I have fun re-structuring songs. My brain is like a sandbox of light bulbs, all playing together until two light up and say “hey, look how bright we are when we’re together!” I hear songs and wonder, “What if there were no other instruments? What if this song was gravely and dark instead of poppy and bright? What if a man sang this instead of a woman?”
I can’t help myself. I have an active imagination and a home studio.
I hope you enjoy consuming what I enjoyed creating.
I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay
This song has been rattling around in my head for years. I still don’t have all of the actual guitar runs down perfectly, and I substituted a few chords for the sake of simplicity, but it’s still a beautiful song to sing. I always loved the sentiment, and at one summer camp after a particularly touching campfire service, this song came to me in an important way. I just started telling God that I don’t ever want to get over the goodness of His grace and mercy and love, I don’t think I can possibly forget Him even in the worst of times, I’m just enamored by every facet of His nature… so what if this weren’t a love song but a Love song? What if I could re-write the original to tell God I’ll never get over Him?
Well, I stayed up until 1:00a that morning finding out what it would sound and feel like if the song could be repurposed. Here is the result.
All Around Me – Flyleaf
This was just a demo track for my current worship team. We wanted to do a cover of this song with a few minor tweaks:
1) Let’s not be too HEAVY a la Flyleaf
2) Let’s not be too DELICATE a la Crowder
3) The part about “my tongue (or any tongue) dancing behind my lips (or any lips) for You” is kind of an image I don’t want a bunch of teenagers dwelling on when they sing this song so uh now it’s “my words dancing upon my lips for You” and DON’T YOU START THE SLOPPY WET KISS ARGUMENT WITH ME EITHER DANGIT for some reason I prefer “sloppy wet kiss” in that song but come on, tongue play? Not in worship there will not be, not on my watch, y’all just simmer down now.
4) Criminey, it’s hard to make the slow bridge softer in an acoustic version of the song so pffft I cut it
Download/view the PDF I used here: [ All Around Me – G ]
The Awesome Anthem – Sekou Andrews
This inspirational poem hit me the right way at the right time. I was struggling with some life decisions, trying to figure out which way to go, getting frustrated because it seemed that everything I put my hands to fell apart like ancient pottery in the hands of a child. “But when the twenty-fourth hour seems to pop my day’s seams… that perfect person, at that perfect time, says that perfect thing, and I am handed an awesome little extra cup…”
I modified some of the middle bits to make it fit our teen camp in the summer of 2017 and delivered it to some kids who had no idea what to expect from a new character and voice I’ve been working on. Sekou, thank you for being that extra cup for me. I hope to do you justice.
The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi – Owen
This cover is 10 years old. Woo, longevity!
In college, I was inspired to read “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” the master work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A beautiful book, it is touted as the novel that created the literary genre of Magical Realism, i.e. magic in the real world, as opposed to Fantasy, where magic can happen in another place. It is the concept of Magical Realism that makes Harry Potter so popular, after all, and this book paved the way for such titles to be accepted.
Deep in the book, there is a character who comes to the magical village of Macondo. He is an Italian instrument-maker and musician, and his name is Pietro Crespi. He gives music lessons, makes all kinds of instruments, and particularly finds success selling music boxes that wind up and play beautiful little songs. He falls in love with the most beautiful girl in the village, and they have a short romance. Sadly, he is not the only young man she is seeing, and when he saves enough money to buy a ring and propose, she laughs in his face and says “what would make you think I would ever marry a man like you?”
His heart is crushed, his soul fire extinguished, and now the music boxes he makes are filled with sad songs, long laments with wistful but minor tones, and within a few pages, he commits suicide, and the joy of music is lost again to Macondo.
Two weeks after reading this book for the first time, I am taken to a show in Morgantown for an indie artist my friends were into (Rocky Votalato). One of the opening acts was this solo dude who goes by Owen. And he takes the stage, playing backing tracks from an old iPod, and by himself plays rhythm and lead, which is freaking impressive. But then he starts singing overtop of his double-play, and my jaw hit the table. This is the song he opened with, and I was in trance.
And sure enough, he croons about “could you love someone…” and describes this ‘not good enough’ existence, and comes to the tag and sings “as I lie awake, waiting for you to lay beside me, I can almost hear the sad waltzes of Pietro Crespi” and I lost my mind. A little-known character from a little-known book among an increasingly anti-intelligence culture in America, and this artist I’ve never heard of nails not only his name but the essence of the reference… I was stunned. I bought his album and have collected each album since. And I had to learn this song. I HAD to learn this song.
Filmed on an old FireWire400 iSight camera using the built-in mic on a Powerbook G4. That was my college writing machine, and I loved it. Enjoy.