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Yamaha Motif XF8
The Redemption of Kirk Martin
MAR/APR 2011 Volume 16, Issue 2
Brandon Heath • Josh Wilson • Francesca Battistelli • Scott Holt Shawn McDonald • Amos Lee • The Civil Wars • Black Dub
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5 Cool Things I Saw @ NAMM • Couples in Ministry
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Odds and Ends…
I can’t believe it is already the Mar/Apr. issue. It seems like we just got back from the Winter NAMM Show in January. Speaking of which, the one word that kept popping up on the convention floor (everyone from large companies, down to small ones like ours) was “optimism”. If this is any kind of precursor to the economy bouncing back, then it really is a reason to be a bit more optimistic as many retailers were placing orders to restock their stores with new gear. This month our friend Doyle Dykes releases his book “The Lights of Marfa” (Moody Publishing). I was honored to get an advance copy, and I really loved it! It reads just like Doyle is sitting in your living room telling you stories of his travels. Good stuff. I even got to write a quote for it. Also this month we have our first CMS Mini-Summit. This is a one-day conference, March 26th in Tacoma, WA. It will feature the new,artful worship band, City Harmonic, and our good friend Brian Doerksen with his band. It’s going to be a blast! In April, Judy and I head out for the Dallas Guitar Show where we will be joined by Mitch Bohannon, (writer and reviewer for our magazines). We will have an exhibit booth there for this three-day show and we are sponsored by G7th Capos, and of course we’ll have lots of our “Love One Woman… Many Guitars” t-shirts for sale there. It is a large guitar show with several guitar personalities playing during the event. Come by and say “hi” to us if you can. We hand out our magazines and try to be who we are in the midst of this mainstream event. What is really cool is that the producer of it is a fellow believer and they even have a small church service for the exhibitors on Sunday morning before it opens to the public. Lastly in our odds and ends segment, we are blessed to be launching a new facet to what we do in training and encouraging musicians in their calling. We are joining forces with Hal Leonard Publishing to produce a line of books! These will be written by some of your favorite columnists from both Worship Musician and Christian Musician magazines, as well as some other talented folks that you just have to meet. These will be available in printed and eBook versions (rejoice all you iPad-ians). We see this as another way we can help improve musicianship and inspire talent – all to the glory of God! Thank you for what you do by supporting our efforts – we truly cannot do it without you, our readers… Lord Bless Ya! Bruce & Judy
Bruce & Judy w/ Brian Felix & Ricky Skaggs
8 Bassic Communication by Norm Stockton Intro to Solo Bass Arranging (Part 4) 10 Guitar Workshop by John Standefer It’s Easter Time 12 Drumming Dynamics by David Owens A YouTube Vortex 14 Vocal Coach’s Corner by Roger Beale The Piano/Keyboard Utilization 16 Product Review by Ed Kerr Yamaha Motif XF8 18 Show Us Your Groove by Rick Cua Couples in Ministry: Double Blessings or Double Trouble, Part 1 24 Guitar From A2Z by Roger Zimish Open Chord Voicing 26 Selective Hearing by Shawn McLaughlin Brandon Heath Josh Wilson Francesca Battistelli Scott Holt Shawn McDonald Amos Lee The Civil Wars Black Dub 30 5 Cool Things I Saw @ NAMM by Bruce Adolph
34 The Fretboard Less Traveled... by Rich Severson Inversions 36 Ask Joe by Joe Riggio 46 A Christian Musician’s Legacy by Bryan Duncan
20 Benny Prasad The Most Well Traveled Musician You’ve Never Heard Of
40 Kirk Martin The Redemption of Kirk Martin
4227 S. Meridian, Suite C PMB #275, Puyallup Washington 98373 Phone: 253.445.1973 Fax: 253.655.5001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.christianmusician.com Editor & President: Bruce Adolph Vice President: Judy Adolph, email@example.com Customer Service: Brian Felix, firstname.lastname@example.org Street Team: Mike Adolph, Jesse Hill & Winston Design & Layout: Matt Kees Proof: Toddie Downs, Kevin Wilber Accounting: Debi Davis Advertising Sales: email@example.com Published by the Adolph Agency Inc.
Intro to Solo Bass Arranging (Part 4)
Welcome back to the woodshed! For those of you just joining us, we’ve been on a journey over the last few installments of Bassic Communication exploring the fundamentals of solo arranging for bass. While this material obviously goes beyond the normal scope of our role in a typical ensemble, the benefits to our overall musicianship are profound (I encourage you to check out our earlier installments for more on this). We’ve been evaluating melody, harmony and rhythm involved in a solo bass arrangement of the traditional Christmas tune, Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria). I know I indicated last issue that we’d be getting into the actual execution of the piece this time, but upon further thought, I felt it would be helpful to quickly look at the chord voicings and forms around which the melody will be played. We’ll isolate the verse section this time. As you might recall from previous installments as well as the provided chart this time, the basic chord motion for the verse is I-V. The first bar has an E Major chord played with the 5th as the lowest note. The B Major chord in the second measure is technically a B5 chord (or “power chord”), in that it contains just the root, 5th and octave. The E Major chord on beat 3 returns to the chord form in the first measure. That progression repeats in bars 3 and 4, with the exception that the B Major chord is voiced as a B6 chord in the fourth measure to accommodate the melody (more to come!). As always, the “8va” indicates that the notes are played an octave higher than written. I always prefer this to dealing with a bunch of ledger lines (as all of you keyboardists and wind players out there scoff loudly!). :^) Anyway, it’s pretty straightforward stuff, but important to have a solid understanding of this before combining chords and melody for our actual arrangement. As I’ve mentioned before, there are subjective aspects to some of the musical choices involved. Once we dive into playing the piece, I’ll explain why I made certain choices. As you begin your own solo bass arranging endeavors, I definitely encourage you to evaluate and make your own artistic decisions, as well! Blessings & see you 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 4)
Solo Bass Arranging Chord voicings around which melody was played Verse Section "Angels We Have Heard on High" (Trad. Christmas Carol)
Arr. Norm Stockton
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16 16 14
13 14 14
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13 13 14
© 2009 Stocktones Music
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It’s Easter Time
The whole premise of the Christian faith and our hope of a future in heaven is derived from the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Our celebration at Easter time is built around the fact that He lives! And I don’t know of a song that expresses this wonderful season better than Gloria Gaither’s “Because He Lives”. And even though there’s nothing wrong with the way the song was originally written, you probably know by now that I like to put a little different twist to my arrangements. This song is normally done as a sort of choir anthem with the big build at the chorus. I thought you might enjoy a more intimate arrangement for a nice change this Easter. The chords are pretty jazzy and the fingerings are very specific so you’ll need to work on them for awhile yourself. Then you can hand the chart out to the rest of the band for a rehearsal. Rhythmically, it’s set to a bossa nova beat (or similar). While holding a chord in your left hand, the right hand plucks a ‘bass, chord, bass, chord, chord’ pattern as indicated in the first measure of the chart below. An odd catch to this is that you need to change chords just before the barline instead of after it like usual. I think it would really help if you could hear this played in order to get the idea. So… I’ve set up a special page at my website where you can download a quick little audio file of me playing this arrangement. The chords are the same for the verse and the chorus, by the way. I hope you have fun with this and enjoy the new twist to this great song at Easter time. Simply go to www.johnstandefer.com/cm to hear what I’ve recorded for you. And while you’re there, cruise around and check out the rest of the site! See you next time. - John
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.
“I said to the Lord, give me a job to do and
I will always tell people about you.”
One of the world’s leading fingerstyle guitarists & master story teller Doyle Dykes shares his encounters with
an amazing God.
standard data rates may apply
The Lights of Marfa includes links to hear Doyle’s new and unreleased song “Lights of Marfa” and many other hits such as “White Rose for Heidi.”
use your smartphone to access the QR code
A YouTube Vortex
I have a student who is always using YouTube as a resource for developing his drumming abilities. He asked me to figure out a lick Jojo Mayer is doing in this solo. Go to You Tube and type in “Jojo Mayer in Cegled 26 Apr. 2008 Drum Solo HD 4” and you will see a wonderful solo by Jojo. This transcription starts at 1:43 into the video. I only transcribed a few bars but there is a wealth of information in this small part of the solo. The 16th note triplet lick my student was interested in is halfway through the 3rd bar. I put it at the end as an exercise. It is written in 3\4 and it repeats twice. Play it very slowly at first and get it in your “muscle memory” before you speed it up. The best way to listen to this is to record it and put it in Audacity (a free download) so you can slow it down. It makes it much easier to pick apart. It’s amazing how much great stuff you can find on YouTube. It is easy to spend hours looking at educational material there. I call it a YouTube vortex when I get sucked into it for an hour or so. I hope this inspires you to have an educational YouTube vortex of your own. 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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The Piano/Keyboard Utilization
I have run into hundreds of people who let me know that they used to play the piano. They also indicate that they regret giving it up and wish they could play now. If you were to ask them why they quit they usually say, “I did not like to practice”. The next question is what were they practicing and why didn’t they like it. It has been my observation that the music they were practicing was too hard and the music style was not something they could relate too. The reason I am discussing playing the piano is that if a singer is looking for a way to accompany themselves, there is a way to develop this skill fairly quickly. In days not years. I have seen people develop this skill quickly while in high school, college, grad school, and now in my own vocal teaching studio. If one person can do something, another one can do it. To do this you must quickly develop piano skills where you play music instead of just practice. Focus on things that are easy. You need to play songs that you want to sing and then practice everything in small parts that are manageable. To start the process of playing the piano, one must find the notes on the keyboard. If you have not mastered this skill it’s easy to do. It is just a matter of recognizing the patterns of the black keys. They are grouped as two notes then three notes. Then observe this pattern in different parts of the keyboard. Start looking for notes by orienting yourself to middle C. Middle C is in the middle of the piano under the brand name of the piano. I expect that most of you can name the pitches on a keyboard. But the skill that really needs to be developed is finding these notes in different octaves. So let’s try out this skill by finding the bass notes in a song. Grab a fake book or chord chart that has chord symbols above the staff. Now find the bass notes from the chord symbol for your left hand. Don’t worry about rhythm and time. Just find the note. If you see an A play an A with your left hand. Play the base notes in the two octaves below middle C. It’s that easy. Your bass part is now established. Now take the song and sing the melody as you play the base notes of the chord. Repeat this until it becomes easy. Fight the urge to think you “get it”. Repeat this until it is “really” easy and then move on. This is step one. Now let’s look at some chords. A chord is quite simply two or more notes played at the same time. A vertical arrangement of the notes is called a “voicing”. The basic voicing of any particular chord is called the “root position”. This basic “root position” usually means stacking the chord tones in intervals of a 3rd from the root. So for C major these notes are C, E, and G. Practicing chords in a root position is a good way to become familiar with chords on the keyboard. One way to practice is to play the root position chord in both hands. The left hand will be an octave below middle C and your right hand will be one octave higher above middle C. Now you know and I know that there are many types and flavors of chords available to singers. Some of these you have heard called major, minor, diminished, augmented, major 7th, minor 7th, and minor 7th flat five to mention just a few. Relax; there is something like 100,000 different combinations with which to choose from. Instead of struggling trying to learn one-byone what the notes of a chord are, people have developed some books that have keyboard diagrams for every chord type. It is like a picture book of the chords on a keyboard. Just go to a music store and have them order it for you. Get the book that has the chords that look like a keyboard. Now go back to your fake book or chord chart and sing the melody with just the left hand playing the root of the chord. You are now accompanying yourself at the keyboard. But wait there’s more. You can now add a chord in your right hand and play the bass note in your left hand and sing the song over that chord structure. You are now accompanying yourself like a real piano player. You are using two hands while singing. I told you you could do it. To summarize a bit. You will need to find a song you like, obtain a chord chart, a lead sheet, or a fake book which I mentioned earlier (a collection of chord charts in one book). Then play your song with the root of the chord (one note) in your left hand and one chord per measure with your right hand. If there is more than one chord per measure, play them. Then put it all together and sing, you are now on your way to becoming a piano player. Now after reading this you may be wondering why a vocal coach is recommending singers to learn some basic piano. It comes down to three things. Number one: it allows the singer to understand the harmonic structure of a song. This will add another dimension to one’s singing. You will understand the song completely, not just the words and a single note. You become a singer and a musician. Your communication skills are enhanced and you will move the audience to a deeper emotional response. Second: you will understand harmony in a new manner and if you are interested in developing your improvisational skills, this is the way to get started. Third: if your show, song list, or set needs a change of pace, use the keyboard. If you perform with a band have them take a break and sing a song by yourself accompanying yourself on the keyboard. This makes you look versatile and is a big emotional change for your audience. Developing keyboard skills is a complete win, win situation for a singer. Now go sing well!
Roger Beale is one of the nation’s foremost vocal coaches. He presently works with professional singers in all areas of musical performance. 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: The Voice House, PO Box 87136, College Park, GA 30337, (404) 822-5097 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: www.thevoicehouse.com.
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Yamaha Motif XF8
by Ed Kerr
It’s happening again. I can’t control myself. I tell myself it’ll only be 5 minutes. It turns into 20. Then it’s an hour. My wife has been warned. She’s learned to expect it. We call my home studio a black hole at times like this. No one’s sure when I’ll come out. The cause is a big box that UPS dropped at my home a few days ago, the very happy day when Yamaha’s new Motif XF8 keyboard was delivered. I played the XF8 last Fall on tour with Paul Baloche, Kathryn Scott and Brian Doerksen as part of Integrity Music’s seminars4worship and was impressed then. But this is different. No rehearsals now, no tearing down after an event. I can finally dig deep into the instrument, scrutinize the sounds and see what’s new here. The list of new features is a long one. Here are some bullet points from Yamaha’s website: • Comprehensive high sound quality, including an enormous 741MB of waveforms • An additional 128 voices and 8 drums kits, for a total of 1,353 high-quality voices • Reproduction of the unique, natural, warm sounds of vintage instruments through VCM effects • 384 types of performances based on approximately 7800 types of arpeggiators • improvement of usability thanks to the use of a new GUI • Cubase AI – a DAW software application from Steinberg • Scalability through standard-equipped USB and Ethernet and the FW16E option Many of you are like me in that, while impressed by these and other tech specs of a keyboard, your first question might be “How’s the piano sound?” Well, the answer has two letters. S6. Though there are many acoustic piano sounds resident in the XF8, I’ll be gravitating toward the S6. Yamaha has sampled their exquisite S6 grand piano, and the resulting sound is stunning. I’d been satisfied with grand piano sounds in the previous models of the Motif, but this S6 sound achieves a new level of realism. The hammer action of the weighted keyboard helps you achieve incredible levels of dynamics, from the softest pianissimo to a string-rattled fortissimo. It truly is an amazing, 16 MARCH/APRIL 2011 immersive experience to play this S6 sampled grand piano. If you’ve felt like a lid was on your expressive potential as a pianist because of the limits of sampled grand pianos, the lid is gone. You’ll love the S6. The sonic scope of the XF8 is difficult to summarize. The string sounds are very convincing and feature multi-samples that allow you to play with great expression. Internal voices can be brought out as you play. The sound of bows on strings is undeniable as you strike keys more forcefully in the lower register. Again, the weighted action helps you exploit the dynamics built into the great samples. With well over a thousand voices at your disposal, you’ll need lots of time to listen through them all. And you’ll want paper and a pen on hand to note your favorites. Your list will be long. Mine already is after just a few hours. After listing your favorites from the extensive voice library, tap the “perform” button and you’ll begin to get an even greater sense of what the XF8 could bring to your worship music. Built into the XF keyboard are 7800 types of arpeggiators. Start listening through the banks of patches in the performance mode and this is when the odds increase that you won’t see your family for a while. It is mind-boggling to hear AND play the variety of sounds and effects and textures you’ll find here. In the performance mode, 4 distinct sounds are accessible at once. For years I’ve used the performance mode in my live playing setup so that I can easily fade in and out between the four sounds of my choosing, typically grand piano, pad, organ and Rhodes. By using the faders, these four sounds can easily be layered as well, without any sort of cut off in the sound as you change sounds. So helpful in live worship. But performances that use arpeggiators take you way beyond what four basic sounds can provide. Each of the four sounds can trigger arpeggiations to result in supersophisticated, rich textures. Bass parts will be realized based on the chords your voicings suggest. Strumming Spanish guitars or power chords are produced the same way. You suggest the chords, the arpeggiators do the rest. Truly astounding. Use the faders and you can scrutinize the killer drum part you’re hearing. Use the faders and let an arpeggiated synth part be all that you use of the four sounds. The variety of styles contained in the library of performances here is staggering. Like I say, count on spending lots of time exploring the library and playing. Lots of playing. ‘Til your arms hurt playing. Spend some time playing the Motif performances and you’ll find yourself rearranging familiar songs and bringing new freshness to what you contribute as a keyboard player. Spend some time playing the S6 grand piano and you could realize very soon that you forgot you’re playing an electronic keyboard rather than a real grand piano. This instrument can remind you why it is you love playing keyboard and take you to musical places you never thought were possible.
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Couples In Ministry: Double Blessing or Double Trouble
Part 1 - by Rick & Diana Cua
the end all, be all, but a tool to gain greater understanding. And no one test tells it all. So as you choose which test to use, remember it’s not the sum of who you are. KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT Not long ago Diana and I had the privilege of teaching a class on Couples In Ministry at the Christian Musician Summit in Redmond, Washington. Judging by the turnout, and the questions we were asked, we realized that there was much interest in this topic. With Bruce’s invitation we decided to do it for the magazine, in two parts. Here’s Part 1: Before we talk about some challenges and guiding principles related to this topic here are some of the wonderful benefits of couples working together in ministry. First, you will have a lot of time together. For most of us, our work/ministry takes us away from home and many times from our spouses and family. Working together we have the opportunity to share many experiences while gaining many mutual memories. We also get to share a common vision and work together toward the same goal. It is very rewarding. OK…here we go… TAKE A PERSONALITY TEST One of the best things couples can do before starting to work together is to take a personality test. I’m sure you both know what your personality is and that of your husband or wife. But taking the test may dig out something you didn’t know about yourself or your spouse. Taking the time to answer questions about yourself makes you take a good hard look, which we all need from time to time. As we mature, the things we thought of as a weakness may actually be strength when seen from a different perspective. Something happens when you look at things on paper. The results can give you a springboard to discuss and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Then when you are working together you are not likely to expect your spouse to be responsible for something where he/she is the weakest. You both will find greater productivity with less friction. That does not come by just taking the test but by taking the results of the test and unpacking it together. Also, keep in mind a personality test is not 18 MARCH/APRIL 2011 God has prioritized what is important and in what order. He comes first. In Luke 10:27 Jesus says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus is quoting Deut 6:5. God really means what He says. So the Lord God comes first. In fact, isn’t that why you are doing what you are doing; to give glory to God, to walk in obedience to His calling for your life, and to be an instrument to advance the Kingdom of God. Your second priority is your spouse. Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church. Wives be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. (Eph 5:22) Love one another. Ministry never comes before your marriage. If it does, there will be a high price to pay. Your third priority is your children, who are gifts from God. THEN, it’s ministry. If you do not live in God’s order, then you are out of order and your life and your work will suffer for it in some way, shape or form. These priorities are all worked out as the motive of your hearts, being in agreement as a couple and as a family. Have a statement of purpose for your ministry. This helps to keep you on track. Everything you do in ministry should revert back to this mission statement. If you don’t have one, work on it together. Keep it simple and make sure it covers what you both believe you are called to. You will use it for years to come. It may need tweaking from time to time based on what new revelation God is giving you. And don’t fret if it changes….Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Some translations say, “Without revelation, or without prophetic vision, the people perish. DON’T BE TERRITORIAL Always remember, you’re a team, not flying solo. There will be times when responsibility that is usually yours will need to be taken care of by the other. Or, you may think you can do better in a certain area, but its not your responsibility. It happens both ways. Whatever you do don’t turn into Smeagol the Gollum from Lord of the Rings crying, “precious, my precious”. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR SPOUSE’S BACK Don’t throw your spouse under the bus. Not only is it not a nice place to be, but you don’t want to be thrown under the bus either. There is power in agreement. Ecc 4:9-12 says “two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” How much more is this true for the two who are married! Working together requires trust. Trust that you will do your part, trust that the other will do their part, and trust that God will do His part. FYI: God always does His part, so it’s really on you two. When you trust each other, then you have peace of mind and peace of heart. You will get much further down the road of ministry together than alone. We are imperfect human beings living in a fallen world. We will mess up! Know it, remember it, and make a plan to deal with it. In the next issue we will continue with more thoughts on how to make working together wonderful!
The Next Generation Motif XF
Since 2001, the Motif Music Production Synthesizers have been the best sounding, top selling and most requested music workstations on the market. The next generation XF builds on the heritage of Motif, providing new features and groundbreaking Flash memory expansion capabilities that will set the standard for keyboard workstations for years to come.
Yamaha and Karma-Lab announce the development and release of KARMA Motif Software for PC and Mac. This new entry in the renowned developer’s line of software applications brings the award-winning and patented KARMA algorithmic music technology to the Yamaha Motif XS and Yamaha Motif XF platforms.
KARMA Motif Software
Wireless Motif XS OS and iPad apps to play, tweak, mix and edit your Motif XF remotely
New Large Format Flash Libraries
Detailed Motif XF information
©2011 Yamaha Corporation of America. All rights reserved
Play & Perform
Create & Produce
Customize & Make it Your Own
Connect & Expand
When I first met Benny Prasad I was at our Christian Musician Summit Conference in Buffalo, NY. Benny was friends with Phil Keaggy and he had politely asked me if it was OK for him to stop by and pay a visit to Phil while he was in the area. I asked Phil and he replied,”Have you ever seen Benny play his special guitar?” I replied, “Nope, I’m sorry. I have never heard of the guy”. Phil wanted to see him, so sure enough later that day this small statured Indian looking man can up and introduced himself to me. He had a humble spirit about him and he was very courteous. I checked out his guitar too, wow, it was wild. He had cut holes in his guitar and had implanted small bongo like drums into the guitar’s top. What I carry with me though from that encounter is Benny’s friendly smile. Read on about this remarkable “musicianary”.
CM: First, how did you come to know the Lord in India? That seems rare in itself. I was born in a Christian family, but going to church was only a tradition. I grew up going to Sunday school and church meetings. Part of the Indian Culture was that, being the first born in the family, I had to try and live up to my father’s expectations. My Dad was an aerospace scientist and I failed all his expectations, and very soon I became the shame and curse of my family. At 16 years old, feeling hopeless and depressed, I contemplated committing suicide. During that time I attended a Christian Youth Retreat and on the second day I heard the voice of Jesus saying, “Even though you feel 20 MARCH/APRIL 2011 useless I still need you. I can transform your life and make you a New Creation.” I heeded the call and asked Jesus to come into my life, even though I had nothing to offer other than my broken and shameful life. That’s when I really started to walk a Christian Life. CM: You had some serious health challenges when you were younger. Tell us how that has affected you, and how it has impacted your desire to travel and share your music and your story. I was born with asthma, and when I was 2 years old I was given the wrong medication and ended up taking high dosages of Cortisone steroids for 14 years. At age 16 I found out that due to the steroids, 60% of my lungs had been damaged. My immune system was failing, and I started to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Today, although these physical ailments still are a challenge, God’s grace has been more than sufficient for me to face them, and He has sustained me each day, for His power has been made perfect in my weakness. My desire to travel was never my plan. In fact, due to being a failure academically, I was told that I would never fly. It was in 2002 that God gave me the vision to travel to every nation and share His love through my Testimony and Music. I heeded the call, and He has provided everything for me to make it through. Yes, health concerns have restricted a bit of my travels and music ministry, but honestly,
God’s grace is more than enough for me to face each day. In fact, I still remember in Feb. 2002 when I did my first International concert tour in Latvia. The temperature was -20.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was scheduled to do 22 concerts in 2 weeks and travel 1864 miles. I had to use 3 different drivers and 3 translators as they all fell sick due to the rigorous schedule. And yet, despite me being the one with serious physical ailments, I stayed healthy through this journey and God sustained me. All glory to Jesus! CM: When did you start playing guitar? And how did the inset drums and added harp strings develop as a part of your playing style?
I wanted to play the guitar at the age of 15, but after the first day of lessons the guitar teacher told me not to come to class anymore as I had no musical talents at all. I could not sing to the right tune or play to the right beat. When I was 19 years old, while studying in the Bible Seminary I picked up an old, warped, string-less guitar. I did not have enough money to buy guitar strings as my savings those days was $0.40 a month. So I waited for guitarists to break their strings and I collected the broken strings and tied them together and put them on the guitar. With 1 sheet of guitar chords from the songbook “Scripture In Song” I practiced songs and chords every day for about 7 hours and in 2 months God transformed my musical abilities and I became one of the
best guitarists in my Bible Seminary. In 1999 when I was doing my School of Music in Missions at the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in New Mexico, Tommy Coomes came and blessed me with a brand new Taylor Guitar, which was my first new guitar that I ever had. I’ve been so grateful to God for Tommy believing in me and investing into my life. In 2004 I was invited to perform at the Athens Olympic Games for the official welcoming of the South African Athletes and Delegates and also at the Cultural stages. I was strictly told that I could never share my faith. That really saddened me and I really wanted to share my journey of life and my walk with Jesus to the world. So I prayed to MARCH/APRIL 2011 21
Jesus to help me to design a guitar that the world had never seen before. God gave me the idea to put mini-bongos in my guitar and it became the world’s first Bongo Guitar. I called it a BENTAR. People were attracted to come and have a look at the guitar and in turn, when they asked me questions, I had the opportunity to share my testimony back to them. In 2006 I was invited to perform on the Cultural stages at the FIFA World Cup in Germany. I had designed a 54 String Guitar and that’s where the harp concept came together. But it was not a practical guitar for my kind of travels and performances. So in 2007 when I was invited to perform for the Opening Ceremony of the World Military Games, I designed a 20 String BongoHarp Guitar which has really served all my purposes and conditions well. CM: How did you fund your travels? Can you give us some examples of how the Lord has met your needs? The funding part has been one the key questions that the world is asking me. I’m a missionary with YWAM and I’ve learned to “Live by Faith”. I’m grateful to Karen Lafferty who has been my mentor and role model in terms of being a “Musicianary”. When God called me to be a musician and a missionary, finances was one of the first things I thought of. In my country, India, most of the time a musician is a symbol of being financially broke and also of instability. God assured me that He would be my provider. I’m so glad that I can tell the world that I have never charged for any of my concerts. Every country I’ve been to I paid cash for my plane tickets (of course Jesus being the provider). Even my CD’s are available on any amount of donation. I’ve taken these steps only because God told me to do so. I have never been in debt in all my life and Jesus has been a faithful provider. I’ve learned to live a simple life. My expenses are based on my needs and not on income or wants. For example – (I have never asked for money or shared my needs to anyone, It’s God who directs giving) On Feb. 27, 2009 a 6 year old boy from Equatorial Guinea 22 MARCH/APRIL 2011
(Africa) came and gave me two 50 cent coins and said, “This is for your ministry”. On Nov. 6, 2008 after I finished the concert for a poor community in Belize, they took up an offering and they blessed me with $912 . On Nov. 22, 2009 I was ministering at a small country church in Kentucky called “Big Bone Baptist Church”. No one knew me. In my sermon I mentioned that I have no debts and that Jesus provides all my needs and that the Lord even gave me an extra $5000 for my 2010 travels. Soon after my message Pastor Mike Jones came up and told the congregation that he felt led by God to take up an offering for me. He asked the congregation to pray and if they felt led by God they could come and place the offering on the table. No one came prepared for this, but God knew it was going to happen. At lunch time Pastor Mike came to me and said, “Benny, in my 32 years of ministry I’ve never seen something like this.” He gave me the offering. It was $32,348.41. I’ve learned to live a simple and content life as an artist. True happiness and contentment does not come from having a house, car, business-class travels, expensive restaurants, fancy cruises, etc. But it comes from living a content life with what God has given us and being faithful and grateful with the little things in life. I’ve learned to make money my slave and not my master. I stay with host families and not in hotels, and in turn I’ve saved a lot of money and was able to use it for better reasons and causes. For example, instead of spending $1000 on the hotel for my stay in Beirut, I slept in the studio of a host family and was able to give that $1000 to a 26 year old American Girl who was dying of cancer. I know this might not be practical, but this is the reality of my life – In 2009 I traveled outside India for 244 days – 50 countries, 7 continents including Antarctica and did over 300 concerts. My expenses outside India were – Tickets for Travel - $26,179, Visa’s - $3936, and Personal Expenses - $528 (Taxi-$128, Food$139, Internet-$9, Phone-$19, Hotel-$59, Miscellaneous-$174). I’m called to live the life of Musicianary and not a Superstar.
CM: Tell us about being a Christian and seeing firsthand persecution in your travels. For security reasons I cannot share too many details. 40% of my travels take me into dangerous and persecuted zones. I’ve learned that “arrogance” and “ignorance” can cause a lot of trouble. I’ve learned to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. I’m fully aware that part of being a Musicianary could mean laying down my life as a martyr. In fact, every year I inform my parents and my church about my plans to enter and exit these countries, and if they don’t hear from me by a certain date, then it means I’m in prison or killed. I’ve seen my close friends killed in the mission field, sometimes days before or after I’ve been there. I really salute their passion for the lost, even to the point of knowing that their life is in danger. I remember a week before I arrived in Kabul (Afghanistan) the Indian Embassy was bombed and 40 people were killed including the Indian Consulate General. I was in Tajikistan, and the Deputy Ambassador of India in Tajikistan came up to me and pleaded with me not to go to Kabul as there was no Embassy to take care of me if I was in danger. I told him that it was very clear that the Lord had called me to go to Kabul for such a time as this. Only the sick need a doctor. What’s the point of going to a country when everything is going smoothly? The best time to share love, peace and forgiveness was when Kabul was going through turmoil. So I flew to Kabul and had a wonderful time and even met up with the Afghan Minister of Culture and was able to share my story and music. In all these travels, concerts, and teachings, the greatest joy I have is not performing music, but sharing the story of the transformation that Jesus did in my life and the Hope and Peace that we find in Christ. CM: You have a unique way to fight loneliness when you are in a foreign country... please tell us about it. The biggest challenge for any traveler is
Continued on page 32
Chris Tomlin and Collings Guitars
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Open Chord Voicing
Many modern praise and worship bands have at least two or more guitarists, one on acoustic and the other on electric. This gives a nice balance of sound and structure for the music. The electric guitar can use a little distortion along with the Edge U2 echo vibe, and the acoustic guitarist can cover everything from full-out open chord driving rhythm to light finger style parts. In this lesson, let’s look at some popular and not so popular open chord voicings that will work primarily on acoustic, but play on the electric as well. The basis of most of these chord voicings are triads with the high E and B strings left open to ring out. In some of the chords, the low E and A strings will be left open along with the high E and or B strings. I’m keeping the chords in simple root position names to not complicate things for this lesson. Example #1: This chord progression is similar to the song “I Can Sing of Your Love Forever.” The chords we are using are open E major shapes and one minor shape. The chords move up the neck. As you play each chord, leave the high E and B strings open so they ring out, and leave the low E string open as well. The second chord, F#m7 /E, is also known as F#m7 (add 4) /E. Again, I’m keeping the chords in simple root position names to not complicate things. You can also try adding the root bass note to each of the chords as well. Example #2: The chord forms in examples 2 and 3 are used in the song “Hosanna” from Hillsong United. The root notes are all found on the A string. As in example #2, let the high E and B strings ring out where applied. In Example #3, notice that the bass notes precede the chord forms. Guitarist Dave Matthews uses this technique as well. The last measure has a long chord slide from the B 2nd fret to the E 7th fret. Examples 4, 5 and 6: Chord forms are found in the song “I Will Search” from Israel Houghton. Example #4 is a less-is-more approach. There is less movement in between the first three chords, and your third finger stays on the same note (B) as a pivot point. In example #5, the E to E Maj 7 is an easy one note move. Example #6 is moving major triads up the neck. You may already be playing these songs in your church band and may or may not be familiar with these chord voicings. My goal here is to help inspire you with the sound of the open chords so that a creative flow from GOD will start in you to create a new song and enhance spontaneous worship, public or private. See you next time. Blessings.
Roger is an award winning guitarist from the “Songwriter Showcase of America” Roger is available for private lessons and at 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. Email: email@example.com, www.rogerzimish.com
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by Shawn McLaughlin
We have an interesting set of artists to review this issue. We will look at four major Christian label artists, each of whom could be labeled the “great white hope” of Christian retail and radio for 2011, as well as several releases from artists traditionally associated with the mainstream music world, who have released spiritually aware albums that bear more than a passing influence of biblically-based themes. Add a few indie artists, and this constitutes a nice smorgasbord with which to start the first half of 2011 (though a few of the albums were released in late 2010). Leaving Eden Brandon Heath Reunion/Provident
We begin with Leaving Eden, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Brandon Heath’s breakout 2009 Reunion/ Provident release, What If We, which included the seemingly omnipresent radio single, “Give Me Your Eyes.” The new record is an unqualified success from a commercial standpoint, already charting with the infectious single, “Your Love,” a statement of encouragement and comfort that hits just the right spot for the Christian radio crowd. The title track is also a sure-fire hit with its anthemic quality and a striking similarity in method to “Give Me Your Eyes.” Both songs feature an observer’s commentary on the falsehoods and failures of a worldview without Christ as its anchor. In fact, the drum programming and lightelectronic, mid-tempo, adult pop of these two songs is largely echoed throughout the whole project, giving it a consistency of sound that its predecessor lacked. However, that is somewhat to the disc’s detriment artistically, since What If We was very eclectic and showed off Heath’s strengths as a writer of songs with melodic ingenuity and creative imagery. Truth be told, the computerized bleeps and drum machines on Leaving Eden become monotonous after a while. The organic arrangements and more esoteric lyricism of “It’s Alright,” “As Long As I’m Here,” and the disc highlight, “Only Water,” give the disc a hint of depth that would not be there otherwise. “And it washes over me, like a single river’s stone, changes everything, but has no power on its own, it’s only water.” All ballads, these songs seem placed in the mix to give the album some variety, but end up being the strongest element of the disc, sounding far more original in light of the album’s homogenized sound elsewhere. Listeners who were taken with the creativity shown on the past disc need to realize that the huge popularity of “Give Me Your Eyes” comes with certain expectations regarding airplay and the inevitable label desire for radio-friendly material that sells enough units to continue making records. As a result of these circumstances, Leaving Eden is not the artistic success some crave, but it is hardly an abject failure either. Heath is still a purveyor of truth that can give comfort and hope to even the most jaded listener and his brand of mature, adult pop is fresh enough to improve the tenor of most Christian radio stations nowadays. And that is something to take note of for sure.
See You Josh Wilson Christian/Sparrow
Next up is See You, folkpop artist Josh Wilson’s second full length and third overall disc on the EMI Christian/Sparrow imprint. The most noticeable strength of this album is Wilson’s incredible facility with the acoustic guitar; that talent is brought to the forefront with the beautiful instrumental take on the classic hymn “It Is Well” as well as the beautiful acousticorchestral worship track “Sing It” that opens and closes (in a reprise) the disc. Also showing some originality is the jaunty, acoustic “Shine On Us,” a lovely folk-pop rambler that also houses some inventive instrumental arrangements with exotic percussion and light orchestral elements. Elsewhere, “Know By Now” and “Always Only You” are heavy on bouncy pop ala Jason Mraz and John Mayer, with melodies that those two haven’t shown the capacity to write as of yet. The title cut utilizes a winning piano figure while telling a story that, thankfully, asks questions without offering easy answers to the problems that can plague humankind. These high points are, unfortunately, juxtaposed with overly produced, guitar-pop that features gigantic choruses and speaks in broad language that leaves little to the imagination. The elements of the album that work, work exceedingly well, and the parts that don’t can be skipped over with one button push on your music player of choice.
co-written by producer and ace tunesmith, Ian Eskelin, who also pairs up with the singer on “Motion of Mercy,” an observation of how mercy is often best seen as a cycle – it is best received when freely given to others. This track is followed by the contagious “Emily,” a soulful duet with Dave Barnes that offers the comforting news of Christ to a girl who has gone through a particularly trying time. Battistelli is largely concerned with encouraging others through her writing, whether drawn from real life experience, (“Hundred More Years,” “Angel by Your Side”) or the more universal circumstances of the previously mentioned tracks. Eskelin frames Francesca’s typically emotion-laden vocals with strong, adult pop arrangements that skimp a bit on the piano-fueled pop that was so winning on the debut. It seems like an effort to answer the criticisms that the debut record sounded too much like Sara Barelleis (which I kind of liked). Still, the occasionally over-produced pop-rock on Hundred More Years sounds too much like Mercy Me, Casting Crowns and other stalwarts of the Christian radio waves. Like the previous two releases, the need to sell records somewhat compromises what could be a first-rate album, but the strong talents of the artist (oy, that voice!) largely transcend the occasional concession.
Kudzu Scott Holt Gracenote Records
Without much room for a history lesson, I’ll just say that Scott Holt is a southern boy who, at 19 years of age, became the second guitarist for blues legend Buddy Guy. After ten years on the road with Guy, Holt formed his own band and started making records. This is his fourth album, and boy, is it a doozey! While definitely influenced by his blues background, this is anything but a blues record. Country, folk, jazz, Southern pop, soul, R&B, and Minnesota funk ala Prince and The Time (especially on “That Girl”) are all portions of Holt’s unique brew. I hear elements of Atlanta Rhythm Section, Dire Straits, Toto, Steely Dan, The Eagles, The Stylistics and many other American stalwarts, yet Holt is a talent in his own right. He essays an elemental, sensual brand of Southern pop-rock that highlights his songwriting ability just as much as his otherworldly guitar playing. This dude is a MONSTER guitar player and it says a lot about his taste as an arranger that his songs are memorable for more than just his axe slinging. While not overtly spiritual, Holt says that each song was written in a state of prayer and they are best seen as warnings of the emptiness a life lived in search of pleasure and things of the world. While not everyone’s cup of tea, Kudzu will find a place in the collections of those who are fans of great
Hundred More Years Francesca Battistelli Fervent/Word
Francesca Battistelli is the next big label hopeful (Fervent/Word) with her highly anticipated second album, Hundred More Years. Starting off with the ukulele-fueled track, “This Is the Stuff,” Battistelli ruminates on all the circumstances – good and bad – that God uses to draw us closer to Him. The song is quite different from the bouncy piano pop of Battistelli’s debut, but it is highly contagious, quite effective, and also a tad more subtle than a large portion of the disc. Of no small coincidence, the track was
American music as well as anyone who wants to see an example of how great guitar playing can be used in service of equally great songs, without overwhelming the end result. Trying to find change in the old mundane Everything I do just feels the same Spending my life out in the desert Closer Been gone so long, feels like forever Shawn McDonald Sparrow Records “Closer” actually does have a very arresting hook, and is the sure-fire hit on the record, but Shawn McDonald it is songs like the spare, funky opening track releases his newest “Better Way,” that encourages leaving the past in Sparrow Records longthe past, with its beguiling slide guitar accents player, Closer, and and insistent groove. Another standout is the manages to effectively hip-hop/folk amalgam “Eyes Forward,” another find that elusive balance rhythmic feast (with hypnotic keyboard and fine between commercial harmonica work). McDonald has always been an accessibility and artistic reach that the previous three artists didn’t alchemist of the highest order and shows this quite achieve. While McDonald is not fluent in gift off with “Control,” in which he mixes delicate the purely melodic hooks of Wilson et al, he finger-picked guitar, sampled percussion, manages to build inventive soundscapes that expertly arranged strings and a fervent lead are heavy on snaky rhythms and exquisitely vocal to intoxicating effect, adding layers as arranged strings, as well as subtle electronic the song progresses from spare beginnings. textures and hip-hop tricks. He also pours a Strings can be heard all over Closer, and while lot of sweat and blood into the lyrics – largely that can often raise up a red flag on a Christian about the need to stay close to God – written pop record, McDonald uses them as an accent, while he was going through a brutal divorce not as means to an end. After the devastating with his wife. What other less gifted lyricists say “Control,” McDonald keeps it simple with the with large brushstrokes, McDonald says far more achingly simple campfire folk of “Rise,” the evocatively with impressionistic prose. Take perfect young adult worship song if ever there these couplets from the title cut and note how was one. Thoroughly engaging and endlessly a less direct approach can sometimes unlock creative, Closer is most remarkable for taking emotional responses that beating one over the difficult, deeply personal ideas and making them accessible to the masses, a trick that takes head can never evoke. some awfully huge chops. McDonald, obviously, Looking for the color on a shade of gray has them in spades. Looking for the love in a drop of rain
Mission Bell Amos Lee Blue Note Records
Largely known as a folk-influenced artist with a soul singer’s heart, Amos Lee comes forth with a personal, spiritually-tinged project that tells tales of love and loss, the search for truth and the need for forgiveness. In the person of producer Joey Burns (of the indie alt country band, Calexico), Lee finds an empathetic friend who lives in Lee’s comfort zone. Comfort zone doesn’t mean a limited range, mind you. Mixing the acoustic approach of folk music with the gospel-tinged passion of soul gives an artist plenty of room to operate, especially when his moves are as deft as Amos Lee’s. He can pull out a country waltz on “Windows Rolled Down” and “Clear Blue Eyes,” do some classic Philly call-and-response on “Flower,” shamble through the old-timey softshoe of “Cup of Sorrow,” then go all Stevie Wonder for the soulful tango “Hello Again.” Ever the moving target, he can inject social commentary on songs like “Violin,” “Out of the Cold,” or “Behind Me Now,” then explore love and loss on songs like “Stay” and “Learned a Lot,” and finally raise a heartfelt spiritual cry on “Jesus” or “Cup of Sorrow.” While Lee has, heretofore, been marginalized to a fairly small niche as an Americana or folk artist, Mission Bell certainly bears witness to the fact that his talents are more than ready for a much larger audience.
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Barton Hollow The Civil Wars Sensibility Music
A master thesis in the less-is-more ethos, Barton Hollow is the debut studio long-player for The Civil Wars, a minimalist duo consisting of John Paul White and Joy Williams. White hails from Florence, Alabama and Joy Williams, originally from Santa Cruz, California, now resides in East Nashville. She is no stranger to Christian audiences, but boy, has she matured in the years since her last Christian market release. Surprisingly, this beautiful disc is produced by Charlie Peacock, who is not noted for restraint in most of his production work. But here he wisely gets out of the way, adding just the right accents with keys, various stringed instruments, and a proper amount of atmosphere. The overall effect provides substantial drama, whether the subject is the complications of love as in the stunning “Poison and Wine” or something darker as heard in the haunting Appalachian groove of the title track, a study in betrayal and redemption, both physical and spiritual. Let me just say that Williams’ and White’s chemistry is so provocative, it’s almost obscene. The vocal lines are amazingly arranged – soaring, lilting and wrapping around each other with just the right amount of vocal control and tension. When Joy sings passion, her voice is drenched
with tears and angelic grace, while John Paul’s voice is more terrestrial, earthy and is perfectly complemented by just his acoustic guitar. The band’s name evokes the image of trying to find a pocket of safe ground in the midst of a minefield and is largely a metaphor for relationships. Most of the songs explore that dichotomy with appropriate poetic charm. Unbelievably realized for a debut, Barton Hollow is certainly bound to inhabit many a “Best Of” list by the end of 2011. This record is a must own. As a bonus, there is a provocative re-working of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” as well as a cover of the Leonard Cohen song, “Dance Me to the End of Love.”
are definitely worth your time. This album sees Lanois team up with his longfavored rhythm section of New Orleans bassist Daryl Johnson and drummer Brian Blade. New to the equation are the vocals of Trixie Whitley. Kicking off with the dark, menacing rumble of “Love Lives,” Black Dub weaves its way through moody styles. “Last Time” is funk-infused with a grungy guitar line. The blues serve as the basis for “Surely,” while “Nomad” boasts a smooth R&B flow. Everyone’s souls are lifted with the spiritual rejoice of “Canaan.” Lanois’ work with expansive sonics comes into play as well. “Ring the Alarm” combines gritty vocals with a near frenzied orchestral arrangement. His own guitar solo on “Slow Baby” whisks you away, with a Santana-esque aura to it. What the album really serves to do, though, is introduce music fans to the impressive pipes of Whitley. The daughter of the late Chris Whitley, Trixie sets herself apart with deep, confident, powerful vocals that provide the wrenching emotion for this album. In the end, Lanois gives us a strong album top to bottom. What may prove to be more important in the long run though is his introduction of one of the most vibrant voices to come along in some time.
Shawn McLaughlin is a hard working dedicated, tireless worshipper of Christ
Black Dub Black Dub Jive Records
Trip hop, down tempo, dub reggae, gospel, Memphis soul, and early’60s surf instrumentals collide gloriously in Black Dub, the latest chapter in Daniel Lanois’ amazing musical odyssey. Daniel Lanois needs no introduction to anyone. He is arguably the leading record producer in the world, having worked with icons like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, and most famously, U2. He is less well known for his solo albums, but efforts like Acadie, Shine, and For the Beauty of Wynona
...for Christian musicians, leaders, songwriters, indie artists and technicians to improve skill and inspire talent all to God’s glory!
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at the Chapel at Crosspoint Buffalo, NY
13 & 14, 2011
Paul Baloche * Gungor Kari Jobe * Laura Story John Mark McMillan Audrey Assad A Ragamuffin Band Norm Stockton Group
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14 & 15, 2011
at Overlake Christian Church Redmond, WA
11 & 12, 2011
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with Brian Doerksen & The City Harmonic
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OCT 8, 2011
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5 Cool Things I Saw @ NAMM
by Bruce Adolph
In the cycle of life for musical instruments, the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA every January, is the birthing grounds. Each year 1,500 or so musical equipment companies converge and show their new wares. It is a fun place to be if you like gear and there is always something there that makes you think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” This year my top 5 picks were pretty easy to select because I was so excited about each one of them. I try and do a mix of items across the board but sometimes the products just about select themselves because they are, in one way or another, breaking new ground in and of themselves.
photo by Brian Gillies
First up is the Gen 16 cymbals made by Zildjian. These were so unusual that Zildjian even had a different booth for them across the aisle from their regular exhibit space. What they have done is systematically drill lots of small holes in a great set of cymbals, effectively taking away about 75-80% of the volume. What you are left with is a very good sounding cymbal that is now much quieter than usual. Why is this so important to many of our drummer buddies playing in churches? Well, because 50% of all digital drums (electronic kits) sold go to churches. And traditionally, no matter what you say – hitting a rubber cymbal just doesn’t do it for drummers.
team / band to mix their in-ears to their liking. What is ground breaking about this new product is that some of the same guys who designed the popular Aviom product developed Elite Core, but this time around it weighs in with more features and is ½ the price. Yes, you heard me right. Anytime you get to say “more features and ½ the price” you are onto something. Not only that but it is made in America! PM-16 mixer price: $399 IM-16 input module: $599 DM-8 distribution hub:$299
the signature patch via the mini-USB as new patches are added. Way cool! Hall of Fame Reverb: $149 Shaker Vibrato: $129 Corona Chorus: $129 Flashback Delay & Looper: $169 Vortex Flanger: $129 No doubt in due time you will see full-length product reviews of each of my “5 Cool Things I Saw @ NAMM”. Already in the March/ April issue of Worship Musician you will find a review on the Wickstrom Grand Theatre acoustic guitar. An offset sound-hole, cantilevered neck and high end tonewoods make this guitar more than interesting to play. Once you hear it, see the craftsmanship, and know the asking price… you will see why it made my list. The entire guitar is hand built by Craig Wickstrom in Olympia, WA. Pretty cool stuff from the Great Northwest! Grand Theatre Acoustic : $2,695
My third item was found almost by mistake. I was hanging out in the TC Electronic booth and I saw a few of the company reps who have come to our Christian Musician Summit conferences. We started talking and they said, “Did you see what these new effect pedals can do?” I took the bait and am glad I did. Each of the pedals in this new series from TC Electronic has the ability to download a custom patch of signature settings from the website. There is a mini-USB port on the pedal. So not only can you use the settings you dial in for yourself with the control knobs, but you can hit the footswitch and utilize the custom patch as well. This gives you two settings The Gen 16 cymbals look as cool as they sound and there is even a special mic system per pedal and you can keep changing available to bring it all home to your Front of House guy. Drummers rejoice… now you can feel good about hitting real cymbals! These will also have some studio applications as well. Zildjian GEN 16 Acoustic-Electric Cymbal Pack 14-18-20; w/ 3 Dual Condenser Mics & Controller/Module, All Cables & Mounting Hardware: $949 Second item is the PM16 personal mixing system by Elite Core. What this unit delivers is a way for the worship 30 MARCH/APRIL 2011 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
Continued on page 38.
all prices are MAP (Minimum Advertised Price)
Benny Prasad (cont. page 22)
LONELINESS. And when we are lonely there are a lot of sinful thoughts and actions that can creep into our lives. Three ways I was able to keep away from loneliness was1) Host Family – Every country I went to, I stayed with host families regardless of how uncomfortable or challenging the accommodation was. (except in countries where it is the law that I needed to stay in a hotel, e.g. North Korea, Cuba, etc.). I decided that I would rather give up my comfort than my character. When I stayed with a host family I was kept accountable, both with my going and coming and also with who comes in and goes out. That has really helped me in staying sexually pure. I can truly say that by God’s grace I have never slept with a girl. Money and sex are some of the most challenging temptations in the life of an artist. Staying with a host family keeps me engaged and helps me to adopt them as my family while away from home. 2) When the concert is over, I don’t run away to my room or hide in the green room. I spend time with the audience, and many times I get to hear testimonies of how the concert or the message impacted their lives and brought them hope. These testimonies give me a sense of purpose and increase my passion for doing what I am doing. My passion only keeps renewing rather than dying down. As musicians, once we’ve lost our passion, and our music and ministry has become a job, then loneliness can really creep in. 3) I sleep really well on planes so that travel time on planes, airports, trains, etc. is not lonely. CM: When facing difficulties on the road, how did you stay encouraged? Yes, it’s very true that there are disappointments on the road, either with the way concerts are organized or the way I’m hosted. In all of these situations for me to stay encouraged I had to constantly remind myself of 2 things 1) Who I am in Christ as opposed to finding 32 MARCH/APRIL 2011
I did not have a ceremony for accomplishing the task of this World Record, but rather, I did interviews with the Media to share the testimony of how God has used a broken vessel to make history for His glory. Honestly I don’t know the value of having a world record, as I’ve not worked for it. I have not had a salary and yet I could travel to 245 countries including Antarctica debt-free because Jesus was my 100% provider. When a CNN news reporter asked me how I felt having achieved this World Record, I replied to him saying, “I don’t know the value of the world record but I do feel very grateful to God for the privilege of traveling to every nation and sharing the testimony of a transformed life.” CM: Now that you have the record, what are your plans for the future? I’m waiting on the Lord for my next step. In 2002 God gave me the vision to travel to every nation by 2010. I followed the call and truly, He who began a good work was faithful to complete it and I’m a testimony of that. So now I’m waiting on God for directions for the next step in my life. There are so many invitations from all over the world to represent them on an international level, but I really want to wait on the Lord and get His direction for the next step. Time spent waiting on God is never wasted. As of now I feel called to go into the closed and dark places to reveal the Light of the Creator. CM: If you could tell other Christian musicians one thing... what would that be?
my identity in the concert. 2) For what am I doing this; Is it all about Christ or is it about myself? As a human the flesh dictates “putting up the price”, but the verse that convicts me and puts me in my place is, “Consider others better than yourself” and, “Do to others what you expect them to do to you”. The privilege I have is to share my testimony in every performance. By doing that, I get to remind myself from where I started and to what extent God has allowed me to reach. That keeps me humble, and in times when things don’t go my way, I’m reminded that I don’t deserve to even have expectations.
Well one thing I would love to share with Christian Musicians is to never allow Money and Comfort to define your ministry and call. The key is to hear His voice and to act with obedience no matter how foolish it looks to the eyes of the world. God is indeed very CM: Tell us what a typical concert of your faithful in providing our needs regardless of which country we are in, or how high your music entails? A typical concert lasts 1 hour. I play 5 profile is. different instrumental songs on my 20 String How do we measure the value of an Bongo-Harp Bentar and in between each individual life? Is it worth it if a man gains the instrumental I share my testimony or the story whole world and loses his soul? No! So if the of a miracle experience. 95% of the time the value of an individual is more precious than response has been that the testimony has had any amount of wealth in this world, then why more impact than my music. That’s been the have we lost sight of our call and decided to base our ministries on money and comfort? goal of every concert in my travels. CM: You set the World Record for And finally, when God calls you to do traveling to the most countries in the something, He is 100% faithful to provide least amount of time. 245 countries on 7 everything you need to accomplish the task! continents in 6 years, 6 months, and 22 Visit www.bennyprasad.com for more info. days. What was that ceremony like?
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Bruce Adolph and I have been planning to change the theme of my article for some time now. Since I’ve been playing and teaching guitar for 40+ years and have web sites www.GuitarCollege.com and www.99CentGuitarLessons.com devoted to learning guitar we decided to switch the article from “Essential Theory” to “The Fretboard Less Traveled.” Like the title indicates, I hope to introduce you to some new ideas and concepts that will hopefully spur your creativity and excitement about the guitar. Inversions This is one area of the area of playing guitar that can be very beautiful but confusing. An
inversion refers to the relationship of the lowest note of the chord to the other factors of the chord. In Cmaj the chords factors are C E & G. Those simple 3 notes can be rearranged many ways, C E&G or C G&E, E G&C or E C & G and G C&E or G E&C. The first note of each group determines which inversion it can be titled. If C is the lowest note it is a Root Position chord. If E the 3rd of the chord is the lowest note it is 1st Inversion and if G the 5th of the chord is the lowest note it is called 2nd Inversion Quality of Sound Just as the note “E” can be played at four positions, open 1st string, 5th fret 2nd string, 9th fret 3rd string & 14th fret 4th string, every
chord can also be played in many locations on the fretboard. Notice when you play the note ”E” on the different strings, each sound a little different, each has its own character, its own quality of sound. The quality of sound is even more pronounced with inversions. Not only might we play the same note in different locations or string groups on the fretboard but we also rearrange the sequence of notes. Let’s look at a simple Cmaj chord. (1) Notice how a root position chord has the root as its lowest note, a 1st inversion has the 3rd as its lowest note and the 2nd inversion has the 5th as its lowest note. Each one is still a “Cmaj” chord but each sounds a bit different. This next example (2) shows how the name of the inversion changes with the lowest note even if the other chord factors are still the same as the first group. Again, all of these chords are considered Cmaj chords but each one has its own quality of sound. Here are some more inversions of a simple “Cmaj” chord that you might find interesting and hopefully inspiring. (3&4) Remember if you want to get these voicings into your fingertips you’ve got to use them and plug them into songs. Transposing them to other keys also helps. Next time we’ll explore inversions of more chords. Til then 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.
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by Joe Riggio
I have a Strat that I purchased a few years back and I like it (love is for people) anyway, I’ve heard from our sound people at church that when I have my pickup selector on certain settings they hear a hum... I tell them that it’s the nature of the beast. So I usually have it set to position 2 or four where there is no hum or barely audible hum. What’s going on here?
Basically: single-coil pickups, like the ones in your Strat, are found in many classic designs; Telecaster, Stratocaster, Gibson P-90 and countless others, are made up of one coil of wire, wrapped around some sort of magnetic material. They produce a very sweet and stringy sound, but also have the inherent hum that you are experiencing. As designers and engineers (sometime during the 1940’s) further developed the design of magnetic pickups, to eliminate the background hum, the dual-coil, or “humbucking” design was created, where 2 coils wired together, in series, are sitting side-by-side, in a double-wide layout. The most noted and recognized version was from the Gibson Co., with the design credit going to an employee of theirs, named Seth Lover. Although there are other examples of the design, from earlier pioneers like Paul Tutmarc, from Seattle. This dual-coil design eliminates the hum found in single-coil pickups, but yields a substantially different tone. Both sounds are loved and commonly found on famous recordings and stages. For decades the challenge, for many, has been to design a pickup that has the tonal properties of a single-coil, but without the hum. Since the 1980’s, there have been countless attempts and products that have been accepted and adequate for lots of players. Most of them are a design where 2 coils are stacked, one on top of the other and wired together to eliminate hum. These are
available in many common sizes and are a direct replacement for their targeted design. Unfortunately, this has produced a sound that is similar to single-coils, but missing some of their sparkle and other favorable characteristics. I have personally avoided this design for years because, for my ears, the compromise was not ever worth the result. In my opinion (and I have installed and heard just about all of them) the DiMarzio “Area” series of pickups is a fantastic design that sounds like a single-coil, and also eliminates hum. They are also among the least expensive available. I highly recommend them and have sold sets to many satisfied customers, as well as using them myself. You are experiencing humcancellation in the 2 and 4 position of your Strat because of another common work-around: when 2 single coils are wound in reverse direction from each other and of opposite polarity, the result is a cancellation of the hum, when they are both live in the circuit, such as when the switch in your Strat is in the 2 and 4 position. That’s a nice plus when you’re in those positions, but doesn’t do anything about when the pickups are used individually.
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 ServiceGuitarRepair@gmail.com, website: www.ServiceGuitarRepair.com
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Dreaming of an Indie Artist Ministry?
5 Cool Things I Saw @ NAMM (cont. page 30)
Do you know the 7 hidden pitfalls that can turn it into a nightmare?
The typical emerging artist attempting to follow their passion for an indie artist ministry will spend years longer than they hoped and will invest thousands of dollars more than they earn in their efforts. They will experience confusion, frustration, angst, a high degree of discouragement, and too often, disillusionment. Sadly, the most common result is a failure to transform a calling into a sustainable ministry. Want to know why? More importantly, want to take a better route? Incubator Creative Group, a 22 year veteran in music ministry incubation, is presenting a revealing online seminar series that exposes the seven hidden pitfalls. Incubator has cracked the code on the biggest obstacles to making your ministry dream a reality. Get a FREE ‘online seat’ at the early bird webinar by visiting the special website link below. Tap into Incubator today!
Now sometimes I get teased for not showing as much love to the keyboard department as I do the guitars. But I have to tell you, I haven’t been this excited about a new keyboard since Yamaha announced their DX7 back in the 80’s. Brian Felix and I went to a press party the night before the convention started
presented by Korg. What they unveiled that night in a 90-minute presentation was truly amazing. Their new Kronos keyboard/workstation is a game changer in the world of keyboards, and sets the bar pretty high for others to follow. At the core of the Kronos is it’s nine (yes nine!) engines. Utilizing a solid state hard drive (I didn’t even know there were solid state hard drives) that seems to have enough memory capacity to light up a small city, the Kronos delivers a piano sound that never even loops… not once! That is how much memory power and number crunching is going on internally. I was sold on it at that point with the realistic piano sounds but then they went on to the Fender Rhodes type patches (an entirely different engine runs those). They played a John Klemmer type tune and it sounded like I was sitting down at my very own Fender Rhodes (which I actually do have one, a Suitcase 73 model no less - so maybe that will quell some of this anti-keyboard talk amongst my peers… Ha!). From there the demonstration went to Hammond B3’s (another engine employed in making those killer sounds), to vintage analog synths, arpeggio madness, stirring strings and ended with sampled drums. If you only have room for one keyboard on your stage or in your studio, you need to go play the Kronos. Brian and I walked away just shaking our heads. Kronos (61, 76, 88 key) Estimated street pricing ranges from $2999 to $3799
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of The Dustin Burke Band
of tune and has great tone that cuts through the front of house mix. The Greg Bennett Blackbird delivers both of those every night. After sound-check I rarely have to retune my guitar, and even after a year of exclusively using this guitar, I still can’t get over the warm, rich sound I’m getting from a solid body acoustic. I’ll never go back.”
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This is one amazing story of how God will reach down into a person’s lowest low and darkest night, and pull him out of that “miry clay,” redeeming and restoring the man, and renewing the talent He had originally given. Especially if you feel like you’re too far gone for God to touch you or use you again, Kirk’s story, and his and Lesley’s music, will no doubt encourage your heart and show you just how far the Lord will go to show you His love.
Aimee Herd: Kirk, just so we can get a picture of where you’re coming from, can you give us a little background of the events prior to, and leading up to the time when God really got a hold of you? Kirk Martin: Well, it’s a little hard to pinpoint. I was raised in a good Lutheran home with parents who did everything they knew to be right; they did the best they could with what they were given. There were just some unfortunate circumstances that put me in a position where I started making bad choices. There was always a big rift between my father and myself. I was the fourth child in the family. I think he was done after child #3, but then I came along. I was a very rambunctious, off-the-hook kind of kid. He was struggling with some things himself (like making peace with God) but unfortunately, his frustration and anger came out on me. I ended up taking that out on myself as well as others. At one point, when I was young, a couple of boys who were much older than I was, molested me. They told me I’d better not tell my parents because they [my parents] would hate me, and that God would be mad. Shortly after, I went to church and heard how “God loves you,” but also that He “sometimes punishes those He loves.” So, I was trying to sort through all of this as a young man. I grew up thinking the Lord was angry with me and that I had done something wrong. Later, I found out I was adopted, which brought more feelings of rejection, loss and confusion. 40 MARCH/APRIL 2011 By the time I was in high school, I was taking every drug I could find. I was drinking a lot and stealing money from my father for drugs. I was constantly picked on. Even teachers made fun of me—I was the joke of the school. At one point, some jocks cornered me and smacked me around. I was so humiliated that I went home and got my father’s gun and brought it to school—I was going to shoot those boys in the head. Strangely enough, just before the third hour, another kid who was also a drug dealer came up to me and said, “Man, I heard that you brought a gun to school; the principal and vice principal are on their way right now to pull you out of this next class with an officer. Is it true?” I said, “Yeah,” and traded him some drugs for the gun, which he put in the trunk of his car. To this day, those jocks have no idea how lucky they are that they’re still alive. I went down a very dark road and began living a very hateful and perverse lifestyle. Y’see I used to think that God was behind all the bad things that happened to me. I joined the Army and was kicked out with an honorable discharge my 6th week, because I was mentally unstable. After more friction with my father, I went to Virginia Beach, where my car was stolen. I ended up homeless and having to steal, fight, and do whatever it took to survive. AH: Kirk, at what point did you put together the metal band you were in? KM: I met a couple guys who were in a metal band up in New York City, so I moved up there and played with those guys— getting even deeper into all types of drugs. There are things I did that I don’t even want to talk about, but I had gotten myself in trouble to where I needed to leave New York right away or I was going to end up in a pine box. I moved back to Michigan and cut my hair. I went to work at a store stocking groceries, because I was afraid for my life. After a while, I met some more guys who had already started a metal band, but their singer/guitar player was a flake. So, I joined the band in the winter of 1989, and within just a short period of time, we became one of the biggest bands in Michigan, for our genre. The deeper I got into the music, the darker I became, with more and more hate. The music morphed from what it had been, into me singing about “stealing souls from God.” One of our most popular songs was called “Molded Mind”. There’s a line in it that says, “...alone it seems the only thing that I can feel, and the dreams will pass in vain of the many souls that I will steal.” AH: Wow... creepy. KM: Real creepy! Well, we put some bunks in a bus and started traveling, and ended up in Florida. Things were starting to really open up for us, but then a couple of guys left the band. They didn’t tell me ‘til later, but they were literally scared. I was so filled with hate; I was carrying a gun everywhere
I went, and I was just as mean and tough as nails. I hated God because I thought I was being punished for everything I had done wrong, and everything that had been done to me. When the guys left the band, it was just when things were starting to get going for us, and I really thought I had a chance. Our bus had broken down and a guy who really liked our music had welcomed us into his house. I ended up going out into this field by his house and, falling to the ground, I began to curse God and spit at the name of Jesus; I began to claw the earth and said, “Satan, give me what I want, and I’ll twist and take as many people as I can to hell with music.” Two days later, a guy who had been working as our manager called and said, “Look, there’s a record label and they want to know how much you would want to go into the studio and what budget you’d need to record.” So, I got hooked up with a couple other musicians who were better than those who left, because the new guys just played and were “hired guns”, so to speak, and we started to write some very ugly music. I decided to change the name of the band to Hate Plow and call the first album “Christian Lies.” At that time, JC Dwyer owned that name and decided to give it to me. Later on, when I walked away from the deal, he gave the name to another band. I took on this kind of “self-ism,” where I only believed in myself. I didn’t believe in my parents, or God, or love. My philosophy was: Make your own destiny. Make your own way and crush anybody who gets in your way. My musical ability seemed to double because I had become ultra-driven at that point, and the music I was writing just seemed incredibly dark. Now, I don’t think music is evil, in and of itself, but I think it’s
the spirit and the heart that drives the music. AH: Like Jonathan Maracle from Broken Walls says, “The instrument is subject to the heart of the musician.” KM: Jonathan is a good friend of ours! AH: So now, I know God didn’t leave you in that state of hate back then. Talk about what happened next. KM: I was sitting in a fast food restaurant in the early morning—I was rarely awake in the early mornings, but I was drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette when this old man walked in. He was about 5 foot 3 with a white bushy beard and hair, a big red nose, and he wore a little black yarmulke and a trench coat. He came in, got coffee and sat down right across from me. Immediately I got in his face and said, “What’s up pops?” He answered, “What’s up pops?” I said, “What’s up dad?” He said, “What’s up dad?” (Imitating me) I got mad because he was mocking me, so I jumped across the table and screamed every foul, disgusting word I could possibly think of. He literally didn’t budge. Most people were scared of me—I could walk across an intersection and hear people locking their doors! But, this man just looked me in the eye and said, “Jesus sent me here to tell you that He loves you.” My first, gut reaction was to jump up and rip his eyeballs out of his head. But before I could get my feet to tell the rest of my body to jump, he said, “And He wants you to know that He wasn’t responsible for those young men molesting you when you were a little boy.” The interesting thing was, he called them by name. I had never told anyone that in my entire life. AH: Amazing. KM: And then he said, “Your father desperately loves you. He only understands
what his father did to him. He’s just doing the best that he can, but you are very important to him.” AH: What did you do after the man told you this? KM: I felt like someone had cut my feet off and all the blood had drained from my body. It honestly freaked me out; I didn’t know what to think. Then the guy got up and said, “Jesus loves you and He’s waiting for you to turn your face toward home,” and he walked out. I was literally paralyzed by what had just happened, but when I got my composure back, I jumped up and ran after him because I had to know how he knew all that. The guy had to have been no more than 15 or 20 feet ahead of me; he turned a corner, went behind a row of hedges and just disappeared. I never saw him again. The whole experience caused me to really ponder in my head what was going on. AH: Yeah, I bet it did! KM: I flew home to Michigan and put together a recording budget with a big studio I knew there. I was getting ready to put everything together. On June 17th, 1994, I was laying on the bus, sound asleep; at 3:30 in the morning, the bus shook violently for a few seconds and it woke me up. For the first time in my life, I felt an air of peace around me. I looked up at the top of my bunk and saw pictures of my nieces and nephews; the only people who meant anything to me anymore. I began to realize what I had done. I feel like God pulled the little boy out of me and let the little boy see what the man had become. I got really scared and began to cry and weep. The presence of God— which I didn’t understand at the time—was so incredibly heavy on that bus. It was so heavy; I literally rolled out of my bunk onto the floor and begged God to kill me, and to MARCH/APRIL 2011 41
take me to hell because I knew that was what I deserved. I wept so hard, I cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next morning and there was a “shift”. Nothing seemed the same. When I got high, it wasn’t the same. Things just looked different; the clouds looked fluffier, the grass looked greener. When I woke up after that night, it was the first time that I didn’t understand how I felt, and I had no clue why I felt that way. I had no idea why I had had this hate for people. I had no understanding of the hate that had filled me [up to that point]; it just disappeared. During the next 2 or 3 weeks I developed kidney stones, and at one point, passed out from the pain. I woke up in the hospital—they’d given me some morphine, and I called my mom, who told me to come home. I never went back to pursuing that recording contract, or the band. When I went home, all the policemen in the county wanted to arrest me; all the husbands whose wives I’d slept with wanted to kill me; all the fathers whose teenage girls I had violated wanted to kill me, and God stuck me right back in that same community. One day I was sitting on my couch and it finally hit me that I had told Satan that I would take people to hell with me if he would give me what I wanted, and it freaked me out! A friend, who used to hang out with the band, mysteriously showed up at my house with a Bible. He had gotten saved during an attempted suicide. He said, “Look, I need to 42 MARCH/APRIL 2011
take you to church; God told me to come here, here’s a Bible.” I walked into that church and the first thing I saw was the cross and the altar, and I just ran to it. I fell down and began to weep uncontrollably. This old man—maybe about 70—who was a guest minister came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Young man, is there something I can help you with?” I said, “Oh my God, I’ve sent so many people to hell. I’ve done so many horrible things; I’ve sold my soul.” He told me, “Well son, I don’t know about where you’ve been or what you’ve done, but I know you couldn’t have sold your soul, because it was never yours to sell.” Shortly after that, God directed me to another church where Pastor Bill Tulip took me under his wing, and to this day he has never turned his back on me; he’s been like a father to me. I was able to walk away from drugs, and the hate, but the one thing I struggled with was sex. One night it got so bad that I went home, sat on my bed, and put one round in my .44 Magnum. I pulled the hammer back and put it to my head. I picked up the phone with my other hand and I called Pastor Bill. I said, “You’ve been like a father to me, but I’m gonna blow my brains out right now because God’s never gonna set me free from this. He doesn’t love me and this is never gonna end.” The first words out of his mouth were, “Well, taking your own life would not be a very career enhancing move.” I got angry at that, but
what it did was it took my mind off of killing myself. Pastor Bill told me he’d be there in 15 minutes. He came in and gently took the gun out of my hand, took the shell out, and put it in the next room. I began to weep and cried myself to sleep. When I woke up, every CD I had ever owned was gone, and there was a bag with a pile of Hosanna CDs and Vineyard worship cassettes. There was a little note that said, “Try these for 30 days, and if things don’t change, I’ll give you back all your music.” That’s when I began to experience the presence of God for real. I began to listen and fall in love with worship. I realized that worship is the key to opening up a relationship with God and His presence. I got on my face before God and begged Him not to leave me in that state. He dealt with me, and now it’s been 11 years since I struggled with pornography or sexual impurity. It was a glorious, victorious end to a bitter, bitter struggle. AH: So, tell me how you met Lesley? KM: After about 3 or 4 years since I’d been clean from that, I got a call from Jonathan Maracle of Broken Walls. I had done some First Nations ministry with Johnny on a couple of occasions. He called and told me, “You know, I feel very strongly that you should come to this conference up in Ottawa, Canada.” I happened to have been sitting in the car with an Ojibwe Indian Christian brother when Johnny called. I told him I’d like to but that I didn’t have money to get there. When I hung up the phone, the Ojibwe brother next to me,
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Brian Moses, said, “I don’t know why, but I think you need to go to that conference; I’m so sure of it, I’ll buy you a plane ticket right now.” At the conference, I was backstage tuning up my guitar, and as I peeked out of a gap in the curtain, I saw this brunette angel walking up the aisle! As I looked at her, it was the third time I’d ever heard the voice of God audibly, and He said, “That’s the girl I want you to marry.” AH: That’s so cool. Lesley, were you aware of any of this at the time? Lesley Martin: (Laughing) My mother noticed him staring a little bit, and we both had our eyes on him during the conference. KM: I kept talking about her with Jonathan and others backstage at the conference. But when it came to talking TO her, I didn’t know what to say. She had me completely tonguetied and I hadn’t even talked to her yet! Finally it was Lesley’s mom who introduced us, and I asked her, “Did it hurt?” She said, “Did what hurt?” I said, “When you fell from heaven?!” Marriage, three children and 8 years later, we’ve literally led thousands of people to Christ together. Lesley had never even sung before, and I threw her in front of a microphone... LM: I’d been playing keyboards for a few years before I met Kirk. But we’d just sit in the living room, even before we were married and play and sing...and just worship. AH: So, do you two write together then? LM: Yes. KM: A lot of times, I’ll be sitting there with my guitar and something will come to me. I’ll say, “Les, grab a paper and pencil and write this down!” I write most of the music part of the songs, and I use some alternative tunings that are really off-the-hook and uncommon. It makes playing keyboards very difficult for Lesley. LM: (Laughing) I know when it’s a “Kirk” chord. KM: It’s funny; you always hear the joke about “you complete me.” But with Lesley, it’s true. I’ll be so stuck on one thing and unable to get away from it no matter what I do. And, Lesley will just have that—God will give her that moment in the music, or the lyric that completes the song. We’ve been told so many times that there is a “glory” that shows up when we minister. LM: Something tangible... KM: We’ve seen people get healed physically, emotionally and mentally. People who, after hearing our music and my story, came up and told us that they too were molested, but that this was their day to get free and be healed. 44 MARCH/APRIL 2011 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
LM: And that’s happening during the worship time, even before any ministry. It’s just God’s presence that’s filling the room and working on people’s hearts. That’s our passion: worship to bring His presence, to bring healing. AH: So, you have the worship albums: “Covenant,” “Reflections,” and the live album, “Live at CLC,” but I read that you’ve got a metal project in the works. KM: I had started some metal stuff before we met, but I didn’t have peace about it, although the music was awesome. LM: I had heard the rough cuts and I liked it. A couple years went by; we were working on the worship projects, and we had a baby. But, I kept telling him, “Kirk, I think you need to work on that metal project. I really think God’s going to use you in that area as well as the worship.” It never really came to fruition until just recently. KM: I felt like the Lord told me, “Kirk, I’m going to put you right back where I found you, but this time, you’re going to understand what to do and why.” The music [on the metal project] is solid, and the lyrics are 100 percent Christ-centered. It’s all about telling the world about God, and telling the metal community what God did for me. LM: It’s not “Christian metal” per se; it’s metal about Christ. KM: Here’s the mind-blowing thing about it: when I had been a Christian for about three years, I was out in Colorado Springs. Pastor Mark Cowart of Church for All Nations called me out of the congregation—I was just a visitor that night, he didn’t even know me. He said that there would be “millions of young people who were waiting to hear your voice.” He said that they wouldn’t listen to someone else’s voice but, when the time was right, God would release me and they would hear my voice and my story, and know that I’d been with God and that God is with me. He said that young people would hear this and come to Christ. Now, here it is 17 years later, and God has opened up the doors for me—besides the beautiful worship music that Lesley and I write—to do this metal project too.
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MARCH/APRIL 2011 Volume 9, Issue 2
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Kirk Martin plays Taylor acoustic guitars exclusively, and uses uses Kyser Musical Products, EMG pickups, Jackson electric guitars, and Dean Markley strings. Lesley uses Yamaha keyboards. For more information on Kirk and Lesley Martin, and to purchase their music, log onto: www.MusicforHarvest.com
By Bryan Duncan A Christian musician before the phrase was He loved Western style swing, the kind Roy coined, my dad, Reverend Daniel R. Duncan, Rogers might have sung. He liked inside chord passed away at 78. I’m thinking rpm’s on an movement too with that jazz flavor. LP. I’m his first born and I had the privilege He never said much about the changes of sitting at his right hand as he struggled to in popular music, as he watched my style finish his life. Seven years after the onslaught preferences replace his own in church. He saw of Alzheimer’s, and two years spent recovering them fade, too. He stopped playing music from a stroke. “Nobody should have to live like in church because his style of music was no disgruntled with the “newbies” because they this,” he said just two months ago. longer the hip way to “worship.” I had my questions about the final years of So what do we pass on with regard to our don’t hear a “demolished thirteen” in the chord this Godly musician, “rewarded” by some sort passions? When the dross is burned away, structure. Thank God, you can feel His foot on of banishment, relegated to near helplessness what still stands? Hopefully not just some label the sustain pedal of your own instrument. We and dependency on others for the smallest of what we were into, some brand name like don’t get to choose who will resonate with details of life. I wondered about the frightening “Pentecostal Polka.” In some circles, “Christian” what we play or how it will affect them. But experience of slowly losing the things you are in front of “musician” tends to banish you what a gift to communicate to ourselves the good at – in his case, assembling words and from a list of the best even without a stroke. love we feel from the master musician. insights. But then, I trust God and follow Jesus Suspicions are that perhaps your popularity is I don’t play anything like my dad would have Christ because my dad did! merely a plank in the party platform of another played it. I can, however, feel his influence. It’s Alzheimer’s scrambles your thought process, agenda. Because downloads aren’t available, that classic musician’s sense of nonconformity keeps you from communicating to anyone I’m not even sure King David would be a big to all that is unoriginal. And I know that God but God himself in most cases. I found it draw these days as a harpist, except maybe in smiles at even the most dissonant of chords in my efforts when I’m focused on resonating with interesting, though, that the musical side of the Portland area! my dad’s brain was intact till the day he died. Music is a wonderful thing that God hands out the gift I have found from Him. God knows the Just a few months ago, he sat at the piano and to anyone who receives. And He has the gall to music that is my life. And I follow Jesus because played and sang “Heaven, I’m Going There.” give it to people who don’t even acknowledge he will resolve and sustain that music. Him in the slightest. Does I heard a wonderful sermon once about trying our legacy come down to identify a song when you can only hear the to our expertise? Is it in harmony part. It’s almost impossible to tell our ability to impress without the melody line. In fact, a harmony the masses, or to fit in might not even sound cohesive to itself. Heaven with the giant “cover will hold a symphony of stacked harmony parts tune” that is blanketing the like that. Harmony’s to God’s melody. And we will, upon hearing it, understand the part God mainstream? has asked us to play in it. I found myself a little miffed that after fifty So I say here’s the legacy: Keep yourself in years of service to God, tune, and play the grace notes God has written my dad had little in the out and placed in front of you, trusting where way of acknowledgement. God has placed you in the orchestra. It’s Until God spoke to me probably off to the left in the reed section. and said, the reward is Your part might not even make sense to you, that I gave your dad a but man, listen to that tone! We are Christian passion that took him musicians because we have a music director, through his whole life! booking agent, and road manager all wrapped It was specific and came up in one. Keep playing one gig at a time until out in his interpretation God finishes the packaging and adds the shrink of music. I put a melody wrap. in his heart that never ceased to sustain through Bryan Duncan... CCM artist for the worst of hardships. He worshipped me with his thirty years. With the Sweet life! It’s the most original Comfort Band, then solo and concerto anyone can ever now with the Nehosoul band. write!
If you have moved beyond the same four chords and seven words we use in church, don’t be
Owner of Red Road Records and Host of Radio Rehab at www. radiorehab.com inducted into the Christian music Hall of Fame in 2007.
A Christian Musician’s Legacy
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