Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scribbles of Harmony...

This summer, everyone in our area is complaining about the non-summery summer weather.

Truth be told, we haven't noticed the weather a bit. 
We've been indoors for most of it, either in the studio or rehearsing the songs for when we're in the studio.

Long days, but super creative and satisfying. 

Yesterday, we spent the better part of the afternoon creating harmony parts, 
so I thought you'd appreciate this little behind-the-scenes glimpse...



Right now, you're thinking, "Um, secret language? Morse code? Just plain messy??"

This, my friends, is harmony!

What you're looking at is the bridge for our song Through The Dark. Gerald wrote it about a year and a half ago, so some of you have already heard this haunting and moving song in our concerts.

Gerald takes the lead on this tune, so when we arrived at the studio, he jumped in the booth and sang his part.

Next, it was my turn. On this song, I sing a few different types of harmony parts. Some are "oohs" that drift under the lyric. Others are various kinds of echoes to enhance the melodic line. Others are straight up harmony lines where I sing the lyrics an interval from Gerald's lead.

When we got to the bridge, I sang my part as I've always sung it. Andrew Horrocks (our amazing producer!) wondered if I might want to switch up a few notes to give the part more presence and impact. So I pulled out my pencil and started to make the little dots and short dashes that you see. They indicate where the notes are different from what I sang before. The up and down nature reflect the same up and down movements you'd see on a piece of sheet music.

The point of these markings isn't to transcribe an actual part onto the page. I learned the part by ear and memorized it as we went along. The dots, dashes, and doodles are there to guide my memory as I'm working through the recording. They trigger my ear and voice to lock into the harmonic groove of the new part.

When it was just one note that changed, I add the arrow or check mark to show the direction of the new note. When the new note was held long with no or few changes, I drew the longer lines, like the ones after "fear."

The "echo" was always part of the song, but because we were adding so many new bits to the part, I wanted to put it in my notes to remind myself of taking a deep breath and showcasing that moment.

We spent a good amount of time creating this part, rehearsing it, and then doing several takes to make sure it wasn't just note perfect, but that I also gave it the right kind of performance and energy.

Making music should never be just about hitting the right notes. 
We're there to share a message and an emotion. 
Notes are important, but communicating is EVERYTHING!

So, after I laid down the harmony line, Andrew said, "I hear some third harmonies, too."

This is where the circled words come in. Each word with a circle had an additional harmony part added to it. Since they were all higher parts, I didn't have to add a lot of direction for myself, except where I added in the extra long line after "fear."

A few weeks ago, we had a tremendous band come in to record the tracks for this song. Then, Gerald created his guitar part. Now, we've got lead vocal, harmony line, and extra harmony parts created. And the song is still a work in progress. It's only going to get better from here!

It's always amazing to see how a simple guitar-vocal song can build into a vibrant, exciting album track. 
Stay tuned to hear what happens next with our new CD...


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

Are you excited about our New CD??

You can preorder your copy now! 
All preorders include free shipping & bonuses.

If you'd like to give a little extra support, 
we've got an awesome thank you gifts for you!

Visit www.InfinitelyMore.ca/New-CD for all the details!




Monday, July 31, 2017

Help Us Make Our New CD!

This week, we launched a new page on our website! 

It looks like this:



It’s been three years since we’ve felt called to record. Three years of travelling coast to coast, playing for hundreds of churches, and writing sixty new songs. God has filled the well with both your and our stories. We have listened and transcribed those moments into beautiful new musical acts of worship. And paring those sixty down to twelve was also helped by you. After each performance we took notes…

Did they love “My Soul Is Spoken For”?  
Were they singing along on “Crown Him Lord Of All”?  
Were they moved by the faith filled challenges in “Where Are You Hiding Today"?


We've partnered with 3-time GMA Producer of the Year, Andy Horrocks. Andy brings his extraordinary heart for worship and his remarkable abilities, as well as a band of world class Christian musicians. We're also thrilled to welcome the voices and creativity of some incredible guest artists to this album! (Stay tuned for announcements about all our guest artists!)

God willing, we are two months away from our CD release date! We're still in the thick of the project, and each day, the vision for the album becomes clearer and more exciting.

In the beginning, we asked you to join us by choosing the songs.

Now, we ask you to come on board again!




As you can imagine, making a CD is far beyond the skills and resources of any two people. We often joke that "It takes a village to raise an album" and it's so true!

We have an amazing team of highly acclaimed, uniquely creative, and deeply spiritual musicians on this project. The "skills" part is well in hand!

We would love to have your help with the "resources" end of things.

Every few years, we self-fund a new CD. Our budgets generally range from $15,000 to $20,000 per album. For that season, not only are we paying all that money out in just a few months, but we're also committing hundreds of hours of our own unpaid time to the process.

Imagine buying a new car every few summers, but in addition to paying for the car in cash, you also need to take the time to build the car yourself.

It's kind of like that.

"Wow," I can hear you say, "That's kind of crazy!"

We get that, and yet, every few years, we do it again.

Why?

Because we LOVE what we do and we LOVE you! We love that you continue to show up for our concerts and worship services. We love that you listen to our CDs and give them as gifts. We want to keep creating beautiful and inspiring music for you to enjoy. We are so passionate about these songs and the messages they share - God's unconditional love and grace, walking through this life of faith, and finding light shining in the darkest places.



We have such exciting plans for this CD. We have songs that we want to release to radio. We have songs that are perfect for you to use in your church on Sunday morning. And, of course, we want this to be an inspiring and uplifting album for your CD player and iPod!

Great things happen when we all work together, and this is no exception.


We want you to be part of this new project! 
We need your help to get this CD made, so we can get it into the hands of those who need it most.


Would you please consider supporting our CD through our new webpage?


We've securing most of the funding ourselves, 
but our goal is to raise $3000 to help bring us over the finish line.

In gratitude for your support, we have lots of wonderful gifts, including copies of the new CD, our own photo calendar, house concerts, and even an espresso maker!

Please visit https://infinitelymore.ca/new-cd to read about the project, 
and how you can help in this new ministry venture.


Thank you!! 



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Between Heaven & the Real World, by Steven Curtis Chapman, with Ken Abraham

When you admire a songwriter, you get both excited and apprehensive when you see their name on a book cover. You want to hear what they have to say, but can their style successfully make the leap from 3 minutes to 300 pages?

In the hands of a master storyteller like Steven Curtis Chapman, the answer is a resounding "yes!"

I've long been a fan of Steven's writing, and this book was an absolute pleasure to read. I actually read it while we were on our recent East Coast Tour. I devoured pages in hotel rooms, on ferries, and even in the midst of a freak snowstorm on the May 24th long weekend. Reading about Steven's start in the music business and his approach to songwriting seemed all the more powerful in the midst of our own music making.

But I knew the real story was coming.

In 2008, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman faced a parent's worst nightmare when one of their children accidentally caused the death of one of their other children. We were living in Nashville when this happened, and the whole city reeled from the shock of the tragedy. It was like it happened to a family member. Steven's music had blessed so many of us, and in that season, we all mourned for this beautiful family.

I can't imagine the strength it took to put these particular chapters into print, both for Steven and for the whole family. He tells the story with raw emotion and absolute transparency. I wept through these pages, reliving my own experiences with grief, and marvelling at this story of grace and forgiveness.

There are so many who will enjoy and value this book. It's for fans of Steven Curtis Chapman's music. It's for those who love autobiographies, and for those with an interest in songwriting and the music business. It's a story about falling in love, and building that love into a family. But it's also a testimony about facing the unimaginable, wrestling with the pain, and finding God in the midst of it all.


Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. Viewpoints are all my own.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Happened After The Crucifixion, and Why Does It Matter?

Yesterday, Gerald and I led the annual St. Catharines Good Friday Walk. Hundreds of people followed a large wooden cross down the street. At each of the six downtown churches, the minister read a piece of the Good Friday story from Luke. I gave a reflection, and we shared a song. 
It was an honour to lead our city in this beautiful event.

Today, I'm posting my final reflection of the walk: 

What happened after the crucifixion, and why does it matter?

The crowd gathers at our final stop on the annual St. Catharines Good Friday Walk...

What a change from just a few days ago, when Jesus entered Jerusalem to praises of "Hosanna." 
In just a few short hours: an arrest. A public trial. Flogging. A crucifixion. 
And now, Jesus is laid in a tomb. 

I often think about that time right after the crucifixion. How his friends and followers must have felt. How they gathered and what they talked about. How much they must have cried and just been shocked. Jesus had spoken about his death, but how much had they really understood, and how did it line up with the horrors they had just experienced? 

I can only imagine the flood of emotions they must have felt - 
grief, anger, fear, shock, disbelief, and maybe even betrayal. 
They had given up everything for this cause. 
They had left their families and their livelihoods. They’d trusted in Jesus. 
How could he bring them to this?

And haven’t we been there? Those moments of shock and despair and grief. Those moments when we turn to God and say, “Where are you? How can you allow this to happen? Why won’t you stop it? I trusted you. Why aren’t you here for me?”

But remember, it's only Friday. Sunday is coming...

God is still at work. On a supernatural level, he is still at work. 

It was true that first Good Friday. And it’s true today.

God is still at work. Fighting battles we cannot see or understand. He knows your pain, and cares about everything you’re going through. He will walk with you through it all. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will be your rock, your salvation, your peace. He never sleeps. He is relentlessly working all things together for the good of those who love him. 

And we can see all of this, at the foot of the cross.

Wait on the Lord. Be strong. Take heart.

Sunday is coming...