New Song Preview: The Greatest Commandment

Here for your reading pleasure are the lyrics to the new recording I’m going to post next Friday. Yes I am, I really am. I’m going to edit the vocal tracks, and fix the drums, and record a keyboard part and MIX it. Though every fibre in my body rebels I am going to mix it.

Just writing this post is a commitment that I am going to finish it.

Any hoo. If it seems a little simple it cos it was written for my Church’s kids group Arrows, which works with 5 – 10 year olds. Betcha can’t guess what the topic was?

Musically, it’s a little jazzy, but my inner guitar hero came out in his big boots and stomped around and now it sounds like Santana.

So let’s see, a healing ministry song, followed by 4 pro-life songs, then a political musical hall song and now this?

Is it just me or is it getting weird around here?

The Greatest Commandment

You got to love the Lord with all your mind
You got to love the Lord with all your strength
You got to love the Lord with all of your heart & soul

This is the greatest commandment
This is the greatest one
This is the greatest commandment
To love the Lord with everything that you got

I want to love you Lord with all my mind
I want to love you Lord with all my strength
I want to love you Lord with all of my heart & soul

This is the greatest commandment

Related Posts: Other free songs by Matt Blick


Don’t Write A Rule Book

Sometimes Worship leaders try to avoid confrontation by, well, avoiding confrontation. You can see that played out in lots of ways but it’s always bad news.

Al Metcalfe has a good post on fixing problems by relationship rather than rules that you might want to check out.

Related Posts: homesickness, criticism & fighting

Free songs by matt Blick

A Blog's Life

Ballad Of NDC update

My latest song The Ballad Of NDC just hit 50 downloads.  Thanks to all who downloaded it – especially if you were at the gig at the Golden Fleece on Monday. I had a lot of fun, and you made my re-entry into the world of playing live easier than I expected.

If you haven’t heard the song yet – you can get it here – for free

Other free songs by Matt Blick 


What Is Christian Music?

Is there such a thing as Christian Music?

What is it? Is it the sound that automatically results when a Christian musician picks up his (her) guitar (bagpipes/keytar) or is there an extra critical ingredient?

I wanted to look at this topic after seeing this post about Owl City and reading the kicking Adam Young got from some of the commenters.

This post is a departure for me because, like a bad lawyer, I’m asking you questions I don’t have the answers to.

In the last 25 years I’ve played secular music, instrumental music, Christian music and VERY Christian music – the whole gamut from hair metal through traditional Iranian bagpipe music and contemporary gospel to leading worship.

I’ve been a pagan musician, a musician who “happens to be a Christian,” a Christian musician and all points in between and I still haven’t figured it out.

So help me out. Here’s a bunch of questions. Pick your favourite(s) and give it your best shot.

1) What makes music ‘Christian’? Artistic intention? Lyrical content?

2) Can instrumental music be Christian? Is an instrumental version of a Christian song still a ‘Christian’ song?

3) If there’s an objective criterion for what makes a song ‘Christian’ could a backslider, an atheist or a Muslim write one? Could Diane Warren produce ‘em to order?

4) Is music that is explicitly Christian more valuable than implicitly Christian music, or music that is simply moral? Are Christians squandering their talents (or even dishonouring God) writing something other than ‘Christian songs.’

5) Are the rules for creating Christian music different from Christian painting? Or Christian plumbing? Why?

Related Posts: Where should worship start?
The five vegetables you meet in heaven

Free songs by matt Blick 

Behind The Song

Behind The Song: The Ballad Of N.D.C.

The Blog Comment That Turned Into A Song

I moved to the Radford/Hyson Green area of Nottingham a couple of years ago. As I got to know my neighbours I found there was a lot of animosity towards a group called NDC that was supposed to be spearheading regeneration in the area but were dogged by allegations of corruption and poor management.

But it wasn’t till I read local news groups on the web that I realised how widespread the unhappiness with the group was. Hardly anyone in the city had a good word to say for them and many said there had been no significant improvement. I was about to put a comment on one of the blogs saying that NDC really stood for “No Discernible Change” when I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ and thought this might make a song instead.

Hooray For Harold Lloyd

From the start I had in mind a Music hall type song, particularly patter songs of the kind performed by Stanley Holloway. Indeed the verse came close to being recited rather than sung.

Another big influence was the music I heard as a child on Harold Lloyd’s silent films composed (I think)  by Walter Scharf. When I hear the first two lines of the chorus, I ‘see’ Harold Lloyd.

The Chorus came first pretty quickly, the verse was painstakingly piecing together chords on guitar and piano. I came up with a progression I liked for lines five and six, but Brian May liked it first (he used it in No One Like You). I got around that by splitting the chord progression between the fifth and seventh lines and inserting 3 more chords in between.

Sneaky, no?

What key are we in?

The song cycles through a lot of keys. The chorus uses the standard jazz device of going back through the circle of 5ths to keep it interesting, from A – E7 – B7 – F#7.

The Verse moves through the keys of A, E, C#m, C, G, Dm then ends up back in E again.

I was unsure whether I could come up with any kind of unified melody for this sprawling backing but I got a little tune for the first two lines and realised that I could move it around to fit each progression with very little alteration. The fact that it’s endlessly transposing stops you noticing (I hope) that it’s just the same little tune over and over again.

My wife calls this my ‘Billy Bragg song’. I love the example of people like Woody Guthrie who could go from writing about politics to writing love ballads and kids songs. So why shouldn’t I have a go?

Power to the people (and free kebabs for everyone!).

Related Posts: Download The Ballad Of NDC

Other Free songs by Matt Blick

Worship Leading

Homesickness, Criticism & Fighting

No it’s not a report from the Together for the Gospel conference*, just 3 posts you might find helpful!

Dave Trout of (Radar Radio fame) has some good counsel for touring musicians

Jamie Brown is a font of worship leading wisdom who I need to link to way more often than I do. Ten things to say when someone criticizes you after a service is just one of the many great posts on his blog Worthily Magnify.

Lastly a great rap from Tedashii (& John Piper)

[If you’re subscribed to this blog via email, you will have to click on the post’s title to watch any video content (the link will take you my site).

* This is a joke.

Music Biz 2.0

The Shocking Truth Behind Artists Royalties

This post is no longer relevant but I’d still recommend Dave Kusek‘s book The Future of Music. It is an incredible road map for the next 10 years. It’s almost all come to pass since I wrote this in 2010.

Related Posts: Copyright mythbusting
CD Baby Podcast


The Best Music Business College Is Free

During the school holidays I’ve been creating a dedicated download page where you can browse the songs by topic, get chord sheets & mp3s demos (all free) and read story behind the song posts.

I’ve also been listening to the CD Baby Musician Podcasts and have found them incredibly interesting, thought provoking and helpful. If you’re an independent musician, whether as a singer/songwriter, a band member or a worship leader who writes songs, I’m sure there’ll be things there that you’d benefit from.

I feel as though I’ve been taking classes at a music business college!

My favourite episodes have been with people who have really made the new music business (internet based, instant access, free downloading) work for them.

People like Jonathan Coulton – who wrote and released a ‘thing a week’ every for a year. Some odd experiments, but a surprising number of excellent songs. He gave them all away for free and still made lots of money.

As did Corey Smith, who grosses millions of dollars per year. While only touring locally.

Pianist David Nevue plays house parties, sells shed loads of CDs without a label even before he did any touring.

One other cool podcast is with Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan – who quit Guns n Roses cut his hair and did a degree in business, then grew his hair and formed Velvet Revolver.

Related Posts: Trent Reznor music biz lecture


Machine Music Video

Is this the ultimate driving song?

This video from American actor and director Julian Smith(a full-time maker of viral videos) takes a little while to get it’s groove on so be patient and you’ll be rewarded with a ‘banging’ tune.

The Ridiculant saw it first
Related Posts: Tubthumping
Music for Six Drummer and an Apartment
A Blog's Life

A Blog’s Life

Some little blog and download milestones

First Black President has now hit 50 downloads
Great High Priest over 75
The Eglon Song edging closer to 350
Overall downloads a little under 900

at the beginning of the month page views hit 10,000.

I’m no Perez Hilton (but then I wouldn’t want to be!) but thanks to every one who stopped by, commented or downloaded a song. If you haven’t checked out the new download page you should do so now.

And I’ve also rebranded, repostitioned and generally monkeyed about with my Beatles blog.

It’s now called Beatles Songwriting Academy, and is aimed at helping songwriter (worship and otherwise) write better songs by dissecting the Beatles.  tell every songwriter you know!