Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) Cover by Magic Jones

How about a real change of pace? We all could take a break from 2020.

It’s hard to believe that Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” was released over 30 years ago. I’m really impressed by Jason “Magic” Jones’ hard rock cover of the classic. I keep listening to it over and over. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

I got to know Jason recently when he helped me record an audio book. My first. He made the experience so easy, I am excited to record another one with him soon.

Check out Art City Sound. He has a great studio and the view from his place is absolutely stunning.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols — December 24, 2019

a5d46-kingscollegechapelSince 1918, a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has been a special Christmas Eve service held in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. Now in it’s 101st year, it is broadcast to millions of people around the world. The service is always opened with “Once in Royal David’s City” followed by many other traditional carols, interspersed by Bible readings.

Construction of King’s College Chapel began in A.D. 1446 under King Henry VI, and was opened in A.D. 1515 under the reign of Henry VIII.

You can read more about the service here and listen live here (8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. MST, December 24, 2019).

I’ll Be Homeward Bound in Time

I was recently listening to “Homeward Bound” on YouTube when I noticed this:

“One year tomorrow since we laid my dearest wife to rest. I miss her sometimes so much it is near unbearable then I hear music from heaven and I feel much closer and rested. There are no words I can think of to tell how beautiful this music is.”

The comment helped me remember that music can be a healing balm when other remedies fail. I am so grateful for these reminders of our hometown—the gift of music and the talents of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Here are the lyrics:

In the quiet misty morning,
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning—
I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me you’re missing,
If you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,
In the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing,
As my journey nears its end.
And the path I’ll be retracing,
When I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture,
Chain me not to the plow,
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.

 

James Taylor and a Bit of Heaven

© Photo by Russ Peterson. All rights reserved.

My wife and I saw James Taylor Friday night, in concert with the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was a little bit of heaven for us. Here are some reasons why.

James Taylor’s second album, Sweet Baby James, was released in 1970, the year I turned 13. I remember listening to “Fire and Rain.” A lot. My good friend Tom had the album—yes, album, as in vinyl, as in record player—and we would listen to it in his cool basement. “Fire and Rain,” which Taylor sang beautifully on Friday night, was one of my coming-of-age songs, but 43 years later, I understand these words much better than I did then.

    Won’t you look down upon me Jesus?
    You’ve gotta help me take a stand.
    You just got to see me through another day.

Those words didn’t make me cry when I was 13 like they do now. Life will do that to you.

Taylor’s last hit single as a soloist, “Up on the Roof,” came out in 1979, the year we were married, and since then it has been a favorite of ours. (The Drifters took the same song to the top of the charts in 1963.) The song evokes memories of being on the road before and after we were married. We lived 70 miles apart while engaged and moved away to college a few days after our wedding in a brown Volkswagen Rabbit pulling the smallest U-Haul trailer you have ever seen.

The last time we saw James Taylor in concert was in 1986 when he came to the Marriott Center at BYU. We had been married 7 years and had two young daughters.

Just a week ago, Cristi and I started our adventure as “empty nesters.” We are coming to terms with our new life, but we have each other. It is a wonderful thing to be married to your best friend and soul-mate. We still like to go out on dates.

On our date Friday, Cristi leaned over to me and whispered, “I never expected to be at a James Taylor concert with President Monson!” Yes, President Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was there with his daughter, only a dozen or so rows ahead of us.

As you can see, James Taylor has helped me mark some milestones in my life. His songs have helped me engrave a few memories on my heart. Thank you, James, for coming to town and bringing a bit of heaven with you.

Sing We Now at Parting

I really enjoyed this arrangement of “Sing We Now at Parting” sung at the end of our last general conference. I have listened to it a number of times. For some reason, it reminds me of my youth, when I first joined the Church.

Do you remember back 30 years ago when priesthood and Sunday School were held in the mornings and then we would come back for sacrament meeting in the evening? I am sure some of you do. I do.

I was the only member in my family. I was a senior in high school. I would sit alone in our little country chapel. No carpet on the floors, no pads on the benches, but the Comforter was there. The cold winter nights were warmed by the hymns of Zion, tunes that I had never sung before but seemed like old friends. I was welcomed by the hands and hugs of the people of my little ward. The chapel was not full of people, but it was full of the Spirit. It was a sweet time in my life, still precious to me many years later.

This is what this song reminds me of. I hope you enjoy it, too. (I’m not sure if this video is from the same conference session, but it is the same arrangement.)