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An Update on the Music, An Update on the Musician

Hello, my dear friends.


I’m so happy to spend the next few moments thinking about music instead of stress analysis, force balances, natural frequencies, and all the other trappings of engineering school. As I’ve focused the last few years on furthering my education, my musical production has slowed to a near-halt. However, whenever I’ve found pockets of time, I chiseled out a track here and a track there, culminating in the compilation of songs that I deemed The Cookeville Chapter, which has just gone out for distribution on all the usual musical platforms. For my faithful SoundCloud watchers, you’ll recognize the tunes as a sampling of those which I’ve posted over the last three years. Granted, I’ve only been a “Cookevillian” for the last two years; but I feel like, by the beginning of 2018, my frame of mind was starting to shift towards the next chapter of my life… and where my mind goes, my music goes. (The tracks on the album are arranged chronologically, so my decision to begin a second round of college occurred between tracks 1 and 2). But now, as 2021 advances, this Cookeville chapter, with all its adventures, is coming to a close.

As is reflected in the songs of “The Cookeville Chapter”, this time has had its ups and downs, its variations and its constants. One of my “ups” are reflected in “Welcome to Cookeville” (track 6). After I’d lived in Cookeville for about a month, I went out one evening to try a local creamery, and enjoyed

the most incredible ice cream cone - outside, by the light of the moon, stars, and string lights overhead. I came home full of optimism for my new setting, and recorded the track.

More sober times are reflected in “Supplication” (track 11) and “This Life” (Track 7). Supplication was a musical outpouring of a long-standing burden of my heart that took hold of my thinking in the quiet solitude that so often marks my life in the apartment. “This Life” emerged one night while standing outside, looking up at the stars. I was transported outside of the bounds of immediate distraction (upcoming final exams), and overwhelmed with thoughts about the course of life, its brevity, its joys which last for a time, its sorrows which last for a time… and in that frame of mind, I came inside, sat down, started recording, and played what came to mind. That track has become one of my very few recordings that I regularly go back to listen to, because it brings me back to that blessedly profound state of mind.

But there are constants in my life that are reflected in my music. For one, I’m never truly alone. I may feel alone at times, but Christ dwells within me. So between the happy and the sad, the silly and the profound, making music to or about my Savior is what comes naturally to me. Another constant is the presence of my family (though physically apart by over a hundred miles for the last couple years). A small sense of that family bond may be reflected in “We Gather Together” (track 2). The warm overtone of Beethoven’s “Pathétique” speaks somewhat to the warmth and peace that I associate with my family. (I might guess that it’s my family that has instilled so much of the peace that colors my music). And the primary tune (We Gather Together) is one that I associate with the many gatherings of my family over the years. As a song that we often sing at Thanksgiving, the tune brings to mind each member of my family – Mom, Dad, my brother and sister, my grandparents… and subconsciously reminds me of the years we spent together, and reassures me that I can depend on them to be exactly who they are.


So that’s the news about my latest release… which is really just a glorified playlist of songs you may have already heard. I do have another album of new songs out on the horizon, but it’s a long way out. There’s a lot of time, work, and legal research that needs to go into it yet; but hopefully it’ll make an appearance not too long after I graduate.

My life hasn’t been completely devoid of music of late, though. While the past year was not at all conducive to recording and producing, I have been blessed to take part in the weekly music at Midway (my “foster” church during my time in Cookeville). It’s been a good thing for my spirit to be able to participate in that way, and it’s been a necessary excuse to keep me from going too many moons without playing the piano. I fear my piano would have become an estranged friend had I not made a commitment to play every week.

Also, on the immediate scene is a new (if short) adventure of lending some instrumentation to one of the campus ministries at the college. This, my last full semester of school, is the first semester that I’ve had some quality time available for the campus ministry, so I’m definitely late in the game for starting such an adventure. I know I’ll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.


So now my mind is reaching towards the next chapter, premature, though it may be. I don’t know the name of the chapter, the length of the chapter, or whether the chapter ends on a high note or a cliffhanger; but I’m pretty sure it takes this weary traveler back to familiar paths, and about 100 miles closer to the best BBQ in the Southeast (Haymaker’s, you know who you are). My first priority is putting my engineering degree to good use. And I continue to pray that the Lord will lead me to a like-minded young lady. And in the midst of all that, I have every intention of making time for music.

And that’s all I have to say for now. Thank you for reading. I know the subject matter is a little more personal than the average “artist’s update”, but since I’m not exactly on the shortlist for the Grammys, I’m pretty sure it’ll be friends and family who are reading this. And I’m thankful for you. Even if you’re a complete stranger, I’m thankful for you. And may I say, you have fantastic taste in music.


Okay, I’m done. Peace.

-Ben