“The Lord Reigns” – The Praise Band

IMG_6023If you lived in Northern Virginia in the late 70’s and early 80’s, you might have run into a unique Christian ministry to young adults known as “Saturday Night Alive.” Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday Night at the Meeting Place of Church of the Apostles in Fairfax to hear inspired teaching about God’s loving reign in Jesus, the Christ. The Rev. Renny Scott of Church of the Apostles and The Rev. Benny Phillips of Fairfax Community of Believers provided the teaching.  “The Praise Band,” provided the heartfelt and spirited songs for worship. This album was recorded 35 years ago!

Many people can trace their first awakenings to the loving reign of God in Christ through the teaching and joyful singing they experienced on those Saturday Nights.  They were indeed alive with the irresistible presence of the Holy Spirit.

“The Lord Reigns” is a collaboration of song writing and performances from the following musicians:

  • Rick Flint – guitar, vocals
  • Rick Lord – guitar vocals
  • Debbie Lord – vocals
  • Christopher Lutyk – bass, vocals
  • Nora Lutyk, vocals
  • Bill Miller, drums
  • Suzanne Moore – flute, vocals
  • Michael Moore – organ, piano
  • Shereé Phillips – vocals
  • Benny Phillips – vocals


Bread For The Wilderness, Wine For The Journey

Here’s a collection of eight songs I composed way back in 1983 while Interim Rector of Church of the Apostles – Fairfax, Virginia.  I recently went back to Bias Studios in Springfield, VA where the album was recorded and had the tracks remastered from the master tapes to digital format.

The album brings back a flood of great memories for me. I had nice hair! I let it rip here and there on my Les Paul and even arranged an accompaniment for a live string quartet on the final track.  It was an innocent time of faith for me and yet the joy of finding Christ as bread for the wilderness and wine for the journey still rings strongly for me in these songs.

My twin brother Rob played all the drum tracks for this album and contributed the musical refrain on “A Song of Eucharist.”

My friend, and now noted author Brian McLaren, was kind enough to write a review of the album for a Christian newspaper circulated in the Washington area at the time.

‘This album has a gentle and warm tone, though Bread/Wine involves more complex instrumentation and arrangement.  Similar to Phil Keaggy in both style and quality of production, Rick shows himself here as a fine guitarist and able songwriter.”  Brian McLaren

Purchase and download the album here

Yolanda Kondonassis and Jason Vieaux

I’m looking forward to the release on January 27th of a new CD from internationally acclaimed solo artists Yolanda Kondonassis and Jason Vieaux entitled “Together.”  These superb musicians join forces to showcase the rich colors and unique repertoire for harp and guitar.

Their diverse expressive capabilities and intimate sonorities suggest that they are interchangeable parts of one whole . . . it was difficult to hear where one instrument ends and the other begins – the mystical effect of one great intangible apparent throughout the program: the intuitive synchronicity of Kondonassis and Vieaux.

– The Buffalo News

Read and interview about this CD here.

Jason Vieaux Releases New Album, “Play”

jasonvieauxplaycoverThe person who has ignited a renewed passion in my life for the study of Classical Guitar is a down to earth virtuoso named Jason Vieaux (go to his website here.)  Jason co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and he has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2001.

I met Jason Vieaux at a Master Class held at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, N.Y.  I was a nervous mess when I had to play for him, but by the end of the week long class, he had managed to encourage my ability and approach to the guitar in ways I had never attempted nor even dreamed of before (see my post from July 2011, Guitarists in the Monastery) .  Not only is he an extraordinary musician, but he is an excellent teacher and ambassador for the classical guitar.  I’ve had several private lessons with Jason and was one of the early students to enroll in his online school with Artistworks (an amazing online resource for learning all styles of music).  He is generous and encouraging in his pedagogical approach no matter what level of ability presented by his students.

The official release of his newest solo album, Play, on Azica Records, is scheduled for January 28, 2014, but is now available on Amazon and iTunes. The album celebrates Jason Vieaux’s 20th anniversary as a performer by featuring the Spanish, Mexican, South American, Cuban, French, and American classics that Vieaux has found to be universal audience favorites over the past two decades. The music includes showpieces by Barrios, Sagreras, Bustamante, and Sainz De La Maza, Tárrega’s classics Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Capricho Arabe, and Vieaux’s own in-demand arrangement of Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood and Andrew York’s popular Sunburst.

It is one of the most spirited and dynamically expressive classical guitar recordings I have ever heard and reveals Jason’s expressive virtuosity at the service of a wide range of music styles.  His arrangement of Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood is simply stunning.  If you have not had the pleasure of hearing Jason Vieaux before, this may be the perfect album to get you started.  Bravo Jason!

Bach Sarabande et Double, BWV 1002

A surprising snowy day in March offered a day home to practice two movements from J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 1, BWV 1002 in B minor.  I’m playing a 2012 Kenneth Hill Cedar Performance Guitar.


Guardame Las Vacas

A Spanish Renaissance piece with folk theme and variations by Luis de Narvaez.  This is another popular piece for students of the guitar.


Julia Florida

Here is a piece I’ve been studying by the great Paraguayan master, Agustín Barrios Mangoré.  Mangoré was a virtuosic guitarist and an innovative composer. After his death in August, 1944, he and his music were forgotten or ignored for nearly two decades. Since then, Mangoré’s recognition has increased significantly among the classical guitar community and this piece is often played in concert. Recent artists such as: David Russell, John Williams, Jason Vieaux, and others have brought his music back to life through their recordings. Quoting John Williams:

“… as a guitarist/composer, Barrios is the best of the lot, regardless of ear. His music is better formed, it’s more poetic, it’s more everything! And it’s more of all those things in a timeless way. So I think he’s a more significant composer than Sor or Guiliani, and more significant composer — for the guitar — than Villa-Lobos.”

Julia Florida is a Barcarola – a style of music sung by the gondoliers in Venice, Italy or any music that is created in this style. Typically in 6/8 meter, it simulates the motion of the boat moving through the waves of the water with the rhythmic rowing of the gondolier. If I ever get there, I’m bringing my guitar!


Birds Flew Over The Spire

Here is a lovely short piece written by the British Classical Guitarist and Composer Gary Ryan.  I’m using a new guitar, an Andreas Kirmse Cedar Double-top.  Andreas is a German Luthier living in France and his guitars have exceptional warmth and playability.

A Map of the World

Today was a sabbath day, a day for playing guitar.  Several years ago (1999) Pat Metheny contributed to the soundtrack for the film, “A Map of the World,” and the the title track evokes simplicity, depth, and transcendent beauty.  It plays like a prayer.

I have not been able to find the transcription for the guitar track, so I’ve learned and adapted it by ear.  Metheny performs this on a small scale steel string that is tuned a fifth higher than normal pitch on the guitar.  I think it works well for the classical guitar as well.  I spent the day working it up and recording it on my Logic setup.  Hope you enjoy it.