tunes

a dream of sorts


daydream

i have a few dreams for the creative things in my life. i want to make a record of songs written or co-written by me, and i want to make documentaries. i’ll be 43 this summer and sometimes i feel like the window is closing to do those things. there are a lot of songs, but i don’t know how many of them are album worthy, there are some great ideas for movies, but i often put those aside because of time and equipment contraints. i’ve written about fear before and that is a factor as well. i guess my question is, why haven’t i already started to make these dreams a reality? there can be a ton of excuses, but it really comes down to me just doing the things i need to do. not to worry about the money aspect of it. i could easily do a kickstarter campaign. not to worry about the creative part of it. i could easily ask a lot of my friends to contribute. not to worry about the equipment part. i have a good camera, all i need is a sound rig and a lens, heck i could even film on my iphone.

i wonder sometimes why God would allow me to have such great ideas, and not let me finish them, and i think it’s because He wants me to make them happen with other people. i realized this last week that creativity and the work can very easily be about one person. i naturally want the credit for greatness and i don’t have all of the tools to be great by myself. i have some of the components to make something great, but those components need to be shared with others while allowing others to share their greatness with me. i think that is why we need community. i love people, but often i will isolate myself from community. haven’t figured that one out yet. i do know that i am not an island and i need to create in the confines of community. i need to make the time to work with other people. i need that and so do they.

I tend to put down the auteur theory because a lot of people embraced it as a one man/one concept kind of thing, and making a movie is an ensemble.  Clint Eastwood

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recovering a post


i wrote about my top 5 bands last year, and the post got lost, so i thought i would recover it today and add a band making it my top 6.

so here they are:

6. The Black Keys
black keys

if lo-fi is your aim then Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have you covered. lyrically they are prolific. musically and rhythmically they always keep me wondering where they will go. i love their scaled back approach and gritty sound. also anyone who would name an album after my favorite classic automobile has to make the list.

5. Travis
travis band

i first came across these Scottish rockers in about 2003 when i was living in the Houston area. i heard a cover of Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, and i was sold. many people describe Travis’ music as a soundtrack to park a running car in a garage, but they haven’t heard “Sing” if that’s the case. i’ve always thought that Coldplay just wished they were Travis.

4. Ben Folds Five
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Ben is one of my favorite artists ever, and when you put him in this power trio, magic happens. Robert and Darren’s bass and drums are the perfect complement to Ben’s keys. it’s like a jazz trio from the 50’s except they play balls out rock and drop the F bomb a lot. Ben calls it “punk rock for sissies”. they are known for pranking their audience at shows, and the Nashville concert from Ben’s studio that was broadcast live on myspace was pure magic. their live album is one of the 4 cd’s i keep in my car. it’s that good.

3. Gungor
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i met Michael Gungor in New York in 2006. he had won a grammy for “Friend of God” and “Say So”. he had a guitar strapped on his back and was a genuinely nice guy. fast forward to 2010 and the recreate conference in Nashville. Gungor debuts the album Beautiful Things live at the conference. mind. blown. i had not seen such artistry and musicianship in a long time. i’ve seen them about 6 times since and have not been disappointed. their live show is absolutely not to be missed. go buy their records now. now.

2. Wilco
wilco

my friend Todd bought me “A Ghost is Born” in 2005 and i never looked back. i had to have every record by this Chicago alt-rock outfit. Jeff Tweedy is just a genius and has surrounded himself with a most amazing band. lyrical perfection coupled with controlled musical chaos is how i would describe Wilco. they unleash tasty musical fare followed by 2 minutes of frenzy. i got to see them live in 2011 and it still stands as my favorite concert of all time.

1. Radiohead
radiohead1

if you follow me on instagram, it says i like radiohead, you should too. i discovered the band as many people do with “Creep”, but knew there was more as i dug deeper. Thom Yorke has infected me. i can sit and listen for hours upon hours to their music. it wavers between melodic perfection and trancelike repetition. i hope someday to see them live. it’s a bucketlist item for me. and no i’m not pretentious.

so there you have it. my top 6 bands. go check them out.

six strings, three chords, and the truth


so my top 5 today is one that i’ve approached before, but it is one that has morphed a bit.

this list is based on my personal opinion and style with little regard to technical prowess and speed. really for me it’s about line and musicality. there are many players who could go on this list, but this is where i am right now.

so here we go with my top 5 guitar players.

5. Jared Scharff

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this guy is the lead player on SNL and basically he just rules everything he touches. he is one of the most versatile players i’ve heard and his solo work going to commercial breaks is amazing. i like how he approaches things with simplicity and his tone is amazing.

4. Gary Clark Jr.

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Austin local and total badass. this guy can flat play. you hear shades of Stevie Ray in his playing, yet he takes things in a different direction. not just straight blues. it’s definitely his own signature sound. again tone and simplicity coupled with amazing creativity make GC one of my new favs.

3. Nels Cline

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to say that Nels Cline creates musical magic would be an understatement. this guy has created several of my favorite moments in music and is equally adept with a lap steel or his ’59 Jazzmaster. the thing is, he’s not a hot shot soloist. he adds beauty, or power by the textures and lines that he plays. being as he is the lead player in my favorite band, Wilco, of course he makes this list. for pure musical goodness check out the solo starting at 1:46 in on the song Either Way from Sky Blue Sky.

2. Matt Bellamy

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one word. MUSE. this guy is the genius behind that sonic goodness from England. in addition to being an incredible virtuoso on guitar, he’s also a classically trained pianist. MUSE continually makes music that is through composed and full of complex ideas, rhythms and textures. Bellamy’s use of effects is on par with all of the gear greats, and the built in KAOSS pad on his Manson guitar allows him a palette of sounds unavailable to lots of guitarists. oh, and the dude can sing too.

1. Jack White

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if i ever get to make a real record, i would love to have Jack produce and play on it. he is the epitome of hard luck, hard work, blue collar American rock. all you need to do is watch “It Might Get Loud” to hear his vision for his music and style of playing. his idea of fighting with his guitar speaks to me. it is a battle and he plays every note like it might be his last. and that’s what makes him a favorite. he hits things hard with passion. it’s not about the notes or the technique, it’s about the blood left on the strings at the end of the night.

so who are your top 5 musicians right now?

my top 5


what are your top 5 worship songs? what are the songs that really speak to you when you sing to God? it could be a right now list, or an all-time list. these are mine.

5. Overtaken-Gateway Worship/Walker Beach & Zach Neese

this is a powerful song for me. it was one of the first times that i was exposed to the songwriting of Zach Neese. he has been a great voice and mentor in my own worship life. funny thing is when i’ve introduced this as a congregational song, it has always fallen a little flat.

4. How He Loves-John Mark McMillan

i remember the first time i heard this song, and i wept. for the record, i love the lyric “sloppy wet kiss”, but that’s not the focal point of the song. it all leads to “i don’t have time to maintain these regrets when i think about the way He loves us.”

3. You Bled-Rend Collective Experiment

i was first introduced to Rend Collective at recreate10. i found myself just weeping at this video because it’s such a beautiful depiction of Christ in that little boy. it has fast become one of my favorite songs, and is powerful when sung in a corporate setting.

2. Beautiful Things-Gungor

again, thanks to the recreate conference i got to hear Gungor debut their album “Beautiful Things”. honestly one of the most holy moments i’ve ever experienced in my life. the passion with which each song was presented and the heart behind them made me play this CD in my car for 5 months straight. i love every song on this record, but the title track was so healing for my life. for a stretch of 2011 i couldn’t sing it because i didn’t believe it, but that has changed. He makes all things new.

1. O Praise Him (All This For A King) David Crower Band*

i don’t know what to say about this song. i tear up just thinking about it. it is my heart’s cry. i thank David for writing it. as well as being my #1 worship song, it is my #1 song period. the lyric that says “it’s the sound of salvation come, the sound of rescued ones” might be the most meaningful lyric i’ve had the pleasure to sing. all this for a King.

so what are your favorites? tell me in the comments.

sing with all you’ve got


i’ve been leading worship for about 18 years. it started with an acoustic guitar at small groups and youth camps. i still can’t play “I Love You Lord” worth a flip.

i love leading. it is something that makes me feel alive. that has always been the case. i love to sing praises to God. i love to sing to Him with all of me, but i have to be careful that i don’t fall in love with the songs, or the singing. there are lots of songs that make my heart cry out to Him and there are songs that i actually weep as they are sung because they are powerful in my life. when i am in the moment, and i don’t analyze it, they are beautiful opportunities of brokenness between God and myself.

sometimes i try and analyze why that particular song caused me to be emotional instead of just enjoying the beauty of being raw and real before God.

as i’ve led over the years, i have sung lots of songs. hymns, and choruses. i’ve sung other people’s songs and my own. i’ve led songs of deep theology,  songs with spiritual themes, and songs without. i try to plan songs that people will sing, or songs that will grab people by the heart or even the throat. now, i’m not trying to manipulate them, or the Spirit. i want to turn their attention to God. i found that when i did things with my agenda that it did not go well.

as i was reading in Colossians today, i was reminded that Paul was impacted by music as well. in the middle of a prayer for the church, he writes out a hymn. it is about Christ and is called the Colossian Hymn. it is found in Colossians 1:15-20

He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal. It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything–He is first. God was pleased that all of His fullness should forever dwell in the Son, who , as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling the whole creation to Himself–all things in heaven and all things on earth.

wow, what an amazing picture of Christ. i find it really interesting that Paul would use a song to convey to the Colossians Who they belong to. music is one of the strongest pulls to memory. i can see them as this letter is read maybe begin to hear the tune in their head, or maybe the leader who was reading recognized the lyrics and sang that portion of the letter. i can almost imagine the church joining in, and as they sang, they remembered who this Savior is.

so my prayer is that as you sing, you will remember Who you belong to. no matter if you are singing an old hymn, Mumford and Sons, or the latest Justin Timberlake song (My Love is my jam). think of the joy that music brings, and remember that everything belongs to Him and has it’s meaning because of Him.

now….SING!! SING LOUD!

random thoughts today…


i was watching a little bit of the Grammy Nominations Concert last night.  there were some nice performances. as a result i went and looked up the nominees.

one of my chief complaints about the Grammy’s is that the voters really don’t listen to the more obscure categories. they typically vote on name recognition, so some amazing albums lose to artists who have won in the past, but don’t have the best work. i wish to be a Grammy voter that you actually had to listen to every entry and make a educated decision, but that just doesn’t happen.

this to say, i was a little disappointed with the offerings for Album of the Year.  There are some amazing records out that obviously none of the voters heard or cared to listen to. i hope that Bon Iver, Foo Fighters, the Civil Wars and Gungor are recognized for there amazing work this past year. so Grammy voters, if you’re listening, just go take a second listen to those records. thanks.

So pumped to possibly hear this tonight


“Hate It Here”-Wilco

I try to stay busy
I do the dishes, I mow the lawn
I try to keep myself occupied
Even though I know you’re not coming home

I try to keep the house nice and neat
I make my bed I change the sheets
I even learned how to use the washing machine
But keeping things clean doesn’t change anything

What am I gonna do when I run out of shirts to fold?
What am I gonna do when I run out of lawn to mow?
What am I gonna do if you never come home?
Tell me, what am I gonna do?

I hate it
I hate it here
When you’re gone

I caught myself thinking
I caught myself thinking once again
Have to try to keep my mind out of this
Try not to pretend

I’ll check the phone
I’ll check the mail
I’ll check the phone again and I call your mom
She says you’re not there and I should take care

I hate it here
When you’re gone
I hate it
I hate it here
When you’re gone

I try to stay busy
I take out the trash, I sweep the floor
Try to keep myself occupied
Cause I know you don’t live here anymore

a song inspired by Psalm 108


Psalm-Chuck Harris-2011

Verse

my heart trusts You

i can sing with all my heart

the morning rises with my voice

every day is a new start

i sing thanks in every nation

all the people hear my song

it’s my desire to sing Your praises

i hope they all will sing along

Chorus

Your love never fails

it’s higher than the heavens

You are faithful far beyond the clouds

be exalted….let Your glory shine

so with the earth we can Praise You Out Loud

another song….


Untitled As Of Yet-Chuck Harris 2011

Vs1

i sometimes think

that we all feel

like we are getting

the raw end of the deal

we are so

self immersed

we have this overwhelming need

to always be first

PreChorus

but there is so much more

i should have told you way before

Chorus

i’m sorry

please forgive me

i know you want to share your point of view

but really

that’s not the issue

i’m sorry i let you think

this was about you

Vs2

it’s not about

you or me

or the table for one reserved

for your pity party

let’s dig right in

to the heart

we may not solve it today

but it’s somewhere to start

Bridge

there are so many things

we could focus on and discuss

but we usually choose

the number one topic…us.

another song of sorts


Fake-Chuck Harris April 2011

Vs1

am i real

or do i have a distorted view

of what reality is

is there a point

where i can see or say something

that’s honest and true

Chorus

i could be the greatest actor, you’ve ever seen

well written lines to read in between

i could be a fraud thats out to get all he can

so sad cause the one thing i hate, is what i am

Vs2

is it a mystery

how i dislike the very things

that i’ve become

can i change

or is this fundamental flaw

just ingrained inside of me

Bridge

i want to be real…every part

i want to understand the issues with my heart

don’t want to be fictitious…i’m tired of that game

i’m done with this role…don’t want to be the same.