i could hear the saxophonist on the corner out the window; it’s not uncommon in nyc. at yamaha artist services to record the two solo piano hymn albums, i was caught up in the christmas carol he was playing, only a little concerned that it would bleed onto the recording. the amazing “it’s fine!” ken can handle anything.
my task was to get onto tape (so to speak) the material for both of the hymn albums: ALWAYS WITH US Volume 1 and ALWAYS WITH US Volume 2. it was easy for me to compile a list of the hymns to play; so many years of church music gives me an advantage that way. but on every album, even if it is music i haven’t written but am giving my own voice to (like the hymn albums or christmas albums or lullaby album) i always include one or two pieces that i have composed – a signature of sorts. for always with us volume one it was the title track. ALWAYS WITH US is a statement of my belief that we are never alone, we are always surrounded by infinite grace and love – God is always with us. like all the tracks on the hymn albums, this piece is solo piano.
part of that time in the city, i also recorded the album AS IT IS. i had a list of titles and in-between recording hymns, i would take out the list and simply play the word. but i’ve talked about that before. this album was a personal creative challenge and took on a life of its own.
back in chicago, in post-production work, ken wrote orchestration arrangements (he is brilliant) and brought in musicians to record on tracks for the AS IT IS album, starting with the solo piano recordings. these new tracks went beyond the solo piano versions – in texture, in diversity, ultimately, in emotion.
yesterday i wrote about process in david’s painting. the same -yet different- process exists in recording music. the coming-together of layers, with what is in a layer below sometimes hidden, a breath you can’t hear, but can feel. i am awed by what the whole becomes from the whole.
always with us exists in two forms. both are relevant to the album they are within. both speak a language. but both tell the same story – for those who listen – that we are never alone. God – or whatever you call this presence- is always with us. and if you listen, maybe with your mind’s eye, you might even hear the strains of a saxophonist on the corner in the city at night.
ALWAYS WITH US – on the album AS IT IS
ALWAYS WITH US – on the album ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 1
ALWAYS WITH US from ALWAYS WITH US Volume 1 and AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood