Posts Tagged ‘music’

Riffing it up

It’s just an absolute joy to keep working on a new worship CD. The awesome thing is that God is pouring more and more songs each day, there are now about a dozen songs in different stages of writing and arranging for the next CD! I can’t wait to share these songs, many of them are being used at our church and have brought people closer to Jesus, I’m so pumped!

We are moving forward in batches of three songs, the first batch has the songs “Let Freedom Reign”, “God of Heaven” and “You’re My Everything.” They each have a very distinct and different personality, which makes it a lot of fun to record them. I wanted to share my excitement through some photos, so here goes. After getting awesome live drum tracks from Kirke tracked at his studio and tracking bass at home, I brought the gear to church to record electric guitars. The two first songs were tracked there, thanks for the support, guys!

Electric setup at CVCC

After doing this a few times on my own – carrying gear, engineering, playing and recording, I was ready to pray for some HELP! Two days after praying, I met Mike & Linda Claxton at the local St. Arbucks, and lo and behold, they opened the doors of their studio 3 minutes from my door! God is true, my friends!

With Mike Claxton at the studio

Aside of being so kind and a blessing, Mike and Linda are two hilarious Brits with an incredible and quirky sense of humor. Mike has already hooked me up watching Fawlty Towers (with John Cleese) and eating a British dessert, whose name shall be left on a need to know basis. Ask me for it if you dare! Here’s something sad but true from the studio:

Sign of the Times

It has been fun to play rhythm parts, leads, eBow (Thanks, Kevin!) and slide on these songs, they are musically really cool with lots of detail and finesse…

Tracking Electrics at Mike's Studio

Up next, preparing all the guitar recordings, then jumping to Kirke’s studio to track acoustic guitars, vocals and background vocals. Then it’s time for mixing and preparing a release! We will put out the first three songs, then keep recording and releasing more until a whole CD’s worth is done. Stay tuned!


Come join us on Christmas Eve if you’re in the area. We will have three services and we’ll be playing some of the most meaningful songs of Christmas in a very intimate setting. This year, it’s all about hope…

Chris Martin of Coldplay playing piano at a co...

Image via Wikipedia

On this one I wanted to blog about secular music that has elements of worship in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think all music and art worships something, that part of us is the very place where we connect with the supernatural, but generally speaking worldly music worships the very wrong things. I once heard pastor Jack Hayford quoted as saying, “There is no Christian or secular music, there’s only music of light and of darkness.” I think it’s a great comment and certainly a conversation starter, possibly a heated one at it, too! Here’s a couple of examples of secular music that for some reason draw me closer to God…

An example of a song with something divine in it is “Fix You” by Coldplay. When I hear it, the organ just gets me, and as Chris Martin sings the lyric, I sense a longing in my heart that in my saved state makes me reach towards God. That’s an interesting point on its own. What does an unsaved person reach for and what does he or she get out of the song? Judging by the live version that came out on their free live album a few months ago, people did get something great out of it, as they drowned out the band in concert while belting it out!

To me a secular song with a worshipful element might invoke God’s beauty, grace or other element that moves me towards Him. Band in question: Sigur Rós. I heard them for the first time a couple of years ago, then their album “Takk” came out, and it blew me away. How was it possible that a little band from Iceland could write songs with such beauty and in Icelandic (or Hopelandic, their own invented language)? Maybe it helped me to experience God through their music, as lyrics couldn’t get in the way of sensing Him through the songs. Even though the band is very secular, which is evident in their videos, comments and lifestyle choices, their music captures something divine. It’s undeniable to me.

We are all familiar with U2 and the worshipfulness of some of their songs. “Walk On” from their live DVD ended with Hallelujah-choruses, so it’s hard not to make the connection, and Bono quoting Psalm 40 in concert brought tears to my eyes. Is it possible that God uses these things to reach people to Himself? Absolutely. He is never limited to the boxes we put him into. Still, we can’t assume that He’s everywhere and in everything, that’s obvious. I do believe that He still expresses Himself through more ways than we think. See, you recognize a believer by the fruit in his life, but you can definitely recognize God in more than just inside the walls of the Christian music industry…

As we embrace the artist within us, we are getting in touch with our Creator, whether we acknowledge Him or not. When we start using our talents He has given us, the same happens. It blows my mind that God is so loving. Despite our decision to reject Him, He still allows us to reach into the gifts and talents He has given us and use them however we want to. I, for one, will continue to keep my ears open to finding Him in the most unexpected places!

Woo-hoo, finally! One of the topics I promised to talk about in this blog is guitars & gear, and here we go! Last week was a happy time in this worship leader’s life. After months of frugal saving and blessings from God, I drove to West LA Music and bought a Taylor 614ce acoustic guitar. After all the years, I finally got a tried and true pro-quality tool to lead acoustic worship with. Granted, I am a rocker and I love to crank up in worship with my Fender Strats, but I love toning down the set at the right time by grabbing my new baby and strumming with percussion, creating a more intimate vibe for people to come into God’s presence with. Here’s the new baby:

Through all the years, I have made do with Washburns that did the job, but it is amazing how this Taylor plays. I’ve started recording with it and quickly came to the conclusion that I need to replace old acoustic parts with new ones! The guitar has a personality and a very sweet tone, and this particular one cuts through well in the mix, too. Taylors are pretty much the choice for worship leaders, I rarely see them play other guitars. For me the choice was based not on popularity, but checking out different acoustics and finding the one that fit. I hunted until I found an acoustic that felt as comfortable as my Strats and had a tone and quality that I can keep for the rest of my life. I found it…

As always with new gear, I get inspired by it. During the hunt for the right model, I ended up writing a song called “This Freedom Song” (demo in the works) with my friend’s 514ce. It’s all finger picked, which is a new trick for me. The new guitar just got a tune up at David Neely‘s shop in Hollywood, and it rings like a bell! He’s a serious guitar guy that serves some of the best musicians on the planet, and even he was happy about the results. I got the guitar back just in time to lead worship at Celebrate Recovery tonight, can’t wait to crank it up there!

Having moved here from Finland, the promised land of vacations, I’ve really learned to appreciate the three-day weekends like this one! Gotta love it – if the holiday doesn’t fall on Friday or Monday, they just carve out the extra day to make it a long weekend! I wish it would work in the church, too, since we will of course be worshiping Sunday morning like always! Fortunately it is so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work anyway!

And the weekend is full of worship. I led at Celebrate Recovery on Friday night and again at church Sunday morning. Independence Day makes it special, it’s very cool to acknowledge that we live in a land where we’re free to get together and worship. It’s very different even from Finland, where believers are usually looked down at. They’re “weird,” “foolish” etc., and the judgment is passed immediately. It’s been a real joy to show our friends what real faith looks like, we’ve stayed friends with many people from high school and even earlier…

When it comes to worship, it’s interesting to marry music & Independence Day together. As a worship leader, it’s about the songs and the greetings, comments, prayers and so on. What I love about church today is that it’s not overly churchy or Christianese, it is real and straightforward. It’s about what God means to our independence – on a personal level I never had any before I met Him! I was so bogged down by what others did or thought of me that I didn’t have freedom. Now the only question is what God thinks, and He appreciates me much more than I do! Same applies to all of us, we often think way too little of ourselves while God sees our potential and has plans that are way bigger, wilder and more amazing than we can imagine. As I keep moving towards my new season as a worship pastor, I get blown away again and again at how much bigger His thoughts are than mine. Because of His faith in me, I can trust Him and also believe in myself, as long as I keep leaning into Him. That’s real independence!

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I’m Petri, a believer in Jesus, worship leader, husband, father, guitar player, and worship songwriter. I’ve been a thousand things before, but the further I’ve lived, the clearer it has become that this is really me, and life is exciting!

It’s great to start a new web site! WAITING FOR DAYBREAK is a community about God, the worship arts, worship songwriting, life, the world and the church, guitars and gear, and some family stuff to boot! The concept of WFD comes from Romans 13:11-12 (MSG):

“But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing.”

It is about living with Jesus daily, being real and relevant, authentic and honest, living our faith connected to our culture and shining a light. It’s about grace over law, love over hate, and Christ over all. Comments are welcome, but please make sure they fit the above statement. I wish I would have started ages ago, it will be awesome to share life
with you and see what God does!

Wish me luck, because I need to carve out some time to get it done! To take off some of the pressure, I love the Twitter widget – makes life quick & simple!