Recording Day

Sunday, November 19. I woke up that morning about an hour before my 6:30 alarm. Feeling a combination of nerves, anticipation, fright… generally very alert. Today is the day! The day I will record my first EP.

I’ve been planning this for over a month. I’m as prepared as I know how to be – the songs have been written for years in most cases, the arrangements have been practiced, the thought and effort have been applied. I’ve been so excited, I haven’t been able to quit telling people about it. I’m recording a Christmas EP! I say whenever one of you asks me how I’m doing or what’s new. And today it’s really happening.

For better or for worse.

(If anyone’s wondering what a Christmas EP is: EP stands for “Extended Play,” referring to a vinyl record that is longer than a single, but shorter than a full LP; in modern shorthand, it usually refers to a collection of five songs, traditionally distributed on CD. I assume that most people, like me, have very few remaining places to play a CD, so my EP is digital. You can download it right to your phone, tablet or computer).

Having arranged to meet at 2pm with Noel, my engineer who will be doing the actual recording, I have a few things to do before then. Like a church service, where I am on staff as the stage manager and have various stage managerial tasks to accomplish. Then editing and distributing the podcast of this morning’s sermon, then lunch.

I arrive at Epiphany Space, which is where the piano is, and where I’m meeting Noel. After an hour or so of setting mics and testing levels, it’s time. Time to sit down and play the five songs I’ve been preparing for this moment. I’m nervous I will mess up, but also confident that what I’m really trying to do here is share an experience with people who are not in my immediate vicinity.

I love live music, but it poses a difficulty in that you must be physically present in order to hear it. Once you hear it, the music has the potential to move you – emotionally and spiritually. Isn’t that a wonderful experience to share? And yet if I only perform live, it limits the effect my singing and songwriting can have.

As I take a deep breath against the anxiety and irrational thoughts that have been skipping through my head all morning, I coach myself with the knowledge that this is not about me and trying to sound perfect. This is about you, the people I love and wish I could sing to personally. It’s about sharing these songs with you when I’m not physically present.

So I play. I play each song three or four times, skipping a beat here or missing a note there. It isn’t perfect, and at first that’s difficult to ignore. But then as I persevere with fear and trembling, something unaccountable happens. I’m no longer thinking about the notes or the words or the rhythm, or whether I’m singing into the mic or not. I’m not thinking at all. I’m seeing.

Your faces. The people I’ve been telling this news for the past weeks, the people who have urged me to go for it when I felt completely overwhelmed with the prospect of recording. People who have encouraged me and shared stories of how my music has touched your life.

And suddenly it’s not a recording session. It’s a shared experience, and even though none of you are there I am seeing you anyway.

This Christmas EP is not a performance, it’s a gift.

It’s for you.

Thank you for being a gift to me.

O, Come (a post about lyrics)

Full lyrics for “O, Come” – an acoustic Christmas EP from Cortney Matz.

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COME, JESUS COME

O Come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Come, Jesus come
Bring some light into our world
Open our eyes
Show us what we’re hoping for
We will wait for you

O come, Thou Dayspring – come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Come, Jesus come
Bring us hope in desperate times
Keep us at peace
Through the mysteries of life
We will wait for you

O Come, Desire of Nations
Bind all people in one heart and mind
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease
Fill all the world with heaven’s peace

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

Ancient text and music; additional lyrics by Cortney Matz ©2017

FELLOWSHIP

You meet me where I am
And take me by the hand
You lead me in Your truth
Back to You
When holiness touches human
I’ll never be the same
I’m so glad You came

You meet us where we are
Creator of the stars
Comes down to human hearts
And touches us
Immanuel – God is with us
Calling us by name
We’re so glad You came

Come meet us once again
Remind us of Your plan
To make with us Your home
Forevermore
When all the earth bows before You
And every pain is gone
When you come

So come back soon
What a friend we have in Jesus
What a friend who came to meet us right where we are
What a friend we have in Jesus
What a friend who never leaves us
We’re so glad You came

©2017 Cortney Matz

WHAT CHILD IS THIS

What child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping
This, this is Christ the king
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him praise
The babe, the son of Mary

Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear for sinners here
The silent Word is speaking
Nails, nails shall pierce him through
The cross he bore for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe, the son of Mary

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant, king, to own him
The king of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
Raise, raise a song on high
The virgin sings a lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born
The babe, the son of Mary

Words by William Chatterton Dix 1865

NOT THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME

When my pockets are lighter than ever
And heavy is my heart
When all the world seems to be merry
And I am not
It hasn’t snowed, no mistletoe
How can it be Christmas without going home?
I’ll sing this little song to show

It may not be the most wonderful time
But I’m gonna be just fine
Coming up roses or going down in flames
Life will go on, will go on

So when my pockets are lighter than ever
And my poor little heart’s so heavy
When all the world is merry
And for whatever reason I just can’t be
It hasn’t snowed, no mistletoe
No ticket on earth can get me back home
I’ll sing this little song and know I’m not alone

It may not be the most wonderful time
But I’m gonna be just fine
Coming up roses or going down in flames
Life will go on, will go on
There’s so much more life has in store
Than what could be under a tree
This day may not go wonderfully
But that’s alright with me

So when the baking is hard as a rock
And you can’t find your other sock (it’s a tough day)
Just two more days and still there is just no time
No time to shop
You’re down with the flu – other things too
We’ve all got those end-of-the-year report blues
That’s when we need someone to remind us that these words are true

It may not be the most wonderful time
But my friends, we’re gonna be fine
Coming up roses or going down in flames
Life will go on – we will go on
Life will go on, will go on
There’s so much more life has in store
Than what could be under a tree
This day may not go wonderfully
But that’s alright
That’s alright
It may not be the most wonderful time
But hang on, we’re gonna be fine

Cortney Matz ©2017

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So I started a music blog

When I moved to Los Angeles in 2013, it was with the intention of making movies. Now here I am, thinking about album covers.

When I moved to Los Angeles in 2013, it was with the intention of making movies. Now here I am, thinking about album covers. What changed in 4 years?

I did. I changed. A lot. Heavily urged on by the creative army around me, both at home and here in LA. I went from a firmly “behind-the-camera person” to a shameless self promotion machine, leading the charge to not only make music boldly, but to gather around and help each other do it.

I’ve been writing music for most of my life, but only recently have I endeavored to perform it publicly. And only very recently taken a stab at recording. Here is one of the first in that pursuit:

Beautiful, Beautiful

an original song by Cortney Matz

Check it out on CD Baby.

More on that soon.