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Christmas Anthem Chord Chart

I've had a lot of people getting in touch with me on facebook, by email, or almost any other means asking for the chord chart and lyrics to Christmas Anthem...here they are.

The version I'm posting is the one that my home church, Desert Springs Church, did for our Christmas Eve service in 2010. My close friend and music minister, Drew Hodge, and I added one more verse that we wrote (not in the original hymn) to emphasize Christ's purpose for coming to Earth. There is also a diminished chord that's a passing chord that's added to the chorus progression, it's up to you whether you would like to use it in there. It's also in a lower key than the original version so that it's easier for a congregation to sing.

I hope this helps those who are looking for the chords, tabs, lyrics, etc. - the only thing that I ask is that if you do a version either on your own or at you church, share it! Download the .pdf here:

Christmas Anthem Chords

Happy playing, and Merry Christmas.

-TRMJ

 

The Right Tools, The Right Hands

"Clunk" or "Check Engine" are familiar sounds and sights that we've all heard or seen from our cars at one point or another. Some of us are then bold enough to pop open the hood and snoop around for the issue, and some others are even a degree bolder in actually pulling out some tools and trying to fix the problem.

If we are that bold, it's obviously important to have the right tools to get the job done. I've had numerous posts about new great tools for songwriting, networking, and selling music in the past, but I have neglected to mention that those tools are essentially useless if the "hands" that are using them aren't as capable as the tools themselves...

Don't hear me wrong - I think we live in an amazing day and age where anyone in the world has access to write, record, and distribute music on a worldwide basis, and that fact alone should open our ears to many amazing artists that we've never heard before. It does, however, also open our ears to many artists that might be using the right tools, but probably don't have the right understanding of how to use them or maybe (forgive me), shouldn't really be using the tools at all.

I will take a jab at myself here - I have a nice set of adjustable dumbbells at my house.  If used properly, it is possible (as much as my genetics and body frame will allow), that I can use those "tools" to get an Olympian-esque build. Now, my personal trainer friends who are reading this are pulling out their soapboxes to let us all know that it's not as easy as that. Besides knowing how to use the tools, and actually using them, you also have to combine that with a good rest schedule, a diet that matches up with what your weight gain/loss goals are, and proper technique and form in using the weights. It's not just enough to have the tools...

That brings me to the main point of this post - the tools are there for musicians, and they're easily accessible and pretty user-friendly for the most part. So, why aren't we all rich and famous? I think the answer lies in having the right hands to operate those tools. What are we doing as artists to make sure that we're becoming the best songwriters, musicians, singers, etc. that we can be? I've personally been spending a lot of time reading material that encourages an uninhibited creative process, and trying to explore new musical roads with my main instrument (guitar), and other instruments...sometimes even when they're played by another musician.

We can't rely on the tools to make the job complete itself. Let's be responsible for both sides - getting the best tools we can, and make sure we're the best operators of those tools we can possibly be.

Until next time,

-TRMJ

Something We Haven't Seen?

 

The world is changing...

A Tolkien-esque intro always makes something sound epic - oddly enough, what's happening in how people hear about and listen to music is so incredibly different from the way it was done 20 years ago, I don't think anyone could have imagined it. Even 5 years ago, myspace was still making a huge splash and musicians everywhere were getting on board and making new fans and spreading their music in a digital age...

Now, in 2011, myspace is all but a barren wasteland of advertisements for second-rate movies, but music is ready to be spread in a way that myspace once imagined, only not completely.  If Spotify (http://www.spotify.com) has its way, all people will be playing Netflix-style monthly premiums (only less - maybe about $5 a month) to be able to stream any song, by any artist you could possibly want , as often as you want.  

Sounds cool, right? I think it will be - here are a couple of reasons why:

1. People won't have to spend money to try out a new artist, they just have to spend time to go check them out. If they like what they hear, they'll continue to listen.

2. If an artist/band has songs that people actually want to listen to, they are the ones that will rise to the top of the charts - it won't just be the songs that people are willing to spend money on. Imagine that you'll actually start hearing about charts that have music on them that people actually listen to rather than just download and let sit around

3. Music becomes more honest. I think this will be a huge step in a great direction to get the kind of music that people actually want to hear to the people. Whatever is being listened to the most will be the most popular, not just what has the highest gross from the last fiscal quarter. 

As an artist, I still strive to write, record, and perform the best music that I am capable of creating. I think what Spotify has going for it may be the next big thing...or maybe it will just be the foundation of what some other company will end up doing even better. Regardless, I think this will be an incredible resource for artist to reach thousands of new fans that wouldn't have imagined before, and for music lovers to be able to make the charts meaningful again, not based on sales units, but by what makes it into their ears and their hearts.

Thank you Spotify, we owe you one.

-TRMJ 

Top 10 Reasons to Download "Empty House"

10. This is a single from my next full-length record, History. It's much easier to check out one song for 30 seconds than it is to check out 12 or 13 30-second samples, and downloading one song at a time only costs you $0.99.  So, put the big wallet away, and pull out your change jar.

9. I never thought I would use the word "escrow" in one of my songs...but here we are.

8. I used Duran Duran-style synthesizers for this song. If my calculations are correct, that should make some of you Hungry Like the Wolf for it.

7. I have a The Cars-style bass line in this song. It should help to Shake it Up a bit.

6. The artwork for this single came all the way from France. Celebrate accordingly by having a croque monsieur while you listen to it.

5.  It's another upbeat tune for the summer. Even though the title would suggest that it would sound like a down-tempo romp through parents sending their kids to college, it's much more at home being blasted from a boat on the lake.

4. If you live in the Southwest US, you didn't spend any money on fireworks this year for 4th of July (because of the wildfires), so you can spare a dollar

3. Because so many of you downloaded "You Don't Lie When You're Lonely" last summer, it made it onto the Hollister Clothing Company summer playlist.  Let's see if we can do that for "Empty House!" (or, if you're the person who works for Hollister that downloaded the song last summer and you're reading this, just go ahead and contact me and we'll work out the deal for this one :o)

2. You like to support independent artists in their musical endeavors.

...and of course, the #1 reason to download "Empty House" is

1. You listened to the preview of the song on iTunes here: http://bit.ly/k4fF1E or a preview on Amazon Mp3 here: http://amzn.to/kg4WFv and you liked the song.

Thanks for all the support guys, and I hope you enjoy "Empty House!"

-TRMJ


 

Singles...or Doubles?

Tennis. Scoops of ice cream. Espresso. Whiskey. Whatever you're thinking singles and doubles might refer to, we all have our preferences and ability to process the amount of each item. Some people need a double (or a triple, or a quad) shot of espresso just to get the morning going, while others can scarcely bare one shot of whiskey to sip on during an entire evening of poker.  I would propose the same is very true when it comes to our minds and our ears processing music.

You're Talking About Music?

I'm talking about the difference between releasing an entire album at a time vs. releasing single songs one at a time. There can certainly be advantages to both; I'll give you my current thinking on where I think music is heading, but feel free to disagree in the comments section.

Doubles/Albums

For the most avid music fans - it may not be a chore to check out a new band/artist and go through and listen to 30-second samples of all 12 songs on an album. In fact, some music fans prefer this, because they like to get an idea of the entirety of an album's statement by the artist (I fall into this category). They can, and like to, take in a large amount of music at a time, and are willing to invest time and energy in a new band or artist. While I love this category of fan, I think we are in the minority. 

For the most part (this will be a big generalization here), in the digital music medium, albums are directed towards people who are already fans of a particular band or artist.  Hardly anyone will randomnly search for an artist on itunes, listen to their entire record, and then make a decision to purchase it. Most people don't have the time or the patience to do that. 

What will prompt people to buy an entire album is if:

1) They already know who the band or artist is, and they are anticipating a new release

2) The album has been referred to them either by a trusted media source (e.g. Pitch Fork, A/V Club, etc.) or by a friend who swears by the album.

3) There is a major discount on the record if it's purchased as a whole (I recently made a decision to buy Lady Gaga's new record because it was available on Amazon.com for $.99)

While I think there is still tons of opportunity for artists and bands to sell CD's at their shows, in a digital medium, albums are primarily meant for people who are already fans - or those who are the special breed of people who have the patience to go through each song and make an album purchase. 

Singles

Here lies the majority of the population. These people like music, but feel bombarded and somewhat paralyzed by the amount of choices in the current music climate.  They can't go through the top 20 list of artists on Itunes and listen to samples of each artist's entire record - that would take 2 hours to do, if each artists has an average of 12 songs on their records.

So what do they do? They make their decision based on one song. Most of the time, people will look for the highest rated song by an artist and listen to that to see if they like it. If they do, they might buy it, or simply decide to check out a few other tunes based on listening to the first one. 

This is the integral point of where a person decides if they want one song, or if they're going to take a chance and buy multiple songs, or maybe even an entire record. Regardless of the decision that they make, the way they were introduced to the new artist or band was through listening through one song at a time.

Get to the Point, Matt

Here's what I'm saying - I think it is incredibly important for artists and bands to release their best songs one at a time. It's very easy to direct new listeners to one song at a time, and almost everyone can spare 30 seconds in the day to go listen and determine if they like it or not. If they do, they will take their own initiative to buy it, and/or go listen to other music by that artist and determine whether or not they want to buy more music or become more invested in that artist.

I plan on doing this with my new song, "Empty House" - it will eventually be one of the tracks on my album History, but I am going to release a number of singles from the record first so I can direct people towards bite-sized moments from the record so that they're easily digestable. Look for "Empty House" to be out within the next couple of weeks, I will keep you guys posted for sure!

Feel free to post all kinds of arguements here if you'd like (in the comments section), but at least for now, this is the direction I'm heading...

-TRMJ