Category Archives: Christianity

POWERLESS??

SPOTIFY AND APPLE ARE AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS…, Apple in Talks to Acquire Jay Z’s Tidal“…, YOUTUBE’S DOMINANCE TAKES A BEATING“…, & The Music Industry Just Lost a Big Fight with the Government Over Royalties” are just a few recent Headlines glaring in the faces of EntreMusicians. And the New News is Spotify Tops 35m Subscribers which continues to support the David & Goliath mock-up we’ve been fed for decades.

Sure, there are Certain Things that Intimidate Us, Most of Us are NOT Millionaires.

But Are We Powerless?  Or Do We Merely Think We Are? Who Convinced Us of This?

Are we Really in No Position to Change this Music Game and Reroute Our Artistry Directly to Our Individual Friendbase while Bypassing The Current System?

Is the notion of An Independent Streaming Model Available to Each EntreMusician Intelligent Enough to Create Continual Content too Difficult to Imagine?

If a $1.99 / $2.99 Exclusive Access Tier from Our Own Individual Channels were Created & Maintained, a Far Fairer Form of Compensation, and perhaps Appreciation, of our Art would be Enjoyed. Obviously, We’d Bear Sole Responsibility for Building & Nurturing our Tribe, but the Truth is We Do This Now while Reaping No Advantages

These Are the Questions I Continue to Ask, Conversations I Constantly Engage and the Plan I AM Currently Implementing.

In Numbers 13 (OT), Moses sends out 12 Spies to Investigate the land The Lord had appointed for them To Conquer. Forty Days Later, 10 of them returned with a Thoroughly Wimpy & Faithless Answer – even confessing that they felt as small as grasshoppers amidst the citizens there and must have looked the same way to them! 

If You’d keep reading, You’d find that the other two spies, Joshua & Caleb Radically Disagreed with the 10 punks and Courageously Inspired the People to Take The Land!

Now You Can Guess Who The Lord (who is a Staunch Rewarder of Faith) Was Ultimately Pleased With…

So, Are You a Joshua or a Caleb?

Or Are YOU Powerless?

 

While I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this blog, Earlier I was digging on Ahmad Jamal’s “Blue Moon

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A Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.

Communities of Faith across these United States have gathered together from town to city to acknowledge the Sovereignty of Father God, The Uncontested Reign of the Lord, Jesus Christ and the eternal Power & Presence of Holy Spirit.

In our city of Youngstown, Ohio, this year’s chairman, Pastor Gary Frost read a Proclamation by our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who while facing the disunity caused by the Civil War, felt compelled to pen “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” With everything we face in the world today, those words are quite fitting and necessary. Our Scriptural Theme was Isaiah 58:1

As I led the public Prayer for the Entertainment Mountain, my heart was to ask for and expect to receive from the Eternal Almighty, ever increasing Godly influence throughout the entire industry.

I Pray that Faith-filled EntreMusicians be uncompromising in every respect; Wise & Gentle, completely surrendered to The One who has entrusted them with HIS Creative Genius and that they employ Holy Discernment in Sensitively, Intelligently and Lovingly representing HIM in their varied expressions. I Pray Father God shifts the Current Atmosphere and Opens Strategic Doors for Artists who will display HIS Indescribable Imagination, Unmatched Innovation and Multifaceted Ingenuity which blesses the entire world, transforms culture and reveals HIS Heart for Mankind through the Power of Entertainment. In Jesus’ Name, So Be It!

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Stubbornness is A Virtue 

As I write this post, I am only minutes away from returning from the burial of one of my dearest friends – my ‘soul sister’ in fact,  Heather Tiree Hynek. For the last Six and a half years, I have had the distinct pleasure to journey with her, husband Aaron and daughter Violet Grace, whom the doctors said she should abort, before undergoing aggressive chemo treatments. She refused to abort Violet, took on the chemo and various surgeries and valiantly soldiered ahead. On last Tuesday, Heather won her battle once and for all.

I have gained a greater perspective on life through observaton and walking alongside Aaron & Heather. As their Friend & Pastor, I was graced with an access all areas view of how they chose to live out their faith, transparently and single-mindedly through every high & low, tear & smile and every optimistic & disappointing medical report. As I watched, prayed and held their hands, I grew.

Heather Hynek was a Stubborn Woman. Completely Headstrong – and I mean that in the most positive, adoring way. I teased her about it while admiring her for it. Often Against Doctor’s Orders and sometimes amidst frustration to Aaron’s wishes, she dogmatically determined to Live Life on Her Terms, Confident in her Lord and His plans for her. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Enviornmental Science at Youngstown State Univeristy, in class, while taking treatments and facing surgeries. She would Google and study the diagnosis she battled and the treatments she was being described. Her pragmatism increased her life span of the doctor’s original six month sentence to Six Determined Years.

All EntreMusicians stand to gain much through the Virtue of Stubborness. Confidence, Endurance, Perseverance & Faith in the face of Intense Oppositon, Pain, Fear, Confusion and Dissolution means that You Win, Even When You’re Buried. Your Accomplishments, Character, Spirit and the Legacy You Leave Live On. No One Can Take Away Your Achievements nor the Indelible Mark You Make in History and On the Word.

So Fight, Valiantly. Second Guess the Experts. Learn All You Can &  Apply All You Learn. Grit Your Teeth. Hold Your Loved Ones Close as Frustration Accosts You, But STAND FIRM & FIGHT!!

I Thank Almighty God for Heather, a heroine whose life set yet another remakable example.   

   

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Complete!

There are various elements about a great song which make it genuinely complete. There’s the tempo, time signature, tension, harmonic structure, melodies, motif, counterpoint, bridge, refrain and dynamics that after diligently weaving together, cause the composer to declare its readiness to world.

Interestingly, the arrangement of the song matters not. It could be sparse or complex. Neither the song’s instrumentation do little to thwart its perfection. A great song can be performed with a bucket, toy piano and a hairbrush!

So goes a great marriage. You don’t need much money, the finest house, car or similar trappings for your life together to be genuinely complete.  As long as your tempo is aligned, you walk in harmony, properly prepare for dynamic tension and appreciate counterpoint, your marriage will weave countless beautiful melodies that resonate through your home, your children and theirs. You build legacy.

I have been blessed by God over the last 20 years to compose such a marriage with my beautiful and precious collaborator, Lori Lynette. We have enjoyed a wonderfully curious and growing friendship that has produced three incredible daughters and a flourishing ministry of creativity in each of our lives. I couldn’t imagine what the last 20 would’ve been like without her smile and laughter fueling my soul nor can I imagine the next 20 without being able to look deep within her brown eyes. God made sure my life was complete.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

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Yes, I Believe…

I Am a Man of Faith.

I Believe that God Exists. 

Not Only Do I Believe He exists, but I Believe He is Creator of All things, seen & unseen and that He is Lord & Sovereign over All. I Believe He Knows and Understands things I don’t and has answers for questions I don’t have the capacity to form.

I Believe God is Love. 

I Believe He Loves All His Creation. I Believe He Loves those who don’t love Him and even those who don’t believe He exists. I Believe He So Loved the World that He provided that His One & Only Son, Jesus, The Christ, born of a virgin, would come into this world, live a sinless life before mankind and more fully & clearly explain who God is and began to express the heart of God – not as a distant, cold, careless figure somewhere out there, but a Father, full of Grace & Truth. 

I Believe Jesus so profoundly expressed the heart of Father God that He, JESUS, voluntarily laid down His life at the hands of Roman soldiers and be crucified, which would fulfill prophecy spoken thousands of years earlier and demonstrated in the first and subsequent passovers; His Death satisfying once and for all the penalty of sin for all mankind, so that whomever would believe on Him, as the only means of salvation, would be made in right standing with Father God, experiencing true life, both eternal and abundant.

I Believe Jesus Died for My Sins. He Died.

I Believe Jesus rose from the grave, alive, on the third day, also fulfilling prophecy. He is Alive Forevermore!

I Believe in Holy Spirit. I Believe He Teaches, Leads & Guides those who have surrendered their hearts to The Lord Jesus Christ and is willing to Trust & Obey His Guidance.

I Believe in the Scriptures, The Bible. I Believe It to be God’s Holy Word and a primary source of learning His Mind, Heart and methods of living a life for His glory.

I Believe in the power of Prayer and through communing with Father God in Prayer, I can be in unbroken fellowship with Him in thanksgiving, intercession, confession, worship and praise.

I Believe I Can Believe what I Believe even if no one else does. 

I Believe I Can Believe what I Believe without being disrespectful to the beliefs of others and without compromising My personal beliefs. Yet I Am inclined to Pray for others who don’t Believe, that they too may Believe.

To those of You who Believe, Happy Resurrection!!!! 

Please Download and a Enjoy SounDoctrine’s “Resurrection” for FREE & Celebrate with Us!

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The BE Attitudes of The EntreMusician

Never Let Anyone Tell You that ‘That Ain’t The Sound Everyone is Into‘ and Move on to Something Else; Stay True to that Sound in Your Heart.

Never Let the Engineer have the Final Say on Your Mix; Stay True to that Sound in Your Head.

Always Look Out for Another EntreMusician, even if it means their advance over your own; it will ALWAYS Come Back Around.

Always Maintain Intrgrity, Courtesy and Respect toward those who don’t show the same toward you; one day they may have to return to your doorstep.

Never Forget to Immediately Say Thank You and then Follow Up again in Two Weeks with Another Note of Gratitude; You will Always Be Remembered.

Always Remember to Forget when Someone has forgotten to Thank You; You will Never Regret It.

Never Procrastinate

Always Experiment

Admit You Are Wrong When You Are Wrong

Forgive Quicky & Completely When You Are Wronged

Advance

Excel

Progress

Maintain Your Priorities

Never Compare, Compete or Criticize; Be Content with Your Gifts and Develop Your Potential

Avoid Revenge

Find Your Niche and Market It Effectively

Collaborate

Remain Inspired

Never Pursue Money, Glory & Success over Faith, Family & Friends; the latter ROI will Reap Tremendous Blessings

Always Seek New Opportunities; Your Genius is Destined to Soar

Never Forget Where You Came From; You Will More than likely be Buried There.

…feel free to add to this list on my FB page…

I was listening to Stevie’s “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” before writing this.

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The Gift

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen
!”

This passage from Isaiah 9:6-7 was written thousands of years before that blessed day when The Messiah was born to the virgin, Mary. Centuries later we still celebrate with joy His birth, death, resurrection, ascension and present authority in all heaven and earth.

He Is Lord and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to the truth of His sovereign reign and absolute power of His Name.

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him…

Christ The Lord!

Merry Christmas!

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Change From Within

Recently I was asked a question as a result of this blog about how a Worship Leader, just entering into a new church, would be able to grow and adjust the traditional music program to a newer, more modern model.

I have had some experience in being a ‘church musician’. Beginning in my early teens at Union Baptist Church in Youngstown Ohio, I played drums under the pastorate of Rev. John H. Maiden, during the era of my godfather, the late, great Melvin Catley, who was organist and choir director. During my late teens, I toured all of Ohio and through most of the south with gospel quartet, The Gospel Flames. In my late 20’s and early 30’s I became backup drummer for New Bethel Baptist in Youngstown, under the pastorate of the late Rev. Lonnie Simon. His brilliant daughter, Janet Write continues to provide excellence to all of the choirs as keyboardist and director, as well as lending her genius to all SounDoctrine projects (past, present & future) along with her brilliant daughters, Tara Amil and Michaela Write, my incredible Marketing Director.

While I have not personally been THE Worship Leader or Choir Director, I have taken enough notes that the answer I gave and now present below definitely follows proper protocol for any new musician entering into the church world with fresh ideas about how things should sound. Lord knows during my formative years, all of us musicians were trying everything we knew to flip, bake, fry and outperform what we thought were ‘outdated’ norms. And the practice continues…

As always, the first point of entry toward growing a church’s music program (if that is your responsibility) begins and ends with your pastor – or bishop’s – vision for that particular church. If you are not directly responsible for the style of genre of music for your church, you must begin working directly with the Music Director or Praise & Worship leader. If you are the #1 person in charge, then make an appointment with the Pastor to begin the process of introducing new musical concepts to him or her.

In most cases, change in church usually is a slow process, especially in a large congregations where musical diversity varies – but it can be done far more quickly if your pastor shares the same burden in his/her heart. Suggest introducing one new song every other month or so in your set list to get the congregation used to the new music and to learn the lyrics – you want to engage them – and then you can add the next song and the next in accordance with the pace of acceptance and feedback.

While some churches have adopted multiple services, with one holding traditional music services and the other more contemporary flavor, this method, in my humble opinion breeds disunity in the very place where ‘oneness’ is a core essential.

I suggest providing a set list that honors a traditional hymn and then inserting a ‘throwback’ to an earlier gospel staple with a slightly new twist. Since ‘Praise & Worship’ is absolutely vogue in churches across the US, creating space for various forms of Reggae, World and Hip Hop beats allow your entire congregation to engage in the flow across demographics. Explaining these concepts to your pastor, while allowing them to set the atmosphere for worship is an excellent way to begin.

Tell Me How it Works Out!

I was listening to the masterful “Jasmine” by Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden. My New Favorite CD, I can’t seem to eject from the player….

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At The End of The Day

As I type this, the world is mourning the loss of the great Poet, Author, Civil Rights Leader and Medal of Freedom recipient, Mother Maya Angelou who lived every ounce of her 86 outstanding years. Simultaneously, I am personally mourning the sudden and unexpected death of my Uncle Heril Nelson, who in his 73 years made an indelible impact on my life, down to my adopting his ‘shaved head’ look. And, as incredible as it sounds, I am also sharing in the sudden loss of my 51 year old friend, Bob, whose 80 year old mother, upon hearing news of his death, collapsed and died of a broken heart two days later.

Perhaps you get the sense that I am in deep thought about the brevity of this life, the sudden, immediate and definite changes that can occur in the blink of an eye and most importantly, the necessity of making our days count, instead of merely counting our days.

The world will, no doubt, synchronize its tribute to this saintly woman who singlehandedly contributed so much soul into our multi-culture and caused us to appreciate her courtly wisdom and experience the triumph of her art. Bob, a self employed plumber, was honored by more than 500 people, some who stood out in the rain, in line, for more than two hours to pay honor to him and his family. Although Uncle Heril’s coming memorial may not garner such attention, those of us who will be in attendance will note how he wonderfully inspired and transformed our lives.

What about you?

You may live a long life or your own obituary (or mine) may be in the papers next week. At the end of the day, what contribution will you have made? What will those closest and dearest to you have to say?

Whether your Life & Art impacts millions from all walks of life on many continents or a handful of people gather inside a small church to weep and pray, will they be able to clearly recount that Your Impact, Your Influence, Your Impression, Smile, Quirks, Examples, Lessons and Legacy will continue on in their hearts and minds – and that they are willing to pass your Name & Countenance on to their children and beyond?

It’s not too late…

I was not listening to any music as I typed this – but my neighbor’s lawnmower was a bit distracting…

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A Song’s Life

This past week, as I celebrated my 49th Birthday, I was able to muse through some of my vinyl, exploring the music I grew up listening to. I was laughing to and at myself. I’m old enough to intimately know the drums & synth sounds, popular reverb settings and production techniques that defined the particular era or genre. Heck, I’m old enough to hear some of those same sounds and samples common in today’s music!

I could not believe how much my tastes had changed. Yet, in other ways, how my perspective had remained steadfast. Some Albums I put on, having once loved, investing hours of my teen-aged life in learning every lyric, phrase and note, now curiously repulsed me that I’d ever given that groove any attention at all. Thankfully, there were many others which once again captivated me from measure one. Those were the records which helped build the man, musician and producer I am today.

The distinctions were immediate. It was hardly ever the sounds chosen, the production method, the clarity of the recording, the dexterity of the musician or even the artist him/herself. Though these credentials proved important in presentation, when broken down to the core, it was always the magic of the song.

The song. 

 Its essence, construction, practicality, soul, freedom, relevance and magnetism.

 I proceeded to find different versions and covers and the reaction was the same. (With the exception for a horrendous version of Sly Stone’s “Thank You (falettinmebemicelf)” by Charlie Singleton of Cameo fame – Yech!) A Good Song is A Good Song is A Good Song. Whether sang accapella, performed as a samba or symphony, the elements of a great song transcends gender, genre and generations.

An EntreMusician’s first purpose is to create and compose such a song to share with the world. Before pristine recording, mixing & mastering applications are considered. Before software, plug-ins and microphones wear out your wallet – Before complex marketing strategies are developed to make your download available on iTunes and Spotify, have you created a song someone can remain emotionally chained to as she ages, marries and eventually becomes a grandmother? Or will he wonder why what sort of fad was he going through and vow never to listen to it again?

 

I was listening to Bob James‘ “Grand Piano Canyon” as I wrote this. 

Each Song Spectacular. An Album that transformed my mid-20’s

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