Long before sublime melodies played vividly in my mind for orchestra and film I mused primarily in song and poetry. It all started with a simple elegy of sorts in which I lamented the loss of my old pal, Blue. Beagles live for hunting rabbits and he chased one right in front of an oncoming car on our two-lane country road. Rudimentary lines at age ten, no doubt, but the wings of expression caught flight and lyrics have danced wildly in my hall of dreams ever since.
Years later, after a few personal and professional leaps in life, I found myself reaping the benefits of corporate downsizing. The windfall yielded a chance to entertain that constant song in my soul still outshined by the managerial spotlight. The concept for Sanctuary quickly evolved and in a short while I was promoting my debut album on radio under the band name Vertical Leap. Writing for the follow up project began immediately and those sessions produced enough material for two albums, Sacred Promises and Signs of Life. One day a friend casually pointed out the common thread weaving between them and suddenly a light bulb flashed: combine the first three Vertical Leap albums into a trilogy!
But the powers that be had another idea in mind. Just as I was preparing to head into the studio, opportunities to provide music for movies crossed the horizon and my full attention turned to composing film scores (in 2010 I released some of these original themes and scores as a collection titled The Winter Palace: see Music for the Silver Screen). Studying jazz guitar as well as journalism and literature in college, I never imagined that eventually I would compose musical motifs for motion pictures or a symphonic suite like The Tower of Travail. Nonetheless, this prompted a natural progression in the overall development of my skill set and much of my creative work continues to focus on musical underscore.
As a result, I have not found occasion to record Songs of the Servant. So rather than just leave these songs sitting on a shelf collecting dust, I have decided to present them here as lyrics only in order of the complete series. The fictionalized tale relates real life experiences as I observed them unfold. My concern was not with events on the surface of a stormy sea as much as the visceral currents churning emotions and psyche underneath. Detail can draw one deeper into a setting yet often too much becomes minutia and obscures the drama (I’ll choose Poe over Melville any day of the week).
So as songs go, the poetic verse is more abstract in certain selections than others. Not necessarily minimalist, but simply opening space for literary allusion and visible reflection to occur as well as allowing musical impressions to emerge through the conceptual instrumentation and orchestration. In the end, of course, only voices will breathe these words into life.
If you have followed this far, then I thank you and invite you to read more about Songs of the Servant below. Sanctuary is already posted so the storyline picks up at Sacred Promises, beginning with Ever After. I hope you enjoy these songs without music and I look forward to your comments!
Songs of the Servant
The Songs of the Servant trilogy (Vertical Leap: Sanctuary, Sacred Promises, Signs of Life) relates the typical struggles of two companions confronted with contemporary issues and looks forward to the future with the hope of living well. Told from side to side with a common viewpoint set in poetic song, the storyline delivers the underlying message that human brokenness can be transformed by the healing power of love.
A faithful voyager overcomes personal demons to take the helm of a lifeboat and rescue a dear friend lost in deep winter seas. Confronted with the storm of doubt and guilt that shrouds the pearl of one’s true self, he pilots through the tempest rage to arrive safely ashore. Dispelling the uncertainty that weighs afterwards in the early morning fog, together they wind through the city maze to climb mountain roads to peace.
We each must undergo a rite of passage to discover the sanctuary inside – an everlasting love given with a sacred promise revealed through signs of life. We are given a life with meaning and full of hope, not to be destroyed with over-consumption and self-pity or other destructive behaviors. People often make unwise or unhealthy decisions because of an unhealthy outlook. Instead of living in denial, the injured and dependent need to confront issues and work their way through them, to get in touch with their authentic selves, better see the world and even contribute to it. Despite the deep pain and suffering borne and caused, even the person who has faced the extreme limits of afflictions and tragedies will find mercy and forgiveness if he or she seeks divine intervention.
Yet some people are so consumed that they lose sight of all hope and will do anything to kill the pain. When all else is gone, what is left? Some problems taken head on prove insoluble, whereas, some things are best seen out of the corner of the eye. Quite often serious moral or ethical questions are answered immediately and dogmatically with rigid attitudes before the questions are even completed. However, when moved to a different time and place, it is possible to escape cultural blinders.
Whether set in the future or past, my intent is that these tales relate personal tragedies and present the deeper levels of daily life with views about helping the afflicted work through their dilemmas. We’re quick to criticize when we’ve never walked in peoples’ shoes and we’re slow to pray that God will show them which way to go. By sharing the hell they go through, perhaps we can help sufferers emerge from the darkest turmoil feeling stronger and revitalized, restored to a time when life was innocent and happy.
A voyager explores deep shadows and pervasive spirits on a journey through misery and despair to find hope and redemption.
Lost in deep winter seas, love, thought dead, is restored when the beloved is discovered to have survived.
Signs of Life
Between the mazes of ancient castle towers and modern office buildings, climbing mountain roads to peace searching for a place to get away from the daily pressures of modern society.