(Please be patient, I still have more writing to do for this page!)

1. Blessed Assurance

Sometimes we need a little assurance since we tend to be doubtful. Or forgetful. This song is about being assured that we can have eternal salvation and also about some of the benefits that we can enjoy now while still on this earth. We can be praiseful, happy and blest when we submit to God and trust in Him because God loves us. The lyrics were written by Fanny L. Crosby in 1873 who was born in Southeast, New York, and became blind at age six weeks old. She became an English and American history teacher and wrote an estimated 8,000 poems. The tune was written also in 1873 by Phoebe Palmer Knapp of New York, who wrote over 500 hymn tunes.

Lyrics

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Refrain:

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior, all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending, bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love. [Refrain]

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love. [Refrain]

Why I chose this song

I chose this song because of my own personal forgetfulness. I simply need to be reminded more about God’s eternal salvation and earthly blessings when I put my full trust in Him.

Technical info

Key of D, time signature 3/4, tempo 105

2. What a Friend We have in Jesus

This song is about Jesus and that he our friend, especially since He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in place of us. No matter what pain, trials, temptations and burdens we face, we can simply pray to Jesus our Lord who hears us and will protect us. Joseph Medlicott Scriven who was born on Dublin, Ireland, and went to Canada at age 25, wrote the lyrics as a poem to his mother around 1855. Charles Converse, born in Warren, Massachusetts, who became a lawyer and hymn composer, wrote the tune in 1868.

Lyrics

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge–
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Why I chose this song

This song was one of my all-time favorites as a child. It was easy to play and had a nice positive sound. Plus, the message was about friendship, or the lack of. And that we all can have many heavy burdens at times, but God will listen if we pray.

The first arrangement of this song sounded too lullaby-like. That seemed lacking because the song is for all ages, not just young children. Nearly a year later, the next arrangement of this song sounded too rock band-like, with a heavy, repeating bass line. That seemed sacra-religious or inappropriate. The final arrangement is actually a blend of the two! A modern arrangement of a historical hymn.

Technical info

Key of F, time signature 4/4, tempo 105

3. Trust and Obey

When we trust and obey the God of the Bible, many good things will happen. Sure, there still will be hardships in our life on earth. But God gives us hope,  assurance, and later, eternal joy in heaven. The lyrics were written in 1887 by John H. Sammis of Brooklyn, New York who became a pastor in Michigan and Minnesota and wrote more than 100 hymns. The tune was written by Daniel B. Towner of Rome, Pennsylvania who wrote over 2,000 tunes; Trust and Obey is among his most popular.

Lyrics

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]

Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]

Why I chose this song

I first learned and played this song as a child many years ago. The lyrics are basically a simple cause and effect; trust and obey in God, and happy and good things will happen. Therefore, this song deserved a happy, more upbeat arrangement. My arrangement was inspired by my daughter Kaitlyn who played saxophone in jazz band in middle school and high school. I had never learned jazz chords before. She made it appear so easy. It is not! This is my first attempt. The results really surprised me! I hope you enjoy it too!

Technical info

Key of F, time signature 4/4, tempo 80

4. Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is possibly one of the most well-known hymns. It is a song of redemption, perseverance, protection, and everlasting life beyond this earth. It is often sung or played at funerals and memorial services, probably because the last 2 verses are about our life on earth which will end. John Newton of London, England wrote this hymn in 1790. He was a sailor and became a minister after nearly drowning at sea. He wrote over 280 hymns. The tune New Brittain, was composed in 1829 by an unknown author, and is typical of Appalachian folk tunes from southern United States.

Lyrics

Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.

Why I chose this song

This song is simply of one of the most well-known hymns.

Technical info

Key of G, time signature 3/4, tempo 52

5. When Peace, Like a River

This is a song we can often relate to, especially when during times of sorrows and trials and need comfort and assurance. That’s because the lyrics were written by a prominent American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder, Horatio Gates Spafford of Troy, New York in 1873, following a family tragedy. His four daughters died aboard the S.S. Ville du Havre on a transatlantic voyage from Chicago to France when the ship collided with a British ship coming from the other direction. His wife survived. Horatio took the next ship over, and as he passed the spot where the ship sank, began to write these lyrics.

Horatio’s good friend, Philip P. Bliss of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, composed the tune for his words in 1876, naming the tune after the ship, Ville Du Havre. Philip worked on farms and in lumber camps as a youth, became a music teacher, making house calls on horseback. Dwight L. Moody advised him to become a singing evangelist and he led music a revival meetings in midwest and southern United States. Philip and his wife tragically died in the same year 1876 at the age of 38 in a train wreck and fire, on their way to an evangelistic service in Chicago.

Lyrics

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Refrain
It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control:
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed his own blood for my soul. (Refrain)

My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain)

O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
even so, it is well with my soul. (Refrain)

Why I chose this song

This is probably the best known hymn about peace. We certainly need it as we weather through the storms of life and face all kinds of trials. Jesus is our hope that all will be well with our soul.

Technical info

Key of C, time signature 4/4, tempo 88

6. Just As I Am

As you live your daily life on this imperfect and challenging earth, you may feel lost or rejected among the billions of people in the world. No one seems to care about your individual situation. But the truth is, regardless of your past failures or current circumstances, God does care and wants the best for you. God is willing to accept and forgive you if you follow these three simple steps: 1) Admit to God that you are a sinner, repent and turn away from your sin. 2) Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness from sin. 3) Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Charlotte Elliott, daughter of Charles Elliott, of Clapham and Brighton, England, wrote these lyrics in 1836. She wrote around 150 hymns in the form of poetry. William B. Bradbury of York County, Maine, wrote the tune (Woodworth) in 1849. He became an organist, teacher, conductor, composer, music book editor and composed may other popular hymns such as Jesus Loves Me.

Lyrics

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
has broken ev’ry barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

More Notes

Many hymnals omit verses 4 and 6.

While Just As I Am was written in 1836, it became well-known in recent modern times. This song was always played at Billy Graham crusades after Rev. Billy Graham completed his sermon and invited the audience to come forward to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

Why I chose this song

I chose to release this song as my first single for one simple reason which is summed up in the title of the song: Just As I Am. We can’t change the past, but starting today, just as we are, we can begin to change ourselves by using our God-given skills, talents and passions to help others and to improve the world around us.

This song (actually, all the songs in the album) was arranged and recorded on my family’s original late 1960’s Cable Nelson spinet piano on which I first learned to play piano so many years ago (during 2nd grade of elementary school). After many years away from the piano and other instruments, I recently rediscovered piano. See my website/About for my full story.

Technical info

Key of D, time signature 3/4, tempo 107

The interlude I wrote between verses is actually 4/4 time. The difference was not intentional! It just happened due to the chord arpeggios. Surprisingly, the verses and interlude seem to blend together well.

7. I’ve Got Peace Like a River

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Lyrics

Why I chose this song

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8. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ name

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9. To God Be the Glory

The answer to many of life’s questions we face should begin with the acknowledgement of God. After all, God created everything, owns everything, and knows everything about the past, present, and future. We are just temporary managers of our earthly possessions for a short time, especially compared to eternity. Therefore, we should give credit and glory to God, alongside with praise, thanksgiving and rejoicing.

The lyrics were written by Fanny L. Crosby in 1875 who was born in Southeast, New York, and became blind at age six weeks old. She became an English and American history teacher and wrote an estimated 8,000 poems. William Howard Doane wrote the tune also in 1875. He was head of a large woodworking machinery plant in Cincinnati, had over 70 patents for innovation in woodworking machinery, was a civic leader, and endowed Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois and Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He wrote over 2,000 hymns and gospel song tunes.

Lyrics

To God be the glory, great things he hath done;
|so loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he hath done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. [Refrain]

Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer, and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see. [Refrain]

Why I chose this song

I chose this song for my 3rd single release after the 2nd, Fairest Lord Jesus, that was slower and more contemplative. This song is more upbeat and cheerful. That is how we should strive to be, especially when we are thankful for all things that God as provided to us, from material possessions on earth, to eternal life in heaven if we choose to believe and accept Christ as our savior.

Technical info

Key of G, time signature 4/4, temp 144

10. Holy, Holy, Holy

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11. Fairest Lord Jesus

Evidence of God’s creation is everywhere. You can easily see the evidence from flowers and trees on the ground, to the birds and clouds in the sky, to the stars and planets in outer space. Fairest Lord Jesus is a timeless, mellow, contemplative praise song from several centuries ago. It acknowledges and praises Jesus and God as the creator of all of the universe.

The lyrics are from an unknown author and first appeared in text in Münster, Germany in 1662. The tune is Crusaders’ Hymn, also known as St. Elizabeth, and originates as a folk melody from the Glaz area of Silesia. It was published in A. H. Hoffman von Fallersleben’s and E. F. Richter’s Schlesische Volkslieder in 1842.

Lyrics

Fairest Lord Jesus,
ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows,
fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior!
Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

Why I chose this song

I chose this song for my 2nd single release because it has a simple, flowing, soothing sound that I think is representative of the piano sound that meets my goal of music that is calming and comforting in times of personal need. The tune is written in E flat which is difficult to play due to all of the flats. I decided to retain the original key and not transpose it to D or E because E flat has a nice mellow sound that fits perfectly with the lyrics. This is probably the most difficult song to play in this entire album. I’m really surprised how well it sounds and hope you enjoy it too!

Technical info

Key of E flat, time signature 4/4, tempo 100.

12. ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

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13. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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14 My Jesus, I Love Thee

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Everlasting Peace album notes

Technical info

Recorded in stereo with dual condenser microphones in overhead ORTF configuration plus one dynamic microphone near the left back side for additional frequency response of bass notes.

Recorded on a 2008 MacBook Pro with a Behringer audio interface. Mixed and mastered on a 2012 Mac mini.

For these recordings, no reverb (reverberation) was applied. The reverb you hear is natural from the piano’s metal harp and solid wood structure. Normalization and dynamic compression were used to increase the volume of the lower and midrange frequency notes to help balance with the melody. There was also lots of manual editing of individual waveforms of notes that were clipped or over-accented since I tend to be a heavy hitter on the melody notes.

Credits

This album was produced in honor of my mom, Pearl. She asked me in January 2018 to record some piano music for her after my mother-in-law Jane’s memorial service. Those songs reignited a long-forgotten interest in piano and eventually led me to producing a rough draft CD of this album for Mom in October 2018. Thanks to my mom and dad, Ron and Pearl, for purchasing the piano and for the piano lessons so many years ago!

Thanks to all my wonderful and patient piano teachers. Mr. Al Nakata, my first teacher when I was age 6 or 7. Mrs. Dorothy West, who taught on a very nice grand piano a short walk away from Grout Elementary School. Mrs. Smith, who came to our house to teach lessons. And Mrs. Golda Wilson, who taught me about hymns.

Thanks to CD Baby artist Lance Frodsham (dulcimer) for introducing me to music recording and for lending recording equipment. Thanks to CD Baby artist Dan Friesen (guitar) for sharing advice about releasing music through CD Baby. Thanks to worship Pastor Kevin Kruse for helpful tips to improve my piano playing quality. Thanks to Cynthia Soohoo who encouraged me to finish this recording project this year when it did not seem feasible. Thanks to my distributor CD Baby. Made in USA by CD Baby Disc Manufacturing. Photos by me of the Oregon coast at Lincoln City, Oregon, April 10, 2014.

Thanks to all my current and former pastors and worship leaders who have influenced me over the years. And above all, thanks to God for giving me the gift of music. Now, it is time to share it with you!

Peace & Blessings,

Douglas Ronald Lee
Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019

 

PS If you like this music, be sure to like/follow on Facebook and Twitter, and like/follow/save on Spotify! You can also write reviews on my website and at Amazon, CD Baby, and others. Visit my website for links.

 

Lyrics and tune notes are from www.hymnary.org