Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Recycled Holiday Gift and Some Bulleted Statements That Don't Wound

Hello everyone. Greetings from us here in Birmingham, AL. Just some quick updates from the Red Mountain Music front in the ever popular bullet statement format (I love bullet statements. Seriously, you should all capitalize on any opportunities you have to use them. Like grocery lists or holiday gift wishes or how many times you've floated in space).

  • As Brian pointed out before we have some of our B-Sides on the website now. Among those B-sides is a Christmas hymn we recorded last year (i think?) called "The Sweet Well of Bethleham." It was written by Matt Welch and it might be the prettiest song we've ever recorded. So check that out.
  • We're still (slowly) fleshing out the Pocta Sessions stuff. Trying to find some direction for it.
  • There's a band called The Spots comprised of Red Mountain musicians that we're trying to put some more energy into. Look for a record around summer of 2007. If you like the instrumental tracks on the Red Mountain records then you would probably like the Spots.
  • I'll be leading worship Red Mountain style (I don't even know what that means really) at Ridgehaven in North Carolina next week. That should be interesting. We'll also have the full band out there next Feb.
  • There's also a sale on all of our records at the site so check that out too and point your friends towards it. Thanks for the support.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Red Mountain Music.


Saturday, November 25, 2006


November / Recording Update

it's november. it's the weekend after thanksgiving. it's nice to have a little break. we've been busy working on a number of different projects. clint and I produced a 5 song EP for Jeremy Meyer, and that wrapped up a month or so ago. I'm currently juggling several non-red mountain recording projects, and clint's been super busy working and playing live shows (he actually just got home from a 2-week tour with IG). it would be so nice if we didn't have to have day jobs! we'd have so much more time to record...

that said, things are moving forward. we've tracked a couple of basic recordings and are waiting to get together with ashley for her to lay down some vocals. I'm planning to go to nashville in january to meet with drew holcomb and his wife ellie to work on a couple of tracks, job black has been working working with me on one track, and I've been poorly and indirectly communicating with benj about getting him out to birmingham ASAP. the songs are good, so it won't take much time to pull them together. it's just a matter of coordinating schedules. I'm getting older. life just keeps getting busier I think.

Website Update

our website has gotten some pretty big additions. we've got a new section of b-sides, available for free download. these are pretty cool. basically tracks that didn't make our records but we think are still worth letting people listen too. we've also added scored sheet music for all of our songs, and re-organized our resource page so you can easily access song clips along with song sheets. we hope these new features are helpful.

Brian T. Murphy

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

october update

it’s been quiet here. we know. we’re buried in songs and digging our way out, trying to figure out what to do. two things on the horizon for red mountain music:

1. website update – we are currently working on a small overhaul for our website. we are re-organizing it to make it easier to access resources like song clips and music sheets / chord charts. also, over the years we have collected a number of recordings that haven’t made it to any of our records, but we still feel like are pretty good songs, so we are going to be posting a section of red mountain “b-sides” for free download off of our website.

2. pocta sessions – last night clint and I got together with ashley spurling via cell phone conferene call (the best way to communicate, ever). we got keys for several songs that we want her to sing, and then began laying down basic tracks for 967 and 1022 out of the gadsby hymnal (shocker, we know, red mountain people working on more songs out of gadsby). 967 is my personal favorite out of this new batch of songs. it is upbeat, very singable, one of the most exciting songs we’ve written in awhile.

I have no idea what our timeline is for anything right now, but hopefully we can plug away and start knocking out some of these pocta songs. I think we should be able to wrap up tracking within a few months. benj, we need to get together again so that you can be on this record which bears your name.

Brian T. Murphy

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the pocta demos

tonight clint and I met down at the studio to look over the pocta session demos and start thinking about the next record. we narrowed it down to about 10 songs that we think are pretty strong, and we made notes about who would be best to sing, what kind of instrumentation we want in the production, etc. we plan to begin tracking as soon as ashley has her baby and as soon as some ladies get back from recording in L.A., and as soon as benj invites us out to texas.

brian T. murphy

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Pocta Sessions (An Uncanny and Uncharted Speed In Hymn Rewriting)

A couple of weeks ago Brian and I invited our friend Benj Pocta to come visit us from his native land of Dallas, Texas. We first met Benj (that's him to your right by the way lounging in a cornfield) over a year ago through the interweb and our shared interest in Gadsby's Hymns. We figured there can't be too many nerds like us who love that hymnal so we better become friends. Well, we did. And it turns out Benj is a fantastic writer. He contributed three songs on Help My Unbelief (The Christian's Hope Can Never Fail, The Gospel Is Good News Indeed, and Draw My Soul).

So we invited him back to do some writing. By the end of the weekend we had written 15 new hymns and recorded 3 new ones written alone before the sessions. So, with a total of 18 hymns ready to be recorded, we're a little stuck on how to proceed. We just released our last record, Help My Unbelief, a few months ago.

A proposed idea for The Pocta Sessions is to record two EP's and distribute the songs exclusively as mp3's on our website. We've never really done anything like that before so it's an exciting option. Or we could just record stripped down versions of the songs and put out another record before the year is over. You see, we don't want you guys to get tired of us and hate us. But at the same time we can't quit writing these songs and, because we think they belong to the church, we are quite anxious to get them recorded and in your hands. We're open to suggestions, so throw us some feedback.

We don't update this often (hey in the time it took me to write this we could have written 37 more hymns!!) so we just wanted you all to know that we're still working and staying busy with the music. Brian and I have been recently pursuing producing other projects for people, but I think we're ready to start getting these new songs out. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

cd release

had a lot of fun at workplay. thanks to everybody who was able to make it out and be there with us.

for photos click here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Last night we had a rehearsal at red mountain. It was nice, and it was also very unusual for us, since we really don’t ever rehearse. Whenever we go and play somewhere we usually run through chord charts ahead of time and then just pretty much wing it and look at eachother and feel the songs out as we go. Works well for us. But for this thing at workplay next week, we went ahead and decided to have a rehearsal to try and make things sound as solid as possible.

Everyone showed up who was going to play in the band – clint, shane, brian b., connie, ashley, me. It was fun to sit in a circle and play through these songs. Is it weird that I like these songs so much? Is it weird that all of us like these songs so much? It sounded nice, and refreshing, even through a half-way setup PA, and we joked about making a live recording of some of these songs.

Clint and I decided that that is exactly what we need, more records from red mountain. 4 records in three years is not nearly enough.

And speaking of records, help my unbelief, as I understand it, is on the way to birmingham right now. We should have it by the end of the week.

Brian T. Murphy

Monday, June 19, 2006

Workplay, July 6

Well, the record may actually arrive as early as next week, which means that we will almost definitely have the new cd available for our concert / cd release party at Workplay on July 6.

Mark your calendars, and buy your tickets in advance. This event will most likely sell out. We’ve got our most exciting musical lineup ever, with Drew Holcomb opening the night, and joining us to play a couple of songs off the gadsby project. Connie Skellie will be joining us on violin, and of course, Ashley Spurling and her perfect voice.

Should be an enjoyable, encouraging evening. I look forward to it, and more than that I really look forward to people getting our new record.

See you soon.

Brian T. Murphy

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

help my unbelief

I was at my parents house earlier this week, visiting with some of my family for memorial day. I have 12 nieces and nephews, and 4 of them were there, and between eating a warm meal, laughing with my family, wresting with children on the floor, holding a baby in my arms, helping my mom clear the table, and holding a child's tiny hands as she practiced walking, we talked about what is going on in each of our lives.

At one point, I was asked about this new record, and I gave brief, quick details, because in a large family you can't talk for long before people start to get bored and stop paying attention. Dad asked me what this new record was going to be called and I told him "help my unbelief", and the table got really quiet, I guess because everybody sort of resonated with that record title, especially considering what these old hymns are about, and especially considering how my little shred of belief that I have in Jesus needs all the help it can get.

What a beautiful idea. I have this image I can't get out of my head. this image of me in the ocean, swimming. but I'm not swimming, I'm trying to stay alive, and I'm doing it by swimming down into the water to my death. but I can't go very far at all before Jesus drags me back to the surface for air. this process goes on and on I think for my entire life. It's like everything that I do is death, and everything that is life is because of Jesus.

I don't know if any of that makes any sense, and I don't know or particularly care about how theologically accurate any of that is. It's just what I think about when I think about unbelief.

The cd mixes are done, and mastering is taking a little longer than expected. artwork is coming together nicely due to the wonderful and diligent work of our patient and talented friend justin pocta. Everything is in order for us to have the cd available by the middle of July. Thanks for being patient with us as we try and finish this one up. I am very eager for everyone to hear these songs.

We are so close.

Brian T. Murphy

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"help my unbelief" progress, and trip to NC

well things are busy right now for us. currently there are 7 people in my house, we're tracking one last bass track tonight, and literally putting some of the finishing touches on this record. We're getting really close. Paul is down here at my house, as has become our custom, spending a little over a week with us as we round out all the songs before they go off to get mastered. we are on schedule to have a final mastered cd in less than 2 weeks. Then all we'll be waiting on is artwork and getting the cds back from the duplication house. it's nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

this past weekend we traveled up to north carolina to visit two churches to share some of our songs, see some old friends, meet some new friends, and generally have a wonderful time with beautiful people. Saturday night we were in Mebane, North Carolina, at Grace Reformed Baptist Church. We played there about a year ago, and it was great to visit with them again. We drove to Cary and played for Peace Pres on sunday morning and then again sunday evening. I'll never forget the afternoon at the Hawke's house in Cary, where shane spent the afternoon running around with about a dozen children, and the rest of us stayed inside and talked, played music, and slept. It was one of the loveliest, most relaxing sunday afternoons I've had in a long time. sundays are always so busy for me. Thanks everybody for making our trip so enjoyable.

I wish I had more time to write, but even if I did, it would probably be boring. these songs are way more exciting than anything I have to say. Here are some photos.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

song selection, G2 (help my unbelief) update

well, it's been awhile since we posted here. A good question came up in the last post, which is "how do you select songs for these records?" a great question. and for anyone interested, here's sort of the way we go about it here at red mountain.

we have these gadsby hymnals and we can't stop reading through them. I keep one by my piano, and I'll sit down to play and flip through it and either a song happens or it doesn't. It always starts with text that we like, and then we'll start applying music to it, and, well for me and clint at least, a song either comes together in about 5 minutes or it doesn't come together at all. So the result is a lot of songs, almost a hundred between the 5 or 6 main people who contribute songs for these projects. So we record just about all of them and live with them and wait to see which ones we like the most.

For this record we initially started tracking over 20 songs, and then that has been whittled down, added to, subtracted from, and now we are right at 15 songs. it's been a long process for us, but ultimately, we choose songs based on the poignancy of the text and on the quality of the music we've applied to it. There have been great texts that haven't made the cut because we weren't able to deliver music we are satisfied with, and in the same way we have had to let go of some incredible musical moments because for one reason or another, the song wasn't working out.

It's kind of an involved process, and I feel like I'm doing a bad job of answering the question.

For anyone interested, the songs that look like they will be on this next gadsby cd are: 93, 238, 245, 278, 281, 386, 389, 524, 528, 550, 705, 1091, and 1117.

But, things are moving along well, and we look good to have a final cd in hand by mid-may, which means it could be available to the public by very early summer. Thanks for hanging in there with us, we really think the wait is proving worthwhile...

Brian T. Murphy

Friday, April 07, 2006

Record Pro(de)gress

Well, the good news is that we are about 95% done recording. We've selected the best songs, started the process of artwork, and gotten the record into some hands to be mixed. the bad news is that the mixing process this time is going to take a little longer. So what we have is a near completed record that we're sort of just sitting on. It's weird for us. We're used to putting out 3 records in this time...but we're more excited about this one, I think, than any previous project.

Stay patient. These songs are really beautiful and have given us a lot to hope for. We'l keep you posted.

Clint Wells

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

one more week of recording

well it's really late, and clint and I just wrapped up a night of recording. we do this a lot. it's probably one of our last recording nights for this record. we're trying to finish up everything this week, and then the plan is to start post-production next week. most of the songs feel pretty much done, and we're mostly just adding finishing touches to them and tweaking certain parts. I feel really good about where most of the record is landing. At this point I am just really excited about finishing it up so people can finally hear it.

since san francisco, I made a trip out to atlanta and recorded final vocal tracks with matthew terrell. his voice keeps getting better, and he sings on several songs for this new record. always fun to see matt. then last week we recorded most of the string parts. connie skellie did an excellent job, as always, and she's great at coming up with parts and adding her own unique style. the violins are really nice. I finished up most of the pianos for the record this week, and then spent the entire weekend editing everything. tonight clint and I met and started wrapping everything up, and gathering our thoughts for post production.

It's going to be really fun to start hearing these songs come together in the mix. This record is so incredibly close to being finished. I can't believe we've been working on it for over a year.

It is 3:45 am. I'm going to sleep now.

Brian T. Murphy

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

recording in san francisco

Clint and I just a day ago returned home from san francisco. we were out there recording two of the last songs on our list for this new record. this has been a great trip. we spent all day saturday in the studio, sunday morning we sat in with karl and played music at city church san francisco, and then we spent the rest of our time seeing some of the city (mostly sitting in traffic) and visiting with the digerness boys.

we came out here to visit our friends karl and joseph, and record some music with them. karl has written some songs for our records in the past (satisfied and there is a fountain off of depth of mercy) joseph is a good friend who was formerly at red mountain before leaving the south for his brother on the west coast. we miss him. good to see them both, and we really think we recorded some really great new songs on this visit. we did 386 and 281 out of the gadsby hymnal.

another cool part of the trip was sitting in and playing music with karl on sunday morning. red mountain is in many ways modeled after city church, so it was cool to check out the church and the city. san francisco is cooler than pretty much anywhere in the south, so it was really refreshing.

clint has some ideas about western christian culture as compared to southern christian culture (in a nutshell, being on the west coast is very refreshing) (I hate nutshells), and he may post them later.

for now, here are some lovely photos for your viewing pleasure. and did we mention that this new gadsby record is shaping up very nicely?

Brian T. Murphy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gadsby, Gadsby, Gadsby

The Gadsby Project was our last release of hymn rewrites. All of the text came from a hymnal compiled by William Gadsby and published in 1838. Although William Gadsby wrote many of the hymns in the hymnal, the bulk of the text is comprised of many different writers. There are hymns by famous writers such as Charles Wesley, Issac Watts, William Cowper, Anne Steele, Augustus Toplady, and Joseph Hart. In fact, there is a whole supplement of the hymnal devoted to Hart and Gadsby.
This hymnal has been very important to us. It seems that a lot of the "worship music" being created these days presents a sort of onse-sided Christianity. In most of the songs today you don't hear a lot about sorrow, pain, struggle, depression, and backsliding. The hymn writers of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries seemed to write with more honesty and depth than the contemporary text writers of today. Of course it is also one-sided to only sing about the darker aspects of the faith, but these old writers display such a balance! In one of my favorite movies, "Vanilla Sky", Jason Lee's character talks about the bitter and the sweet and how you can't really have, or appreciate, one without the other. That's probably in the bible somewhere...about light and darkness or something...but all that comes to my mind is a Cameron Crowe film. Anyway, these writers seemed to know this about the expression of their art; the marriage of valleys and mountain tops. Light and darkness. Sorrow and Joy.
All this to say, having this hymnal to reflect upon and to write out of has given us so much hope. Hope that we are not alone. Hope that sorrow, pain, and hardship are not exclusive to our small believing community here in Birmingham, but rather that Christians from different parts of the country hundreds of years ago struggled through the same tensions. Perhaps that is why we couldn't put it down and are releasing another collection of hymns exclusively from the hymnal. Hopefully we are doing justice to the text with our music and turning people onto this great hymnal that has given us so much joy and hope.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Hello and welcome to our blog. This is a place to interact with the community of people who dig the hymn reconstruction stuff. So feel free to comment. We've been working on our second record of Gadsby rewrites and hope to have it out by late Spring. We'll probably be updating here to keep you posted on the progress of our projects. Thanks for listening and helping spread the word about Red Mountain Music.

Clint Wells