Sunday, April 12, 2015

Track 4 All I Can Do Featuring Lola de Hanna

Track 4 All I Can Do Featuring Lola de Hanna

Track 4 takes a dark turn from the bright and happy songs that proceeded it. It also has a deep meaning about a dark tragedy in the history of this country. The senseless loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The song is about frustration and trying to find hope after such a horrible tragedy. The day I learned of what happened I felt a lot of anger and frustration with the stupidity and ugliness of human nature. It didn't stop at the shooting, public officials lied about the circumstances and politicians made sure they took advantage of the tragedy to further their agendas and narcissism. All this just before Christmas which was a time for peace, hope, and love. I wanted to lose faith and as a songwriter I have a belief that my words can change the world in some small way and that day, as the news reports came in, I was as helpless as anyone else. I later learned the motive behind it and it was pure jealousy and selfishness, this is beyond comprehension to me how you can become so dark as to destroy the gift of life yet this world is filled with the devaluation of life, we see it every day and not enough of us are trying to change it yet it is so simple. This is this song in a nutshell. I hope the listener stops to consider that we are one but part of a large world and every life is a gift from the heavens and should always be treated as such. There have been many tragedies just like this one since then but the recurring theme is that life, even their own, has little value to those committing these horrible acts. Life is more precious than any possession, any dollar amount, any position of power and until we as humans take this to heart we will not know peace. Candles can only fade if we allow them to blow out. We've all heard this before but the lessons of life will be repeated again until we take it to heart.

Musically this song takes a turn just like the lyrics and feel of the record. The key of B gave me lots of mystic, ambient chords to work with and I used every chord in the key. It's bright at moments and dark just like the lyrics. At the urging of Scott Hanson, who helped us out when recording at his studio in Cleveland, OH, suggested I speak the verses poetically instead of singing. The key was out of my vocal range and creating a melody became difficult but the spoken vocals were the best thing for the song so fate helped out with that. The spoken vocals really project the numb feeling that I felt that night. Lola comes in the chorus and gives the emotional response of the frustration and in the last chorus of the hope. Scott Hanson also helped out with some really sweet and rhythmic acoustic guitar that added a layer of hope into the choruses and solo section. This is the most complicated song on an album of complicated songs but the instruments and vocals just magically fell together.

Next up Track 5 Full Moon

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Track 3 Rock Star

Track 3 Rock Star

With a title like “Rock Star” you'd think this song would be about partying and living the life of a rock star. Instead, it's a love song. It's got plenty of guitar and a trance style of vocals. If your girlfriend, wife , fiance is totally awesome then they are a rock star to you. That's really the simple message in this song . It has a wicked synth solo in it too.

The guitarist on this song and every song on the album is Jeff Koval. I chose him for his ability to adapt to my many changing styles from a deep bluesy feel of the solo in “I Should Have Loved You Better” to killer metal licks in “Full Moon” and the fuzzy chunk guitar and ambient feel in this song. Jeff and I go back to our high school days in band. He later went on to be the lead guitarist in The Fifth Wheel touring all over the country and producing two studio albums before become an engineer in Nashville working with the likes of Kenny Olsen (Kid Rock) and Hobo Jim and hundreds of other big name acts. He's engineered all of my album projects.

Next up All I Can Do

Friday, April 3, 2015

Track 2 Waiting on You featuing Lola de Hanna

Track 2
Waiting on You featuring Lola de Hanna

After “Natalie's Song” track 2 “Waiting on You” comes along and introduces you to the heavier side . This song is crafty composition that takes you off the beaten path to a world far from three chords and a I, IV, V progression. My classical and jazz training brought me to this path and it's what you'll hear throughout the album. In fact, the typical method of pop, rock song structure is far off my radar and it's a song structure I rarely use. The listener is also introduced to Lola de Hanna the vocalist and her unique ambient voice. We move from the acoustic airy sound of “Natalie's Song” to a gritty guitar and more aggressive flute. Lola's vocals add a bright pretty side of a darker sounding instrumentation. The lyrics were inspired by wandering thoughts in my head, I hear so many people say “Where have you been all my life?” They say this to “the one” when they find that special person. I know the feeling and I thought it would make a great song. It's about desperation, frustration, hope, loneliness, impatience... in other words the feeling of waiting for love, Waiting on You. Jeff Koval returns on guitar this time with a heavier gritty sound.

All the performers on the album were chosen carefully and they all bring a special sound and a special energy to the song they are performing on as they do to the group as a whole. This track you hear Lola for the first of four songs she appears on the album. When I first heard her sing I knew immediately I wanted to write songs for her to sing It is a majestic, mysterious, ambient voice that draws you in and it sounds a little different against a synth, acoustic guitar, or electric guitar. As I began to work with her it became clear she was more than a one dimensional singer. She has a vast, natural understanding of many different styles of music and a perfect fit me since I write in so many different styles and genres. She keeps up with every song without blinking. She has also appeared in my jazz group On Dante with amazing vocals on the track “Queen of Diamonds.” Even more plans are in the works for her to sing including some metal, deep house dance, blues, jazz, and more alternative rock. I'm know for my unique instrumentation and that extends to the voice . In one of the songs I'm writing for her to sing in the future she and the flute will talk back and forth with each other matching harmonies and rhythms. Stay tuned

Next up Rock Star

Friday, March 27, 2015

Natalie's Song

Leading up to the album release I'll discuss all 12 tracks, what inspired them, what we did in production, and much more.

Track 1: Natalie's Song

This track started the whole project on a summer day in Nashville in 2011. As an Artist I do many things from songwriting, composition, fiction writer, poet, etc. This song is where 2 of my artistic worlds come together. The idea for this song came from my 2nd novella “From My Heart to Yours.” Natalie is the lead character. Her Fiance Edward is a producer for a leading record label in Nashville and reconnects with a college friend while on a trip to his home city Seattle. The two become a couple and he asks her to marry him in their favorite park. When Natalie moves in with him in Nashville he writes a song for her, this song titled “Natalie's Song.” Those who have read the story will understand what the lyrics are all about. The song was fully recorded at Wilderside Studios in Nashville. Jeff Koval engineered the song and also played the acoustic part while I played bass, keys, piano, flute and vocals. Jeff programmed the drum tracks and I played the percussion. Because of their beginnings in Seattle we wanted the guitar to have that feel to it. The keys added an airy feel which is a signature sound for me. The flute also gave it an airy, dreamy feel but was meant to represent Natalie's beauty. The track ended up with a sort of 60s British pop feel to it which was unintended but with any song compositions, things just happen. Later on I wrote a poem titled “Do Not Disturb.” The poem was about how the song was first born in a hotel room. Next up the second track “Waiting on You” featuring Lola de Hanna. I'll discuss why I chose Lola as the female vocalist, what the instrumentation and key was, and what inspired that song.

Do Not Disturb
Sounds of flute and guitar resonate into the hallway
Do not disturb is on the doorway
A song is being born, just listen
Conceived by poetry and instrument

The cleaning crew waits outside listening intently as the song is constructed
First the chords on the guitar
The flute accompanying the melody
Before long a voice rings out, not quite perfect just yet, trying to find the right notes for the lyric
After a while it comes together and the lyric is molded into a beautiful melody
Percussion, electric guitar, and the bass will be added later but this song has been born

Afterward I go to remove the do not disturb sign and the crowd outside applauds at my effort, it's good to have fans even before the song is finished and I can't help but think how good it feels to create music

It is these moments it feels good to be alive and to live the life I was meant to live as a poet and musician

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My thoughts on Nelson Mandela, the greatest leader of our time.

As many are aware we lost the great leader and icon Nelson Mandela December 5th. He is the greatest leader of my lifetime and probably of the 20th century. Here are my thoughts as an author and songwriter about Mandela and modern day South Africa.

My greatest admiration of him was his ability to forgive his oppressors and move forward toward transforming South Africa from a dark segregated country to a united and growing prosperous country. That being said this nation still has its challenges with poverty and racism but it has made huge progress. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others" is what he said after being released from prison. He lived and ruled by those words. He led by example, something that is lost on many of our so called leaders today. It wasn’t enough for him to just have freedom but he also wanted his people to have prosperity. Africa is a continent stricken with poverty, and while not perfect, South Africa is a jewel of the continent. It has a vibrant music scene and all sectors of its economy are growing. It’s a market that I, as many other musicians, am enjoying success in.

South Africa has become a much different nation than the days Mandela was released from prison. Things had already begun to change but it was Mandela who really moved the country forward into its modern version. He brought oppressed blacks and the fearful whites, who believed they would lose everything, together. It was a struggle but the nation began to form a new path bringing different cultures together and forming unique ideas and the country transformed into a first world nation. The music scene is incredibly diverse and vibrant. Classical to heavy metal has filled the entire nation and western bands have flocked to this music rich nation. The movement has moved beyond South Africa to other African nations. Mandela loved music and knew of its power, he was a talented singer himself. During his imprisonment musicians from all over the world called for his release. It seems fitting that in his modern South Africa it has become such a great music scene welcoming artists from all over the world. There are rich roots of jazz and blues that come from Africa. Much of the jazz and blues from the 19th century until now have their roots from back in Africa. The blues scale came from that early music arriving in America with the slaves and made prominent in the 20th century in America. In South Africa the jazz and blues grew as it did in America with many protest songs written by prominent black jazz musicians in the 50s and 60s. Now jazz and the blues are very much alive and are enjoyed by both blacks and whites.

South Africa has affected  my song writing as well and the message of Mandela has found its way into my storytelling. The “Visitors From Yubarri” series is a story of how great thinkers who left the Earth return to bring the life they have had on Yubarri, a life of very different beings and cultures coming together in peace. They had a dream like Nelson Mandela of a new world free of corruption and a world with freedom for all. This may be fiction but I always believe if it can be dreamed then it can be done. Mandela brought people together. This is something as a writer and musician that I try to do and he is such a great inspiration leading not just a nation but the entire world and even artists like myself. In my story “A Modern Day Animal Farm Tale” one of my characters stands up to an oppressor and tells him that a great leader leads by excellent example. That is what Mandela did and his legacy shall always be with us even though he is now gone. Though he was put in prison for his comment that the was no peaceful end to oppression but the only way was violence, in the end it was his peaceful leadership that brought the country together and not violence. He proved that nonviolence can solve problems. A great example of this is when he came to cheer on the national rugby team, which was a prominently white sport. He did this because his country, made up of blacks and whites was more important, unity was more important.

South Africa is not perfect. There is still division, violence, and corruption as there is all over the world. Mandela once said, “I am not a saint, just a sinner who keeps trying.” Just like South Africa, just like me, just like you. A man who forgave after being oppressed his entire life, put into prison for 27 years, and treated horrible in prison only because of his political beliefs that all races should have an equal chance. His legacy makes us believe we can make this world a better place. It is a lofty dream and one that we will probably not see in our lifetime, but we must put forth the effort. Let us not simple talk about it, let’s do it as he did. There is more hot air than ever in a world with incredible capabilities in communication so let us use this power to change our world for the better. Most of all let us give thanks for Mandela’s life and the leadership he brought us. I do not mourn him, but instead thank God that he put him on this Earth to fight for, and inspire us all.

“Tread softly,
Breathe peacefully,
Laugh hysterically.”
Nelson Mandela

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, may the light from your torch light our way for generations to come. God bless

Check out some of the music Mandela loved:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

November 19th 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. It has received much less fanfare than the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination but shouldn't. The words Lincoln spoke that day still ring true to this day and the United States has yet to live up to the promise made the day it was created in 1776. In fact these days we are moving farther away from that promise. Today I'm posting my poem to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.

Gettysburg 150th

Lincoln said, “My fellow citizens we cannot escape history”
Indeed, it echoes as loud as the cannons did on that day 150 years ago
and we cannot escape it's horrors, we cannot hold our ears to the screams nor can we hold our hands over our eyes to hide these blood-soaked fields
for if we do we will not learn its lessons, we as a civilization will never grow and we as individuals will never grow
If you listen to these winds that blow across time they will tell us of the failure of tyranny and the precious nature of freedom
They echo across these hills of Pennsylvania, to the mountains in Bavaria, to Hiroshima
they echo in the words of Dr Martin Luther King, to the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan
we still have much to learn

We hide from the past but it echos as loud as those cannons did on that fateful day
We are reminded of our bitter past when Sherman lay Atlanta in ruins
twenty seven years later 300 Indians were massacred at Wounded Knee
During WWII Japanese Americans were put in camps even as their sons fought for America
The slaves may have been freed but were segregated
still treated as not a whole human being
Things have improved but... we still to this day do not know the full extent of freedom
we still have much to learn

The past will tell us of the enormous cost of war
it will tell us of the folly
The scars of destruction visible in photographs of the past
war takes away the most precious gift... life itself
we have a devalued view of this gift these days
there is no amount of gold that can buy it
war worst of all gives no value to this gift, just another body
we forget they had a mother and father, many were fathers themselves, they had a personality, they had dreams
we still have much to learn

Wars are not won
the books will tell us they are but what do the pictures tell us?
pictures of the soldiers as they lie lifeless on the fields
the mushroom clouds above Hiroshima and Nagasaki
the ones who lived but died years later of cancer
and the stains from these wars left on the soul our nation
We fought tyranny but did we really win, and at what cost?
We still have much to learn

Often there are days when I feel as if we are staring at the abyss
I want to give up
then I remember that God's time line is not ours
we are merely a speck, though a very important speck, on a very large time line that goes back millennium and will continue
Lincoln spoke of an eternal struggle of right and wrong good and evil
The war that is fought in each of our hearts
The choice is ours to choose
a life only to ourselves, wants and desires and forget about others
the choice is ours to choice tyranny or that of freedom
the choice is ours to choose violence or peace
Lincoln also said, “We hold the power and bear the responsibility”
We hold the responsibility and the power change the world is inside our hearts
when we seek truth, light, love and above all peace
We still have much to learn

Will the cannons ever be silenced?
I cannot answer that alone but I can do my part as can all of you
but I know deep in my heart they can
when we all learn that leadership is through example and not to control others
when we learn leadership is about serving the interest of others instead of your own
history teaches this as well
We must let go of the dogmas, we must let go of one-upsmanship, we must let go of our hatred
history tells us that peace really works that freedom really works
history tells us when we seek virtue it shows us the way
We still have much to learn

Only when the power of love is greater than the love of power will the world know peace
only then will it know true freedom
Lincoln spoke in this city of Gettysburg of a new birth of freedom and that a government by the people for the people shall not perish from this Earth
America isn't the land we stand on, it is not a land of kings, it is a land of an idea
an idea that you are free to pursue whatever life you wish as long as you do not harm others and you are responsible for your failures
America is the idea that we all have an equal chance to use our God given talents, America is about equality for all no matter rich or poor, no matter what race or gender, no matter what creed
We have yet to realize what America is and this day, 150 years after this battle, we are still far from realizing the dream of America
While other countries built their country around culture and language, America built its country on an idea
an idea that dared to say that everyone is created equal, and idea that we the should be no king no system of class
at times this seems impossible
at times it seems the darkness is too strong
at times it seems peace may not come in our lifetime
it may not, it may never come, but this does not mean that we should not strive to find it and fight every single day for it
We still have much to learn

They say poets, preachers, and politicians will all have their say
I am no preacher
I am sure not a politician
I am just a simple man, loosely called a poet, with a simple message
a reminder on this anniversary that we have still much to learn from these fateful days
Peace and freedom are our greatest treasures
I seek not approval but only that you take this message to your heart
take it, cradle it within your heart, for if we all do this then the world will finally realize this dream

The fiery trial in which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation
We hold the power and bear the responsibility... the words of Lincoln

Finally let us remember the story of hope on the days after the battle when a former slave walked the fields giving water and food to injured soldiers from both sides, spending her life savings, and asking for nothing in return for this is what America is. America is not it's government We are not the sum of our military might. We are a nation of inventors, a nation of artists, we believe in justice and the rule of law. We are the compassion of neighbors serving each other. We are the peacemakers and blessed are the peacemakers. We have yet to live up to this meaning of America but let us never give up trying.
On this anniversary let us remember these horrors of our past and learn from them.

We still have much to learn

by Timothy House

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pieces of the Puzzle release

I’m excited to announce the long talked about story “Pieces of the Puzzle” is finally out. Throughout this week it will be available at several retailers as an ebook.  The book is a novella with 19,930 words and is a drama. ISBN: 9781311723499.

The story begins when the two main characters Sarah and Oliver are in college. Sarah aspires to be an opera singer while Oliver is finishing up Med school and moving on to a promising career in medicine. The couple parts ways as Ollie leaves Columbus for a new career in Chicago while Sarah heads to the bright lights of New York City. Sarah has a secret however, years later Sarah’s daughter is diagnosed with brain cancer and Ollie has now become one of the leading child oncologists in the nation. Her doctors in New York tell her she can’t be helped so Sarah takes her daughter west to Chicago to see Oliver. Oliver, who likes challenges, agrees to take on the case and at the same time feelings resurface for both of Sarah and Ollie. Sarah then lets him know that her daughter Christina is also his daughter. It then becomes a challenge to fight for Christina’s life and a struggle to become a family. The story is a heartwarming story of life’s struggles and a Christmas miracle. The entire family endures through many struggles and Sarah and Oliver learn the true meaning of love.

This story itself has a backstory. When I sent this to the publisher I fully expected a rejection letter. Most authors write the story and send the story to a publisher. I took a different approach sending the short story instead of the full novel (later made the decision to make it a novella) and a proposal of the full story. It worked and they agreed and also accepted my book of poetry titled “Definitions.” That was six years ago. “Definitions” was published and several other short stories and novellas were published since then. “Pieces of the Puzzle” was put on the back burner for long time as other ideas for stories kept coming to mind until Christmas time last year when I thought "it would be great to have this book done." So I began working on it again and finished it in January. I wasn’t happy with the story and it was put on the shelf again as I began writing and releasing the sequel to “Visitors from Yubarri.” That book was published in March and I turned my focus to marketing that book. As summer came along I took another look at the story and still wasn’t happy with it and again I had some other book ideas come to mind and I started researching them. Finally, as fall approached, I made the decision to release “Pieces of the Puzzle” so ending its six-year long journey. I made some changes and finally became satisfied with it.

I dedicated the book to Christina Green who was killed in a shooting in Arizona January 2011. I saw in this young girl a visionary and who would have made great contributions to the world had it not been for that horrible tragedy. She was given the role of a hero in this story.

I hope you’ll enjoy the book, it’s available at several retailers:



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