Do We Have Any Catholic Songwriters?

Specifically, Songwriters, lyricists, composers. Talking non-liturgical here.

I’m starting this thread in order to move a discussion to the appropriate forum. Anyone is free to jump in :slight_smile:

cranster wrote…

At one time I was going to pursue a secular publishing deal, but have had a rather extraordinary encounter with our Blessed Mother concerning this gift and have turned it over to Jesus and her.

(my reply…)
I am a songwriter as well, and when I returned to the Church a couple of years ago, it made me rethink my direction lyric-wise. Stopped my writing cold actually.

Kind of a coincidence. My first lyric I penned since my return included Our Lady, and the one I’ve got simmering now is about a girl who chose to be a consecrated virgin over marriage.

I honestly can’t find a catholic artist that grabs me so far. The message is wonderful of course, in all the songs I’ve heard, but they are so predictable. It’s almost as though I already know the lyrics before I hear them, and so many of them have the “praise and worship” feel. Which is fine, but I’m trying to find that untried catholic genre that no one has tapped into yet. More of a “catholic folk” type genre.

Again, anyone welcome to reply.

Hello I_Believe.Matt Mayer is great and Dion’s music is very good.Have you tried these web sites? I played lead guitar in southern rock and blues bands for a long time untill my desires changed.I wanted to be closer to our Lord.I started writing acoustic and electric songs for ,and about Our Lord.Peace.:slight_smile:

I used to write songs when I was evangelical Protestant.

I wrote according to need. If someone needed a song for VBS, missionary conference, a play, a theme song for their conference, etc. I would write it. That’s the gift that I seemed to have.

I haven’t written any songs since becoming Catholic. I guess there isn’t any need.

May I be honest? I don’t think I could handle the ill-treatment that certain Catholics dish out to Marty Haugen, David Haas, etc. These men are constantly insulted and called every name in the book. Their songs are called “banal,” “irreverent,” “Protestant,” “non-Catholic,” etc.

It makes me sick to hear Catholics blast these gentlemen.

I don’t see how these men handle the constant criticism, and not constructive criticism. “Banal” is not a constructive word.

And it doesn’t help when our Holy Father writes condemning rock music and any kind of music that he personally doesn’t like. Catholics of like-mind leap on this and say, “We should obey the Pope and rid the Mass of anything other than Gregorian chant!” even though the Pope is merely stating his personal opinion and is NOT pronouncing dogma.

I love the modern Catholic songs, but I guess that proves that I’m in no way ready to write “Catholic” music.

I personally think that the only Catholics who have any business writing songs nowadays are those who have found a time machine, transport themselves back into time to train under Pope Gregory, and then come back to write “authentic” Gregorian chant. And I’ll bet that some Catholics would even criticize them!

The audience is just too hostile for aspiring song-writers. Why would I want to throw myself into a meat-grinder? There are less painful ways to die.

I’m sorry if this sounds incredibly resentful and hostile. I have a hard time with the fact that something I used to like to do for God and His people is now condemned, but it would be perfectly OK for me to go out and drink liquor now that I’m a Catholic. Bah. I will do neither.

On the more constructive side, I think that the Catholic Church DESPERATELY needs forums for musicians to perform their music OUTSIDE of Mass. I think a lot of the problem arises because certain songs aren’t appropriate for Mass (at least under Pope Benedict XVI). But these songs would be very appropriate in a concert setting or coffeehouse. Problem is, we don’t see concerts by Catholics or Catholic coffeehouses. Why not?!!! (Because it costs money, and no one is willing to pay for it in the Catholic Church?)

In the past, the Church came up with “oratories” for Catholics to sing in, and they could sing non-Mass music with orchestras. I think we need to bring back oratories, but make sure that contemporary music can be performed in them, too.

Again, sorry for the bitterness. I hope that there are other songwriters who are braver than I am about tomatoes in the face.

For me, it was a combination of 2 things. I was going to pursue a secular publishing deal, and something at the back of my mind was nagging me that I would be held accountable for how my lyrics affected every single person who heard them. I had a publisher asking me to submit a 4 song demo because of a secular songwriting contest I had entered.

The other thing was that I not only had thousands of pirated songs on my computer, but a lot of pirated software. They were all for recording. dynamics, effects, and soft instruments etc…

One day I had just gotten off the phone with a guy that I was going to have sing my demo’s when something rather strange happened.

I sat down to start tracking in my home studio when a rather strange thing happened. An inner voice said “This is your moment in time, to choose between Me and the world.”

My answer was immediate, "I choose you!"
I immediately reformatted all my hard drives and reloaded windows with the attitude, “If I don’t own it I’m not going to download anything that doesn’t belong to me or use it” so I knew I could only use the software that I owned.

I loaded up a freebie software instrument that came with a controller keyboard I purchased, and listened through the presets to see it there was anything usable. I came upon a piano patch and with the intention of just checking out the sound, I started playing a chord progression with the words “Come queen of peace” I just sat there playing it over and over. Then the rest of the song just unfolded both lyrically and musically without effort.

I use cubase to record with and laid down a guide track with only the chords so I could layer all the rest of the instrumentation around that track. I was going to eventually erase it. I was doing some arranging in the piano roll view and when I finished and zoomed out so all the notes of the song were visible I saw something rather extraordinary. Several days later on another track that I was using to record strings on, the same thing happened when I zoomed out and saw all the notes at once.

I can pm you what I saw if you’d like. I’m pretty reluctant to make any of this public until it’s finished, and I’ve told my priest about it, and he told me that God could be calling me to something through this and that I must finish it.

I’m not done with the song yet, I have to finish the vocals. So there is no music to share yet.

I hate drawing attention to myself and am pretty shy, so If I’m being called to perform this myself it’s going to be a terrible cross. That’s why I only wanted a publishing deal because I don’t want the attention so much so that I have just sat on it for sometime, but know I’m called to finish it.

I have been given a pile of other songs as well, but nothing like this one.

I don’t write music for the Mass. I’m going to write what God gives me and not worry about who does or doesn’t like it. That’s not my problem, what is my problem is using the gift He has given me for His Glory.

Some of my music definitely has a pop/rock feel to it. I see it as my job to record it then let God do His job and do with it what He will.

In 1980 I was in a group called Catholic life singers. We went from parish to parish performing songs. There was usually no more than a couple dozen people who would show up. There are other ways to use the gifts God gives us other then strictly liturgically.

Paul Mccartney is a non-practicing Catholic. Yeah i know that probably doesn’t count, but him being raised Catholic might have rubbed off in some of his writing.

Hi Ward, I’ll check the links out. Thanks ! What part of the state you in ? Know any Bluegrass bands that may want to compose music for, and record, a lyric I have ?

And thanks for sharing your story. Gosh, it was tough for me to get back to writing after returning to the Church. The desire is there, but it’s so tough to find a blance between making a lyric obviously catholic and still making it stand out and appeal to a wide audience. And since I don’t like pop, it’s even tougher lol.

So, do you write songs to perform yourself ?

Hi Cat, thanks for jumping in here. I don’t really want to discuss liturgical music, but I respect your thoughts on it.

As far as songs outside the Mass, what you said about lack of venues is true. But that can change if a new movement of catholic songwriters (performing songwriters) emerges. I think there is a genre just waiting to happen. Again, I’m not discarding what is out there already, I’m just basing my opinion on what I’ve heard. The type of songwriters I’m looking for may already be out there, and I just haven’t looked hard enough. :shrug:

No doubt about it - just listen to the words of ‘Let it Be’. :smiley:

Hello again I_Believe.I do get a chance to perform the songs the Lord has given me every now and then.I’ve even had the pleasure to share them at Protestant churches(Did I say that out loud.:eek: ),and local festivals(Poke sallat etc).My philophy is if you like it,give GOD THE GLORY,if you don’t like it,pray that our Lord will give me better songs.I do know a few Blue grass bands(Kentucky Rain being one you may of heard of).I live in the southeast Ky.coal fields.(Harlancounty,USA)not exactly a hot bed of Catholic activety:D .My friends call me Rocky.

Hey, cranster. Stage fright is a cross for me as well. The first open mic I played at was awful. I did two songs, and the crowd liked it. They were very encouraging. Thing is though, after I finished, I walked off stage, straight to the restroom, and threw up lol. Came out, and had a few folks come up and offer a few back pats, and then I left fairly quickly. Got in my truck and had to open the door to throw up again ! Sheesh. Wasn’t booze, it was nerves.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your writing method. I’m pretty much lo tech. I just do guitar and vocal demos with my zoom h2 for on the fly , or my samson usb mic at home, which is a large diaphram condensor mic that has a a/d converter built in. Windows recognizes the mic as soon as it’s plugged in, It’s optimized for acoustic and vocals, so it was perfect for my simple needs. I just use Kristal audio, a free download. My plan is to record live when I find some players and just cull the best performances to put on a cd.

I envy your patience with the studio stuff though.

I think one can still pursue a secular publishing deal as long as the lyrics are moral. In the end, it’s your call :wink:

Your mention of what you saw has me curious, but for now if you feel it best to wait till it’s finished, that’s fine.

I applaud you for removing the pirated stuff :thumbsup:

Yea that’s one in particular i was thinking about. Beautiful song. There were some other ones too…i can’t think of them at the moment though.

Rocky it is :slight_smile:
Harlan ? Ok, you are down there with some good pickers. I’ve heard of Kentucky Rain. I think Berk Bryant has played them a time or two on his Sunday Night Bluegrass radio show here in town.

I love mountain music, especially the old ballads. I’ve got a cd set, Mountain Music of Kentucky. Rosco Holcomb, Lee Sexton, and others on it. Pretty raw recordings, but I love it.

Ask around, and if any of the bands want to look at the lyrics and try them, fine. I’m on here about every night. Heck, I’ll just post 'em… ( I know the title was used on a big pop hit awhile back, but titles can’t be copyrighted and this lyric is nowhere close to that song)

The Greatest Love Of All

daddy he made sure
we’d be in church on time
when mamma read her bible
she’d rock that chair and smile
grandma prayed for grandpa
‘cause he stayed drunk on wine
she’d sing rock of ages
he’d lay down and cry

some day, those clouds
will part by the golden light
my angel ,who guards me
will hold me while we fly
on that day, Blessed Peter
will take me from her arms
and deliver me for judgment
‘fore the greatest Love of all

(verse 2)
times trials and it’s troubles
have finally come my way
my dear and precious family
have left me here in pain
but my cross I shall carry
‘cause daddy ‘d always say
don’t worry bout the old folks
you’ll join us one day

yes some day, those clouds
will part by the golden light
my angel ,who guards me
will hold me while we fly
on that day, Blessed Peter
will take me from her arms
and deliver me for judgment
‘fore the greatest Love of all

how about you my friend
were you raised on the word of the Lord ?
turn your back to the fire, John’s water’s just fine
can you hear Him holler all aboard ?

(chorus 2)
yes some day, those clouds
will part by the golden light
our angels ,who guard us
will hold us while we fly
on that day, Blessed Peter
will take us from their arms
and deliver us for judgment
‘fore the greatest Love of all

yes I’m ready for my judgment
‘fore the greatest Love of all

© 2008 H W Jennings
All Rights Reserved

Print them and show them to a band if you like. I won’t be offended if they reject them. They will like them or not. I can tweak or polish the lines if need be due to meter issues or whatnot. It’s a first draft anyhow. If a band is interested, I’ll take 40 % and whoever does the music can take 60% if anything comes of it. They will be doing most of the work lol. (H.W. Jennings is a moniker)

I’ve got a couple of others as well, one being about a soldier who comes home to the Southern Mountains after the Civil War to find his cabin and wife have been lost in a fire. Pretty sad ballad called The Night The Eagles Cried. Lot’s of verses and it’s going to take some fine music to make it work. Written with a fiddle in mind.

hago, Charles

Matt Maher is awesome!!!

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Mother Mary, wisdom(sophia), let it be(fiat)

Pretty obvious :slight_smile:

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Funny, nowadays I find myself singing this, cramming all the words into the last note: “When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be to me according to your word.”

Can’t do better than quote our Blessed Mother! Like, “Do whatever He tells you”!


I actually have a fairly decent studio. I could easily make a commercial release from my place.

As far as a secular publishing deal goes I have no interest anymore. I figure life is too short to waste it on things that don’t have any eternal significance. That’s why I only want to write for the Lord now.

As far as the images on my computer go, I’m not sure if it’s just meant for me as a sign from the Blessed Mother that shes’s calling me to use my gift for God, or if it’s something meant to share with others. I need to complete it then take it to my Pastor and submit myself in obedience to whatever he says.

There’s nothing on the computer anymore that isn’t entirely legal, I just couldn’t live that way anymore.

Put some links to some original demos and songs you’ve made please! I wanna hear! :thumbsup: Don’t just talk about it, put up links to some MP3 files! I don’t care how “bad” it is! :stuck_out_tongue:

If I made time figuring this stuff out, I might put together a little “studio” of my own. My songs would be Catholic versions of Van Halen, Satriani, Vai, Rush, Ozzy, with a little keyboard thrown in, all the “music” I grew up with, etc. Too bad I don’t do lyrics!

Phil P

<< There’s nothing on the computer anymore that isn’t entirely legal, I just couldn’t live that way anymore. >>

Not even if it is Guitar Pro 5 with 22,000 tabs ? Just kidding. :smiley:

edit: inappropriate link to PirateBay changed to even more bizarre link to B & B Flash thing I made :whacky: heavy guitar music courtesy of brother SteveVaz :smiley:

Phil P

Oh but there’s more…

Scarified Flash (yep I made this) :stuck_out_tongue: All right I like the fast, heavy guitar, so 80’s-ish.

Phil P

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