This is part of a series of blog posts written to share songs, bands and musical experiences that have shaped me as a musician and artist.

I just wanted to share 2 additional songs that are simliar to a song in my previous post, “The Falls” from the Mission Soundtrack.  The two tracks are from different movies: “Glory” and “Braveheart” but both composed by James Horner.  It’s common, in James Horner’s compositions and movie themes, to hear a simple melodic phrase repeated over and over and over, underscored by moving chord progressions, or even other themes from the movie.

In the Braveheart piece “Freedom / The Excecution / Bannockburn” Horner goes through a few different themes and does what Ennio Morricone did – layering multiple themes together that previously we heard played independently.  This piece is at the climax of the movie and after 2+ hours of following the story, brings the audience to an emotional moment.  Though the end of the story seems to tell of failure the music clearly speaks of victory.  It’s no wonder the film won so many awards.

The Glory soundtrack holds to all the classic James Horner conventions.  Note around 1:56, the repeated theme begins in the low strings and continues on through the build and the climax. These are the kinds of songs I turn up and close my eyes. It’s interesting how similar these pieces are compared to The Mission soundtrack. It makes you wonder if there is musical influence going on. The Mission came out in the 80s and James Horner was clearly hard at work composing film scores, some of which are my all-time favorites:  The Journey of Natty Gann, Land Before Time, Braveheart, Willow.


This is part of a series of blog posts written to share songs, bands and musical experiences that have shaped me as a musician and artist.

This is my first mention of a movie soundtrack but probably won’t be my last.  I LOVE movie soundtracks (musical scores) and have since I was young.  This particular movie soundtrack came into my life through my dad.  I don’t know how or why Dad had it, but on a cassette tape he had a copy of the movie soundtrack from the film, “The Mission”.  This soundtrack, according to Wikipedia,

…combines liturgical chorales, native drumming, and Spanish-influenced guitars, often in the same track, in an attempt to capture the varying cultures depicted in the film.

Of course, like any movie soundtrack, listening to it brings back emotions that were evoked from watching the film.  I remember listening to my Dad performing “Gabriel’s Oboe”, one of the main themes of the film, on his oboe.

The soundtrack was composed by Ennio Morricone, the composer of famous western soundtracks including, “Good, Bad and the Ugly”, which is often used when imitating western movie scenes with your buddies.

For some reason, this soundtrack got into my hands and the music took root in me.  One of the main themes, as you’ll hear in the first video, is extremely simple, yet powerful. The second video is “Gabriel’s Oboe”.  The third video is entitled, “On Earth as it is in Heaven” and is an amazing piece that combines multiple themes, styles, and even time signatures into a multi-layered mosaic.

This is part of a series of blog posts written to share songs, bands and musical experiences that have shaped me as a musician and artist.

When I was in elementary school, I was a regular at our public library, namely, that A/V Department.  It helped that my mom, for a time, worked there in the Children’s Books department and that it was across the street from our church and a block from the Jr. High School.  My sister and I still boast of the unmatched movie selection our library had.

I remember one day walking in and hearing a song playing in the A/V Department.  It was a song that was unlike anything I had heard and I quickly realized what I was hearing.  It was a song I had heard when a girl used it for a baton twirling routine in our school’s talent show  and I had been captivated by it.  Like I’ve said before, in our pre-internet life, if there was a song you heard and wanted to hear it again, you had to rely on fate to bring the two of you back together – or find out what the song was and cough up $12 for a cassette or $15 for a CD from Record Town. (really, why did CDs cost MORE when they cost less to produce!)

So I walk into the room and fate had stepped in.  I didn’t wait two seconds before asking the library worker what was playing and he pointed me to the CD case sitting on the display under the “Now Playing” sign.

The song was Orinoco Flow by Enya.

Wow.  It was such a magical song to me – unlike anything I had ever heard.  Otherworldly.  Sounds I had never heard.  After that I had to explore everything the library had of Enya.  Enya has come in and out of pop culture, most recently involved with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  You can still, time to time, catch Oronico Flow.  Here it is for your enjoyment.

This is part of a series of blog posts written to share songs, bands and musical experiences that have shaped me as a musician and artist.

Ok, so we’re still in the 80s here, but barely. The group: Tears for Fears. The song: Seeds of Love. Still one of my all-time favorite songs. I can listen to it again right now with the same interest. Seeds of Love was my introduction to Tears to Fears and one of the earliest music videos I remember watching on MTV. A few years after that, the album Elemental came out which continued to captivate me (though I had to listen to my brother’s CD). Once again, in college, when mp3s were readily available through Napster and other file-sharing methods, I got my hands on some of the Tears for Fears hits: Woman in Chains, Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World – no longer having to check out CDs from the library or catch them on the radio. Tears for Fears was also the first I started taking notice of multi-layered sequenced music. Layers upon layers of synthesized sounds, keyboards, soundscapes, effects – all woven together into masterpieces (and best explored with a good pair of headphones). It’s also the extensive song format that makes this song epic.  It doesn’t follow the American Idol hit formula (Verse 1, Verse 2 add Drums, Chorus, Bridge, Key Change, quiet verse 3, big chorus at end) It’s possible this opened the door to my exploration of what our local library termed “New Age” music (the style, not the religion). More on that later…

I have easily listened to this song hundreds of times. The song is epic in length and depth. I hear some Beatles influence in the song (although, what song doesn’t in some way!) Have a listen. Perhaps it will bring you back to a fond memory in your own life!  What time in YOUR life does this song bring you back to?  Leave a comment 🙂

This is part of a series of blog posts written to share songs, bands and musical experiences that have shaped me as a musician and artist.

When this idea came to me, the first song I thought of, one I thought of right away, was a song I came across in an 80’s movie that I hope you’ve seen: Farris Bueler’s Day Off. Now, you may be trying to guess what song it was from that classic that got stuck in my ears. No, it wasn’t “Oh Yeah”.

Remember the scene at the Chicago Art Museum?

Back in the 80s, life was different than now. If you wanted to hear a song, you had to own a recording of it or know what radio stations played it and listen long enough to catch it. Or if it was on a movie, you had to rent the video (or as was our case, check it out from the library). There was no YouTube universe.  It wasn’t until college that I had the means to acquire a recording of the song.

As a college student in the late 90s, I was privy to a new technology called the Internet and peer to peer file sharing. It was an amazing and mind blowing discovery when I learned how to search the bottomless pit of cyberspace for mp3s of any song I could think of! This is when I went searching.

This was before well before YouTube and Wikipedia were born. I had to look up Farris Bueler’s soundtrack listing, find out the title to the song (which had no lyrics to search) and then put my Napster skills to use. Jackpot. I found it. “Please, please, please, let me get what I want” by Dream Academy…which was an instrumental cover of a song by The Smiths.  I searched for it and found it.  I downloaded it. Loaded up my media player (no iTunes yet) And I listened over and over and over again to my heart’s content.

So, to kick off my first post, enjoy a song that stuck in my ears and took root in my heart. I don’t know what it is about the song… perhaps it had to do with the time in my life, the way it was presented in the movie, or some other subconscious factor. What ever it is, it’s still nostalgic and makes me smile when I listen to it.  It’s the kind of song you just wish was longer.

Have a listen.  Maybe it’s nostalgic for you, too.  I’d love to hear your comments!

Here is the original by The Smiths

On my YouTube Channel and Facebook Page there are places to list your “influences” as a musician. I’ve always passed right over those because I never felt that I had time to sit down and think through all the musical influences that have, over the years, shaped me as an artist. There are some recent groups that I listen to who I could list, but it wouldn’t be fair to many other bands and artists who have taken root in my life over the years.

Rather than make a boring list, I have decided to create a series of blog posts to share songs and bands and musical experiences that have impacted me through my life. I’m not sure how long this series will last. The more I think, the more songs I remember.

The series will include both individual songs that I have listened to hundreds of times and music groups that I have become a fan of – gravitating to every piece of art they produce.  My musical journey has taken me far and wide through many eras and diverse styles.

When possible, I will share the songs themselves (as long as they are available on YouTube!) I look forward to this exercise as a chance to look back and an opportunity to give my readers and listeners some insight to how I’ve been shaped as a musician and artist!

Watch for the first post in the series early next week!


(Heart artwork – Original Painting by Phil Fung)

Last weekend my wife and I had the great opportunity to go to a Family Life Ministry Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We had an awesome time of fun and focus on our marriage relationship! It was also a much needed break from our busy 3-child family and work life. We stayed 2 nights in the same hotel the conference was held.

While relaxing one of the evenings in the hotel room, we were enjoying the complimentary cable TV. This in itself is a treat for us since we don’t have cable at home.  After flipping channels, we settled on HGTV to watch a show called House Hunters. Now, there are a few TV shows we keep up with (usually by watching them on but none of them are reality TV shows. And since we watch we don’t see a lot of commercials.  So after a few minutes of watching this reality show about purchasing up-scale homes and watching commercials selling me things like teeth whitener, a tiny feeling began to well up within me.  I’m not sure how to describe it but it was an uncomfortable feeling.

Well, I figured this was a good sign – a sign that God has been changing my heart. That I have been somewhat REsensitised to the self-indulgence we see in our culture.  Granted, this was only a hint of a feeling and I continued eating my junk food and watch the show until it was over – causing me to stay up way too late. 🙂

Knowing what I know now about the world, poverty, child mortality rates, living conditions, etc., it was amazing to me to see a couple on this show in agony over which $900,000 home to purchase.  But you know, that mentality is not that much different than the mentality which causes my family to agonize over which restaurant to eat out at.

I wish I had time to pull off a video idea I had.  What I really WANTED to do was create a video using images of poverty but with the audio from House Hunters.  I thought it would make for an interesting artistic statement.  Since I don’t have the luxury of time to put that together, I thought the next best thing would be to share two videos.  Here’s the first one.

Again, I don’t mean to put down anyone on this video – or anyone on the show.  I’m sure many or most of us are guilty of pursuing the higher life.  Like my pastor said once, when we compare ourselves with someone with LESS than us we feel blessed.  When we compare ourselves with someone who has MORE than us, we are left wanting more.

When you look to the right and see a gaping resource gap in humanity and you look to the left and see a towering mountain of excess resources, you can’t help but feel the tension – internally and externally.  What is it in us that prevents us from giving our extra to those who have nothing?  I’m working on a song on a similar theme.  One line in it goes like this: “Not Enough”…Said from the lips of greed AND the lips of need…

We have enough.  We have the food.  We have the money.  We have the ingenuity.  We have the means to ship around the world (just look at  Yet, somehow, part of us are still dying while part of us  continue to live.

I am excited to announce a new feature to my growing online presence.  Introducing, my new MAILNG LIST.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but for various reasons had not gotten off the ground (is that proper English?).  Over the past year I’ve been doing research and making plans and recently I stumbled upon a service that seemed to be the right fit for my needs. Before I knew it, I had a mailing list.

Why a mailing list?

It’s just a better way to communicate to those who are really interested in what I’m up to.  I have more ideas than I have time to pursue, but the things I AM able to pursue, I want to be able to give an inside look and priority access to those on my mailing list.  This will be different than subscribing to my WordPress blog or to my RSS feed.  Those are good if you want to see my blog posts show up in your email inbox or RSS Reader.  But to get the real inside scoop, you’ll want to join my Mailing List.  I’ll be sharing things with my list that the general public won’t have access to.

I have a new music project that is actually in the works and I would love to tell you more about it.  So, I officially invite you to join my mailing list.

CLICK HERE to go to the sign up page and there will be instructions for the rest.  Or you can click on the graphic to the right.

Also, if you have not done so, check out my new online music store.  This will be my new home for original music.  You can listen to songs all the way through without having to purchase them.  You can also buy, download, and share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets so you can make recommendations to your friends.

Oh yeah… You can also find me on Facebook.  I’m everywhere, man! 🙂

This was week 2 in the Songwriter’s Club and I’m loving it!  This week, the assignment was “When I’m 30”.  For this one, the music kind of came to me quickly.  In my first sitting of messing around, I was able to give a rough outline to the chorus and verse chord progressions and melody.

If you haven’t heard the song yet, watch it at the bottom of this post.

For the theme of the song, I originally was trying to go with the concept of:  If I could send a letter to a younger me – say, 10 years ago – to give myself advice about the next 10 years.  That’d be the 1st verse.  Then the 2nd verse would be getting a letter from myself from 10 years older giving me advice about the next 10 years.  That concept sort of held true but as you can see the verses told a little different story.

The chorus still took the same direction and went through many versions as I tried to get just the right words, the right rhythm and rhymes saying just the right thing I wanted to say.  This is one of the fun parts for me in songwriting.  If I hadn’t run out of time, I probably would have spent a little more time revising.  But there comes a time where you have to call it done and go with what you have.

The song speaks of the issues I’m currently dealing with in life.  It’s basically about the challenge one faces in life when choosing between pursing selfish ambition and pouring time and energy into those we love in life.

Hopefully the first verse is self-explanatory.  We’re encouraged by well-meaning adults to pursue our dreams.  But nobody tells us that the pursuit of one thing is often the sacrifice of another thing.  This is what the Chorus is all about.  Life is always about a choice.  In the case of this song, I’m talking about the choice between denying myself of my personal pursuits for the sake of pouring myself into my family.

I’m not trying to say there’s no way to strike a balance (or healthy tension) between the two.  The main thing I’m trying to say is, it’s up to you which way you choose to go and either way you go, you’ll have to make sacrifices.  The sacrifice may be your own plans or your family and friend relationships.

That’s a little insight to the creative process and thinking behind “When I’m 30”.  If you liked the song feel free to share it with your friends 🙂  (such as Twitter & Facebook) And if you are interested in hearing what other songwriters are doing with the songwriting challenges, check out and have a listen.


WHEN I’M 3o Lyrics and Chords (PDF)



WHEN I’M 30 | © 2010 Ben Chilcote

When I was younger
I was told to pursue my dreams
And when I grew up
I could be who I wanted to be
But as it turns out
It’s not quite as simple as we think

Like when I’m 30 it’s not gonna be just me
I’m gonna I wake up
With others who depend on me
And all the plans I had
Will be second to everything…

There’s a battle that we face every day of our life
To either die to ourselves or to fight to survive
Either way you go you gotta be willing to sacrifice

You choose what you take and you choose what you give
So don’t wait till it’s too late to decide how to live
Wounded hearts will maybe heal but time will never forgive

When I’m 40
If I’m still hangin’ on
Gonna wake up
and half of my life is gone
Don’t wanna look down
With nothing but trophies
In my hands

I wanna know that
I’m a hero in my children’s eyes
That I never gave up
Relentlessly pursuing my wife
That even God was proud
Of my hidden life
That’s right.


You have everything to gain
And everything to lose

When you find yourself ahead looking back down the road
You may find you made it far but that you made it alone
I don’t wanna be up there if I’m up there
On my own


I was 30…