you could see that joy radiating out. I was comforted and encouraged every time I got to see her. The last time I did was at the One Amazin' Kid reunion show in December of 2010. I got to meet her fiance, Ben Gordon.

They were married in May 2011. Soon after, they became pregnant with a little girl they named Sophy Joy. They had only been married five months when the accident happened. My heart still breaks for Ben and the Blythe family. When I heard about the accident, I offered to do music for the memorial service. I was taken aback when Ben called me himself.  He mentioned that she always loved the hymn, "Be Thou My Vision." He told me to make it my own. Moments later, I was in my office praying and meditating on the song. The ideas seemed as though they were being downloaded from above. I was just trying to keep up. I rested on those ideas for a couple of days, but the song didn't seem finished. A verse from the Bible from the book of Psalm kept ringing in my ears. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:4-5

I added this as a bridge to the song. I felt it was honoring to Kortney and the family. The service was a beautiful celebration of a life lived out to the fullest. The eulogy, written by her Dad, was filled with sweetness and grace. He wrote, "She was tireless in her passions. She was passionate in her ministries. She ministered to all who crossed her path. She made Christ the light of her path."

Just weeks later, I performed this same rendition at a wedding for a friend. It was such a tender season. A season in which I witnessed the extraordinary circle of life. A season in which my vision of life ripened. I know my existence is in the hands of One far greater than I. As the song says, "Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision or Ruler of all."



Recorded at various times between January 25-29.
Words attributed to Dallan Forgaill in the 8th Century.
Translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne in 1905.
Versed by Eleanor H. Hull in 1912.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 4

This week, I went with one of my old favorites; Sulk by Radiohead. It's from their second release, The Bends. This record was my first exposure to the band. After one listen, I was hooked. Thom Yorke's vocal range was right down my alley. The dynamics of their sound spoke loudly to me. From a spacious wall of sound one moment, to soft and quiet; sometimes, all in the same song. The first time I popped this record into my cd player, I was but a rookie guitarist. It broadened my horizons, drastically. It challenged me to scrutinize my song compositions and melodies. It made me take a step back to look at the broader musical picture. To this day, it is one of my favorite records. 

Back in the day, when I played acoustic sets for One Amazin' Kid, this was one of my go-to cover songs. I often played solo, so I filled in the guitar lead with vocals. Kind of different, maybe. I don't know. I will let you be the judge. Let me know what you think.  



     Recorded late in the evening on January 23, 2012. I still had the remainder of a gruesome cold. You can hear it in my voice. I apologize for that.
      "Sulk," written by Greenwood, Greenwood, OBrien, Selway, Yorke.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Dear One's Birthday

Today is my love's birthday. I am very thankful she was born. She is quite possibly the most amazing woman in the world. She's intelligent, hard working, witty and beautiful. She is a wonderful mother to our five children. We have had a rewarding journey so far. I am excited to see what the next thousand miles will bring. All that I know is, when all else fails, she is there to walk beside. Hand in hand. That is really all that I need.    

I wrote a song about her. Well, I've written lots of songs about her, but there is one in particular... We Belong Together. I'd like to share it with you (it's free,) in her honor. Happy Birthday, Rachael Rebecca Brown Kincaid!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week 3

Musically speaking, I was all over the place when I was younger. I had no clue what I liked. Sometimes, I liked the melody of a song. Sometimes, the rhythm. Sometimes, the lyrics. Any genre was fine with me. Long before I could play guitar, I fell in love with a song called "That's That," by an incredibly talented guitarist named Michael Johnson. The movement in the song probably caught me first - slow and precise, but pulsing. I'd say I was twelve when I first heard it. I was a moody kid, who didn't really know anything about heartbreak. But still, in some way I related to the sad and despondent lyrics about a love lost. Man... My oldest is the exact same way. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on him. 

I actually recorded this song on a four-track cassette tape recorder in 1996 or so. I'm pretty sure it was the first song I ever covered. It was horrible. Hopefully, that track will never resurface, lest I be publicly humiliated! Not too long after, I was riding in the car with a coworker. I knew he had previously worked in the music business, but he didn't talk much about it. He often asked me about my own music, so I let him listen to a few songs that I had recorded. One of them was "That's That." He started to chuckle a bit. He went on to tell me that at one point, he had been Michael Johnson's manager.  Small world, huh? 

In revisiting this song for "52," I gathered that Jerry Douglas played dobro on the original recording. Jerry has played on far too much music to list here, but you might know him from his time spent with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Just go listen to "Choctaw Hayride," for a little dose of the master. He amazes me. Alas, there is no dobro on my version. Nor do I claim that it outshines the original. Nonetheless, I had fun recording it for a second time.  So, that's all for now. Or should I say... That's That.  



Recorded January 13-14, while everyone in my house was sick. Everyone. 
"That's That" written by Hugh Prestwood.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week 2

Stevie Wonder is ridiculous. I cannot imagine having that much talent and ability, even through his disability. It is unbelievable. The fact that his music is ever emotionally uplifting makes him that much more inspiring. I loved him early on in my life, but when I saw him on the Cosby Show, he solidified himself as the coolest man ever. Well, maybe second coolest, right behind Mr. Cosby, himself. This song has always made me smile. I think this was the first time I ever really studied the harmonies within it. The vocal rundown on the lines, "When you check it out," and "When you get off your trip," actually frustrated me, vocally speaking. It stopped me in my tracks for a few minutes. That only goes to show his genius. 

We recently used this song as an opener at Ridge Church. I made a note to add it to the list of songs I wanted to record for "52." If you listen closely, just before the first verse starts, you can hear Ames Emmanuel's (my two year old) bicycle bell. He just scored a sweet new Radio Flyer tricycle. Jackpot. I just thought I'd let you in on the big news. Enjoy!


Recorded very late in the evening, January 9, 2012.
"Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," written by Stevie Wonder.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Week 1

This is my first recording for "52." I chose Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain," well... because my sweetheart demanded it. This was the first song that really spoke to me off of her "21" album. I loved the mood. I loved the melody. I obviously loved the strength in her voice. I also enjoy the fact that she writes or collaborates with other writers on her music. That is impressive and hard to find nowadays.



Recorded live, late in the evening on January 3, 2012.
"Set Fire to the Rain," written by Adele Adkins and Fraser T. Smith.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Challenge - New Project

Art Direction by David Stanfield
at www.BristowDesign.com.

"52" is an experiment in discipline. I am not a very disciplined person at all. I am going to change that. The idea is to record at least one song, be it a cover or original, every week, for the next year. There will be no limitations or bare minimums. Whatever happens, happens. I have tried to always go above and beyond in my music. This time, just enough will be enough; however painful or ugly it may be to my psyche. Alright, let the fun begin...