Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The New Album: "City of Joy"...AGAIN

The New Album: "City of Joy"...AGAIN!

Our newest album has roots in our previous work. One of the strongest tethers of connection is our song, "City of Joy". It was partially inspired by the book of that name and also by the appearance of the Christ child to St. Francis at the first live creche scene in Greccio, Italy, in 1222. The live version we did was included on both "Refresh" AND "The Joy"! That is a little low in volume, but the performance was scintillating. The drive of bass, guitar and drums was perfect, and I don't think we ever performed the vocals better...and it all got caught on tape! Here is that version: 

"City of Joy (live)" on Spotify

In the early 90's, we tried to capture the song on multi-track. In fact, the album we never did quite finish at that time was going to be named "City of Joy". This version was definitely not as good in comparison with the live version, but I include it here for comparison purposes:

On that intended album, I (Mark) had had an idea of doing a short 'Reprise' of "City of Joy" at the end of the album. In recent years, I worked up exactly how that would have sounded, if we'd managed to record it. And now! We end our latest album with this very Reprise, only delayed by about 20 years! Here is that latest work!

This song has gotten quite a response. My favorite comment is this: "Listening to City Of Joy now, I hear a blend of vocal harmonies most of us can only dream of..." Thanks so much, guys!
— The Stonehouse Band

True joy lies in total sacrificial devotion to ever-flowing Mercy of the Lord's Heart. Nothing can be truer or more real or more beautiful. His Joy and Mercy are "Still Flowing" for YOU!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Very Valentine Videos!

Very Valentine Videos!

For the feast of St. Valentine, who died for love of God and neighbor on February 14, 270 AD, Living Waters offers you two videos which celebrate 'forever' married love in Christ. The first is Mark & Julia's first dance, a song written by Mark. The second is a brand new love song by Mike, "Stay!". Enjoy in good spiritual health.....

"This Loving Stream" First Dance! Click this to watch on Reverbnation!

And when I first did see your face
Time and space stopped drift-ing by
And in your eyes I saw a trace
of that for which Man's Lov-er laid down his life

Where does this lov-ing stream flow?
You know it's say-ing 'Go with me! Go with me!'
For I feel an end-less hun-ger to be free in life
And I re-a-lize I love you
I love you

And when I first drank from the well
I could-n't tell you all the sweet-ness that I found
And as we come to know it well
Two ri-vers flow-ing now will join as one

Where does this lov-ing stream flow?
You know it's say-ing 'Go with me! Go with me!'
For I feel an end-less hun-ger to be free in life
And I re-a-lize I love you
I love you

"Stay!", a love song by Michael McBride from our new album, "Still Flowing".

Happy St. Valentine's Day!
Peace & LOVE & Joy,
Mark LaJOIE!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The New Album: "Let Me In"...AGAIN!

The New Album: "Let Me In"...AGAIN!

There are several tendrils of connection between our latest album and our rich past. For instance, there is "City of Joy", the live version of which was included on both of our classic recording albums, "Refresh" and "The Joy", which is now a Reprise at the end of this album. Deep roots! In this posting, let us take notice that Mike's excellent tune, "Let Me In" has been re-born into a new mold. It was a real staple in our early 80's touring days, and a wonderful version of that has been captured for posterity on our "Refresh" album. (Here that is:  Let Me In on Refresh.) I just loved the way we did it in those days. I actually played bass, but that didn't get picked up much on this live version. Greg is certainly at his best in this song on guitar. It has deep roots for Mike personally, among the earliest that came to him, and now expresses a new thought. And it is a new beautiful blossom that has deep Living Waters roots, as well.

In this new version, a totally new, more modern, more polished effect is achieved. This track opens with real sound of actual flowing or living waters, right? (You can hear water sounds and references in "Booze Blues Cruise", as well, by the way!) Before you listen to the song, I thought you might like to see a video extract of a track in process. In this video, you see Greg and Josh laying down electric guitar tracks that you can hear about two thirds of the way through on the song. Pretty cool! Here it is:


The result is that the vibrant new song of a very young Mike becomes the rich, mature song of a Mike come into his own. So, without further ado, from the album "Still Flowing", here is the newest version of "Let Me In" by Mike McBride!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mark & Mike Songwriting Patterns!

Eighties Mark is on the left with the mustache and hair; on the right, Mike in 1995 or so

Mark & Mike Songwriting Patterns!

Celebrating forty years and just putting out a new collection, it is notable that, right from the beginning, we always had a dual songwriting team, Mike McBride and myself, Mark Lajoie. (I've jokingly compared our 'L & M' team, 'Lajoie & McBride', to 'Lennon & McCartney' before!) I noticed an interesting pattern for Mike and myself throughout all the years. I can draw a line for each of us through these years, writing a particular style of song.

For myself, I've written a series of four blues-based or rock n roll type songs over the whole time. They are an early one, "Roll the Rock Over", 80's core concert song, "It's Not the Same" and the more recent "Booze Blues Cruise" and "Do What He Tells you To Do". I don't think I ever noticed this before. I've always been aware of how the Beatles affected us both in our vocals and songwriting, but there is a definite blues-y thing happening with Mark Lajoie. What do you think?

Next, I've noticed that Mike is continuing a pattern of epic, piano ROCK-type classics. His initial prototypical concert-style breakthrough was the truly epic "Searching". That thing rocks! Well, he just continued this with the masterpiece, "Lonely Dancer" and has continued the pattern lately with "Take Me" and "Save Me From Myself". That thing rocks, too doesn't it?! 

Each pattern is a definite flow, I would say. I would further say, that both catalogs in their entirety together flow just as well, as if it was meant to be. Well, it was!

I was especially gratified that, in our most recent reunion concert, we performed, as a whole band, a brand new composition from each one of us:  "Do What He Tells You to Do" AND "Save Me From Myself". That was just so awesome.

Thanks to all of you who have listened, watched and appreciated. If you are so inclined, you could do something to spread or promote this music.

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

“Take Me” on Video!

Take Me Video (Click this to go to LivingWatersUTube)
Take Me Video on Reverbnation


We are so happy to present a new video for Mike’s beautiful song, “Take Me”. It is the second track in our new collection, “Still Flowing”, and it is a thematic and sonic tone-setter for the whole album. When Mike ‘came back’ to us, he was finally free to let out a torrent of fantastic musical expression and this was the first big result. On the album, the song flows quite naturally into the next song, “Home is Where the Heart Is”, as it expresses that yearning to “take me home with You”.
Mike told me the trigger for the song was the awful shootings at the theater in Colorado, and then what happened at our own Boston Marathon. (I’ve included photos from those incidents.) It is about that terrible pain when you lose someone you love, and, yet, your deep knowledge of the Lord lets you know they’re all right. And you want to be with them, but, more, your heart wants to beat with that Heart Who is the Unbeatable Source of all goodness, truth and beauty, the Heart that provides this ideal solace in the first place.

I tried to express all this in the pictures I chose for the collage. Included is a famous picture of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati climbing the mountain cliff; his saying was “verso l’alto” (“to the top” or "to the highest”). He wanted the Lord to take Him home, by making every effort, by His Grace, to be holy, to love and give to the poor all the way. I also have a relevant saying of Saint Therese: “The world’s thy ship and not thy home”. Both of these are modern young people who died in an untimely manner at 24 years old. (I hadn't realized this till after the video was done!) This is perfect for this song and gives us hope in the middle of senseless tragedy. The theme is quite appropriate to this “Year of Mercy” and provides the Gospel answer to the accelerating violence and dehumanization in the world today.

So, without further ‘adieu’, I present to you the video for “Take Me”.

Peace & Love & JOY,

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Album! "Still Flowing"

New Album! "Still Flowing"

*Now on all major sites!

This is a collection of some of our recent work. Josh Loell has been the producer on most of these, doing a real pro job especially on Mike's songs. A few I had worked up only on Garageband with some help from Josh, so the quality is somewhat uneven, but I think these are all worth hearing. One special treat is a full-band live version of "Home is Where the Heart Is"; that is special! 

There is a theme: this is not shying away from 'negative' feelings and situations, but discovering that that is precisely where Our Merciful Lord is found. There is the struggle with alcoholism in "Booze Blues Cruise", the desperation and loss of "Take Me", dealing with death & loneliness, the need to be saved from oneself, the realization we are all sinners, the realization I need to be a Good Samaritan, and so on. Bono had recently said he wished Christian rock bands today could 'get real'. I really think this does that.

The picture was taken at the Falls of Song in New Hampshire and is oh so appropriate, n'est-ce pas?

The title is not only a reference to the fact that we've been continuing to make & play music. It is a deep realization that the grace flowing from his pierced Heart is continuing to flow uniting our faith family in the midst of all our troubles, & that nothing can ever stop it. It is Living Waters, man!

Please, listen, come to this is still FLOWing for you....

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pictures R U, LW! Late 80's+

Last time, we published an entry featuring pictures of us from the early 80's. In this episode, we will look, in particular, at the late 80's & early 90's. As I noted before, this task of showing group pictures had already been done in a sense in the video for "Love's in a Name". That video is here:

As the 80's progressed, we continued to be very active, going out in our bus just about every weekend, but, after 1986 or so, without Mike. Another factor was that we were all getting married and starting families at this time. That means many Living Waters children, whom I dubbed, "puddles"! Chuck & Joyce and Tony & Denise were already married. (Mike & Sharon, our first real married couple had left the active group and were having children.) All the other LW families formed then. Dave & Kathy, Mark & Julia, John & Joyce (not in the pic below) and Anne & Greg, all got married in quick succession, and Jim married our dance foundress, Ann-Marie. Jackie, Chris R. and little Mark were the first in a growing list of "puddles".

Some others had left the active group like the Foucres or the Gagnons, but once you had been in Living Waters, you were always part of it, somehow. In this picture below, we also see several co-workers of happy memory who were new to the group at this time, like Miles, Cindy, Kevin, Joe and Don; their families & friends became part of us. Living Waters wouldn't have been what it was without their unique and unforgettable presence. In view of all this, the picture below is a treasured slice of this wonderful time.

Here we are outside the 505 Pleasant House circa 1988, near Betsy the Bus. Front row: Miles, Cindy, Carole, Anne & Greg, Don Morrier, Denise; middle: Joyce with Chris, Joline, Jeff, Kevin, Mark with little Mark & Julia, Tony, Kathy & Dave with little Jackie, Pepi; back left: Ann-Marie & Dave & Jim Babish, Chuck (behind his Joyce) and Joe D.
One thing about our weddings of this time is that they were Living Waters weddings, featuring our own tunes and style. We began to do many weddings for Bourque relatives and many others as well. This remains a key part of who we are to this day. It reminds me of something like the Von Trapps, a musical family, bound by sacred oaths to God. (Several of our past members had also given their lives by becoming presbyters, like Bob, Danny & Mike Higgins; they remain part of this faith family.) This very weekend, we are set to do the wedding for Dave & Kathy's son, Matthew, featuring John & Joyce's daughter Caroline singing. The beat goes on!

Mark sings "Perfect Gift Song" at his marriage to Julia 1986
Left: Mike Higgins, in charge of TOR Franciscans in Rome at one point; right: Danny, missionary in Mexico

We should throw in a classic picture from right before this other one, when we sort of went to a formal look with fancy shirts and colored dresses. This picture allows us to mention a few other members we had in the 80's. In the front left we see Joan, whom we haven't mentioned, and peeking in the back is Chrissy, the star of the "Prodigal Daughter". Front & right is our beloved Mary Gillis; we played music for her funeral, and recently, also, for Cheryl.

As the 80's turned into the 90's, we moved our large equipment from Holliston to the nearby Sons of Mary, across Route 9 in Framingham. It was there that we had one of the best Christmas concerts we ever did captured by Jim on tape. This was the source of a couple of the live tracks we put on our recent Christmas album, "The Joy". (There is a link to those songs below, the "Christmas Live" playlist.) We were also spending time in the hall recording some of our concert standards of this time. The gem of that session is undeniably, "Love's in a Name". "Let's Stay" was always the next to last song leading to "Nobody Else" as the closer, in those days. (There is also a playlist with these songs below.)

The Sons of Mary in Framingham, where we were based in the early 90's
Here are the links to the recordings of those days:
The Sons Sessions
Christmas Live

It around the mid-90's that the group 'ended' as a regular touring band, due to the pressures of families, jobs and other issues. However, the group never really totally 'ended'. In the early 90's, we also recorded "Peter the Rock", did a concert with Mike in 1995 at Sheepgate Coffeehouse, reviving many old songs, and continued to do sporadic concerts, weddings and such until the present time. Further, each of us bloomed where we were planted providing our music talents to our own churches. Around 2011, a whole new era would dawn with the entrance of the band to the internet, and brand new songs and recording. Stay tuned for the next episode!