These songs were recorded in a historic movie theatre which is now the home of Calvary Chapel Budapest, Hungary. The building is in the heart of the city, which meant that we had to record in the middle of the night to avoid the sound of noisy buses, trams and police sirens.
Even though it was winter, we could not put on the old heating system because of the noise. So the sound engineer (my good friend Mike Payne, who is worship leader at Calvary Chapel) was wrapped up in bundles of clothes at the back of the church, and I was down front on the stage in a small pool of light at the old grand piano.
It felt like we were in an enclosed, protected environment – sort of like being in a cocoon. And as I played through some of the songs like “You Are My Hiding Place”, “Jesus, What a Friend” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, I was reminded that when the night envelops us, God truly is faithful even though we may not see our way clearly until the morning light.
The CD title is from a verse of one of the hymns.
One summer I visited a friend who was working with a river rafting outfit in Buena Vista, Colorado. The word got out that I played the piano and I ended up doing an impromptu concert for the rafters at someone’s house.
The owner of the home afterwards asked if he could record some of my songs. I said ‘okay’ and he took me down to the local Baptist church where over the next couple of days I played through a bunch of songs The rafters sent messages with some of their requests as well! The result was a cassette tape of hymns and worship songs that soon was being passed around and copied by friends and strangers alike.
One of these copies found its way to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and I got a call asking if I would like to record a CD with them. This Around The Glassy Sea CD is the result. My good friend Dave Sylvester (a great guitarist and pastor of Calvary Chapel York) helped produce the CD with me.
A couple of the songs were not planned to be on the CD. One day I was trying to record A Mighty Fortress and after what seemed like the 57th take I decided to play something totally different just to get fresh ears, etc. So I started improvising on What A Friend - and liked it enough to keep the song!
Another time Dave was flipping through the hymnal and said that one of his favourite songs was Sweet Hour of Prayer and he asked if I could try it. So here is the one and only take!
The title of the CD is found in one of the verses of one of the hymns.
Music of course is an essential ingredient at Christmas time. So soon after finishing Around The Glassy Sea I was back in the studio recording this Christmas album. There are the standard favorites, as well as one of my first compositions, a song called Peace.
Probably one of the most requested songs at Christmas time is Silent Night. I think that the song is sometimes over ‘sentimentalized’, so it was a challenge for me to try and avoid too 'sweet' of a rendition.
I think that for God the Father, giving over His Son to the earth below was a bitter sweet moment: He knew the purpose this baby would fulfill. So in the beginning of the song the low repeated notes are, in some sense, the foreshadowing of the cross.
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