Album creation story, as told by Wiley (August 2016)|
Friends, I wanted to share a bit about this project. It was a wonderful collaboration between gifted singers and musicians, all of whom are familiar to those of us who enjoy our "Sweet Song Music" Facebook page. They are: Debbie Stark, Mitzi Coleman, Debbie Milner, Diane Andrew, Beth Woodson, Tom Milner, Rick Roberts, Bob Andrew, Max Dyer, and me. This all unfolded in very short order. When I arrived in Texas in June I did not expect such an involved project; I was thinking of a simple studio recording with a small group. Spirit had other plans. As it is quite an involved story I will stick to a simple story line.
I had an opportunity to re-connect with some of these folks, and in the connecting I suddenly felt the possibility of expanding my vision. Most of the pre-selected songs were of a "chant" nature and would benefit so very much having more than a quartet of back up singers. So, I began asking, one after another, if these old friends would be interested in singing with me; and Max to play cello with us. Everyone said "Yes"!!!!
It was decided a "live" environment rather than a studio environment would be best. Before I could even wrap my head around finding the right place for us Diane A. suggested the Chapel of the Villa de Matel. My heart got excited. What a thought, returning to the place where the first Redeemer recordings took place. I had never been in the Chapel but I had drunk in those recordings for hours on end.
Again, I didn't know where to start and Lady Di said to call the Villa, asking for Janet Troy who has been working there for years! I did, she facilitated these arrangements and it all worked out for us and the Sisters. And so we recorded, live in essence. So, the feel of this recording is a live one. I did not press for "perfect" performances but held those possibility, with Max's brilliant guidance, in capture the experience of old friends gathering to sing music once again in the "style" of "singing in the Spirit". This meant, there were few rehearsals; just two actually. No pre-written arrangements. I was willing for the songs to unfold as we sang them, and they did so in a wonderful collaborative way; like a musical conversation.
I could, but won't, point out imperfections that, in a studio environment, could have been ironed out; perfected. The perfection is in blending of our voices, hearts, and cello while singing material new to most; offering music that opens one's heart to go deeper with God. In that light, just as chants are repetitive, these songs are very similar, one after another, allowing for the deepening experience to continue without abrupt changes.
You will enjoy hearing familiar voices joined in fresh musical offerings. After Max Dyer's tireless, brilliant and exhausting hours of editing, a bit of re-recording, and a fabulous Mastering service in Toronto, "I'll Meet You There" has been born. We offer this musical collaboration in thanks for the chance to make music together again; to offer gratitude through song for the years that shaped each of us in the company of those who sojourned through Church of the Redeemer and the Communities of Celebration. We know you will be as blessed listening to this music as we were in making it.
One last thing: a profound thank you to Bob Andrew for setting up a new website for Diane and I to share our musical offerings in one place. NEITHER of us had the juice to figure all that! Bob did it easily and joyfully. Thank you Mr. B. AND ... A huge thank you to Kevin O'Neill for the beautiful graphics and all the attending material he is making possible for publicity and all very necessary printed material. You are the best Kevin.