All posts tagged "Singer-songwriters"

Joyful creativity


Below is a promo video from an upcoming release of old material by Bruce Springsteen. The compelling part of the clip for me was the sheer exhuberance displayed by Bruce and band member Steve Van Zandt playing an unfinished song together on the piano. This is a glimpse into a joyful, creative process that I wonder if worship leaders and musicians don’t long for on a regular basis.  It reminds me of the reason I loved music – it was fun! Bruce Springsteen – “The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town'” Sneak Peek HT:  Mark Moring


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Songs of lament


While songs of lament have a long Biblical tradition but seem to have given short shrift in the current milieu of worship music. Michael Card is among those recognizing the situation: “Our theology tells us that if we complain to God, we’re being disrespectful. But at least 80 of the Psalms are actually Laments. It has become a lost language to our culture…. Every lament in the Bible, with the exception of Psalm 88, ends in praise. The answer to all our laments is seeing the face of God.” But there is a resurgence of the use of lament in Christian worship and music. Dave Trout @ UndertheRadar (www.radarradio.net) interviewed Card for his blog and has a great episode featuring new songs of lament.  Here’s the blurb: Take a walk on the darker side of faith.  All of the music this week creatively expresses the theme of lament.  We’ll also talk about why this topic is important to our faith.  Includes music by Jon Foreman, Michael Card, Emmylou Harris, and an interview clip with Eric Peters. Stream the episode here. Contact Dave here and let him know I said hello.


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Ten Good Ideas for Effective Songwriting


Here is a entire repost from the blog of David Neff of the Christianity Today Media Group, who took notes on Keith Getty’s session at the 2010 National Worship Conference  (some things are best left as-is, and this piece is a case in point). His blog – Ancient Evangelical Future – is worth a visit. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Irish songwriter Keith Getty began his workshop Tuesday at the National Worship Leaders Conference by telling those who had come to learn how to write a great worship song to leave. “Because art is the expression of life, you cannot ‘how-to’ creativity.” Getty collaborates with his wife Kristyn and friend Stuart Townend. “They’re the words and I’m the music,” he says, estimating that somewhere between 5 and 20 percent of the words of any of their songs are his. “But we both get involved on both sides.” Here are ten notable and worthwhile ideas edited and distilled from Getty’s workshop comments: 1. The primary form we use is the story form. The gospel is primarily story. How do you take people who want 4-line worship songs and get them to sing 32 lines? By structuring the song as a story. 2. It is important to look at things that are harrowing and that don’t necessarily make us feel happy. The central core of the Christian faith is not something that makes us happy. We need to acknowledge our need for a redeemer. The reason we worship is that we meet God through the central story of the cross. 3. We need lament. But if you want to write lament, remember that a successful lament resolves. Not into a happily-ever-after ending, but like the psalms of lament, by ultimately acknowledging that God is God. 4. To write strong melodies remember that folk melody has to be passed on orally (aurally). I try to write songs that can be sung with no written music. I imitate Irish folk melody, with a great deal of contour, of rise and fall. 5. Use pastors and theologians as resources for your writing. But keep company with them. Don’t just ask them to fix your text here or there when you’re done with it. 6. Trinitarian worship safeguards us from so many problems our worship can get into: either an overly stern view of god or a casual view of god. Both can lead to problems in our lives. 7. Martin Luther is one of ten people from history I would want to have coffee with. I have looked at a lot of Luther’s hymns and emulated him. First, Luther had a high view of redemption. He also believed we live our lives in the midst of spiritual warfare. Thirdly, he had a high view of the church and a high vision of the church. 8. The congregation is the choir and it is merely the privilege of those of us who are musically gifted to help them sing. 9. Lyrics and great writing are the same thing. Lyricism is poetry. If your write lyrics, read as much poetry as you can. Lyricists are people who love words and do crossword puzzles. 10. Growing up, I never listened to pop music as a child. I was steeped in church music. That could be a blessing because everything I write can be sung by a congregation. Repost courtesy of Ancient Evangelical Future


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Jazz as worship music


Good thoughts from David Baroni via CCLI blog: It takes a degree of trust to launch out with other musicians into the unknown waters of spontaneous composition. Our tendency, especially as Greek-mindset influenced westerners who rely on empiricism- that is, on what we perceive by our natural senses- is to lean too heavily on the sheet music. It seems safer that way, we like structure. But does our structure make room for God? He dwells not in temples (structures) made with human hands. He came in the unlikely womb of a young virgin… to the natural minded a woman of reproach. A King? Yes, but born in a stall surrounded by smelly animals and lower class shepherds. The Word was made flesh… the Eternal/Invisible clothed, indeed bound Himself with Time and the Physical so that we who were blind could finally, by faith, see the Father. The church is a wineskin for the Kingdom of God, not an inflexible piece of pottery that crumbles under the intoxicating pressure of the flowing wine of God’s grace and Presence. I am not advocating that we have no structure, no wineskin, only that the new wine of the Kingdom of God is poured into the accommodating wineskin that the church is meant to be. Full piece here.


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1000 true fans


…is all you need, according to Kevin Kelley: A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans. The hard part: The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. They are giving you their support directly. Maybe they come to your house concerts, or they are buying your DVDs from your website, or they order your prints from Pictopia. As much as possible you retain the full amount of their support. You also benefit from the direct feedback and love. Author/marketer Seth Godwin calls 1000 fans “a breakthrough opportunity” for artists and songwriters. Consider: What would it take for you to acquire 1000 ‘true fans’? What are you doing now to make that happen?


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White Horse for Christmas


Bring me a white horse for Christmas We’ll ride him through the town Out into the snowy woods Where we will both lie down Underneath white birches Our faces toward the sky We will make snow angels With our white horse standing by Hush now baby One day we’re gonna ride Hush now baby Our white horse through the sky Bring me a white horse for Christmas We’ll ride him through the snow All the way to Bethlehem 2000 years ago I wanna speak with the angel Who said do not be afraid I wanna kneel where the oxen knelt Where the little child was laid Hush now baby One day you’re gonna ride Hush now baby Your white horse through the sky No bridle will he be wearing His unshod hoofs they will fly Keep a watch out this Christmas For that white horse in the sky Hush now baby One day we’re gonna ride Hush now baby Our white horse through the sky Hush now baby Let every angel sing Hush now baby One day we’ll ride again Words & music by Linford Detweiler Stream OTR’s Christmas album free here.


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Dave Barnes on producer Ed Cash


“If he has like a ninja or superhero quality, it’s definitely his ability to see that one, tiny little spot that’s not filled and put something in it that you’re like, ‘oh my gosh.’ That becomes literally to me as the artist, that literally makes the song.” – singer/songwriter Dave Barnes on producer Ed Cash. To check out Ed Cash and David Barnes creating in the studio, check out this interview from NPR Nashville: Audio stream Mp3 download Transcript Ed assisted in writing two of the three finalists for our Song of the Year, so this is a particularly interesting piece if you’re interesting in songwriting and recording.


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