Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weight Of Glory is now available!

Weight Of Glory is now available for download or purchase from my website
I think you will enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It seems to be working....

I came home yesterday in -20C weather, in which the snow had fallen all day, to find the driveway and sidewalks shovelled. I stepped into the clean entryway, and proceeded down the hallway to the tidy bathroom.

I like this!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Job Schedule for a busy house

We have a busy house. Which, I believe, is better than having an idle house... The Bible says somewhere that where there are no oxen the manger is clean. Better oxen and a dirty manger than no oxen and a clean one. Better a house full of kids and mess than an empty one and spotless walls. And I agree.

However, we are hoping to raise kids who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and who love their neighbors as themselves, and I am quite sure that keeping the house running smoothly and in a reasonable state of decor is covered somewhere under one of those two headings.

So we are having a house meeting tonight of all those big enough to still be up at 8:45 PM. We are planning to sit down and put names to a job list which rotates on a monthly schedule. We have been operating on a weekly schedule, and there is no end to the work for Val in searching out whose job is whose, because of course the kids can't remember THAT...

I figure that if it is one persons responsibility to do the laundry for a month, they may be able to last for a week and still be able to play dumb, but the problem will soon be choking everyone. By the time everyone in the house knows who is supposed to be on the job, the slacker will still have three weeks of labors in that particular field before it falls to someone else. This will give them an opportunity to become proficient at the task as well, which only bodes well for the future.

I am hoping for great things.

Pricing adjustments & WOG

Hello, everybody!

Just a brief note to those of you inclined to purchase my CDs from me, there has been some minor adjustments to the pricing structure. CDs are now $16 each from my website , and shipping costs have generally gone up. All in all, it should serve to be a price reduction for you, which is good news for you Christmas shoppers.

Speaking of which, be reminded that if you want CDs to arrive BEFORE Christmas, you would be well advised to order them a month or so in advance. The postal people are going postal that time of year...

If you wish to buy 10 or more CDs at once, I'll make you a good deal!

And one more note of (relative, limited) importance. It seems to me that Weight Of Glory is about 3 weeks away from being in hand. I am really hoping to get this one out to you folks by Christmas, since there are a couple of Nativity songs on the album that I would like for you to hear. It is not up on my website yet, but I am now beginning to take orders for it ...*IF*... you order it by itself. If you order it with a group of other CDs you may expect that the whole works will not reach you till after Christmas, for there is a possibility that WOG will be delayed.

It doesn't always seem this way to me, but this time... WOG will be my favorite so far. You can paypal $20 ($21.20 if you are in Canada) directly to my email address and ask for it, and I will ship it to you. Or you could ask for multiple copies if you like, just to make me happy, and I would charge you accordingly...

May the Lord bless you all with faith, hope, and love; with excellent churches, and families to match, and fill your bones with thanksgiving to Him for sending Jesus!

Monday, October 08, 2007


I was downstairs the other day when I heard Joseph (3) start to cry as if in pain. I met Eden at the top of the stairs telling me that Joseph was bleeding all over the place. He was in the bathroom, up on a stool and leaning over the sink when I found him, with blood pouring out his nose. Big splats of blood were all over the counter. "Joseph, what did you do?!?" He couldn't tell me for quite awhile, he was too busy sobbing. I looked around the counter for some clues, and I found one... a long thin plastic paintbrush with blood on the handle.

He told me that he had been up on the counter and had slipped. "Did you have that paintbrush in your nose?" "Yes."

That must have hurt.

As I was mopping up the blood on the counter Joseph asked me if I was cleaning up his life. I was not sure I understood and asked about this. He told me that he had life in his nose and that it was coming out... has this kid been reading Leviticus behind my back?

Texas & Louisiana concerts

To all my listeners in north-east Texas and northern Louisiana, and the surrounding areas, there has been a concert tour arranged for me through these areas, and I would be delighted to meet some of you at the concerts! Here are the dates and places;

This appears to be the schedule, with some changes possible;

October 31, Wednesday night, beginning at 6 pm, a Reformation Day church party.

Colleyville Presbyterian Church
715 Cheek Sparger Road
Colleyville, TX 76034
(817) 498-2626

November 1, Thursday morning, beginning at 8:30 am,

Covenant Classical School
126 North Judd Street
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Todd Harris is the fellow to contact about these two concerts for more information

November 2, Friday night, 7pm, at
Hope Fellowship
300 Hollybrook Dr
Longview, TX 75605

Sponsered by: Christ The King Presbyterian Church

For information call: 903.238.6830 Phil Hodson is the contact person.

Here's a link for a map:

Nov.3 Saturday, a concert in Nacagdoches at the fall conference gathering of Texas CREC churches. Contact person is Tom Brainerd,
Grace Covenant Church, Nacogdoches, TX 936 622 6050

Nov.4 Sunday, 6PM Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church
224 Auburn Avenue - Monroe, LA

318-323-3061 Contact person is Duane Garner

Nov.5 Monday, an open day, as of yet. I couldn't get a cheap flight home on Monday. If there is any group in the Dallas area who could make use of me early on Monday eve, let me know.

Nov.6 Tuesday, I fly out of DFW at 6:30 AM


In other news, Weight Of Glory is in the final stages of preparations before going to the manufacturers. Here is the blurb for a description;

Weight Of Glory

Stories. The Bible is full of them. Characters. Great doers of deeds both noble and foul; minor actors of whom we catch only glimpses. Men and women whose faith (and whose lack of faith) bleeds through their actions. Our fathers and mothers in the faith are there, spurring us on to love and good works, and we learn what that means as we study them and their examples.
There are hundreds of stories in the Scriptures, each with a multitude of different ways to approach them, to open them up for others to see. And yet there is truly only one story, of God’s plan in Jesus to bring His world from immaturity to maturity, from childhood to adulthood. All the many and varied stories of Scripture form the shape of this plan, and you and I are a part of it, like David, and Cain, and Joseph. And though we face many afflictions along the way, we are assured by Jesus that they are light ones, and are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comprehension.

Weight Of Glory is an album of stories. It often takes you inside the action, as you remember standing on the bank of the Red Sea when the Pharoah’s soldiers were washing ashore; or as Naomi is about to leave, but you are determined to go with her; or as you reflect with David on the serious damage you did to a formerly good relationship. There are stories surrounding the birth of Jesus, word pictures with which to fill your imagination. There are affirmations of faith everywhere, and much rejoicing in God’s good gifts. From crying aloud in the streets to sitting alone on a mountainside waiting for God to speak, the Weight Of Glory builds.
If you enjoy Jamie’s kids albums, and you were once a kid yourself, you will be delighted with Weight Of Glory.


These songs which I did at a concert in St. Louis this past summer have recently been uploaded to youtube.

Blessings to you all! Thanks for listening!

Jamie Soles

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Babies in the afterlife

I just heard a new theory. When people die and go to heaven they become babies again. I was rather suprised by this nugget, since it came out of the mouth of my five year old, Chloe. She had been thinking about this for awhile, and when she spoke about it, it was with settled conviction in her voice.

Sting has a song that says "Men go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one." As much as I like Sting, he has this exactly backwards. We are all crazy to start with, and we get better by our involvement in Christ's Church. Worshipping our way toward sanity. Chloe needs to worship more...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kyriosity song reviews

Valerie (Kyriosity) Song Reviews

Confession Song (1985)

Because of Your love, Lord, show mercy to me
Wash from me the things that you don't want to see
And show me the life that You want me to lead
Only through Your forgiveness can I be set free
Verse 1
I know what my faults are, I see I've been wrong
I see I've been sinful all my life long
Awaiting Your judgment I stand in this plight:
For You to condemn me would be just and right, but...(Chorus)
Verse 2
Wisdom and truth are what You require
But I've been a fool and I've been a liar
Yet though I'm crushed I will be glad again
For by Your forgiveness I'm freed from my sin...(Chorus)
Verse 3
Give me a pure heart and spirit today
Don't leave me alone, and don't turn me away
Restore unto me the joy of salvation
And then let me share it with all of earth's nations...(Chorus)

Valerie informed me up front when she asked me to review her songs that her playing was lame and her singing was weak, but would I please pay attention to the songs themselves… I would say she somewhat overstated the case about her playing and singing. It is pleasant listening. And when someone is filling their song with Scripture, and putting themselves inside the song as she did above, it is all good.

About the song;

The structure seems odd to me in this way, that the chorus begins in the key of C, transitions to the key of D in line 3, and ends on a G chord, seemingly in the key of C again, but flowing immediately into the key of G in the verses. The verses are consistent in the key of G, and they work well enough considered by themselves, but to transition back to the key change festival in the chorus throws me off.

Here are some points to consider:

In order to resolve your song well it is important to end in the same key in which you started.
The word “things” in the 2nd line of the chorus has a D chord all to itself, and it seems out of place to me.
The contents of the verses seem to be a good bit darker than the music said they were. You need to try to match your music to the mood of the text. If the psalmist is growling, find a way to make your tune growl. If he is penitent, you need to make your music say what the lyrics are saying.
In the last line of verse three, instead of “all of earth’s nations” (which is hard to say), how about “every nation”? It flows better.

In song writing you want to avoid writing things that are phonetically difficult for a singer to sing. If I write a song and discover that one line has six prominent “s” sounds in it, I’ll probably try to rewrite that line. The smoother your music falls on the listeners ears, the better your reception.

Great Physician (February 12-14, 1997)

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul

Verse 1
O Great Physician, I am wounded, I am broken,
I am needy for a token of Your love for me.
O Great Physician, with a word so sweetly spoken,
You have my soul awoken from its sin-sick sleep.

Chorus 1
When I --- see the sickness of my sin,
I --- turn to You for grace and then
I --- find that I've already been forgiven.
So I --- lift my voice to You and sing
Thanks --- giving for the love You bring
You --- come with mercy in Your wings
To heal my sin-sick soul

Verse 2
O Great Physician, when I fall before You, kneeling
Hoping that my depth of feeling's
Equal to my shame
O Great Physician, there's no need for all my dealing
All I need to get Your healing
Is to speak Your name (Chorus 1)

Verse 3
O Great Physician, when I look at my surroundings
At the sickness that's abounding
In my fallen race
O Great Physician, I can hear Your voice resounding
With a love that is astounding:
"Come receive My grace!"

Chorus 2
When You --- see the sickness of our sin,
You --- come to us with grace and then
We --- find find how freely we have been forgiven.
With our --- voices raised to You we sing
Thanks --- giving for the love You bring
You've --- come with mercy in Your wings
To heal our sin-sick souls

There is a balm --- in Gilead....

This song is pleasant to listen to, good lady folk music. I heard one chord out of place, but I suspect you fix that problem when you play it for people. The only part that bothered me at all was the “Thanks---giving for the love You bring”, where the break comes in the middle of the word. Maybe hold the word “tha---nksgiving” and don’t take a breath there. The lyrics are going by quick enough that you shouldn’t run out of breath.

His Unfailing Love (Psalm 107) June 28-July 5, 1997

Verse 1
Some of us wandered in deserts and wastelands,
Finding no way to a city of rest.
Our lives ebbed away as we hungered and thirsted,
Then we cried out to God in distress.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
By a straight way to a city He’s led us.
From deep, living springs He has quenched all our thirsting.
With the bread of His flesh He has fed us.

So let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love,
We whom He has redeemed from the hand of the foe.
Let us sing songs of the wonderful deeds of our God.
Let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love.

Verse 2
Some of us languished in chains of our forging,
In prisons that we ourselves had devised.
We sat in deep darkness, the blackest of midnights,
’Til we begged just to see the sun rise.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
And cut through the fetters of iron that bound us.
He’s broken the gates of our sin-sustained prisons.
Now the bright light of His grace surrounds us. (Repeat Chorus)

Verse 3
Some of us sailed out in pride on the ocean,
Thinking that in our own wisdom we’d stand,
But the storm winds arose and the tempest blew ’round us,
And we prayed once again for dry land.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
Out on the sea of our self-will He’s sought us.
He’s hushed the wild waves and He’s made the winds whisper,
And to a safe haven He’s brought us. (Repeat chorus

Heh, heh, heh… I see you have already taken my advice from the first review about making the music fit…

This is an excellent song. I have not tried yet to write from that passage, I am still intimidated by these long Psalms. If you don’t mind, I’d like to learn it better and then see if I can make any suggestions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The view from Eden

Eden is my 7 year old daughter, and she is given to things dramatic.

She was standing on the front step beside my wife when I gave Val a kiss goodbye, since I was leaving for the day.

"Oooooo!" says Eden with a twinkle in her eye. "A love scene!"

She keeps me laughing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Album Reviews

Album Reviews

The following albums were included in the packet for “Best Rock & Alternative Album of the Year 2006” for the 2006 SHAI Music Awards;

That Place - Set Me Free
Drew Brown - Whisper To A Roar
Bobby Wall - The Prayer I Pray
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Art Of Breaking
Manic Drive - Reason For Motion
Q-Town - Breakthrough
Resolute - What Have You Been Waiting For?
Blue Veil - Leap Of Faith
Elektrik Prophet - When The Towers Fall
Seven Devil Fix - Soundtrack to a Place Unseen
Rule Of Nines - Another Space And Time
OWB - Case Closed
Lambs Among Wolves - Great Big God
Jodi Faith - Second Chance
Isaiah’s Answer - Here Am I
Traced Image - Traced Image

I was selected to be a judge for the rock/alternative category, so I diligently set out to listen to the latest and greatest in Canadian Christian rock music. Since modern rock is not a thing which falls easily on my ears, I knew going in that I would hear some things that would grate on my nerves, that would savage my sense of musicality; I expected the audible assaults to come from a different place than they ultimately arrived. But I tried to give an honest, musically discerning, theologically attentive listen to every entry. I asked the following questions of each entry;

Are the instruments well played?
Can the vocals be understood?
Do the words and music say the same thing? Do they match?
Does the band play well together as a band?
Is the song writing creative? Are they well written?
Is the song writing doctrinally true? Is it true to Scripture?
Does the album represent Christ (or Christ’s teaching) well?
Do I want to listen to it again?

I offer up here my reviews of the above albums. Some received more attention than others, because some were better than others. Overall, I think there were 4 albums that made me want to listen again. Out of 16, that isn’t a very good average… I put them down in the order in which I reviewed them, for your edification.

1. Drew Brown - Whisper to a Roar

Drew is a smooth musician, with nice melodies. He often seemed a little to breathy for my liking, but was overall quite pleasant to listen to. He has his moments of song writing skill, but needs to be consistently more creative. He should write about a much wider range of stuff.

1. Fear Before The Fall - good song, well written
2. Collide -
3. Whisper To A Roar -
4. We Belong - could be a good radio pop song
5. Give - Why the lame voice when addressing God? A shallow worship song…
6. Dark Hills - easy going, good use of symbolism, catchy, nice counterpoint voices
7. Shine - Too repetitive for my liking…
8. Reach Out - same as above, but a cooler song…
9. Come Back Down - Seems to have an odd view of God… “ Come back down, God, let me show You how I feel”, as if God can’t tell…
10. Deep Water - I like this song
11. This Human Fire - This is a good song. Well crafted, patient, building, well written.

As an album, B+

2. Bobby Wall - The Prayer I Pray

Bobby Wall is a preacher, not an artist. A preacher should have a pulpit, but keep his hands off the guitar. The guitars all sound exactly the same, all the way through. It seems to me that an artist would recognise this and do something about it…

Also, this is the first of a number of entries which did not belong in this category, since it is neither rock nor alternative in it’s orientation.

1. Jesus Loves You Anyway - preachy
2. Dependant - anti-earning-your-salvation song, indirectly preachy
3. Freheit - in German, nice harmonies
4. Jesus - shallow Jesus chant, preachy, “how I love you” in minor tones…
5. The Prayer I Pray - has a bad case of that very narrow evangelical imagination…
6. Halal - no thanks…
7. I Love You - six minutes of song #5s problem.

I did not finish listening to this album, since I had had enough by this point. There was no indication to me that the rest of it would be any better.
For future reference to the reader; when I say “Preachy”, I mean that the singer of the song is telling you what to do, how you should act, how you should believe. He is more concerned about you than he is about himself. This is all right and good when one is expounding the Scriptures from the pulpit, but the guitar is not a pulpit. I have heard it said, and I believe it, that directness belongs to the preacher, subtlety belongs to the artist. If he were an artist he would learn how to express those things from the inside out, to use other words to say the same thing. When I listen to music, I don’t want to be told what to think, say, or do; I want to be inspired. I want to be made to think in fresh ways.

As for “…that very narrow evangelical imagination”, imagine that the only thing you can talk about in song is that Jesus died for you, and won’t you please come and trust Him. If this is the theme of every song on your album I am suggesting that you need a bigger imagination. Now; the need for Jesus is a broad topic, and it can be approached in any number of ways, but it requires an artist to absorb this truth so that he actually can approach it from different ways.

3. Blue Veil - Leap Of Faith

This seems to me to be a decent rock band, who would benefit greatly by having a bigger imagination and a better education.

1. Leap Of Faith - listenable rock, melodic, with a rock vocalist
2. Breathe In - Be careful, O Artist, about putting the first two songs in the same key…
3. Take The Flight - funky chords, progressions like old Keaggy stuff (that’s a GOOD thing!). Preachy.
4. Taking It Hard - piano song
5. Searching - good harmonies
6. Jabez - mostly cool
7. Finally - good rock guitars
8. Shadow Of Your Wings - piano, good quiet song, is it really true that “I will hurt no more”?
9. Lost - preachy
10. Stay - If this is a song to the girlfriend, the lyrics are inappropriate. If it is a song to the wife, is she leaving? I couldn’t tell.
11. Guide My Way -

As an album I give it a C.

4. Elektrik Prophet - When The Towers Fall

This is a thematic album, which is a good thing to shoot for. If he can develop his musicianship he may be onto something. The overall production is pretty low-level. The first 4 songs are Act 1; the Dark. Songs 5-7 are Act 2; The Struggle. Songs 8-11 are Act 3; The Light. Songs 12-14 are Act 4; The Stuff

1. Introlude - creative!
2. Land Of Confusion - a Phil Collins song
3. Come To Your Senses - God is preaching to the lost, but I wish He were a better poet… The song is musically subdued, and is too low for the vocalist. The long, ethereal part in the middle of the song is a good idea, but it could be executed better.
4. When The Towers Fall - creative instrumentation and interesting song writing. The fellow needs to develop his voice, it is the weak link in this song.
5. Unborn Persecution - not very creative, fits thematically with the album.
6. Get Ready - he likes ethereal beginnings J 80s or late 70s techno/funk/disco
7. Looking For A Place - preachy. This song seemed weird to me and I couldn’t get over it.
8. Fall On Me - This song is 6:44 too long…
9. You Found Me - a Mike Stand number. This song switches without warning from first person to third person to second person…
10. Your Love Is The Answer - His lack of poetry in this song is made up for by his ability to put himself inside all the language of redemption. Something about the chorus reminds me of a poor man’s Dire Straits.
11. Bow To The Wind - an “I surrender all” song. Could use some better poetry in the verses. Creative musically. ProTools could have fixed some of the stuff slightly out of time…
12. How Can I Deny - A better poet could fix this song.
13. Another Day In Paradise - another Phil Collins song
14. Kevin’s Song - an instrumental ending.

This album seems to be chiastically arranged. Cool! It was better on the second listen than on the first. Not a lot of preachyness, which seems to be a common failure among these bands.

Overall, a C+

5. Manic Drive - Reason For Motion

Manic Drive was much better on the second listen through. These guys are capable songwriters, and are able to make ugly themes ugly. They are not as consistent at this as they need to be, though, and I would hold up the song that garnered the most airplay, “Luckiest” as exhibit A. It has a much brighter theme than the music lets on.

There was consistently static, fuzz, and skipping in virtually every song, which is annoying until you discover that it was done purposely, to point out that the connection between what God says and what we do is not always clear and open. Clever, but still annoying. Good thematic development in the album.

1. Intro - an old piano recording, fuzzy and crackly
2. Something More - dissonant chord structures… “crying out for something more”. Lyrics and music fit quite well.
3. Luckiest - Dissonant chord structures. “You were meant for me, I am the luckiest”, the vocalist roars so as to wreck his voice. Lyrics and music don’t seem to fit at all. Also, I could understand probably 60% of the lyrics when listening closely, and that is NOT enough.
4. Nebulous - Exhortation that you can’t live in two worlds. Good lyrics! I could understand probably 80% of them without consulting the jacket, and they were creative. Worth listening to again. Fuzz and static at the end, like the others.
5. Memories - starts quiet, grows. These guys have a good sense of melody and harmony, which comes out once in awhile. A good strong statement of faith, demonstrating a true knowledge of God.
6. Middle Of It All - a reasonably quiet song, with an acoustic section in the middle. “Ease my mind, make it clear, cause I’m stranded”. Again with fuzz at the end.
7. Only One - This song is full of dissonance and dropouts. A “woe is me” song, not very pleasant to listen to.
8. Aimlessly - Dissonant and ugly, it matches the words. Singer is crying out to be brought back to repentance.
9. Wasting Away - “and I like it!” A picture of a seriously perverse man, who knows he is in trouble and is going to come to a bad end. He knows he needs to be saved from the sin he loves so dearly.
10. Tragedy - “love’s a tragedy”… a letter written to a lover after having made some serious mistake, I think.
11. Crying - Panned guitars at the start. An ugly song. Very dissonant and strange.
12. God singing “I’m alive, I’m still here” in ugly tones. “Just seek and you’ll know”. Seek for God in the ugliness of life and you will find Him? Perhaps. It ends with a piano fadeout, chiastically!

I was a bit bothered by the vision statement of Whiplash Records on their album cover. It sounded to me too much like “We are great and humble, unlike anyone else, so get with us and get with the program, buddy!” Just self-promotion using a curious mix of religious-speak and revolution, which, if they understood it, they should avoid like the plague.

6. Lambs Among Wolves - Great Big God

I don’t think this album should have been in this category. Maybe a couple songs fit, the rest don’t.

1. You Are Love - This woman’s voice reminds me of somebody I heard on the radio in the 80s, I can’t place them. (“Back on the chain gang” is ringing in my ears…) This song works musically, though it’s understanding of God and his relationship to men is questionable. “They need not nail you there, You would have hung there just for me” . “You ask for nothing in return for love”. Yes He does. He wants everything. Also, the lyricist needs to learn how to speak in one direction and not several at once.
2. Deliver Me - This is a good song for the most part. Again, a choice of words that does not make sense, when the word “restoreth” is used in place of “restore”.
3. In Clouds Of Glory - Not a very good song musically.
4. Time - has a bad case of Last Days Madness
5. I Miss You - God sings a quiet love song… hmmm
6. Your Presence Is All I Need - A personal worship song
7. It’s All About You - This is a decent song theologically, if not poetically.
8. Faith - Wow! A Bible story song! This needs to be done more often.
9. Thank You Lord - A quiet song of consecration, nice.
10. Holy Spirit - I thought for a minute there I was listening to Judy Rogers… Another worship song, quite simple.
11. Rainstorm & Thunder - “Don’t you know we are near the end? So trust in Jesus!” There are better motivations, and they need to be explored by these ladies.
12. Separated - This song is 11 minutes long. Clever lyrics… nothing can separate me from the love of God, I am separated by the love of God.

It was hard to like this album on first pass, easier on the second. They seem to have a heart towards God, and God always honors that. The song writing needs to be more refined, it has many rough edges. I was pleased to discover that these girls interact with Bible content in their songs. One would wish that this trait were not a rarity among Christian artists, but unfortunately it is. Good for them!

7. Jodi Faith - Second Chance

No lyrics in the jacket, and the girl on the front certainly doesn’t LOOK like she should be in rock/alternative, but here she is. I plugged it in, and I got thru 4 songs when the thought occurred to me that this may well be the worst album I have ever heard, and I have heard many. Can you spell “Cheesy”?
I could not bear to go on listening. The folks who have encouraged this girl to do music need to be rebuked strongly.
Songwriting, singing, and theology lessons are in order for everyone involved in this project. If Jodi gets a “Third Chance”, which could happen in this strange world of ours, she really needs them all.

And here I was expecting to have my song writing, singing, and theology sensibilities assaulted by some screaming teenager with feed-backing guitars…

8. Isaiah’s Answer - Here Am I

1. Your Beauty - a worship song, not very well written
2. Lord Of Everything - another worship song, also not very well written.
3. Here Am I - sort of Isaiah, but needs a better musical imagination and to stop lapsing into the singers thoughts. If it’s Isaiah, I’d rather hear from Isaiah.
4. Holy Presence - see number two above…
5. Other Than We - This song was cool. It used a different sort of rhythm (9/8) and had a nice melody. A decently written song.
6. If Only - The guitarist is not very proficient. There are several good musical ideas, but the song is not very well composed.
7. Folly - More memorable than some of the others, but the lead guitarist didn’t help the cause.
8. All Around Me - I find it hard to stand this breathy “I-want-to-be-a-star vocal styling to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word “worship”. It screams of falsity.
9. Dear Father - simplistic lyrics, this songwriter needs a much bigger imagination.
10. Come Down - The last 4 songs have been the same acoustic rhythm. Break it up, boys, and learn some new rhythms. This song is a decent one considered by itself.
11. Satisfied - I thought it was going to be a communion song, but I was disappointed to find that the bread and wine were only “spiritual”. Faulty religion, but very common indeed. Repetitive.
12. Call To Worship - I’m glad these guys are worshipping the Lord, but I don’t think I could stand to be in their presence if they are offering this as a call to worship. God calls us to worship, these fellows call us to a rockin’ good time. Please…

I found that a number of the bands whose albums are up for consideration in this rock/alternative category are really “worship bands” in disguise. If you are going to be a rock band, be one. Start using your music for it’s God-designed purpose, which is to glorify His Name, and use it in the place for which it was made; out in the world. Stop thinking that it needs to take place in a worship service. You are only hurting the church in the long run by making her music sound like everything else you listen to. Make Church music sound Churchly.

9. OWB - Case Closed

1. Case Closed - A trial. Is he a Christian or not? Is there enough evidence? Kind of corny…
2. Truth - used the word “there’s” about fifty times. The songwriter needs MUCH more creativity. The timing changes worked. Very preachy.
3. I Surrender - Use your imagination, O songwriter! Religious cliché city… A great long interlude to lengthen an already-too-long song. This guy needs to sing more rock stuff that makes use of his soaring vocals.
4. Come Follow Me - Good that he went to the Scriptures, bad that he doesn’t have a poetic bone in his body. “If you’re having doubts, you’re not worthy to answer his call…” This is false doctrine, made to discourage those weak in faith.

I did not finish listening to this trash, and I do not intend to do so. There are enough bad preachers in the world who browbeat the people of God, and woe is us when they pick up instruments…

10. Q-Town - Breakthrough

1. Smile On Your Face - Happy-clappy reggae, don’t worry, be happy. Jesus loves you and everybody, blah, blah, blah. Preachy.
2. Your Looking At Me - A happy-clappy call to compassion. Preachy.
3. I’m So Happy - Deliberately stupid, because the authors think their campers are stupid, which they probably are if they sing along… Creative, but insulting to the intelligence… happily insulted.
4. Do You Wanna - Somebody loves me, doot do doot do doot… could be that girl, could be Jesus, who knows…
5. Got This Life - happy-clappy thanks for being alive
6. World That You Made - happy-clappy thanks for creation
7. Light Of The World - the best song so far… weird telephone reverb on voices, I don’t know why.
8. Yeah Yeah Yeah - sort of a catchy title, eh? The first words are at 53 seconds, and they are as stupid as can be.
9. Special - “all of us are oh, so special”. Didn’t these guys pay attention when they were watching the Incredibles? When everybody is special, then nobody is. This is a stupid song.
10. Come Change My Life -
11. Breakthrough -

This is a camp band from Q-Town camp in B.C. It seems to me that these folks seriously lack Christian vision, or they wouldn’t be foisting such schlock on their campers. Open your bibles, O songwriters!

11. Resolute - What Have You Been Waiting For?

1. Story For Two - not a very good singer, creative guitars and bass.
2. Lost And Found - I’m not sure if this man has ever played in front of anyone. This song is full of timing changes and tempo changes, which is very difficult to accomplish effectively live.
3. Higher Place - the fellow is a decent songwriter.
4. Be The One - Blah blah blah…
5. Away From You - A straight forward rock and roll song which needs a better title. This one doesn’t capture the mood or essence of the song.
6. Tale Of E Minor - musicating on Em. No Keaggy here…
7. Scars - some better song writing here. The use of high notes to emphasize the high points in the lyrics is lacking, however.
8. Confessions - an eleven-minute epic, which includes 2:11 of dead space in the middle. The guitarist needs to be more proficient.
They left the studio tape running. When they came back and started singing their fine little muzak piece at the end, it became clear to me that these guys are missing their calling. They are WAY better when they are not preaching or aching.

This was not an album that compelled me to listen again, except for the tail end of the last song. Do more muzak, boys!

12. Rule Of Nines - Another Space And Time

This is another album that does not belong in this category on two levels; it is more country than anything else, and it is only nominally Christian. Decent band, though.

1. Coming Home - A very country entry, with a good vocalist and great harmonies. A decent song.
2. Nexus - a classical guitar lead over a strange-timing bass riff and one violin with strings, leading into…
3. Another Space And Time - song writing and lyrics done fairly well, could have been more imaginative musically.
4. Bobby Song - a beautiful country song. A tear-jerker, but Daddy came back…
5. Forever You And I - a creative start with drums and vocals. “I’ll always be there” sort of song, nice sax solo, powerful vocal lead. A pop love song.
6. Listen - counsel to a friend to listen to his wife. Good counsel, but kind of preachy.
7. It’s Time To Dance - This did not seem like a very good song to me.
8. Stand - A preachy exhortation to stop doing nothing.
9. I Won’t Let You Down - another pop love song. See number 5.
10. Reprise… more of the same…
11. Lost In Silence - “I don’t want to live if all I have to give is lost in silence”
12. The Calling - a reprise of number 11...
13. California - “Going to California”… whoopee!

The musicians on this album are generally good, especially the vocalist. It sort of lacks anything distinctly Christian, and just seems to be living in a Christian ethos. No sense of the depth of faith, pretty shallow.

13. Seven Devil Fix - Soundtrack To A Place Unseen

First big no-no; there are no lyrics in the CD jacket, and of all the albums in this lot that needed them it was this entry.

1. Welcome To The Show - Big rock and roll. It seems to be an exhortation to rid concert-goers of inhibitions. Wrong exhortation. Sounds to me like a recipe for how to fix yourself up with seven devils… Guitarist tries to be Hendrix.
2. Brighter - “Something’s brighter than the noonday sun”. It is hard to understand their lyrics. The musicians seem to be quite capable, but lacking musical sense. There is a big scream at the end.
3. Temperance - Is this a wedding song?!? These fellows do not seem to understand that music has meaning, and that not every sort of music is appropriate for every sort of occasion. A screaming noisy wedding song is not appropriate, even if your friends think that’s what they want.
4. Magi - It is hard to understand the words, even in the earphones. The music sounded fine, I think, but if the vocals are not higher in the mix so that they can be heard, the singer may as well shut up. This is supposed to be an adaptation of a Bible story, but how can we tell?
5. Ghostwood - Why the whispering? I can’t hear you when you are singing out loud…”A feeling O so wrong is haunting me” “Haunted by perfection”… If I could hear the words I might be compelled to probe deeper into the meaning of the song.
6. Seed - This song is musically constructed, but again, it is hard to hear the lyrics.
7. Tremendum -
8. The Burden -
9. Song on my Radio -
10. Tent Meeting -

I tried harder to hear carefully with this album than with any of the others, but I was not rewarded accordingly. I am unable to hear what is being sung at least half the time. This is a BIG problem for a band in ANY Christian music category. Don’t set yourself out as a Christian band and then start mumbling. I figure that if you have words in a song, they probably should be heard, and if not heard, removed.
I cannot recommend this album for this reason.

14. That Place - Set Me Free

1. Take Me Back -
2. My Heart Burns - A worship song, cf Ps.84:1 Heart burn for Jesus! Why the telephone reverb? Not too bad…
3. I Am Found - first singing to someone, then to God, without letting the hearer know of the impending switch… Reverb is obscuring the words.
4. Free - cool song, more folk than rock. It is too long, though.
5. The River - There was lots of opportunity to be more creative in the lyrics. Poetic imagination needs to develop.
6. Learning To Fly - cliché city…
7. Colourful - “Free Falling” lick, not sure what it means
8. This Crown - a worship tune, blasé
9. Lend Me Your Hope - some creativity, could be greater
10. 6000 Years - static weird guitars and vocals to start. Sort of a Bob Dylan meets Henry Morris thing. A much more creative song than the others. Bonus song pretty but preachy.

Seemed pretty ho-hum to me as an album, and did not inspire me to listen again.

15. Thousand Foot Krutch - The Art Of Breaking

This is probably the heaviest music band of the bunch, but light years ahead of the rest.

1. Absolute - This guy is a songwriter. Good song construction, I can hear almost all the words. I get the point, and it is a good one.
2. Slow Bleed - verses not very musical. It has a fast vocal, but it can be understood. Music fits the words. Interesting music and timing changes.
3. The Art Of Breaking - This is a good band, they work together really well.
4. Stranger - Music is very fitting. Good band! And good vocalist too.
5. Hurt - a heavy rock song in three quarter time, how about that! Very different from the other songs, with a cool lead vocal.
6. Hand Grenade - An angry song, a person ready to explode. Chaos music, but orchestrated chaos with a driving beat.
7. Move - This fellow has a very emotive voice. The songwriter knows how to mix the music of chaos and order. There are often strong melodies in the midst of weird chords.
8. Hit The Floor -
9. Go - does not match music and message.
10. Make Me A Believer -
11. Breathe You In - starts mellow, in three quarter time. A call for Gods presence.

Overall, a well-made album. Craftsmen at work.

16. Traced Image - Traced Image

1. Introduction - an electronic thing for a few seconds
2. All Is Vanity - Not too pretty, but it does what a rock song should do.
3. Direction - This is a well-written song.
4. Exaltation - I counted it as being in 4/4 time and tried to discern how the lyrics were fitting it (in the first section of the song) but I could not do it. It made no sense to me.
5. Be Like Jesus - a good quiet piano song that builds, with some cool chords in the chorus. This was a decent song.
6. Glory - needs a better lyrical and musical imagination
7. For You - Also short on imagination in every important way.
8. Falter - an instrumental based on Psalm 69. I wonder how you do that…
9. Searching - I think there are other instruments in here but the guitars keep masking them. This song is droning in my ears… time to move on.
10. Loss Of Touch - Lyrically I could not make head nor tail of this song. Loss of touch is an accurate description…
11. Worthy Is Your Name - I wonder if the word “holy” means anything more if you stretch it way out a whole bunch of times. Or “Name”, or “worthy”. I think not. You could have effectively sung the entire message of this song in less than 20 seconds, but it took you 4:48. I think you could use your time more effectively, and at the same time to discontinue stunting the spiritual growth of those who regard this as worship music. Like any good editor, just say no to songs like this.
12. Commotion - It is good to be against the troubles raised by the “commotion” of jealousy, slander, and back-biting, but commotion is raised in many ways, and this kind of music in the worship service has been raising this kind of commotion for years now. If you want to stop the commotion by entering the place of worship, a very effective way is to kick the rock band out.

This album started out as a rock effort, but it devalued into a “worship” effort after about three songs and stayed there the whole rest of the way. I say “devalued” because the destination for this rock music wound up in the sanctuary again when it should be out there confronting the world.


If I could plead with Canadian songwriters, I would ask them to please start making music for the church that is full of Scripture and that sounds completely distinct from what you hear on the radio. The Church is the great alternative to the kingdoms of this world, and she needs her own language, her own prayers, her own songs. She needs to have different songs, and better songs.
And if you are a rock band who is trying to engage the world, you need to become better poets. And that means learning the Scriptures inside out, internalizing it, then learning how to say things from God in such a way that people will listen to you. Start seeing things thru different eyes than your neighbor does. Then perhaps you will be able to show him things that he has seen a million times in a new light, the light of Christ.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

WOG contents

I have been in the studio for the last week laying down tracks for the next CD, Weight Of Glory. Craig Learmont (my engineer and co-musician) and I have been having a great time building these songs.

WOG will be more of an adult oriented album, though still kid friendly, I suppose. It will consist mostly of songs that started out being written as kids songs but didn't end up being kids songs. I am employing the same fashion of order, sweeping thru the Bible chronologically. Here is a brief description of what will be covered...

1. Cain - a lament over Cain
2. Waiting For Me - the patriarch Joseph rejoices over his wife
3. I've Got A Day - a recently delivered, faithful Israelite reflects on God's gracious gift of the Sabbath
4. Shiloh - Joshua is troubled by the Israelites at the midpoint of the conquest of the land
5. Under His Wings - Ruth's passionate plea to Naomi
6. Ahithophel - David regrets a broken relationship
7. Confession Of A Fool - Psalm 14 with a plea for God to move
8. Crying - Lady Wisdom cries aloud in the streets
9. What Are You Doing Here - The Lord confronts Elijah in the wilderness
10. Who Knows - Mordecai's plea to Esther
11. Jesus Is Here - Prophets, priests and kings rejoice at Jesus coming
12. Still Awake In Nazareth - Joseph prays before going to sleep
13. Son - a Christmas hymn in word pictures
14. Blessed - the beatitudes
15. Soul - an internal conversation with oneself
16. Weight Of Glory - rejoicing in God's promises
17. This Confidence In Me - Paul's Lord, John's Lord, my Lord

Back again this coming week to finish.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Trinity Fest

It is a packing day for Trinity Fest. The whole family is coming along, and we are doing a concert in Moscow at the Nuart Theater at 4 PM on Tuesday, Aug. 7. Should be fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

...and the Deathly Hallows

The previous books have been good, very good indeed. But this one is a masterpiece. If there was any doubt before about what story J.K. Rowling is telling, there is none anymore. A Christian fantasyist, indeed. And a very good one. Way to go, J.K. Rowling!

Harry Potter

I was, once upon a time, quite unwilling to read Harry Potter books. The great buzz arising because of them seemed to me to be coming from the public schools, which was proof positive that they must be pretty bad... What I kept hearing about them was that they were all about witchcraft, and were getting kids interested in seances and so forth. "Why bother?", thought I. "That is not what I want for my kids."

In Red Deer our family lived across the street from an excellent young lady who had become a good friend to Timbrel and Zion. Tasha was a very bright 10 year old, and she would tell them about the Harry Potter books she had been reading. Much to her suprise, T & Z told her that their Dad didn't want them reading those books... "Why not?" she said. "Go ask him." they said, and so she did.

"They're really good books, Mr. Soles. Why don't you want your kids to read them?" "I'm not very interested in having them grow up wanting to be witches." "Well I don't want to do that either, but they don't do that at all anyway, Mr Soles, they are just good stories. I'll tell you what; I will lend you my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and you can read it yourself. If you don't like it, then you don't have to read it to your kids."

What could I say? She was our friend, and you don't just dismiss your friends ideas for nothing, not if you want to keep them... I agreed to read the book. I felt that it would be wise if I started with the first book instead of the third, so I started looking around for it at garage sales, so I didn't have to spend too much money on this foolishness. It took me almost three weeks of humming and hawing before I could bring myself to get at it, but when I did, I was hooked.

I had understood them to be gateways into occultism; what I discovered in the book was a world in which you didn't study to become a wizard, you were born a wizard, and no amount of study could make you one if you were not born one. No gateways there. Instead, I found a world where the things that were prized were friendship, and bravery, and loyalty, and creativity, and self-sacrifice.

I went garage-saleing for more that weekend, and found books 2 & 3 for cheap, then book 4, which had just come out, at a house where (as the lady explained to me) the daughter had been given two hardcover copies. And I went home and read them to my kids. And gave Tasha back her copy.

Ever since getting over my initial reluctance to read them, I have found them to be delightful, with very Christian themes dominating the stories. She pokes fun at all the right sorts of people, and deals with issues that seriously afflict the modern world, always giving the good answers. Learning to do what is right over doing what is easy, for instance. If one wanted to encapsulate the theme of each book in a sentence, book two would have to be "Watch out for what is in your children's school textbooks, it could be harmful!"

Christian, J.K. Rowling is your friend. Read her books. They are among the best Christian literature that has been made in the last 60 years.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What next?

I am pretty sure I will be recording Weight Of Glory when I go down to the studio in August.

I counted up, and I have 50 songs to record from the Psalms, and no good sense yet of what order in which to record them. That is at least 3 albums worth of Psalm material, which would be difficult indeed to record all at once. Most of them, I think, are fairly decent songs, some of them really good, and some of them useful for congregations, but...

These Weight Of Glory songs are ones that for one reason or another did not wind up on my kids CDs; either they were too grown-up, or they didn't quite fit thematically, or they were not written as kids songs. They have been collecting on the periphery of my work for years, and if they keep collecting I'm going to have another Psalm problem on my hands... :-) (I suppose I already do. I have a bunch of old worship songs that were pretty good too.) I just played again thru the list of songs for WOG, and they are almost all really good songs. I think it would be a great album.

I have been torn of late between doing what I know is useful (Psalm albums) and what is also useful (WOG) but in ways not quite so evident as the Psalms.

But when I played them again I said 'This has got to get done soon!" and August is soon. So, Weight Of Glory it is.



Friday, June 29, 2007

St. Louis trip

I feel like I had a successful trip to St. Louis. It was a pleasure to meet face to face several ladies and gentlemen that I had only known via email. It seems that God's people were encouraged and blessed by the music I made.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places indeed. I love writing and performing my music, and it seems to do people a great deal of good to hear and assimilate it. I make CDs, people buy them and are blessed, and we have food on the table and more. Who could ask for anything better?

So thanks first of all to the Lord Jesus, for whom I sing. And then thanks is also due to the many who worked at organising concerts in St. Louis, Carbondale, and Birmingham. Thanks also to the many folks who bought my CDs at the homeschool conference and at the concerts. May you be blessed over and over. And may your children have Bible stories down in their bones!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

F&P Songs

1) These Are The Prophets - a brief overview
2) Shall I Hide - God approaching Abraham to tell him about Sodom & Gommorah
3) What Prophets Do - Abimelech and Abraham
4) Golden Calf - Moses pleads with God on Israel's behalf
5) Dust Of Jacob - Balaam's first two prophecies over Israel
6) You Are The Man - Nathan the prophet confronts David about Bathsheba
7) Micaiah - The prophet Micaiah's jailer offers him some counsel
8) Chariots - Elisha tells the story of Elijah's last day
9) Bethel - a consideration of the bears and the boys at Bethel
10) Reeling In Jonah - God counsels Jonah
11) Run! - a young prophet anoints Jehu as king over Israel
12) Man Next Door - the girl next door to the prophet Hosea is dubious
13) Sign And A Wonder - a boy in Ezekiel's village tells his friends what he has seen.
14) Second Year - Daniel tells the story of his ascension to power.
15) Buy A Field - Jeremiah puzzles over God's command
16) Down Jerusalem - Jeremiah laments the fall of Jerusalem, but is also relieved.
17) Gates Of Nain - the widow of Nain watches Jesus raise her son back to life.
18) Repent - Jesus is the Prophet who comes from the Lord

What Prophets Do

Fun And Prophets is now available...and it should be up on the website for purchase by next week.

This album is a consideration of biblical prophets; who they are, what they do, how they function, etc., with several examples given. My intro song has this as a chorus;

These are the prophets, they speak and things change
New worlds are created, old ones rearranged
They serve as the counsellors to God Most High
So prophesy, prophet, prophesy.

When I was a younger fellow, I was taught that prophecy was two things; 1) telling the future, and 2) speaking the truth about God. I suppose that neither of these things are wrong, but nor do they tell even close to the whole story. The next time you read through the Scriptures, notice how many times God invite men into His council room and asks their opinions. I was amazed at this, but I shouldn't have been. Amos 3:7 says that God does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.

A prophet seems to be one who has matured enough. He has been through the priestly stage, where he just did what he was told. This seems to correspond to childhood, where things are not always explained to the child, but obedience is expected. He has been through the kingly stage, where he is called upon both to lead and to die for the sake of his people, he has learned wisdom, he has meditated on God's law long enough to be able to discern good from evil in places where the law doesn't specify. What do you do as a king when two prostitutes come to you, each claiming the baby is hers? No law is going to tell you what to do, you need wisdom. Searching things out...this is a kingly task. This would seem to correspond to the married man raising a family.

The prophet has learned these things and done them, and is now able to effect change with his words. He can build up and tear down men and cities and cultures, by speaking The word of God to them. He corresponds to the older man, whom men look to for advice and counsel. And God values him as a counsellor; consider Abraham in Genesis 18, or Moses pleading with God after the golden calf incident. God asked them about things, they answered, and God did what they had suggested. Sounds like a counsellor to me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

midnight, June 12

I looked out the window before retiring for bed. The sky in the west was still auburn down by the horizon, blending in to the turquoise of early night. There was still plenty of light to be able to see your way around.

I'm going to be in Birmingham for the longest day of the year this year, so I will have a good comparison to offer to home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

To Your Table

Here is a song that we have been using during the distribution of the cup in the service;

To Your Table

As surely as this bread and cup we see with our eyes
You have made us sons of God by one sacrifice
We who once were far away You have now brought near
Children at Your throne of grace lose their guilty fears

To Your table we will come rejoicing
In the goodness of our God
Our salvation rests on Your Anointed
Not the deeds that we have done

As surely as we taste this bread and wine with our tongue
You will feed our soul with meals divine, till You come
You provide our daily bread, all we have from You
Hungry stranger, come and find; here is real food

To Your table we will come rejoicing
In the goodness of our God
Our salvation rests on Your Anointed
Not the deeds that we have done
To Your table we will come delighted
You’ve forgiven all our sin
Great Your kindness that we are invited
By the Lord to enter in

@Dec.13/1999 Jamie Soles

Visitors from afar

We had an excellent Lord's Day service yesterday.

How good it is to be invited into God's presence, to worship together as a body, to be shaped into His image through our worship! It was a blessing as well to worship with a couple families and a single fellow from Fort St. John, whom we have known for a long time, and whose presence causes general rejoicing.

There we were before the service, being thankful for God's good gifts to us, when the door opens at the back, and in walks Dean Helleckson, wheeling Antonia, and being trailed by Azalea and Isaiah. We have been praying for Antonia for years now, and her arrival in our church was a complete suprise to us, and a delight. The Lord has brought her a long way back from the brink. She can communicate with people now, and you can tell that there is a whole lot more going on inside her head that she is not able to express outwardly. When she heard my name, she remembered it, since I have apparently sung to her quite often in the last couple years. So she made a funny about it... excellent! Antonia is in there indeed!

We had almost everybody over afterward to our house, and had an excellent evening of visiting and feasting. What a delight! The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places indeed.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Update on Birmingham

Here is an ad for the concert in Birmingham on June 21.

All the way from Canada…

Jamie Soles

In concert

June 21, 2007

6:30 pm

at Berney Points Baptist Church

(directions below)

Suggested donation of $5 per person or $20 per family

Christian Children's Music

From a Reformed Perspective!

Jamie's philosophy of children's music is similar to that of C.S. Lewis's philosophy of children's literature: If it can't be enjoyed by an adult it won't make for good children's listening either. The music fits the theme of whatever story he is telling and his wit will keep you enthralled! Jamie has included details from the biblical narratives that sometimes get missed in children's music. If you love how the whole Bible points to Jesus you will love Jamie's music!

You won't be disappointed.

Directions to Berney Points:

If you are heading north on 65 take the Alford Road exit and turn right. Just past the gas station you will turn right onto Blue Ridge Blvd. Go half a mile and the church will be on your right. The address is 2250 Blue Ridge Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35226

Questions? Call Jeremy at 205-613-9578 or Brandy at 205-613-9579

Check out for reviews and samples of his music.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Addendum to Summer Schedule...

On Thursday, June 21/07 I will be performing in Birmingham, Alabama, thanks to Jeremy & Brandy Sexton, who are organizing it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Summer Concert Schedule

Hi, folks!

This is what appears so far on my summer schedule for music making;

April 20-21 - B.C. Christian Homeschool Convention in Kelowna, B.C. I have a vendor table there and will be singing songs for passers-by.

May 3 - Judah leaves with the boys choir to London, ON. and is back on the 8th. I was hoping to be at the INCH convention in Lansing, Michigan this weekend, but things did not work out. Maybe next year.

May 9-21 our family goes on tour! These are the confirmed dates and places;

Fri, May 11 - Abbotsford Immanuel Free Reformed Church
Sat, May 12 - Langley Canadian Reformed Church
Mon, May 14 - Chilliwack Free Reformed Church
Wed, May 16 - Wenatchee at The River Academy
Thur, May 17 - Wenatchee Trinity Reformed Church
Sat, May 19 - Spokane concert at Christ Church

Jun 1-2 B.C. Homeschool Convention in Surrey, once again with a vendor table.

June 9 I have a nephew getting married in Dawson Creek.

June 14-23 St. Louis trip, with the following dates secured;

Fri, June 15 - Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, concert at Covenant Seminary
Sat, June 16 - Carbondale, IL , singing after a church block party
Sun, June 17 - worship at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in St. Louis
Mon.-Wed. June 18-20 - CHEF Convention in St. Louis, where I again have a vendor table and a guitar, and am hoping to meet piles of homeschool folks.
Fri, June 22 - Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in St. Louis.

That's it for music just now. I have another nephew getting married on July 14 in Progress. It seems to be the season... :-)

If any of you have any bright ideas on how I could add to this list, please contact me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I saw part of my lawn

the other day. For the first time since Oct.27/06. Just a corner of it though, the rest is still well buried.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Beats and Worship

I was involved in a conversation recently about music in worship, and whether or not certain beats were inherently sinful. I said no, and here is why;

I think we need to be careful not to place the sin in the "thing". Sin is something that *people* do. Rhythms and melodies and harmonies can be used in ways that do not glorify God, but they also can and should be used in ways that DO glorify Him. I don't think there is any such thing as a "sinful" beat, just sinful "beaters". But there are certainly "beats" that don't belong in the worship of God, since they are made for other purposes. Some music works really well when you are alone with your spouse with the lights down low, but it wouldn't be appropriate in a congregation.

How do you DO that?

There are a number of things that the Scriptures enjoin us to do, or recommend to us, and we don't have a handle on how to do them without sinning. I'm thinking of things like dancing (David in 2 Sam. 6:5), or drinking alcohol (Ps.104:15, Jn. 2:1-11), or shouting loudly (Ps.42:4), or how to throw a feast (Deut. 16:13), or making loud, fast, exuberant music (Ps.98). All of these things, I think we can all attest, can be used for sinful purposes. So how is a person supposed to learn how to do them in ways that glorify God? I would suggest that these are some of the reasons that God gives us elders. Elders in the church need to teach the congregation how to do these things. Which means that they need to learn how to do them themselves first.

I'll just take one of these as an example. I think that the cure for alcoholism, not to put too fine of a point on it, is that a man needs to drink with his pastor or elder every time he drinks, and to drink in the Church, at the Lord's Table. The wrong kind of company (either unbelievers looking for a buzz, or by himself) always leads him astray with drink. What he needs is godly company who will inspire him to enjoy, rather than abuse, God's good gifts. Someone that he can be accountable to in a godly way. Someone who loves him enough that they would be disappointed if he started slobbering in front of them, enough to make him wish to avoid such behavior.

But the same thing happens with worship as well. If the elders train a church how to sing exuberantly in worship in God-glorifying ways, the kids are less likely to show up at the rave. Learning how to sing whole Psalms at a good clip with lots of expression is like eating steak... who wants a hot dog afterward?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Short Summer...

It lasted long enough for the sun to melt the snowpack to about half it's winter-long depth, the remainder has become a thick, tough, crusty field which will take the sun that much more effort to disintegrate.

I woke this morning to a skiff of new snow, a northwest wind, and a -20 thermometer reading. Oh, April! Where are you?

Dreaming of April
Waiting for her to arrive
In all her finery...

The five day forecast called for sub-zero temperatures till Friday, by which time it is usually out of its reckoning anyway.

I've lived up here all my life, you would think that this wouldn't bother me by now. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What a winter!

If I could stand on the surface of the snow beside the garage, the edge of the roof would be a little lower than chest height. It is March 14, and there is more snow in the forecast.

Recording is done...

The edit festival has begun...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The recording process has been moving along well. We had a real drummer come in on the first day to lay down the drum tracks, which saved us a lot of time and thought process. Chad Melchert was his name, and he is really good at what he does. In the last couple of days we have laid down bass tracks and acoustic guitar tracks, and some of the lead vocals. More of those should happen tomorrow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Recording for "Fun And Prophets"

I have the studio booked for the next two weeks. I'll be laying the foundations the first week; drums, bass, acoustic guitars, lead vocals. The second week my wife and kids come to put their parts on here. We should have all the tracking done and most of the editing by the end of the 2nd week.

Do pray for us, that we will be able to make a good and useful and enjoyable album, and that we ourselves would be good, useful, and enjoyable.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Favorite Hymns Of Praise

Favorite Hymns Of Praise, from Tabernacle Publishing Company, Wheaton, IL., copyright 1967. It does not appear to have been a denominational hymnbook, but I grew up using it in the Evangelical Free Church.

Some of it was very good. I learned a large number of good hymns from that book which have stuck to me to this day. But most of it... is best described as man-centered, world-denying, disorderly; gospel song in all it's ugly detail. And it, too, has stuck to me to this day.

"In my heart there rings a melody
There rings a melody
With heaven's harmony
In my heart there rings a melody
there rings a melody of love." p.26

"Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight
Flooding my soul with glory divine
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine." p.27

"Sunlight, sunlight in my soul today
Sunlight, sunlight all along the way
Since the Savior found me, took away my sin,
I have had the sunlight of His love within." p.30

"O, there's sunshine, blessed sunshine,
While the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in my soul." p.31

These were from what must have been the "Sunshine Section" of the hymnbook...

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He's just the same as His lovely name,
And that's the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know." p.36

"Con - - - -stantly a-bid - - - - ing,
(Constantly abiding, constantly abiding,)
Je - - - sus is mine - - - ,
(Jesus is mine, yes, Jesus is mine;)
Con - - - - stantly a-bid - - - - - ing,
(Constantly abiding, constantly abiding,)
Rap - - - -ture di- vine - - - - ;
(Rapture divine, Oh, rapture divine)" p.42

"Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by." p.51

"If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.
Just now, your doubtings give o'er;
Just now, reject Him no more;
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart." p.55

And then there is...

O Jesus Thou Art Standing

O Jesus Thou art standing
Outside the fast-closed door,
In lowly patience waiting
To pass the threshold o'er:
Shame on us Christian brothers,
His Name and sign (baptism?) who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
To keep Him standing there!

O Jesus, Thou art knocking;
And lo! that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle,
And tears Thy face have marred;
O love that passeth knowledge,
So patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
So fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus Thou art pleading
In accents meek and low,
"I died for you, My children,
And will ye treat Me so?"
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
We open now the door;
Dear Savior, enter, enter,
And leave us nevermore! p.56

Help! Help! I'm being buried under responsibility! And as someone said, there is so much sweetness in here that a diabetic would have to leave...

It goes on and on like this, 519 pages long.


When I was a kid, I was fed garbage. Reams and reams of it. Page after page after page...

I just found a copy of the hymnbook I grew up with...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Global Warming...

I'm all for it!

It has been, by and large, a miserable winter here in Alberta. Last week it rained quite hard, even though it was -10 C. The ice on the van in the morning was at least 1/4 inch thick all over. I started the van with the remote starter and let it run for about half an hour, then went out to see if I could scrape the ice from the windshield yet. A large bubble had formed along the top of the window where it had warmed up, but it had not warmed enough to melt all the way thru the ice. I took my scraper and poked a hole in the ice at the bottom of the windshield, and water came spurting out. It was quite a fountain!

I saw a man on the CBC a few weeks ago, distressing over a large chunk of ice that had broken away from the north coast of Ellsmere Island, which is so far north my map of Canada doesn't even show it. He was quite insistent that the government needed to spend some money and make some laws NOW or it will be too late... Methinks he worships a false god. If God does great things in His world, like breaking ice and watching ninnies scream, we should be saying "Go, God!", not begging the idol in Ottawa to please put a stop to this.

Lately I have been...

I said when I created this blog that it would be useful, because I do have thoughts occasionally, and I should put them down somewhere. This past month must have been pretty blissful... no thoughts at all to speak of.

Well, not quite true. I have been watching the various discussions about the so called "Federal Vision" controversy, and have come to the conclusion that Rich Bledsoe was right; the more serious the sin a man is involved in, the less likely it is that he will be able to see it. There are a number of accusers of the brethren busy as bees in places like the Warfield list, and they seem quite oblivious to the fact that they look just like the devil in their pathological hatred of the godly. And these men are all ministers, tithing from their spice rack and neglecting the weightier matters of the law...

I have been re-reading "Against Christianity", by Peter Leithart. Good stuff!

Old folks home

I no longer have a young family. I added them all up yesterday and they were 71 years old. My kids are older than I am, and older than my wife is, but they are not as old as we are.

And people used to comment on what a large family I had... I would tell them I had a small family, only two of us over five feet tall. But no longer. Now I have a large and growing family. Timbrel and Zion are dead even in height, and Judah is a bit ahead of both.

I hereby predict;

Jewel will be the tallest girl in my house, except for perhaps her mother.

I have said this for years, and it will still be years before I can be proven wrong, so I feel safe continuing to say it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

There's a Blizzard in my Gizzard...

Two days ago nothing could be seen of Grande Prairie. There was so much blowing snow in the air we couldn't see across the street. Yesterday we dug out the van... the winds had blown all the snow from the west end of my driveway into the east end where the big van is parked, and the drifts were pretty spectacular. They were about half as high as the van, and carved sharply down and under the van when they were about a foot from each wall.

The temperature dropped to the -30C range after the storm, just in time to shovel out the driveway. But where to put it all? It was already up to the top of the fence on the neighbor's side. So I started the van, dug the drift away from it on one side, and with a good deal of forceful driving managed to move it out to the bare patch which the Lord had swept. Then I got an old bi-fold door out of the garage and laid it out on the deep snow on my back lawn, and we used it for a ramp when we sledded all the snow off the driveway. Now my back yard is up to my neck in snow in some places, only up to my waist in others.

The car in the front yard was drifted right over the hood, the minivan was swept clean on all sides. The driven pile of snow beyond the end of the driveway had to be negotiated with speed several times before we felt that we could safely back into the driveway.

And I still feel that blizzard in my gizzard...

Descriptive powers

It began to drizzle rain and he turned on the windshield wipers; they made a great clatter like two idiots clapping in church. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

He had worked on the box a long time and when he finished it, he had scratched on the lid, MASON TARWATER, WITH GOD, and had climbed into it where it stood on the back porch, and had lain there for some time, nothing showing but his stomach which rose over the top like over-leavened bread. The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor

This lady's descriptive powers have me rolling on the floor every couple of pages. What a writer!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

They're at it again...

We have the studio booked for recording the next kids album from Feb.26-Mar.10. It will be called "Fun And Prophets", and will be a look at the prophets in the Bible.

Imagine, if you will, looking out your picture window into the city square. You see there a man with long hair rustled by the wind; he seems to be listening to something. As you look on, he takes a long, sharp sword from the scabbard at his side and begins to cut off his hair. All of it. And he is very careful to catch all this hair and gather up what has fallen to the ground. When he is finished, he pulls a measuring scale from his cloak and carefully measures his hair, dividing it into three equal groups.

He takes one of the neatly gathered piles of hair and begins throwing it up into the wind, where it is blown every which way. Next, he takes a second pile of hair, holding it up in the air with one hand and drawing his sword with the other, then proceeding through the town, waves his sword at the hair like he intends to cut it to pieces...

And you think YOU have strange neighbors... meet Ezekiel.

Fun And Prophets deals in brief with Abraham, Moses, Baalam, Nathan, Micaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, and many more.