Monday, August 24, 2009

Did I Just Buy a Lawn Mower?

Thanks to Moving Crew #2 (Mike, Evan & Bill), a borrowed truck (Joe), two awesome Craigslist folks (Katie & Danny), my manly eldest son (Joshua) and Wal-Mart, we are pretty much moved in! (And of course, Luanne, who masterminded the whole thing, and Jake, Emily and Zach, who helped however they could all day long...)

It'll be a while before we're settled. There are still tons of boxes and things to unpack, stereos and computers to hook up and so on, but it's feeling good.

And I actually got a nice washer and dryer and a complete lawn care set (mower, weed eater, hedge trimmer and leaf blower) all for only $300 on Craigslist tonight! Never had to buy a mower before. It's going to be fun to be a home owner!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tulsa

We've arrived! Thank you, God...

Kids are in bed and Luanne and I are unpacking what we brought in the van and the car. Worship gathering tomorrow morning, then guys from Redeemer are coming over to help us unpack the first PODS container, which is sitting in the driveway. All the animals are alive.

When we arrived today, people from Redeemer had put air mattresses in all the bedrooms, a card table in the kitchen eating area, lots of food in the pantry and even a flower in the windowsill. We feel so welcome.

We're feeling really encouraged and blessed today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Quick Update

Writing from Amarillo, TX, tonight, home of the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Wow. We had a limo (with horns!) pick us up from our hotel lobby tonight and take us to the restaurant. It's really more than a restaurant. It's an experience.

Tomorrow we'll probably be up at the crack of dawn. The kids are SO excited. We should hit Oklahoma City just in time for lunch, and then it's full speed toward Tulsa.

Oh, and speaking of Oklahoma City, I just bought tickets for Josh, Jake and I to see the big U2/Black Eyed Peas show there on October 18. Rock and roll!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Quick Update from the Road

We're enjoying a sweet family vacation as we head from Los Angeles to Tulsa. We left on Tuesday morning and drove to Lake Havasu City, where we were astonished to find that it was 116 degrees at 4:30pm. On Wednesday, we spent four hours on jet skis on the lake. It was amazing... One of those times I find myself just thanking God for His goodness! Hanging out on the lake with my awesome family... It was a great day. We even braved the heat for a quick photo-op at the London Bridge. Tonight we're in Flagstaff and tomorrow we head off to Albuquerque. Friday we drive to Amarillo and Saturday we'll arrive at our new house in Tulsa!

It feels so good to be heading home.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Lucky Guy

Maybe, more accurately, a very blessed guy.

Thank you, God, for sixteen years with this fabulous woman as my wife. And thank you, Luanne, for your love and faithfulness to me. I'm forever grateful.

Look at what we've started!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Still Standing Revisited: Stories and Lyrics

Yesterday I wrote about “Still Standing” and how it came to be. Today I’m going to talk a little about the songs and put up the lyrics. Remember, you can download “Still Standing” for free at NoiseTrade! And if you do, it’ll help to spread the word and keep me on that coveted front page!

1) This is a Vineyard worship song written by Terry Butler. It served a sort of invocation at the beginning of the record, a prayer… that all the songs to follow would honor and bless God. This song had special significance for the people who helped fund the record, so I thought it would be appropriate and meaningful to include it. When the album was completed, I sent a copy to Terry Butler, who’s now a worship pastor in Pomona, California, and he was very encouraging about the new arrangement.

Psalm 19
Words and Music by Terry Butler
For Robin, Gary, Kelsey, Steven, Donna and Nick.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
Be pleasing to You, pleasing to You
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
Be pleasing to You, my God

You’re my Rock and my Redeemer
You’re the reason that I sing
I desire to be a blessing in Your eyes
Every hour and every moment
Lord, I want to be Your servant
I desire to be a blessing in Your eyes
In Your eyes

© 1995 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing
Admin. in North America by Music Services o/b/o Vineyard Music Global Inc. (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


2) I started to write this song way back in 1998, when Jacob was a newborn baby and Josh was three. I was (and still am) so crazy about my kids, and I had such a desire to shelter them from the world and from their own sinfulness, but I knew that my protection would only go so far, that they were human and, like all of us, destined to lose their innocence. This is a song of surrender and blessing, turning them over to God and reminding them to rest in Him.

Oh My Child
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale
For Joshua Matthew, Jacob Connor, Emily Grace and Zachary Joseph.

Oh my child, I am trying to raise you well
Oh my child, so far so good, but who can tell
Cuz the world is a violent, empty place
They don’t care about you and your precious face
Not really, not really

Oh my child, be strong and courageous
All around you, heaven knows, there’s a battle that rages
And the angels are fighting for your soul
And your daddy is praying that you will know
The Father, the Father

Big blue eyes and busy hands
You’ll grow up as time demands
How many days, how great the cost
Till I look in your eyes and see innocence lost

Oh my child, I am only human too
And I know any minute now I am going to fail you
And I hope you’ll remember how I love you
And that I was an innocent child like you
Long ago, not long ago

Big blue eyes and busy hands
You’ll grow up as time demands
How many days, how great the cost
Till I look in your eyes and see innocence lost

Oh my child, how I long for what’s to come
All the violent, empty things will finally come undone
And from Eden to Golgotha to Kingdom Come
All Creation is groaning, “Thy will be done”
Oh rest in that, Oh rest in Him

Oh Joshua, rest in Him
Oh Jacob, rest in Him
Oh Emily, rest in Him
Oh Zachary, rest in Him
Oh Father, Thy will be done

© 1998 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


3) Some people hear this as a love song, some a song about coming back to God… What do you think? Maybe it’s both.

Back to You
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale

I have been to Arizona and I’ve seen the painted deserts
I have been to California and I’ve played in the Pacific
I have been to Minnesota, felt the icy breath of winter
But I can’t find my way back to you

Back to you, back to you
I can’t find my way back to you

Well, I never thought that anything would ever come between us
I had promised you I’d always be a man you could believe in
Guess I never even realized how selfish I could be
And I can’t find my way back to you

Back to you, back to you
I can’t find my way back to you

I knew I took a gamble when I showed you my heart
But I knew you’d never know me until you’d seen it all
And I wanted you to love me, not some character I played
And I know it hurt so bad, but I wouldn’t have it any other way

I’ve been down a thousand highways, I have sailed a thousand seas
I have spent a thousand lifetimes in motel rooms on my knees
Now and then I think I feel you on the road beyond my view
I am almost home; I’m coming back to you

Back to you, back to you
I am almost home, I’m coming back to you

© 1998 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


4) Ah, the La-La song. This is my big hit, my radio single, my movie soundtrack song… Back in 1998, I had the verses written, but I had nothing to hold it together, so it just sat there. One night I saw Sarah Jahn in concert at Grace College, and she played a song where the chorus consisted of singing, but without words… I thought, “Who needs words? I could do that too!” Later, with 40 Miles North (back when they were still just Jeremiah and Marcie) jamming in my living room, Jeremiah played the progression while I experimented with melodies. When I hit on this la la progression, we all stopped and said, “Well, that was it!” A demo version of this song, with just Jeremiah on guitar and me on vocals, actually charted on WFRN, a large Christian radio station in Elkhart, Indiana.

When I re-recorded it for Still Standing, it found some more success on internet radio through Indieheaven.com, charting at #1 for a short time on their charts and making it onto their first compilation disc. It was played on little indie stations all over the country. I remember being in Texas and driving by a station that was playing my music. I called them and did an interview right on the spot. It was used for an indie film made by a Stanford student. Luanne and I went out to the premiere… It was so jarring to hear my voice bust out in the middle of the film!

And all this from a seemingly innocuous little ditty about an encounter with God.

Always Entertaining Me (The La - La Song)
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale

La, la, la, la…

I was walking down by the river
I was contemplating the sky
I was thinking about forever
And the sweet old by and by
Then I got a funny feeling
That it was nearer than I thought
That if I took another step closer
I would see the face of God

La, la, la, la…

And I wondered if I could do it
And I wondered if I would die
And I wondered if I told someone
Would they think I was telling a lie
And I wondered what He would look like
And I wondered would I be scared
And I think that I wondered a little too long
Cuz I looked up and He wasn’t there

La, la, la, la…

Oh Holy River, carry me away
Bathe me in Your water on this ordinary day
Open up these blinded eyes so that I can see
The angels that are always entertaining me

La, la, la, la…

© 1998 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


5) Not a lot to say here. We don’t have all the answers in this life. That’s the reason we need faith so badly.

Lullaby
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale

If I could be a painter, I’d paint the world for you
I’d make it look so beautiful – we could pretend that it was true
And if I could be a singer, I’d sing you a lullaby
About happy little boys and girls and pretty birds up in the sky

If I could be a writer, I would use every letter
To tell you that no matter what, the world keeps getting better
And if I could be a singer, I’d sing you a lullaby
I’d tell you that we’re invincible; I’d tell you that we will never die

But the lies flowing from my pen
And my tongue and my brush
They would never alleviate your hunger
Would never satisfy

If I could be a billionaire, I’d buy the world for you
I’d buy you everything you want; I’d buy the stars, I’d buy the moon
And if I could answer all the questions that we don’t have the answers for
I would solve all our problems; we wouldn’t need Jesus anymore

But I know when we look inside for answers
We only find more trouble there
There’s an answer hidden in the questions
That’s the mystery of faith

If I could be a singer, I’d sing a lullaby

© 1999 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


6) An early song. I used to call it “Tonight” It’s about the depravity of my soul and the sufficiency of Jesus’ death.

Need Somebody
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale

I never wanted to be, to be lonely, and I
I never wanted to need somebody
But I am lonely and I, I need somebody
Tonight

I always thought that I was self-sufficient, and I
I fought the monsters with my own weapons
But I am frightened and I, I need protection
Tonight

What causes me to feel I’ve lost control?
What makes me wonder who is holding my soul?
Could it be that I am frightened by my own depravity?
I’m not afraid of what’s outside of me

My eyes are open and my, my hands are wrung out
My neck is sore from all the tension
So give me peace, Lord, from the storm
Tonight

The demons bicker and they, they drive me mad, and I
I want them out so very badly
So find me, Jesus; cast out my devils
Tonight

I know what I can be when I’m alone
I’m still that same man when everyone comes home
Could I bleed a little, hurt a little, pay a little more?
I know that’s not what You came here for

© 1998 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


7) This song focuses on who God is – and what that means for me. It’s the only one to feature a guitar solo by Mike Roe. What was I thinking? I should have had solos all over the record!

God of All Light
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale

God of all light, chase the darkness from me
God of all reason, restore my sanity
God of all truth, strip away all the lies
God of all mercy, have merciful eyes

God of all purity, take away all my sin
God of restoration, put me back together again
Lover of sinners, help me learn to forgive
Creator, Life-giver, help me learn to really live

I am weak and small; You are all in all
Who am I that You should know me by name?
You call to me and then You make me whole again

God of all justice, drive me to my knees
God of revival, light a fire in me
God of inspiration, give me Your words to say
God of my future, I give You all of my days

I am weak and small; You are all in all
Who am I that You should know me by name?
You pick me up and then You make me whole again

You are All in All; I am weak and small
Who are I that You should know me by name?
You call to me and then, You pick me up and then
You make me whole again

© 1999 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


8) This song was born out of an Advent sermon series at Peninsula Covenant Church called “The Gift.” Brian Rhen was preaching on Sunday, and as he walked through the sanctuary the Thursday night before, he mentioned to Barbi Hutchinson (a member of the worship team) and me that we should write a song for the Sunday service. The three of us sat there for 30 minutes, Brian throwing out phrases, Barbi and making up melodies and harmonies. Here’s the result.

This recording is the only one where I persuaded Mike Roe to sing with me. Luanne, my wife, joined me for harmonies as well, so we got some great three-part stuff.

Satisfied Forever
Words by Matt Nightingale and Brian Rhen
Music by Matt Nightingale and Barbi Hutchinson

Prepare the way
For the Kingdom of God is at hand
Open your heart to the child who is King
For heaven has come to earth
Lay down your troubles
For He’s come to take them all
Blessed are the children of God

Open your eyes, and see the truth
Open your heart, and you’ll be healed
Open the gift, and you’ll be satisfied forever
Blessed are the children of God

Open your ears and hear His voice
Open your heart, and you’ll be healed
Open the gift, and you’ll be satisfied forever
Blessed are the children of God

© 2000 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

9) Marriage can be tough, but God is good. He is all about redeeming our messes. This was a gift to my wife on our tenth anniversary.

I Will
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale
For my sweet Luanne.

I swear it was only yesterday
We stood at the altar and I heard you say
“I will, yes I will”
You promised to love me through the good and bad
You gave me your life; you gave me everything you had
“Yes, I will”
You didn’t know the wind could blow so hard
You never imagined I could fall so far
But all these years later, Darling, here we are
“I will”

Oh my love, it’s been a bumpy ride
Since that night that I finally let you come inside
“I will, yes I will”
Broken and humbled, frightened and weak
I told you the story that I’d never dared to speak
“I will”
And the cold wind blew and the rain came down
And the earthquake shook up our solid ground
But you were still standing when I looked around
“I will, I will”

Thank you, thank you
My heart is full tonight
Thank you

So we walk together in the light of day
Asking our God to walk beside us all the way
He says “I will”
“Wholeness and healing now can be released
“I’ll be your lover, be your source of peace
“I will, yes I will
“I’ve seen your tears and I have felt your pain
“I’m making gold out of your guilt and shame
“I will now call you by a brand new name
“Yes, I will”

© 2003 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


10) It’s a bit of a stretch to say that I wrote these words, since they’re right out of the New International Version bible… Let’s say I set them to music. I wrote this in about 30 minutes as I was in Colorado on a spiritual retreat called Opus Dei. Sometimes the best songs come the quickest.

New Every Morning
Words and Music by Matt Nightingale (Based on Lamentations 3:23)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed
For His compassions never fail
They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness

© 2004 A Little Nightingale Music (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still Standing Revisited

Thanks to NoiseTrade, my album Still Standing is available to a whole new audience, starting today. I thought I’d tell the story of how it all happened…

Back in 2005, through a tragic series of events (a story for another time and place), I was given some money and encouraged to record some of my music. I was very excited, and I wanted to do it right. I had heard enough really bad self-released music from church worship pastors to make me very cautious about the whole process. I figured I wasn’t going to have this opportunity again, so I’d better do it right. Knowing that a good producer can be the difference between a terrible album and a good one, I started looking for one, but I really had no idea where to look or who to ask.

Around the same time, I read a cool article in the Sacramento News & Review about a hero of mine, Michael Roe. (It’s worth your time. Read it here.) Mike is the leader of The 77s, one of the greatest bands of the 80s and 90s. Never heard of them? It’s your loss. When I was in college in the early 90s, they were one of my favorite bands. Their album “Sticks and Stones” was the soundtrack to my life. Mike’s voice was a thing of wonder: snarling and vicious one minute, high and lonesome the next. And his guitar mastery is legendary. His songs? Masterpieces, chronicling the joys and sorrows of being human. I challenge anyone to find a better piece of songwriting than “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes and the Pride of Life.”

Mike is also a member of The Lost Dogs, along with Terry Taylor (Daniel Amos) and Steve Hindalong & Derri Daugherty (The Choir). He's also an amazing solo artist. I've seen him hold an audience captive for two hours with just his voice and an acoustic guitar.

I remembered that Mike had produced some tracks for a friend of mine, Thor Wismar. (My family really enjoyed his band, Shadrach, and their “Stepping on the Atmosphere” CD.) At the encouragement of some good friends (Jon Simpson and John & Danielle Dearborn spring to mind), I called Thor and asked him for Mike’s number. He gave it to me. Then I had to call Mike Roe and see if he would be even remotely interested in producing my songs. Gulp. I paced around the room, took a deep breath and called. And thus began one of the coolest and most fun seasons of my life!

Mike drove from Sacramento to Redwood City, and we went over songs and ideas for arrangements. It was such a trip to be sitting in the Peninsula Covenant Church choir room with my rock god hero! We had lunch together and got started… Then for the next several months, I would drive to Sacramento from Monday through Wednesday, stay at Mike’s apartment, and record with him and Ralph Stover. PCC was really gracious to allow me to spend so much time on the project. We ended up recording 10 tracks, one worship song by Terry Butler (“Psalm 19”) and nine of my songs. Mike played guitar on all the tracks. Ralph did the programming, loops, etc. Mark Harmon and Bruce Spencer (the other 77s) played bass and drums, respectively. (Am I really in a room with The 77s? Are they really playing my songs?) I arranged and sang all the vocal parts, with the exception of “Satisfied Forever,” where I was joined by my lovely wife, Luanne, and Dr. Love himself.

I worked hard to put together great liner notes. John Meyer did all the photography. Brian Heydn did the artwork. Tim Peterson created a great website. We put it on iTunes and CD Baby and IndependentBands.com and IndieHeaven and even Amazon. I got a Myspace account and started promoting it there. I was reviewed in print in Worship Musician Magazine and online at The Phantom Tollbooth.

It was a blast. Mike was awesome, and I love that I can call him my friend now, not just a favorite artist. (I have to confess a little bit of fanboy geekiness though... He's in my phone at speed dial 77.)

Tomorrow I’ll talk a little about the songs and post the lyrics. But for now, please visit NoiseTrade and download the album for free! And spread the love by encouraging others to download it too.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin