What/Why/How

IMG_9970 - Version 6

I was living in the Middle East, praying in an abandoned schoolroom one evening.  The thought came to me, “What would you do if you knew you only had a little longer to live?”  Unexpectedly, I found myself answering without hesitation: “I would record some of the music God has given to me.”

That experience jump-started my efforts which, over 2 years later, produced “Why This Waste?”  (And so far I’m still alive…)

I chose the name “Why This Waste?” in light of the story in the Bible (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:1-11) where a woman pours expensive perfume on Jesus, and some people there mutter, “Why this waste?”  Jesus, however, defends the woman’s actions, saying “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”  …I realize the time, energy, and money I poured into my music project could have gone to other purposes.  But I wanted to create these songs as demonstration of my love for Jesus Christ.  I realize my songs are embarrassingly imperfect, and those who listen might justifiably mutter, “Why this waste?” at my efforts.  Yet I hope Jesus would come to my defense and say, “Leave him alone.  He did what he could.  He has done a beautiful thing to me.”

small header

How

It was a long, slow process, as this project was always on the back burner behind family and work.  Starting in January 2011, I recorded rough drafts of the songs over a period of several months.  My friends Jeff Smith and Brienne Hooker gave me initial feedback, and I tried to apply their excellent suggestions.  My parents, ever supportive of my musical pursuits, gave me some money to purchase a new microphone.  With the new mic, I re-sang all of the tracks and was about to send the songs in to be mixed and mastered.  I decided to take one extra step and sent a few songs to a song-coach named Cindy Wilt Colville.  Her expert critique sent me back to drawing board lyric-wise.  It was painful and amazingly helpful to receive her honest, knowledgeable feedback.  As I continued working on the project, I was running out of energy and finances until a friend of mine  gave me an enormously generous gift.  His kindness both inspired and enabled me to finish the project.  And all along this winding road, my wife, Rita, graciously supported my efforts.  ”Why This Waste?” was a considerable drain on my free time and our financial resources, not to mention my emotional energy (several times, frustrated and humiliated by my lack of talent, I wanted to give up).  Still, Rita continually walked beside me, encouraged me, and gave me the green light.  As a final step, I took the project to Sweetwater Studios in Fort Wayne, IN to be mixed and mastered.  There Nathan Heironomus and Banner Kidd plied their trade and took the project to a whole new level.

For those of you who might be interested in a few technical details: I recorded the entire project in GarageBand on my laptop (MacBook Pro8,1, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7).  The exception being “Think Beyond”, which was recorded in 2005 in Scott Greeson’s living room–Hoosier Surf Records, Lafayette, IN.  I used an Apogee Duet 2 as my interface, and an Rode NT-1a as my mic for all my guitar and vocal parts.  I used a little keyboard (M-Audio Key Rig 49) to record MIDI tracks for the bass, piano, and a few other parts.  Drums were all loops I selected or created in GarageBand, with the exception of the djembe I played for “Psalm 10″.