Posts filed under When I Think About Music---

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"


The Best Music Marketing...

The other day I was assaulted via Twitter and Facebook and CNN and Youtube and links and photos etc. by various unrelated, non-music marketing employed, normal people concerning the recent U2 concert in Nashville, TN. The words used in the posted messages were

Amazing

Huge

Mind-blowing

Epic

Awesome

Perfect

Memorable

Larger Than Life

Transcendent

Magical

Exhilarating

Transforming

I found myself wishing I still lived in Nashville and could have been present at this show. I found myself going back and wanting to pull out my U2 records and CDs and to listen to this band that has once again made a huge positive impression on their fans. I watched as the internet and social media lit up with praise and affirmation of this talented band and was happy that they are still blowing peoples minds and touching people with their music and it left me thinking:

The best marketing you can have for your music is to be great at what you do.

You don't need to have a huge, well funded machine behind you putting you on every late night talk show or reality tv show. You don't need to sell your cd on Amazon for 99 cents to boost album sales. You don't need to have a super revealed/tragic/extreme personal life that is covered in every magazine.

The reason everyone was talking about U2 was because they were great at what they do.

I find myself saying, "Sarah, do you have room to grow and get better at this thing called music that you love to do so much? UH! YES!" I tell myself.

We can always be better.

So whether you are a musician or accountant or banker or stay at home mom/dad or student or teacher, don't sit back waiting for someone else to make life happen for you. Be great at whatever it is that you do and light up the lives of those who are around you.


Singing What You Know (Knots That Bind #18)

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" Praise Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, praise Him in the assembly of His saints....Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throat"-Psalm 149:1,5-6

My Daughter has started writing music and it has been interesting to see what words line the melodies of her songs. She, like most kids her age, sings about what she knows. She wrote a song today with the melody of old MacDonald that said "Dada loves blue and his shirt is blue and this cup is blue too!" while the other day another melody and another cluster of words, "I love my Mommy and Daddy...because I love them." She even wrote a song with a chorus that repeated "I love to obey, I love to obey." Yes, she wrote that song after getting into trouble and a quick discussion about making good and bad choices.

Will this change in her?

Did we change?

As adults do we still write songs about what we know or are we too dependent on others to write our songs for us?

If we had to write a song centering around what we know about God, instead of using other worship leaders songs, what would our song sound like?

Would it sound like a song written by someone who didn't really know their subject or would it be extremely immature and lacking depth?

Would it sound like someone who actually knows Christ?

I don't think you need to have a songwriting career to write songs. You don't have to have a voice like Adele to sing songs. All you need is something/someone worth singing about.

Do you have that?

Find some quiet right now and think of your song. What words do you use? You don't have to worry about melody or rhyming or a hook, just think of what your song says.

What does your song say?

I love in this verse that it says

"Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds."

The Psalmist (or songwriter) here was stating that the saints sing a new song in the good times and the bad, in the glory and beauty as well as on their beds, which refers to times of mourning.

During the best and worst.

So what moment are you in? And what does your song say?

I'm going to spend time thinking over this and post my own song. I will only post it's lyrics because I want to encourage you to also find and write your song and post it as well and I don't want to get distracted by the sound of voices or talent but instead keep the focus on what we are saying.

So what does your song say?

Close out all the words from everyone else, think only of what you know about Him, and tell me, what does YOUR song say?

Once you have it figured out, come back to this post and let us see it, let us worship with you.

But for right now, sing about what you know, "sing a new song and let the praises of God be in your throat." (Paraphrase mine)

(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...")


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


Brenton Brown- Our God Is Near(Album Review)

Sunday night I had the privilege of watching a dear friend of my husbands and mine, Brenton Brown, lead a group of a few thousand people into worship. I stood and watched as he and the 3 guys that make up his band (aka Worship Republic) cracked open a grouping of new songs that Brenton has carefully and purposefully crafted for us. These songs that are meant to be our words of worship. At the end of the night, I sat back and thought "Wow! Did an hour and a half really just pass? It seems as though we just started." But, this is always the feeling when you are being led by a great leader, and that is Brenton Brown.

I have the cd of these new songs, although it doesn't actually release to the public till March 22nd, and thought I would listen to it and be able to give an unbiased review for you. I have come to the conclusion, though, that it's not possible. If I am to be honest, I can't separate myself far enough from Brenton and his wife Jude and their amazing daughter Bella (my daughter's BFF) to give you an unbiased opinion. I am biased. I want everyone to buy his new cd in droves. I want their family to be able to sit back and see the response of the worldwide church affirm that the time, money, heartache, toil, joy, time apart, time together etc. has all been a seed well planted and tended. I want them to see leaves sprouting and fruit being born of their labor of love.

So here is what I will say. I have spent hours on planes, in distant countries, on stages singing with, in the audience watching, lounging poolside while our daughters were still growing within our bellies, crying together, laughing together (quite a bit of this), sharing songs/ideas together and just simply being friends and growing the relationship between our families with the Browns, so, I know that when you watch Brenton worship, when you hear his lyrics, when you hear him speak and see his joy filled smile as he sings you are getting honesty, you are getting something that is real. This is a huge reason that I buy and listen to music, honesty. I want to hear someone sing something they know deep down and this is something that Brenton does. This is why you should buy his cd, this is why you should jump at a chance to go where he is leading worship.

Here are the lyrics that have planted themselves on my mind from Brenton's song "All I Want":

"All I've got, all I want is in You, it's in You. Like the air in my lungs I will breathe You in. All I want, all I need is in Your grace and Your truth. Fill me up, fill me up, let me sing again."

You can check out an interview he posted about his new record "Our God Is Near" here on his blog. And watch iTunes next Tuesday for the albums release...Don't worry, I will mention it again just to remind you :)


Hillsong United-Aftermath: Album Review...

Last Tuesday, February 15th, Hillsong United released their latest CD called, "Aftermath." I'll admit, I was a casualty of the pre-sale, "get a free song if you pay for the cd early" tactic and was happy to find it bought and downloaded onto my phone when I woke up Tuesday morning. As with all new music I get, I upload it to my phone and slip on my running shoes and head outside to my running trail to get a good listen. I had overly high expectations about this new cd but, crept out the door tentatively, knowing there was a very good chance of being disappointed. I mean, how many good songs can this band put out? How many CDs of boundary pushing worship songs can they actually record? So begins my run and so begins the first song, "Take Heart," written and sung by Joel Houston.

Here he is, the backbone of Hillsong United, who has written or cowritten 7 of the 12 songs on this new record, is the oldest son of the head pastor of the 20,000 person church, Hillsong, in Sydney, Australia, and is starting this new cd off with a slow song. Maybe he is being a bit cocky, after all who starts of the cd with a slow song? I think the type of person who has a vision for the whole CD. He knows where this record is going to go and he wants to start it off right and boy does he. With a drum beat that tiptoes and then marches into the song propelling my feet to a steady cadence, with lyrics that talk about finding God as our hope among our times of trouble, and with Joel's great vocal this song has quickly become a favorite and has set me to almost shouting (even though I don't know all of the lyrics yet) the bridge "He has overcome!!!" What better way to start out a time of worship than with that lyric? This record proves once again that Joel is not established by nepotism but by the actual ability to craft and record some of the best, most worshipful songs currently being sung by the church.

This is the first time, that I can remember, that Hillsong United recorded a cd without the gorgeous vocals or songwriting of Brooke Fraser. In the past, she has contributed some of my favorite Hillsong United songs, Hosanna and You'll Come. But although she isn't on the new CD she was replaced by another stellar female vocalist, Jill McCloghry. Jill sings on two of my favorite songs on the CD, Like An Avalanche and Bones (which she cowrote with Joel Houston). I don't think a day has gone by yet where I haven't listened to "Bones." It's a little bit Blondie and a little bit Abba, which means a lot of bit great. This is the song on the cd that makes my heart want to burst and so everyday I listen and let it burst with smiles and singing while planting the bridge lyrics deep inside my chest

"Breathe in me Your life I can feel You are close now I can never hide You are here and You know me All I need is You And I love You I love You I love You I love You

Breathe in me Your life 'Til Your love overtakes me Open up my eyes Let me see You more clearly Falling on my knees 'Til I love like You love Like You love me I love You"

A couple of my other favorite songs on the record are "Like An Avalanche," also sung by Jill McCloghry and "Rhythms Of Grace" led by Dave Ware.

This, 12th album released by Hillsong United, was produced by Michael Guy Chislett, James Rudder, and Joel Houston and let me tell you the collaboration of these three guys is wonderful. This CD is one of only 2 Hillsong United CDs that wasn't recorded live but instead all in the studio. It sounds fresh and boundary pushing. Worship leaders across the globe will be saying to themselves, "Can I get away with that? I am going to try!" and then once again they will see their congregations take deep breaths of gratitude for bringing this new life into their worship services.

This record is the words, melodies and sounds that will urge the church further into worship. I know I already have been and will continue. Here is the song placed on my tongue today:

"Take my life Take all that I am With all that I am I will love You Take my heart Take all that I have Jesus how I adore You" -Like An Avalanche


Music To Run To #2...

So I am posting my second installment of a few of the songs I currently love having on my running playlist. You can see my first list in my blog "Music To Run To...."

Go Do- Jonsi (This is a great starter song on the playlist. It always makes me feel happy I just headed out the door)

Manifesto- The City Harmonic

Bones- Hillsong United

Not In Love- Crystal Castles (featuring Robert Smith)(This song is ridiculous. When it comes on and hits the chorus I feel like I could run for hours)

Only The Young- Brandon Flowers

Grenade- Bruno Mars (Don't judge me. Just add it to your running playlist and see how much you love it.)

Airplanes- Local Natives

Wild Eyes- Local Natives

Rococo- Arcade Fire

I Am Not A Robot- Marina And The Diamonds

Lisztomania- Phoenix

1901- Phoenix

You Will Leave A Mark- A Silent Film

Age Of Adz- Sufjan Stevens (This one is only for the crazy. If you are not up for crazy then DO NOT add this to your playlist.)

Congratulations!- Towa Tei (This has long been a favorite song of mine since I first heard this song in 1999 but I just recently dug it back out of the cobwebs of my music attic and boy am I glad I did. Careful running with this one though because the beat is weird enough to make you trip.)

Well, there are 15 songs that could possibly make your next run (or bike ride or brisk walk) your best one in a while. I hope you enjoy the list of songs and, as always, I am looking for new good running music so send me any songs that make it on your playlist :)

Gotta take these songs out with me right now. This is the path that is waiting for me to run down it today: