Saturday, June 30, 2007

Timeless Treasured Hymns, Vol. 2

Liberty has been in the studio nearly every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday since May. We are finally finishing up the vocals on our new hymns project. It's going to be good. Royce produced and arranged the entire album. Every vocal lick, every moving part, every breath (or lack thereof) has his fingerprints all over it. Every song on the CD is over 100 years old. We've put our own unique twist on each of them. A little country, a little 80s choral (nod to Royce), a little black Gospel, something for everyone. Here's the list:

1. Jesus Saves
2. Have Thine Own Way
3. My Savior’s Love / And Can It Be?
4. Crown Him with Many Crowns / Sevenfold Amen
5. I Will Praise Him / Doxology
6. When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder / Hallelujah! We Shall Rise
7. Blessed Assurance
8. Trust And Obey
9. Christ Arose / Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
10. Count Your Blessings
11. No Not One
12. Battle Hymn of the Republic
13. Soldier Medley (Leaning On the Everlasting Arms/Sound The Battle Cry/Onward Christian Soldiers )
14. Abide with Me

Dave Goetter, our engineer, is wondering how in the world he got stuck with a Southern Gospel quartet. He has almost pulled out every hair, of what once was a very full beard. This is what Dave looked like before working with us.

Dave's eyesight is also going. He's spent most of his time the last two months, squinting at Pro Tools squiggles. "How did Dan do THAT?"

THE producer, Royce Mitchell, critiques my heartfelt vocal deliveries. He's really wowed, as you can tell.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Addressing a pet peeve

Here's a tip for you public speakers from Iced Tea Forever:
When you’re the emcee or moderator of a church service or a concert, never mention a low turnout or how disappointed you are that more people didn’t come. It serves no purpose. After all, the people you’re telling are the ones who came! All it does it create an aura of negativity. It doesn’t chastise someone who should have come but didn’t, it just makes the one who did come feel bad that those in charge are so disappointed.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

God & Country (and some really good groups)

Last night, Lori and I took the kids over to the Idaho Center for the 40th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Rally. I always want to get there early to make sure I have a good spot for the concert. My spot is getting very popular, so an early arrival is imperative.

It's in my genes. My grandmother is 30 minutes early to church for every service and she handed it down to my Dad, who spends most of his time prior to going to church, going out to eat, going to the gas station (you get the picture) yelling,"C'mon! Lessgo!" He imparted this wonderful gift to me, much to Lori's chagrin. She is perfectly comfortable with arriving just in time for an event. It never bothers Lori if she runs a little late, which causes much consternation in my carefully regimented world. Our only arguments (I do not exaggerate) have come from our differing opinions of time and its importance. But, I digress.

We got there in plenty of time, spread our blankets out at my desired spot and all was well (besides the near-100 degree temperature). Marc and Talisha (and kids) met us a little bit later. While walking around perusing the food available at the booths, we ran into Markus Holloway. So, he and Johanna (and kids) joined us. After a while Bob Taylor showed up. Before it was all said and done Terry, Brooklyn, and Bridget Taylor came over (having just left the hospital where Terry's new baby girl was born earlier in the evening). It was a fun night! Friends, music, and fireworks: does life really get any better?

Lori, Trey, and Kassady smiling and grimacing while we waited in the blazing sun for the concert to begin.

Mark Harris, lead singer for 4Him (one of the greatest Christian contemporary groups of all time), did an outstanding job solo. He can tear up an acoustic guitar. He has written some of my favorite CCM songs. I sang along with most of his set.

A new guy on the CCM scene (at least to me) is Brandon Heath. He has written some outstanding praise & worship songs. Seemed like a nice guy.

And, then, one of my favorite groups of all time, in all genres: Phillips, Craig, & Dean. This was the first time that I have seen them with a live band since 1994 . They brought the house down. I don't know of any other group that has consistently produced better songs than this trio. Awesome! Shawn Craig recently married a girl from Boise, so I hope they'll be in the area more often. I shouldn't complain. They show up at least once a year as it is. While they were singing, I remarked to Talisha that I felt like a baby-boomer at a Doobie Brothers concert. I knew all the words to their old songs and sang along loudly. And, I admit, I did wave my cell phone slowly in the air as dusk settled in.

You can tell that Kassady frequents mostly Southern Gospel concerts. She's not into the loud music.

Trey spent most of his time hanging out with his buddies Johnessa and Emme.

We had our own mosh pit going on. This picture was taken shortly after Kassady did a little crowd-surfing.

Kassady stylin' it with her bud Addison. That poor guy can't get away from that persistent woman.

Addison scopes out the action.

No God and Country Rally is complete without the time-honored custom of men with really ugly legs wearing kilts showing up to deliver a wrenching, nasally rendition of God Bless America. One of my favorite moments was when the God and Country host asked the crowd to bow their heads in prayer. The chief bagpipe instrumentalist took this as a cue to jump into a rip-roaring version of America the Beautiful. The host, well, for the matter, the entire crowd stood silent with heads bowed, waiting as the bagpipe cadre marched off the field (around 150 yards in length) playing all the way. Very funny.

The fireworks are always the favorite part. They did a fantastic job this year! Not quite Cincinnati's Labor Day display, but almost. Once again, Kassady was overtaken with the dynamic performance.

Markus just lives for these performances. I mean, body language is everything!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Buy it now

For sale: 2000, Ford Explorer
$6,970, 71,500 mls., Dark Green, Auto, 4dr. This 2000 Ford Explorer is in great condition, inside and out. It has under 72000 miles and runs extremely well. Feel free to contact me for more information. ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We were privileged to take a short vacation to Donnelly, ID where we spent a fun-filled weekend with Marc, Talisha, and the kids at their cabin. I didn't realize how stressed out I was until I got up there. It was so peaceful, I could almost feel the tension draining away. We had a fun time swimming, riding 4-wheelers, and just taking it easy. Here are a few pics from the lake:

My first baptism involved dunking Trey and Emme. Not really, they were just practicing their swimming moves in the lake.

I'm not laughing in this picture. I am screaming from the shock of the incredibly frigid water. Freshly melted snow is what you see pictured here.

Kassady ventured into water up to her ankles and wisely meandered back to the joys of the beach (mud).
We always ask the kids to recount their favorite vacation activities. Kassady didn't hesitate in answering: "I 'ike the 4'eeler". And, yes, those legs are quite white. Blazing white, if you will. I choose to blame it on the freezing inland water.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trey's Graduation

Trey graduated from kindergarten last month. Here are a few pictures from his graduation ceremony and party:

Our graduate

He didn't waste any time getting across that platform to grab his diploma.

Trey and his teacher, Ms. Roerig.

Kassady wanted her own picture with Trey.

Trey and his proud family.

Probably one of the worst-sounding choirs of all time. But, I loved it!

Trey, Katrina, and Johnessa (classmates and church buddies)

Trey and Emme

When Trey realized that a graduation party meant presents, he was all for it.

Ok, so I admit it: I did get a little bit sentimental. I guess there is a little bit of Sharon Waggoner buried deep within me. I was fine at the ceremony, but the day before Trey's graduation I sat in my chair thinking about how fast time goes by. I mean, just yesterday I was teaching him to count, laughing as he discovered the difference between a slice of an apple and a slice of a lemon, pulling him out of the crib so he could sleep in our bed (big mistake there; I'm still paying for it), and watching him attempt his first steps. Since then, I've witnessed the development of his personality, watched him throw a ball for the first time, and learned that burps can provide hours of entertainment for a pre-schooler (Lori was the one belching). The coolest moment came when I was in Fresno for the 2006 Fan Fest. Trey called me and told me that he had asked Jesus to come into his heart. Nothing beats it! Just a few weeks ago with no prompting, Trey reminded me of what Jesus had done for him and told me that he was trying his best to be a "good boy for Jesus". I couldn't help but get emotional as all of the above and many other memories came flooding back. It's been a great journey! I'm privileged to be a dad.
In fact, I'm crying even as I type this. My tears have nothing to do with sentimentality, however. Lori just read the part about the belching and is hitting me over the head with the iron. OWWW!

Family Fest '07

For those of you that have requested an update on Liberty's Family Fest concert (and don't get our e-mail newsletter), here you go.

Nearly 800 people turned out for an evening filled with Gospel music. The concert, held at Meridian Assembly of God in Meridian, ID, lasted from 5:30 PM until 10:30 PM. While it wa probably a little too long, there were plenty of people who stayed around for the last note. Liberty was privileged to have so many regional artists be part of this special event. Linnie Doyle, Faithful Men, Doug & Marilyn Holly, the Liberty Kids Trio, Paul Ellis, Jaime Thietten, and the Homecoming Choir did an outstanding job! I have to hand out special kudos to Gerald VanOrder and the Homecoming Choir. The nearly 80 voice choir brought the crowd to their feet with their power-packed set. No one can conduct a choir like Gerald! Also, this was Jaime Thietten's last Boise-area appearance before she moves to Nashville. What amazing talent! Her beautiful spirit coupled with her voice promise great things on down the road. For those of you who are into contemporary music check out her website. You will hear her name again, I promise.

Crossway did a fantastic job in their Boise debut. Crossway is one of the most incredible trios you will ever hear. They can do it all from straight-ahead Southern Gospel, to country, to a cappella. I've already had many requests to have them back. I've followed their ministry from the beginning. I have to say that they sound better now than they ever have. The awesome part is to witness the sincere testimonies behind the performances. Paul, Matt, and Scott are truly men of God. They had quite an experience in getting to the concert. Marc Taylor and I picked up Paul and Matt at the airport on Friday night. They hadn't had slept since Wednesday and were just wasted. Scott was supposed to be on the same flight, but on the trip from home (Birmingham, AL) to Nashville (where the group is based) his car broke down. He missed his flight and didn't get in until 11:45 PM. We had taken Matt and Paul out to Red Robin (no Idaho visit is complete without a meal at this fine restaurant) and then dropped them off at the motel. On the way to the motel Paul called Scott's voicemail and told him that a cab would pick him up at the airport and that they were going to get some sleep. Unfortunately, Scott didn't get the message. He arrived late, sick (he had a fairly high fever), and exhausted. He sat around until 2:30 in the morning waiting on the guys. He finally carried his luggage a half mile to a motel and got to bed about 4:00 AM. He handled it a lot better than I would, that's for sure. He did a great job at the concert. Here's a little trivia for you SG maniacs: Scott used to sing tenor for the now-defunct quartet N'Harmony. If you like country music go out and buy Crossway's new CD A Beautiful Thing.

Another treat was to have Inheritance with us at Family Fest. We have been friends with Ben and Dustin for quite a while, but never have had the opportunity to work with them. Wow! They are incredible! I will say that they have a bluegrass number that rivals Liberty's version of "The Gospel Plow". You have to see it.

Special thank you's go out to each artist who sang and promoted the concert, each choir member who gave up one night a week for rehearsal, Gerald VanOrder and Boyd Hoops for their work with the choir, Connie Hill for organizing the choir contact info, John Cotner for his input and emcee work, Paula and the incredible staff at Meridian Assembly, the Meridian Assembly youth group, the Grace Bible Church youth group, and our sponsors: Cotner Building Company, Grace Bible Church, Insurance Associates, Inc., LMG, Nampa Flooring & Interiors, Remax Agents Terry Taylor and Jeff Gardner, Rod's Custom Paint, and Taylor Drywall.

I also want to give credit where credit is due: Doran Ritchey was the event coordinator and much of the night's success can be directly attributed to his hard work. Just don't compliment him too much. It quickly goes to his head.

You guys really need to show up next year.