Love – a Sunday Setlist

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This post is part of the Sunday Setlist blog carnival.

I had the privilege of playing at Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer today, this third Sunday of Advent. It was my first time. Mother Jenna Martin is singer, songwriter, and an old friend from Belmont Church. She is also the worship pastor at Redeemer. I was a substitute keyboard player and vocalist. We had a very sweet yet sober time. I expect hearts are heavy all over our nation this morning as we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I think what I most appreciated was a spontaneous prayer voiced by a parishioner.

“Lord, I offer a prayer of lamentation. I don’t see a star leading to a manger. I see a world of madness and insanity. Not only this weekend in Connecticut, but all over the world. And in me. … Your star seems very dim, Lord. Please help me and help others who feel the same.”

Wow. What a raw, honest prayer. And how beautiful the community that allows its voice.

Here was our set. I’m afraid that I don’t have the writer information or iTunes link on some of the service music.

  • Trisagion (Fernando Ortego)
  • As With Gladness Men of Old (to the tune of For the Beauty of the Earth)
  • On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand (Stennett / Miner)
  • O Praise Him (All This for a King) (David Crowder)
  • Isaiah 12:3-6: The First Song of Isaiah (from The Book of Common Prayer, music by Jack Noble White)
  • The Grace of God Appears (Harris / Wyse). Used as the Gospel Acclamation while the celebrants processed before and after the Gospel reading
  • For the Life That You Have Given. Presentation hymn when the offering was received
  • Holy (Sanctus) (Simmons / Martin)
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Tibetan Melody)
  • Lamb of God (Traditional text / music by Eric Wyse). Communion song 1: “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; Have mercy on us”
  • Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Hyfrydol tune – that’s the one in the Baptist Hymnal 😉 ). Communion song 2
  • Let All Mortal Flesh (Traditional). Recessional as the celebrants processed at the end of the service.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence and with fear and trembling stand

Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand,

Christ our God to earth descendeth

Our full homage to demand

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Gratitude with a heavy heart


Just heard the news of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut. It’s just terrible and so tragic. I pray for peace and comfort and wisdom for the families directly involved. As for the rest of us, may we hug our kids a little closer and appreciate our life a bit more. My gratitude list for the week.

  • Momentum for the redesign of this blog
  • An acting job over the weekend (look for the Franklin American Mortgage commercial during the Music City Bowl!)
  • My son’s delight over rocks, gems, and his geology badge
  • Face time on Nashville
  • Reconnecting with musician friends not seen in quite some time
  • The beauty of a viola well played
  • Businesses that still say “Merry Christmas”
  • The fine firefighters of Station 27 and the Tiger Cubs who got a peek into their world
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Working hard
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Enjoying Sweet CeCe’s yogurt
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Merry Christmas to you, Sweet CeCe’s!
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Singing Sick

Today I’m starting a new series called The Vocal Workshop. In this first video, I discuss some steps that I take when I’m under the weather and have to sing. Let me know what you think.

Over to you: What did I leave out? What tips do you have for singing during cold season?


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Joy – a Sunday setlist

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This post is part of the Sunday Setlist blog carnival.

The second Advent candle was lit this morning, traditionally symbolizing joy. And it was my joy to play at St. George’s today with a fuller band than normal: Aynsley Martingdale (worship leader vocals), Karlton Scott (percussion), John Brooks (bass), James DaSilva (electric guitar), Chris Lowry (viola), Rachel Mello (vocals), and myself. This was our set:

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And so begins December (Thankful Thursday)


It’s been a busy week, full of church activity. I sang on the worship team at my home church over the weekend, along with three of my kids and the rest of the Children’s School of Worship choir. The weekend also corresponded to our church’s “Christmas Marketplace,” where the very talented among our community display and sell homemade / handmade anything they want. My wife sold her homemade vanilla, vanilla sugar, and sugar scrubs. Naturally, our kids wanted in on the action and they sold chocolate balls and cupcakes that they made with a little help from the most amazing woman on the planet. After our third church service, I had an audition for a local commercial. By the end of the day, we were wiped. It’s not surprising that we are now dealing with various stages of “laryngitis and coughing fits.” Oh, and two lost teeth. But we’ve started Advent in our home and I pray in our hearts.

My gratitude list for the week.

  • Sally Bennett and the other awesome leaders of Belmont Church’s School of Worship
  • Blossoming leadership and the kind hearts of my children
  • My daughter’s prodding to remember the “least of these”
  • Professional relationships both new and growing
  • Lunch with a friend who gets it
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Lessons from 30 Years with Michael Jackson’s Thriller

It’s hard to believe it, but Michael Jackson’s history-making album Thriller is now 30 years oldBillboard magazine had a very interesting write-up about the happenings in the music industry before and around the album’s release. I believe it includes timely lessons for those of us in the music biz today. Here are a few key facts and my applications for today.

  • Record sales were poor in 1982. Bad slumps and doomsdayers are nothing new. Somehow, the industry survives every new technology that threatens it.
  • The experts thought the downturn was due to video games. Hastily drawn conclusions have a way of being incorrect.
  • Radio fragmented the listening demographic until the consumer demanded more variety. Music consumers are more sophisticated and appreciate all kinds of music. How many iTunes library consist of only one genre?
  • MTV initially rejected Michael Jackson’s videos, because they wanted to keep a rock (read: white) image and didn’t think its viewers would be interested in an R&B (read: black) act. Of course, his videos became some of the most iconic of our generation. Don’t assume the people in charge know what they’re doing. 


To quote the writer William Goldman, “Nobody knows anything.” Take neither criticism nor praise too seriously. The full article is on Billboard’s website.

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Thankful Thursday

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The Nashville Songwriter’s Association (NSAI) has free weekly workshops on Thursday evenings. My schedule has not allowed me to go for some time. It was nice to be back tonight. I had a chance to hear entertainment industry life coach Sherri Ziff Lester. Sherri was a television writer (90210, Baywatch) before becoming a stay-at-home mom and then a life coach. I found her talk very insightful. I may write a separate blog post about it. One of the statements that struck me: “Get happy. Happy comes from gratitude. If you’re not happy, dial it back to gratitude.” In that spirit, here’s my list for the week.

  • 8 little hands hanging over 40 years of memories at my in-laws
  • Celebrating the birthday of the love of my life. Happy birthday, Lara
  • Music making Sunday at St. George
  • Singing music for The Lovespies upcoming Christmas EP
  • A New workout regime – even if I can’t complete it yet
  • Progress on my new edition of Diamond on the 1
  • Progress on the redesign of this blog
  • The fine folks at NSAI and their commitment to developing writers
  • Lunch with a new friend with an exciting testimony

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