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.

inversions

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.

soundings

soundings
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.

bridges

bridges
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.

echoes

echoes
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.

Accidentals

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

The Years the Locusts Have Stolen, a song

For better or worse, I was raised on the glam metal of the 80s. My first ever album was Def Leopard's Hysteria, and I played it till the tape was worn through. Listening back to some of that old music, I'm a bit chagrined that my taste was so clearly that of a 14-year-old boy, but then again, I was just a 14-year-old boy. 

One of my favorite bands of all time, actually, was a somewhat obscure metal band called White Lion. You may know them from one or the other of their two big radio hits, "Wait," and/or "When the Children Cry," but they have a whole treasure trove of musical gems in the vault, just waiting to be discovered. This is owing, primarily, to the fret-board wizardry of their lead guitarist, Vitto Bratta. Bratta was probably the best guitarist to come out of the glam metal era, and had White Lion's star burned a bit brighter for a bit longer, he may have earned a spot in that league of guitar legends that includes the likes of Hendrix, Clapton and Van Halen. As it was, I always felt that he was both more melodically tasteful and more technically accomplished than Eddie Van Halen, the guitarist who was, undoubtedly, his biggest inspiration.

Anyways, I'll never forget the day I first heard the opening riff of the opening song of Pride, their break-through second album. I am a bit of a synesthete, so all I can say is that before the song was done, I was awash in rich waves of majestic purple, darker than the sea is deep, and spangled with bright bursts of Roman candle silver. After that came "Don't Give Up," "Lady of the Valley," "Wait," and each song was like nothing I'd ever heard before but had been listening for all my life. Bear in mind, I was only a 14-year-old boy.

All this is by way of introduction to this week's cut from my "Three Hands Clapping" album. The day I started writing it, I'd recently listened to White Lion's Pride for old time's sake, and had it in mind that I wanted to write a song in homage to this band that had played such a prominent part in my musical formation. I'd also had it in mind for a while that I wanted to write a song based on Joel 2:25, but I didn't know where to begin. I did my best to put these two ideas together, and this is what came out. I ain't no Vitta Bratta, of course (not by a long shot), but the opening riff and the solo is the nearest I can come to approximating his awesomeness.

I hope you enjoy!



Hear a rattle of wings
Like a whisper of death
In a wilderness bleached by the sun
And the stubble is dry
And there’s nothing else left
When the black cloud is lifted and gone

When the bones are picked clean
And the heart has been turned into dust
You can’t unsee what you’ve seen
And there’s nobody left you can trust

I’ll pay you back for the years the locusts have stolen
I’ll pay you back for the tears that fell in the dark
When the sun has turned black
And the stars from the sky are fallen
I’ll pay you back, I’ll pay you back

And you’re not who you were
And you’re not who you are
And you’re not who you’re gonna be
And you can’t get it back
And you can’t let it go
And you can’t find a way to get free

Like a stone in your heart
It’ll weigh you down, regret
And it’ll tear you apart
All the things you can’t forget

I’ll pay you back for the years the locusts have stolen
I’ll pay you back for the tears that fell in the dark
When the sun has turned black
And the stars from the sky are fallen
I’ll pay you back, I’ll pay you back

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