I love music. I especially love what we do when we gather to sing together as the church. This project has taken shape over the past few years as I've been reading, studying and thinking about worship, art and theology. I've loved digging into the church calendar and rediscovering how it tells the story of the good news. Join me on this journey as I explore the seasons of Advent, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday. I'm writing and recording seven songs reflecting these seven seasons of the church in an album I'm calling "Longings and Liturgies."
---March 11 Update---
We've hit our goal, but anything else will keep helping to make the recording awesome and cover my costs! There are two stretch goals
$8500 - Beautiful Wooden Bookmarks - Rachel (my awesome designer/wife) and I are going to design a sweet looking bookmark with a great quote or two on it, printed by our favourite Vancouver printer, Jukebox Print. They'll be printed on beautiful 18 ply walnut. EVERYONE who has ordered a physical reward will get one if we hit this goal!
$10000 - Amazing Magnets - My friends at Strong Like Bull magnets do some amazing tack magnets (bigger and stronger than the ones I already have) These things are tons of fun and super useful for holding up to 15 sheets of paper onto your fridge, hanging your key ring off to, and generally looking awesome. If we hit $10000, we'll get a batch of these bigger magnets with a sweet lasered on design, and EVERYONE who has ordered a physical copy of the album will get one.
Share this project with friends and family and help us hit these goals!
---March 4 Update---
Here's an acoustic look at the Ash Wednesday song I've been working on. Enjoy!
I'm finishing up my M.A. in Theological Studies with a concentration in Christianity and the Arts at Regent College. My final project includes the album and a fun paper that I'm writing about Prophetic Liturgy, drawing from the writings of James K.A. Smith, Walter Breugemmann and Jacques Ellul... no, seriously, I'm super excited about this paper and would love to tell you more if you're interested. The wonderful Carolyn Arends is helping me along the way as my technical supervisor for the creative and musical side of things. She's great!
The songs we sing as a church need to not only speak of God in ways that are true, but call out the things in our lives that are idols that we often turn to and worship. Singing together engages our minds, bodies and hearts to reorient them towards the true God. Out songs should capture all of these things and help us live the lives of worship we're called to in Romans 12. I want these songs to be theologically rich, singable and musically compelling.
Why "Longings and Liturgies"?
We are all created with longings that find expression in our liturgies. Liturgies can be any kind of habit or pattern in our lives that points us to a story and an ultimate good, which is what we long for. One of the best liturgies we can have is singing the story of God and finding our place in it as the people of God. Our liturgies both shape us and are an indication of what we love. Check out James Smith's Book "You Are What You Love" if you're interested in this concept of liturgies.
I would LOVE to turn this seven song project into a full length album that includes some of the other songs I've written in this season - not all related to the church calendar, but again songs to serve the church in our corporate singing and worship. This is where you come in...
First, I want to do this project well, which is why I'm heading back down to Nashville to work with my good friend (and producer) Ben Reynolds. Ben and I have worked together on a few projects, including my EP [Songs for Singing] (iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud) which we did in 2012. Albums cost money, and while I can cover some of the costs myself, it would be difficult for me to cover the whole thing in this current season.
I also believe that there's something really good about being commissioned and collaborating with a group of people when doing something creative. Many people I know think that we need more good songs to sing in the church, so here's your chance to help me create some.
Lastly, I really like Kickstarter. I like that they're a benefit corporation, and I like that they're connecting people with other people through creative projects.
As a thank-you for your patronage and support, I want to let you in on this project and get you a copy before everyone else. You'll get updates along the way, pictures and videos from the studio and even clips of the songs as they come together. When it's all done, you can get anything from digital downloads to signed hard copies, amazing magnets and beautiful prints (stay tuned for an image of those!) and even the chance to get me to cover whatever song you want and put it on youtube. Want something that you don't see? Send me a message and I'll see what I can do...
The goal is $7000, but this project will cost closer to twice that by the time I pay for proper producing, musician, studio time, mixing, mastering, printing, travel... and that's without paying myself anything. I've got a few ideas for stretch goals past the $7000 mark to make this project really awesome. Help spread the word and we'll see what kind of fun we can have!
What else can I do to help?
Maybe giving copious amounts of money just isn't in the cards for you, and that's okay! Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Pray. Seriously, songwriting and recording is hard work (not to mention the academic paper that goes along with this), and I want these to be songs that serve the church. Your prayers will sustain me - thanks!
- Spread the word. Share this on your social media, email your aunt, pass it along to your worship leader - any help in getting the word out is super helpful.
- Sing. Is it weird that I'm telling you to sing? Maybe, but check out Ephesians 5. As someone who has sung and worshipped with many people in many places, there's something wonderful about hearing a chorus of voices sing out the story of God. Engage in this important, embodied, transcendent thing we do and sing - especially in church.
- Support the arts. I believe that the arts are a great way to place ourselves in different stories that shape us. We should support those who are trying to tell stories through songs, paintings, books, film or any number of other avenues. Don't just consume art, but become a patron of it. Sure, listen to music on Spotify but also go see live music and buy a copy of the record even if you only stream it. Commission great art for your home from local artists instead of printing out that cool looking print you found on google. Read a book, watch a good documentary or visit your local gallery.
Want to know what it'll sound like? I'll be posting clips and demos throughout the project, but you can listen to my last EP [Songs for Singing] on Spotify, check out my youtube channel, and follow along on Facebook, twitter and instagram. Below is Cut Through The Noise from the last album, and it'll give you an idea of the production prowess that Ben is capable of.
That's a lot of writing - I'm impressed you've got this far! Feel free to get in touch with any questions, and thanks for supporting me in this journey!!
Risks and challenges
Because I'm not developing a product, there aren't huge risks here for this project. If I don't get funded, I'll have to figure something else out and will probably have to cut corners, which none of us want. Timing could take a bit longer, but I'm headed down to Nashville mid-March and am hopeful that we'll be able to move into mixing, mastering and printing by July at the latest.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)