Category Archives: Music & Songs

Posts about music, or containing recordings.

So I Said to Myself, Self:

I sing to myself all the time. There is nearly always some song or other stuck in my head, on repeat, and it generally only fades away when another song has supplanted it. On rare occasions, listening to the entire song will cause it to fade at the last note, but that doesn’t work as often as I’d like it to. Much of the time I don’t mind, it’s like I have my own little sound track and I can usually switch tracks when I want to, though the auto-play often gets stuck on one particular song for days or weeks, and that can get incredibly annoying.

Sometimes I talk to myself, too. Sometimes I even argue with myself — and once in a while I win — but I usually save the heated arguments for when I’m alone, and I usually just let those play out in my head. (It’s worth noting, for those of you who know me on Facebook and saw that gem of a quote from Fred today, that he knew nothing about this blog entry, and most of this post, including the previous sentence, was written weeks ago.)  But the singing? I made a conscious decision a while ago not to keep the singing to myself, and I thought I’d tell you why. Just in case you run into me somewhere and wonder why I’m walking along singing, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I’m, you know, in public, and people — possibly including you — are looking at me funnily.

Here’s the thing. If a kid talks to himself while he’s playing alone, most people think it’s really cute. Adults nearby often sneak peeks, trying not to get caught watching, so they can catch a bit of what he’s saying when he doesn’t know anyone’s listening. Of course, if he did know the adult was there he may just go on exactly the same anyway, because he’s probably absorbed in his own little awesome world, but I digress. Why do we do this? Because it’s adorable, that’s why. But why is it so adorable?

Because we know that that kid is completely engrossed in his play, and completely free to follow his imagination, or work out his train of thought in the way that comes most naturally to him in that instance. He’s not burdened down with all of the rules and regulations that we’ve placed on our ridiculous adult lives, saying we can’t do this or that or the other because so-and-so is watching, or what’s-her-face might see, or the men in white coats may come to take us away. We call it the ‘innocence’ of childhood. And I think we stand there, listening, remembering days when we felt free to play out our imaginations out loud, unbound by unwritten rules that make us confine our mind til it’s left with no outlet but to ricochet endlessly off the inside of our skull whilst slowly driving us mad.

If an adult gets engrossed in something and starts talking to himself in public, barring some recent tragedy, people generally think he’s losing his sanity. Someone, somewhere, decided that talking to yourself after a certain age, means you’re ‘nuts’. Then someone else came along and jokingly decided that you’re only ‘nuts’ if you answer yourself back, and everyone laughed, and went on knowing that no, really, you just can’t talk to yourself in public.

Now, granted, there are some rules regarding self-talk that make sense. If you go talking to yourself all the time it’s going to annoy people around you if, say, they’re trying to watch a movie, or read a book, or hear a sermon, or cross a tight rope on a unicycle while balancing an egg in a spoon with their mouth. But does the general public require you to be silent while you’re getting your groceries, or sitting at the park, or checking your post office box? I mean, if you took your kid or your boyfriend or your grandma with you you’d probably be talking to each other a lot, surely one voice is less annoying than two.

So why does it disturb us so much to hear someone talking to himself past a certain age? I mean, it’s easier to get away with in the age of the cellphone, especially now that wireless earpieces are so popular and upstanding business people go walking down the street arguing with ‘themselves’ all the time. But you can bet most of the people they pass still do a double-take and immediately start looking for the device that makes this ‘okay’. Because if it turns out he’s not on a Blackberry or something, and he really is just arguing with himself, you can bet they’re gonna start walking a little faster.

When you really stop to think about it it’s a rather strange thing. What is so cute in little kids is somehow troubling in adults. The freedom we envy in our children we abhor in fellow adults. Apparently, growing up means you’re supposed to grow boring, kill your imagination, and stop being friends with yourself.

It’s all a little silly to me. Especially considering that some people, the few who have ‘proven’ themselves in some way, maybe by being rich, inventing something, having an enormous IQ, having a book on the best-seller list, get called eccentric and get a free pass on these kinds of rules, but anyone who hasn’t met some standard of proof — a standard which is also unwritten and ridiculously fuzzy — is considered ‘nuts’. You do get a free pass if there is audible music or you have headphones on and you’re singing.

I’d been thinking about these things for a while. I’ve also been working on my music quite a bit over the past few years, debating whether I should take this whole singing thing more seriously and consider trying to make a real album. I’ve been singing in church for years now, and practice is required, so I go around singing at home much of the time, and I’ve always sung along with the radio in my car. One day I was singing in my car and I got out to go into the little post office in our village. I would normally switch to humming, but it was after hours, if I remember correctly, and no one was around, so I just kept on singing. Someone walked in as I was there and caught me off-guard. I figured they had heard me when they walked on so I might as well keep on singing, so I just did.

And it was incredibly freeing.

I mean, at some point in my past I would have been worried about offending people’s ears, but I’ve been assured by most people I know that my singing voice is actually pretty, and since I almost always sing on-key the chances of making anyone double over in pain, or even cringe, seem fairly low. Unless of course, they’re offended by the lyrics, and I do try to stay conscious of the content and adjust my volume or hum the parts that I think might be somehow offensive to someone around me. But allowing myself to just sing when I want to sing, as long as it’s not going to be interrupting anyone or become an annoyance, has taken a burden off of me that I never even knew I was carrying.

So, if you see me singing to myself when I’m out and about just know that I’ve decided I don’t need to grow up in that particular way :P

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Filed under Humor, Music & Songs

Sometimes ♫ I Don’t Wanna Sing

Depression can be like a deep, dark, hole in your soul.  When you’re in that place, sometimes it feels like you will never get out.  Not because the hole is too big to climb out of, but because the hole is you.  At least for me, despair rarely feels like something that’s happening to me, caused by something outside affecting me.  It feels like it is part of me, a fundamental part, at the core of who I am… and it will never change, and there’s no point in trying to escape it, because it’s where I belong.

When I look back I see
The person that I was
Staring back at me.
Same confusion,
Same despair.
I become the she that I was there.
Caught in the moment,
Panicking, still.
No escape.
No free will.

If you’ve never been depressed, or if your fundamental years were free of depression, you may well have no clue what I meant by that.  If you’ve been depressed for very long, and especially if you were depressed as a child, as I was, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you are in that place, please know that it is not you.  No matter how much a part of your life it seems, you can come out of it without giving up who you are, regardless of its cause.

But you will probably need help to come out of it.  Psychologists and well meaning friends and loved ones can help sometimes, for some people, but that often falls far short, and sometimes makes things worse.  Sometimes the best solution is the one that seems the most desperate, so we never even consider it.  Sometimes, you have to look up.

I spent over a decade in that place, resigned to always being there.  I spent nearly another decade trying, and mostly failing, to claw my way out, with the help of a really great friend, who kept trying to convince me that it wasn’t part of me.   I never believed him, but I was trying anyway, for his sake.  I was also working on my spiritual walk, drawing closer to God every day, and one day God just picked me up and pulled me out of that pit.

And suddenly that deep darkness was gone, but I was not.  I was left reeling, almost in shock over the sudden change.  It took me quite a while to adjust to the change, the sudden loss of such a huge part of my life.  I was happy, don’t get me wrong, it was a relief I don’t think many people can relate to, but it had been part of my life for so long, part of my self-identity, and I had had no idea that it was something other than me, that whole time.  Something riding on my shoulder, pushing me down.  I was intact, I was whole, and it was not a part of me after all.

But sometimes
When I look up I see
The person that I could,
Maybe, someday be.
No delusion,
No more fear.
Possessed of a mind that’s free and clear.
In those moments,
Hope abounds.
And all is great,
And I am found.

(The poem quoted here is titled “Sometimes” by me – Tammy Bowles.  I don’t mind if you share it but please give the reference.)

I don’t think anything anyone said could ever have convinced me of that fact.  If you’re in that place right now you probably think I’m crazy for believing I was healed, or maybe you just think it’s well and good for me, but your case is hopeless.  I understand.  I truly do.  But please give God a chance.  Ask Him to help, and then let Him (He’s a gentleman, He won’t take the reigns from you, you have to hand them over).

If any of this seems a little too esoteric, I apologize.  I am still a little uncomfortable sharing at this level in the open, but if you would like to talk about this stuff in more detail please feel free to contact me.

I’m not saying that I never see that dark place anymore.  God pulled me out, and I no longer live there, but there are times that I find myself looking back in.  Hormone spikes can send me in that direction.  I found out a few months ago that the wrong medication could send me back there as well.  It always feels so familiar that it takes me a little while to figure out what has happened.

In the midst of that last medication-induced bout of depression God gave me a couple of lines and told me to write the rest of this song, because I needed to hear the ending.  It’s a funny thing to be told to write what you need to hear, but it worked out in the end.

I shared this song on my Facebook page a while back, and have sung it at church a few times.  I was going to wait to share it here until I got some music and a better recording, but something tells me I need to share it now…  Perhaps someone out there needs to hear the ending as well.





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Filed under Deep Stuff, Music & Songs, Personal

Answered prayers and such

I know I haven’t posted anything here for a while, but it’s not exactly for lack of trying.  I have at least 5 posts I’ve been trying to write but I just can’t seem to get anything to the point I actually feel comfortable posting it lately.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks (okay, that’s a massive understatement), but I believe yesterday evening was a huge turning point for me.

I’ve been checking out a new church lately (while still going to my current one — I love those people dearly but the church just isn’t accessible, and I don’t feel like it’s a place I can really be used), I’ve been there 3 times now and yesterday the pastor’s mother took it upon herself to make sure that I got to sing.  I sang one of my own songs that I haven’t sang in public for probably a year or more, and it went really well.  God seems to have touched nearly everyone in that service through my song, I had people chasing me down to make sure I knew about it, too.  I’ve never seen a reaction that strong before, and the timing was great, I really needed the pick-me-up.

After that, the pastor’s sermon hit me just right, I’m not even sure what he said exactly, but it was just what I needed to hear to finally let go and step out on faith on a couple of things that have been holding me back for a long time.  To top it all off, one of the ladies invited me to come join a group at McD’s after the service, and we sat there talking until they kicked us out at midnight.  If you know me very well you’ll probably be able to pick out about 7 answered prayers in the past couple paragraphs.

After I got home I pulled an all-nighter, I had some contractors due to come install a new door and I didn’t want to sleep through it  (which is the only bit of bad news in this post, it started pouring down rain around sunrise, and they had to postpone til Friday).  While I was up, I managed to get about 20 more songs recorded for the Praise Songs Database, and I actually got them updated to the site, along with a bunch of updates I’ve been putting off for months.

Then I made a couple of phone calls — I got resolution on one issue that’s been seriously stressful for me for the past 2 months, and I made the first step in finding a solution for another issue that’s been a huge stressor for years now.

So all in all this is shaping up to be a really awesome week, here’s hoping the trend continues, but even if it doesn’t I think I’ve had enough blessings to carry me for a little while.

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Filed under Music & Songs, Personal

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy father’s day to a couple of great dads! :)

I know it’s been a really long time since I posted… I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks here.

In any case, I wanted to post something for Father’s Day, so I thought I’d share one of the first songs I ever wrote.

My earthly father’s pretty darn cool, too, here’s a couple of pics for ya:

Dad in his hippy days

My Dad

<-- he's glaring at me for uploading that pic










My dad is probably the hardest working person I’ve ever met.  He worked an average of 80-90 hours per week through my entire childhood (at one point he held 2 full-time jobs and a part-time all at the same time), but still tucked me into bed every night when he got home.

The few hours he had left he spent working on stuff around the house for us, and somehow still found time to complete an associates degree (and most of a bachelors) in electrical engineering from home.  I remember sitting on a chair next to him at the kitchen table at night watching in awe as he built circuits and fixed things with his soldering iron.

Some of my fondest memories are of all the times my sister and I cajoled him into playing guitar for us (not that he didn’t love playing, he was just tired!).  Now that I think about it, it had to be amusing for him to have his little daughter begging to hear “House of the Rising Sun”.  I could have listened to him play for days on end.

He still plays for me every once in a while… now that his shoulder injury is healed and he’s cut back to halfway normal working hours I’m hoping I’ll get to hear a lot more.  He played backup for me once at his church (I sang flat the whole time, it was awful lol), and we’re hoping to do more songs that way.  Perhaps I can get him to let me record a video at some point…

In any case, that’s my dad, and I love him to pieces.  Isn’t he great!?  :)


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Filed under Music & Songs, Personal

Bloodwashed Pilgrim ♫

I got this song stuck in my head last week and went to try to find the lyrics, turns out there are various lyrics for it, and there were things I didn’t like about most of them, so I rearranged and picked and chose and wrote my own version and decided to record it.

I was playing around with some background sounds but can’t decide whether I like the drumming or not.  Let me know which version you like better.

As always, all feedback is welcome, just don’t be too harsh :)  Remember I’m recording on a laptop mic with free software so I can only do so much for the quality.


Filed under Music & Songs

Will we gladly labor?

I wasn’t planning on posting a song this weekend.  I have a lot of work to do, and really should be off doing it.  But we sang a song in church last night, one we’ve sung a few times in the past, that got stuck in my head, so I figured I’d better go look up the lyrics so I could sing the whole thing and eject it (I generally have to hear a whole song through a time or two before I can get it unstuck).  Anyway, I did manage to find the lyrics after some searching, and went to see if there was a recorded version on YouTube.

To my shock, the only versions I’m able to find anywhere leave out the last, and what I consider to be the most important verse of the song.  Before I go futher, let me share the lyrics with you so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

When He Calls I’ll Fly Away

1. There was once a time when, in my heart, I was condemned to die;
I was walking in my sinful ways.
Jesus paid the ransom for my soul, I bade this world goodbye;
When He calls me I will fly away.

When He calls me, I will answer “Here am I!” — I am ready, if He wants me to die.
There’s a mansion now awaiting me on high — I am going there by and by.
I have made my preparation, from this world a separation;
I am walking on God’s highway, when he calls I will fly away.

2. I could never think of turning back into this world of sin.
I’m rejoicing in the gospel way.
I am longing for the time when heaven I shall enter in —
I am ready should he call today.

3. If He needs me in this harvest, helping gather in the sheaves,
I will gladly labor on below.
If on earth my work is finished, and it’s time for me to leave,
When He calls me I’ll be glad to go.

Here’s the thing.  It really bothers me that this third verse has been left out in the popular recordings.  It doesn’t really surprise me, but it does bother me.

One of the biggest temptations we face as Christians (and when I say we, I definitely mean myself included, as this is absolutely my biggest problem) once we’ve gotten our own affairs more or less in order, is to just sit back and wait.  This problem is huge in the church, because it’s the temptation that most affects Christians that have been around a while.

Most people aren’t that likely to sit back saying, “I’m ready to come home, Lord” or “Lord, come quickly”.  Some don’t believe, and to them this entire idea is ridiculous.  Some are busy reveling in their pet sins and figure they’ve got plenty of time to straighten up before the end.  Some have people depending on them.  Some have goals, either in their personal lives or in their ministries, that they’re trying to complete.  Some just love their lives and aren’t ready to leave yet.

But those of us who truly believe, have more or less gotten our acts together, and who are tired, for one reason or another, often fall into the trap of just sitting around begging God to bring us home.  I’ve wasted years of my life this way.  In my case, it’s because I don’t enjoy life here at all.  I’m in pain, all the time, and I’m almost always tired.  Further, I have no children dependent on me sticking around, and at least right now, no clear ministry.  The promise of a place with no more disease or pain, where I get to spend all of my time singing praises, is overwhelmingly appealing to me.

Songs that remind me of that blessed promise really speak to me, as they do to most of the older Christians I know.  There are some services where every single song we sing is about going on home, and I don’t usually pick the songs, so I know this feeling resonates with others.

Here’s the thing, though.  We have a JOB to be doing.  I wasn’t intending for this post to get this long, so I won’t go into all of the scriptures, but they’re abundant.  We’re not supposed to be sitting around waiting to go home, we’re supposed to be out in the world sharing the good news, making disciples, and making a difference in the world.

This is a great song, when you read it all the way to the end, but without the last verse it’s just another temptation.  It’s just another great melody distracting us from what we’re really supposed to be doing.  There’s no harm in looking forward to the life to come, but we need to do so acknowledging that, for whatever His reasons, God hasn’t come back and He hasn’t called us home yet.

I have a policy that I won’t let myself sing a song unless I can agree fully with it’s lyrics.  This one’s a tough one for me, but I’m singing the song, so I am endeavoring to live up to it.  If He needs me in this harvest, I will gladly labor here.  I just hope He gives me a better picture of what I’m supposed to be doing soon.

Oh, and I recorded the song, just so it’ll be out there somewhere in full.  It’s not the best recording, it’s a capella, and I was probably singing too low, but here it is :P


Filed under Music & Songs, Personal

Why are you striving?

I know I just put up a song in my last post, but I went for several months there where I couldn’t really sing, let alone record, and I’m excited to be able to get back to recording some. Besides, my keyboard is acting up, so typing much is a huge pain right now.

By Your Side by Tammy Bowles

(Original artist: Tenth Avenue North)

Please feel free to leave comments and critiques, just don’t be too mean about it :)  I’d welcome a discussion on the lyrics as well.


Filed under Deep Stuff, Music & Songs

What do I know of holy?

Haven’t put up a new song in a while, no music for this one but I think it turned out pretty well…

What Do I Know of Holy by Tammy Bowles
(Original artist: Addison Road)

Please let me know what you think, or if  you have any trouble with the player or anything.  I can take criticism, just keep in mind that I’m recording with a laptop mic and have no fancy software, so I can only do so much with the quality.  Thanks for listening :)


Filed under Music & Songs

A concert?! A Christian concert?!

The look on my uncle’s face tonight was priceless.  We were sitting at the dinner table and I asked my aunt if she might be interested in going to a concert with me this weekend at a local venue.  I explained it was a couple of great Christian bands… and my uncle interjected with something along the lines of “Are you kidding me?!”

It was quite hilarious.  He went on to demonstrate his idea of a Christian concert, which apparently was based on something from a South Park episode, which involved rocking out and head banging incoherently, interrupted randomly by words like “God” or “Jesus”.  An avid party-goer, his idea of “concert” just does not jive with his idea of Christianity, in any way, shape or form.

This was made even more amusing to me, by the fact that his original look of shock and disbelief was very similar to the look I’ve seen on friends’ faces, Christian friends, when I mention going to a concert and they don’t realize I mean a Christian band.  The shock, the horror, “a CONCERT?!, YOU!?”

Music is all about poetry, emotion, expression… most any music has some sort of religious or philosophical undertones… so their surprise, while quite amusing, is also rather perplexing.


Filed under Music & Songs

God is not dead.

I’ve been trying to get a good recording of this song for a while.

My crappy recording setup means that I can only use something if I can record the entire song all the way through without any screw-ups… ever tried to do that?!  It’s hard.  And half the time when I do manage, I go back to edit and find I forgot to actually hit “record”, arg!

In any case.  I finally got a halfway decent recording of this one.  I’ve been working on it for weeks.  I hope you enjoy it, or, I at least hope it doesn’t hurt too much to listen to it.

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by yours truly
(Original artist: Casting Crowns)

Merry Christmas! :)


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Filed under Music & Songs