Improving Musicianship | Inspiring Talent
The Passion of Playing
PRS Sweet 16 Guitar Amp Head
An Interview with Kevin Young
JAN/FEB 2011 Volume 16, Issue 1
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9 Bassic Communication Intro to Solo Bass Arranging (Part 3) 10 Drumming Dynamics A Good Teacher is Priceless 11 Vocal Coach’s Corner Eight Days A Week 12 Guitar Workshop New Year’s Resolutions? 14 Show Us Your Groove Giving 100% in Music, Ministry & Life 16 Product Review PRS Sweet 16 Guitar Amplifier Head 18 Product Review UAD-2 Quad DSP Accelerator Package 26 Selective Hearing John Francis Phil Keaggy Trio Third Day 34 Ask Joe 37 Guitar From A2Z Multi-task Harmonized Scales 38 Essential Music Theory for the Christian Musician 10 Steps to Effective Practicing 39 Do You Know What’s Wrong With Your Song? 46 CODA Community: Life Blood for the Songwriter
20 Ricky Skaggs Where Musical Tributaries Flow
WA. The patriarch of the family business at J&D Printing – John Vitzthum, was laid to rest at 79 years old. I first met John when I moved from Southern California to Puyallup, WA in 1989. I was out mowing a large lawn on the corner house that my first wife Teri and I had just moved into and my little lawn mower and I were getting quite a work out filling several yard bags full of cut grass. John lived kitty-corner from us across the street and he ambled over to me and said, “Would you like to borrow my mower? It will get the job done easier”. I reached out my hand and introduced myself to him. His wife Delores and John became good neighbors and friends. I have known them for over 20 years now. I soon found out he and several of his sons ran a print shop he had started in Tacoma years before. Little did I know then, that just a few years later, I would start this magazine and they would be my printer for 16 years and counting. The relationship a publisher has with his printer is vital. The way that J&D Printing has taken care of us, with two magazines, our Christian Musician Summit programs and our concert promotion materials has been stellar… coupled with their trademark generosity and integrity. They are a Christian based business that has gone the extra mile for us quite often. When Teri passed away due to pancreatic cancer Delores would show up at dinner time bringing over hot meals for my sons and I. After John’s funeral service I leaned over to Delores and told her, “I owe you a few hot meals”. Judy and I just live within two blocks of John and Delores’ house. They were married for an amazing 55 years and have been part of a local church family here in Puyallup for decades. I will always remember John for his helpful attitude and sense of humor. He had a great laugh that you could recognize anywhere. Judy knew John as a man with a quiet strength and a work ethic that reminded her of her own father Elmer (who went to be with the Lord over a year and a half ago to pancreatic cancer as well). Also both John and Elmer served in the Korean conflict and we give honor to them both for serving our country. When Delores was asked how she was holding up she answered, “The anchor holds”. What a wonderful statement of faith. So to John we would say, “Rest in peace friend – you will be missed here in Puyallup by all who knew you… but we look forward to a heavenly meeting on the other side. Oh yeah, and thanks for all of those Seattle Mariner’s tickets over the years!” Judy and I would request that you keep Delores, her family and my favorite printer in prayer. Thank you! In His Grip… Bruce & Judy
The Day the Press Machines Stood Still… For one day recently the presses stopped at my printer in Tacoma,
0 Disciple 3 An Interview with Kevin Young
42 Chrissy Shefts The Passion of Playing
4227 S. Meridian, Suite C PMB #275, Puyallup Washington 98373 Phone: 253.445.1973 Fax: 253.655.5001 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.christianmusician.com Editor & President: Bruce Adolph Vice President: Judy Adolph, [email protected]
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Intro to Solo Bass Arranging
Let’s get back to our introductory look at solo arranging for bass! I hope you’ve had a chance to immerse yourself in the past few installments of Bassic Communication as we’ve focused on the melody & harmony that will lay the groundwork for our pending arrangement of the traditional Christmas tune, Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria). We’ll be looking at the 2nd part of the chorus section this time. The last time we were together, we focused on the familiar, “Gloooooooo-ria” part, so today we’ll be covering the “in excelsis Deo” line that follows it. For those of you just joining us, by the way, you’ll find both the default applicable scale and the intervals found in the melody (relative to the underlying chord) in the text above the staff. If you have any questions about any of this, I encourage you to check out either the mode section from my 2nd instructional DVD or Level 1 of my online courses (or any other resource you can find that illuminates basic diatonic harmony in a practical and understandable way). Anyway, you’ll notice that the chord motion for the first measure is very “hymnesque” in it’s chord-change-every-note approach. Those of you who are starting to convulse just a bit (as you reflect on your years of reading down hymns on Sunday morning while attempting to make them groove) – please hang in there…it’s actually kinda cool this time…in a “traditional Christmas tune” way. :^) The 2nd measure resumes our earlier convention of changing chords on the ½-note. Those of you who’ve had some experience with arranging will probably notice that the G#- chord we’ll be utilizing on those first two beats is commonly an inversion of the I chord (E/G#) instead. That’s the beauty of arranging a piece – you can take some artistic
liberties if you are so inclined! I preferred the sound of G#- in this particular version…but if it irks you, feel free to rebel and create your own version using E/G#. :^) Get your head and ears around this and we’ll start working up our actual solo bass arrangement next time! (Adapted from curriculum in the Grooving for Heaven instructional DVDs) Norm Stockton is a bassist/clinician/solo artist based in Orange County, CA. He spends much of his time touring and recording with worship artist Lincoln Brewster, but his 2nd solo project (“Tea In The Typhoon”) has been receiving widespread acclaim from media around the world. Visit Norm at www.normstockton. com and on Facebook & Twitter for much bass-related info and fun. While there, be sure to check out his blog (The GrooveSpot) and register for his e-newsletter (the groove update) for tips, interviews, clinic invites, exclusive discount prices, and more.
Bassic Communication Intro to Solo Bass Arranging (Part 3)
Melodic/Harmonic Analysis: Chorus (2nd Section) "Angels We Have Heard On High" (Trad. Christmas Carol)
Chordal Walk-Up E Ionian, F# Dorian,
Arr. Norm Stockton
G# Phrygian "Root" B Mixolydian "5"
G# Phrygian, A Lydian "Roots"
© 2009 Stocktones Music
A Good Teacher is Priceless
The other day I was cleaning and I ran across a notebook filled with my old lesson plans from my days of instruction with Richard Wilson. I was amazed at some of the exercises he created for me. Richard had the ability to push me to places I couldn’t imagine. Finding a teacher that opens you up to new ideas, encourages you and helps guide you to new musical frontiers is the best way to improve quickly. Richard did all of that for me. I think it is safe to say I would not be a professional drummer if it were not for his guidance. He changed the way I played drums and the way I thought musically. There is so much we can learn these days just using the internet but one on one in-
struction is priceless. I want to encourage you all to find that perfect teacher and continue to keep growing and learning no matter what your age or ability. Below are a few of the exercises Richard produced for me. Each lesson plan was hand written, created on the spot and always very different from the last. He had the ability to find was to challenge me over and over again. I hope you enjoy this small sample of the hundreds of exercises I have from old lessons. I hope to someday get them all neatly notated like these. Richard passed away years back but what he taught me will always stay with me. Blessings, David
David currently tours with Fernando Ortega and has worked with Sara Groves, Bebo Norman, Crystal Lewis, Cheri Keaggy, Tommy Walker, Paul Baloche among others. He has played for Billy and Franklin Graham Crusades, Harvest Crusades, Maranatha Worship Leader Workshops and for over 2 years he was the house drummer for the Los Angeles production of The Lion King. His home church is Plymouth Church in Whittier, California. www. DaveOwensDrums.com
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Awhile back I read Michael Gladwell’s book entitled Outliers. It was a fascinating read and well worth my time and money. One of its many stories discussed the Beatles performing experiences while based in Hamburg, Germany. This intriguing story got me thinking about vocal performance and what is required to really get good at it. During the time that I pondered the performance question, a young lady came into my teaching studio that simply wanted to get better as a singer. We worked together a few weeks when she came in and informed me that she was entering a singing contest. We prepared a piece of music, worked on it, and decided to go with it. When she arrived at the contest site, she promptly froze up. She started to weep and could not enter the building. It wasn’t going to happen. But then she saw one of her classmates go in and that caused a change of thought. This charged her competitive juices and she dried up the tears, entered the building, sang her song, and finished third; two places in front of her classmate. What happened? Why the melt down? There was nothing in the building that was going to hurt her. I doubt that there were any of the judges who wanted her to sing terribly and fail. So what was it? Her brain started to go way off track and created thoughts that were terrifying and untrue. I wonder if we had taken her pulse if it would of have been in the plus 150 range. Who knows? What the student needed and received was a stimulus that directed her thoughts to the task at hand and that was seeing her classmate walking in. Sometimes it doesn’t take much. After this episode, the student was in several more contests and didn’t place in any of them. She was taking it in stride but was somewhat frustrated and couldn’t communicate what was happening very well. Well, this summer she invited me to observe her in another one of her contests. Yeah, she does a bunch of them. I decided to go and observe her in this competitive environment. As soon as she took the stage it was absolutely obvious what was happening. She
Eight Days A Week
wasn’t concentrating! Her eyes told the whole story. She was looking up, down, left, right, zig-zagging and examining the ceiling. She did everything but concentrate and focus on her vocal performance. She didn’t win, again. At the next lesson we went to work on this issue. The first thing we did was focus her eyes on a single point as she sang. That was very difficult but when I felt she could control her eyes a bit, we moved to three points, left, center, and right. That was not easy for her to do either. But she finally got things under control, and promptly entered another singing contest. She did not win that one either. Was she failing? Hardly. She has kept at it and just a few weeks ago performed at her schools talent show and won it as a freshman. Then three weeks later, she auditioned and got the lead role in the school musical. She didn’t quit but she did add some performance practice to her schedule. Successful vocal performance rests primarily on how singers think. Think correctly and the appropriate action will result. You must think well during the actual singing performance. Proper thinking during a vocal performance is a very real skill. And keep in mind that vocal technique and performance are not two separate things. They exist together. Performance is perhaps one of the few times in a person’s life that they are totally in the moment. It is now! That is why some of my collegiate singers, after their junior and senior recitals, come up to me and exclaim, “It seemed to go by in an instant.” In their mind, maybe, but not the audience’s. They were in the present, the now! It was an intense time in their life. The only reason a person sings is to communicate the meaning of the song. Singers must trust their vocal training and let it take over during the performance, so they can apply all of their mental energy to communicate the essence or meaning of the song.
All singers crave that feeling and want it for every song they sing. Achieving this maximum successful performance skill is not without risk. Getting up on the stage itself is a risk. But that is when people perform. They have a singing ability, work hard at it, and want to unleash its fury. This is why singers must sing. They need to find out how much they can achieve through communicating emotion with an audience. To discuss the Beatles again consider that in Germany they performed two hundred seventy six times in a year and a half. When they performed it was for eight hours at a session doing cover tunes, jazz and many other styles. Most bands today don’t perform that many hours in a career let alone with multiple styles. Are you like my student, ready to work harder, I mean much harder? Are you ready to do eight hour gigs like the Beatles? What do you want to attain in the area of vocal performance? I’ll leave it up to you and the Lord. Now go sing well! Roger Beale is one of the nation’s foremost vocal coaches. His teaching and coaching facility, The Voice House, is involved in the management and care of the professional voice. Many of his students have won prestigious vocal competitions and scholarships. In addition, he has worked with Grammy and Dove award winners and nominees. He also offers vocal clinics and seminars, as well as assistance in recording sessions. Roger is founder and host of the Christian Singers Workshop (www.christiansingersworkshop. com), dedicated to the teaching of contemporary and commercial vocal techniques. Roger can be contacted at: [email protected]
, web site: www.thevoicehouse.com.
New Year’s Resolutions?
I’m not sure exactly why it is that we pick January as the prescribed time to reevaluate our lives and make ‘new year’s’ resolutions. The truth is that we should continually be examining ourselves, making adjustments and setting goals. If we only pick one goal and make one resolution per year, we’re not going to grow or change very much, are we? Also, by picking one BIG goal for the year, we often set ourselves up for failure. By setting smaller goals more often, we are a lot more likely to reach our goals. We have to first of all realize that we are a fallen people in need of a lot of change. And the changes we need the most don’t have much to do with losing weight (although that is a goal of mine this year) or with improving our financial status (though most of us could certainly use a little of that, considering our recent economic state). The truth is that our most significant voids often lie in the areas of the need for truth and goodness and love and forgiveness. We desperately need all these things that only God can provide. Even the secular idea of ‘essential needs’ (food, water, shelter, etc.) are ultimately provided by God. In order to establish worthy goals and to attain them, we must rely on God for the very inspiration and the strength it takes to accomplish them. In the end, all our forward strides originate and are granted by Him and, hopefully, come to glorify Him. All the disciplines of art (music, theater, dance, painting, and many more) are examples of creativity and energy. They all reflect the artist’s view of life - and they are meant for the purpose of sharing with others. As artists in God’s kingdom, I believe we are called to reflect Him to the world. If you think of God as the ultimate Creator and Artist, our
interest in art and our abilities to create it are like little embedded pieces of God Himself inside of us. And if He truly lives in our hearts, our art will tend to be a lot like His art. Look at His creations - the beauty of nature, the brilliant order of things, the miracle of life, the range and depth of emotions, the relationship models He has shown us of love and peace and kindness. God’s art reflects who God is. These very attributes will show up in our art too if we are following Him. And if our art points to and offers worship to Him, the Word says that he actually comes and ‘inhabits our praise.’ He lives in our worship! This gift we have as artists cannot be taken for granted. It needs to be used to its full potential, which I think pleases God. A lot. There is one rub to this inspirational pep-talk though, and that is that we are in charge of actually developing the talents that God gives us. In order to sing or play music well, as in any other art form, we must study and learn and practice and develop skills. In music, we first need to sense pitch and time and form. We then need to understand the theory behind all of it, the hows and whys of music, so we can continue to grow. We have to practice scales and build chords and develop coordination. And, as much as we fight against it, we need to also be able to read music (often in two or three forms). We need to develop our ability to create music beyond just singing or playing a song. We should also experiment with writing and arranging music. We should experience a wide variety of musical styles and become proficient at all of them. We need to grow in ability, continuing to beef up our ‘chops’ and develop our musical tastes for as long as we live, never being satisfied that we’re ‘good enough.’ Our sacrifices are actually never ‘good
enough’ for God anyway. That’s why He sent Jesus. Truly, we’re fortunate that He puts up with us at all. Certainly, the least we can do is offer Him the best sacrifices we can. The beauty is that the more we put into our art and the less selfish we are with it, the more our attitudes will line up with God’s and the happier we become at being who we are and doing what we do. My personal goal this year, and I hope you’ll make it yours too, is to stamp out mediocrity in music, most especially church music. God deserves more. Meditate on it. Really listen to what you’re hearing at church. Learn to loathe the mundane and yearn for something more, something better. Search high and low for song lyrics that have something to say. Look for melodies and chords and rhythms that help communicate those lyrics with passion. Can’t find them? Look harder - or write your own songs. Study to improve on your particular instrument and in your particular group role. Get out a pad and pencil and write down an outline as to what you can do to get better. Start doing it today. Be an inspiration to others, the spark that makes your entire worship community glow. Bring life to the music at church so that all can be inspired. Praise the Lord with all you’ve got! Have you seen John’s free ‘Praise Guitar Lessons’ online yet? Go to CCLI TV and start the weekly lessons today. And make sure to look over John’s calendar at www. praiseguitar.com to find an event near you where you can hear him live.
ith our new free iPad app, “front-of-house” can be anywhere in your church! Up to ten praise band musicians can control their own monitor mixes1. Introducing StudioLive Remote, our free iPad app that works with any PreSonus digital mixer2. It gives you hands-on control of channel levels, mutes, panning, EQ and more for multiple channels at once. Click for a closeup Fat Channel view. Tweak
1 The 24.4.2 provides ten aux mixes; the 16.4.2 give you six. 2 Requires a laptop with wireless, running Virtual StudioLive (VSL), and connected to the StudioLive via FireWire. ©2011 PreSonus Audio Electronics, all rights reserved. StudioLive is a trademark of PreSonus Audio Electronics. Studio One is a trademark of PreSonus Software, Ltd. iPad is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
monitor mix levels, panning and processing. Adjust the graphic EQs, well…graphically. Combine StudioLive Remote with Capture (2-click multitrack recording program), VSL, plus Studio One Artist DAW, and your church has the most versatile, affordable live mixing/recording solution ever. Get the whole story on our web site. And then get a StudioLive.
StudioLive Remote. Available January
2011 at the Apple App Store.
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Giving 100% in Music, Ministry & Life
It’s a blessing to all when God allows us to shift our passion from one thing to another. Matt & Deanna Dolan do it beautifully! Strong marriage, sold out to Christ, diligent in ministry and exceptional musicians. They do everything with everything they have…full of passion, excellence and love. Meet my friends… I first met Deanna back in the Summer of 2002 while shopping for an apartment in Franklin, TN. She was a leasing agent while at the same time, a successful and incredible Singer/Songwriter pursuing a record deal and rubbing shoulders with musical giants. I was a year and a half into my move to Nashville and had finally made it to the “Big Time” as a drummer. About a month earlier, I had gone on my first cattle call audition for a prominent Country Artist and got the call to be the drummer. So, I finally had enough money to move to a nicer part of town and luckily Deanna was my leasing agent. So, why, after 3 years of traveling the world for free making a great living playing drums in front of 50,000 people did I decide to come off the road? I had spent my entire life up to this point pouring 100% into my art to achieve this and now after only 3 years I was leaving? Being a road musician is a lot of fun but at the same time it is extremely difficult for a Christian. We would play 100 shows per year but once you factor in travel days on a bus, we were gone over 200 days out of the year. This is not a good recipe for cultivating a relationship not to mention the many temptations you’re faced with daily. I was on a bus with 13 other personalities who didn’t really have my best interest in mind and it became less fun as time went. Not only were Deanna and I fighting over the phone about stuff that’s going on in the background but also I was becoming less a part of the band because I was separating myself from bus life. A change had to happen if I wanted to honor my future wife but more importantly God because up to this point I had only given 100% to my art. At the same time, Deanna was getting a chance to see behind the curtain of the music industry and beginning to second-guess her place in it. Was this really what she wanted because she wasn’t liking what she saw and realizing it wasn’t as glamorous as she thought. So I’m on the bus doing a study by Henry Blackaby called, “Knowing and Doing the Will of God”, because I was trying to figure out if I was crazy for thinking about leaving. I had spent most of my life pouring into my art to get to where I was and now I’m thinking of leaving. I have a degree but my whole life had been music. I’m about to get married and need to make a living but I’m 29 and can’t afford to start over and then I read about the call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-5… “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’ What if Abram didn’t take that next step of faith? Leave your Country? Leave everything for what? You see, God will reveal the rest of the story as soon as we make the initial faith based decision to follow his instructions. I knew right then and there that I needed to leave this chapter in life and move to the next, whatever that was…so I quit the road. What you don’t know up until now is that Deanna was a Muslim. I wish I could tell you her whole testimony, but long story short, through the next year, she would convert to Christianity and her Palestinian Father would disown the family because of it. After her conversion, her passion would lead her away from the music industry and full on into a ministry called MERGE that reaches out to Arab refugees here in Tennessee. It is designed to be the hands and feet of Christ to Muslims and to love them where they are, making sure they have the essentials in life such as toilet paper, ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, life skills and a friend. Through this process the fruit of her labor has seen other Muslims coming to Christ and being discipled to be faithful followers of Jesus. At the same time, I currently work at the same church using my college degree to head up the graphic design/video department. We are also are heavily active on the worship team. The interesting thing about all of this is that God has given us all the desires of our heart. I literally, at one time or another, have wanted to do everything that I’ve done these last 35 years. I used to think that when God said that He would give me the desires of my heart, that meant I would be touring the world at the top of the musical ladder, but He never says how long those desires will last until he has something new for us. I thought my musical journey was done and it would now be my hobby. But, since then, Deanna
and I have had the opportunity to travel to Turkey, Syria and Egypt and lead worship at Arab Christian Youth conferences. It’s better than we could have ever dreamed and we get to do it together. So how do we put 100% into our Marriage, Ministry and Musicianship? We do it because we love to and because we are called to. We are blessed to get to spend a lot of time doing the same activities together but we make it a point to carve out quality time throughout the week. We have to. Ministry is a constant everyday thing whether it’s shopping for groceries or worshipping on Sunday morning and the more you are in the Word, praying and seeking God, the easier it is. Finally, Music is just part of our lives. I love playing drums and Deanna loves singing. And we do it more passionately now than ever because there is purpose behind it. We are worshipping God, our creator! How can we not put 100% into practicing, rehearsing and worshipping on Sunday mornings! This was and is our journey. What we have learned so far is that we serve a God that does things above and beyond what we expect. He takes us on paths that we don’t plan out but they turn out to be much better than anything we could plan ourselves. Following God 100% is more than worth it and He deserves it all. We hope that you will be encouraged to follow Him 100% in your ministry, marriage and worship. Deanna and I both at one time imagined we would be traveling the world playing and singing. We never knew that it would be together and to serve the true and living God. He works the desires of our hearts into a beautiful work of art. The key is aligning our desires to His will. Yes sometimes it is a sacrifice but a sacrifice that we are happy to make. He will not give you more than you can handle and we trust that. Taking leaps of faith and following Him is a great adventure. Its how we always want to live. It leaves us relying on Him fully to accomplish all that He has called us to. God calls us to love. Love him and love people. So in ministry, worship and marriage if you are going forth in “love” that is giving one hundred percent. To Him be the glory! Matt is currently on staff as the Graphic Designer and Videographer at Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN. In addition he serves on the worship team and has had the privilege to perform around the world with various Country and Christian artists. Deanna is currently the director of the MERGE (Meeting and Encouraging Refugees through Guidance and Empowerment) ministry at Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN. She also has the privilege of serving on the worship team, leading worship for women’s ministry and has traveled throughout the world leading people into worship. You can reach the Dolan’s at: [email protected]
gracechapel.net & [email protected]
EXPERIENCE MORE .: CONNECTION :.
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PRS Sweet 16 Guitar Amp Head by Joe Riggio
Paul Reed Smith is one of the few guitar companies to successfully compete for fame, among the top manufacturers in the United States. A timeless and high quality product has made them a common name in a market that is heavily dominated by traditionally recognizable brands. After 25 years in the industry PRS has, only recently, introduced a line of amplifiers. PRS chose amp builder/ designer Doug Sewell, whose circuits are well known for their simplicity and purity, to create their long awaited line of tube amps, manufactured in their Stevensville, Maryland plant. The Sweet 16 model is one of the latest in the line and this month I had a chance to spend some quality time with one. Features/Layout The Sweet 16 is a 16 watt, all-tube amp, powered by a pair of 6V6 output tubes, in the power section. These tubes have recently made a come-back after a long run of lowpowered amps featuring EL84s have been made popular since the late 80’s. They are the power tube utilized in some classic circuits, such as Fender’s tweed Deluxe, from the 1950’s, as well as the Deluxe Reverb model. This is royal heritage and it’s no wonder that companies have been looking to them, lately. The preamp section is all tube, as well and utilizes two 12AX7 and two 12AT7 tubes. The control layout is quite simple, but includes all that you need to dial in the type of tone you’re looking for, including; VOLUME, MASTER VOLUME, TREBLE/MIDDLE/BASS, REVERB and a mini BRIGHT switch. The rear panel includes 2 speaker jacks and a 3-position speaker impedance switch. Out Of The Box I thought it might be fun to put this amp to the test, on the stage, right from the getgo. I was scheduled on the worship team for 3 services, the following weekend, so I left the amp sealed in the box, until then. I arrived 5 minutes before rehearsal and opened the box for the first time, right there on the stage and plugged it in place of my usual 18 watt head, into a 2x12 cabinet with one Celestion G12H30 and one Celestion Alnico Blue. Daring, I know, but I thought this would be a great way to test how intuitive the amp might be. I use a pedal board that includes three different
tones I was able to create, using all types of guitars and pickups. Driving the amp into distortion produced a very musical overdrive at all Master Volume settings. PRS calls this their Transparent Master Volume and I must agree that the tones remain full sounding, with very natural-sounding compression, even at lower settings. Clean tones are also pleasing, with the Master Volume set high and the Volume set lower. This amp has just the right amount of power for a quiet stage volume, but still allows the amp to breathe, without over-powering the stage. The reverb sound really shines when the amp is set clean and responds sweetly to the player’s touch. All three tone controls produced adjustments that I wanted to hear and were very well suited to the guitars voice. The controls also “stay put” and are not easily moved, if slightly bumped. Under The Hood A look into the aluminum chassis was easily accessed by sliding it out of the back side of the meticulously-covered, solid-wood cabinet. The circuit is comprised of a combination of both printed circuit board and point-to-point wiring and is very cleanly laid out. This is a huge plus when it comes time to service or repair the amp. All of the tubes were of high quality and even included two USA-made vintage 12AT7’s, impressive! Wrap It Up… The Sweet 16 produces nothing but sweet tube guitar tones with very musical overdrive and clean voices. It is not a high-gain amp, but works very well with pedals that are. It is priced well into the hand-made-in-theUSA category, but is not as spendy as some. I would be very pleased to call one my own. Retail Price: $1,999 http://www.prsguitars.com/sweet16/index.html
overdrive/distortion pedals, so I set the controls where I would normally set them for a fairly clean sound, from the amp. The result was fantastic and I never once re-tweaked anything on the amp. The sound crew was sure to tell me how much they loved the tone from the front of house. That’s always a good sign. Back At The Ranch At home I was able to get more acquainted with the different settings and capabilities of the amp. I was very pleased with all of the
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It’s a given… We use computers to record our songs. The quality of what we can create in our home studios is almost limitless these days. So if you want to get the most out of your studio recordings please read on! This month I’m reviewing the UAD-2 Quad DSP Pcie card. This is a “powered” plugin card you install into your computer’s Pcie slot that allows you to use true studio quality vintage Compressors, EQ’s, Reverbs, and more without slowing down your computer. With this card you’re able take your recordings up to the next level. No matter what instrument you play, “Pro” gear makes a huge difference in your sound. It’s the same with recordings. Professional studios invest tens of thousands to buy the right pieces of vintage gear that bring recordings to life. Thanks to UAD, you can get the great sound that pro gear brings into your computer for a fraction of the price. The UAD-2 is compatible with Nuendo, Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools and several other DAWS. It supports VST, AU & RTAS. Its compatible with Mac OSX Tiger & Leopard and also Windows XP/ Vista /7. A little History: Universal Audio was founded in the 50’s by electronics guru Bill Putnam Sr. He was the creator of several must-have Classic compressors, including the LA-2A, LA3-A, the amazing 1176, and the UA 610 Preamplifier. UAD is the digital side of the company. It’s very likely any CD you listen to has been recorded or mixed with one of his company’s analog or digital plug-in products. That amazing “in your face” vocal, pumping
kick and snare, or tracks that sound huge, all benefit from pro signal processing. The UAD-2 Quad is the company’s flagship DSP card with four Analog Devices SHARC floating-point processors. Each
Continued on page 33.
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By Bruce Adolph
2011 marks Ricky’s 40th year as a professional musician, and this fourteen-time Grammy Award winner continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. Known affectionately today as bluegrass music’s official ambassador he has released a new project that stretches the musical boundaries and then some. When we heard that he had teamed up with one of our favorite songwriter/guitarists/producers – Gordon Kennedy – for this new project - we knew it was time to talk with Ricky.
Christian Musician: Your new album “Mosaic” has such a fresh sound to it. There is a lot of different instrumentation and musical styles to it. Would you call it a “New Grass” record? Ricky Skaggs: Well, I wouldn’t quite say it is New Grass; it is definitely a new sound. I heard a lot of these demos come in from Gordon Kennedy and his writing team and I just knew it was something different you know?
I started out playing bluegrass in the 1950’s really (my dad bought me my first mandolin when I was 5 years old) so in 1959 I was all set to play mandolin. My bluegrass roots really go deep with me as It was quite a departure for me, a foundational start. Really, all of but it was something that I felt like the music I’ve ever done has been I really wanted to jump out of the built on top of that. boat into you know? It was a little nerving not really knowing how Then if I jet propel up into the people would take it… people that future, I guess it was in the late had bought my bluegrass stuff for 1970’s that I had met Emmy Lou Harris up in Washington, D.C. years. And the way the lyrics were written was an incredible way to express the Word of God scripturally. And to get it out there, in a way to people, that didn’t offend.
And Linda Ronstandt and people like that, and they really loved the fact that I had this tremendous history (almost a walking Webster’s Dictionary) for bluegrass, old time mountain music and gospel songs and that kind of stuff. Emmy Lou asked me to be part of her band and in 1978 I joined and was with her up until August of 1980. And then I came to Nashville with the idea of trying to blend bluegrass and old time mountain music with modern country music. Not modern music like Ronnie Milsap or Alabama and groups like that were doing. But I wanted to try to bring a traditional country sound of the 60’s and late 70’s back into the mainstream of music and have that bluegrass mixture there, because I knew there was a sound of bluegrass music that people loved. I mean commercials were using banjos, fiddles and mandolins to get people’s attention, so I knew those instruments were “attention getters.”
was a really great thing for me to do because it allowed me to record the kind of music that I wanted to record without having to argue with 20 people sitting around a boardroom table. They would be telling me why bluegrass won’t sell. (Laughing) They would tell me why I couldn’t do a gospel record, so with my own label now I could call all my own shots. I can now argue with myself if I want to. (Laughing) So all that to answer your question in that this record “Mosaic” is kind of a musical mosaic as well as the title of the record. It is a little bit of old bluegrass, it is a little bit of the old sounds that I grew up with in Appalachia (in Eastern Kentucky) but it is also a fresh new kind of wind that is blowing in as well. It is a little bit of everything I’ve ever done.
CM: It is like a lot of cultures mixing, from electric guitars to traditional instruments… I think it I really had a lot of success in is great music. the 1980’s and early 90’s with country music. Now Bill Monroe RS: I’m glad you like it. We have had passed away in 1996 and my yet to find one negative review. father passed away the same year It’s amazing. I look for it. I want to and I had this “deep calling unto know what people don’t like about deep” to come back to my roots. it, you know. Not that I’m going to Mac McAnally and I had recorded change anything about it because one of his tunes a few years before that it is too late. But NPR, the that called “Simple Life” and that New York Times, the Wall Street song just really resonated in my Journal, people out there that heart - because it was about living would not normally give a gospel the simple life and condensing record or a Christian record a things down. So I got rid little nod, have just said glowing of a tractor-trailer and things about this record. The fact two other tour buses (I that the mainstream marketplace kept one bus). I had has really embraced it is one of 25 people on payroll the most amazing things about this and I really felt like project. it was a call from CM: Now tell us how it all got the Lord to go back started. When did you first meet and simplify my Gordon Kennedy and how did this life musically and project come about? also structurally with my business RS: I met Gordon’s dad back in o r g a n i z a t i o n . the early 80’s when I first came to So all of that Nashville. I did some recording happened in sessions for him for Reba McEntire 1995 and and sang some harmony for him 1996 and and maybe played some mandolin in 1997 and fiddle on other projects for I started him. But I soon got so busy trying S k a g g s to be a session musician and have F a m i l y a career as well… then my session Records playing dried up as I got busier w h i c h playing on my own records. I
didn’t meet Gordon until the Bruce Hornsby record that Bruce and I did together. Gordon wrote a song and turned it in to us called “Come on Out With Your Hands Up.” It was a song that he and Phil Madeira had wrote (those two also wrote “Can’t Shake Jesus” on the “Mosaic” record). Bruce loved the song Gordon had turned in and asked him to come in the studio and record the Dobro guitar part for it and then Gordon showed up to play the CMT “Crossroads” Television program that Bruce and I did for that record. That is what started our relationship. A couple of our engineers (Lee and Brent) had known Gordon for years as well as his father and brothers and Gordon had started sending Lee some demos for me to listen to. Lee would listen to them and say back to Gordon, “Well, I don’t think Ricky is going to like that, he might like this one a little bit”. So Lee finally ended up sending me everything Gordon was giving him and when I listened to them, I just wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do these songs. But as I heard them I said, “Man, I love these tunes and I sure would like to have a chance to record them… just to see if I could sing them”. So our relationship started not that long ago but I’m telling you, he feels like an old pair of shoes. He is just that constant, good brother that loves to laugh, to have fun and that loves Jesus. I’m telling you. We have the greatest relationship; we love each other. You know Gordon and I were talking about this the other day. If we had to give up our friendship or give up this record (as much as we love “Mosaic”) we both agreed that we’d rather give up the music than our friendship. This was the greatest part of this whole journey… seeing our friendship grow. CM: That’s terrific. Gordon has been helping Christian artists for so many years it’s not funny. He is a pillar in that community. Switching gears here a bit… tell us about the song you mentioned - “Can’t Shake Jesus”? RS: The way the story goes is that Gordon was sitting down one morning to write with Phil Madeira and they had piddled around the
is incredible. CM: Yes, I watched you playing it on a YouTube clip and it doesn’t beat you over the head but it delivers Jesus to you. Can you tell us about both the vintage gear and the newer instruments you used in recording Mosaic? RS: Well, I’m using two or three new Paul Reed Smith acoustic guitars that we really love a lot. These are unbelievably clear sounding guitars. I started working with Paul about 5 years ago on this acoustic guitar idea. I hopped on board and said that I would be glad to lend my expertise… we need to come up with something that looks great, plays great and sounds great. That was the criteria. And these Paul Reed Smith acoustic guitars turned out great. Even the pick-up systems we are really happy with. For vintage stuff, Gordon played some old Gibson acoustic guitars (J45’s & J50’s), I played a bouzouki (which is a Greek instrument that has kind of been adopted now for Celtic music) and I played lots of different mandolins. A long hole
photo by Chris Waits
whole morning and not really had written much so they were getting ready to go to lunch. Phil had mentioned a relationship that this girl he knew had. She was married to a guy who had this really “religious” thing on him and he would take the scriptures and just wear her out and beat her down emotionally with them. If she didn’t come up to his standards, then he would really let her have it using scriptures. This put a bad taste in her mouth about anything to do with the Lord or church or anything like that. She was raised a Christian and had roots but this guy had soured her stomach so much that she started looking at New Age, Hinduism, Buddhism and this, that and the other. And while Phil was relating this to Gordon he said, “You know, at the end of the day… she just couldn’t shake Jesus”. And that one phrase that Phil said, was where the song was born. Gordon being the tunesmith that he is said, “Alright, we are going to lunch and when we come back that is what we are going to write”. I guess that was probably the shortest lunch they ever had. (Laughing). And you know, we have had more positive response on that song than anything else on the record. I have been doing that song just with an acoustic guitar as an encore and man, it is such a powerful lyric… and really it is a great track on the record but when you do it with just an acoustic guitar, people are forced to have to listen to just the lyrics… and it
old 1920’s Gibson A5 mandolin that was part of my life for about 20 years (I had it back when I was with Emmy Lou Harris). The guy who owned it wouldn’t sell it to me and I said, “Please sell me this mandolin.” And he would say, “No, just keep it and play it as much as you want to.” And what was happening was I was building up a pedigree from all of the albums that I was using it on (I had played it on 25 or 30 records). And one day I was in Knoxville where the gentleman who owned it lived and he said, “I’d like to get my mandolin back from you.” And I said, “Oh man no, please sell me this mandolin.” And he replied, “No, I want to give it to my grandson, he really wants a mandolin.” And I could just see the grandson dragging this mandolin across the road and I was imagining all of these nightmare situations (laughing). I had looked for years to try and find a mandolin as sweet as this one you know, and I just couldn’t. But the owner wanted it back and I had to give it to him. Now about 8 years later he sells this mandolin to a guy in Georgia and that guy calls another guy in Georgia who is a friend of mine and says, “Hey, I just bought Ricky Skaggs old A style mandolin”. My friend in Georgia knew the story and knew my heartbreak over losing it. So he told the guy (who was a guitar dealer) if you ever decide to sell it, I will buy it from you. The guy replied, “Naw, I think I’ll just keep it for a while.” Well, two weeks later the guy calls up and says, “Hey, I need a little cash so I’m willing to sell that mandolin.” My buddy bought it and called me up and said, “You are not going to believe what I am sitting here holding.” When he told me I couldn’t believe it. He said, “I had to pay more than what it was worth because it was your old mandolin. If you want it back, you can pay exactly what I paid for it.” I said, “I do want it back and I don’t care what you paid for it (it was like $5,000.00 or so). I’ll pay it!” I was so
Ricky with Gordon Kennedy
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I think that they certainly can adopt that lifestyle. That is one thing that the world does really good that the church does need to be doing. We have seen that and we have other kids that we pour into here in Nashville. We are involved with a pretty intense 90-day program for youth that includes bible study and street ministry along with feeding the poor. Many of the kids in this program are interested in music and they want to take music out to the marketplace and use it as a tool to minister and evangelize with. So I do believe that the Levitical community of the church many times doesn’t see how important that ministry is. There are some colleges like Liberty University, that have a worship school now. There are a lot of people pursuing studying to be worship leaders. I’m on the board there and I keep saying to them, “Look, we don’t need to just stop with the church, that is a good place for kids to go and get some experience but God wants to get these kids out of the church and into the streets.” We have to get the “salt out of the shaker.” We have got to get the church out there in the marketplace where people are… where people are dying and going to hell everyday and that need a Savior! It is one thing to minister inside the church building where everything is comfy-cozy but it is something else to go to a casino or a bluegrass festival or out in the marketplace somewhere and live as one who loves Jesus… and be able to withstand out there. It is something that we need to be about, in training the next generation… I totally agree. CM: For my last question I went to my FaceBook friends and I asked them what question would they want to ask Ricky Skaggs. Here is the one I selected. If you were down to your last song… what song would it be? RS: “Oh, how I love Jesus… Oh, how I love Jesus… Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”
photo by Alexis Somers
thankful to God for it coming back and it arrived right before I started making “Mosaic”. I just felt like it was a God thing and I used that mandolin a lot on the record. We also used a mandocello and an 8-string octave mandolin. We used a bunch of old Martin guitars and some old Bourgeois guitars. I used a Jerry Jones Dan-electro type 6-string baritone electric guitar that one of my kids had bought me for Christmas last year. Gordon had a very old Fender amp with tremolo that I really loved that hadn’t been made in 40 years and I told him I would really like to get me one of those. The next day – honest to God – Steve Wariner calls to talk with Gordon and mentions that his son had an old Fender amp he wants to sell and it was the exact same amp that Gordon had. We bought it and used it on the record too!
CM: Wow! I could talk guitars all day. I noticed that your daughter Molly sings on the record. When I first heard it I actually thought it was Alison Krauss, her voice sounded so pure.
RS: She knocked it out of the park! She is such an incredible singer and she has such an incredible relationship with Jesus. Her spiritual maturity and singing voice made it a great performance on “I’m Awake Now”. Again it is amazing to see how the mainstream marketplace has embraced this album. This record isn’t “holding people over hell with a rotten stick” trying to get them into the kingdom you know, by using this fear thing. It is music that doesn’t condemn, but it confronts. The lyrics are not judgmental. I wanted to introduce Molly on this record to the mainstream. The demo that Gordon had sent had a female voice on it and as soon as I heard I had another incredible mandolin it I said, “Molly has to sing this!” nick named “PeeWee” that was used on several of the songs that CM: Right on. With the few minutes I grew up listening to on the radio we have left I wanted to comment make it’s way to me and I just on an observation of the bluegrass traded for a 1855 Martin guitar community. I see that they are very (pre-Civil War) that is a “1” size serious about raising their children – which is smaller than an ought. on musical instruments. They take So this has been a season where their kids to bluegrass camps the Lord has blessed me. I love for musicianship training and to the sound of small body guitars. I different festivals and events. I have always used big rich, robust think the modern church can learn sounding guitars but I also like the a lot from this practice of investing small ones too. My Martin 00-42 in the next generation musically. is on the cover of Mosaic and it is What are your thoughts on that? just a beautiful and rich sounding RS: Well I really think that they (the little guitar. church) do have a lot to learn here.
visit Ricky Skaggs online: www.rickyskaggs.com
visit us a t Winter NAMM B ooth #56 98
by Shawn McLaughlin
The Better Angels John Francis Dualtone Records “Comforting the disturbed, and disturbing the comfortable.” This idea seems to be at the heart of John Francis’ ridiculously great new LP. The Better Angels is a wonderful travelogue, rooted in the rich soil of America, both the music and the country in the midst of serious social, moral and economic upheaval. Francis does an amazing job of blending various genres of music into one cohesive and beautiful compilation of outrage, love and compassion for the oppressed. Francis’ affinity for his fellow man is emphasized in a trio of songs, (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Call Me When You’re Ready,” “Prayer in a Time of Drought”) while a number of tunes take our society to task for the crumbling middle class and our incredible tendency to feel entitlement without provocation (“The Way the Empire Fell,” “Who,” “War Register Blues,” “Everything is Falling Away”). Yet, Francis always manages to get to the heart of the saints and the sinners, the beautiful and the broken in his stories (“People On the Edge of the World,” “Beautiful One,” “Mississippi”) and in so doing, illustrates the humanity that informs us all. Francis is the son of rural Pennsylvania ministers who always had music playing in the house (Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan) and went to Messiah College in his home state, where he studied Literature and World Religions. That background is clearly seen in his songs, literate tales and stories that are full of both dissatisfaction and subtle moral directive. Yes, his faith can be easily seen if you are looking for it, but the gospel in this album is one born of calls to action more than doctrinal statements. Musically, he alternates between ballads with a folk and country flair, and roots rockers that are filled with deep rural character. Francis’ voice might be somewhat similar to vocalists like Jeff Buckley, Kevin Max and Chris Isaak, but stands on its own as a unique, powerful instrument. The Better Angels was produced by John Carter Cash and recorded in the Hendersonville Farm/Studio that was the site of so much of Johnny’s greatest work. Many of today’s finest musicians form the studio band, including Pat Mclaughlin, Michael Rhodes, Kenny Vaughan, Ken Coomer, Dave Roe, Adam Davis, Ross Bellenoit, Chris Giraldi and Todd Erk. These folks have worked with artists like Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Rosanne Cash, Dixie Chicks, Uncle Tupelo, Steve Earle, Ashley Cleveland and other giants of the alt-country/americana world. If these names represent some of your favorites, you really can’t go wrong with John Francis. You can purchase this online at Amazon and iTunes. Inter-Dimensional Traveler Phil Keaggy Trio Strobie Records www.philkeaggy. com/store Collaborating with longtime drummer, John Sferra, and mutual friend, keyboardist Jack Giering, Phil Keaggy releases his umpteenth album of the millennium: a jazzy, funk-fueled romp through 12 melodically concise songs that focus more on thematic unity than unbridled improvisation. The album came as an inspiration from Jack Giering’s miraculous recovery from a heart attack. As he puts it, the album is “an attempt at producing a soundtrack of my short death, as I remember it before the doctors brought me back to life.” Keaggy is in fine form on the disc, mostly playing electric and utilizing only simple effects like the wah-wah on the title track, while Giering employs a smorgasbord of keyboard sounds, relying mostly on organ but adding a few synthesized textures here and there. Often the interplay has a slight Steely Dan feel, subtly on “Let’s Think About It” and much more pronounced throughout “Cold Girl,” where Geiring accents the mix with keyboard horns and Sferra’s steady drumming provides the track’s anchor. Tunes like “Porchpuppy Theme” and “Our Girls,” a tribute to the band member’s daughters, are similar in style to Keaggy’s work on Play Thru Me. The album has a charm unlike any of Keaggy’s recent projects, perhaps owing to the renewed keyboard/ guitar interplay that hasn’t been heard so blatantly since albums like Emerging, which featured the rock/soul BAND dynamic of Phil Madeira, or the more improvisatory interplay between Keaggy and Richard Souther on How the West Was Won. Regardless, Inter-Dimensional Traveler is a real treat for fans of guitar,
keyboard-funk, jazz-rockers, ballads, good music in general. You’d expect nothing less from a name like Phil Keaggy, and his friends bring in a fresh element that makes this one of the guitar master’s most memorable in some time. Move Third Day Essential/ Provident/Sony Consolidating the strengths of past work, Third Day releases their latest opus, Move. The album is an assimilation of the band’s southern roots (best represented by their debut and Time), the more rocking dynamics of Wire, Revolution and Conspiracy #5, and the pop-worship moves of the Offerings projects or Wherever You Are. Lyrically, Third Day alternates between straight up worship declarations and songs that exhort and instruct. Highlights in the former camp include “Children of God,” a surefire single if ever there was one; “Trust In Jesus,” which marries a thoughtful and inventive arrangement with trite worship sentiment; and “Sound of Your Voice,” another congregational pleaser that features a lovely guitar figure and vocal harmonies from Christy Nockels. It is the forays into rock and gospel territory, however, that truly provide the musical movement reflected in the album’s title. Album opener “Lift Up Your Face” is a rocker that marries the heavier production tricks of Revelation with an insistent, minor key hook and the killer vocal chops of The Blind Boys of Alabama, while the next track, “Make Your Move,” features heavy bass and the type of punkmeets-southern blues riffs that you’d hear on a Black Keys record. “Surrender” and “Gone” mix excellent choruses with some serious southern rock swagger, resulting in the most consistently propulsive moments on the record. With apologies to former guitarist Brad Avery, his departure might be the best thing that has happened to Third Day, as it has allowed Mark Lee and his heavily roots and blues influenced axe work to become central to the band’s sound, giving the group’s last two records a rawness that benefits a more rural vibe. Always a band that has ridden the fence between commercial hit machine and solid blues based rock band, Move represents
Third Day’s most fully realized amalgamation of their musical influences in a package that doesn’t compromise their commercial aspirations at all. This is Christian Musician’s (and my) first attempt at a year end list and it would be foolish not to discuss the parameters I used to arrive at these choices and this order. I notice that many magazines have top 10’s of each writer that reviews albums for them. I am the sole review writer for CM so I feel a little less free to simply list my personal 20 favorites here. Artistic excellence is about 90 percent of my criteria while sales is about .001. The rest of the 9.9 % is comprised of social, political and spiritual impact, originality and historical significance. However, I realize that my tastes tend toward genres that aren’t as well represented in the marketplace today so a few releases may be a bit lower than I would list them if solely going by my own preferences. With that said, this is MY list and it certainly represents my own idea of the best music that has been released in 2010. I would venture that you will find far more independent artists on this list than almost any other Christian based magazine or website out there. However, I have also limited the choices to releases by artists that would not deny that they write, predominantly, for the Christian audience. This is done with the understanding that most of our readership is made up of people who make a living in the Christian
music industry and we want to honor their efforts. With all that stated let’s begin. 1.Old Angel-Lost Dogs: Hardly a surprise for those who read my gushing review in the July/Aug. Issue of CM. Simply the best album yet by these veterans of the music business and a stunning, folk/country/rock song cycle that cuts to the heart of what it means to seek after “The American Dream”. 2.Suburba-House of Heroes HUGE album that merged modern sounds with classic forms and further cemented the formidable talents of Tim Skipper, one of rock music’s brightest lights. 3.In Feast or FallowSandra McCracken A simply brilliant takes on classic hymns but with a conceptual twist. Subtle electronic touches with rich organic instrumentation highlight some classic and new hymns done with lyrical and melodic integrity. 4.Burning Like the Midnight Sun – The Choir This band’s finest record since 1991’s Circle Slide.
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Has all the elements that made the band great in the first place. Fetching sonics, searing lyrics from Steve Hindalong and the terrific melodies of Derri Daugherty. 5.Fallow Ground-Jan Krist Long MIA for all but the most fanatic followers. Jan has been releasing folk/pop gems sporadically since she recorded a couple of beautiful records on the short-lived but fondly remembered Storyville label in the early 1990’s. This is full of tender melodies, spare guitar-centric arrangements and Krist’s wonderful tales of the human heart and it’s sometimes difficult search for truth. 6. Mosaic–Ricky Skaggs Stunning set that pushes stylistic boundaries for Skaggs. His usual instrumental prowess is downplayed in deference to the wonderful songs of Gordon Kennedy and Ben Cooper with single contributions from a couple other writers. The songs certainly contain elements of Skaggs’ bluegrass roots, but they are merely used for color, rather than as the template on Mosaic. Instead, pop/country and even 60’s flavored rock make up an album that doesn’t really have one clunker amongst its 14 tunes. The lyrical focus is definitely spiritual as Skaggs calls this a gospel record. But along with simple declarations of faith are flesh and
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blood stories that paint the picture of God’s providence, even in the most trying circumstances. “I’m Awake Now” features the lovely vocals of daughter, Molly, keeping up the Skaggs tradition of talented musicians. 7. Beautiful ThingsGungor The only worship album in the top ten, Gungor transcends the inherent musical and lyrical limits of the genre with one of the more varied projects on the list. Shades of Sufjan, Sigur Ros, Israel Houghton (who guests on the record) and Sunny Day Real Estate can be heard on this expansive set. The real triumph is in the songwriting: Unique chord voicings, soaring melodies, exquisitely inventive arrangements and Michael Gungor’s muscular guitar playing are the main ingredients of this tasty musical stew. 8. I Want Mine (The Unavoidable Surrender of Liberalism to Socialism) – Rick Altizer Another CCM hermit resurfaces with a unique concept album that merges politics and the entertainment business in order to expose the inherent entitlement that plagues our society. Emulating the Prince/Stevie Wonder/Todd Rundgren model
of the one man band, Altizer comes up with 15 scintillating slices of pop/rock that are highly influenced by the first (60’s) British invasion and Psychedelia. 9. We Walk This RoadRobert Randolph and the Family Band T-Bone Burnett produced album that dialed down the jam band ethos of prior releases for a studied walk through Randolph’s Blues and Gospel roots. Originals combine with wisely chosen covers that highlight the social and historical significance of Black music throughout the rock & roll era. 10. Donnelly Carter Payne – Billy Cerveny A little known Nashville artist who claims membership in the the Square Peg Alliance of artists, including Derek Webb, Jill Phillips, Andy Osenga and many others, Cerveny impresses with a biographical concept album of a Civil War era infantryman and the social, political and spiritual challenges of fighting and raising a family during that sad time in our country’s history. Cerveny’s fine voice accompanies a strong heartland rock, folk and blues sound that draws obvious parallels to the latter day work of John Mellencamp.
The next ten: 11. Counting Stars-Andrew Peterson 12. The Law of Gravity-Andy Gullahorn 13. Downtown Church-Patty Griffin 14. Raising the Dead-Caedmon’s Call 15. Disappearing World - Fair 16. The Changing of the Guard -Starflyer 17. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades – Disciple 18. Jet Velvet-Jetvelvet 19. Achor – Josh White 20. In the Middle of It-Waterdeep 5 EP’s not to miss.: Let it Shine – Kevin Lawson Travel I – Future of Forestry Travel II – Future of Forestry Travel III – Future of Forestry The Night the Cumberland Came Alive – Mike Farris and the Cumberland Saints. Album's heard after compiling this list that probably would have been included: Flags – Brooke Fraser The Better Angels – John Francis
Shawn McLaughlin is a hard working dedicated, tireless worshipper of Christ
...for Christian musicians, leaders, songwriters, indie artists and technicians to improve skill and inspire talent all to God’s glory!
for info & to register...
at the Chapel at Crosspoint Buffalo, NY
13 & 14, 2011
Paul Baloche Gungor * Kari Jobe John Mark McMillan Norm Stockton Group Audrey Assad
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will also feature
ﬁlm, graphic design, painting, photography, drama
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at Cornerstone Fellowship, Livermore, CA
16 & 17, 2011
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at Scottsdale Bible Church, Scottsdale, AZ
14 & 15, 2011
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at Overlake Christian Church, Redmond, WA
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at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Tacoma, WA
MARCH 26, 2011
by Bob Waller
With the release of their new album, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Disciple enters a new era that, while featuring original lead singer Kevin Young, now contains an entirely new cast for the rest of the band. Christian Musician Magazine caught up with Kevin Young recently while on tour and he filled us in on the new lineup, new album, and his devotion to Jesus Christ. The original Disciple members formed the band way back in 1992. It was difficult for Kevin to see his longtime cohorts (Brad Noah, Tim Barrett and later addition Joey Fife) leave the band. Brad Noah departed for several reasons, including back problems that made touring difficult. Tim Barrett departed for personal reasons. “When the other original guys left that was tough because it’s kind of like getting a divorce,” commented Kevin. “I really felt like I was married to these guys and with them leaving, it was not easy. They are my brothers and I love them and I definitely miss them for sure, so it has been tough.” In stepped the capable Micah Sannan and Andrew Welch on guitars, Israel Beachy on bass and Trent Reiff on drums. “I loved Israel from the band Staple,” said Kevin. “He’s a cool guy, a super nerd, my kind of guy. There was no option number two for me when it came to bass players, I was going to ask Israel. “Trent, our new drummer was our tour manager/sound guy for a couple of years, but he would get up on the drums and mess around and we were like ‘how is he so good?’ Trent shined and he fit right in when Tim left.” Replacing Brad Noah was perhaps the hardest aspect of putting the new Disciple together. “Replacing Brad was not a very easy thing to do,” explained Kevin. “Brad always did a lot of rhythm work and then lead work over the top of that. I felt we needed a couple of guitar players to do what Brad had always done and there was a lot of things we did on our albums in the studio that we needed to do live and so we started a search for two guitar players.
“We had played with a band called Falling Up and Micah was a guitar player for them. We knew Micah and he could do back flips off his guitar amp and I felt we should ask him to try out. The question put to me was ‘can he play guitar?’ And I said, ‘who cares? He can do back flips off his guitar amp.’ The truth is that Micah is a really phenomenal guitar player. He wrote some great songs on the new CD. Andrew is the second guitar player and when we met him he was doing guitar tech work for Pillar after being in previous bands as well.”
genre term that addresses what people are talking about. Every other musical genre term addresses the sound. Whether the term is blues or hip-hop or jazz or rock or R&B or pop or whatever, it is saying ‘this is what the music sounds like’. But if you just say ‘it is Christian’ it’s like, oh, this is what they’re talking about. Everyone else has the opportunity to talk about whatever they want to talk about and not be labeled, but if we talk about God we get labeled.
in my spirit and in my heart believe that we are sharing power with people; the power to be free from sin, the power to have a relationship with Christ, the power to know what life is really all about, the power of truth, and the power of knowing the “We’re here on this earth, not meant to direction their life was designed to head be alone, but meant to have community in. with each other and meant to be loved by “I believe that with all my heart. So me each other and when someone feels like no just saying something is one thing, but one can hear them and no one sees them, me saying ‘this is my source of why I’m no one loves them, it really gives them this saying what I’m saying,’ then it’s not really sense of hopelessness. To know that not about Kevin Young anymore, and it’s not only does somebody love you, but THE really about Disciple anymore, it becomes somebody loves you, and he not only has about this source. I feel that is what we the ability to hear us, but he’s like anxiously have wanted to be about since the very waiting to hear us…He’s wanting us to beginning. We’re a band that points to speak to him, more than we’re wanting someone else. We’re a band that literally Him to speak to us…so when we realize “But I also hate the term ‘Christian Rock’ takes glory and praise and defers it to it, that is a major turning point in a human he continued, “because it is the only musical someone else.” Alternative metal, Christian rock, heavy metal, Christian metal. These are terms out there that have been used to describe Disciple’s music. We asked Kevin Young what term he uses. “Rock,” came the reply as he laughed. “Just rock. I love and hate the term ‘Christian Rock’ or ‘Christian Metal’. I love it in the fact that it says the word ‘Christian’ because that’s what we are and that’s what we talk about and we are all Christians and our faith is very important to us. And being a Christian we feel that that is the answer to life and so we want to share it with people, but not do it in a way where we’re looking down our nose like we’re better than anyone else, but in a way of love that says we have something amazing we really want to share with you.
Once Brad Noah left, Kevin began questioning whether he should indeed carry on. “When Brad Noah left the band I really had a serious time of questioning and asking ‘is this my time too?’ Brad and Tim and I started this band together when I was sixteen and they were eighteen. When Brad was leaving I really had to answer that question seriously…’am I going to keep going, or am I going to go home too?’ I began to prayerfully seek God’s guidance in that and a couple of things happened. For one, a girl came up to me and told me how she had heard our song After The World, and she had her suicide planned out right to the last detail and then heard the song and gave her life to Christ and decided to live. And in that moment for me, began his reply. “It’s very ultimately true as it was like God saying ‘see, I need more of we are looking here at this picture of Toby that. You’re not done.’ Mac on the cover of Christian Musician “When I was 12 years old, and before I magazine, and I heard him say one time was a musician, a lady came up to me and something that just changed my life. I think said that she felt that God told her I was he had heard somebody else say it, so who going to have a music ministry and was knows where it came from originally, but going to go all around the world,” Kevin I heard him say ‘music is powerful and continued. “I was playing Little League as a the Gospel is powerful and you combine 12 year old. I was not singing or anything, those two things and you’ve got the ultimate and yet that happened. And that was God powerful thing.’ preparing me for the call he had on my life, “Romans 1:16 says ‘I’m not ashamed of and he reminded me of that when I was the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the asking about going home. He was telling power of God and the salvation to those me ‘this is why you’re here and you are not that believe in it,’” said Kevin, “and that is done yet’ and so I’m still here and I’m not true, so when we share the Gospel, when done yet.” we share bible verses with people I literally,
“There are some artists out there that have been able to bypass the term ‘Christian’ and are very fortunate for it, like U2 or Lenny Kravitz, who are able to talk about spiritual things in their songs and not be termed Christian. I would love the day when we all could do that, but at the same time I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I am not afraid of that term but feel a little pigeon-holed by the music community Horseshoes and Hand Grenades in being the only genre that gets labeled for continues in the tradition of hard rocking what we talk about.” Disciple is certainly one of the hardest heavy music that Disciple has always rocking bands touring and recording today, offered. We wondered which track on the and Kevin Young is one of rock’s most fired album would Kevin Young consider the most up performers. His passionate preaching is important? “From an industry standpoint, evident most nights during the band’s live I would say Dear X - You Don’t Own Me set. We asked him why he finds it extremely is the most important song on the album important to quote Scripture on stage. because it has opened up new doors,” he “Music is powerful and it moves you,” explained.
We inquired as to what the lead singer of Disciple feels is the best aspect of being the front man for the band. “There are so many good things about it,” he answered. “I get to be surrounded by a great group of guys that I’m with right now and just being friends with them is amazing. I really love the opportunity that I get to share and to speak and I think that if I were to get up on stage right now in front of a thousand people and just speak, I think that a few people would listen to me. But for some reason when Disciple gets up and plays some songs and then I speak I can get just about everybody to listen to me. I don’t know why that is, but it is the way it is and for some reason Disciple grabs people’s attention and gives me the platform to share my faith in Christ with people. I think that is probably the best thing about being the front man.”
“Someone at Columbia Records liked the song and we have a relationship with Columbia Records and they said ‘we think it’s a hit and we want to re-record it with Howard Benson and see what it can do with Active Rock’. And so we just did that. The song has a great message about being set free from your past. “But from a spiritual standpoint I think the song Invisible is probably the most important song on the album,” the singer noted, “which is talking about how you may be invisible to the world, and the world may not be able to hear you or see you, but God hears you and God sees you. “I have met a lot of people and talked to them about either cutting or depression. I asked a kid one time, ‘why is it that you cut?’ His answer just blew me away, which was ‘because I feel like no one is listening to me.’ That is important to somebody, to be able to communicate.
the Explorer and Veggie Tales. It’s about cooking hot dogs and French fries and having tea time. So that’s what my life is about when I’m not performing right now. I used to have hobbies and now I play pretend kitchen with my daughter.” Lastly, we noted that Disciple has been nominated in the past for Dove awards and had big hit records, but we wanted to know what was most important to Kevin Young. “The obvious answer is to see peoples lives change,” he replied, “but it is good to get awards and to be nominated. It feels good and it gives you a sense of ‘these are my peers and these are my friends’. For example, Thousand Foot Krutch are my friends and to be nominated for something with them is a huge honor and to win something feels really good. To go record with Howard Benson is a dream come true. “If money is a big issue and you need a lot of it to survive you are not going to be very happy doing this because right now the music industry is at an all time low. We don’t really worry about that. When I started tithing somewhere along the middle of my walk with God, he began to show me how he would take care of me. We would tithe 10% of our money to Him in some way, whether it’s the local church, or Everyone has a different song writing charity, or whatever. Because of that we’ve style and we wanted to know about the song always seen God take care of us. writing process for Disciple. “If I’m writing a song and I’m writing the music I usually start with the chorus,” Kevin noted, “because I want to have a good and powerful theme to talk about and write around it. being’s life to know that there is a supreme God that not only loves them, not only has the ability to hear them, not only has the ability to see them, but wants to see them, desires to see them, desires to hear them and desires to love them…and that’s really what the song Invisible talks about and so from a spiritual standpoint I think it’s the most important.” “If the guys are writing music, and we all wrote together on this album, normally that will start first; there will be music and then lyrics. But it is different every time. I’ve done a couple of co-writes. I wrote Dear X - You Don’t Own Me with an outside guy named Ben Glover. I just showed up at his house with no ideas and he sat down at a keyboard and said ‘here’s a little string part I’ve got’. He also had a little melody. So I just started writing ‘dear pain, it’s been a long time’ just as if we were writing a letter to the things in our past. It just happened. Sometimes you just go in and it just happens.” There is no question that the music environment today presents major challenges unseen in previous years, partly due to economic reasons. We asked how difficult it is for Disciple. “We feel like we were called to do this and we’re all very low maintenance guys and we don’t make very much money,” commented Kevin. “Because we are doing what we love to do, we’re not really worried about it. “But honestly, at the end of our life all of those awards will be forgotten and all of those things nobody will remember. But if somebody came to our show, heard the Gospel, and their life was changed, that is something that lasts for an eternity because then it is a ripple effect because the person is probably going to change somebody else’s life, and so on and it is going to be an exponential result. “There was a guy who came up to me one time and thanked me,” continued Kevin, “and I think from that moment changed me in the question of what’s most important. He put it so eloquently and he said ‘I just want to thank you because now my wife has a Christian husband. She’s always had a husband, but now she has a Christian husband, and now my kids have a Christian father.’’ When he said that to me, that changed everything for me because that was important that an entire family had been changed just by saying what we say. “We are not very serious people. We play our show, we get on the bus and play video games and watch football. But there is something powerful about the Gospel and when you take time to share it with people there is a God that is real that wants to be in people’s lives enough to give his son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, and when people discover that, it is life changing.
“We are constantly, as a band, in financial need. We’re also constantly getting taken care of financially. I’ll open up our books and I’ll be looking at them and asking ‘oh man, how are we going to do this or that‘, and then every month it always gets taken care of somehow. That being said, it’s all in the type of person. If you need to make a lot of money, go to college and do something “We have the opportunity to share it, and else, because we sure didn’t.” we do it and when that actually happens, We asked the hard working, hard when a life is changed, there is nothing rocking Kevin Young what he might be greater. Nothing. If we got every award doing if he were no longer a musician? there is to get, and platinum records, and The answer surprised us. “I have a two not one person’s life was changed, at the year old daughter, and right now when end of my life I could honestly say that my I’m not performing my life is about Dora life would be worthless.”
Product Review (cont. page 18)
processor is two and 1/2 times more powerful than an original UAD-1 card. One single UAD-2 Quad is comparable to running 10 UAD-1 cards! That’s some serious power. Universal Audio also makes a card with two processors called the UAD-2 DUO as well as a couple single processor versions, the UAD-2 SOLO and the UAD-2 SOLO/Laptop. You can combine both UAD1 & 2 cards and run up to 4 cards total in a system if you have the extra slots, or use an external expansion chassis. This is a great option if you want to start out with a single lower price card & add to it. All your plug-ins can be authorized to use for all the UAD cards on your system. The UAD-2 hardware comes in a cool box containing the UAD-2 card, a CD-ROM with all the drivers, software & pdf manuals. There are examples for several DAW setups, plus a catalog of all the UAD analog & digital products. Each box also comes with a $50 plug in voucher. There are instructional videos as well on the UA website. http://www.uaudio.com/media/videos. html In my personal studio I have a couple PC’s in a racks running Nuendo & Cubase & a Mac tower running Logic & Pro Tools. I’ve had several UAD-1 cards in an expansion chassis for a few years. The difference between the UAD-1’s and the speed of the single UAD-2 Quad was truly amazing! Installation: Installing the UAD software is pretty straightforward. Please be sure to check the UA website though since there are software version updates all the time. On the PC the faithful install wizard pops up and guides you through the steps, and on the Mac, well… of course that’s so easy! After installing the software, you install the physical card and restart. On the PC the install wizard for new hardware & software worked flawlessly for me. Next for Cubase & Nuendo, simply open the VST plug in window & have it check for new plug-ins. Mine somehow already found them during startup! On the Mac tower running Pro Tools & Logic the install was easy as well and both of these programs found the plug-ins without any trouble. BTW: With the new Pro Tools 9 upgrade you don’t have to worry about getting an additional FXpansion plug-in delay utility which is sweet! More about that at a later date! Thank you Avid! Authorization: Next comes authorization. This can be done on-line when you register your product. To register & authorize on a Mac go to: Finder/Startup Disk/Applications/Powered Plug-Ins Tools/UAD Meter & Control Panel.
Continued on page 40.
by Joe Riggio
What are some of the basic essentials for a guitar pedal board and what sequence should they be arranged in? Pedal boards have become the norm, these days. It seems every guitar player has one. This demand has spawned the largest array of choices that the guitar world has ever seen. There are pedals in every price and quality range, so here’s a general overview of my thoughts: Price vs. Quality- Try to spend at least into the “middle-of-the-road” category:
($75-$125 ea. street price) This would include products from Boss, Ibanez and other well-
known proven companies. It is of my experience that the examples from the under $50 range, although tempting, tend to add noise to your signal, even when the effect is disengaged. The battle of noise from accumulated pedals is challenging enough, without one pedal adding significantly, all by itself. Upper-end or “Boutique” pedals are usually well worth the investment and are well built and generally more quiet that the cheapies. Types and Flavors- Let’s boil it down to the basics. Most essentials will fall into one of 3 categories; Overdrive/Distortion, Modulation and Reflection/Ambient. Having one or two in each of these categories will get you off to a good start. It’s great to have the option of at least one overdrive and one distortion pedal to choose from. The difference is simply this: overdrive is the same as distortion, but with less saturation or gain. Modulation effects include things like chorus, flanger, phase shifters, wah-wah and effects that “color” the sound very distinctively. Delay and reverb effects fall into the Reflective/Ambient category. Order in the Court- Keep in mind that this can be subjective territory, but here is
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what generally works well and will at least get you started in the right direction. Try to keep the OD/Dist effects first in the chain. They react best when receiving their signal directly from the guitar (or volume pedal if you’re using one). This will make them feel most like the natural distortion from a tube guitar amplifier. Secondly, feeding the Modulation effects, after OD/Dist. will maximize the desired colors from them. Using these first 2 categories backwards will yield “muddy” and “hazy” results from the Mod. effects. Keeping Reflective/Ambient pedals at the end of the chain will insure that their sounds are clear and “wash clean” into your amplifier. Lastly, a cool little trick is to insert a noise reduction pedal just before the Reflective pedals. This will reduce most of the noise from the previous signal chain without cancelling out the Reflective effects, which tend to be lower in volume than the main, or dry signal and can be unintentionally muted, by having a noise reduction pedal after them. I encourage you to spend time both listening personally and getting suggestions from players whose tone you like. There are thousands of choices out there and more being added by the minute, so don’t get to caught up in what somebody else says is the “best ever”. Create your own tone palette by going with what feels right to you. Joe Riggio is a professional guitar repairman/technician and recording engineer, based in Tacoma, WA. He owns and operates “Service Guitar Repair” and “House Of Sound Recording Studio” He has a deep love and knowledge of vintage guitars, as well as modern and loves to share his passion with others. He can be contacted at [email protected]
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H E L I X
Multi-task Harmonized Scales
Welcome back to Guitar from A 2 Z for 2011. I was recently talking to my friends keyboardist Austin Biel and guitarist Shane Patrick at the Covenant School of the Arts in Lakeland Florida about working on your creative gifts and creative worship concepts. Practicing your instrument is a form of worship! I want to encourage you for this New Year not to procrastinate. We need to be diligent in prayer and worship and equipping ourselves to be ready for spontaneous Holy Spirit led worship. Reclaiming our gifts to create new sounds and songs yet unheard that will touch the heart of GOD. In this lesson we are going to multi-task with a harmonized scale using a Flatpicking, Highbred Picking and Fingerstyle exercises. We will be using 2 notes harmonized in the key of G Major, the root and third and the root and tenth. The root is the 1st note of the scale “G” and the third is the 3rd note of the scale “B”. Example 1 is the “G” Major also known as the Ionian scale in the open position, G A B C D E F# G. Example 2 is the “B” Phrygian scale open position in the key of G Major, B C D E F# G A B. Using “Flatpicking Technique” play both one octave scales using alternate picking “Down-Up”. Now combine the two scales together to make a harmonized scale in Thirds. Example 3 ascends up the neck on the low E and A strings. Example 4 ascends up the neck on the G and B string. First use a pick with all down strokes, and then play it with your fingers. Use your thumb to play the lower notes and your index finger to play the higher notes plucking the strings simultaneously. This can also be known as “double stops”. Examples 5 and 6 are in tenths: The diatonic interval of an octave plus 2 degrees. In other words the tenth comes from the scale when played in two octaves making it the tenth note from the root note. This moves the 3rd note B (in the G major scale) to its octave B. Example 5 ascends up the neck, use a “Highbred Picking Technique” with a combination of a pick and your finger to pick the higher note. You can use your middle or ring finger, whichever works best for you. Example 6 moves across the neck, watch for the open strings. Use “Fingerstyle” picking with your thumb playing the low note and your ring finger playing the high notes. You may notice part of a Beatles tune in there at the beginning of the example. You may have also noticed that the 3rd is part of the triad chord construction of “Root, Third and Fifth”, but that’s another lessons on its own for a later date. I encourage you to pursue this lesson in other keys and intervals’ over the neck and see what new ideas you can come up with. Till next time, keep your sights set on Heaven. Roger is an award winning guitarist from the “Songwriter Showcase of America” has been a member of the Audio and Praise teams at Freedom Life Church in Kissimmee Fl. and The Covenant School of the Arts in Lakeland Fl. Endorses Greg Bennett Design Guitars by Samick, G&L Guitars, BBE Sound and PedalTrain Pedal Boards. More info at www.rogerzimish. com, email: [email protected]
10 Steps to Effective Practicing
Most Christians know it’s important to set aside time for things that help you grow as a Christian like prayer, bible study, fellowship, etc. So if becoming a better player and musician is also important to you here are 10 steps that have helped me and many others make the most of practice time. Give them a try, you’ll notice growth right away. Have the proper material to practice. Stop playing the same things over and over. Find a systematic study plan that will challenge you to take your playing and knowledge to the next level and inspire creativity. (Obviously I’m partial to the great materials at www.GuitarCollege.com and www.99centGuitarLessons.com.) It’s helpful to have 2 or 3 different types of study materials such as technique, theory, chords, soloing, reading, etc. to avoid boredom and frustration. Organize materials for several practice sessions so you won’t have to do it each time you sit down to practice. Studies show that using a music stand while you practice helps you learn faster. Probably because it is the most comfortable and effective way to view your material and avoid cramping in your neck, back, shoulders, etc. Plus following along with the material whether it is tab or notation will improve your reading skills. Create a practice nook and have your materials and equipment ready to practice before you sit down to begin. Don’t wait until practice time to hunt for your book, drag out your instrument, practice log, etc. Make it pleasant and inviting. Add a plant (relaxing) and pictures (CD or LP covers) of your music heroes to motivate you. Keep things neat and organized so it won’t be an eyesore and you’ll look forward to returning soon. Use a practice log to keep track of your practice time and what you’ve practiced. This makes you more accountable for your practice times and you can see your progress. You can also see what times and materials are most productive for you. Keep track of metronome settings to use as a starting point for the next practice and to gage your improvement. Practice daily! Some of us have different daily routines and can‘t practice at the same time each day. Study your schedule for a week and chart out the best and most productive times for each day for you to practice. It’s important to plan your practice time and material for at least a week at a time. Small consistent units of time provide great results. We retain more information from short regular periods of study than from long irregular intervals. If your goal is to practice an hour a day, three 20-minute sessions is the most effective plan. After 20 minutes of practicing your retention decreases rapidly. Short multiple sessions reviewing the same material increases retention. It’s usually easier to squeeze in two or three 20-minute practice sessions throughout a busy day than finding a full hour. Once you learn something new then it needs to be converted to muscle or finger memory. This takes time, have your instrument with you while you watch TV to work on your finger memory. Use a timer, when the bell rings the session is over. Once you get started practicing it’s a real temptation to keep going even when it interferes with other important things. You certainly don’t want to feel guilty about practicing, so put in your time and stop. If you don’t you might say, “I did an extra hour yesterday so I’ll skip today” Not Good! Always use a metronome to develop good time and to measure your progress. Some say practicing without a metronome is a waste of time. I tend to agree. Whether working on scales, chord changes riffs, whatever, you’ve got to be able to play them in time. Use the metronome to measure your progress by keeping track of the settings. If you can play an exercise at 110 bpm try bumping it to 120. If you can do it great! Then move it up even higher. If not go back to 110 and play it a few times then try moving the tempo up till you get it. This is the most effective way to learn
a piece correctly. FYI, get a metronome with a deep tone, it’s harder to ignore. Move on if you get frustrated. Don’t spend so much time trying to perfect things it frustrates you. Work it a sufficient number of times and then move on. Some students prefer to work through an entire book 2 or 3 times to avoid getting stuck on something and becoming frustrated. The difficult parts seem easier when you come back to them. You may learn something new in the meantime that makes that tough part easier next time. Make your recorder your best friend. You’ll need some type of recording device. You’ve got to get a realistic idea of what you sound like and the recorder won’t lie to you. Record every exercise and song you’re practicing. The quality of the recording isn’t important; go for the ease of one button recording with no level checks. This way you play something short and play it back easily. Make sure your metronome is audible when you record. End each practice session recording and begin the next by listening so you can work out the rough spots. Listen for bad spots but also listen for the good and the improvement. Don’t start negative self talk, stay positive! Save some of your old practice recordings and when you feel like there is no progress, go back and listen, you’ll hear the progress! Practice these steps consistently pressing toward your goal. You’ll get results, don’t give up. If God has blessed you with a desire to make music do your best to cultivate it and give it back to Him. Till next time, may God bless your hard work. Rich has a 6 CD audio program for learning, hearing and memorizing music theory called “Theory For The Road” which can be found at www.GuitarCollege.com. It explains everything in detail and includes audio music illustrations on keyboard and guitar, and ear training.
Do You Know What’s Wrong With Your Song?
by Bryan Duncan
If anyone offers a criticism of your song that you have not already considered, then you haven’t put your time in for success. Granted, some of the most wonderful songs were written without the slightest effort. Indeed, some of my biggest tunes have been afterthoughts. But I think that phenomenon only comes when a writer is so familiar with the process that it happens without thinking. Now, I know most of you have either handed someone a demo tape or received a few. And, if you are willing to listen, you know what I’m going to talk about here. Most of the time, there are so many variables to discuss about what’s not working that you don’t know where to start talking about it. I’m exhausted sometimes thinking about what needs to be fixed even with my own material. I was backing up some files of old songs I wrote twenty years ago when “Glad Morning” came up. Wow, what a great chord progression! It was like I’d never heard it before. But then I came in singing and I thought, “No, that’s not it! Where is this going?” The melody was memorable, but the lyrics were so vague that I was embarrassed. And then, when I thought there could be no more criticism about the song, it hit the “hook” and I thought, “This isn’t much of a conclusion and it doesn’t sound believable. It’s emotionally detached.” And I wondered, why could I have not seen that when I was writing it? Then I remembered, I had liked the sound of the title and tried to fit my feelings to it. Well, I never got there. For a career that is more than a one-hitwonder, you’d better come up with more than “You Are My Sunshine.” There are so many elements to a well crafted song that, should I think too much about it, I would never write again. If you are going to be good at songwriting, you will have to start that first rewrite with this consideration: “What’s wrong with this?” I probably sing the lyrics to a song in progress three thousand times before I’m convinced that it’s right. But there is always one more thing that you could consider. Like visualizing talking to a therapist at a hundred and twenty bucks an hour! If you compare any great song to another great song, one will always lose strength. Some of that can’t be helped because songs call to different feelings of empathy in the listener. Be true to yourself and honest to your feelings. No one has experienced anything in this life that has never been experienced before, but the way that you communicate it can be completely original. The attack, the structure, and the way you say it can all be new. Sometimes it’s good to imagine a character saying the words if you can’t find it in yourself: “Is this true to the character? Would he say it like this?” The originality in a song must resonate with more than just yourself if you want to be heard. There’s a thousand ways to mess up a song. Sometimes you can’t get out of your own way. It’s why co-writing has always been stronger most of the time in this kind of work. I’ll give you my biggest weakness as an example: overwording! I will use big long statements that tend to deflect the emotions, which leave you busy trying to figure out what I just said. At least three of my writer friends have commented on this tendency. The best comment was from a close writer friend who tells me all the time, “You gotta dumb this down.” Another added, “Think Hallmark Cards here.” And I’ll never forget one writer who asked, “Bryan, why do you feel like you have to explain everything in the first verse?” Keep in mind the style of music you are approaching, of course. Now, I think you can get away with verbosity in some styles; maybe the idea is to deliberately confuse the listener, or to force them to listen hard – but even there you have to have reasoned out an interesting collection of words or phrases that keep the listener from playing with their cell phone. If done well, it’s entertaining to see how the words create a mosaic of a larger picture. When it’s done right, it’s Def Poetry! But In looking at Christian songwriting as a whole, I think one of the biggest mistakes is that of leaving your
true self at the door because you might not be “spiritually acceptable.” The agenda to get the doctrine right and communicate something approved of on the larger Christian platform, at least for me, turns songs one person might sing from the heart into a recitation of some sort of bylaws! But then, what do I know? Thank God we get to write more than one song, right? Or should it be: “…write more than one song right!” As a parting thought, remember what Dr. Theodore Rubin says: “The problem is not that there are problems, it’s expecting otherwise; it’s thinking that having problems is the problem!” Bryan Duncan... CCM artist for thirty years. With the Sweet Comfort Band, then solo and now with the Nehosoul band. Owner of Red Road Records and Host of Radio Rehab at www.radiorehab.com inducted into the Christian music Hall of Fame in 2007.
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On Windows go to: Start Menu>All Programs>UAD Powered Plug-Ins>UAD Meter & Control Panel The UAD Meter & Control Panel has a window for authorizations & will connect you to the correct page on the UA site. My PC rig doesn’t ever connect to the Internet for safety reasons. In this case you go to the authorization page on the UA site & put in your Computer Id and get everything done with the help of a USB thumb drive going back & forth to a computer with internet access. In under 10 minutes I was up & running. Plug-Ins: • The UAD-2 comes with several great classic plug-ins. • The 1176 LN Limiting Amplifier (compressor) • The 1176 SE Limiting Amplifier (light version) • An LA-2A Classic Compressor • A Pultec EQP Program Equalizer • A Real Verb Pro Room Modeler (reverb) There is an amazing assortment of award winning UAD plug-ins available for purchase as well including: Manley, Empirical Labs, Neve, Roland, BOSS, EMT, Fairchild, Harrison,
Helios, Little Labs, Pultec, SPL, Teletronix and more. What more could you ask for! To make “all” things even better, UAD has upgraded their GUI interface to show which individual UAD card is running (up to four cards), and how much capacity is available on each card. They have improved the plug-in preset management so you can now copy individual plug-in settings back and forth between SE (light) and Full versions of the plug-ins. The small UAD Meter icon will show up on your Dock(MAC) or Toolbar(PC). The UAD Meter does not have to be running for the plug-ins to operate. Three gauges show the UAD-2’s approximate DSP load, onboard Program Memory remaining, and UAD RAM storage. By simply clicking a button you can also disable all plugs running on any UAD cards on your computer. Live Track Mode: The UAD-2 now has Live Track Mode, which reduces latency on an active UAD-2 plug-in to the lowest possible amount by disabling the buffering. This feature is for use in a “live” performance mode where you want a plug in to use while recording. There is a noticeable difference in the amount of buffer latency with Live Track mode on when you are recording. If you want an LA-2A on your
vocal or some nice reverb while recording or doing something live it’s a nice option. I suggest you disable all other plug-ins on your system to help with the increased CPU load! As far as computer plug-ins go the UAD-2 “is” the state of the art choice. If you don’t already own a UAD card you will find the investment to be well worth the price. Your mixes will sound more professional, and since the plug-ins so faithfully emulate the actual analog equipment, you will be able to learn how and why they work in a real world setting. This will help make you a better engineer, producer & all around musician. To be able to have virtual racks of the best high-end vintage gear that sounds this good is truly amazing! I give the UAD-2 five stars for quality ease of use & innovation! I can’t imagine working without them. The UAD-2 Quad lists for $1899.00 street price $1499.00. The UAD-2 Duo lists for $1149.00 street price $899.00 The UAD-2 Solo lists for $649.00 street price $399.00 The UAD-2 Solo laptop is $649.00 street price $499.00 The cards all come with Lifetime Tech Support. Nice touch! www.uaudio.com
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The Passion of Play ing
an Interview with Guitarist
by Aimee Herd
This past November, at the Christian Musician Summit at Overlake in Washington, I was privileged to be introduced to guitar player, singer-songwriter, Chrissy Shefts. While her name may not be as well-known as, say... Nancy Wilson, she has recorded with her—and Heart—and her musical gifting and talent have carved out some other pretty notable works. In fact, this Seattle native—a session guitarist for 20 years—has also recorded with Rod Stewart, Belinda Carlisle; she played all the guitars on Seal’s “Crazy” which won a Grammy. Chrissy has worked with Trevor Horn, Hans Zimmer... and she’s done film and TV session work as well, with music from “Days of Thunder”, “Bull Durham,” “The Accused,” “NFL Preview,” “Solid Gold,” and that list goes on. Right now though, Chrissy has been writing and recording, and she talked about that... Chrissy Shefts: Primarily, right now, I’m back to composing. I’m a songwriter* and I’m a singer by default, because someone has to sing the songs I write! I’ve had a couple of songs placed, and I just love it; the compositional aspect is so much a part of my spirit. So, I’m writing and recently I’ve gotten a job doing some TV cues, which is creating music for certain TV spots. That’s perfect for me, because it’s creating little landscapes of color and different moods, which I love to do. Aimee Herd: Chrissy, you play an instrument— electric guitar—that seems to have been dominated by male musicians. Has that been a challenge for you? Talk a little about being a female electric guitarist, and any hurdles you’ve had to overcome in that regard. CS: I was talking with someone about that the other day, and the funny thing is that I had never thought about it. I was born this way, and I never knew anything different. When I learned songs from an artist like Jeff Beck or Santana, I would learn the whole song, from top to bottom, on the guitar- the solo, everything. I’ve had some girl guitar players come up to me and ask, “How do you learn the solos?” It just never occurred to me that I couldn’t! I guess this is what gave me the boldness to insert myself in that world. I don’t really know why there are not more women playing electric guitar, maybe it’s a social thing. AH: Well, as you’ve done that, have you encountered any mindsets that were inhibiting at all? CS: To be honest, not really, not from reasonably intelligent people. Once you start playing, that speaks for itself. Either you’re good or you’re not. Especially in the recording world, where they can’t see whether you’re a guy or a girl, it doesn’t matter. You just have to be good. So, I’ve always striven for excellence, not mediocrity.* Not that I make it there all the time. (Laughs) AH: Can you give a little advice to an up-and-coming female electric guitar player, who is maybe feeling a bit daunted by fact that she’s in the minority with that? CS: I’d advise her not to let that be a factor whatsoever. Each artist has certain insecurities, especially Chrissy rocking in the 1980’s
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as a player. Am I good enough? Or am I “as good as…?” Comparison can really kill you, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just play what you enjoy, as long as it’s fun for you. Don’t think about the ultimate outcome [enjoy the journey]. AH: How do you go about crafting a song, Chrissy? CS: Songwriting usually seems to just come, maybe from God, because I have no idea [other than that] where it comes from. A melodic idea will come to me, and many times I’ll hear the whole composition, parts and everything, in my head. That happens a lot. But then I’ve also gone through very dry periods where nothing comes. Sometimes, I’ll get inspiration from hearing someone else. I love it when that happens. I’ll take the inspiration home with me and then it emerges as something different. AH: Who were some of the artists who impacted you as you were forming your style? CS: Well, Jeff Beck is the reason I play guitar! He’s still my favorite. I like all genres of music though. I guess I started out leaning more toward rock, then I went through a jazz period. I played a lot of funk, and I’ve gone through all styles of music; I love everything, so it’s hard to say who has been my favorite [besides Jeff Beck]. He was my main influence along with the British Invasion. My mom took me to see The Beatles, and the Kinks. That was pretty influential for me too. AH: As a person is learning to play electric guitar well, would you say it’s important to sample all the different styles: jazz, funk, rock… so you have a more well-rounded idea of what’s out there? CS: Well ideally, yes, but if you’re interest really doesn’t lie in one of those styles, then there’s no real point in immersing yourself in it. You can learn many genres of music, but learning to play the guitar as a well rounded guitarist doesn’t require that you know all of the styles. It’s more the knowledge of the guitar, and technique. AH: So, it needs to be where your passion lies… CS: That’s the most important thing, because if you’re not enjoying it, and it’s not fun [then you’ll lose interest]. What motivated me was my love for music. I had to do it. AH: Talk about your gear for a moment; what do you like to play, what do you prefer, and what have you found to be the best for what you do? CS: It’s interesting... recently, I changed up some of my vintage gear. I was carrying around 4x12 Marshalls from my touring days on the rock tours. So now, what I’ve found, that I’m really loving, is my Fender Blues Junior, and I also have a ‘63 Strat and a James Tyler that I love. I’ve really scaled down, and I have a lot of analogue effects. I’ve definitely been getting back to the real “organic” kind of sound. I like playing just straight guitar without a lot of effects. So, just kind of stripping things down is what I’ve been doing, and I’m really enjoying it.
ting go of my desire or wish. I did this AH: I’ve been hearing that same for quite a few days, not feeling any kind of direction from a number of different. Then, out of the blue, I got a musicians—just cutting out the extras phone call from a producer in England and simplifying. with whom I had done very successful CS: Well, it’s kind of getting back work in the past. He had gotten my to what’s natural. The guitar can phone number from a salesman at a become so camouflaged by distortion music store, who was another musician and effects that it could be anybody from The Vineyard! playing. But when you’re naked there, He asked if I was available for a your personality, your heart and your session. I felt totally out of shape, but I spirit come* out in your playing. said yes. That, to me, was God saying, AH: Chrissy, talk a little about “Do what I gifted you to do.” I didn’t what God’s been doing in your life. get that answer until I had gotten to CS: God has done an amazing Chrissy with our good friend Gregg Bissonette at the Summit the point where I was willing to give thing in my life. Back in 1995, I had a it up. Since then, it’s been so different The thing that worried and scared me series of events happen in my life all for me. still, though, was that my love, passion and at once that caused me to fall pretty hard. I Now, when I do what He has gifted me in, desire for music was gone. Where I had once lost my parents, and then my best friend in a the difference is, it’s ultimately for His glory. been prolific, I now felt like an empty shell. horrible accident. I lost my health, and nearly No matter what arena or platform I may playAt that point, I wondered if I was finished my life. I existed numbly for a few years, trying from. My life is fuller than it’s ever been, with music. That was terrifying. Music had ing to get my life back together. But I felt like and musically, I feel more accomplished, and been the only thing I had ever done and it I would never play music again. rewarded. God is just rewarding me ten-fold, had been everything to me. During that time, a couple of dear friends with the people I’m surrounded by musiSince my usual coping mechanism, drinkled me to the Lord. In 2004, another friend cally and in relationships. What I do is only ing, was no longer an option for me, I began introduced me to the Vineyard church where a small part of who I am, but it’s part of who to pray. I prayed every day that God would I got baptized. It’s so amazing what God can He made me. God has given me a life. let me know—give me some sign—that it was do with a broken soul and spirit. I began Visit Chrissy’s MySpace page at: www. His will for me to continue in music. The playing on the worship team. myspace.com/chrissysheftsmusic hardest thing was truthfully and totally let-
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Community: Life Blood for the Songwriter
by Cindy Wilt Colville
It is important for songwriters to cultivate and nurture their own creative community for the development of their craft and to ensure a productive and successful songwriting career. Community enhances creativity; art does not truly exist until it is expressed and shared. “A bell is no bell till you ring it, A song is no song till you sing it….” — Oscar Hammerstein II Songwriters thrive in community. Isolation is the kiss of death. I want to talk about three important benefits to be found when writers organize themselves into a creative community. Trust me when I say there are many, many more benefits where these are found, but for now: Inspiration, Accountability and Productivity. Inspiration fuels and sustains the act of writing. In community, songwriters gain inspiration through the sharing of their ideas while engaging the ideas of another fellow writer. This camaraderie and natural encouragement is vital and life giving. Because each member of the community is a resource for inspiration, the songwriter has access to a broader scope of life experiences, stories and imagination. Most songwriters do not have a publishing contract that requires that they write a certain number of songs a year. They don’t have a songwriting coach, like myself, providing them weekly assignments, song meetings and creative feedback. However, when a group of songwriters form a community they engage in one of the key motivators of creative development: Accountability. Establishing a songwriting community is a great opportunity for songwriters to provide the same encouragement and accountability that a publisher or coach can provide. All over the country I meet songwriters who are looking for other songwriters to collaborate with, to provide a safe place where they can share their songs, their struggles and ideas. Songwriters thrive when they find a community of like-minded people who encourage, inspire and challenge them to finish songs! The desire to express and communicate ideas, emotions and a passion is what motivates songwriters to write songs. Community not only provides an expansion of sources of inspiration and valuable accountability, Community will bring about greater Productivity. Every member of a community, like every member in the body, is the sum total of their unique gifts and individual experience. I know that each and every combination or group of writers multiplies the available ideas and sources of inspiration. Every member in the creative community holds the feet of his or her co-writer to the fire of the work at hand just as surely as their own feet are being held as well. Inspiration is the energy source of the writer’s desire. Desire coupled to Accountability is the great motivator. It is a simple chemical equation, really. Inspiration and accountability lead directly to Productivity. Productivity may be measured in completed songs, maturing craft and style, expanding collaborations and fruitful cowriting relationships. You may question: does this community really work? My point is not to make a magi46
cal guarantee, rather to say this: the life of a songwriter does not work very well without it. In 2010, I participated in all of the Christian Musician Summit’s Songwriter Boot Camps (www.christianmusiciansummit.com). I regularly speak with songwriter groups all across the country and the consistent message I hear from songwriters is that they are longing to connect with a creative community. There are songwriting organizations already in place such as NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), the American Christian Songwriters that also support local chapters. You may read on my most recent blog (http://asongwriterschampion. blogspot.com/) where I talk about local and regional groups and list a number of other songwriter organizations. If there are no organized songwriting groups in your area I encourage you to take the initiative in establishing your own creative community. Some ideas on finding like-minded songwriters would be to post an inquiry on Craig’s List, contact worship leaders of churches in your community or send out a Facebook message to all of your friends. A next step would be to secure a “free” location that is songwriter friendly such as a church, coffee shop, any location where live performances are welcome. Once you have established your group the real work of working and supporting one another begins. You may discover numerous opportunities to bring in guest speakers, stage a writer’s retreat or engage singer/songwriters who are doing concerts in your area. There will be many opportunities to share with groups in nearby towns as well as networking with other songwriting communities around the country. I would always be interested in hearing from you, whether you take the initiative and establish a songwriting group or already have a group working in your community. We truly do need each other. Cindy Wilt Colville is a creative music publishing consultant providing songwriters with songwriting development, song catalog assessments and career consultation in addition to facilitating songwriting workshops and retreats throughout the United States and Canada. For more information visit: www.cindywiltcolville.com. Follow Cindy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ songchampion.
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