Studio Guitar work for Songwriter Erin Reilly

For the last couple of years I’ve been recording guitar work for a talented Virginia-based musical artist: singer/songwriter/musician, Erin Reilly. Erin is a music educator and has a degree in music from Shenandoah Conservatory/Shenandoah University. Ironically, Shenandoah was where I was planning to pursue my education in music after I graduated High School in NY, but that’s a whole other story.

Her song writing is a unique fusion of different styles. Her arrangements are sophisticated, musically progressive and her lyrics are well-written and gospel-centered. Her Christian convictions come through strong and clear in her songs. The purposeful delivery of the Gospel message in her music is a priority to her, which is the main reason I became interested in contributing my guitar work. I share those same convictions regarding faith and music which makes it important for me to contribute my efforts to her music.

A Fun but Musically Challenging work

Because there is a fairly high level of sophistication and complexity in Erin’s music, it’s been both fun and challenging for me to work with her. The fact that she is able to provide me with charts of her compositions in actual musical notation, rather than guitar tab, is another reason I like working with Erin on her songs. I prefer to read music than read guitar tab. Some of the artist I’ve contributed guitar work only send me the demo and I have to spend a little time charting out the music by ear.

I’ve originally heard some of Erin’s jazz-styled music in a social media forum for Christian musicians and songwriters and I offered my help. But it turned out that she also writes in an edgy rock style mixing lush jazz harmonies in her instrumental arrangements along with rich background vocals. The need for having a “live” edgy rock guitar sound in her songs, rather than a synthetically-created sound done with her keyboards, was the reason that she was interested in my instrumental contribution. The hard rock guitar stylings she was looking for in her music were styles that I haven’t played for a number of years and I’ve had to get reacquainted with playing like that. In my own playing, I’ve straddled the fence between jazz and some mild rock playing with a strong emphasis in blues. Erin’s songs required heavy rock guitar and grungy stylings. Fortunately, I have the guitars and equipment to produce those sounds so I didn’t have to dig very far to pull it out of myself.

Below are a few of Erin’s song videos that I’ve contributed guitar work. The videos are Erin’s final finished versions which she has released in both audio as well as video versions. All the links to her complete videos and audios are below. You’ll really appreciate her talent as a composer, instrumentalist and singer in her versions. Also below are my demo mixes of her songs that highlight my guitar work in the mix and will be more predominant than her final mixes in her videos and audios. Check both versions out as they’ll give you a glimpse of her music from 2 different musical angles. One thing you’ll see about her song videos is that she’s also talented in video production as well. They are really well done. If you’re interested in hearing more of Erin, the links at the bottom of the page will allow you to Erin’s other songs for listening or purchasing them for download.

The Raw Untamed Guitar Demo Mixes of Erin’s Songs

Click Here for recording mixes of my guitar work on all of her songs that I’ve worked on. They feature Erin’s vocals and instrumental playing but the guitars are predominant in the recordings and come across edgier and aggressive because of that. To listen to all of the songs in a complete playlist, you can listen to them here.

More on Erin

Check out the following links to her other songs, which are excellent. Also consider making a financial contribution to support her art on Patreon below.

A Musician’s new life

 At 23 years old, I had an encounter with the incredible grace and mercy of God, who intersected my path and radically changed the trajectory of my life. It’s hard to say what exactly brought me to that point but there were a number of incidents and things that converged in my life that led me to coming to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Something inside of me hit a crisis point where I knew there was something more to life than what I had. Many people who come to know the Lord will tell you that God has an inexplicable way of orchestrating events around them to bring us to Him. In His mercy, He saved me and rescued me. It was nothing that I deserved or merited on my own that made me any more special than anyone else. It was purely His grace and none of me. I was hopelessly lost like everyone else and my life was just full of spinning my wheels and futility. Nothing I did satisfied me and everything just seemed senseless.

There were actually a number of “divine interruptions” all through my life from the time I was little where He “showed up” and made Himself known to me in situations. They were like markers or landmarks on a road. He was nudging me all along, popping up here and there to briefly get my attention until I finally surrendered to Him in my early adulthood. The difference was night and day. And after it happened, I felt like a big load was taken off of my shoulders. And it was like everything I looked at had color after I’ve been seeing black and white my whole life.

It’s been almost 40 years since and that change has remained and the journey continues. I can tell you, that there is nothing more wonderful than having a relationship with God through knowing Jesus and seeing what He’s done for you. Everything in this life and world pales by comparison. I want to give glory to God for what He’s done for me because He’s worthy of it. My desire is that I can help give others hope that God is not far from them and is wanting to reach down into their lives and give them a significant future and a wonderful hope for here and the hereafter.

Here, I want to share how you can know him too… 

Click Here and Find Peace!

The Gospel and it’s Power

The Gospel changes everything and it has the power to change us and the whole direction and of our life and make it significant. God made the Gospel and the way for us to come to Him so simple to understand, that even a child can understand it and respond.

The Word of God, the Bible, declares that there is one God and He is a Holy, Perfect, Just and Righteous God who created all that there is, the whole universe and things seen and unseen. And that we are created by Him for a purpose. We are not accidents. You are uniquely created with value and a purpose. And the we as people are to live a life that glorifies God and to be in a close relationship with Him.

But there is a problem that separates us from having this relationship with God and the Gospel answers that problem in the person of Jesus Christ:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

the Gospel in it’s simplicity shows us the way to freedom:
  • First, understand that God loves YOU:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17)

  • Second, realize that EVERYONE is a sinner:

“For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

  • Third, realize that there is a price to be paid for our sin.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

  • Also realize that we can’t save ourselves by our good works because anything we do is tainted because we’re still sinners.

“….And all our righteousness are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6)

Only Jesus, the sinless, perfect, sinless Son of God, can pay for our sins by giving His life as a sacrifice to pay our sin debt in our behalf. This is God’s mercy toward us that we DON’T deserve, but He gives it freely. That undeserved kindness and mercy toward us is called GRACE:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

  • Next, realize that Jesus Christ died and rose again from the dead to pay your sin debt and give you a new life in Him.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

  • Lastly, pray and ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, and claim His promise of eternal life.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

“And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:21)

If you’ve never given your life to God, I encourage you to do that right now, wherever you are. You can do it with a sincere prayer from the heart to God, It doesn’t have to happen in a church or a bible study, but can happen anywhere you are. Even in the privacy of your own home.

Choose Life Right Now!

God takes no pleasure in people being lost in sin and going into eternity separated from life in and with Him. He desires that all would turn to Him, He won’t force us to do it. He gives us all a free will to make the choice.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18)

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

Make the choice right now to call on God right now. Simply just talk to God in your own words, He’s listening. You can pray this prayer or anything that you have in your heart to reach out to Him…

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.

I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him from the dead to life.

I now by faith place my trust in Him by faith as my Savior and want to follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. 

Fill me with your Spirit to empower me to live my life for you, guide my life and help me to do your will.

I pray this in the name of my Lord Jesus. Amen.

Next Steps:

This is an excellent online resource to begin your walk with God and learning more about it. I’d also like to encourage you to get into a good local bible-believing church, this is really important for your growth. We are not meant to be a lone wolf but part of a family of believers. Also after you find one learn about getting baptized. You’ll learn more about that with the online info. Also it’s very important that you get yourself a bible that is easy to read and start reading it, everyday if possible. You’ll be surprised how it will change you and how God will speak to your heart out of the pages of scripture. The best place to start as a new believer is the Gospel of John in the New Testament. There are a number of good bible translations that are easy to read but these are my favorites:

  • NIV (The New International Version)
  • ESV (The English Standard Version)
  • NKJV (The New King James Version)
A Pure Genius Animated Resource

There is a fantastic resource put out by a non-profit video animation studio called The Bible Project that was started by a couple of skateboarders turned Christian scholars that will take you through the bible and help explain the key points in an entertaining visual animation format. It’s not a substitute for reading your bible but it’ll give you a leg up on what you’re reading. This is really helpful as you dive into reading each book of the bible to get an understanding before getting that section started. Visit the Bible Project at their website or their YouTube channel.

Contact Me If Questions

If you have questions about the Christian faith or if you’ve prayed to receive Jesus, please feel free to email me at Comments are welcome.

Gospel Jazz Project

Recently in one of my bible readings, I had come across a verse which spoke to my heart…

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Over the years as a follower of Jesus, I have been encouraged by a number of old beloved hymns sang in church since my early adult years. I’ve long wanted to record these restyled in a jazz version while maintaining the integrity of the melodies.

A few years ago I’ve decided to start doing that as a project which I named “The Gospel Jazz Project”. This is still a work in progress and I hope to continue doing more of these as time goes by. All of these have been done to honor the Lord with what He so graciously enabled me to do. My only misgiving with doing these is that they’re all unsung instrumental versions and it’s the lyrics of these hymns that are the true heart of each of these pieces. It’s those lyrics sung with the melody that more deeply encourages me when I hear them. Personally, when I hear the melody, it brings back to memory those lyrics that touch deep in the heart of my own soul.

I hope you enjoy them and pray that they would be an encouragement to you.

Gospel Jazz – Great is thy faithfullness

I finished doing this instrumental Jazz Gospel arrangement for acoustic guitar of my favorite hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfullness”.

This song has always had a special place in my heart. I remember when my kids were little and one weekend I had taken them with me to do food shopping and when I had gotten to the freezer section, I was hearing this hymn echoing in my head and my emotions started welling up right there in the grocery store. At the time, our young family was going through a financially tough time and it occurred to me at that moment how God was faithful to His promises to provide for us. Ever since then, when I hear this song in church or on the radio it always brings me back to that place and it still touches me every single time. “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” {2 Timothy 2:13}

“Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:23)

“Great is Thy faithfulness” by Thomas Chisholm

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Gospel Jazz Project – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

I’ve always love this old gospel tune since I first heard it when I first gave my life to Jesus many years ago. It had to be one that I would work up as an instrumental gospel jazz song. I don’t remember all of the lyrics but the first stanza has stuck with me for years. It’s a wonderful reminder to not get weighed down by the stuff we deal with in this temporary world. Our life in Jesus is for eternity and is of more infinite worth than anything in this world.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
(by Helen H. Lemmel}

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

“Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3)

The Gospel Hymn Project: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

When my kids were small (they’re grown adults now), our family attended a young church where I was involved with the music ministry. Occasionally, I’d work up a jazz arrangement of a favorite church hymn and play it as a solo guitar piece. It’s been years since I’ve played those jazzy hymns and I just recently decided to start doing them again. Those wonderful old hymns have encouraged many people, myself included, for years. The songs are simple enough that they lend themselves to be easily re-purposed into other musical genres.

This piece was a fun song to work on as I did it as an acoustic guitar piece along with a smooth jazz arrangement in the same recording. I did a couple of different versions of it. One I did on classical guitar (my favorite version) and the second one on acoustic steel string guitar. I did a video for that version on my video page here on this website.

My plan is to do a collection of Jazz hymns and I wanted to start with this particular song first because it is my own personal statement of commitment of faith to follow Jesus. This was a decision I made when I was a young man of 23, after seeing and hearing the Gospel lived out by a number of people I was encountering in my life. It was a point of surrender to God who had been pulling at my heart for a years prior. So after thinking back at the way my life was impacted and changed, I wanted to honor what God has done (and continues to do) for me and my family by starting on this Gospel Hymn Project.

The Amazing Story Behind This Song

The history of this song is an amazing story of bold faith and commitment in the face of persecution against people against Christians. I’ve included an inspiring video below that tells the story. But as a prelude to that, the following is the background of the hymn from Wikipedia:

“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus is a Christian hymn that originated in Assam, India. According to P. Job, the lyrics are based on the last words of Nokseng, a Garo man, a tribe from Meghalaya which then was in Assam, who converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of an American Baptist missionary. He is said to have recited verses from the twelfth chapter of the book of John as he and his family were killed.”

The lyrics…

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Please Help: Persecution against Christians is growing at an astronomical rate globally. If you’re interested in learning more about it and what you can do to help, please check out Open Doors and the wonderful work that they are doing around the world. Please join me in supporting this vital ministry for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Triumphant Kingdom

Description: “Triumphant Kingdom” is a tune that I wrote and arranged in a jazz/rock fusion vein. I had recruited my friend, Italian multi-instrumentalist, Giorgio Finetti to play the violin part on this tune.

I was going after something that sounded epic in it’s mood. I was trying to capture, in a musical sense, the age old conflict between good and evil, God and the rebellion in Heaven against Him by fallen angels. The instrumentation was written to create the mood of elevated pride, arrogance, and a war-like chaotic aggression in the harmonic structure, horn arrangement and electric guitar solos versus the sense of holiness, righteousness, goodness and purity demonstrated by the strings/violin and the Spanish guitar work. The end of the piece ends with a Heavenly chord ringing out to demonstrate the Triumph of God and His Kingdom. The message is that good will ultimately triumph over evil. The ultimate victory was gained in the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ through which His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and those who come to faith in Christ have a new life through accepting Him and identifying with His resurrection.

Origin of the Song Concept

The past couple of years I’ve been reading through a series of books written as a a dramatic biblical saga by author and screenwriter Brian Godawa called “The Chronicles of the Nephilim” (8 books) and “The Chronicles of the Apocalypse” (4 books) depicting the unseen conflict and the war over the souls of humanity. The books read like “The Lord of the Rings” and would be a treat for anyone who likes that genre of literature. Godawa drew his inspiration from, a book by biblical scholar Dr. Michael Heiser. Heiser’s book is called “The Unseen Realm”, which I also read. I include some details below about the books.

Additional inspiration came from the scriptures for my song portraying this “cosmic chess match” between the 2 rival kingdoms, God and the fallen ones. The verses below paint the picture and are not the only ones but they are the key ones. If you read them like you’re reading a novel, you’ll see the picture develop:

Genesis 3:15
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

These were the words that God spoke over the deceiving Fallen One and Adam and Eve in the Garden. This foretold of the rivalry that would play out in history.

Genesis 6:2-5
“the sons of God (angelic beings) saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years”. The Nephilim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them (hybrids). These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Isaiah 14:12-14
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the North. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Ezekiel 28:13-17
You were in Eden, the garden of God. … I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. … and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground.

John 10:10
“The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 3:16 & 17
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

2 Corinthians 11:14
“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

Ephesians 6:12
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

1 John 5:4-5
“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

1 John 5:19
“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

Revelation 12:7-11
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

Through the Veil

The inspiration for “Through the Veil” is the mysteriously amazing glimpse of Heaven and the afterlife that we are given in the Bible. It’s the thought of leaving this material and physical plane of existence which is temporal and passing through the veil into another realm, God’s realm, where we continue to eternally exist and forever live in the presence of God’s love permeating, charging and lighting the atmosphere of His holy realm. I have heard some remarkable testimonies of people who have temporarily left this life during some tragedy and caught a glimpse of God’s eternal realm before being brought back to life medically.

The promise God gives in His Word that I will be with Him in eternity is personally very dear and precious to me and I hold onto that promise with all that I have in me. His promise is RICH with the love and grace that He extends to all of us is beyond comprehension. Namely that there’s nothing that I can ever do that will be good enough to earn my way into his Kingdom because everything I’d do would be tainted with my own sin, my selfish motives and my imperfection. Because God is perfect and Holy, sinful people cannot dwell in His presence and we are all deserving of eternal separation from Him. But in His rich mercy and grace, He made the way by sending his Son Jesus in the likeness of sinful man, but perfectly sinless, laid down His life in our place, paying the penalty of death and our sin-debt in full and taking all of our sins upon Himself and the full wrath of God the Father and giving us His righteousness instead.

(1 Corinthians 15:42-43 Amplified Bible) “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The [human] body that is sown is perishable and mortal, it is raised imperishable and immortal. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in strength; it is sown a natural body [mortal, suited to earth], it is raised a spiritual body [immortal, suited to heaven]. As surely as there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.”

(Revelation 21:4-5) “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

(Revelation 21:19-23) “The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst [these last two stones are unknown or only exist in heaven today]. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

(Revelation 22:5) “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”