Ten years ago this summer I began in earnest to record a collection of songs for my wife. The summer of 2006 was a high octane concentration of events for me. I knew at the end of the summer that we were going to move to Evanston, Illinois so I could go to seminary and scattered throughout those months a number of our friends (all of us in our mid-20's) were getting married. It was a time of preparation and celebration. In fact, we ourselves had just gotten married.
June 3, 2016 marked our 10 year anniversary. 06-03-06. This is the commentary to the album I recorded: 1 + 1 = 1: The Courtship of Green & Blue.
Life was on the move. I had no idea what seminary was going to require of me, but I knew it was going to be a lot. I did not really have a job the summer of 2006 (that I recall). My new wife was gracious enough to let me go off and invest hours upon hours in this passion project. All I could communicate to her was "I've written some songs for you. It's a whole album. I really need to get this done." And off I went, she working the summer, while I fulfilled my inner artistic visions.
I was not able to finish the recording in those frantic months—my ideas were too grand and epic and I needed more time. The finishing touches would come two years later and under strange circumstances: we were expecting our first child, I had cancer, and needed to be quarantined for a week due to my treatment. I will explain more on that later.
Eventually, I edited the songs, did any necessary overdubbing, and mixed them to the best of my ability while on winter break from seminary. I gave the album to my wife on Christmas Day 2008, the official release date of 1 + 1 = 1: The Courtship of Green & Blue.
Years later I finally put the album up onto Bandcamp, where people can stream it or download it. It's out there for the world to consume. Honestly though, the whole project makes me a little sad. I feel like it has never been properly listened to or talked about. There are many layers of meaning in the songs, both musically and lyrically that I have never told anyone about because...well, I was hoping somebody would ask me about it.
For some reason my music career never took off. I was pretty serious about it for a few years. I have a number of suspicions as to why I never "made it" in the music business which I might share in a later article, but for now I'd like to introduce more people to this very special album that I made as a personal gift to my wife. Every song on 1 + 1 = 1 was written specifically for her while keeping in mind that everyone could listen to it. Over the next few articles I am going to recount the history of this album and then offer an extensive commentary on the songs. Perhaps I am only doing this for myself. I need to get this story down in writing so I can finally let go of this work. However, my greater hope is that some people will be moved by the songs and perhaps might begin talking about my little work of art. Even as I wrote these songs to my wife-to-be, my hope was the story I was telling was universal enough that people could see their own story within ours.
So, if you would allow it of me, over the next few articles I am going to be more than a bit self-indulgent. This blog is typically about the convergence of art and faith. I have spent many years writing about different artistic works that have impacted my life. Now though, I will be concentrating on my own work, something I rarely do. Artists are people that have worlds upon worlds within them. This particular world, the lyrical and musical memorial to our dating relationship, is something I want to talk about and share with others.
I hope you enjoy the songs and I hope the story moves you.
When I first "released" the album I gave my wife a booklet with a brief commentary to all the songs. Then when I released it to the public I wrote another commentary. I will now offer both commentaries here, with the original in italics and then followed by a more detailed present day commentary, while interspersing parts of the album's recording history. Each song will also be embedded into the articles so you can stream them and from now until forever the entire album will cost $3 to download on Bandcamp. 3 is an important number to our courtship and wedding, so I thought "why not?"
Let us begin the tale of Green and Blue, a man and a woman who found each other and started making a life together. The album is divided into three main sections and includes a prologue, an epilogue, and a transitional song between each section.
Next Entries of the commentary on the album 1 + 1 = 1:
Prologue & Infatuation (Part 1)
Infatuation (Part 2)
Commitment and Epilogue (Part 3)
Here is the tracklisting: