TOPIC: Song for a tribe in Ghana
Three years ago I wrote a song for a village in Ghana, Africa. From that day to this, the song has been sung by children in the village each morning, in school, right after they salute their flag. Just this month, a music video has been created to commemorate this song,which has now been performed live by a children's choir in Australiaand has been shared as a recording in churches and at retreats all throughout the US, many times over.
This month's Song and Story are dedicated to the sweet, inspiring life of Alexander Haws, 2003-2007.
TOPIC: A little boy in the final stages of cancer
For this month's song, I have been racing against the ticking clock of cancer. And while I have been doing so, a whole town in western New York has been rallying around one dear little boy.
Alex Haws died of a rare form of liver cancer on Wednesday, October 24 at 4:15 PM.
The write-up below was written and ready to publish earier that same day, and I have opted to leave it in its original form, written when Alex was still alive.
A brother who has died, and a sister who lives on, CONNECT...through song!
TOPIC: Connecting with a family member who has died
Lisa's brother Steve died unexpectedly at the age of 36. In attending to her grief she did two astonishing things--one which made the papers in St. Louis where she lives, and one which helped her grieving father to finally cry with her. I want to tell you briefly about both of those things, because it will give you an idea of what an inspired and inspiring person Lisa is, and it will provide the back-story out of which this month's featured song, The Connection, grew. When Lisa's brother Steve died, he left behind a life-dream of refinishing, to very exact plans, a once-fine, run-down house he had purchased many years earlier, in downtown St. Louis. He died before he was able to raise the funds for his vision. Lisa transformed her grief into a miracle, gathering the funds and completing the house, along with her extended family, as a labor of love. As the project came to completion, she had a second transformative idea when she learned about what I do: She commissioned a song for Father's Day, for her dad, in the voice of Steve. Steve and his dad had not had an easy relationship, and when Lisa shared that song, which was called Regained, with her dad, father and daughter were able to cry together for the first time since Steve's death. (That song, incidentally, was featured on the Brave Records website in May of last year for Father's Day and created a phenomenal spike in their website visits as people across the country and around the world shared the song on Fathers Day.)
TOPIC: Last Days of Life
A Mother on her Deathbed Says Goodbye to a Loyal Son
Jen commissioned me to write this song as a gift for her husband Tony in the days leading up to his mother's death. Jen's goal was to honor Tony's mom and to create a focal opportunity for Tony to grieve, when the time came. In an unexpected twist, Tony’s mother died after I had sent Jen a rough cassette of the song and before I had recorded it in the studio. So Jen, a singer herself, got her father to quickly learn a guitar part, and he accompanied Jen while she sang this song, live, at Tony’s mom’s memorial service. A few weeks later, the finished studio version arrived, and provided a powerful and timely opportunity for Jen and Tony to grieve together…
TOPIC: A support song for inner city girls
I have become rather transfixed with a non-profit organization that teaches at-risk girls to find their voice, to step forward from a centered and considered place, and to believe in themselves anew. The organization is called Girls' LEAP, and it very specifically helps girls develop a diverse set of responses to violence, beyond the extremes of passivity and escalation. Every time I get near any kind of LEAP event, I find something astonishing happening. And I find tears welling up in me, in response to it.
TOPIC: Sassy bride & groom
HAVING FUN WITH "I TOLD YOU SO:"
Song of the Month