My Friend Tom

From CD Baby

You all remember Tom Anderson, right? He was probably your first friend on MySpace. Back in 2005, he and his co-founder Chris DeWolfe sold MySpace to Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp (Fox News, New York Post, etc.) for $580 million. Those were glorious days. Simpler times. Before the constant spamming. Before the ad blitz of gyrating ladies and American Apparel ad nauseum.

Today, it is rumored that NewsCorp, who’d hoped to unload MySpace for $100 million, started the bidding at $30 million (only 5% of its $580 million purchase-price).

Read the whole article

Download my new song: Faithful And True for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick


Working Hard Or Hardy Working?

Paul Baloche and band show you how to redeem the time while on tour. I’m surprised the guy driving isn’t remixing any tracks…

Jack Hardy was an incredible encourager of songwriters – I’m sure I will return to his songwriting manifesto again and again , but for now just go and read it

Download my new song: Faithful And True for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick

Showing Up

Day 174: A Good Report And Greetings From The Edge

Tell yourself, every time you play, that the world will not end and people will not hate you just because you make a mistake…

Today I was writing reports for pupils. (yay teaching!)

I wrote the above in a report for a very nervous student. I didn’t add the following, though it would also be good advice –

The world will end and people will hate you, but it won’t be just because you make a mistake on the guitar

In other news

I’m still chipping away at Never Be Silent. I know what Philip Glass means when he talks about writing at the very edge of what he can hear. That’s what I’m doing musically and theologically. Every evening I’m looking at a bewildering musical puzzle and eventually fitting in one more piece of the puzzle saying “Yes. Am will work there in place of A major”. Or “Yes.’Take more poison’ sings better than ‘drink more poison'”

The only way through is to record it now without trying to perfect it first. I can understand very complex music and sift through theological nuances when they are there in front of me. But when it is all in my head it’s so hard to understand what I have.

I know it will not I’m pretty sure it will not be a great song. I’ve already written one bad song with this idea. But having pushed myself I know I will be a better writer for finishing it. And my compositional comfort zone will always just be that little bit bigger.

Free songs by Matt Blick


Showing Up Writing With Kids

Day 170: Numbers, Numbers

Oh boy I so suck at blogging. But the truth of the matter is I’ve been trying to write. So that’s some comfort.

Here’s some catch up.

80 Girlfriends

First I did another song with a pupil. The challenge was to write something to help him learn the 8 times table in a non obvious way. The result was 80 Girlfriends. I won’t be putting it on my download page but you can hear it here.

At 1 o’ clock I met Kate she was my girlfriend number 8
At 2 o’ clock I met Christine, she was girlfriend number 16

you get the picture

the chorus is

All my girlfriends keep on multiplying

(see what I did there?) Anyway I wrote during a half hour guitar lesson, limiting myself to the 3 chords the pupil knew.

Imagine my embarrassment when the secretary at another school was printing a rota off my memory stick and came across a file marked 80 Girlfriends. Hard to explain.

8 Posts

I’ve been trying to blog my way through Abbey Road over at Beatles Songwriting Academy and I’m on the home stretch and trying to rush through the 8 posts on Something.

34 Songs

Song 34 is called Never Be Silent. I’m really battling with becoming more emotionally honest and it’s a tough process. Last night I asked myself and God (it called prayer) can I really say that about you? I think I can as it’s only things that are clearly there in the Bible but we gloss over things so easily. Psalms is becoming a new book to me as I see in those scriptural songs things no one would dare put in a worship song. Just in case I’m getting too normal I’m also trying to incorporate some ideas from Bulgarian vocal music.

2 Free Albums

I wish I was a better blogger then I’d tell you all about Josh Garrels’ free album which is cool, interesting, right off the beaten track, and far too long for me to be able to tell you whether it’s any good or not yet.

I’d also tell you about the free live album from The Civil Wars which is really growing on me after I got over the frustration of having to download it 3 times before it worked properly (I’d just download it track by track if I were you) and the free track Barton Hollow which I love (after I got over the frustration of it being in mp4 format and it causing my computer to crash a couple of times when I tried to move the file). You need to scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address.

But I won’t. I’m too busy.

The Civils are supporting Adele on her UK tour and doing two headline gigs too.


Yep that’s right. I’ve checked my stats for the first time since mid March. Just over 3000 mp3 downloads of my songs so far. That’s pretty amazing.


I’m sorely tempted. I had such a good time with FAWM but I have to work out some kind of fence around my writing to stop it spilling over into every area of my life.

Oh and Sharon Goldman at Songwriting Scene gave me plug in a post on nonsense. I speak it like a native.

Free songs by Matt Blick

Behind The Song

Miracles Take A Long Time

Julie Gold has a really interesting story to tell about writing her multiplatinum hit From A Distance and she told it to Performing Songwriter.I don’t really identify with all the lyrics (“God is watching us from a distance”? Not that comforting…) but her story is both sobering and inspiring.

Julie was working as a secretary for HBO when she wrote the song (in two hours!) and within two weeks her demo was getting radio play. Soon after recording artist Nanci Griffiths was calling to ask if she could record it. Nanci recorded it and sang it all over the world and three short (!) years later Julie played the song with her at Carnegie Hall. But here’s the sting in the tail.

Julie was still working as a secretary, living in a one room apartment and barely scratching a living. Four years after writing the song and armed with a loan from her parents, she quit her day job. During that time Julie got her first foreign royalty cheque. Then Bette Midler recorded the song which led to Julie winning a Grammy for best song in 1991.

And in 1991 she was still living in the same tiny apartment.

From A Distance is now 26 years old and after 33 years of pursuing a songwriting career Julie has a condo (and presumably a reasonable income). She says

I have heard “From a Distance” in many languages. I have felt it in Braille. I have heard it on music boxes and in elevators. I have read it on greeting cards and in children’s books. And it has been played for astronauts in space. It is nothing short of a miracle, and I am never anything but amazed and grateful that the miracle happened to me.

Free songs by Matt Blick

Behind the song: Great Is Thy Faithfulness
The Morning After The Day You Saved The World


Gary Ewers On Inspiration And Questions

Here’s a couple of thought provoking posts I’ve been reading recently –

Gary Ewers quotes Leonard Bernstein in his post Between Inspiration and Hard Work, the Latter Always Wins

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long. 

The reason the Beatles wrote 200 songs in 7 years is that they never waited for inspiration to show up. Even if you do get inspired there’s rarely enough magic dust to finish the whole song. You still need to graft to find a bridge or a second verse.

Maybe the muse has a short attention span?

Gary has another great post called The Most Important Question Songwriters Should Be Asking. The question is “How is my new song different from my last one?”

if you’ve been following my progress reports this year showing up , you may have spotted that’s pretty much how I roll…e.g.

Depressing Tom Waits style sinner’s prayer (O Lamb Of God)
Weird folky love song for wife involving donated animal body parts (Brother Bull)
Bizarre atonal song about fictional chinese village (Shang Ding Hong Song)
Odd time gospel blues about church announcements (If You’re Here This Morning)

and so on

It’s not just themes and styles, but I’ll try to follow a complicated arrangement/recording with solo voice and guitar or a reworked old idea with a song started totally from scratch.

It’s all part of a natural progression for me that goes like this

1 I want to be a really good songwriter
2 Therefore I need to write a lot of songs
3 If I’m going to write a lot of songs I need to have a lot of variety in my repertoire for sanity’s sake, mine and my listeners!

Free songs by Matt Blick

Song Vault

Faithful And True

Help us remember, you never forget
The promises made to your children

Here’s a new song folks, fresh out the box! Faithful And True is celebration of God’s faithfulness with a big chorus and a bluesy feel. It might work gospel style too. (Or polka, thrash metal or alt country. Download the chord sheet and give it a try!)

The chorus has been hanging around since 1997 and has survived a key change and several time signature changes, but the verses are a result of recent digging through the Bible (mostly Isaiah & Psalms) to see what it says about God’s trustworthiness and care, and some helpful feedback from you the readers (give yourselves a pat on the back).

If you like the song, share it on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons or just generally pass the mp3 around. And please please PLEASE leave me a comment. You encouragement is so valuable to me!

Download the free mp3
Download the free CHORD sheet
Download the free lyric sheet (suitable for inputting to lyric projection software)

When we were children you taught us to stand
You carried us when we grew tired
And even in old age, you carry us still
Like a lamb in the arms of her shepherd

In each day of trouble, you keep us safe
Sheltering us with your presence
Why should we fear that the earth will give way?
You’ve promised to always be with us

Your love endures,
Your love endures,
Forever and ever and ever

Lord you are faithful and true
Your name is Faithful and True
Faithful in all that you do
You never leave, you never forsake us
Righteous in all of your ways
Loving to all you have made
Forever you will remain
Faithful, faithful and true

Lord keep us blameless and strong ’till the end
We are weak and the devil is ruthless
Our confidence rests in your resolute will
To complete what you started within us

Your love endures…

Help us remember, you never forget
The promises made to your children
Our names are engraved on the palms of your hands
Jesus, You will not leave us as orphans

Your love endures…

Related Posts: Great High Priest

Download all my 2011 songs for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick


Steampunk Stories, Major Label Icari & All My Friends Are Dead

Having been focusing on getting a system for capturing old ideas and finding them again, it was interesting to read Tom Slatter‘s post a brand new old song and why you should never throw away songwriting ideas – the perfect chorus for that song you’re struggling to finish may already be sitting in your files.

Matthew Ebel‘s  post The re-humanization of music argues that the music biz has been crippled not by kids with the BitTorrents and the WiFi’s, P2Peeing all over my lawn but by fostering the illusion that regular human beings don’t make [music], rock stars do. There’s no emotional or personal connection with the human being that made that album on that torrent site, so it’s much easier to download it without feeling guilty.

Eric Pazdziora has a hilarious collection of gruesome christian album covers on his blog (and it’s not the first time either). Seeing is believing.

I’m quite taken with this one though.

I think I used to own it. Several copies of it in fact.

By the way – I found tape 51

Download all my 2011 songs for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick

Showing Up

Day 155: Tape 51 Where Are You?

For the last few days I’ve been on a creative crawl suffering from an acute case of post-demo depression. There were complications in the delivery – the little boxes where you snap audio to in Garageband disappeared in the home stretch meaning every audio file was in danger of moving if I just touched the track pad at the wrong moment. I have NO IDEA why that happened, but it is the third time Garageband has weirded out on me during a major project. Also my new Tascam audio interface was constantly crackling through the play back though thankfully the sound of a hot panful of digital bacon didn’t end up on the track.

There’s often a post-writing mood of “I will never write another song” to be battled through, but I was so mentally fried that I finished song 32 and felt like a complete failure.

I’ve been dipping my toe back in the water by sorting through some old files, digital and otherwise, with some interesting results.

I found 2 studio demos, pleased by how much my singing has improved. OK, before you flame me – I didn’t say my singing is any good now. I just said I’d improved.

Found early versions of More Than I Could Say and Brother – complete yet totally different tunes which I had little or no memory of. This is why it’s so important to use a system like GTD to keep track of all your ideas in a meaningful way. What’s the point of capturing all your ideas if you never revisit them?

My tapes dry up around 2000 and stop altogether around 2004. I was writing less then, but also I’d fallen in the digital analogue ditch. I was using CDs almost exclusively but had no way to record digitally. Result? No songs.

Done tapes 48-50. Just have to find tape 51…

Download all my 2011 songs for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick