Sunday, November 4, 2012

Early-November Update

Greetings everyone!

I have been busy at work on two projects. First, recording a bunch of demos of the Luke songs, 25 of 'em, called Physician's Notes. And those demos are now in the hands of about half the people I want to get them to. I'd like to actually make some music with other human beings, and there are people out there -- you know who you are -- who actually want to make music with me. Yay!

Second, I have been writing songs for an Easter Vigil. I am, at this point, mostly done (I already have a Jonah song which does not belong anywhere and I am using a Luke song for Isaiah 61 / Deuteronomy 32 reading (the second to the last reading). Which means that I have one last song to write, about the fiery furnace from Daniel 3. Oh my.

Most of the songs have solid melodies. One got rewritten (after being performed publicly once) because the melody simply wasn't memorable. That was the Ezekiel 36 song, and I've decided that may end up being a spoken or chanted psalm or something to go with the sung refrain.

But a couple of songs in this batch are quite nice. "Valley of Bones" (Ezekiekl 37) has a really nifty melody in the refrain (it's a slower song; I'm not fighting dem bones on this one) and my as-yet untitled song on Zephaniah 3 / Psalm 98 manages to keep a melody all the way through, I think. (It's in a very odd key; I put the capo up six frets and play an Ab-Ebm-Bbm-Db progression, but those chords fit the melody, which came to me while I was doing dishes.) It was a lot of work varying song structures here, and I'm not sure I've done it as well as I'd like. Most songs break down into either refrain/verse/refrain/verse/refrain or verse/verse/verse &etc with some repeated elements at the end. There are a few different styles, some rhythmic variations, and I'm thinking one song probably needs to be acapella (if the church is capable of that).

I hope to have some recorded versions of these songs posted soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"I Am Bread" (Ειμι Αρτος) (2012)

"I Am Bread" (Ειμι Αρτος)

When we (and by we, I mean churches like the ELCA that follow some version of the Revised Common Lectionary) spent all that time earlier this summer in the Gospel of John, where Jesus talked at length about being the "bread of life," that got stuck in my head. It churned around for a bit, found this melody, and came out as this.

Yes, the Greek is simplified. Mainly for ease of singing. But I trust the person who simplified it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Exactly Does Youtube Want?

Youtube recently let me know that I'd gotten enough hits on my channel that I was eligible for "monetization" -- it was worth someone's time to sell adverts. I figured what's the worst that could happen (aside from annoying potential viewers; I almost always click through adverts when I can), and so I agreed to this. And Youtube graciously confirmed.

But then I got this e-mail:

YouTubehelp center | e-mail options | report spam

Dear FeatherSongs,

Thanks for submitting your video(s) for monetization.
At this time, we are unable to approve your video(s) for monetization because we do not have sufficient information regarding your commercial use rights. We may consider your video(s) for review provided you verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the elements of your content. This includes video, images, music, video game footage, and any other audio or visual element. Learn more about what kind of content you can monetize on YouTube. If you have used third party content in your video(s), please review this article with suggestions on how to claim commercial use rights.
If you can provide information confirming commercial use rights to your video(s), submit information below:

Please note that we may only serve ads on advertiser-friendly content. YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision whether to monetize a video, and may disable monetization for users who repeatedly submit ineligible videos. All videos are subject to YouTube's Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, and may be removed from the site if they do not meet those standards.
The YouTube Team

Nothing about this, or the links, are clear. I'm not sure what they are looking for, except the vague statement that they do not know if I have the right to all of the "elements of content." If I have to guess, whatever software they have that looks over songs and videos when they are "monetized" (why don't I like that use of that word?) is a little concerned that these songs may sound like other songs somewhere on Youtube. But I don't know.

I have sent them an e-mail, explaining that I wrote all three songs above, and that everything in the video is stuff I created. We'll see what happens.

Also, I noticed that there are no commercials before "Living Water." Interesting.

Loaves, Fishes and Water from the Well

More church music! Yay! The first is a cute little song I wrote for a children's sermon that I preached at Grace Lutheran Church in Westchester, Illinois, on Sunday, July 29. This is based on the gospel reading in John 6, and the melody came to me while I was driving the care on the way to Starbucks. Originally, this was in four, but that version evaporated and I finally got it to stick in six.


The words are as follows:

Five little loaves and two little fishes
That’s all we have for the crowd that’s here with us
Jesus said we will feed everybody
With five little loaves and two little fishes

Five little loaves and two little fishes
Let us give thanks as he gathers and blesses
Jesus said we will feed everybody
With five little loaves and two little fishes

Five little loaves and two little fishes
All the leftovers filled up twelve whole baskets
Jesus said we will feed everybody
With five little loaves and two little fishes

Jesus said he will feed everybody
With five little loaves and two little fishes

Honestly, I wanted to say more than this, because the sermon I preached -- both the children's sermon and the big people's sermon -- linked the feeding of the 5,000 to communion, and how Jesus takes very little and feeds us all, forgiving our sins and reminding us of his everlasting presence. I think this works, even as I'm just a little bit uncomfortable with a message of "go feed the world" that seems largely to be a message of liberal do-gooding. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

* * *

Next video, a song I wrote at camp to go along with the theme of "Flawed and Forgiven" (though it often times seems like some of us are considered more flawed and therefore less forgiven, but that is neither here nor there right now). Again from the Gospel of John, the fourth chapter, about being the woman at the well and meeting Jesus.

The words:

The well is deep and I have no bucket
Or rope to pull
Some water up, some water up

And so out here under hot dry sun
I am thirsty
For a cup, for a cup

Of living water, living spring
gushing over, drenching everything!

But here at the well I met someone
Who told me all
That I did, that I did

He said, “I you knew who sat here
At the well with you
You’d ask him, you would ask him.”

For living water, living spring
gushing over, drenching everything!
Living water, living spring
gushing over, drenching everything!

I had this melody percolating in my head for several weeks before this came to me. It's a beautifully simple little song that has something my songs don't often have -- some words to sing along to!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Pointed Accounts of People I Know" (2012)

I have a new collection of songs at bandcamp. These are  bunch of fairly simple and somewhat silly songs about people I know. Well, inspired more than about.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"I Ache, and I Rejoice" (2012)

A couple of months ago, someone asked me to write a song to give as a gift to a friend. There were some special circumstances attached to this gift, and I don't feel free to divulge them, but I wove those circumstances in with some of the words and sentiments that Paul expresses in his letter to the Philippians (there's a reason for that too, but again, I do not feel free to say why). And this is what I have, "I Ache, and I Rejoice."

I'd like to say more about writing this song, but I'm not going to. I'm just going to let it sit for a bit, and see what happens. If anyone says anything.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Late May Update

Jennifer and I are in the midst of packing our house up, stowing it in a 10x10 storage space, and taking the few things we need with us to Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center, where I will be the director of music and worship this summer. So, it's been an extremely busy time.

Despite that, I've been working on some recordings of songs I've written for people while I've been a student at LSTC. Mostly they are silly songs, a few are me trying to be a Tin Pay Alley songwriter from the early 1920s (and I think I pull it off quite well, actually). All of the songs were written for or about specific people, though I'm also including a couple of older songs. Because I can. It's my collection.

I am hoping Pointed Accounts of People I Know will be done and released on Bandcamp before the end of June. That may be hoping for too much. I only have three or four songs left to record. And things are working out that I will be able to have several versions of a couple of songs! (If that sort of thing excites you...)

Now, in addition, I have two other song collections that need to have decent recordings made -- all of the confessional songs I wrote last fall and then the 24 (yes, count 'em, 24!) songs I wrote from the Gospel of Luke this spring. I have no idea when and how I will get to these songs, but I hope to record some of them at camp. (THAT may be hoping for too much...)