Together?

Great Expectations

I've Said Too Much FINAL

First things first.  While this is the most recent song written for this record, I cannot recall how it started to come together.  I know it began with a title, then somewhat of a concept that changed over time.  Then the idea of writing about community – people actually interacting FOR REAL, not online in the interwebs in pretend-world.

But most important – I stole the first three words, “It’s kinda funny”.  While hashing out the riffs, I got an old Kiss song in my head.  The riffs are in no way the same.  But the song, “Two Sides of the Coin” came to mind.  Specifically Ace’s line, “It’s kinda funny…”.  So I took it and used it throughout the song.  If he wants, I’ll buy him lunch.  Lunch will be more than I’ll make on the song, so….  Ace, this is my public invitation to lunch.  I’ll buy.

But nothing fancy.  I mean – it’s lunch, for the love…

What of the song?  I had another song in it’s place on the record.  I was done with the record – but not that song.  I’m still waiting on a blistering solo from my buddy for it.  So I needed to replace it.  I came up with this.

Maybe if I buy Ace lunch, he’ll play the solo?

I wanted this song to be light, as I talk about the alternative to hiding behind our keyboards.  Putting ourselves OUT THERE.  We’re given this great gift of life on earth, with other people.  What if we were actually IN THE MOMENT?  What would that look like, huh?

And it’s a fun rock song.  I hope you like it.  And Ace – that invitation is always open…

Great Expectations
It’s kinda funny how lonely and sad we are
When we’re surrounded by a virtual sea of people
It’s kinda lonely, just being the only one
I’d be less lonely if I’d only find the
The other onlys who are also lonely
And maybe we’d all be the lonely onlys together   

 It’s kinda funny how we talk and talk and talk
But never think to walk the walk
Cause that might take a little more than talking
And we might run into some people walking
And God forbid we ever walk the walk together 

 And in the end if I’d only said
Hey nice to meet you, maybe we’d be friends
And isn’t that what we’re made to be, together 

Great Expectations

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I’ve Said Too Much?

I’ve Said Too Much

I've Said Too Much FINAL

Title tracks are often anthems of some sort.  I would not say that is the case here.  It’s probably my least favorite song on the record.  But I do like the harmonies.  And I do like the subject.

Not the best job selling you, is it?  🙂

I forget when I started writing this song.  But I wanted to parlay a bit of the conundrum of what social media has done.  Especially in this day and age, where we are all seemingly “on edge”.  There is so much strife in the world.  We have a president nobody seems to want.  We have division over whether he’s a righteous man, or “chosen by God”, or just a common thief.  We have justifications for his actions, or hers, or yours, or mine.  We have judgement, condemnation, celebration, congregation, separation, justification, self-gratification – every form of “ation” you could think of.

And it’s ALL magnified today.  You can’t get away from it.

But you don’t really have to enter into it.

So there is a false sense of “safety”.  “I can say anything I want now.  The guy on the other end of the screen isn’t really real.”

We are dehumanizing ourselves, slowly but surely…

Or worse – we’re silent.

I’m silent….

Because I’m afraid that you might not like me.  Or maybe I don’t like you, and I don’t think you’re worth my words.  Or maybe both?

And we’re afraid.  So afraid…

What if this happens?  Or that doesn’t happen?  What will happen to me???

So this is my convoluted confession.  I’ve gotten so wrapped up in not getting wrapped up, that I’ve avoided any sort of risk of entanglement.  I’m comfortable.  I’m lazy.

I’ve said too much…  By saying nothing…

I like the funky solo.  Don’t you?

I’ve Said Too Much

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing
And doing nothing
And being nothing I said I would

I’ve done all I could
To push you away
And keep you at by
So have a nice day
But please don’t stay here
In my space…
In my heart…
In my mind

I’m sorry if
I offend you
Or neglect you
Or make you feel you don’t belong

I’m sorry if
You don’t believe me
Or don’t agree with me
Or don’t like the way I say
The very words that set you free
From your shame
Or your pain or your death

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing…

I’ve Said Too Much

This Town Is Not For Me

This Town Is Not For Me

I've Said Too Much FINAL

This song…

When I set out to write songs for a new EP, after finishing my last record, I really was looking to put something loose and fun and light out.  Last time, all the songs were written or chosen from some sort of personal perspective.  Not depressing, or dark  – but deeply personal, as many were written to or for people I love dearly.  So I wanted to write songs with “no care in the world”.

That didn’t happen.  And this song kicks it off.

As happens often with me, it started with the title.  My wife and I were planning a short trip to Nashville.  I’d never been there, and being a wannabe musician, I was super stoked.  But the one thought that kept creeping in was, “This town is not for me”.  It’s a town for established and struggling and striving musicians and songwriters, of a caliber and skill level I could never dream to match.   Not a big deal – I’m content with where I’m at.  Just stating a fact – “This town is not for me”.

So I set out to write this light, loose, fun song about how I don’t fit into Nashville.

It didn’t work, and I ended up writing about how I’ve NEVER felt I fit in.  From childhood, when I could never seem to be old enough to sit at the adult table, or was too young to hang with my brother, or I was seemingly the last chosen on any sporting team (I was bad.  I mean, really, really bad, at any sport)…

To my teenage years, where suddenly I felt awkward, even around family members who had done nothing but show me love and grace.  I remember even thinking to myself at family functions, as a relative approached, “Don’t come talk to me, don’t come talk to me, don’t come…  Ah nuts!”  Sweaty palms, group/crowd anxiety, unable to strike up or maintain a conversation (I still have this issue, as an old man)…

To high school where I was the quiet, forgotten kid in the hallways, who didn’t fit in with jocks or dirtballs or smartie smarts, or theater kids…

To “college years” – where I didn’t DO college but took a shot with music.  I actually felt somewhat like I fit in, most of the time.  But I was the butt of many jokes (I was the bass player, after all 😉 ).  I couldn’t write songs as well as the other guys, so I sorta just – didn’t…

To adulthood – everyone else had their education, their well-paid jobs, and their lives together.  I didn’t, or didn’t think so anyway, because I chased my dreams and it left me sort of – “behind?”  This is a lie – but I believed it, whole-heartedly…  This bred a sense of discontentment, which caused me to act out in not so smart or adult-y ways…

To even life in the church.  I’m part of a church family filled with people who have lavished love on me, in a way that surpasses those who had lavished love on me throughout my life (We’re talking about a lot of love lavished.  A lot of love lavished…).

To my family today.  My wife, my kids, my wife’s kids, our grandkiddos – I  cannot express enough how loved I am!  I mean, it might make you puke.  And I’m not sorry.  I do want you to know this kind of love – but I’m not sorry if you puke a little.  🙂

And this kind of love, is what we should know.  It’s what we WILL know, in the end.

And yet – I can feel so alone at times…

This song was me reaching into those dark places, where I feel so lonely, where I think, “I don’t belong here…”

I did not intend to write this song.  But I wrote it.  I have asked myself, “Why write this?” “Do you really want to share this?”  –  For this, and other songs on this record (It’s actually sort of a dark record, conceptually).  The only thing I can think of is, I’m not the only one.

I know I’m not the only one who has or does deal with that sinking feeling, “I don’t belong here”.  We see it all over.  Most of us (maybe all of us) have felt this way.  And we’ve been impacted by it in our communities, our workplaces, our churches, our politics, our social media, our schools…  The feeling of loneliness so often causes us to react in not so wise or not so admirable ways.  Which can then set us into  tailspin of “I don’t belong” (Or worse)…

I don’t say this, and I don’t share this, to get into any sort of pity show.  Or to depress us.  Or to shame us.  I say it so you know, you are NOT alone.  There IS hope.

Sure, I don’t belong here.  None of us do, really.  But I do belong.

At the very least, it turned out to be a pretty song.  I love playing it, and it has seemed to resonate with listeners.  Hopefully it will with you as well.

This Town Is Not For Me

This town is not for me
I don’t belong here
Though I’ve lived here my whole life
Nobody knows I’m alive

This crowd is not my own
I don’t belong here
I’m just another face
And I feel so out of place

But the memories of yesterday
Wash over like a tidal wave
And the things I’ve long forgotten
I just make up along the way

I was too scared to put it out
Or my weakness might show through
And it’s too late for me now
This town’s not for me

I’m older than I was
Past the prime I never knew
Still some times I long for younger days
When we went where the wind blew

And we never though of dying
We were kings of that hill
But the times are different now
This town’s not for me

This Town Is Not For Me

I’ve Already Said Too Much…

I've Said Too Much FINAL

I’ve Said Too Much

When I make a record, I am almost always trying to tell some sort of story.  Each song is doing so – and I would hope any songwriter is trying to communicate with the listener in some way – but I try to collect songs that tell a greater story of some sort.  I can’t say I do it perfectly.  In fact – I will say I do NOT do it perfectly.  But that is my desire with each record.

This one, “I’ve Said Too Much”, is attempting to tell the story of the human condition.  Whether one agrees with my worldview or not, we can all agree that each living person thinks and feels, breathes, consumes and produces, has a mix of joys and sorrows, etc.  Every human being in some way desires and seeks love, identity, value – to know THEY are valued.  Whether that be narcissistic or not, depends on how much value they put in being valued?  That last part was me attempting to sound smart.  Doesn’t work, so let’s move on…

I do believe the human condition really isn’t THAT different from person to person.  In this story, I’m talking to things such as depression, self-esteem, self-centeredness, pain, failure, loss, redemption.  One in particular, is depression, whether clinical, chronic, or a season in one’s life.  We have all  been there, to some varying degree.

Why bring this up, or talk to it?  I don’t bring it up, pretending to be any sort of expert (I’m not), or assume I have all the answers (I don’t), or even presume I know what you are going through (I simply can’t.  I can empathise – but I cannot pretend to be where you are emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, at this moment).  I bring it up, with hopes to encourage you – as I try to do with almost anything I write – that you are not alone, and YOU MATTER.

Yeah – you.

No, I’m not talking about him.  Or her.  Well – I mean, I AM talking to them as well.  But really – I am talking to you.  You know what I mean…  Another attempt at smart-soundedness.  Sorry…  😉

I’ll go through the record, song by song, as I have in the past.  For now, please enjoy my latest offering, and we’ll see you very soon!

Love, T.

I’ve Said Too Much

Thoughts and Prayers…

Don’t stop thinking. Direct your thoughts toward, “How can I help?” If even the loved one, co-worker, neighbor, who is scared or hurting or fed up. Can I listen? Can I bring comfort? Can I sit with you?

That won’t stop the next killer. But it might make the ones around us know they matter. Just a little?

Don’t stop praying. In fact – START praying! I’m willing to bet many who offer “thoughts and prayers”, did just that. Three whole words, typed out, or copied and pasted. That’s it…

Maybe we should pray. For real. For bondage to be broken for so many who are held captive to fear, hatred, shame, discord, pain, loss – all the things this world and the devil have to offer. All the things Jesus came to set us free from.

Start praying. You don’t have to tell me. Just pray for me? And I can for you?

And if you see no value in praying, ok. I understand, really I do. I can’t expect you to understand. But I pray for you, even more. Cause I love you, and thought of you held captive by all the world and the devil have to offer, breaks my heart…

So tell me – how can I help? Thoughts and prayers don’t help end the slaughter. Our government won’t help. Facebook fights don’t help – and I bet you agree, they do more harm than good, at least in our raw, emotional state. So tell me – what can I do for you? Right now? I probably don’t have anything real and tangible to offer the families of the victims (short of money – I can do that). But what do YOU need? Right now?

The Mercy Seat…

Christmas is upon us!  A time where we celebrate time spent with loved ones.  A time where we buy more than we can afford, for those we want to bless, or impress, or compete with, or  – maybe for ourselves?  A time where we sing songs and watch movies, all about Jesus, or Santa, or Rudolph, or something mixed.

A time where we reflect on the birth of the King of kings and Lord of lords.  A time where we remember that God came to be with us in flesh – and anticipate His ultimate return.

Think about this – we not only consider our own need for a Savior; we celebrate the fact that our Savior came!  And He came for us!  For you.  And for me.  If you or I were the only person He had to come and save – He would have come anyway.

This does not make you or I more important than anyone else – or for that matter, important at all.  But to Jesus – we are of utmost importance.  So much so, God came to us, as a baby, born of a virgin woman.  Born of woman, so as to be fully human, but not born of man, so as to be perfectly sinless.  Fully God, fully man.  Things I don’t fully comprehend.  I’m not so sure it’s important we “understand” everything.  I mean – do you fully understand in a clinical way how you love your child, or your spouse, or your parents?  Or how you are loved?  you don’t even try.  So don’t try with Jesus – just be loved…

This song is not a Christmas song.  But in many ways – it is.  It was borne out of a desire to remind us – or myself – that we are not in any way “earning our way into or out of heaven”.  Yes, as a child of God, I forget this truth, so often.  My catholic upbringing maybe?  🙂  I don’t know – but His mercy is not conditional, nor limited.  Nor for that matter, something in some distant future…

This song was also borne out of a desire to remind us that this mercy is NOT just for us.  it’s for anyone and everyone who believes.  Think about that.  The person you most dislike, or even loathe – they are not beyond His reach.  They are not too far gone for His mercy…

It’s a song for those who want some big “revelation”, or “epiphany”, in order to finally accept that Jesus is real, and is after their heart.  Just – STOP.  Just GIVE UP.  And lay that burden down.  It’s too heavy for you, you know this.  You don’t need some big flashy show to convince you of what you already know.  So let that go.  This song is for you…

You will not find Jesus where you want Him to be, in that perfect place or situation that you can control.  He finds you.  And His mercy is new…

Every day, His mercy is new…

This song is a free gift.  You can get it on Spotify or Apple – wherever you like to stream music – or you can download it from my Bandcamp page.  May your Christmas be merry, may your heart be filled, you find Christ on the mercy seat…

You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat
You won’t find Him in your anger
Righteous as you think it is
Your hatred for brother or sistter
Just pushes the blade deeper in…

You won’t see Him in your behavior
No matter how hard you try
You are not locked out by your failure
Tell me, who sol you that lie?

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home…

You can’t hide Him from your secrets
Darkness cannot keep Him out
Shame does not lead you to freedom
Or help you lay burdens down

You won’t find Him in the hurricane
Or in fire or flood
Child, you’ll find Him in the whisper
That speaks of His eternal love…

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home…

My ears have heard of You
But now my eyes see only You…

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home

You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

I wrote this song after my last visit to San Francisco.  During that visit, I was reminded how easy it is to marginalize people.  We hear about this every day in the news and on social media.  But we don’t really talk about some of the most marginalized – those “dirty, scary people on that block you probably don’t want to walk down”….

My wife and I stayed on “that block” while in San Francisco, and we met some really sweet people.  We also ran into some people who are – probably insane.  The level of what seems to be insanity among the population we were among is more than I’d seen anywhere else (granted, I haven’t been everywhere – maybe this is more common?…).  We were really overwhelmed by this darkness.  I mean how do you reach someone who is incapable of being reached?  God have mercy…

We did run into a few people though who were wonderful and gracious enough to have chats with us.  Some were so pleased we would spend time with them, or even ask their name.  Some just wanted money for a fix.  Some were sleeping all day – maybe because it’s safer to sleep during the day?  I mean, that’s what I would do, if I lived on the streets – so we just left food at their feet.

Each story is heartbreaking, yet sweet.  These are PEOPLE!  With stories, and life, and dreams.  And value.  Never let someone tell you we as humans are insignificant.  As if it’s arrogant to put a value on a human (yes I heard this too, while staying in SF, at the conference I was at.  A very very intelligent man was spouting this lie to an audience who eat it up like steak…).  We as people ARE valued and valuable, to the One who created us.  This is not arrogant, because it speaks to HIS glory, not ours.

I wrote this song, after the visit.  For Anna, who lit up with the most beautiful smile, when we asked her what her name was.  For Doris, who could not see past her need for the next fix, even at the expense of the babies in her womb…  For Karen, who was actually the first person I approached, ten years ago.  I wonder what she’s up to today…

For Heather, who just needed a few more bucks to make rent, so she would not be thrown out on the street again.  For the Vietnam vet, who felt like he had no more use.  For the men piled on each other for warmth, as they slept in a forgotten alley…

I’m giving the song away.  But if anyone streams or downloads it, I’ll donate to a local Minneapolis organization called In Love Word and Deed.  They go out weekly and bring meals to people in Minneapolis.  They pray over and with, share love and good news with, get to know, cry over and with, these wonderful people.  They are wonderful people.  If you see fit, please consider helping them out.

And if you would, prayerfully consider, how your smile, your “hello”, your handshake or hug, might just show someone they matter.  Because they do.  And so do you…

You Are Beautiful

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Anna, such a beautiful smile
Such a beautiful name
And I call you mine
I’ve called you by name into My grace
My mercy is yours for the taking

Dear child, don’t you know yet?
Dear one, haven’t you heard

That you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Doris, you don’t need that hit…
You don’t need that shame…
Cause you are My gift
I give you Myself
And that’s enough
If only you’d know this…

Dear child with a child of your own
Dear one, don’t let go…

Cause you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Karen
Pure in heart
You think no one sees you…
But I do…
your name’s not forgotten
It’s on my book of life
And today you will hear me in paradise, say

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

You Are Beautiful