Let's start with some questions. What came first, the chicken or egg, or did the theme song come before the movie it's about? Films have soundtracks, but have you ever heard the soundtrack to a novel? In the fast paced music industry, it seems like once you become familiar with artists, you never hear about them again. Rarely do you hear about anybody who is ground breaking or trend setting. So take a moment to be introduced to Gary Holmes.
Unlike almost every artist you are already familiar with, Gary Holmes is unique in a number of ways. First, Gary's songs are a musical journey. Like the soundtrack to an imaginary film, the songs tell stories that take listeners into the movie theater of their mind's eye. In other words, something like radio theater before the invention of television, it's an audio drama experience.
Some of his songs musically project selected cinematic images. For example, more than reading the novel, watching the David Lean film version of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations", inspired story re-telling from the movie as the songs "Miss Havisham and Mistress". Other selections explore spirituality, challenges to the world status quo, and Gary's life experiences. Amid sincere songwriting , Theater for the Blind, the fictional coffee house band struggling to survive, lends the element of humorous fantasy to a musical stage wealthy with literature based songs, double meanings and metaphors.
With this debut CD, "Water", Gary Holmes invites you to put your headphones on; turn the lights down and the stereo up; close your eyes , and visualize the sound. Like the days of radio theater, there's no television screen to look at.
The Songs: Water-A CD with 10 Selections
1. Only Until
I have concluded that only until opening up to the possibility of failure, there is no probability of success. Are we living our own dreams, or the dreams that someone else has in mind?
In the pages of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Miss Havisham had a broken heart, and she raised her adopted daughter, Stella, to break the hearts of others. Her very much enamored admirer, Pip, became the brunt of this upbringing, but he kept on loving her just the same.
On the topic of Thanksgiving in the United States, Dickens criticized Americans as having a backwards concept. Rather than thanking God just one day out of the year, we should be thankful on all the other days, and take just one day to complain about every thing else.
3. Hazy Sunshine
This song could be about many things. It is the most common term on local T.V. weather reports in Los Angeles. To me, Hazy Sunshine , is about the twelve tribes of Israel on their way out of Egypt. Here they are, delivered by the hand of God from Pharoh and tyranny, and on their way to a promised land. All they can do is complain about everything they see as missing. "There is no water here, have we been brought this far to die of thirst?". God brings them water from a rock.
As slaves they could see that their next meal would come from their Egyptian oppressors. With God, they are learning to live by faith. In the mean time, nostalgia for security in the old days of bondage hazes, or makes less clear, the miracle of their new deliverance. I hate when I make that same mistake.
We live in a world where an abundance of "isms" rule much of how people treat each other. We have racism, sexism and ageism to name a few. There are times that we assume things incorrectly, and we hurt each other when we really don't have to. I wish there were no cliques, de facto segregation, or secret society demographics to consider in the world equation. As God once flooded the Earth with water, so should we too cleanse away discrimination, hatred, and unjustified judgementalism.
I wish I had written all of this song, but I didn't. The narration and verse lyrics are from an anonymous poem titled, "The Letter in the Night". The final line of the piece says "pass this message on to others", so that's what I am doing through this song. I added instrumental music from sequencer patterns, and contributed the words to the chorus:
I should have known this fate before
My soul could have been to heaven sent
but to this fire pit it went
6. Thank You Jesus
This song tells about who Jesus is, and why I thank Him.
7. Cross House Night
So many people and so many stories all in one place. My older brother Darryl was an all night security guard at an apartment building one summer. Sometimes I would follow him to work. The people who lived there were like clockwork--same people, same place, same time. I was never there to see what happened in the day light . I guess that would be a different story and a different song. That place existed for me only at night.
8. Miss Havisham
A broken heart takes a long time to heal, if at all. For a long time I took a very condescending position towards this Dickens' character (Miss Havisham). I later realized that getting past a monumental disappointment is easier said than done, and I have never even been jilted at the marital alter. Miss Havisham was. It takes time, good friends, and most importantly, God. Still, we are better off counting the today's blessings, rather than focusing on the disappointments of the past.
9. Short Edit-Everafterforevermore
This mix is the same as the longer version minus the spoken narration. Nothing deep, just a shorter version to listen to.
10. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Thank You Jesus Remix)
Yeah, yeah, yeah are fun words to sing. At the elementary schools where I have taught, my students take a liking to this song when they hear it playing in the background. It's flattering to hear requests for , "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah". The name stuck, and I had something new to call this remix of "Thank You Jesus".