I Was Welcomed With Open Arms…

Hell Is Chrome

I've Said Too Much FINAL

I have no idea what Jeff was writing about in this song.  Maybe it’s an allegory for something in his life.  Maybe it’s saying the “devil” is actually the church?  Or the “American dream”?  Or something that makes us feel part of something, or that we belong?  All of these could make sense to me.

I should Google the meaning of this song.  One sec….

OK – I found it.  From a lyric page, where people commented on the meaning.  This makes complete sense!  Read below…

“I think the meaning is pretty clear here, Jeff Tweedy loves Firefox and thinks it is a much better browser than Chrome even though Chrome is really stable and secure and fast. He just likes Firefox better.”

In all sincerity though, someone commented on finding meaning, or purpose, where we least expect it.  Which does really make sense.

For me, I think of how satan (Yes, I do believe the devil is real) would do all he can to try and befriend me.  Anything from knowing my likes, desires, dreams, to making me feel “welcome”.

This would be temporary, of course.  But lasting enough to suck me in.  Until it’s too late…

Or until something else comes along that is equally or more welcoming.  Which then might be the thing that kills me.

And it’s all alluring.  Chrome.  Shiny.  New.  Lovely.  Mesmerizing.

Hell.

So I sort of “squatted” on Jeff’s song.  Sorry Jeff.  I hope I don’t take it completely out of context – or better, that it doesn’t offend you to the core.  But in context of the theme of MY record – hell is that very thing that would suck you in, and then suck the very life out of you.  And then it’s too late..

Thankfully, while we are here, it’s never too late.

I do like how this song turned out.  I LOVE the Wilco original.  Give it a listen here!

But I knew I could not recreate their sound – nor do I really want to try.  I mean – why cover a song if you’re just gonna sound exactly like them – or worse, a pale comparison?  Why not just listen to theirs, and save a lot of time and energy?

So I went the direction I did.  Less instrumentation (cause I can’t play like Wilco does…).  Harmonies.  Slower.  More “haunting”?  I don’t know.  I don’t know if it’s good – but I kinda like how it turned out.

I had my friend Toby Wilson play pedal steel.  He’s a gem.  You should use him, if you write and record songs and need pedal steel.  Check him out here!

So – to summarize – I too prefer Chrome over Firefox, or Edge, or IE (though I like a good Netscape Navigator every now and then).  I don’t like hell.  I don’t think anyone does.  But I do think we often choose hell, while looking for heaven.

And I hope you like my rendition of someone else’s song.

Hell Is Chrome

 

Advertisements

Maybe I Need A New Start?

One Step Closer

I've Said Too Much FINAL

There are days when I’m just ON FIRE, and want to share the love of Christ with anyone and everyone.

There are days when I’m dull as a butter knife from a kid’s toy tea set, and I just want to hole up and binge watch – anything that would take my mind of anything.

This song encompasses that battle.  The battle between our flesh and our God-given desire to reach and love the least of these.  The struggle between wanting you to know you matter, and not wanting to sacrifice that which really doesn’t matter…

Maybe you can relate?

I put the song to an upbeat, pop-rock rhythm.  I was listening to a lot of Petty when I came up with the riff.  So I probably stole it.  I definitely did not replicate his sound – I tried, for years.  I can’t.  But he’s a definite songwriting influence on me.  Has been for years.

We’re doing this one live, with full band.  It’s super fun to play!

So – if you CAN’T relate, maybe you can dance?

I dunno.  Either way, please enjoy!

Love,

T.

One Step Closer
Tell me why it can’t be
Why can’t I love the least of these
From my gated community
Why is it so much work to be free?

I’m changin’
But I so long to be the same
I’m dyin’
But dyin’ ain’t easy

One step closer
To the edge, or to Your heart?
Which direction is closer?
Maybe I need a new start?

It’s not that I don’t see
It’s just these things I wish I could unsee
And to fix my eyes on Thee…
Why’s it so hard to know I’m free?

I’m changin’
But I so long to be the same
I’m dyin’
But dyin’ ain’t easy

One step closer
To the edge, or to Your heart?
Which direction is closer?
Maybe I need a new start?

One Step Closer

 

#YOUMATTER

You Are Beautiful

I've Said Too Much FINAL

My wife and I were in San Francisco last fall.  Wonderful city.  We were in the Tenderloin district.  It’s the area where, seemingly, all the homeless people are herded.  I say this, because one of the women I met while there, told me should couldn’t go past a certain street.  “The cops won’t let us”.  I found that odd.  It was getting near the “high end” area.  Maybe these people are an eye sore?  Probably – we all kinda think that about these people…

People…

So – I tend to LOVE going out and hanging with people on the street.  I might bring food, I might just offer to sit with someone and chat, if they will have me.

In San Francisco, in the Tenderloin District, I didn’t have to approach anyone.  I was approached.  Over and over.  And over again.

Some were kind.  Some not.  Some were destitute.  All were, really, but some more than others.

But I felt – overwhelmed.  To the point where, at one point, I said, “No more, Lord.  I can’t take one more…”  Selfish, I know.  And God didn’t stop.

I wrote this song about a few people I encountered in San Francisco, last fall.

Anna – this wonderful woman, came up to me and my wife, asking if we had a dollar.  She looked so – sad…  I asked her name, and you would have thought there suddenly was a different person, as she lit up and declared, “Anna”!  With such a beautiful smile.  I mean – stunning.  Not in a “Greta Garbo” sort of way.  More in a, “Wow, someone wants to know my name?”  I was struck with the thought, when is the last time someone asked her?

Doris – this woman was a wreck.  Pregnant.  Strung out and high.  Wanted money, so badly.  I couldn’t.  I don’t often have money on me, actually.  I did, but knew this would be bad for her.  “Lord, what should I do?”.  I felt led to give her food – and as much as she wanted.  So we went into this local pizza/burger/whatever place.  And she ordered a personal pizza.  And some chicken strips.  And a burger.  And a 2-litre of coke.  And fries.  And a few other things.  I just said, “Yes, yes, yes, you bet”.  Rang up a huge bill, just to lavish love on her as best I could.  We chatted for quite a while, as we waited for all that food to be made.  She was lovely, and so personable and engaging.

Until the food was there, and she asked again and again for money.  Pleading.  Begging – “Please, I just need a few dollars…”, with no real reason for the money.  When I couldn’t give it to her, she grew more and more upset.  I left her, upset with me.  She didn’t owe me anything – but it was so clear that NOT giving her money was a good thing.  Yet so very heartbreaking…

Karen – Karen is actually the name of the very first person I approached, after being saved.  Like two months or so after being saved.  I was in Kansas City with my son.  I made this poor little kid come with me, as I went to “share the Gospel with this poor homeless woman”.  To my amazement and relief, she shared the Gospel with me!  Such joy in her heart!  It was so encouraging and wonderful.  She was wonderful and engaging, as she shared her life with us.  So dang cool…

I chose these three to write about, and to, in this song.  All three had major impacts on my life, and God used them to touch my heart.  And I wanted to write something that God might actually say to them – or to you or me.

YOU MATTER.

I don’t think we really believe this.  That the God of the universe cares deeply for each of us.  That He’s capable.  That He’s willing.  That He REALLY loves us, that much.

But it’s true.  We do well to remember this…

And I pray for Anna, that she know this.  That a chance encounter is not all that she knows, when it comes to knowing her name is important.  That she see SHE is important to Jesus.

I pray for Doris – that she no longer live in shame and fear, that she be FREE in the name of Jesus!

I pray for Karen – that she continually rejoice in the Lord – whether that is still here on earth or when she stands face to face with Christ.

I pray for you – that you know God loves you with an everlasting love…

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…
If only you’d know this…

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

‘Cause you are so 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 in 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

 

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

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

The Musicians

I’ve Said Too Much

I did most of this new record myself.  The few exceptions were:

  • I asked my internet friend Toby Wilson to play pedal steel and dobro on three songs (“This Town Is Not For Me“, “Hell Is Chrome“, “You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat“).  I found him on Fiverr, while working on my last record.  He’s super easy to work with, and delivers top-notch stuff VERY QUICKLY.  If he weren’t in England, I’d figure out how to hire him to play out with me, no question.BTW – you can find Toby on Fiverr, and hire him for your own project if you so choose.  You will not be disappointed!
  • I hired a bunch of guys from Nashville to put together the backing track on “Go Easy On Me“.  As with Toby, I had worked with these guys last time.  I LOVE what they do with my songs!  If I had money to toss around, I’d hire them as well (long/short, if I were a rock star all of these guys would be my band).Joe Gilder is a super cool guy, who helps up and coming producers, engineers, songwriters, hone their craft.  Check him out, if you have any sort of need like this.

    So Joe has been setting up these recording sessions, where you can hire out these musicians to play on your track.  You send them a demo, maybe a chart, and they put together drums, bass, guitars, keys – a complete song.  I haven’t really had a NEED for this – but they definitely are an upgrade from what I can do myself.  And it’s kinda helped me “up my game” on the ones I do myself.  While I don’t think I could continue using them on a regular basis, I am super stoked with what they’ve done for me!  Thank you Joe, Jason Roller, Matt McGee, Tim Horsley and Steve Peffer!  You guys rock!

So the new record is out, pretty much everywhere.  Go get your hands – or….  ears? – on it!

Bandcamp

iTunes

Amazon

Spotify