ROCKET-HOUND

March 3, 2011

ROCKETHOUND

we moved to spring hill, tn in june of ’08.  we knew no one on our street.  one of the first families we met were the martins.  wonderfully angelic people.  actually they may be angels in disguise…. matt, kayse, rachael, emma-kate, and sara.  the conversation kinda went like this, “it’s so nice to meet you…. yeah… uh huh… YOU HAVE A BASSET HOUND? i must meet him!”  matt and kayse had a 12 year old basset hound named rocket.  kayse took me right over to meet him.  he was quite big, elderly and smelled like corn chips and old socks.  he was resting on his personal love seat.  i immediately loved him.  kayse began to tell me stories about when rocket was young.  they would take him camping in north carolina.  he would run, and run, and howl all through the mountains.  he loved it.

well that hound made a friend that day.  my family fell in love with rocket.  hudson would just lay on top of him when we went to visit.  mabel would come home smelling like him every time she went over.  and i would always look deep into those wise eyes and have great talks with him.  our kids knew that he was very old so he was covered in prayer every night at the lowery house.

2 years later we got a phone call from kayse.   we were keeping their girls so they could take rocket to the vet.  “rocket isn’t doing well.  they don’t think there is anything else they can do to help him.”  and then she says, “matt and i want hudson to come see him one last time before he has to go.”  tears.  tears pouring out of our eyes. whew.  so kayse stops by to get the girls. i ask her if it would be alright if i bring my guitar over and sing a couple of songs to rocket before he goes.  she bit her lip and said “okay”.

what you are about to read is a moment that i will never forget.

jessebeth, hudson, mabel and i walked over to the martin’s house.  guitar in hand.  we walked in and kayse was washing dishes.  their girls were a little teary eyed, but they were doing ok.  i gathered all of the kids around rocket.  hudson was basically laying on top of rocket.  rocket was in his love seat.  emma-kate, who was 7 at this point,  tells us “rocket is gonna go to heaven today.”  our kids were shocked to hear it, but i explained to them how lucky he is to get to go to heaven.  i started singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands” and the kids started singing “he’s got the big ol’ rocket in his hands.”

kayse was still washing dishes.  i decided to sing james taylor’s “you’ve got a friend” to rocket.  he looked me right in the eyes the entire song.  i made it through the song and felt like it was time for us to go, but then kayse says “jacob, would you sing ‘gone to carolina’ for rocket?”  she wanted him to think of those times he ran carefree through those mountains.  i didn’t hesitate.  kayse was harmonizing with me, but she bailed out by the first verse.  i fought off tears through the 2nd chorus, but i did get to the end.

“and i’m gone to carolina- in- my mind… say nice things about me- ’cause i’m gone..”

that was the day that i got to sing a beautiful 14 year old hound into heaven.

 

musicians-for the love of goodness…

October 27, 2010

i’ve gotta get this one off of my chest.  it has been building up for a while.  it may be a bit scattered….

musicians.  at any level.  from church volunteer to professional live players.  please show up to rehearsal prepared.  i mean it.  band practice should not be the first time you hear the songs.

make a playlist of your set in itunes.  let it play all of the time so that it can get in your head even if you can’t spend 10 mins a night on your instrument with it. (you should be able to spend a little time on your instrument with it!  make time.)

CHURCH MUSICIANS- worship songs today are not rocket science.  essentially 1 6 5 4.  if you listen to them they will creep into your brain and then it will be easier to make what you have heard come out of your fingers.  take what you do on sundays SERIOUSLY. most of us enjoy being on stage playing or singing in front of a crowd, but we had better spend some time alone with the song, our instrument and God before we expect to be used on sunday.

speaking as a worship leader/band leader i will say that the weight of what happens in a worship service falls directly on us.  when you are stressing about a band member that may or may not have a clue where the song is going IT IS A HORRIBLE FEELING.

speaking as a band member on a worship team i will say that nothing frustrates me more than having to wait on someone to learn a song while myself and the other band members awkwardly stand there watching the worship leader try to hold back his/her frustration at the person that didn’t put the time in to learn the tunes….

speaking as a professional musician— well, you’ll just get fired if you don’t have your stuff together.  so that one is easy.

so.  take it seriously people.

worship band members– we are lucky to get to do this.  for God and for people.  do your BEST.

i’m done now.  whew.  i feel better.

one little move

September 4, 2010

my kids are pretty sensitive to what they hear.  when they were a little younger i would play chords and watch their reactions.  what can i say– i am a musician/mad scientist/dad that experiments on his kids.

playing fifths wouldn’t bother them at all- but when i would add a third note into the mix it would change the whole atmosphere.  Playing  E and B together (a fifth for you non-musicians) was safe- but when i added a G it became the spookiest chord of all— the dreaded E minor!!  they would hold their ears and scream “stop daddy!”  hudson would either run out of the room or start crying at the sound of an E minor.

it is amazing what a simple half step move can do. moving the G to a G# made everything better.  everyone was happy and playing again!  they were singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of an E major- but one slight move downward would mean we were in the spook house again… “daddy stop now!!”  the E minor was back.  one little move affected everything.

one little move changed everything.


everybody loves raymond (again)

June 20, 2010

i wrote this last year but thought that it was worth a re-post…

my mom and dad (raymond) are selling their house.  for sale by owner.  the potential buyers gave them a $1000 deposit while they get through the contract and inspection phase.  i was listening to them talk about this stuff and my mom said “well even if they back out we can still keep their $1000!”  then my dad quickly replied back to her, “i’ll give that back to them.  i wouldn’t dare take their money that way.”  and that was it.

a flood of memories rushed through my mind about the generosity of my dad.  raymond lowery was the town barber in DeQuincy LA for 38 years.  he worked tuesday through saturday.  6.30 am til 8pm.  he was funny, fun and trustworthy.  i can remember people coming to our front door many times and asking for mr. raymond.  i’d go get him and hide out so i could listen.  most of them were asking for money to pay the electric bill, rent, water, car—whatever.  i’d watch him sneak away and come back with something to help them out.  he never boasted about what he had done.  i can remember a single mom with three kids that needed a car.  suddenly one sunday at church she appeared with a new car.  i recently found out that he was behind that.  heck–he worked his butt off to support all of us–but he never passed up the opportunity to help someone that needed it.  that was the example i saw growing up. selfless to a fault.  and i think that it is a pretty dang good way to live.

i think that this explains why i get so upset with people that have the power to actually help people and DON’T.  people that have the means but keep them.  people that have ways to change someone’s life with one phone or with one pen stroke.  i can’t understand why a person would be that selfish.

i’m glad my dad set this example for me.  i like giving away stuff.  my time–my talent–my money–i’m a sucker for it.

i believe that when he is gone on to heaven that he’ll be remembered for this way of living.  living the selfless life.

selflessness really seems to be fading away.  especially with this “spooky” economy.

i choose to keep it going.  thanks dad.

instruments

May 15, 2010

i’ve been thinking about my instruments.  how each one has its own personality.  how each one is quirky in its own way.

for example– my 73 jazz bass has a broken piece on the bone nut that is glued on.  i just couldn’t make myself replace it when it broke so i just used a little super glue and kept on going.  if you touch the tone knob on the yamaha BB3000 a huge crackle will come crashing through the sound system. my 72 p-bass sounds exactly like a sitar if you dig into the A string on the 13th fret.  my AMAZING old taylor acoustic guitar has a huge dent where i dropped my tuner on it.  ouch.  it also needs new frets.  my martin acoustic guitar sounds AWFUL if it isn’t plugged into a sound system. last but not least there is mr. jereme jeane’s $100 yamaha acoustic guitar.  i play it more than any other instrument at my house.  it has the action of an upright bass and the strings have never been changed— and i LOVE it.

each instrument so different yet each one has something great to offer.  i feel so fulfilled when i am able to make something beautiful happen thru one of these imperfect instruments.

surely that’s how God feels when He gets to use us.

background music in church

March 9, 2010

this blog will be filed in the “church worker” category.

i’ve been thinking on this one for a while now.

it has been part of my life for years.  i’ve often wondered how to explain it.  i’m going to give it my best shot.

most churches that i go to want “background” music playing (usually on piano but sometimes on guitar) until the preacher starts his/her sermon.  no down time.  not a drop in the “momentum”.  after traveling a great deal and seeing many different versions of this i’ve developed a couple of different feelings towards this.

1-i love music.  i hear it in my head ALL OF THE TIME. i truly believe that certain notes and certain chords can bring forth all types of emotions.  i cry every time that i hear the 5 minor chord on keith urban’s song “raining on sunday”. it just moves me.

keep this in mind when you are playing, or when someone is playing background music behind you.  chords and notes can create tension, and resolve that go along with what the speaker is saying.

there was a keyboardist i remember that would always play this jazzy/gospel chord during very solemn and reflective times at the end of service– and that chord was always SO distracting.  most people didn’t realize what was distracting them, but it was that 15 voice chord!  that chord sent The Dove flying right out of the room!

as musicians we need to let the spirit lead us through these times.  treat it like a movie score.  every note counts.  every chord touches a certain emotion.  keep that in mind.

2-some pastors/preachers/evangelists rely too heavily on background music.  they seem to get scared in the silence.

i am aware that different denominations do things differently.  my home church in TN doesn’t rely on background music throughout the service.  this was a big adjustment for my ears.  to hear words without music behind them.  it isn’t right or wrong.  just different.  in a good way.  i needed to see that it wasn’t always necessary. (thank you Pastor Steve and Jonathon)

this has helped me to realize that some places may rely on it a little too much.

i’m looking for a balance.  not so much that it creates hype.  not so much that it brings on a “created” emotional moment.  but enough to create comfort for the pastor i’m helping and for the people out there looking for a God moment.

there ya go.

home concerts??

January 12, 2010

i’ve really been thinking about doing some home concerts that are worship times.  when i say home– i mean in someone’s house with a bunch of chairs circled around real close in a living room.

this is by no means an original idea.  i’ve been playing bass with my dear friend and mentor anthony skinner for almost 2 years now and every other week we do a home worship service here in nashville.  it is an awesome thing to experience.  the energy and intimacy of that setting is a great place for some very creative things to happen musically, lyrically and spiritually.

i’ve been talking about making another album and i think that experimenting with this scenario before i record it may be a good idea.  i’m also thinking about doing a “home concert” tour for the album release. probably just me and 2 other guys to keep it easy and organic.

not sure about the finances of it all— but money has never stopped me from being creative!  i know that God will provide the financing when the time is right because He always does.

sooooooo—- i’m open to any thoughts you all have about home concerts.  let me hear what you think and let me hear your ideas. help me out!!!

thankful for enemies

January 7, 2010

“Choose your enemies carefully because they will define you.  Make them interesting because in some ways they will mind you.  They’re not there in the beginning but when the story ends– they’ll last with you longer than your friends.” –U2 “cedars of lebanon” from the “No line on the horizon” album.

Bono said it well.

an enemy may not look like The Joker from Batman–but he or she may look like your boss–a parent–a teacher in high school–or a kid on the playground in 3rd grade.

now don’t start posting responses that say “just let it go, jake” and “you shouldn’t let that stuff define you.”   this doesn’t define me.  BUT it is a part of me and i think it is a part of all of us.

i’ll admit– a great deal of the fuel that has been in my tank has come from “enemies” that i’ve had.  of course there is a HUGE love that i have for what i do, but the voices of these people always swirl around in my brain– pushing me a little harder to prove them wrong.

i’d like to take a minute to thank all of my enemies.  i thank God that you all have been in my life.  you’ve helped me in so many ways–and i just can’t thank you all enough.  without you i may have settled for less than beyond my best, but you pushed me further.  and for that i am grateful.

alignment.

October 4, 2009

i’ve been thinking.  thinking about who i’m surrounding myself with.  who are the leaders in my life?  who is it that i’m listening to?  who am i allowing to help me with character issues?  who do i look to and say “wow–that is someone i’d like to be like.”

okay–of course studying, following and knowing Jesus should be step #1.

i’m talking about folks on earth.

i’ve found myself wanting to be surrounded by people that will challenge me to be better.  better at all of it. being a better christian, husband, father, friend, musician and worship leader.  being better at managing finances.  being better at keeping my mouth shut.  being better at helping those that are in need.  all of it.

those words that my mom said are so true — “you are who you hang around!”  i hated to hear it back then but it is so true.

i thank God that He is placing people in my life that can show me how to be better.  i want to be aligned with these people.  i know that i will grow through knowing them.

tv christians (re-post)

July 19, 2009

i have decided to post some of my old blogs on here…. this one is from august 31, 2007.  i must have been mad.  

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i’d like to send out a big thank you to the “tv” christians that represented us so well last week…..you know the ones that i’m talking about…..i know that seems a bit harsh—i have prayed for them and i am sorry for what they are having to go through…..but please let me vent…..We’ve all seen them on tv (go ahead and admit it) talking about the power of God……they put on this invincible front and act like all is well…..i’ve heard one of them rattle off a world record amount of cliches (i am the head and not the tail…i am the front and not the back….i am above and not below…etc…etc)  …….and the other one is very bold, loud, and in your face about what to do when the devil comes against you…..it all seems so—unreal—-so—-un-do-able……then they get hit with horrible situations and the everyone begins to ask “how can this happen to them?”……ok….here is a plan….lets all just be honest when we get on tv…….try out this little speech…”i’ve had a crappy day.  my husband and i are having problems and i just don’t know what to do…i’ve prayed but i feel like God isn’t listening….anyone have any thoughts??” ….  No more fake stuff…..no more emotionalism…..no more creating moments…..just lay it out there and deal with it before all that you stand for is ruined….people will listen if you are honest….we are tired of hype and golden furniture…..


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