Within hours after suffering a heart attack this past summer, I realized that this had been more than a physical event. It had impacted me deep in my soul. As much as I love my family, church, friends and community, there have been times during the recovery that I just needed to get away. When I would feel a little overwhelmed, I would retreat to the studio, where I could spend some quiet time with God. Often during these times of prayer and meditation, I would play the piano. One old song, which came to me often was, “Be Thou My Vision”. Although the words are beautiful, I fell in love with the melody even more, but in my head, I heard it differently than the way it was originally composed. I could hear a different beat with horns and strings.
One day I was listening to the radio and a song came on that the announcer called Electronic Dance Music. You may have heard Dolly Parton has recently released an Electronic Dance Music song called “Faith” with Galantis, so I began to wonder if I could apply that same technology to “Be Thou My Vision” but create traditional sounds like I had been hearing in my head. From there, came ten more songs, from my favorite hymn books and a new album was born.
All of the notes, chords and other data were played (entered) on a Yamaha digital piano keyboard, into a computer. Synthesizer software was used to record it into DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software for editing and mixing. I have to admit I felt guilty and almost afraid to tell the other musicians I play with, what I had done. The voicing of real instruments is different and the way they are played is so different than how you play a piano, for example, you strum a six-string guitar chord, whereas you can play many more notes in a piano chord, all at one time. With the help of the software, creating loops and listening to the live performances of my fellow musicians, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to duplicate the sound of the real instruments.
But, don’t think too much about how the album was created, just enjoy the melodies and harmonies of the music. Recording it brought me a great peace, at a time when I really needed it. Unlike cardiac rehab for my heart, this album was therapy for my soul. I pray it will be the same for you. We almost called the album “Heart Attack” but finally settle on “ONE Mann BAND”.