This is a simple piece of music that I love playing! It carries some of the wistful feelings – longings, yearnings for life. Sometimes these seem inexpressible and difficult to articulate. They are most felt for me as ‘pangs’ of the heart, not only emotional but physical as well.
This song was written in the first year that we came to New Zealand but took longer to finally get recorded! It captured some of my feelings around leaving ‘old familiar places, faces’ and the fact that ‘now we’re worlds apart, learning to trust our hearts’. However, we all have life to live, dreams to follow and new roads to head down. After all, today’s the day to reach for the sky!
It is our usual crowd playing along: Ian and Simon on guitar and Simon playing bass.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine wrote a stunning play called ‘The Manhattan Taproom’, for the school where we both teach. It was a play about young women who make a journey to New York to make it in the artistic world in some form or another, be it as a musician, poet, artist, actor, dancer, writer. Most of the songs used were popular songs the girls at our school know and love and fitted the context of what was happening in the play. There is a moment in the play when one of the characters is involved in a life changing event that crushes all her dreams but there wasn’t really a song that fit that moment. I offered to write one. This is it. I hope this song expresses some of what it is to be caught in between what if and reality.
This song was written in response to a friend who lost both her parents in quick succession. I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for her which was not so much from me but how I felt God felt for her and about her. This was one of those plop-on-the-page songs. I feel it is a song that is for so many of us on the journey of life. Some of us have parents that have encouraged us and others (for whatever reason) have not. This song expresses my feeling that my Father in heaven knows, understands and sees our ‘child’ hearts – those deepest longings, fears, desires, questions – and loves us!! Just loves us!! If you ever wondered if anyone cared, despite the circumstances of life – a resounding ‘yes’ is what I hope you feel through this song!
This song was written for a friend of ours who worked at the same school as us in Taupo. She had had quite a few complications getting into New Zealand with regards lots of red tape. She is a delightful person with an open heart and beautiful eyes. This was written for her for her farewell with the Science department of which her and Ian were part of, when she had to make a journey back to Ireland for family reasons.
Ian is on guitar, Simon on bass and I am on piano and flute.
This song was written a few years ago but is dedicated to a beautiful friend of mine. Her and I talk a lot about ‘breathing’. I love our deep and meaningful conversations that we manage to have in the business and demands of our teaching jobs. In the mish-mash of our lives we sometimes crowd out the very things that give us life and hope and give our lives a sense of well-being. As a result, we end up living our lives in a smaller manner than that for which we were designed. “Breathing” can take many forms: it can be in quiet moments, celebratory happenings, family gatherings, artistic expressions, being truly who you are.
Life is too short to live small. Besides that, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the most expressive, creative, free, extravagant, generous beings that I know. As I relate more and more to them I want to live like they do. I hope this song encourages you to breathe.
There are two versions of this song – a studio version and a live version with Embers.
I wrote this song when I was literally at a crossroads surrounding a job and where I should be and where I would fit in. Whenever I am at that particular place (this was certainly not the first time and most likely will not be the last), I often wonder if I am just chasing the wind or whether it is the Holy Spirit leading me on or sometimes both. It takes some measure of discernment on my part as to the way forward, especially when the way is not fully clear and at times can seem impossible. However, God is ever patient, for which I am entirely grateful.
This song started off with an acoustic feel and then I decided to take a different tack with it. It was recorded over several months as I tried to decide what to do with it (crossroads?).
Fave musicians: Ian on the many guitar tracks – sometimes I think he thinks this is an opportunity to have as many guitar tracks as possible! I have to say, that once he laid the first guitar tracks for the opening of the song, I changed my mind about the feel and sound of the song – so thanks, Ian! Simon, on the hollow body Epiphone, for the great guitar solo, which kind of makes the song for me. The usual loops and sounds are from Logic Audio. One day there may be a drummer on the horizon – just fussy since I have played with just so many awesome drummers. You know who you are!
Ask for the music if you would like it.
This song was written some time back, but had no bridge, which I felt it needed. As sometimes happens in songwriting, the song sat in one of my song writing books and when playing through it one day, the bridge came to me and so it was back to the recording of the song and finishing it off.
This song is actually for a young friend of mine, who has not had the most straight forward of lives. I often wonder how some people make it through when the odds are stacked against them.
Funnily enough, the recording of this song at this time also coincides with our son making some major decisions in his life, and the way forward. Sometimes one has to breathe and wait……
It is the usual crowd playing with me – Ian on all sorts of guitars, Andrew on 12 string, Simon on bass. I am always grateful for all their input. I love it when it starts off with just piano and vocal and becomes something else when everyone else gets to play.
I wrote this piece of music after hearing a student at school play a jazz piece. I thought, if they can write a jazz type piece, could I? It was not as simple as I thought, however, I have grown up with plenty of jazzy music being played at home, so it is not like I had no idea, it was just that I had not tried to write in that particular style. I find that as a teacher, I am often challenged by what my students do. I feel that if I expect my students to do something creatively then surely I should expect the same thing of myself. I need to remember what it feels like to try something from scratch, to be out of my comfort zone and try something new, no matter the results.
I think God sometimes asks us to step outside our comfort zone. It is not so much to make us feel inadequate, as to show us that He is there and anoints us for the task at hand because we cannot afford to rely on ourselves, but have to fully rely on Him. More often than not in those situations, I come out marveling at the wonder of how God leads us and we are able to look back and go, “My gosh, how was I possibly able to do that?” God is so gracious in so many ways.
In this version (we may put up a studio version at some point – as you can see, we are into two or sometimes more versions of a particular song or piece of music), Ian is playing elex guitar and I am on keys. We played this at an Arts weekend at the theatre in town and was the first time this piece had been played in public. This was a result of deciding to play our original stuff we feel God has given us to sing or play. We were mixing our own sound on stage and at the beginning I am just checking with the front of house sound guys if we have the mix right.
Here is the studio version of ‘This is You (Bethany’s Song)’. As I said on the live version, I wrote this for Bethany a while back, but wanted to do the song justice by having other musos play on it. On this version, Simon is playing bass, Ian is on acoustic guitar, I am playing keys and the special guest is Ashley B from England, but originally from South Africa who happened to be visiting us with his dear wife, Tas. Ashley is playing all the haunting electric guitar stuff (multiple tracks) and I am so grateful and feel privileged to have him play on one of my songs. Thanks Ash! It means more to me than you know as you have been with us through many experiences and we so loved having you and Tas here in NZ. There is nothing like doing things with good friends.
Once more I programmed the drums with some help from Ian. Now if only we could have some of our drummer friends come play here with us! You know who you are. Have to say, we have only played with fantastic drummers and have been spoilt for life.
This is for you, Betha!