Monday, February 20, 2017

SinnerSaved Is Still Alive

Once a month I get the chance to lead worship at the Salem United Methodist Church in Salem, MO. It is a great blessing to me and my band-mates. I love the hearts of Pastor Doug and his First Lady Carol Walter. Pastor Doug's message this Sunday was about Jesus' commandment to Love One Another. Easy, right?

SinnerSaved is me and my worship band, no matter what.

Beth Abner playing the grand and singing "Come Alive." 
My grandson Cameron Cummins, playing my awesome Toca djembe.

Plying the trade.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Doing It!

January 1st is a special time for me. I DO make resolutions. You can call them mile-posts, wake-up calls, whipping posts, whatever. This January I re-focused and determined that if I were ever to get recording done, I need to DO IT.
I need to DO IT COMFORTABLY! So I bought a new recording desk, big ol' monitor and a comfy chair so I can dig it without suffering! Duh!
Here's my rig now.

So...I got two songs recorded! Yay me!

I am all over the board when it comes to music genres. I just can't stick to just one. That's may be my downfall, but it's what comes out of me. Take for instance this song; "Good 2 Me" which began as a song playing in my dreams. Probably 2, 3, 4 a.m. or so and this song is playing in my head. I get up and grab my phone, walk down the hallway, so as to not wake up Suzie, and half-whisper/sing this song into it. "You are good to me, wo-oh. La-la-la-la-la-la-la-laaah You are good to me wo-oh..."

A few days later I put together some lyrics into one of my song books and play with it, over and over and over. I can't get it finished. I'm not satisfied with the chord structure, so it sits there. Now, last week I pull it out and start laying down tracks, getting the chords right, and writing the rest of the lyrics. Here it is. Genius? Hokey? Rockin'? All I can say is I like what I did. Suzie wants a re-write to change the genre to something less "Archies." Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Your Will Be Done

Abba Father, please watch over me...

This song was written years ago. I used to play this live with the San Diego SinnerSaved. It is going to be song three of my concept musical , somewhere after Desert Presence. It is simple and complex at the same time. And now, it is going to be recorded and added to the next compilation from Greentree Christian Church.


About a month or so ago, Nathan Hall, (our Worship Leader at Greentree) asked members of the music ministry to submit songs and song ideas for consideration to be included the album. I looked through the listing of songs I had recorded enough to be a demo, and pulled out "Your Will Be Done." My reasoning for this song is that it is different, and it is a prayer, and the arrangement is complete.

Let me set the scene for you: Reverend Philip Vessel has just walked into the sanctuary, and has found the baptismal font, the centerpiece of the apse, in ruins. The font is broken, water-less and unusable. The poor minister is distraught knowing that the font is his key to leaving this poor, hopeless and seemingly God-forsaken church. Without it, he is bound to serve, and bound to stay in this drought-stricken dust-bowl of a town. He prays...

Here I am in San Diego playing "Your Will Be Done" with Lisa Hoyman on keys, Jean Perrault on bass and Frank Merlich on drums.

This is a song about prayers being answered with "not yet" or "no." This is a song about faith and trust in an Almighty God, who is a provider and comforter in all ways and means. This is a song about obedience and submission; being microscopically less than God. As with many disappointments we experience, it sets the scene for a wonderful redemption.

All Glory to God! All Glory to Jesus!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Desert Presence. I'm ready to get started.

Desert Presence

I'm ready to get this started.

Last night I sat in front of my laptop, hooked up my Scarlett 2i2 and launched Sony Acid Pro.

I get nervous for some reason as I start recording....I don't know what it is, but I recognized it last night and will be working on enjoying the process. Go figure, right?

This is the first time I have started building a song with two time signatures.

I was apprehensive at first, but then relieved that:

  • The application Help file is so helpful and easy to search.
  • The software makes it very easy to change time signatures.

So the song starts out in 7/4, just to make it interesting and set the mood.

After that we are going to 4/4 to make it interesting too.

The key? what else? E-freakin'-minor. Ha Ha

Like some of my recent songs, this is a distillation of an older song. Desert Presence was written in the 90's when Nick Phares and Cristine Nostrand and I were together as "The Kensingers," an acoustic vocal group in San Diego very much like Trilogy. It was written in 6/8, and was pretty straight Em,D, C with a flamenco kind of feel. It still is a good song, but I wanted to twist it a bit to make it more sinister. Em, Em7, Em69. Two tense notes waiting for resolution into a minor. Pretty tasty and fun to write with.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Interview - Upstage with Caitlin Johnson

A few months ago I ran into a friend of mine, Brad Hayes, who was hanging out watching the Mojo Bros (John Pratt and I) over at Ricky Bobby's on Pine St. As we were talking, he mentioned that he would like to interview us using an up and coming TV local personality, Caitlin Johnson. Well, we missed each other here and there, and with scheduling as it is, I ended up doing the interview solo. So, here it is in three parts!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fixin' To Be Fixin'


"As soon as you externalize an idea you see facets of it that weren’t clear when it was just floating around in your head." - Brian Eno

I am getting ready to get ready to record. I am almost ready to get ready. In the country vernacular, I am fixin' to be fixin'. 
I know that what I'm doing is going to be demo-grade, but the pieces are going to be put in place. Order, tempo, time, progression, general gist are all things I want to get together now as I sketch out this piece of audio sculpture. I know the challenges I will have. When I start laying down the tracks, I will be making it harder and harder to change the build. If you lay your foundation properly, you shouldn't have to knock down to many bricks to modify the wall.

"The more time you spend on an old idea, the more energy you invest in it, the more solid it becomes, and the more it will exclude new ideas." - Brian Eno

I guess that's the trade-off for anything of permanence. Once it's out there, there it is. 

On one hand you strive for perfection. 
  • No mistakes. 
  • No botched notes. 
  • No bad timing.
  • No distractions from the message.
On the other, you strive for imperfection.
  • Does it sound human?
  • Does it have an organic appeal?
  • Does it hold artistic energy?

You can see that one side demands, and the other inquires.

"As a maker you tend to put in twice as much as you need as a listener. It’s a symptom of contemporary production. Old records don’t have that problem." - Brian Eno

In my mind, I have some slow developing music that I want to help paint the picture. What good is a portrait without the appropriate background and props? The prog-rockers learned that long ago. So did the movie soundtrack composers.

Also, how many times have I said to a fellow musician:

  • Less is more
  • Play for the song
  • Play for the story
So with all this musing within me, I am getting ready to get ready. Stay tuned. 
And... Thanks Brian.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream 

For the last ten years or so I have been kicking around the premise of a Christian-based concept album based on a story that came to me in a dream.

I remember the whole thing playing out in my mind, and when I woke up around 3 a.m., I got up, grabbed a pen and paper and started scribbling down the story. It made a lot of sense then, and as I revisit the late-night scratchings, it still makes sense.

  • It has intertwining plots
  • It has heroes
  • It has a villain
  • It has a tumultuous event
  • It has redemption
  • It has a great ending
It sits in two places. It sits in a black and white composition book stuffed in with the other paper "art" that exists in the microcosm of my studio. It also sits in my mind, another microcosm of sorts.

I am feeling very creative towards this concept (not an opera, rock opera, or musical per se). I am working on the first song which is a re-hash of another song I wrote in the 90's. It's coming out well. I think that this will be my next recording project.

Nuf Sed