Posts filed under Stories Behind Songs

JT Daly, A Chamber Orchestra and My New CD...

I remember the day(or night rather) clearly when I crawled into my camper (my family and I were camping in the Rocky Mountains) and picked up my vacation abandoned phone to find a gift waiting for me in the inbox of my email. I had been waiting on it and now here it was waiting on me. With three taps I started the download process of one of my songs, sent back to me by JT Daly, one of the producers on my new record (my husband Jonathan MacIntosh is the other producer and they teamed up to make the duo "Jay-tonny" or some such word sandwich of their two names). JT is some kind of mythical artist/musician. You know, the kind that hides in studios (the type of studios that just as easily have paint and brushes as well as guitars and harps), you have phone conversations with him, email with him, brainstorming/song writing/music pushing/crafting dialogue, you send song scraps to him and he sends back wonder and yet somehow you never actually see him in person. Sometimes you doubt he actually exists at all.

On this particular day, though, I didn't yet know what this Sarah Mac/JT/Jonny combination would be. We were all so hopeful. I know I was so expectant that I didn't think we could combine and live up to my expectations, my hopes. Then I sat back on my camper bed, in the dark, slid on my earphones and Ahhhhhh! I laid there with tears in my eyes. JT had written a string part (played on a keyboard) on my song "Current" that is so beautiful that I must've listened to it 30 times in a row.

Later my husband (Jonathan MacIntosh) hired an actual string arranger/player/conductor, Alexander Michael Tseitlin (The Fall of AI), out of L.A. to record the live strings that would end up on the record. Eventually they filmed a chamber orchestra playing a portion of the song and my husband let me see it last night where I, once again, found tears filling my eyes.

I love music and the way it moves me. It can lift or bring down. It can calm or cause riots. It can shout or whisper. It can groan or laugh. It can encourage, motivate, challenge, push, draw out, explain, or give hands to and I am so very thankful that I get to be a part of this industry.

Below you will find the clip of the string section playing the intro to my song "Current" that I've just written about. I hope you enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8OkOSFnsOY&feature=share

Also if you want to hear/buy my brand new CD with this song on it, you can check it out here: Sarah MacIntosh "Current"


Laying Low...

The other day my husband and I sat looking at a large tree near our house and began to talk about how awesome (not surfer "awesome dude," awesome, but inspiring awe, awesome) it is that a tree can grow so huge. That something can start so small and weather such great adversity such as frost, birds, lawn mowers, invading bugs, drought, wind, etc. and still make it. It also blows my mind that a tree can retreat. It can fall back and withdraw every year, dropping its leaves, looking more dead than alive, and still bring forth new growth and life in the spring.

How is it that this tree hibernation/dormancy doesn't kill the tree, stripping of it's ability to gather the sun's rays and instead allows such a great surge of growth once the ice thaws and the sun draws closer?

A quick study on the dormancy of trees reveals that the tree is in a state of quiescence. Dictionary.com defines this as, "being at rest; quiet; still; inactive or motionless."

It is at rest.

Just as we don't need to rise in the middle of the night and eat a large meal to survive because we are at rest, so the tree can survive by being still.

Then the spring comes and growth surges to the tips of each branch and root.

Grow

Grow

Grow

Life.

Have you been in this place? Have you ever allowed yourself to relax and truly rest? Or are you the person that goes and goes and goes and never feels like you have any real growth because you are constantly on empty? Rest can be found in one day. One day of setting aside your phone and computer and tv and email and errands and laundry and facebook and driving in traffic and just allowing yourself to be still, be inactive, be quiet. Even typing out that sentence and that list has made my shoulders tighten and tense a little. Maybe the thought of letting those things go for even a moment has made you tense. Maybe the better question is why you can not let go, drop your leaves and rest? When you dig down to the root of why you can't relax and rest is it because you are afraid to let go? You don't trust anyone. You only rely on yourself.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust."-Psalm 4:8

That is the soil where I want to find my roots stretching out their winding arms. That is the safety and confident trust that allows each and every second of relaxation in my life.

It's with this in mind that I will say I am about to lay low. I am withdrawing to dormancy. I am taking a rest. My husband and daughter and I are packing our clothes and heading up into the beauty of the Colorado mountains with a campground full of loved ones. Between the packing, camping and unpacking there will be blog rest, quiet and stillness from me for the next two weeks. But

just wait,

don't panic,

there is growth on it's way.

My new CD is coming and the date is set, July 19th will be the official release date where you can buy the CD here on my website. There will also be a couple of shows that I will be sneaking it out early to on the 17th and 18th. Also you can sign up on my Mailing List where I will be notifying you of the when's and where's to pre-order the CD, and who knows, maybe I will throw in some fun stuff with those pre-orders like an immediate download of one song and add my scribbly signature to your copy(ies- you know you want to buy one for yourself, your mom and your roommate). So while I pull the great blue Colorado sky around me, you start your whispering. Tell your facebook friends. Tell your twitter friends (you can even link them straight to this blog below with the handy-dandy twitter and facebook links). Tell your real friends :)

My new CD is coming.

Let me leave you with a sneak peak, the new album cover and the track titles and a link to a song sample. I would treasure your thoughts and insights

See you in a couple of weeks!

Here is the link to the title track of my CD "Current."

1. Current 2. We Should Run 3. Take It All 4. Hope 5. Laughter Comes Upon Us 6. Galaxy Former 7. The Damaged 8. Hiding Place 9. You're Coming 10. Calling, Calling 11. Joy Comes In


Knots That Bind #6...

"Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things." -Psalm 72:18 A few years ago I wrote a song called "My Jesus." I had been sitting and reading this verse over and over while flying to Cape Cod to sing at a womens event. I kept thinking about those last few words

"who ONLY does WONDROUS things."

Job 5:9 says that our God "does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number."

My God, ONLY does WONDROUS, UNSEARCHABLE, MARVELOUS things AND they are without number. It was in that moment when I stopped and thought, "Sarah, why aren't you seeing all of those wondrous things? Why does it sometimes seem like I think that the things God does are small and insignificant? Not needing to be noticed?"

My problem is myself. I have made Sarah too big and my Creator too small. I have tucked Him into a nice spot near me but not straight in front of me. It's no wonder that I miss His innumerable wondrous works.

So this week My lyrics to my song "My Jesus," are my blog as well as my prayer:

My Jesus

I'll be the grain of sand You are the water wash over me I'll be the star You are the night wrapped around me

Just so I am small And it's You that are seen Because You are God And You came to die for me

Lord let me see Your glory Help me to know Your touch Lord help me hear Your voice So I can be right where You are

There's nothing small About my Jesus He is powerful! His works are wondrous! My Jesus

I'll be the tree You are the wind blowing through me I am the child You are my Father watch over me

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on April 7, 2011 and filed under Knots That Bind---, Stories Behind Songs.

The Lip-Ring/ Ministry Conundrum...

I'm currently sitting on the couch at the house where I am staying with my family for a couple days of fun in the sun relaxation before heading back home and finishing what has seemed like the epic, never ending recording process on my new record. I've written about my worries and need for prayer for this record before in a blog called "Penguins...".

As I sit here, I keep thinking about the clock behind me on the wall. tick tock tick tock TICK TOCK TICK TOCK...This clock is abnormally loud and it is starting to make an impact. "Ok ok," I am thinking to myself. I get it. I need to get this record done. I have too many songs. I have over thought the record. I have re-recorded many of the songs multiple times(one in particular I have re-recorded the vocals on it so often I should just start using a fake voice like Mickey Mouse or a man voice or something just to change things up a bit). I can't seem to help it though.

Attaching the word "ministry" to anything I do seems to always put this kind of pressure on me. In the past, a song I wrote for my husband that speaks of true love and a real relationship always got shelved because I worried that someone might not think it was part of my "ministry" since it was a love song. I worried, on my last record, about putting on a song called "Sunshine" because I ended up recording it with some background vocals, that my mom likened to chanting Native Americans, and a wonderfully long drum and guitar solo. I have wondered about sharing too much from stage because I don't want to be a distraction. I have even found myself this very morning looking in the mirror at my crazy curly mohawk and lip and nose rings wondering if they come between me and my "ministry."

It's in this moment listening to the tick-ing and tock-ing that I am reminded that there is a flaw in my thinking. MY. I keep thinking and typing the word MY. MY ministry. Ugh. This thought hits me like a ton of bricks and I can tell that even my usually quiet demeanor has been noticeably quieter today due to my internal thoughts wrestling over this.

I quickly take a quick time warp/flashback to when I was 18 years old and just getting the courage up to write my first song. There was so much pressure. My own pressure. I grew up in a family of musicians and singers. My older brother Josh was an amazing singer/songwriter/guitarist/coolness oozer and I never thought I should even attempt to write a song, in his shadow, in case it somehow made it out into the light of day and was laughed at for years and years at any and every family function (much in the same way as my childhood crush on Carman has been laughed at and brought up time and time again). It was a day like any other that I found myself reading Psalm 139 and then...Wham!...verse 14.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

It changed my life then, as an insecure gangly girl, and it refreshes me now. I am His and He made me fearfully and wonderfully.

I am His.

I am His work.

Not I am doing His work.

I am His work.

Each and every thing that makes me quirky is His workmanship. When I open my mouth in worship and out pops this strange(yet admit it...kinda grows on you) Native American chant-y "Ha-nah-yu-nuh-nuh's" in the song "Sunshine," or someone says let's dress up nice for church and as I walk in wearing my "nicest" outfit, quickly realizing that mine is so much different than everyone else's(mine never fails so be so much more colorful and patterned), or I can't help doing the weird head shake-y/foot stomp-y/hand flutter-y thing when I sing, or even find myself in tears over the sound of my daughter singing "How He Loves" to herself in the other room; I am being the fearfully and wonderfully crafted piece of workmanship that He made. I am being what He made how He made me to be.

So back to this record. It will be something for Him. It will be a ladder to walk people straight to Him. It will not be MY "ministry" but my story that talks about Him to anyone who will listen to me marvel, glory, crumple, wonder, be held, revel, retreat, and bask in. You'll just have to hear it coming out of a girl wearing combat boots, leopard print tights, a frilly skirt(in the color of the day), a button down shirt, with a curly mohawk and a lip ring. :)


With One Breath He Came...

Two years ago I welcomed my daughter, Scarlett, into the world. Since she is my first child I was able to spend all day every day just watching her and soaking in the mystery of her being. I spent hours in awe of the tiniest things about her. Her breathing, the flutter of her eyes, her yawns, the slow uncurling of her fingers, each of these things I watched in wonder. It’s with no great surprise that, when I started working on my Christmas record, I would be reminded that my God came in a very similar package. Mary delivered Jesus alone. She had no midwife, no nurses, no mother or sister nearby to help her with what was probably the most painful and difficult experience she had ever encountered. I can only imagine that when she held him in her arms and saw that he was a perfect, warm, yawning, soft, baby boy she sat in awe of Him. This tiny child was the hope of the world. With that very first breath Jesus started a journey that would one day end at the cross. Those tiny hands would one day be touching and healing. That yawning mouth would one day be calming storms and casting out demons. Those fluttering eyes would one day look to heaven and say “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” It all started with one breath. One tiny little gasping intake of air and our rescue had begun.

Below I am attaching the lyrics and recording of the song I wrote for my Christmas record called “There Is A Star.” The full Christmas CD is called "With One Breath He Came" and you can buy it here. Also you can read what I wrote about this CD in the blog titled “Christmas Music…” .

Listen here: There Is A Star

There Is A Star

There is a star that will lead us to You Here in the dark we are searching for You

Chorus 1: And there as a baby You are Our hope in Your heart Hope in Your heart

There as a child You lay Our life in Your hands Clutched in Your hands

Verse 2: There is a cross that will lead us to You Here though were lost we are longing for You

Verse 3: There in the sky we will glory in You Here in our hearts we are bursting with You

Chorus 2: Cause there as a Savior you are With hope in Your heart Our hope in Your heart

Here as our Savior You’ve come Our souls You have won Our lives You have won

Posted on December 11, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Stories Behind Songs.

Christmas Music...

So I recorded a Christmas cd. I sat down and wrote down all of the songs that I love to hear during Christmastime, I thought long and hard about what Christmas songs should sound like and then picked 7 of them to record as well as recording one I wrote myself. My husband/producer found an amazingly talented orchestral percussionist (he plays glockenspiel, vibraphone, tympani drums, marimba, among many other instruments) who lives in Spain and we sent him the songs to play all of the instrumentation on them. Then when they came back sounding like Christmas sparkle I pulled on my headphones and stepped up to the microphone and sang. I stacked vocal on top of vocal on top of vocal. I "ha haaa'd" and "oooh ooooh'd" until I thought I might pass out. Finally after carefully coddling these songs we decided they were ready for others to hear. I hope you find yourself decorating your house/tree to these songs or baking reindeer shaped and candy sprinkled cookies to these songs or curling up next to the fireplace with cocoa and marshmallows with the songs or even riding in your car singing along with these songs cause those are the kinds of memories and nostalgia that I have towards some of my favorite Christmas cds. Those are the things this cd was made for. So sing along. Hummm along. Smile along and have a Merry(Full of gaiety or high spirits) Christmas :)

The Cd is called "With One Breath He Came" and you can buy it here.

Posted on November 18, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Stories Behind Songs.

Penguins...

I'm back. It feels like I've been gone from the blogging world for weeks and in fact my last blog was almost 2 weeks ago. I'm a slacker but a slacker with a good excuse. I went into nature. My husband and I packed up our baby girl and met my family in the Colorado mountains for a week of camping/fishing/hiking/campfiring etc. Although I was "roughing" it by not being able to blog because I was sans computer I still had many a blogs being written in my head. I will let the first of those pour out now:

Penguins

In 2005 I watched a movie called "March of the Penguins" that describes the yearly journey of emperor penguins in Antarctica. The movie had a lasting impact on me for a number of reasons and has garnered many hours of reflection because of the inborn nature of these mysterious animals. During the breeding season for these particular penguins, the females lay 1 egg and hand it over to the father while she trudges over 60 miles back to the closest open water for food. At the point of laying the egg the female will have been without food for 2 months and will have lost 1/3 of her body weight. While the female is away getting food for herself and the unborn chick the fathers sole job becomes protecting the egg from the -79 degree weather. The father penguins then keep the eggs on their feet close to their body for 2 months all huddling together for warmth while the females are gone. Finally when the females come back they switch and the males get to return to the water, which is now 70 miles away, for their own food because at this point the males penguins have been without food for 4 months and have lost 1/2 their body weight. It is just before this transition that the eggs hatch OR don't hatch. It is when the father is his weakest that he waits to see if that egg cracks open and there is life there and all their hard work had been enough.

Now don't laugh but, I was sucked into watching "Happy Feet" with my daughter the other day and it is a cartoon movie about a dancing penguin. At the very beginning of the movie the father penguins are all looking down waiting for their eggs to hatch. One penguin is waiting and waiting and I couldn't help but thinking "You better hatch! Look at all that work he did. Oh please hatch!" I couldn't bear the loss and grief that the penguin would feel. Well the chick does in fact hatch in this kids movie, of course, but in real life many don't. I got teary thinking about it and later wondered why.

I am in the process of recording a new record. I have HUGE amounts of time and HUGE amounts of our already very little money and HUGE amounts of my heart and HUGE amounts of our resources and just HUGE amounts of me invested into what will be a few tracks on someones ipod. What is hitting me the hardest though is even after all of the work that goes into it, I will one day have to sit and watch and wait for that egg to hatch. Will there be life in this cd? Will it walk out among other people and bring life? My focus...HUGE amounts of prayer. I am contributing my part and, although I tend to shy away from asking for prayer, here I go anyway...could you pray with me?

Genesis 2:7 says "7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person."

Pray that the Lord will breathe the breath of life into these songs and this record so that they may live and have purpose. I thank you already :)

Posted on July 7, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Stories Behind Songs.