A Journey Well-Ended

This is a true story. It’s a story about friendship and saying goodbye, and the songs and meanings that connect us. In this case, it’s “It Is Well With My Soul”. This is from my mom’s blog at PraiseNotes.com. She’s a piano teacher that specializes in teaching students over Skype and she loves the hymns. Enjoy!

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My neighborhood is prone to adventures. I do not mean the stuff of storybooks, of exotic locales, of great deeds and daring, all with happy endings. No, not those kind of adventures, but the kind that a mind-your-own-business, busy-at-work, up-to-my-eyeballs-in-projects person would rather avoid. Adventures like the next door neighbor pounding on the door at two in the morning pleading for help because her boyfriend was threatening her life; an adventure like coming home to the street blocked off, SWAT teams patrolling around our home and neighborhood and the police helicopter circling overhead; an adventure like discovering the gate busted open by policemen chasing a fugitive who decided to make a quick escape through the backyard. Mind you, thanks be to the Lord, this did not all happen in one week, or month, or even year, but nevertheless, they are the kind of adventures that can unnerve and drive one to prayer.

And to prayer I did go. It was a simple prayer, but, believe me, very heartfelt: “Lord, please send me Christian neighbors.” God answered that prayer in an unforgettable way.

It began with a phone call from my former roommate from Bible college. “Kim, I just moved my parents to your city, and I think it might even be in your neighborhood. Where do you live?” I told her my street address. I was shocked to hear her say that she had moved her parents across the street two houses away from my home!

Jane N.

Jane

From that day on, a precious friendship began to grow with my new neighbor, Jane. Over the next short years we enjoyed: “tea time” (that always included prayer); sharing our concerns and hopes; playing the piano; sharing our favorite hymns. Her husband was also a dear friend. There were times I would look out my front window and see Rod working unbidden in our front yard, helping us in our feeble attempts at gardening. Jane and her husband eventually moved out of our neighborhood and relocated to a different state. We continued to stay in contact with one another and maintained a close friendship.

A few years later, I received another phone call; this time it was from Jane. “Hi, Kim, my husband and I flew in this morning, and we are here to visit family and friends to say good-bye. I have pancreatic cancer and the doctors have given me only a few weeks to live. Can I come over in an hour to see you?” As she spoke these words, my heart dropped with sorrow as I contemplated this coming loss. I was also anxious and feeling overwhelmed to see her on such short notice, not knowing what I should say or do when she arrived. I wanted to comfort them, but I was not sure how. When Jane and her husband arrived it was obvious what I needed to do. I asked what hymns were their favorites. As I played my piano, we sang the hymns that had inspired, comforted and taught them so much of the Savior’s love. We then prayed together for the last time. Singing the hymns filled our hearts with gratitude towards God, and we found relief for our suffering souls. When Jane left that day, she said good-bye and said that she would see me in heaven. We hugged and both shed tears as we knew we were ending a journey here on earth.
A few weeks later I played the piano at her memorial service. Though I didn’t know most of the people at her memorial service, we were one in Christ and sang together the hymn “It is Well with my Soul”.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

(Refrain)
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

For thousands of years, the saints have passed from the church militant to the church triumphant surrounded by family, friends and pastors, who offer the comfort, first and foremost, of the Word of God, but also of singing the hymns of the faith—those songs that are so infused with poetry and doctrine that they, by the work of the Holy Spirit, give comfort and life, even to a dying soul. May the Lord in his mercy preserve these songs for the generations to come who will one day sing with my dear friend Jane, “It is well with my soul!”

A beginner piano arrangement of “It Is Well” is available in our online store.

 

Please visit Praisenotes.com to learn more about my mom and her music.

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3 Radio Hits That Can’t Compete With Their Covers

Take that, pop radio hits!

Take that, pop radio hits!

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and thought to yourself, “How can anyone listen to this piece of mechanized auto-tuned garbage?” No? Well, to each his own. Nevertheless, there’s certainly a lot of music out there that boggles the mind as to why it’s popular. Most modern music sucks. This is a well-documented fact by scientists and funny little men in white coats running around with clipboards. Of course, there’s plenty of catchy music that has some value. But every once in a while, some lesser known artist comes along and covers a popular song and just knocks it out of the park. Here are 3 great examples of radio hits that can’t compete with their covers.

#3. I Need Your Love by Calvin Haris ft. Ellie Goulding

Covered by: Madilyn Bailey

Synopsis: The original song by electro pop artist Calvin Harris (with vocals by Ellie Goulding) is kind of catching and fun by itself. Madilyn comes in and sweeps the song off it’s feet with accompanist Matt Coco. She has a very nice bluesy kind of voice that and style that lends a slightly more melancholy interpretation to the song and the result is very pretty. Take a listen!

 

#2. I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift

Covered by: Tyler Ward, Lindsey Stirling, and Chester See

Synopsis: This cover should get an award for “most improved.” The original song by Taylor Swift is just awful. It’s so awful, in fact, that a goat also covered it and still sounded better than Taylor. However, Tyler Ward and the ever endearing Lindsey Stirling (who would have made the list with her fantastic cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love if I hadn’t already covered it in 3 Songs You Should Drop Everything And Listen to Right Now) managed to take this little ditty and reinterpret into a pleasant melody that’s actually nice to listen to.

 

#1. You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful by One Direction

Covered by: The Piano Guys

Synopsis: Lets face it…at some point, you’ve gotten a One Direction song stuck in your head and instantly felt a piece of your adulthood crumble into immaturity. No one really wants to be humming a boy band droning on about the clueless beauty in the room. But The Piano Guys take this song and completely revolutionize it. This cover is amazing. That’s why it’s #1. Because it’s good. Let it bless your eardrums with it’s eclipsing creativity!

 

That’s it, folks! I would put more Lindsey Stirling in here…but there are other musicians in the world. Give a like and follow and I’ll respond. Thanks!

3 Musicians You Didn’t Know Influenced the World

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There’s a lot of really great music out there. Often, we take it for granted without really investigating the origins of the melodies we enjoy so much. Each artist is influenced by someone else, and that someone else had someone who influenced them, ad infinitum. There’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, yet each song has it’s own unique character. Here, then, are 3 musicians that you had no idea influenced the world with their music.

#3 Jackson C. Frank Sings the Blues


Who? 
Jackson C. Frank has been called the most important forgotten singer of the 1960’s by David Fricke (music editor for Rolling Stones magazine). A folk singer who only recorded a single album during his career, Jackson C. Frank had greater success in Britain and Scotland than he did in America. When he was 11, a school fire injured him and killed several of his classmates, causing deep psychological scars that later influenced his music. He went to London and recorded his one and only album, which immediately became so popular that he was asked to a number of radio performances, which helped establish himself in the London folk scene. (Source)

How Did He Influence the World? Frank recorded his album with Paul Simon, of Simon and Garfunkel fame. He must have made quite the impression, because his hit song,  The Blues Run the Game, was covered by Simon and Garfunkel. Furthermore, Frank’s influence in Europe cannot be pushed aside. His songs from 1965 were still bringing him royalty income until his death in 1999.

#2 Rufus Payne teaches a country legend to play guitar

Who? Rufus Payne is not a well known name by most in modern day America. Better known as “Tee Tot”, Payne was a simple small town musician who played his music on the street corner to entertain passers-by. He worked odd jobs in town and played songs with a couple other local musicians. He made quite the impression on a young 12 year old boy, who heard him and determined that he would learn guitar from him. That young boy was Hank Williams, the quintessential country legend. It’s well-documented that Payne taught Williams not just guitar, but how to see the world as an artist. (Source)

How Did He Influence the World? Payne’s influence on Williams was vital to his development as a musician. Without his teaching, Williams would never have become the musician that he was, being a somewhat awkward guy that probably would have become a doctor or lawyer without someone awakening a musical interest within him. And without Hank Williams’ influence, another great artist would never have experienced inspiration. Who was that, you may ask?

Only folk legend Bob Dylan. 

#1 Arthur Alexander Helped Start the Beat

Who? Arthur Alexander was a musician who wrote a number of galactic hits that he never really profited from. The reason for this is that he influenced a lot of other popular artists so much so that they covered his songs and popularized them. Born in 1940 in Alabama, Arthur Alexander recorded his first album when he was 20 years old, and didn’t follow up with a second album until 1972. It’s said that he eventually left music and worked as a bus driver at a center for disadvantaged kids. (Source)

How Did He Influence the World? Alexander had a huge influence on the popular musicians of the 1960’s and 70’s. Rock n’ roll giants The Beatles were one of his biggest fans. Lennon idolized him and McCartney said that they wanted to sound like Arthur Alexander. Their songs Anna (Go to Him)Soldier of LoveA Shot of Rhythm & Blues were all Arthur Alexander songs that they covered. Bob Dylan also covered an Arthur Alexander song, and not to be left out, so did The Rolling Stones. And finally, yet another rock legend who found him inspiring, Elvis covered his song Burning Love in 1972. Few artists in history  have been covered by such popular acts and then forgotten, which probably makes him the most influential artist in history that nobody has really heard of.

That’s it, folks! Do you have an artist that you think deserves recognition? List them below in the comments (to comment with your Facebook, click the Facebook icon in the upper right corner of the comment box!

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