some songs just make me stop in my tracks and listen intently, like watching a beautiful and mysterious bird sing its little heart out, while (if you’ll forgive a little melodrama) perhaps a tear is shed for the sheer loveliness of it all.
songs like “Hidden Place” by Sandra McCracken (whose new album will be released shortly, and I highly recommend you go get it here). and if a tear may be shed for the beauty of the music, when the emotions of the poetry are thrown in, all bets are off. even so, few songs can make me cry (like Sufjan’s version of “Holy Holy Holy”, and his “Casimir Pulaski Day”, as well as the last verse of “In Christ Alone”, and some Edgar Meyer stuff if I’m in the right mood).
of course this particular song hit me and Michelle at the exact right time. we’re pregnant with our 4th child (in case you haven’t heard!), and she hasn’t felt well at all for most of the year. while thankful for the untold blessing of another baby, we haven’t done particularly well with her feeling sick and tired most of the time. right on the heels of a really good year of God working on us and through us at our little church and neighborhood, we’ve lately been experiencing the chaos and loneliness of “survival mode.” yet it is true that God uses the hard times to really teach us, and I’ve been learning more and more about my great need for Him at all times, and how unconditional His love in Jesus is.
but I came here to talk about a song. listen to it here: http://www.newoldhymns.com/in-feast-or-fallow/hidden-place/ in a blurb accompanying it, the songwriter says it is “…maybe one of the most personal that I have ever recorded…[written] 10 days before my daughter was born…”
one thing this lovely little song showed me is that amidst all the relational chaos and God pruning us in various ways, I’ve neglected to treasure this latest blessing. grounded firmly and based loosely on Psalm 22:9-10, the song “touches on all the wonder, the waiting, the amazing privilege it is to carry this little one, the amazing gift and favor of God it is to have children” (if Michelle doesn’t mind me quoting her).
so, while I was at work listening and shedding a discreet tear, Michelle was home listening and openly crying, for the joy that is growing in our hearts and her belly. “Who am I to have known such favor?”
thank you Ms. McCracken for opening our ears to hear.
(cross-posted on the family blog)
one nice thing about the guitar class I took is the jam night that’s flowed from it. it started with me and another guy who lives here in our neighborhood, just swapping songs we’ve written and hanging out. now it’s whoever would like to come and pick a little, so if you’re around here let me know if you’d like to join us.
This past weekend I was able to participate in Wintersong, a songwriting workshop here in Chattanooga. first of all many thanks to Michelle for spending another day “on the job” with 3.5 kids so I could take all day to go to this. she was kinda sick and very tired, so I’m thankful she would sacrifice for me.
anyway, it was good to have the creative juices re-energized. there was good instruction about the basics of songwriting form, some good stuff about mixing up melodies with different modes and such, some really good brainstorming-type exercises, and other good stuff about “thinking like a songwriter”. as usual in such things it was nice to meet new folks, and perhaps some relationships can continue. I got some encouraging feedback from my “Be My Nancy” song, and perhaps someone who can get the song to Norman and Nancy themselves, so we’ll see what may come out of all this.
if nothing else I am re-inspired to put energy into songwriting, but with so many other good and necessary things going on in life, we’ll see how much that happens right now.
in 2008 I wrote a bunch of songs pretty much all at once. I started this “music journal” to keep track of stuff, and everything was lovely. but then for some reason I didnt write songs for a good while, even though I was trying. I guess the inspiration left, or I was distracted, or my creativity killed by stuff I wont go into now, or who-knows-what.
but last fall some friends were going through a rough time, and my heart was breaking for them. I needed to find a way to express what I felt, and I knew that I had to write a song. so I wrote a little song called “Hole in my Heart”
Listen: Hole in my Heart by Bob Wiegers
they say in heaven there’s no more tears
but if you dont mind I’ll shed a few here
not because I dont know where you are
but now that you’re gone there’s a hole in my heart
I cry tears of sorrow
for the hole in this heart
hope feels so hollow
now we’re apart
they say in heaven there’s no more tears
but now that you’re gone I’ll shed a few here
heal all these wounds
or if you won’t now
carry us home
Lord use these tears
to wash out my soul
the pain I cant bear
so come make us whole
this past fall I was able to take in a flatpicking guitar class at Folk School of Chattanooga, which was great! I took the Guitar II class with Matt Evans, who is a very capable and friendly teacher. there were 4 of us in the class so we got to know each other a bit, and some of us are still getting together to jam on a regular basis. I’ve always wanted to learn how to flatpick melodies on the guitar, and I definitely learned that, so know I’m confident that I can learn tunes and (eventually) pick them pretty well.
I never did give a report on our experience at the Prater’s Mill Country Fair last fall. it was a good time to play with Michelle and Mitch, and I think we started to sound pretty good if I dont say so myself. the audience was small but appreciative, and I’m glad we got the experience of playing out at something like that.
my favorite aspect of doing the show was actually preparing for the show. with a bunch of little kids in the house, its hard to make time to make music together, so having a show to prepare for really made us work to get it together. I was pretty happy with the harmonies we figured out, and Mitch was especially sounding good on the harmonica on a bunch of the songs. if I had more time I would have liked to figure out more guitar breaks and such, but we kept it pretty simple. we ended up not having a bass player, which would have added a lot, but we got by without it.
so I’m glad we did the show, but at this point in our lives we’re not too eager to do too much of this kind of thing. right now I feel like its a good time to work on songs for church and write songs as they come, but the time and energy required for playing out doesnt seem to realistic at this point. but its good to know that if and when we do have time that its something we can enjoy together, and of course bring others enjoyment with what we can offer.
obviously I havent posted here in a while. a quick recap of the last few months would mostly involve family life and church stuff, and not so much songwriting or performing. I am still doing music at church however and I’m thankful I can do a little there. perhaps I’ll resurrect this spot since I’ve been thinking more about songwriting again.
I was able to take in a flatpicking guitar class at Folk School of Chattanooga, which was great! and I just did a songwriting workshop which was also a good time, so hopefully things can get going again.
we’re thrilled to have a new baby in the house as of 2 months ago, but that’s put a bit of a damper on extra-curriculars like music stuff. but there are a few things to report/remember from the last couple months.
at our Christmas Eve service in church, I was able to do my “Shepherd’s Song” with a bunch of the guys. it was a lot of fun to do and it felt really good to be a part of the service. Joe and Mark and the guys always make my stuff sound much, much better. I had a lot of really good feedback, including some surprisingly emotional responses and lots of encouragement. so I’m very thankful.
for Christmas presents I gave family members a copy of my new home made album (which you can currently find here). no body has said much about it that I can remember.
but I’m glad I got the album done, and I’m thinking of passing it around town to see if I can get some gigs…perhaps put a toe in the waters. so I might play at the new coffee shop here in the neighborhood, which should be fun.
before the baby was born I did some recordings of me doing octave mandolin stuff, because Michelle asked for it. I just improvised some mellow stuff and I think it turned out ok. some raw material to work on perhaps. I have a long-term goal of arranging my stuff with more instruments, but I think I’ll need a lot more time than I currently have.
just this month I was scheduled to play for church, and I usually get the usual suspects together to work on something. but this time I decided to do a octave mandolin solo of one of my “simple songs”. the last time I tried something like that it was pretty bad, but even tho I was quite nervous, it went ok. it’s a good thing I know that particular song well, or my nerves may have ruined it. but again people were very encouraging and thankful for it.
I havent written a complete song in a little while, but I do actively collect ideas to work on. I havent sat down to put ideas together, but I think that’ll come when it should.
now I’m getting excited about the potential to play at the local coffee shop. I dont know when it might be, or even what it’ll look like (will anyone be there? will I be just in the background?) but it’ll be good to have a milestone to look toward to.