Friday, April 29, 2016

Water Pictures Doing Here?

Water Pictures Doing Here?

Let’s tell the story of the pictures that represent who we are, shall we? This is our classic waterfall picture that we have used from our entrance into the internet world around five years ago or so. It was taken by our drummer, Tony, pictured with his work. (Tony is actually quite an accomplished pro-type photographer.) It was taken at “The Flume” at Franconia Notch in New Hampshire.Our name is a Biblical one, with deep meaning. ‘Living Waters’, Mayim Chaim - מים חיים  is water that is flowing, alive, life-giving. It has been used by the Bible to connote God’s Holy Spirit of Love, and his quenching our spiritual thirst and hunger in the Eucharist, as in Psalm 42. We used this picture for our first album, “Refresh”, containing classic full-band tracks. Here is the result below. If you look really closely, you will find tiny words hidden among the crags; I didn’t know how to get rid of them at the time, so there they stayed!

Here is a close-up of the script band title which we have used at times:

Another classic was taken when the bass player, Dave, went to the ultimate waterfall, Niagara. His daughter took the photo. This frozen yet flowing scene was perfect for our Christmas album, “The Joy”, named for Mike’s song. I should really give credit to my wife, Julia, for her sense of presentation for these pictures. Pictured are Dave & Kathy and Jackie at her wedding.

Most recently, I took a quick snap of the water at Mine Falls Park in Nashua, NH, for our newest EP, “Alive Again”. This is the result, as seen on BandCamp:

Another picture we have used is from the altar of my school's chapel, depicting Psalm 42, and the Eucharist:

And here are the Falls of Song in NH (how appropriate!):

Soon, perhaps, we will talk about the group shots we’ve used. As Mike told me recently, it really is time to get a new one. If we do, I will certainly put it here. Well, that is enough for now! So happy to share the FLOW with you all!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Do What He Tells You to Do

Bud MacFarlane, author and blogger, earlier responded to our song in this way: “I've listened to your song [Do What He Tells You to Do"] about 15 times since I sent off the email! Even the live version. Even the Booze song....” Sounds likes he likes us!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The 20th Anniversary of the "Lonely Dancer" Video!

The 20th Anniversary of the "Lonely Dancer" Video!

(Some material re-posted from July 28, 2010)

Click the link below to watch & listen! for video for "classic live" audio

Yes, it's true! It has now been 20 years since Mary Gillis ( may the Good God rest her blessed soul) created a video for Mike's beautiful song, "Lonely Dancer". Several of us went to Jim's cellar to record the tracks for the audio, and she gathered several of us down at Mike's club in Boston to shoot the video. She was doing it as a project for the course she was taking at UMass Lowell. Mary had a deep, abiding love for all of us and our music, and I think this was a labor of love for her. The following is the original post I wrote when we preserved the video onto DVD. Please, enjoy!

In a sense, Living Waters was ‘born’ with the arrival of the dancers. In the first months, Dave, Jim, Kathy, Joline, Danny, Chuck and I started singing and playing for things because we were all musically inclined and there were signs of talent there. At first, we were meeting out in “the Annex”. I remember singing Lighthouse songs and “I Love You” by Larry Norman (the song we didn’t know how to end!!) What we were doing at first was pretty rudimentary. When the dancers arrived, it began to dawn on us that we could have a whole production.

The dancers began as a separate group associated with the prayer group. They gathered several girls who went to those prayer meetings. It was called “Rejoice” (I think? confirmed!). It was started by Ann-Marie Donovan [now Babish], an elementary school teacher who fully displayed that patient, kind persona to all of us as the years went on; in a sense she was like a mother in our birth as a group. She had gone to a Benedictine monastery in Pecos, New Mexico and experienced “liturgical dance” there. This is a style of dance that emphasizes prayerful motions to help tell a story or underline an emotion being heard in a song. Dancers like these often wryly expand the words of Augustine, ‘He who sings prays twice’, to say that she who dances prays three times!

I don’t remember how or when it happened, but, just like the Brady Bunch someone said, ‘why don’t we put the music and the dance together’. Among the first dancers were Beth Medeiros, Beth Timledge, and Michelle Cormier, and at some point in those early days they had Peggy York, Cindy Markowski and male dancer Bob Alence. (I think we all remember him best in the late ‘70’s for “Dry Bones” which approached drama or pantomime.) I used to taunt them by always pronouncing “dancers” with an exaggerated English accent: the ‘dunces’.

Eventually, Ann-Marie had to leave us but it was around this time that Chuck Rossignol and Omer Bourque decided to have “try-outs”, and, boy, was it a serious and elaborate procedure! They had check-sheets and forms and a schedule and it felt like “American Idol” does now. Two best friends from Westwood who were going to the prayer meetings came together, trembling with fear and hope, Kathy Sullivan and Denise Carr. Denise wanted to sing and it was pretty obvious she could to Chuck and Omer, and Kathy wanted to dance. Kathy had a similarly impressive ‘body/kinesthetic’ talent; she was accepted and a new era began.

Kathy filled the leadership vacuum and became a creative catalyst for the next several years as Carole Chatalian and Anne-Marie Bourque and later Julia Tice added their talents. Especially gratifying to me was the fact that there were many original dances that perfectly complemented the original songs. Like anything, the early days were bound to be somewhat derivative, imitating things we liked. But, thanks to Kathy and the girls, Living Waters became who we are as performers and believers. They contributed meditative interpretations like “Make Me Free” and group works like “Tonight” or “He That is in Us”. Of course, very early on Kathy became Mrs. David Bourque and their sons have become musicians and actors and Jackie an accomplished dancer.

The song “Lonely Dancer” was probably a high point for both music and dance. Mike McBride seizing on our group dance identity perfectly tapped into that feeling of life as a dance (something I expressed later in “Endless Dance of Love”). This song epitomizes the story-telling aspect the dances began to embody. In the mid-80’s we had a whole “Prodigal Daughter” story-telling piece using many songs with drama and dance. On this song, John Drahos joined in with Kathy to play the Lord in something that became a highlight that people made an effort to come to a Living Waters show to see.  (Musically, Mark played bass, Dave moved to synth and Greg started on acoustic and moved to electric.  The audio I have is of an early version where you can hear the song being born.)

Years later, our drama person Mary Gillis was going to school for media production. She had a project to do and could think of no better subject than Mike’s song. So she enlisted a bunch of us in a complicated schedule. Some went to a stage to film the dance and extra pieces (very nicely done). Others went to Jim’s cellar to lay down some tracks. The result is what you see here. It has lain dormant on VHS for all this time, until now when I decided to preserve this beautiful thing on DVD.

Life is a beautiful dance and the original dancer is the Lord himself who wants to dance us through our loneliness and pain.

By Mike McBride
Copyright 2011, RN SR 679-889

The curtain rises and the lights come on
The music starts, I realize I’m on
But I’ve never heard this song
All my movements come out wrong

I look beside me; no one stands there
Louder music comes from anywhere
I feel upon me eyes that stare
Crowds of people everywhere

(They stand and stare) They stand and stare
(From everywhere) They stand and stare
From everywhere
I know I see them all
But I’m afraid I’m gonna fall

Suddenly I feel your presence
Taste of love and your sweet essence
You have come to dance me through
As you lead I follow you

(I follow you) I follow you
(I follow you) You will lead me
Right on through
(Hold my hand) You hold my hand
(Take a stand) We take a stand
(All demands) Suddenly we’ve conquered
All demands

There is an answer for me a lonely dancer
You are the answer for this lonely dancer

The stage lights dim, they bring me roses
The people leave, the theatre closes
But we keep dancing on and on
We don’t want to end this song

(It will live on) It will live on
(Like a song) Like a song
We’re living on and on

There is an answer for me a lonely dancer
You are the answer for this lonely dancer


I have found what I believe in
I won’t be leaving
I’ll keep on dancing
Living from what you bring

There is a way
You are the way
I have found you

Saturday, April 2, 2016

An Easter Backing Track Release!

An Easter Backing Track Release!

Click this to hear the backing track for "Forever": 
Click this to hear the song with vocals:

Easter is not a day. It is a 50-day season. The 'octave' of Easter has also always been a way of celebrating the Resurrection. More than that, it is an attitude and a way of life. As St. Augustine once observed, "We are an Easter people, and 'Alleluia' is our song"! This song culminates in the wonderful invitation from our gentle yet powerful Lord, "Up, up from the tomb, rise with Me! Rise to eternal splendor"!

So! Here is another in our series of our 'backing track' releases. The group often performed this for conferences, penance services and many other venues. This track, I created myself (Mark). I wrote up some sheet music lines on Noteworthy Composer and transferred them into GarageBand using different instruments, such as strings and piano. I added some tracks of my 12-string and overlaid the vocals. For this version here, I removed all vocals except the last chorus. I have actually used this to perform the song a few times, playing guitar and singing live with this as a backing. If you know the song, you could use this version to sing over, if you wish. Just let us know about it, and support us back in some way, and that is good enough for us.

I took a lot of care in arranging this. One thing you may notice is that during the transition, everything drops out except simple chords on the piano and chiming harmonics on the 12-string. Then, things slowly build to the Resurrection final.

Please! Enjoy this latest offering, "Forever"! OR at least for as long as a good listen....

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Friday, March 25, 2016

An Easter Playlist from us to you

An Easter Playlist from us to you

As we celebrate, here is a short 'Easter Playlist'. Included are Mike's new song from the latest EP, "Alive Again" - that's pretty appropriate! Our old group rocker "Roll the Rock Over" is next; it's a live version from 1987 with lower sound, so turn up the volume on that one. Then we have Mike's powerful "Save Me" and finally "Forever": "up from the tomb, rise with Me, rise to eternal splendour".

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Living Waters-style Holy Week

Here are two songs appropriate for this time. First, something that I threw together on GarageBand once, a song I'd had in my head since I was a teen: "A Stand of Courage". It describes the type of selfless, wholly confident hope that Christ modelled and provided through his Passion. The second song, "I Will Go", we recorded in one take live in the early nineties; it's a little uneven in the balance of tracks, but well worth it for capturing our 'live feel' in our prime. It is drawn from one of Isaiah's Suffering Servant passages about that same courage. Here are the lyrics for you:

A Stand of Courage by Mark A. Lajoie
Copyright 2011, RN SR 679-889
Deep in my sor-row and my pain
There still re-mains
A pil-lar of help for a-ny yelp of hu-man mi-ser-y
With help from you and God I'll find out where it lies
And we shall de-fy i-mag-i-na-tion
With a stand of cour-age
A stand of cour-age
With a stand of en-cour-age-ment
With a stand of cou-rage
Yeah, Yeah!
Spi-rit of love, Spi-rit of life
You are the peace with-in our strife
You are the key that sets the cap-tives free
You are the two-edged sword that cuts through all the lies
And we shall de-fy i-mag-i-na-tion
With a stand of cou-rage
He'll be my cou-rage
Won't you be my in-spi-ra-tion
With a stand of cou-rage
Yeah, Yeah!
With a stand of cour-age

by Mark A. Lajoie
Copyright 2011, RN SR 679-889
Let me hear
Let me see
Let me see what I should be
How to be me in you
Let me know
I will go
If you show me
I will fol-low
I will go with you
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
Day by day you o-pen my ear
I have not turned back in my fear
You've shown me how to live
You'll show me how to die
I will go Lord
I will go
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
I gave my back to those who beat me
Know-ing no-thing can de-feat me
I may go so far but you are near
Let me hear!
I will go Lord
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
I will go

Sunday, March 13, 2016

'NOTHer Backing Track! God is With Us

'NOTHer Backing Track! God is With Us

To hear the backing track? click this!:
And to hear the full version with vocals? click this!:

View of the Marist House across from our 505 Pleasant house (where we recorded this)

This is a song that I (Mark) wrote. I wanted to get the effect of chiming bells in the beginning, so I am plucking the C-G-G and then the E-C, with the change from the fifth to the third. And Greg, like some sort of genius decided to add those harmonic hammer-ons, which sound, of course, exactly like bells! (This basic effect is reprised at the end of every chorus.) The verses are in C and choruses in G.

Then Mike CHIMES IN with that da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaah riff that I had composed. I wrote the basic riff, but Mike RAN with it. He did it both on piano and synthesizer. And then he figured out how to continue the effect of the basic riff through all the chord changes, in a way that so sweeeet! so bellissimo! We then mixed the different instruments in a way that perfectly complemented the lyrics of verses and chorus. Mike really is the instrumental star here.

The bridge accomplishes a really cool key change sequence that ends back at the chorus. What Mike managed to do there is just so fantastic; listen to THAT and be amazed. How do you maintain the sense of the basic piano riff while going through all the key changes, meanwhile making it all seem as smooth as silk. I love the baroque-flavored harpsichord thing on the 'Gloria in excelsis deo' segue to the chorus. 

The way Greg chimes in with distortion at just the right times is beautiful, lending power to the key chorus declarations. Listen to Tony on the drums; he is using lower/deeper runs as accents during the chorus, a very nice expert touch, as usual. Dave adds perfect bass runs especially at the end.

I suppose we should mention the funny incident at the end. We were all in the cellar playing certain parts for the lead-in to the end when Mike played that one long C on the synthesizer. What you can't hear is that he was yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHAT'S THE CHORD?!?! WHAT'S THE CHORD!!??!". He finally remembered at the end, but that unintentional held note turned out to be effective and perfect for that spot!

We did some very nice vocal arranging on this, too, so be sure to listen to that. The guys liked to make fun of how I sang, "just LAHK me"! Please, enjoy!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!