Tag Archives: live worship

Hymn Songs – When I survey & Be Thou My Vision

My son was working on a song that required this really cool tuning, CGCGCE. I was doodling around and ended up working on a theme around a few hymns. I kept working on it and eventually played through a mixing desk with some creative reverb. What you hear is one of the many versions that I played.

I recorded with my Guild acoustic plugged in and also miked with our lovely matched pair of Rode NT55’s. Clearly I added some heavy reverb (Logic Pro’s Space Designer) and voila. I did try to get it perfect, but twas not to be, but I like the version in any case.

The two hymns are When I survey and Be Thou My Vision, which both have great meaning to me. The former reminds me of the cost paid by another to help me form better relationship, both vertically and horizontally and the latter is a fond boarding school favourite and my one chosen contribution to my funeral plans (I know; it’s a bit morose of me). To me they are both a celebration of life and what I see as important. I added a few “festive” sections in between, for light relief.

Lost Lustre

As is heard in the opening line, I was inspired by the Psalmist in writing this song. Another source of inspiration came from a sermon on the prodigal son, and the idea of God’s extravagant grace which he lavishes upon us.
The song went through several iterations over the past year and a half, with  input from various sources. The first was a few changes in lyrics in discussion with a close friend and the second during the recording at the Gould’s house.

Breathe (Julie’s Song)

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.

You Are Coming

While thinking and praying for Ngaruawahia (open the food pits) recently I discovered that the history of Ngaruawahia is actually a love story that brought two tribes together. The thought came to me that the King of kings was coming over the mountains to embrace his people. The sweet fragrance of love is His love, a love that cannot be measured. The classic love story. And we are invited to a feast (Ngaruawahia, which means open the food pits).

Bring on the feast!

Be My Place of Safety

Simon here: This is the final song that we recorded almost by accident a couple of weeks ago. I wrote it some time back in 1999. Once we got the music out everyone joined in.  The song is about God being our refuge, our strength, our rest, our hope… our everything. The song was revived after I was prayed for around “safety”. Safety is a place I call home

For tech details see “Hope is Rising”. I think you may hear Ian singing here too. Tanya didn’t have music so she sang and played shaker.

Early Morning

Last week as we got up in the morning Tanya, my wife, and I were chatting about how early mornings when you are half asleep can be filled with great hope and also sometimes confusing and even dark moments. I had said good bye to her and she went to work. I had some time so I played my guitar a bit. Then I thought the little chord ditty I had at the start had promise so I plugged into my looper (for those who don’t know, a looper is a device that you play your instrument into and it remembers what you play and plays it back to you so you can play something else over the original – if you get my meaning.)

I decided the ditty had more than a “looper” amount of promise. I powered up the lonely recording equipment and laid down the ditty, which is just the first few chords. I then improvised as I recorded playing the Gm, Am, Bbmaj7 Bb/C section etc and then found myself in an Am section (the dark section of the morning). That ended well on an Asus2 (which had no major or minor to it…. nice and ambiguous). I decided to then go back to the starting point again and managed to end on a major (actually also a sus2 chord).

I laid the “solo” guitar part over it “off the top” (Yes, I know it sounds like I wasn’t sure of where I was going, that is because I didn’t know where I was going….). I ended up playing the first notes of “Here comes the Sun”, albeit in the wrong key. It felt like there is always hope at the end, the Sun keeps rising, a new day dawns and there is light enough for this day.

Feel free to request the chord chart if you want to play it. It starts with an Fmaj9sus (Offhand, I think). I will probably make a chart for it so we can play it. BTW when I say “play it”, I mean perhaps I play the chords and others improvise over the chords. I did overdub the very first chord section of the song as I had played it rather tentatively. It took me several hours to manage that. Perhaps there is a lesson here. While feeling inspired I laid both tracks, probably in under 30 minutes. With much less inspiration I struggled to overdub myself.

(I do wonder if anyone reads these things…. but I enjoyed writing it in any case ;))

Hope is Rising

This song is hopefully the new start of song writing in Hamilton, New Zealand. Simon had an idea and Tanya and Ian added some lyrical ideas. We wanted to keep it really un-religious and so, accessible to everyone. Simon laid down a very quick version  – playing a Baby Taylor guitar. The version is so quick that I missed the very start…. Perhaps there will be another more detailed version at some stage. We hope to try the song out at River Vineyard tomorrow.

At the bottom of the chord chart is the voicing of the guitar chords. Listen and hopefully you can hear the variations between related chords. Also, at the very bottom is a line that may replace the very New Zealand line about Whānau (extended family) and Haere Mai (welcome). Feel free to use lyrics for that line that work in your context.

Jesus Alone

Jesus Alone Chord Chart (pdf) Jesus Alone Chord Chart (Word doc)

This song was written as I thought about Jesus’ death and resurrection and His claims that if you had seen Him you had seen the Father. Further to this is the opening of John’s gospel – ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life and the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

I wanted it to be vaguely hymn-like yet also contemporary at the same time, thus the four verses with the bridge. I have come to like this song the more I sing it. The fact that both Ian and Andrew play on it has made it even more special for me. I am also grateful to Simon (playing bass and doing BGV’s) and Cheryl (doing BGV’s). We first played it in worship at a Passover dinner that we hosted at our house this year. We have included the chord chart so you can use it in your own churches or home groups if you so wish. I would be most honoured if you did. If the song works well for you, please let me know. It works just fine with an acoustic guitar or piano or both together.

Techie notes from Ian: the solo acoustic is Ian’s solid body Godin, strumming is on Larrivée acoustic, Andrew’s electric tracks from the bridge onwards are on a Fender Telecaster Deluxe ’72 reissue, the distortion is through a Hughes and Kettner header unit directly DI’ed and a Mesa Boogie cab miked. The clean delay sound is a Logic Pro sound. Simon’s bass is directly in through a Logic bass “amp”.


Faith like a Child (Faith, hope and love) – at the Variety Bash

This song was written some time back, but I never had the chance to do it with more than just Ian and I. When we had the opportunity to do it at the Variety Bash on the Taupo Domain, we decided to throw in some original songs with the covers we were doing. So….finally a chance to do it with another guitarist, Simon, playing lead guitar and Ian doing the acoustic. Cheryl normally plays piano on this song, but was taking a break and Brooke had not yet learned the bass, but we are slowly getting there. BTW – Simon didn’t have any music so Ian was shouting the chords to him during the solo. Okay, so it is a bit rough, and you can hear the kids screaming in the background for the Variety Bash, but this is what was captured on the day. We were grateful for the invite from the Taupo District Council to play at this event. We had a blast and were well looked after.

The song says it all really – still learning to have faith like a child……

Note from Ian: Simon is playing his blue Samick semi-acoustic through his Line 6 RD 300 and Ian is playing his 25 year old Guild with effects compliments of Logic (yes, we all played through Logic live while it also recorded us!) Tanya is singing through a Shure SM58 – one day we might get something a bit more flash.

Burn in me

“Burn in me” was originally, “Burn over me”, and was inspired by the preaching of Peter Robertson, New Zealands own resident prophet, when he was preaching regularly at Thames Elim. Love that man and his heart.

Ian’s comments:

This was a really cool Rumours of Worship session (18 December 2010) because Andrew G (Ian and Tanya’s son) played quite a key role on his acoustic guitar (Epiphone performer ME/TBK – he chose it for it’s looks, but it turned out to be the bomb soundwise!!). In any case most of us had only heard the song once before. Bethany played bass, but had never heard it, and had forgotten where the Eb was, so she overdubbed her bass line after the event – she played various notes related to the Eb… but rarely the Eb itself. Tanya played keys (piano sound), but we had taken the signal in as a MIDI sound as well as audio, so we created a piano/string sound for the MIDI to play and muted the original piano audio. Simon led on his strat and Ian played his Godin. Simon, Cheryl and Tanya sang and Cheryl played acoustic guitar. (Bethany and Ian tried to find that Eb on the bass so they didn’t sing.)