Categories
Songwriting Theology

Can I Be Honest?

 

David and Jesus and I make three
Singing “Oh my God, why have you forsaken me’
They got happy endings as you might expect
But I’m stuck here between the now and the not-yet

I posted my most recent new song last week, Fingernails, which is the kind of “no punches pulled” song that I’ve been trying to write since I came up with I Got Lost last Feb. A friend was kind enough to email me saying

“I respect your courage in writing emotionally complex songs about faith. A lot of the Christian music that’s found its way to my ears over the years has been really dead-simple and unquestioning, and it rings false—but I clearly hear a human voice and a mind at work in this one. I hear conflict and complexity”.

Not to toot my own horn but it made me reflect on the irony that the Psalms is full of a gut-wrenching emotional honesty that contemporary Christian music seems largely devoid of. I’ve had nearly 18 months of working through a kind of self censorship ‘you can’t say THAT in a song’ that I must have just breathed in from the Christian sub culture.

In another song that is less personal – Everything Is Broken, I wrote about all the brokenness due to the fall we see in nature, relationships, governments – everything. The final verse ends

I start to understand as he breaks the bread
Red wine burning deep into my chest
You said “This is my body”
And your body just like everything was…broken

and with the ray of hope that God does not stand outside our pain but is intimately involved and shares our suffering the song switches to the major key for the first time. But I felt at the time the pressure to tie everything up with a neat bow. To explain how God will wipe away every tear, make sense of it all, provide answers, bring redemption.

But life isn’t like that in the here and now. It takes the Bible over a thousand pages to get to ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. A good preacher can lay it all out in 30 minutes. Why do we expect every three minute pop song to cram in everything that needs to be said?

What do you think?

Categories
Free Words Music Biz 2.0

Why You Should Give Your Music Away: Derek Webb

 

Singer/songwriter/indie-christian-maverick Derek Webb was recently interviewed by The Music Biz Weekly Podcast about NoiseTrade, the music sharing website he set up. It’s fascinating stuff.

Check it out here

Categories
Song Vault

Fingernails

What would the pharisee inside of me say?
Dark night of the soul blues
Downloads     mp3     chords (pdf)      lyrics (pdf)

Once in a while I still pray
Praying to God that my feet don’t fail
On the ropes and off the rails
Hanging onto God by my fingernails

David and Jesus and I make three
Singing “Oh my God, why have you forsaken me’
They got happy endings as you might expect
But I’m stuck here between the now and the not-yet

Once in a while I still pray
Praying to God that my feet don’t fail
On the ropes and off the rails
Hanging onto God by my fingernails
Hanging on by my fingernails

Was it something I did, or something I said?
Was it pride in my heart or unbelief in my head?
What would the pharisee inside of me say?
“Did you lose your faith or did you throw it away?”

Once in a while I still pray
Praying to God that my feet don’t fail
Am I beyond redemption, beyond the pale?
Hanging onto God by my fingernails
Hanging on by my fingernails
Hanging on by my fingers

Cos there’s dirt beneath my nails and a plank in my eye
Once I thought I could see but now I know I’m blind
It’s a jet black, cold, dark night of the soul
As around and around and around I go

Once in a while I still pray
Praying to God that my feet don’t fail
You can never find a buyer when your soul’s for sale
And you’re hanging onto God by your fingernails
I’m hanging on by my fingernails
Hanging on by my fingernails
I’m hanging onto God by my fingernails

© Matt Blick 2012

Categories
FAWM Songwriting

Lennon’s Ladies

 

Been hard at work writing new songs, rerecording old ones and just generally making music, but here’s a very Beatles inspired collaboration with Scotland’s Stuart Kidd from last Feb’s FAWM called Sadie’s Sister.

And if you’re into Lennon style lady songs check out the posts I’m working on over at Beatles Songwriting Academy on John’s acoustic masterpiece Julia.

Categories
Song Vault

Sadie’s Sister

She won’t compare me to a pebble in her shoe
Matt & Stuart Kidd try on John Lennon’s white suit
Download     mp3

Sadie’s sister doesn’t love anyone
But I could be in love with her
I don’t want to look as if I’ve jumped the gun
But I just want to know, if she has even noticed me

Sadie’s sister doesn’t black my eyes
And leaves no trail of broken glass
She’ll spend the afternoon beneath a Sunday sky
Like it’s a test to pass, she’s in a different class from me

I’m feeling inside out
And she is turning me
Round and round
 and upside down
Round and round 
and upside down

Sadie’s sister knows that love is blind
She’s got nothing left to prove
Turns her face heavenwards and storm-clouds step aside
She won’t compare me to a pebble in her shoe
So why – should I be surprised

I’m feeling inside out
And she is turning me
Round and round
 and upside down
Round and round 
and upside down

Sadie’s sister said I had no right
To be left alone like this

(c) Matt Blick/Stuart Kidd 2012

Co-written with Stuart Kidd
Stuart Kidd – lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion
Matt Blick – electric guitars, piano, backing vocals

 

Categories
Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds

Wall Of Fame: Phil Grafton

Phil Grafton is the bassist in indie/rock band Tastebuds. I taught Phil for a few years. His band were runners up in the 2011 Future Sound Of Nottingham Competition and their debut album Tastebuds and EP Cage The Bird are available on iTunes (you can also get the EP on Amazon). Phil also runs a regular open mic night in Sutton in Ashfield.

Myspace     Facebook      Twitter     Youtube     Reverbnation      iTunes

Check out more former pupils on the Wall Of Fame

Categories
Fun

Music For One Apartment And Six Drummers

Posted this a long time ago but it’s worth revisiting – rather than a random Youtube clip it’s actually an award winning Swedish film by Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjärne Nilsson called Music for one apartment and six drummers.

Got your popcorn? Good. Enjoy…

Categories
A Blog's Life

Finally In The Top 100! Count Me Out!

I’ve been working on my album for so long that I’ve built up a tidy little backlog of songs. So now the Let’s Build An Airport album is being edited and mixed and Shabby Road’s had a lick of paint and a erm…patch of carpet (?) I’m hoping to get a few of em up here.

First up is Count Me Out. It’s got a good response when I’ve played this one live. I’ve struggled to write from a place of emotional honesty and now I’m getting some traction I plan to mine that dark seam for all it’s worth. Expect more angst on a monthly basis.

Tech genius Magic Mike Matthews is working on a cool song vault feature but for now you can get links to pretty much all my songs that are online – here.

In other news – I didn’t really make much of this at the time but it dawned on me yesterday that it’s a pretty big deal.

I was named one of The Top 100 Must-Follow Music Resources on Twitter by CD Baby’s DIY Musician’s Blog. This was made even more mind blowing for the following reasons

  • It’s CD BABY for goodness sakes!
  • I’m still not sure I’m in a committed relationship with twitter. We’re both still seeing other people/social media platforms
  • I wasn’t just one in a hundred. The list is divided by type (tech/law/news/gear etc) and I was in the top 10 songwriting resources.
  • Everyone above me in the songwriting list (bar the awesome Nicholas Tozier) is a magazine, publisher, corporation, competition etc)

The post starts

When it comes to songwriting, sometimes the creative well dries up and you need to pray for rain. While you’re waiting for those prayers to be answered, check out the following Twitter resources for new songwriting tricks, perspectives, lessons, stories, and opportunities. I’ll bet inspiration strikes quicker and more often for those of you who do!

I guess I should probably close by saying if you want to follow me on Twitter my handle is Real Matt Blick I’m also on Soundcloud which I’d completely forgotten about. I’ll still be posting everything here, Soundcloud will just have a few (don’t laugh) greatest hits of mine.

 

Categories
Song Vault

Count Me Out

 

Count Me Out
I tried to trust you but I can’t outrun my doubt
A bitter resignation ballad

Free Downloads:     mp3     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Show me one more time the pretty pins stuck in your map
Pitch me your projections, share with me your stats
State your vision statement and your five year plan
Then count me out, out. Count me out, out.

Your bullet points are hollow and your preaching leaves me cold
I’d love to help you save the world if you could save my soul
But since you’ve dealt yourself the winning hand – I fold
Count me out, out. Count me out, out
Count me out. Count me out

Paint a picture of a brighter, better me
Help me help myself be all that I can be
I tried to trust you but I can’t outrun my doubt
Count me out, count me out

I’m wrapped around the ropes and my eyes are swelling shut
My back is on the canvas. Was this the deal we struck?
Is this a handshake coming or your final punch?
Count me out. Count me out.

Paint a picture of a brighter, better me
Help me help myself be all that I can be
I tried to trust you but I can’t outrun my doubt
Paint a picture of a brighter, better me
Help me help myself be all that I can be
I tried to trust you but I can’t outrun my doubt
Count me out,

Count me out
Count me out
Count me out

© Matt Blick 2012

Categories
Songwriting

The Inspiring David Bazan

 

David Bazan is someone whose music I’ve been immersing myself in this year after several people have said songs like I Got Lost and Israel’s Praise sound like they’ve been hit with the Bazan stick. I really enjoyed the Great Discontent’s interview with him and the following quote stood out so much I blew it up and tacked it above my desk

If you want to do this [have a career in music] and be serious, you have to find your own rhythm independently of money or praise. If you can find that, then you can do it for a long time, but you can’t need more encouragement than you’re going to get. Needing recognition is natural, but you need to get by on very, very little if you want to not go crazy and be able to have a sustainable workflow

if you like it you can download an A4 version here

Something else to inspire you – Nicholas Tozier has an informative primer on ways to freshen up your song structure over at Song Written