There's a Trick of the Light I'm Learning to Do

This is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded in January - March, 2020 while on sabbatical from ministry. They each deal with a different aspect or expression of the Gospel. Click on the image above to listen.

Three Hands Clapping

This is my latest recording project (released May 27, 2019). It is a double album of 22 songs, which very roughly track the story of my life... a sort of musical autobiography, so to speak. Click the album image to listen.

Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes
A collections of original songs I wrote in 2015, and recorded with the FreeWay Musical Collective. Click the album image to listen.


Recorded in 2014, these songs are sort of a chronicle of my journey through a pastoral burn-out last winter. They deal with themes of mental-health, spiritual burn-out and depression, but also with the inexorable presence of God in the midst of darkness. Click the album art to download.


click image to download
"soundings" is a collection of songs I recorded in September/October of 2013. Dealing with themes of hope, ache, trust and spiritual loss, the songs on this album express various facets of my journey with God.


Click to download.
"Bridges" is a collection of original songs I wrote in the summer of 2011, during a soul-searching trip I took out to Alberta; a sort of long twilight in the dark night of the soul. I share it here in hopes these musical reflections on my own spiritual journey might be an encouragement to others: the sun does rise, blood-red but beautiful.


Prayers, poems and songs (2005-2009). Click to download
"echoes" is a collection of songs I wrote during my time studying at Briercrest Seminary (2004-2009). It's called "echoes" partly because these songs are "echoes" of times spent with God from my songwriting past, but also because there are musical "echoes" of hymns, songs or poems sprinkled throughout the album. Listen closely and you'll hear them.


This collection of mostly blues/rock/folk inspired songs was recorded in the spring and summer of 2015. I call it "accidentals" because all of the songs on this project were tunes I have had kicking around in my notebooks for many years but had never found a "home" for on previous albums. You can click the image to download the whole album.

blogs I follow

Readings, 2020

Readings, 2020
Paradise Lost, John Milton

Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson

Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

Halos and Avatars, Craig Detweiller, ed.

Fool's Talk, Os Guinness

Brendan, Frederick Buechner

The Screwtape Letters

Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis

Becoming Whole, Brian Finkert and Kelly Kapic

Real Sex, Lauren Winner

Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis

Voyage to Venus, C. S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

random reads

Dear Saskatchewan

Dear Saskatchewan,

Drove the 401 the other day and thought of you. The living line of metal crawling east and west as far as I could see probably had more cars in it than all of Caronport, and I had to pinch myself to convince myself I was there. Remember the good old days on Highway 1? When a broom-handle in the steering wheel and a brick on the gas pedal was almost enough to get us to Regina?

There was a report on the radio while I drove, Saskatchewan, about the people flocking to you from here for work and industry. The lady in the interview spoke in apologetic tones as she packed her bags. "If I told my friends I was going to Vancouver, or Edmonton, or Calgary," she said, "They'd understand. But when I say Regina... they say: 'Why would you want to move there?'" Go easy on her when she gets there, Saskatchewan: pour the prairie in slowly, like you did for me.

Don't get me wrong, I like it here. And there is something pretty poignant about being "from the West." The Elves of Middle Earth were from the West, you remember, and their hearts always ached for it. I can hum lines like "There's a feeling I get when I look to the West, and my spirit is crying for leaving," with real meaning now; and I can mumble lines like "though the last lights off the black West went, the morning at the brown brink eastward springs" with real knowing.

But when I got to the barbers and he learned I was Moose-Javian, he said: "I've never been out west. Is it really as flat as they say?" I laughed and said: "Yeah, and the telephone pole is the provincial tree..." Not to betray you, Saskatchewan, but I felt I would have only betrayed you more if I tried to explain. How could I explain what it's like, to stand at the edge of town and see the whole world, green and gold and hay-scented, stretching out around you, spread out like some great, shallow earthen-ware dish, filled to the very edge of its delicate, distended meniscus with unfiltered light?

Well, I'll try to keep in touch, Saskatchewan-- I'll try to think of you whenever I catch real glimpses of open sky-- and I'll try to keep the crawling lines of metal from wringing the prairie out of me completely.

But while we wait and see, take care.

Yours truly, Dale.


OB1 said...

Ilove the west too.
I grew nup in Ontario and moved to Alberta when I was 29. Lived there for almost 20 years. We have been back for about 11 years and I don't have any complaints. Ontario is a good place to live, But there is something about the west that is different, surreal. I'm not sure what it is , but it reaches your soul.
But we go where God takes us, and enjoy the ride.

OB1 said...

Further comment.
Their nare "coner gases in Ontario`, you just have to look mfor them

Jon Coutts said...

yeah, saskatchewan is something you appreciate maybe more once its gone. it is not a blank sheet of paper like people think. its subtleties lull you, and the its blizzards hit or the sun gets to the horizon ...