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Midnight Matins Playlist

 Several years ago I had to work on Christmas Eve, which is a common hangup when in ministry. But Betony and I still wanted to be home on Christmas, celebrating with her family. So we devised a plan to make the long late night drive awesome.

We began the 8 hour car ride at 9 that night. We packed some intentional surprises, like opening our stockings and favorite car-trip snacks. But the most memorable thing we did was celebrate Midnight Matins.

My best friends growing up were Catholic and they would go to their church service at the stroke of 12 AM. I always felt there was something intriguing about trudging through the cold as the clock struck with full-tolls for a late worship experience.

So Betony and I had our own Midnight Matins. When the digital car-clock hit 12 we played a CD of 10 songs. These songs corresponded with readings of scripture Betony would say aloud and she had pictures of ancient artwork she’d printed that embodied the different parts of the nativity story.

Here is our playlist of the Midnight Matins. As you can see we sometimes got creative with it. We hope it brings mystery and depth to your season as it still does for us.

Midnight Matins Playlist

Once in Royal David’s City • Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

Hark, The Herald Angels Sing  • Vince Guaraldi Trio

Messiah, oratorio: For Unto Us a Child is Born  •  The London Philharmonic Orchestra
Peace on Earth  • Disney Studio Chorus & Donald Novis
Mary  • Patty Griffin
Dickens’ Dublin  • Loreena McKennitt
Lo! How a Rose E’re Blooming  • Linda Ronstadt

Ding Dong! Merrily on High • Chanticleer
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing  • Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
We Three Kings  • Sufjan Stevens
Magnificat • Mary Behan Miller

“Breaking Love”: Story, Lyrics, Painting, Chord Chart

“Breaking Love”

Painting above by Betony Coons

THE STORY OF THE SONG

I wrote the “Breaking Love” as a communion song for our church community (Atlas Church in Greeley). It’s the raw picture of being inspired, moved and motivated by one who gives all of himself so that we might survive and thrive.

I find this as the best reason for why I would give of myself sacrificially to others- family, friends, even enemies. I come to that table of bread and wine in order to fill back up after engaging my life in that kind of Love. I love others because I was first loved so well. – Tim

If you’d like to see a video of us singing this song live head to: https://s28969.p27.sites.pressdns.com/breaking-love-live-at-crescendo-espresso-bar-music-cafe/

Breaking Love
by Giants & Pilgrims

C                                                                   F

You and I have a history before mine starts

C                                                                      F

You and I share a heart since mine gave up

F

And your love is my blood

G

And your love is my blood

C

You remind me of why I break my hands

You remind me of why I move my feet

F

You remind me of why I give a damn (why I change my plans)

F                                                                   C

You remind me of the breaking love I need

C

You remind me of everything poured out

You remind me of my identity

F

You remind me of why I call this home

F                                                                     C

You remind me of the breaking love I need

Thanksgiving Music Playlist

          When I choose music for a Thanksgiving playlist a couple of things are at play- theme and feel. I search for songs that deal with the theme of “thanks” for sure, but I also try to choose some of the classic American music of the past, like The Platters or Elvis’ gospel music or Bing Crosby. The result is a warm sounding, roots kind of playlist with lots of gratitude in the lyrics.

Now Thank We All Our God • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Amazing Grace  • Elvis Presley
Give Thanks  • The Platters
A Mighty Fortress is Our God  • Chris Rice
Shenandoah  • Chanticleer
Homeward Bound  • Simon & Garfunkel
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  • Vince Guaraldi Trio

I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For • Bing Crosby

One Voice  • The Wailin’ Jennys
We Gather Together  • Quicny Choral Society

Autumn Leaves Playlist

Autumn Leaves
PLAYLIST

There is a change in the wind that happens come September. I think the trees are the first to recognize the chill and they respond accordingly. I respond by collecting songs that depict this season’s change from the heat of summer to the cool of autumn. 

Autumn Leaves • Nat “King” Cole
Autumn Serenade  • John Coltrane
Great Pumpkin Waltz • Vince Guaraldi
Forever Autumn • Moody Blues
I See Darkness • Johnny Cash
Leaves that are Green • Simon & Garfunkel
Autumn Shade • The Vines
Last Days of Summer • The Cure
Autumn in New York • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
The Boys of Summer • Don Henley
Sun it Rises • Fleet Foxes
Autumn Leaves • Ed Sheeran

The Story of the Song and Painting: “Written in Our Clothes”/ “Go with Me”

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Here’s the Story behind Betony’s painting “Go With Me” and its companion song I wrote called “Written in Our Clothes”:

It was several months ago and Betony had printed out this vintage picture of a bicycle and was using it for the main subject of her painting. As she was working on it I came into the studio with my guitar and began asking her where she was going with the piece.

She told me the main idea was that it was about the journey, not the destination. She felt like that old maxim held a lot of truth, even though it’s overused, especially for us and our life as a family.

This piece would definitely find home in our Almanac series.

I began strumming out an idea on the guitar as we talked and the song had it’s start.


Clothes Patterns

Betony put various textiles into the spaces of the tire spokes, all with striking differences of pattern to represent just how chaotic and unpredictable life and this journey can be. Things don’t often line up and match as you’d hope or expect.

And as I began writing lyrics to my song I titled it “Written in Our Clothes”. Because when our first daughter was born, Lucy,  in one of her one-sies she had hidden this little phrase that said, “this is the beginning of something beautiful”.

That simple phrase has moved me years since and what better thing to reference in a song about journey?


Better Together

As the chorus of the song came together I shared it with Betony. The lines were
“I don’t know where we are going
But I’d like to go with you darling
When we get there I suppose we’ll know it
Let’s go, Let’s go”

Betony loved the lyrics and wrote them into the piece underneath the bike with collaged map images and little icons hidden in representing milestones. She’s noted to me about the map part of the piece that although all the destinations aren’t known in life, it’s always better that we go together… That’s really what being in love is: it’s just better together.

While my song is called “Written in Our Clothes” she titled her painting:

“Go with Me”.

Many thanks to the Van Manen family who purchased Betony’s piece. May you be blessed in the journey!

Hear the song HERE.

“Written in Our Clothes” lyrics
Giants & Pilgrims

This is what you’ve wanted for so long
I will wake you early for the road, right before dawn
You can sleep with feet against the glow
Coming from the sun still sitting low

You may keep those things from me you stole
You know me I cashed out long ago
Without a penny for control
Careful with the highlight reels we post
Half of it’s the truth and half we’ve
Sold the truth we’ve halfway told

I don’t know where we are going
But I’d like to go with you darling
When we get there I suppose we’ll know it
Let’s go

There are matters shattering our hearts
If we can’t outrun them we should go
Let’s depart

We will find new words to aim the throws
We will write them hidden in our clothes
They’ll shape and take control

I don’t know where we are going
But I’d like to go with you darling
When we get there I suppose we’ll know it
Let’s go

What is “Almanac No. 1”?

May is coming to a close and I’m taking a moment to pause and reflect on this project. (May’s Almanac theme is “prize” so it seems like a good time to reflect.)

Betony and I had the idea last year. What if we made an Almanac? It would be this antiquated and slightly old-fashioned approach to fields of life and love (instead of agriculture). And we could do paintings and songs that were companions to each other. And we could involve our friends who are amazing artists and writers and thinkers each month with the different almanac themes…

So it happened in 3 parts: an ALBUM, an ART-SERIES, and a MONTHLY PUBLICATION (subscription & online) and we called it Almanac No. 1.

More than an art project, we’ve been hoping this endeavor would be a culture making venture… A bit presumptuous of us I know… But what if helped provide provision & navigation for those fields of life ahead, asking “what IS the good life exactly”? That felt like art worth doing.

Now we’re half a year into the project. We’ve gotten wonderful response to the album and art-series. And Betony and I look forward to each month- preparing recipes and playlists and adventures that go into the month’s theme.

Is it a culture making venture yet? Are we inspiring others and ourselves to live adventurous lives that tell great and noble stories?

I can’t tell yet. But here’s to half-way in and to another 6 months to come… May we be navigating these fields together.

Peace,

Tim
Giants & Pilgrims

 

Recommended Iceland Music Exports

I am thrilled anytime someone whose taste I trust gives me a music recommendation. So I try to share my discoveries as well (and hopefully I’ve built up some trust with you. Ha).

While in Iceland I found the following 3 musical groups. And I’ve been listening to them ever since the trip. They are great finds, breaking up my usual listening patterns and bringing freshness and inspiration to my own writing.

The first, and best, of the music discovered is a young artist named Asgeir (pronounced Ous-geear). The entire album is unreal – listenable and beautiful. It’s a mystical, more hopeful and danceable Bon Iver. Here’s a link to a weird video, but a great song. The album is “In the Silence”.
 http://asgeirmusic.com/#

While printing our May Almanac covers yesterday, I listened to this next artist. Olafur Arnolds creates ambient, spacious landscapes with piano and strings – then he sneaks in electronic drums. Can I say it feels subtle yet epic? I felt like I was in a movie by the end of the printing time.
http://olafurarnalds.com/

Lastly, is the dirty and creative sound of Hjaltalin (I have no idea how to pronounce it correctly. Even after asking several times…) It’s a garage band kind of sound with a little bit of Icelandic soul. And a little creepy.
http://www.hjaltalinmusic.com/

Enjoy these exports. Hope they enrich your music experiences.

Tim
Giants & Pilgrims

Spring Playlist: April Showers

This month is a great time to gather and listen to songs about rain. Wonderful music has been dedicated to these themes of storm clouds and pouring skies. Here’s a collection  featured for April.

For an even more expansive list check out Betony Coons’ spotify. It’s 35 + songs that were found by crowd-sourcing (posing the question on Facebook, “What are great songs involving rain”?)

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head • Burt Bacharach & B.J. Thomas
No Rain • Blind Melon
Singing in the Rain • Gene Kelly
Thunder Rolls • Garth Brooks
Little April Showers • from Bambi
Umbrella • Rihanna
Somewhere Over the Rainbow • Judy Garland
Riders on the Storm • The Doors
It Never Rains in Southern California • Albert Hammond & M. Hazelwood
Shelter From the Storm • Bob Dylan
November Rain • Guns N’ Roses
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
Holy Sunlight • Steve Doupolous

THE ALBUM IS HERE

Almanac No. 1 is a three part project: a series of 12 paintings, a 12 month publication, and a 12 song album.

After months of writing songs that attempt to strike to the core of life, then months in the studio capturing and arranging and creating moments with those songs, then months of mixing and balancing and bringing out the right and specific feel for each… THE ALBUM IS HERE!

Here is the digital release. Take a listen, buy the album, share the album with friends, family, enemies, and frienimies.

http://giantsandpilgrims.bandcamp.com/

Thanks for your support. We’re very excited to share these great and beautiful songs with you.

Giants & Pilgrims

January Playlist No. 2: “In Protest”

The first time I realized that there is such a thing as a “protest” song was in high school. One of the films they were showing about the civil rights movement kept coming back to people belting out “We Shall Overcome”. As a young man, I was so moved. That people can use music to rally around an idea that brings about change. That’s powerful.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20th this year), Betony and I made a playlist filled with songs about changing the world around us for the better. Here’s our current list. What would you add? Feel free to put song suggestions in the comments!

 

In Protest Playlist

Coal War- Joshua James

Pride- U2

Better Way- Ben Harper

Politik- Coldplay

Freedom- Rage Against the Machine

Give Peace a Chance- John Lennon

Talkin Bout a Revolution- Tracy Chapman

Man in Black- Johnny Cash

Ballad of Paul and Sheila- Mason Jennings

The Times They are A-Changin- Bob Dylan

We Shall Overcome- Martin Luthar King Address

Redemption Song- Bob Marley and the Wailors

 

We put the question to friends on facebook: what would you put on this playlist? We published the results on Betony Coons Spotify account. It’s called “In Protest”. Come take a listen!