I’m in a rut lately.

Part of the problem is that I’m not in a playing situation that really excites me. I play at church, but the music that we play is not music that I really get excited about. I don’t listen to David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, Steve Fee, Charlie Hall, or whoever in my car or on the treadmill, so it’s not music that I’m really interested in playing. Leading worship is a good thing, but it’s not a very satisfying musical experience for me.

This dissatisfaction led a few friends to form a band. We were all excited and practicing a lot, but then our drummer backed out on us. That kinda took the wind out of our sails for a while, but we then decided to concentrate on writing and developing more acoustic material. That was coming along okay when our lead singer Maury discovered that a tumor had been growing on his right big toe. He had most of said toe amputated a couple of weeks ago and he’ll be recovering for quite some time. Even when we’re able to start playing again, we’ll be limited to going and playing at his house for the foreseeable future.

Another seemingly failed venture is this royalty-free music thing that I may have mentioned. In a nutshell, I wrote 5 acoustic-based instrumental tunes for my wife’s photography website and based on some positive feedback that we received, we decided to offer them for sale to the public. They were publicized by a prominent family photographer from Austin, and we anticipated good sales. Unfortunately, the sales have been less than we expected. I realize that music is not necessarily a high priority for a photography business, but it’s disheartening nonetheless. It’s not like these songs are the pinnacle of my musical achievement or anything, but I’m happy with them, and I think that they are pretty much perfect for their intent.

I don’t know – the problem is that I just don’t have an outlet right now. I need to play some music that I actually want to play. I just want to play some too loud rock music with some friends through this monstrous amp that’s sitting idly in my office right now. I want to create something that I believe in and care about. I don’t want music to be connected to this funk that I seem to be in right now.

Man, I feel really lame for writing all of this, but I just needed to purge.

7 thoughts on “Stuck”

  1. Philip, I don’t think you need to apologize. Obviously there is music in your heart that isn’t be expressed. That is frustrating. It’s no different than if you were in a hip-hop group rapping. It’s really no different. It’s not appealing to what’s inside. That’s okay.

    I’ve been a guitar player for almost 30 years myself (ouch), so I can totally appreciate where you’re coming from. We guitar players need our outlets. If they get shut off, we really get frustrated.

  2. I hear ya…..
    I at least get a kick of playing a Spanish service with these weird beats and minor keys…. But what I wish we could get in modern worship the ability to transfer modes. Some days I think “if i see one more G chord….” and loved when we actually composed a piece where we moved from a Bm key to another major key through an instrumental portion while the pastor prayed. It was beautiful.

    But seriously, I like Tomlin most of the time, but I’m tired of playing Tomlin and Baloche songs.

  3. Philip — Listen to some Phil Keaggy for a bit of fresh inspiration. Acoustic Sketches for some acoustic interludes and John the Revelator or Glass Harp for some electric cattle prodding.

    “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

  4. I feel ya man. I had to stop thinking in terms of needing a full band to be able to play. I’ll worry about playing out later on. For now, a friend and I are getting together every week and just writing and recording. We refuse to be tied down by the limitations of other people, live drums, musical genre etc. The idea is to just be creative and have fun doing it. We have a ton of amps/guitars/pedals. We have Pro Tools. We have a micro-synth and tons of sequencing software. We have some Roland drums and Battery 3. We’re out to do something original that we can be proud of. And that’s what matters, because, at the end of the day, whether you’re playing out or staying in, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Play music that inspires you.

  5. I’m just catching up on some of my blog reading and ran cross this post. Jason is a drummer and he’s been experiencing the same angst…the plight of all musicians, I suppose. It’s been subdued a little since we’re buying a house and he’s excited about having a place of his own to practice everyday…but he would love to “play some too loud rock music with some friends” as well. Too bad we all live so far apart! I love photography and Jason’s a drummer…I think our families would mesh quite nicely! ha!

  6. I know this is an old post and I have never posted to your bolg before…but I just wanted to leave you a “right on man” message to encourage you in the situation you are in. It is not likely that a church service is going to fill all your creative needs personally. The fact is you are engaging in the opportunity to give your gifts to their purposes. And I am sure you are still excited to be a part of what they are trying to accomplish. For your own growth, keep on creating in whatever facet you have available. I also wanted to throw you a couple of other artists with the creative styles, like Robbie Seay. Lincoln Brewster – especially the live album. Travis Taylor has a great track called No One Who Compares. I am also a fan of the work of a Saint Louis artist named Mark Roach – “As long as I have you” is a great track….Finding worship tunes that are musically interesting is one of my personal missions and job responsibilities due to the target my church has. Hope this is helpful….please shoot me an email any time I would love to dialogue more.

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