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March 3, 2014

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March 3, 2014

Brian heading to Prairie

October 19, 2010

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October 13, 2010

Prodigal God album release

Level Ground

Level Ground is not just a collection of my new worship songs. This project began as a simple idea . . . a picture of grace.

1. Place the musicians and singers off the stage among the people. (It’s not really about us anyway)
2. Embrace the intimacy and simplicity of a small gathering.
3. Reserve the stage as a place set apart for people to share their grace stories.

What if these songs serve the sharing of grace stories – and what if people’s grace stories fuel the response of worship in song and lives of compassionate action? That was my simple idea.

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Bio

Brian Doerksen is a songwriter, recording artist, author, conference speaker and pastor. Born and raised on the west coast of Canada in Abbotsford B.C., he now lives with his family (wife of 25 years Joyce and their 4 youngest children) in the same home that he spent his childhood in.

His songs known around the world in churches of all kinds include ‘Come, now is the time to worship’, ‘Hope of the nations’, ‘Faithful One’, ‘Refiner’s Fire’, ‘Hallelujah (Your love is amazing)’, ‘Holy God’ & ‘The river’.

In April 2008, Brian received a JUNO award (Canadian equivalent of the Grammy awards) for ‘Holy God’ (Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the year). His first book; MAKE LOVE, MAKE WAR published by David C Cook came out in the summer of 2009.

He continues to record albums and release them in partnership with Integrity Media – the latest being ‘LEVEL GROUND’ (Sep 2010 International release / Jan 2011 US release). This is Brian’s 2nd DVD and features the musicians off stage among the participants, while on the stage people share their grace story.

He has also completed a double album recording of a musical (an 8 year writing process!) with Christopher Greco (a playwright based in Boston) based on Luke 15 called ‘Prodigal God; The musical tale of two sons and one wastefully extravagant father’. It’s the story of the prodigal son and his father seen through the eyes of the elder brother. The musical features 23 new songs written or co-written by Brian. http://www.prodigal-god.com

Brian continues to make his church home at ‘The Bridge’ in Matsqui village in Abbotsford, which he helped plant in the spring of 2006.

 

My Story

I have always had a passion for intimacy with my Creator. I remember times as a child when I would stretch out on the hillside beside our house and stare into the stars and listen for God’s whispers.

I was raised by wonderful Christian parents of Mennonite descent (Harry & Agnes Doerksen), plus I had the privilege of knowing all my grandparents (all of whom were born in Russia in the Ukraine; on my Dad’s side they came to Canada via Paraguay after fleeing the Russian revolution). It was my grandfather, Peter Doerksen, from whom I inherited my love of the stringed instruments, while my love to sing came from my father, who led the singing on most Sundays in the Mennonite Brethren church I was raised in.

The call to music ministry came in my teens. I was excelling in sports, following hard in my older brother’s footsteps when one night I had a life changing experience alone in my bedroom. A presence of love and power came into the room and seemed to ask me this simple question, “Will you give me your life to serve me?” After saying yes, I found that the desire to be involved in sports was gone, and in it’s place was a desire to play music for God. I formed a Christian band among my friends, and we began to learn to play as we went. (I am still amazed at all the noise and late night practices and ‘recordings’ my parents put up with!!) One of the most memorable nights of my youth was when my Dad took me to see a couple of Christian bands in concert in Seattle along with some of my friends. That night gave me a glimpse of the church as a whole, and when they went into a time of worship near the end, and people began to lift their hands (I had never seen this before) I was deeply moved by the presence of God and said ‘This is what I was made for’. I was also amazed that the quality of the music and sound were top notch, and that was formative in my passion for both excellence of heart and skill in worship music. It was around this time that the focus of my life was formed - to make and sing music with all my heart to God. Around this time, a small group of friends used to gather on weekends to hang out together and sing worship songs and pray. There would be a guitar or 2 in the middle of the room, and whoever had a song would pick it up and lead. It was very valuable for me to get my start as a worship leader in a place where there were no titles, and no high-pressure expectations. There was no audience but God and a group of friends where we all felt safe to express our hearts. In this way, no one was embarrassed about really expressing our worship freely with our voices and our bodies, though this was not the norm at church services we attended at that time. We also had lots of worship gatherings at our house that my parents graciously hosted, which at times would swell into more than 50 people gathering to worship and pray.

Shortly after graduating from high school (Mennonite Educational Institute or M.E.I. in Abbotsford B.C.), I had another life changing opportunity. I was able to attend Youth with a Mission’s (YWAM) Discipleship Training School (D.T.S.) in Tyler Texas. It was a time of spiritual growth and interaction with people from all different backgrounds and nations, and it was my first experience in the developing world, as our outreach took us to Mexico, Guatemala & El Salvador.

Shortly after returning from my D.T.S. I married my high school sweetheart, Joyce Doerksen (yes her maiden name was ‘Doerksen’ and no, we were not related before we were married). Actually ‘Doerksen’ which is pronounced “Dirksen” is a very common Mennonite name where we grew up! Two months after getting married, we moved to Singapore to take part in a Far East Evangelism Team for 5 months with YWAM. It was a great start for our marriage; serving together really formed a bond and a partnership between us that is only getting stronger all these years later. While we were serving in S.E Asia with YWAM, I first heard my Mom speak about a man named John Wimber and a new church movement called ‘The Vineyard’. So when I returned to Canada in the summer of 1985, we went with my parents to visit the first Vineyard that had been planted in Canada; the Langley Vineyard. There were about 150 people at the time and I didn’t know any of them, but when we walked in that summer day, I sensed the Lord say ‘This is now your spiritual home’.

Within a couple months of being there I was approached by the worship pastor, Andy Park, and asked whether I could ‘play along’ for a home group worship time. I did that one time, and then Andy told me that the next week, I would lead the worship and he would play along. That happened and then Andy informed me that he had to move on to train other worship leaders and I was now the group’s worship leader. I sometimes joke that that was the extent of my worship leading training. It is true that most of my training has come ‘on the job’, though during my Langley Vineyard years, one of the many blessings was that Dr. Peter Davids joined the staff and took some of us through some part time studies on theology and Church history. (And to this day I always have a book on theology, Christian living, or history I am working through.)

The Langley Vineyard began to grow rapidly, and there was an amazing time of favour and expansion in many areas. Gary & Joy Best were our pastors and team leaders, and other leaders from that time included Doug & Suzie Watts and Andy & Linda Park. In 1989 Andy announced his intended departure to plant a church, and so I became the full time worship pastor at the ripe age of 23! Almost immediately we had an idea to do a simple worship recording so our growing congregation could have access to the songs in their homes and cars. On Oct 1,1989 we gathered the church for an evening of worship to record the songs that were coming out of the life of the church in that season. Songs like “Refiner’s Fire”, “Faithful One” “I lift my eyes up” were written in this season. We had no idea that that recording would go to go to sell 10’s of thousands of copies and set many things in motion for many of our lives. Within a few months of that recording being released, I was invited to make a recording in Anaheim with Vineyard Music called “Hear our cry – Touching the Father’s Heart #6”. Over the years I went on to make a number of recordings with Vineyard Music in the USA including “Light the Fire Again”, “Faithful Father” and a title in their ‘Acoustic Worship’ series called “Isn’t He”.

The late 80’s and early 90’s were also the time of life when God blessed Joyce and I with a growing family. Rachel our first child and daughter arrived on the 8th day of the 8th month of the 88th year, Esther arrived 18 months later, and Benjamin 18 months after that. There is a sense that the early to mid 90’s were some of the best of times, but also a time of exhaustion because of so much growth in both ministry and family life.

It was several weeks after my first son Benjamin was born, that the vision came to me about writing a ‘musical of hope for the fatherless’ called ‘Father’s House’. Of course if I would have know the length and cost of the journey, I may have never embarked on it! Isn’t that a lot like parenting or many other of life’s most rewarding endeavours? And so I began writing songs, and other people from my home church, the Langley Vineyard, began working on scripts for the musical. About 2 years later we were ready to begin to present it. The first thing I did was spend the early months of 94 at Paul Janz’s recording studio in Mission B.C. recording the songs from the musical. The CD came out at our first performances in May 94 in Abbotsford, and that CD went on to sell around 70,000 units before it went out of print, which is not bad considering it wasn’t sold through a large distribution company, nor was it given any specific marketing attention. The musical itself sold out in Abbotsford in May of 94 and then in Burnaby later that same year. There were several Christian professional theatre and media people that came and asked for a meeting after seeing the production. They were very positive about the music and not that crazy about the script. Following their counsel led us down a road of massive script revision, making the piece more of a modern inner-city piece about the fatherless poor. We invested a large amount of money (a total of over 1 million dollars from several sources) to try and launch the musical professionally in late 96. To make a long story short, due to lower than expected ticket sales, and higher than expected overhead, Father’s House closed in mid-December 96. The impact was felt by many people, the most by the Rademaker family (Darryl & Daphne Rademaker were our partners in the company that was formed to facilitate the musical) and us. We had decided a few months prior, that while asking other people to invest in the project, we should also be willing to invest. We had already put in all the resources we had, so we decided to sell our house and put the equity into the musical. So when the musical closed, and the company became insolvent, we had no place to live (other the RV we had purchased via a loan to tour the musical in) and we were completely broke!!! Talk about learning some of life’s lessons about risk and faith!!! Since we had no place to live and it was January, we piled our 5 kids into the RV and headed south for warmer weather (Southern California and Arizona) and for some space and time to pray and think about what we should do next. While we were in Anaheim visiting some friends, John and Carol Wimber invited us to meet them for breakfast. During that meeting, we shared stories about trying to follow God and what to do when things don’t turn out the way we planned (John had just gone through a collapse of a radio ministry others had encouraged him to start which had cost him 100’s of thousands of dollars). At one point in the conversation, John mentioned that he had just been on the phone with John Mumford, who oversees the Vineyard churches in the UK and Ireland and that they were looking for a worship pastor who could also train the songwriters in the movement there. One thing led to another, and within about a few months our family was moving to England. We arrived in Southwest London in late April 1997, beginning a wonderful new season of life and ministry there. We were heartbroken over the apparent failure of the musical, yet it was out of the ‘ashes’ of those circumstances that the call to worship was being re-awakened in me. I am still amazed to this day by the goodness of God in not ‘writing us off’!! His grace is so much deeper and higher and wider than our lives failures and detours! (And I should add that even though the modern version of the Father’s House musical was an apparent failure – many people to this day tell me what a powerful impact it had on them.)

A few months into our time living in London, I was on my typical morning prayer and exercise walk. While I walked I began to ‘tune in’ to a phrase that kept repeating over and over. “Come, now is the time to worship . .” I believe the call to worship is going out all the time, and it was like I heard ‘echoes’ of it as I walked. I then came home and sat down at the piano and began to flesh out the first line into a song. I wrote it as a call to worship incorporating key things I believe about worship. I believe God wants us to come and worship just the way we are, though when true worship happens we don’t stay the way we are. When we make that choice, we experience the pleasure of worship; the treasure of being with God. “Come, now is the time to worship” has gone on to become, at this point, my most popular song.

During my little over 2 years living in London, I had the chance of making some wonderful friends and participate in some recording projects that were very special to all of us involved. The first one was called “Come, now is the time” and did quite well, as it introduced new British Vineyard worship music to the rest of the world. The 2nd recording we did was called “Hungry” and that one did exceptionally well, building on the reputation of the first one and exceeding it in sales, I believe hitting over 400,000 units sold. It was in that season we made some wonderful friends, whom we are still connected to today. Among them are Steve Mitchinson; a medical doctor and worship leader (Steve and I have co-written many songs over the years and continue to do so especially now that he lives in Abbotsford B.C.); and Kathryn Scott from Northern Ireland (It was a real joy to sing a couple of songs with her on her 2010 CD called ‘We still believe’ plus a song we co-wrote on my 2010 project – Level Ground.)

One other major life changing event happening during our time in England. Our 6th child was born. This was a step of faith for us, because shortly after the birth of our twins, Joy and Mercy, in 95, we had found out about a condition that was affecting our son called ‘Fragile X Syndrome’. Fragile X syndrome is the 2nd leading cause of mental retardation behind Downs Syndrome, though it is less evident physically, and is passed genetically, usually from the mother. Knowing this information, we felt it was right and important to take this step, and of course we were praying for an unaffected male, as at this point we had 4 girls and 1 boy. Isaiah Robert was born on June 8 1999 in the Kingston upon Thames hospital in South West London and we were totally thrilled! About a year later we found out that Isaiah also had Fragile X syndrome. That day was one of the toughest I can ever remember. I wanted to resign from all public ministry and just focus on being a parent to special needs children. Before the day was done, both Joyce and I felt a strong leading that I was not to resign, but continue with a ‘limp’, sharing God’s heart through music and the arts, and leading worship not just from a place of strength, but a place of weakness. I also realized that due to having a large family including special needs children that I could not travel constantly. As a result, Joyce and I are very careful about keeping a good balance between family and ministry, and not committing to many events that would take me away from home, yet at the same time, we are determined to do our best to continue to be faithful to the specific things God has called me to do.

We returned to Canada in the summer of 1999 for 2 reasons. Even though we were asked to stay and continue the work in England, I felt that the people we had been training needed full opportunity to become the leaders they were called to be. (Isn’t it wonderful to hear what people like Brenton Brown and Kathryn Scott have been up to?) My parents also wanted to move out of the home on 5 acres I had been raised in, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of having the old family home sold to someone we didn’t know. There are days when I still miss England so much it’s an ache deep inside, and I know that for the rest of my life, whenever I visit there, it will feel like visiting my 2nd home. I even got totally used to driving on the left side of the road. It was funny to learn recently that until the 1920’s, vehicles drove on the left side of the road in my home province of British Columbia.

The latter part of 1999 and 2000 was spent in readjusting to Canadian life (the kids sadly lost their British accents in a few weeks) and helping Vineyard Music Canada get rolling. I produced 2 projects for them during that time; “Believe” in 2000 and “All I need” in 2001. Returning to the town I grew up in was not easy at first! It took some time for it to become clear to me why we were back, but now there is no place I would rather be.

In November 2000, I had an impression that I was to share my songs with the broader church and beyond, and to do so, I needed to partner with a distributor and publisher that had that type of access. After much prayer, deliberation and discussion I resigned from being the ‘Overseeing Producer’ of Vineyard Music Canada and from the board of Vineyard Music International. Because everything was going so well in Vineyard Music at the time, several pastoral leaders in the Vineyard movement encouraged me that ‘this just may be God’ because most people don’t want to resign in good times! After resigning I didn’t begin to ‘knock on doors’, but I just waited for God’s direction and His timing. Several months into this time I received a phone call from Chris Thomason, who was then working with Integrity. To be honest, my initial reaction was to eliminate the possibility based on previous differences in style between Integrity and Vineyard. As I went to talk with Chris, and ‘dismiss’ the possibility I sensed the Lord whisper to me, ‘Why don’t you ask Me what I think?” After sharing our stories, vision and heart, we both sensed God’s leading towards a partnership. I have found the leaders at Integrity to be people that live their name, and have a deep conviction and ability to get worship music out to the four corners of the earth.

Since that time I have had the privilege of releasing a number of recordings in partnership with Integrity. We started out with ‘You shine’ recorded live in Dublin. Among the highlights of that project was that my Dad joined me to sing ‘It is well’, and I also had the chance to sing ‘Faithful One’ with Kathryn Scott. ‘Today’ was my next recording – and this time we recorded it live in my home town. This project wasn’t just an audio recording but was also released as a DVD. The concert included workmen building ‘Nehemiah’s wall’ as we sang, along with a 12 piece string section and an 80 voice choir. I continue to get encouraging reports from people who have watched that DVD, and the song ‘The river’ seems to be a favourite of people from many different generations.

Since the mid 90’s God has given me a great burden and love for the church in Europe and so the next project that came out was simply called ‘Live in Europe’ and was recorded live on tour in Europe in 2005. From there in 2006 we recorded ‘Holy God’. This recording is very special to me. The experiences I had writing that song and then recording it were very intense. People have shared some amazing stories with me about this recording. Some people were forced to pull over to the side of the road because of the flood of tears and God moments they have had when they listened. I always find those emails and stories so encouraging and amazing! And then I got the surprising news in April 08 that Holy God won the JUNO award (Canadian version of the Grammy) for ‘Contemporary Christian – Gospel album of the year’.

In 2008 we recorded a sort of ‘best of’ project called It’s Time. It was my wife’s idea – she wanted to hear a collection of some of my best songs to that point – but instead of pulling tracks from previous recordings, this time we would go after arrangements with a little more energy driven by guitars and rely a little less on the more complex ‘orchestral and choral’ elements.

During this season, behind the scenes I was working on a totally different project; my first book. It’s called MAKE LOVE, MAKE WAR and David C Cook released it in the summer of 2009. One of the highlights with the book was traveling to Holland in the spring of 2010 for the release of my book translated into Dutch. In the book, I take readers behind the scenes of 12 of my songs – sharing the story that inspired each song and the theology that helped shape it.

2010 was a year of completing major recording projects. For the past 8 years, we have been working on a new musical. It’s rooted in the same vision as ‘Father’s House’ but with a completely new script and source material. This time, it’s based on Luke 15 and tells the story of the prodigal son and his father through the eyes of the elder son. It’s called ‘Prodigal God’ and I have written or co-written 23 new songs for it. My scriptwriting partner is Christopher Greco from Boston who has been a delight to work with and is incredibly gifted. Our website HYPERLINK "http://www.prodigal-god.com" www.prodigal-god.com has all the information on the double album (release date Oct 2010) and progress on the next incarnation of this vision, which looks like will be a film.

2010 was also the year of envisioning and recording Level Ground – my first live DVD & CD recording since Today in 2004. This project began as a simple idea . . . a picture of grace.

1. Place the musicians and singers off the stage among the people. (It’s not really about us anyway)
2. Embrace the intimacy and simplicity of a small gathering.
3. Reserve the stage as a place set apart for people to share their grace stories.

Could my new worship songs (like the co-write with Paul Baloche, ‘Welcome to the place of level ground’) serve the sharing of grace stories – and could people’s grace stories fuel the response of worship in song and lives of compassionate action?

Level Ground is very special to me because so much of it is not about me – it’s about these diverse people telling their stories of grace. And it’s a gift from our local church; so many of our leaders and friends from our church volunteered many hours and made it happen.

If God leads and confirms – there will be more recordings to come (though after recording and releasing about 40 tracks on 2 recordings in 2010, the plan is to focus more on “Level Ground” live events in 2011 and developing the Prodigal God film project) However, I do have vision for a Christmas project that is unique, and an idea to do a ‘Psalms project’; both of which I have started writing.

Since the spring of 2006, we have had the privilege of being part of a non-denominational church called ‘The Bridge’. We meet in the little village of Matsqui right beside the bridge spanning the Fraser river; our church is a wonderful bustling ministry that bridges the people and cultures of Abbotsford and Mission. It’s been a wonderful thing doing church as a team and we are one of the 4 couples that give leadership. It’s not always easy being a leader in the local church – but I am convinced that I need to be anchored in a local body where I can serve and receive.

Joyce and I continue to enjoy living in the same house that I grew up in as a child, and even though we have expanded and renovated the old house (it was originally built in the mid 1930’s) we are trying to keep as much of the old character as possible. In November 2009 Joyce and I celebrated 25 years of marriage – a real milestone considering over 80% of marriages with handicapped children end in divorce. Some of our children are starting to leave the nest. Our oldest two daughters have moved out to an apartment and have both completed diplomas – one to work as an assistant for special needs students and the other to work with young children in a daycare. We are being faced with major decisions about our 19 year old son Benjamin with Fragile X as he prepares to transition out of the school world into adult life with no possibility of being able to hold down a job or live independently. We love our boys deeply; but it’s not always easy to know what is best for them when you can’t sit down and talk it through.

I still enjoy going to sit on the same hillside beside the house to ‘remember my Creator’. And I still love doing what I felt called to do in my youth. I want my life to be an expression of worship to God. Everyday I offer up prayers of gratitude for all of God’s gifts, and to say thank-you for the amazing privilege of being a part of God’s family and being able to serve His purposes on the earth through doing what I love to do.

I Like

:: MUSIC ::

Most listened to & favourite albums on my iPod

Marc Cohn LISTENING BOOTH – 1970 - What a great project! I have always loved his voice and his songwriting – and I love his version of 1970 classic songs. I also love his last album of original songs JOIN THE PARADE

Carrie Underwood PLAY ON - I don’t love every song – but ‘Mama’s Song’ and ‘Temporary Home’ are stunning!

Kathryn Scott WE STILL BELIEVE - There are several songs on this album that are just stunning including ‘Deliverance’ and the title track. She brings me into God’s presence when she sings!

Brian Thiessen ROAD TO HOME & HOUSE OF PEACE - 2 of my favourite instrumental albums

Laura Story GREAT GOD WHO SAVES - A wonderful relaxing worship album – it’s just genuine. (This album is my #1 most listened to on my iPod)

Ten Shekel Shirt JUBILEE - Lamont Hiebert keeps on moving me with whatever it is he sings.

Amy Grant SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD - Her voice continues to move me – and I love the single ‘Better than a Hallelujah’

Shelby Lynne JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ - One of the best ‘chill’ albums out there (though a couple of the songs have quite depressing lyrics)

Steven Curtis Chapman THIS MOMENT - What a powerful recording (which came out shortly before the tragedy of losing their daughter) I defy any father not to be moved by ‘Cinderella’

Steven Curtis Chapman BEAUTY WILL RISE - This is not an ‘easy’ album to listen to – but one of the most important artistic expressions to come out in the last years – the sound of lament and yet still hope. (This project came out some time after the tragedy of losing their adopted daughter in a tragic accident)

Jesse Cook FRONTIERS - Great Brazilian styled instrumental music – energy!

Alison Krauss A HUNDRED MILES OR MORE - I just melt when I hear her voice. One of my favourite live concerts of the last few years.

Emmylou Harris RED DIRT GIRL - One of the most special and unique voices in modern music.

U2 NO LINE ON THE HORIZON - What can I say – the lads from Dublin keep stirring things up!


:: FAVOURITE SONGS ::

Let everything else go - Phil Keaggy

When I was a teenager, this song came out on Phil Keaggy’s ‘Town to town’ CD. Almost every night before I went to sleep I would listen to this song. I believe this song sowed intimate worship into me more than any other song. The chorus is so amazing - the ‘weeping’ gentle electric guitar moved me every time I heard it.

I don’t know why - Shawn Colvin

I don’t know why I love this song so much. Maybe it’s about the mystery of life itself, and the fact that the older I get, the more I realize what I don’t know.

Carry you - Amy Grant

Her voice is maybe one of the most comforting of modern music to me. I love the message of this song and the mood it conveys.

Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

Simply one of the most beautiful pop songs ever released


:: BOOKS :: Non Fiction

The rest of GodMark Buchanan
Spiirtual Rhythm Mark Buchanan
Wild at Heart John Eldridge
The Divine Romance Gene Edwards
Desiring God John Piper
The Message Eugene Petersen
Leap over a wall Eugene Petersen
Father & Son Gordon Dalbey
The return of the prodigal son Henri Nouwen
The Jesus I never knew Philip Yancey
Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis

:: BOOKS :: Fiction

The Testament John Grisham
Hood Stephen R Lawhead
Scarlet Stephen R Lawhead
Tuck Stephen R Lawhead
The Paradise War Stephen R Lawhead
The Silver Hand Stephen R Lawhead
The Endless Knot Stephen R Lawhead
Taliesen Stephen R Lawhead
Merlin Stephen R Lawhead
Arthur Stephen R Lawhead
The Narnia Chronicles C.S. Lewis
London Edward Rutherfurd
Lord of the rings J.R.R. Tolkien


:: MOVIES ::

UP! (Pixar) What an incredible film – especially the first 30 minutes. I should probably confess the all the Pixar films are among my top picks including TOY STORY 3!

The Blind Side It was very surprising to see how positively a major film portrayed a family of faith. I love what Sandra Bullock said “Doing this film restored my faith in people of faith!”

The Book of Eli I was undone seeing this movie – and I saw it 3 times. What incredible music (You can hear it’s influence in one of the songs on my LEVEL GROUND project ‘Altar of Love’) This film is quite gritty and violent at times – but it makes sense in the context of story . . . and I love the way this film honors the precious gift of scripture. Denzel is just incredible as a blind man – or is he blind?

Inception The most clever film of the past 5 years – it reminded me of the Matrix in a good way. Leonardo does a stellar job as does the young Canadian Ellen Page.

Julie and Julia I never knew a movie about cooking (to a complete non-cook) could be so engaging!

Slumdog Millionaire A very interesting film about redemption. It’s not a film about Christian redemption – but it’s about 2 brothers and the different paths they take and how all the terrible things that happen to one brother pays off in the end. It just works!

The Young Victoria My wife and I love watching historical fiction films (and BBC series like Bleak House) This was a very enjoyable film. It could very well be that living in England for a couple of years contributes to this.

Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the ring (Extended version)
What can I say!! Amazing film about not yielding to the temptation to get power, and the call that each of us ‘small’ people have to serve a purpose greater than ourselves.

Frequencies (Dennis Quaid) Be warned this one is intense, but the son yearning for his father comes through so strong it was amazing!

Dennis the Menace (Walter Matthau) This movie just cracks me up!!!

The hunt for Red October This is my favourite type of adventure movie, not about sexuality or tons of offensive language, just a great story.


:: MUSICALS ::

When I was younger I always thought I hated musicals. I guess I thought they were all fluff and full of dancing girls, like in ‘A Chorus Line’. The musical has come a long way and is probably my favourite way to spend a night out, though now that we are away from London, England it doesn’t happen that often.

Les Miserables
What can I say; simply the best and deepest musical ever created with a story that is so magnificent and music and lyrics to match. One day, when I grow up, I want to write music and lyrics that moves people like this music has moved me. Out of respect for my family (who aren’t as much into musical theatre as I am) I don’t play the original cast recording that often, but it is amazing!!

Whistle down the wind
Probably my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber show, though it didn’t last that long in the West End. Great kids in this show, plus some great songs.

Lion King
If you ever get a chance to see this show go and do it. It is wonderful in it’s visual creativity, and it is not people walking around in furry animal suits. Of course the ‘father-son’ theme is very strong in this story, and there is a powerful song where the Simba the son is singing a prayer to his father in the 2nd act that is not in any of the film versions. The African singing alone is worth the price o

My Gear

Guitars

My signature acoustic guitar sound comes from my Olson (SJ cutaway cedar top model from 1992) which a friend gave to me as a gift (what a gift!) Jim makes unbelievable guitars, attested by many other recording artists, most notably James Taylor. His guitars are not cheap and you sometimes have to wait a couple of years to get one, but they’ll increase in value over time.
www.olsonguitars.com

Recently I purchased another guitar that is outstanding – a Duncan Africa guitar. There are so many things to love about Duncan Africa.

www.duncanafrica.com

Each guitar is a work of art made of beautiful woods from Africa. It’s a work of compassion and justice. Instead of making guitars on his own (Jay’s own line of guitars are incredible!) he is spending his life mentoring and encouraging young men in Africa to do something beautiful and practical with their hands. These young men are making a living and making a difference at the same time. What would happen if guitarists from all over North America started purchasing these guitars? (which have the quality of a ,000 plus instrument for less that ,000)

My model is a OM / Selah (OM-SMGi) The top is made of Sitka Spruce and the sides are Mugavu (local African wood to the Suubi Trade School where the guitars are made in Africa, similar to Koa/Mahogany) The fingerboard and bridge are made of African Ebony.

Guitar Strings – Martin SP lights. These are great strings that never break - which was always an issue for me!

Picks – Jim Dunlop .46 mm I love the sound I get with these top quality thin picks – they’re great for gentle strumming, and when I need more bite, I add in more of my fingernail.


Sound Reinforcement

Roland Personal Mixers – The M-48. I just LOVE what these personal mixers have done for the in-ear environment when I am on the road with my band (All my band guys rave about these!) The ability to add reverb, to EQ each instrument and to adjust levels is so helpful – and I can pull in ambient sound from the room if I want to hear the sound of people singing along.

More Albums

Songwriting DVD


Worship Songwriting DVD

This songwriting course brings you right into Brian's home where he takes you through all the areas critical to knowing the heart and skills of worship songwriting. He will challenge you to write theologically deep songs, as you develop the skills of lyric writing, melodic development and how to harness the power of chord progressions. Free additional notes download available.

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