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Liner Notes


Come, thou Fount of evry blessing is based on the tune NETTLETON, which first appeared in John Wyeths Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813).  This arrangement is of moderate difficulty, calling for a light touch in the outer sections where double notes must be played in rapid succession with both thumbs.  It is dedicated to The Rev. Michael S. Merker and the congregation of Jordan Lutheran Church, Apex, NC.  God uses this wonderful gathering of believers each day to reveal to me more and more of the blessings He desires to rain upon us all.


I will arise is based on the hymn tune RESTORATION, an anonymous early American folk melody first published in William Walker’s The Southern Harmony (1835).  This arrangement is of moderate difficulty and was published in 2011 by The Lorenz Corporation (Dayton, OH) under the title Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, another of the texts commonly associated with the tune. 


Softly and tenderly was written by Will Lamartine Thompson in 1880.  The hymn was sung at the memorial service Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968.  This arrangement is of moderate difficulty, with a melodic idea that serves as ‘bookends’ to the piece.  It was written at the request of Kristina Karnes of Roanoke, VA, and is dedicated to Elizabeth Becton Reed and James Carroll Reed, my niece and nephew. 

Homage to Chopin on MADRID sets the Spanish folk tune referenced in the title against the running semiquaver bass theme from Chopin’s Prelude No. 3 in G major, Op. 48.  It is most commonly paired with the text ‘Come, Christians, join to sing’.  It is dedicated to my friend and colleague church musician Robert J. Vandervliet, whose own arrangement of this tune inspired me to write my own. 

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) is perhaps best remembered for his symphonic poem Finlandia, Op. 26, which became one of the most important national songs of Finland.  In the Judeo-Christian church, the melody is most commonly paired with the hymn text Be still, my soulIntermezzo on FINLANDIA was composed on Thanksgiving Day, November 2008 for the memorial service of US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Mack Spence, Jr. (1915-2008), my great-uncle, and is dedicated to his family. 

Prelude-Fanfare on CORONATION
is based upon the tune perhaps most commonlyassociated with the hymn text “All hail the powr of Jesusname”.  CORONATION was composed by Oliver Holden (1765-1844). The tune first appeared in Holdens Union Harmony or Universal Collection of Sacred Music (Boston, MA: 1795).


This is a rhythmically complex arrangement in ABA form.  The outer sections employ a compositional technique known as circular permutation, in which rhythmic pulses vary from measure to measure. They appear in this arrangement as 3+3+2 in one measure, 3+2+3 in the next, 2+3+3 in the next, and so forth; therefore, the A section is set in the time signature of 8/8 rather than 4/4.  The result is a constantly-changing rhythmic landscape, which eventually melts away into a peaceful chorale-type setting of the tune in 4/4.  At an unexpected moment, the swirling rhythmic tempest of the opening section returns, transitions to a building finale, and then returns for the final four measures. 

In the garden was composed by Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946).  It was selected for this album in memory of my great-aunt Evelyn Nelson Reed and is dedicated to her immediate family:  my great-uncle Raymond M. Reed, and their sons Wayne and Gerald Reed. 

The gift of children is based on NYLAND, a Finnish folk melody, and the children’s song Jesus loves me, this I know.  This arrangement was written for the dedication service of Benjamin Michael Faubel on March 11, 2011, and is dedicated Michael, Ginny, Catie, Zach and Benjamin Faubel, friends of the highest order.  I thank my God often for friends such as these. 


Introspection on REDEEMING LOVE is a setting of the so-called tune which appears in William Walker’s The Christian Harmony (1866).  Walker incorporated more than half of the contents of his first tunebook, The Southern Harmony (1835) into The Christian Harmony. 

The arrangement on this album was originally conceived as a more technically-demanding piece at a significantly faster tempo, but changed significantly as it developed.  This is my idea of a musical prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord of all creation.  It is dedicated to my parents, Carroll and Martha Reed, who have served as my lifelong examples of ‘redeeming love’. 

Elegy on MORNING SONG is based upon the tune of the same name, attributed to Elkanah Kelsay Dare (1782-1826) and, like NETTLETON,  first appeared in John Wyeths Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813).  The first phrase of the tune appears in the first four measures, but is so integrated into the harmonic structure that it is not easy to hear.  This arrangement is dedicated to Dr. Joel F. Reed, who introduced me to the tune during my late teenage years.

The Rev. Joshua Leavitt (1794-1873) first published The Christian Lyre in 1831.  The Christian Lyre was the first American tunebook to take the form of a modern hymnal, with music for every hymn (melody and bass only) and the multi-stanza hymns printed in full, under or beside the music.  It was in this volume that the tune PLEADING SAVIOR first appeared.  A robust, joyful tune built on the pentatonic scale, PLEADING SAVIOR seems to capture the spirit of the early American spiritual fervor associated with the Second Great Awakening.  Declaration on PLEADING SAVIOR’s quiet and reverent introductory section gives way to a lilting,
syncopated setting of the tune.  It is dedicated to Tom L. Lohr, my mentor and teacher at Meredith College.  I hope this music paints an image of the spirit and pride of all who have ppalachian blood in their veins, and the joy and peace of all who have Christ in their hearts. 

How great Thou art is among a handful of hymns found in the hymnals of nearly every organized faith community in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  The tune most commonlyassociated with the hymn text is the Swedish folk tune O STORE GUD. 


This setting begins in the minor mode, shifting between the parallel major and minor modes before an improvisatory section that leads to a short cadenza and restatement of the refrain.  It then draws to a quiet close with a variation on the tune and opening motivic material.  It is dedicated to my friend Joseph F. B. McCauley, whose help at a difficult time ensured that this album project could continue to move forward.