I got to play with my friend Danny Hamilton last week at Pasadena Community Church in St. Pete, FL. He is one of the most talented songwriters/musicians/music directors I have ever met. He and Gary Richardson have written several wonderful shows like THE ROCK AND THE RABBI, THE WITNESSES and THE CHILD. Several years ago, I worked on a worship project with Danny called JESUS CAN. We wrote the title song together, and I still get requests for it, so I thought I'd put it up here on my blog for you to hear.
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Who can calm an angry storm
With a wave of His hand?
And who can cause the rain to fall
On the dry, thirsty land?
Whoa! Jesus can!
Who can soften up a heart
That's harder than stone?
And who can reach a broken life
That's drifting alone?
Whoa! Jesus can!
Nothin' in the universe that He can't do
He put the stars and planets in their place
Nothin' in the world can separate us from His love
And sorrow disappears with just one look at His face
Who can bring a man of pride
Right down to his knees?
And who can hear the shattered spirit's
Whoa! Jesus can!
Copyright © Danny Hamilton and John thomas Oaks, Caliora Music Publishing, ASCAP
Check out the musicals of Danny Hamilton and Gary Richardson right here:
Hey, bluegrass fans! I was in the studio for three days last week finishing up all the major tracks for the new album, and you are going to be blown away by this project! On Monday, Stuart Weed came in and laid down some beautiful bass tracks. On Tuesday, Adam Steffey graced us with his miraculous mandolin, and on Wednesday, Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley put a scaldin' on the background vocals. It sounded like an angel choir in that studio! This week, Jenna Weaver will be singing on a tune I wrote with Jerry Hughes called SUN CITY, and I'll be overdubbing some hammered dulcimer, autoharp and tin whistle tracks. Then we mix! Thanks for your patience, and I can't wait to get this project into your hands.
I had the pleasure of hearing Dailey and Vincent in concert at The Living Room near Delancey Street in Manhattan in March of 2010. It’s so exciting to hear this wonderful music in this great city. If you haven’t heard this amazing duo, you’re really missing out. They released a CD of Statler Brothers tunes for Cracker Barrel, so pick that one up, too if you still can. Their bass singer was sick that night, so the banjo player, a 20 year old by the name of Joe Dean, covered the low notes as well as an amazing flurry of hot banjo licks. Jeff Parker was burning up the mandolin and singing beautiful tenor parts that liked to raise the skin off your scalp. He used to be with the Lonesome River Band, so it was a real treat to see and hear him as well. It was wonderful to see that the band stuck around and shook hands and talked to folks, too. You don’t see that happan a lot these days.
After Dailey and Vincent left the stage, a local group called the Birdhive Boys
took the stage and really shone! They had a great mix of old school bluegrass and modern, fresh originals including a song by Justin Camerer’s (one of the guitarists) grandma, and an instrumental called BIG DUFUS by the banjo player, Ellery Marshall. The group is led by two brothers, Zack and Sam Bruce from New Jersey. They mentioned during their set that they were raised on the old time music, and when they did a duet of WHERE THE SOUL NEVER DIES, they proved it. They play every Tuesday night in town, so I’m gonna definitely check them out again. They did a fantastic little instrumental called CORN COB PIPE that really got the crowd going.
I also ran into some local pickers. They were kind enough to let me share their table, and even bought me a ginger ale. I’m hoping to sit in on one of their jam sessions soon.
Just before I left for the show, I sat down with my friend Sam Holtzapple
(lyricist of BLUE from the BLUE YORK
CD) and worked on a new tune for our new bluegrass project called VEGAS BLUE. I think you’ll really like it! The song is called ELEANOR, so be on the lookout for it.
On February 16th, 2010, David Witherspoon passed away at the age of 61. Here are some thoughts I have been thinking about my wonderful friend.
In an upstairs Italian restaurant we played standards together for the first of many tuneful times. We huddled over reheated plates of Arrowmont food after hours and chewed the fat with Bill. We hauled equipment through the back doors of rehearsal halls, living rooms, lobbies, bars and churches. We sat in pits looking up at gorgeous actors and spun sounds into microphones, over music stands and straight through hearts. We composed on the spot ("Takin' that note / Nobody wrote / Puttin' 'em down. . .") and exchanged silent glances like inside jokes. Audiences cheered, listened, yelled at us. We played faster, longer and closer. In hill shadow, on river swells and across crowded rooms, the song was always sweet.
I stepped away from the piano once and played a tune on the banjo. David told me, "Keep your day job." He was interested in and concerned about me. He counseled me on love. "It's good for you," He'd say.
On hikes we disagreed, hollered, argued, but love always found us parting with an embrace. We admired all his cats and cooked ginger soup at the cabin up Hook Road, and we cried together telling stories by waterfalls and looking at each other by a hospital bed bewildered.
Once he wrote a lyric about a girl he loved who lived in the city where the lights obscure the stars. I am not easily starstruck, but David was bright sunlight to me. I basked willingly in his warmth and sometimes squinted at his shine.
I am trying to see the stars tonight, but the light of my friend obscures them all. The sun makes me cry.
Jeff Delaney and Tin Soldier Productions has produced two tours of our one act musical DAVY CROCKETT: A NIGHT AT THE ALAMO in the schools of upper East Tennessee. Davy Crockett died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. It is known that he arrived there right before the Mexican siege began, and that during the siege he distinguished himself by playing the fiddle and telling stories to entertain and encourage the troops. While it is not known exactly what stories and songs Davy shared with his companions, “A Night at the Alamo” chronicles an imaginary evening with the troops. Here Davy shares many of his life experiences, recounting history (recorded in biographical and autobiographical sources) and telling some of his famous “tall tales” (drawn from American Folklore). We are currently brainstorming ideas for further productions of this show. It’s a rip-a-roarous good time that you won’t want to miss!
Some of you may have seen our two-man presentation of our “Prodigal Daughter” musical entitled “Sunny.” Some opportunities have opened up for that musical to be produced as a film, and we are pursuing those opportunities. We are just now starting to plan for it, and we are eager for any advice from anyone in just about any field that could help us toward this endeavor. We need legal advice, insurance advice, investing advice, fundraising advice, equipment rental advice, advice on dealing with actors. . .you name it. As you may know, when Dad and I do the show, I play the girl parts. In the film version, there will be a full cast so you won’t have to worry about me covering the girls’ roles. Thanks for any input you may have, and I pray everyone is having a great 2011!
The classic Cole Porter musical ANYTHING GOES is on Broadway right now starring Sutton Foster. If you’ve heard BLUE YORK, you’ve heard the song I wrote about this amazing, talented lady. If you haven’t heard it, go back to my home page
and listen to the song. After you hear it, check out the fan video on YouTube at this link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP9b20FkgGE
I got an email today from the person who put this video together, and it made my day! I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
The first time I heard Sutton was when she played the Star to Be in the 1997 revival of ANNIE on Broadway. The song is an autobiographical account of meeting Sutton by the stage door and later on a bus on the upper west side of Manhattan. She sang on a few demos for me for a musical I wrote based on an old Hammer film called TASTE OF FEAR (Scream of Fear in America), and she also helped me audition for the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. I have no doubt that her beautiful voice was one of the main reasons I passed the audition.
She won another Tony this year, so if you get a chance, you should go see her in ANYTHING GOES. You know she can put a scaldin’ on a Cole Porter tune!