Monday, November 28, 2005

Finding Your Voice on a Monday Morning

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of driving up to St. Andrews to do a little acoustic guitar workshop, with a little help from Jesse Duley. I always like going up that way, the town has a great vibe, reminds me of Oxford, just with more tartan.

Anyway, I'm writing this on my least favourite day of the week...Monday. Today I've decided that rather than just get maudlin about the mundane and all the stuff I've got to do this week, I thought I'd try something novel (for me), and turn Monday into a day of dedication to the Lord. Now, I'm not talking about a 24 hour prayer session. I'm just being deliberate in thinking about Him, talking to Him and waiting on Him, as I go about ther day to day stuff. It seems to have been a blessing already, much more peace than usual, more clarity and more sense of Him. I also decided to begin work on a collection of blues songs. I've been wanting to do this for years, but never had the nerve. Blues is easy to play technically but very hard to play properly. It's also difficult not to sound like a cliche'd pub rocker hammering out yet another 12 bar.

Since we were in Oxford I've felt a pressing to really let out my own musical voice. As a worship leader my main focus in music of recent years has been playing in an accessible way, which is what is required to do the job. But as an artist that can sometimes be a hinderance as I now have a (imaginary) senior pastor type who lives in my head with the job of editor. He's very useful when I'm leading worship as I'm there for the congregation not my own musical kicks. But when I'm trying to create in a non corporate artistic capacity it can be a pain.

However I've felt more an more of a release over the past couple of months, thanks to guys like Dan Wilt who really model a life of authentic accessible worship leading as well as a fruitful artistic life. After years of inner conflict I realise that the two facets can live side by side. Besides, musically, I was always more Keith Richards than Cliff Richard more John lee Hooker than John Barnett (bad analogy I know, but it's Monday!), now I realise that's perfectly ok.

I'll try to diarise the process as I do it. I'm hoping to demo the first song which is partially written, some time today. Should be an interesting journey. Now I need to dust off my mojo and see if it's working! (bad Muddy Waters pun)

Friday, November 18, 2005

TGI Friday

No, not the famous restaurant. I'm just glad it's Friday. I try and keep this day clear as much as possible so that I have a day off in the week. It's amazing how much time church stuff takes up, so Sundays are pretty much a working day for me. Friday is kinda like my sabbath, I do a bit of work, but I usually don't need to see anybody, and I usually go for a drive into Edinburgh to do my banking and buy myself a Starbucks. Then in the evening I actually get to see my wife for more than an hour. We've both been running ragged recently so these times we've got together are precious. I can't complain about my job as I get paid to play the guitar and teach people who are just starting out on the musical journey. Then my other "job", or vocation really, I get to lead people into worshipping the living God in a current, authentic and accessible way. The pay isn't great (or exists) but the job satisfaction is way beyond anything else.

If I would change one thing it would be that my wife and I worked at the same time so we could see more of each other. My prayer at the moment is that I could earn enough so she could be at home part time and I could do the bulk of support for the family. And a final cheery thought.......3 months until I'm 33. I'll be closer to 40 than to 25, scary.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Great Weekend

Haven't posted for a while as life has been pretty bonkers around here. This weekend we hosted a "Heart and Skill" day conference along with Vineyard records. The day was really well attended, the feedback we got from the punters was great and VR even let me loose to teach a workshop on acoustic guitar. Aside from a few technical hitches with aged drum kits, not enough p.a. and important power leads having a wander we got through it unscathed. Also it was great just to hang out with some of the guys such as Nathan Horner and Danny from VR, Matt, John and Mark from Bristol Vineyard and Jesse Duley, who's somewhere in transit between "dahn sarf" and St Andrews. Good day, lot's of God stuff, guitar talk and pizza, what more could you ask for?

On a far more frivolous note I'm just doing up a G3 Lombard Powerbook that I picked up on Ebay. It needs a new battery, OSX (already ordered from the US), Ram (on it's way), PRAM battery (still to get) and a bigger hard drive. the actual machine itself is in great condition for a 6 year old laptop. Looking forward to standing out at Vineyard conferences with my sleek black stealth book in a sea of silvery is the new titanium!