The Valley of Shadow

This song, from the days when I had time to make such recordings, I have not shared before. I always have felt that my recordings are more a like “sketches” or fragments of ideas (what would it be like if…) than any finished songs. I admit that I’m self-conscious of this material, from the engineering, to my voice, and the songwriting itself. But it has sat gathering dust. As an artifact of the story it should be laid out in the light. AMDG

If you listen, thank you for listening. If you read, thank you for reading. If you see, thank you for seeing. Go On, V

Yeah, though I walk through a Valley of Shadow
Under the curse of the Angel of Death
I have a shepherd I ever follow
Down to the breaking of the pure waters edge

He leadeth me; unknown and known
I fear no evil, stick nor stone
My bell, my window, He surrounds me
Staff and trumpet, rod and stone

Daisies and yarrow grow in the meadow
Hyssop in the margins and cactus I fear
Stones stand like monarchs guarding my ankle
Trees whisper ceaselessly, the Ancient is near

Fare thee well hear my spirit
Fare thee well near my heart
Dust to dust the grass is brittle
Boney legs of shattered stalks

The horns of the oxen surrounding the temple
Elders and children stand patiently near
Their eyes are clear, pure little windows
Deep endless wells shining with tears

Gazing on a white and a flame
Growing tall a name and a name
The Universe sings a singing
Calamity unmade and made

The last will be first sorrow will wither
The fattened ones will starve looking for bread
Quiet songs once lost, now will they listen
Bow, swings the scythe, I am low, I am low

The cross is raised over the valley
The mountain, he shudders away to the sea
The bison returning, blasting to splinters
Five for the cross triumphantly

Fare thee well, Valley of Shadow
I see a fell of silver and gold
Five for the cross, echoes through the skyway
Feet ever lightly touch little ground

From the Dust I Came

CRY THE BLOOD

I began as dust, heavy with the sweat of God’s fingers as He formed my flesh;  a heap of particles still ringing from the sound of His voice.  His breathe came as a holy wind, compelling me to breath, myself.

“i am erth.”

In my senior year of high school, the man who had been my art teacher since fourth grade, gave me some advice.  I was struggling with the conflicting dreams of pursuing the hope of becoming a musician or studying to become a visual artist.  His counsel was simple and wise:  “you can’t do both.”  At that point of decision, it seemed that since I was largely a self taught musician, I could conceivably continue to be so.  Instinctively I knew that there was so much that I needed to be taught and learn and so much time I needed to devote to the disciplines of drawing and painting.  So, I chose art without regret.  The music, however, has never left.  I have outgrown (mostly) the delusions about being a famous musician.  It has become an intensely personal discipline.  It is a language through which I speak to my God and through which He speaks to me.  It is a language I bless my children with.  It is a language I use to share my heart with those that are close to me.   Times have changed and technology that did not exist or was just emerging when I was young has made it possible for me to share what I have largely kept to myself, my family and my close friends.  It was not an easy decision to share publicly what has been so private.  But this, I have done.

The name of the album is Cry The Blood.  The blood is Jesus’ and the cry is mine, though there are many quiet voices beside me.  I chose to recorded under the pseudonym, i am erth.  (The “a” is missing on purpose, a decision which spell check is relentless in punishing me for.)  The land is a passion of mine and a place of meeting and learning as I live as a son under God’s sky.  I am close to the erth, and it is never far from me.

For the curious:  I wrote the songs, sang all the parts and plucked every string, blew every note, squeezed every box, recorded, mixed and stabbed out every digital pulse.  It is far from perfect.  I blame myself for the flaws, you can decide if there is beauty in them. You can hear my kids, and my animals, the wind and the rain, creaks and clicks and bonks, and probably a freight train.  I’ll thank my friends who encourage me and hold me up in the testing. There is one among those who deserves more credit than any, but I know he prefers anonymity. If you want to thank him, eat a steak or go fly fishing in Montana.

Through the ideas and labor of many, this album will (if not already) ultimately be available for downloaded from major online music retailers. Below is a link to iTunes, where it is already available.

You may be interested in what Elizabeth Duffy has on her blog. Elizabeth is my friend, but she began as a stranger asking me questions.  She has been instrumental in pushing me to make the music available and has written a very encouraging review of as well.  In addition, Elizabeth has included a portion of her interview with me as a means of introduction.  It has been a rare opportunity for me to express what I believe and why I do what I do.  I couldn’t have voiced it without her asking and without the creative, sensitive and trustworthy nature of who she is.  Thank you, Elizabeth.

In a final bit of disclosure, I began an instagram feed early last fall.  While I still remain ambivalent towards much of the usage, I have come to value it as unique for sharing imagery and stories on a different platform and immediacy, it is kind of a microcosm of the posts I make here.  My user name is @baumwerkj if you are interested.

I continually thank you for your support here over the years. It has been 8 years since I began this blog. Your quiet interest has given me encouragement to continue working. All glory and honor will be and ever remain His.

Jack Baumgartner,  Rose Hill, Kansas Jan-19-2015