Tag Archives: music

The Song of Christmas Is a Song of Hope

Hope. One of the most beautiful of words, hope is very near the heart of this season.

For me, the Christmas-singing season usually starts in earnest about the second week in December. I start listening to Christmas music sooner than that, and I’ll usually sing one or two Christmas programs earlier, but the sleigh really gets moving in that second week. And whenever I sing those songs, at the center of the music is hope.

I hope I won’t mess up by forgetting the words or, worse, playing fast and loose with the pitch. I hope nobody’s ears will begin bleeding before I’m done. I hope nobody will throw anything.

But the hope I have in mind is much deeper than that.

From the time I set up the equipment, climb onto the stool, and start filling the mike, it is hope itself that I really want to start flowing from the speakers. I know that sad songs have their place in this world. I’ve not forgotten that the writers of the Psalms at times wrote songs of lament.

Even as we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” we know Christ comes as our ransom; a heavy price will be paid. But we still sing his coming, and our tears are mixed with joy and sorrow, sorrow and joy.

You see, sad songs and hopeless songs are not the same. The “psalms of lament” always end on a note of hope: “We cry now, and for very good reasons. Hear us, O Lord! But we know where to bring our tears, and we know who will wipe them away. We know that joy comes in the morning, and we know from whence it comes!” In that is real hope, and genuine hope is always stronger and longer-lasting than meaninglessness and despair.

If you want to find a “singer” to continually wail about the ugliness of life or wallow as a victim and scream about life’s unfairness, spreading bile and accusation and even filth, you’ll need to find someone with no hope. Sadly, they’ll not be hard to find.

Hope is my reason to sing, and nothing is more hopeful, more joyful, more full of love, than the Child who entered our world in that tiny form at Bethlehem. If His light is within us, then every twinkle on every tree, or glimmer of every icicle, or sparkle of every child’s wide eyes bears witness to Bethlehem’s eternal joy.

Sometimes during a Christmas performance, I’ll introduce and sing some special songs, some (I hope) beautiful music perhaps new to my listeners’ ears to help them see yet other glimmers of His hope and joy, and that’s fun.

Sometimes I’ll talk to an audience about a song they’ve long known and tell them its story that they probably didn’t, and then I’ll sing it anew.

But often I think my favorite part is simply to sing in the background of the conversation and food and laughter the songs folks know and love, the songs that wrap softly around each of us, warm us up, and quietly say to our souls, “It’s back, that lovely Christmas hope, and if I’m not home quite yet, this music tells my soul, I’m closer, and I’m loved.”

And so I sing. You’d be surprised how easy it is to watch and revel in the hugs and smiles, laughter and warmth, hope and joy, to be thanking God for the blessing of filling these ears, and still be singing. The trick during those times is to let the music waft through unobtrusively, to sing mostly what they know and delight to welcome back, the old song-friends that hold hands with this Christmas and sweet Christmases before. They have a common Ancestor, these Christmases, singing His song of hope in His every son, every daughter.

 

 

    You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! And Merry Christmas!

 

 

Copyright 2018 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs

 

I keep thinking that the folks up, way up, at the Red River Community House (Red River, New Mexico, elevation 8,650 feet) will one day wise up and get tired of us, but they haven’t yet. So this Sunday morning my wife and I were at RRCH on yet another of a nice string of Labor Day/Red River weekends.

I helped lead worship at the Community House this morning, and I’ll be singing a concert there this evening featuring some of the great old “American Songbook” songs,” the ones lots of us have in our memories resonating with the velvet tones of Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and on we could go. And on we do go as those sweet tunes live on.

I’m not sure how sweet my tones will be, but not much is better than getting to croon a tune when your lungs are filled with crisp mountain air, your heart is uplifted by the smiles of friends and warm music, and everyone there is being enfolded into the loving embrace of the sturdy log timbers of a building that’s been a community treasure since it opened in 1940.

Count on it, the open rafters at the Community House have heard these tunes many times before. Come to think of it, at least two of the songs I’ll sing tonight were top hits at some point during the 40s, and most were still favorites.

“For Sentimental Reasons” is a great song—even better, I think, when paired with Nat King Cole, who is pretty much always my favorite. (Tonight I’ll definitely be singing one of his signature songs, “Unforgettable,” though Irving Gordon didn’t write it until 1951. Had Gordon gone with his “working title,” which was both bad English and a bad title, I doubt we’d be singing, “Uncomparable.” But as it is, wow!).

“I’ll Be Seeing You” is another of the 40s tunes. It’s a romantic melody for sure, but it became a love song not just for lovers but for parents and families and siblings and anyone sending a loved one off to war and to an unknown future in terribly difficult and uncertain times. The quintessential song of World War II, this love song was almost a whispered prayer, too, and often accompanied by tears.

I was singing some of these sweet songs at a retirement home several years ago when a dear lady approached me to say, “I remember going to New York City to be reunited with my husband who’d been sent back to the States on a hospital ship. Together again, we danced to those songs.”

It would be a compliment of the highest order if a dance broke out tonight (as has happened many times before at the Community House) and some members of that “greatest generation” were leading out. For so many years, they led us so well.

A bridal shower is being held at the Community House right now. A new life-song is evidently being written. In a couple of hours, we’ll be there sharing some old songs. I like that.

New lives and old lives. Old songs and new songs. My grandkids are bringing in some great new ones, and they also really like some of the songs PawPaw sings, too. Good hearts have room for lots of good songs, old and new.

That’s what “community” is about, right? Sharing what is precious.

Starting this day off at the Community House with Christians of all sorts praising the God of us all. Ending the day there with more sweet songs.

I call that precious indeed.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 

 


Still Need Some Christmas Gifts?

Still Need Some Christmas Gifts? I’m only rarely very “commercial” with this blog, but . . . 

These albums are available, and I can ship orders quickly!
$15 each, plus shipping & handling (and tax, if applicable).

For fastest service, just email me at ckshel@aol.com, or call me at(806) 946-8887.

Or order on the website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! Sample songs are available there, plus lots more info! (“Mary Sweet Mary,” a beautiful song, is available there for free download.)

For Sentimental Reasons (the brand new album–sweet classics such as “Unforgettable”)
One Christmas Night (some of the sweetest songs of the season)
A Place of Grace (beautiful songs that express our deepest hope)

Merry Christmas to you! May His deepest joy be yours!

This sweet “endorsement” just in from my friend, Houston attorney, theologian, author, and speaker Edward Fudge. I really appreciate it!

COLE, SINATRA, AND SHELBURNE — Picture your most comfy chair, your favorite beverage, and a private concert of standards like “Moonglow,” “The Very Thought of You,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.” This musical treat awaits you on the latest CD from singer and gracEmail subscriber Curtis Shelburne titled “For Sentimental Reasons.” On it, Shelburne faithfully delivers a dozen such classics, wrapped in pure, mellow tones reminiscent of Nat King Cole with a touch of Sinatra-style light jazz. And that is no exaggeration.

When the time came to produce the CD, Shelburne left his hometown of Muleshoe, Texas (take that, any haughty sophisticats who might be listening in–or any lurking city snobs), travelling eastward to Nashville, Tennessee, that magical dreamworld of all things musical. There the singer surveyed his options of studios and entrusted to his choice the full circle of tasks required for recording, mixing and producing the dozen favorites Shelburne had chosen for this CD.

An added benefit of being in Nashville was the availability of expert, experienced musicians and engineers, whose credits in many cases already included Grammy award-winning albums. It was only appropriate to bring such complementary talent onto the team–in terms of both substance and symbol. Shelburne’s own talent deserves as much, as the finished sound on this CD amply demonstrates.

In short, “For Sentimental Reasons” by Curtis Shelburne makes a wonderful stocking-stuffer or a featured gift for any occasion. You simply must go to http://www.curtisshelburne.com and enjoy a sample track. While there, don’t miss the bio, photos, details about scheduling a live concert, and information about ordering. As for Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, they might always outdistance Curtis Shelburne in sales and other revenues, but that is quite okay. They did not get to read gracEmail, edit a monthly magazine called The Christian Appeal, or list Muleshoe, Texas as their return address.

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All Genuine Joy Is God’s Joy

 

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All genuine joy is God’s joy.

And that’s my defense, if I need one, for my new music album (For Sentimental Reasons) that comes out this week.

The album’s already passed the real test: my biggest fans like it. Those would be, of course, my grandchildren.

My four-year-old grandson, more than capable of singing for you a fine, though a bit unusual, medley of “Long Black Train” and “Let It Snow!” (his two favorite songs from my previous albums), has announced that his favorite tune from the new CD is “It Had to Be You.” Nice choice. Since I sing this song as a duet with his mother (who did an incredible job), I was particularly pleased with his choice.

My newest grandchild, a sweet little girl, is just a month old; it’s too early to expect her to review the album verbally. But her parents have recorded her reaction to the songs. I smiled as I watched the video review they sent on her behalf.

At first, she’s fussing a bit, working her way up to a pretty loud cry, but then Mom and Dad start playing the album. Startled, she cries harder for about two seconds, then quietens, snuggles down into the music. I like to think she’s recognizing her PawPaw’s voice, but one thing’s sure: hearing the music, that lovely little lass settles down right before my eyes and sinks into sweet sleep. I love it!

I’m not sure if this music will be that potent an anesthetic for most folks, but if it provides just a little bit of sweet relaxation for many who hear it, I’ll be very pleased. The world needs more of such. More peace. More calm. More beauty. More deep joy.

In the album “liner notes,” I wrote this: “What a privilege to work with so many amazingly talented folks to make this album! Our prayer is that every note sung and played in these sweet old songs is filled with the genuine love and deep joy of the Author of all real love, all real joy.”

I mean what I wrote. You see, my first love will always be singing songs with words that point overtly to God’s love, but real love, real joy, all come from the same Source.

I never thought I’d make a recording composed of some of what have been called the “Great American Songbook” songs, some of the sweetest old “love” songs from, say, the 1920s to early 50s. Of course, some songs from that era have words I just can’t sing. But the ones I chose, I dearly love to sing. Even the ones that may be a little long on “syrup” are sweet musical treasures it’d be a shame for our world to lose.

Don’t worry! I won’t be singing “Unforgettable” or “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” as offertory hymns. But when I do get to sing them, it’s no stretch at all for me to thank God with every note for his gifts of sweet music, a little precious peace, and calm, and, I hope, joy.

Any words, any music, any smiles and gifts and laughter that honor our Lord do not need to be stamped “religious” to truly be God’s.

All real joy is God’s joy.

 

 

        You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! (Yes, some info about the new album is there, and a sample or a few!)

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


Happy 100th Birthday to an Amazing Mom!

 

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On August 15, 2015, Wilma Jean (Key) Shelburne, my mother, would have been 100 years old.

Now this gets dangerous. As an English major, I’m delving into what for me is higher math. But Mom passed away in 1992, over 23 years ago. Amazing that it’s been that long! She was 77.

The grandson born on her birthday, my son, just turned 32 on their birthday. He was 7 when Mom passed away. If some of my math won’t fly, I’ll not be surprised, but time surely does. And, no surprise, I still miss my amazing mom.

I suppose that in one way or another most of us “play to our mothers” all of our lives. Whenever cameras pan across cheering crowds, the signs folks hold and the words they mouth are, more often than not, “Hi, Mom!”

It’s no accident, on a much more poignant note, that many survivors of bloody battles tell of hearing the wounded and dying lying between the battle lines in “No Man’s Land” crying out for their mothers.

Anything we do, whatever we accomplish, no matter how sweet the success, is for most of us sweeter when we know our moms know about it. Moms are, after all, our biggest fans. They are the leaders of our cheering sections, the un-elected but unimpeachable presidents of our fan clubs.

I’m no exception. In a couple of weeks, my third recorded album, a music CD entitled “For Sentimental Reasons” will be in my hands, and I’m pleased and thankful about that. (I hope some other folks want it in their hands, too!) But it would be an even sweeter experience for even more “sentimental reasons” if I could play the record for Mom. She’d like it. A lot.

Mom was, to borrow author Joyce Landorf Heatherley’s term, one of my very top tier “balcony people.” Always encouraging, supporting, cheering, inspiring, motivating. Always loving.

I know she loved the rest of her kids, too. Fiercely. But let’s be honest here. My surviving siblings just need to face the fact that Mom & Dad’s first three kids were basically a practice group, and that when, seventeen years after the birth of the third, #5 came along, it was clear that he was brought on board primarily just to be a companion and playmate for #4 who was, may I humbly say, sort of the culmination, sweet spot, and focal point of the whole process. Even if I did show up as a “Now, dear husband, don’t forget to breathe when I tell you this” surprise.

My little mama was amazing. Smart. Spunky. Faith-filled. Articulate and great with words. She laughed easily when the time was right, which was often. Sometimes she laughed when the time wasn’t “right” but some wise and wry soul needed to laugh to clear the air of nonsense. She was the defender of the underdog and the scourge of the sanctimonious. She taught us not just to know the Bible but to know the Savior.

I don’t know what other amazing blessings God bestowed on August 15 way back in 1915. But the one I know about was enough to make it a really, really fine day.

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!  By the way, click “Play” on the bottom of the Home Page for a song sample from the new album! 

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


In Music and in Life, the Last Note Is the Longest

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In music and in life, the last note is always the longest.

Whenever I’m teaching a new audio/video volunteer at church how to punch the buttons, play the songs, set the levels, I always warn them at some point about “audio whiplash.” Punching “stop” or “pause” while the music is still playing does to folks’ ears what slamming on the brakes in a car does to our necks. It hurts! So you always wait for the music to come to a “full and complete stop,” as flight attendants redundantly warn airline passengers, or you slowly fade it out. Either way, you let us land slowly, gently.

Waiting is always hard, and, yes, waiting for that last note to play out is hardest of all. It’s hard for me, too. It’s all I can do to force myself to wait, wait, wait to punch the “stop” button so as not to chop off even the slightest audio reverberation.

I need to talk some good audio engineer friends about this, but I figure they have some descriptive term for that last note, waiting for it, and what happens if you don’t. Maybe cutting it off is such a rookie mistake that professionals aren’t even tempted to, but I would be!

When I’m behind the mike in the sound booth, I know (usually) to be still and wait even after I’ve sung the last note of a song or a phrase or re-take. Wait for the silence. Then wait to hear in my headphones the voices of the engineer and producer from the control room, so I know it’s safe for me to talk, too.

But sitting behind the engineer in the control room as the musicians are recording tracks gives another point of view. I’m utterly amazed at their skill. I’m listening. I’m watching. I’m loving it. Sometimes I’m holding a mike and singing the “scratch track” to serve as a reference and for them to “play to.”

But then comes the last note. My last note ends before the musicians.’ And invariably my eyes go to the computer monitors in front of the engineer. I’m watching the audio wave files on the screens. Though it’s okay to breathe, I’m probably not. Usually, I’m holding my breath, staring a hole through the monitor as that last line levels out and the very last reverberations, echoes, overtones, all fade to silence. And I’m marveling at the engineer’s patience as he waits, waits, waits to stop recording.

It doesn’t matter how long it really is, that last note is the longest of all. Waiting for it to fade takes almost forever.

Dear Lord, give us the strength to wait for that last note to play out. If it’s a note of joy, beauty, love, or laughter, may we take it all in and wait for the sweet silence that will make our whispered “thank you” richer, deeper. If it’s a note of pain and suffering, help us still to drink it in, wait for it to fade, and open our hands to receive what you’ll give us in the silence. Whatever its tone, help us to hear it all, wait for the silence, and find waiting to meet us again your sweet hope, your real presence.

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


Some of God’s Best Blessings Are “Background Blessings”

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“Music with dinner,” writes G. K. Chesterton, “is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.”

In wordsmithing and logic, no one beats Chesterton, and I think he’s right on this subject at hand, more often than not. If the musician is not very musical. If the violin or guitar or whatever is too loud or too close to your table and your ear.

If the music and the menu are mismatched, that can lead to indigestion, too. You don’t sing “You’re the Hangnail of My Life” at a classy Italian restaurant. (It’s pretty hard to imagine a venue that song would help much.) And heavy metal doesn’t aid digestion. Or much else.

But, with apologies to Chesterton, and with your indulgence as I’m obviously short on column ideas this week, I beg to differ just a bit in a minor key and on a personal note.

I’m asked pretty regularly to croon a tune or two at dinner meetings and programs. If I’m the program, that means I’ll usually have thirty minutes or so to divvy up between singing and talking about the songs or whatever. For a guy who loves to sing, loves music, and enjoys telling stories about life and music, thirty minutes is a starvation diet, but I try to make it work.

If our program time is limited, I like it when my hosts ask me also to provide a little—sorry G. K.—dinner music and I become the vocal “violinist.” I think I’ve learned a little about how not to mess with the cook’s meal or the diners’ digestion.

First, you let folks know that you know your job. “During the meal, I’ll provide a little music, but keep right on visiting. Right now, I’m background and nothing more. Bon appetit!”

Then you turn up the volume and kick in with “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone!”

No, just the opposite. You turn the volume down, and here’s the trick: During dinner you stick almost exclusively with smooth, soft songs they know and enjoy having in the background. If you foolishly force stuff on them they have to work to listen to, well, that’s just annoying, and it messes with their meal and dinner conversation. At program time, I know they’ll give me both ears. I can wait, and I’ll try to give them some songs worthy of the gift. Then they’ll consciously listen.

Both parts of the experience are fun, I think. I like the program part, but I also enjoy getting to help folks just sit back, relax, enjoy what the cook’s done, and tune into each other. That’s the kind of time our world needs more of. Anytime we can add anything at all to a little beauty, joy, and peace, that’s a blessing.

Come to think of it, some of the best blessings of God are “background blessings.” They don’t break in and demand our attention. They’re not firework flashy. They’re just quietly there. Beauty and joy and peace. Real. Present. Rich. Filling the background spaces of our lives. His flavor. His music.

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 


Love Is Not King, the True King Is Love

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If you know me, you probably already know that I have WRSTE Syndrome.

You’ll not find this on a list of disease acronyms, be they tragic or trendy. No pharmaceutical company will spend millions making annoying commercials about it. (I’ve not yet figured out why that couple in the now-famous drug ad is sitting in two bathtubs. The drug-pushing company is not selling plumbing fixtures or foaming bath soap. Ah, well.)

By the way, isn’t it a hoot that those commercials are 1/4 ad and 3/4 lawyer litter? “This is great stuff, but be advised that some people have turned suddenly and irreversibly green while taking Prescriptex, a few have died truly ghastly deaths, and research has shown at least a 1 in 500,000 chance that if you abuse this medication your grandchildren could be born naked.”

But I digress.

WRSTE is an under-studied, under-funded, little-known malady, and I definitely have it: Would Rather Sing Than Eat.

Since I’ve been incredibly scrupulous about my diet all of my life, following the strict IOEIIITG Diet (“I Only Eat It If It Tastes Good”), I was a little surprised, years ago, to be stricken with WRSTE. That can be a problem. You see, “stuff that tastes good” tends to cluster around places where I’m asked to sing. That puts my diet and my syndrome in conflict. WRSTE always wins. I’ve got it that bad.

The malady is particularly troubling during Christmas (no surprise) and around Valentine’s Day (some surprise). Christmas food’s fantastic but Christmas music is even better!

And Valentine’s Day? Well, the fact that Cupid’s kingdom has become annually a bit of a singing-rich environment for me still surprises me. That I’m involved with Valentine’s Day much at all amazes me.

You see, my wife loves me not because of any romantic inclinations I might have to spend too much on cards ($6.50 for a card!? Really?) or splurge on flowers. I’ve been pretty successful at keeping those tendencies under control. (Guys, if your wife loves cards and flowers, by all means, go with the cards and flowers. My wife prefers cash.)

But some good folks at a nearby community civic club asked me to croon a tune or two for a Valentine’s banquet a couple of years ago, and, well,  a few more folks and a church or two have, too. (After all, I suffer from WRSTE.) But be assured that the American classic love song dynasties of Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett are under no threat from me.

My family’s got Valentine’s Day surrounded. Two brothers have birthdays within three days of Cupid’s Day, and my mother-in-law’s birthday is the big 14th of February itself. My brothers haven’t asked me to sing to them, but Vernell was fine with “Happy Birthday.”

Cupid’s songs really are kinda fun and some of the classic crooners’ tunes are timeless. I like singing them.

But here’s the deep truth worth singing about any day: Love is not king; our King is love.

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! By the way, you’ll find there some samples of a few of the songs I’ve just written about here. 

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


The Seasons Change, But the Lord of the Seasons Does Not

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Seasons. I love living in a place where we get them all. (Altitude. That’s the ticket to ride if you want all four full on.)

I’m unrepentantly partial to the one that includes roaring fires, snow, and Christmas. But each holds its own particular hue and beauty, and I’m on mostly good terms with them all.

Seasons come. Seasons go. No surprise. But the changing colors, varying for each of us within the changing seasons, do surprise me a bit. It’s not just winter or summer or . . . It’s that particular time in winter or summer when you and yours . . .

I know what to expect, for example, as autumn gives way to winter. The candles lit too rarely residing “off-season” in the fireplace feebly reminding us that it is a place for fire, are pushed aside, packed up, and put away as wicks give way to logs and flickers give way to blazes. Every year in front of the hearth I celebrate as the fireplace gets down to the business God intended.

I’m more than willing to croon a tune in any season, but December brings the best opportunities to sing the best songs and make a little music particularly in step with His. Singing and joy are gifts of God all wrapped up together and never more beautifully than when we celebrate the Gift.

So in December, I sing and sing and . . . as we get further into the season, services multiply, preparatory candles are lit, hope and expectations rise up anew as (I always hope) snow falls down, the gifts pile up around the tree, and then, for me, a candlelight service or two, and Christmas Day, and suddenly, even as the twelve days are adding up, a bit of a new season comes within the season.

And that’s where I find myself, as I’m writing on this fifth day of Christmas. It’s deliciously cold. One good breath of air will remind you that you’re alive, and the smell of the burning oak and pinion makes you glad that you are. The kids and grandkids are coming in a few days, so gifts are still piled around the tree. The Christmas train at the tree’s base is becalmed by a blizzard of presents, but the grandkids will soon dig it out. And some good Methodist friends and colleagues who know about the twelve days of Christmas will, ere long, give me one more chance to sing its songs and help me gently tuck this season into bed yet again.

The task, I think, is to learn to let the Lord lead us into each season, and the seasons within them, with open hands and hearts, to learn their lessons anew, to savor their particular joys, and, on a more somber note, to hold on to his hope as we (not often, I pray) pass through dark times within some seasons that seem completely bereft of warmth. Winters of that sort no one likes, but—Lord, help us believe it when we can’t feel it—even their dark cold is no match for his warm light; one day it will be banished forever.

The seasons, the years, change. But walking with us through each season and every time within it, is the One who does not change. Thank God indeed!

 

    You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

 

“Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” CD Cover-One Christmas Night-cover_Page_1-small

Well, it’s no secret that I love the white stuff in general and Christmas in particular. But it was a little unusual that, at the end of September, I’d be sitting on a stool up at the front of the church, playing “Let It Snow!” and eleven more Christmas songs for a nice bunch of folks who knew it wasn’t Christmas yet. I’m usually the guy fussing about those who rush the season, hang tinsel before Halloween, and fly past Thanksgiving with barely a glance at the turkey.

But this year I’m the turkey who’s just recorded a brand new Christmas album (CD), “One Christmas Night,” and we were gathered for a “Listening Party” and album debut as we played the songs and my producer, Darrell Bledsoe, and I told a few of the “behind the scenes” stories of the recording.

The whole “making music” process is fascinating, amazing, incredibly difficult, and . . . absolutely some of the most fun I’ve ever had!

One thing is now very clear to me: to get what we shared Sunday all digitized to files, made into a disc, and wrapped up in a nice package, well, that takes the best efforts and amazing talents of lots of folks.

Having an album out by Christmas means starting way before Christmas and singing Christmas songs all year. I’m fine with that!

Picking the songs. Getting the songs “charted” by and for the musicians. Recording the instrumentals. Getting special vocal arrangements. Recording the lead vocals. Arranging and recording the background vocals. Designing the album cover and “liner notes.” Mixing. Mastering. Manufacturing.

I could talk for hours about each of those steps and more. I enjoy telling those stories, not to mention describing the studios and people involved all along the way and even the mikes and sound boards, etc. I love this stuff! It’s magic to me! (I just try to stop talking before folks’ eyes glaze over.)

But most impressive to me is the number of talented people it takes to produce something you want to be beautiful and a blessing. (May I mention that you can take a listen at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com?) I’d love to tell you about each one of these friends who are so good at what they do that they have no need to be loud about it.

The Apostle Paul was not talking about recording a Christmas album. He used a different metaphor when he said that Christ’s church is a body functioning beautifully and in harmony when each “member” of the body is submitted to the Head (Christ).

I pray that, because lots of folks worked very well together, the music we’ve recorded is a blessing to many and that God’s joy fills every note. I know for sure that when Christ’s people, his church, honor him and use the gifts he has empowered in each, the result is beautiful indeed.

Forgive me, but I’m already wanting some beautiful snow!

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! It does have new pics and sample tracks from the Christmas CD!

 
Copyright 2013 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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