Hi--

I just finished this song, and so far have gotten some good feedback from my church.  The feedback is generally that they like this song with mostly acoustic guitar and not necessarily a full band.

What's your take?  Do you think this song is congregational?  Let me know if the song does nothing for you.

Thanks,

Steve

O Blessed Spirit of God

Words and Music Stephen Robert Cass

©2015 Solid Walnut Music / ASCAP

CCLI Song# 7046701

songs@solidwalnut.com

 

 

 

Verse 1

 

Holy Spirit, come and rain on me, lead my thoughts and guide my weary mind

Hear my body cry in honesty, help me now to leave it all behind

Oh come to me and make Your presence known, shower me with fire

 

Verse 2

 

Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me, Jesus told me I could count on You

Fill my heart for all eternity, let me feel the power of Your truth

Oh come to me and make Your presence known, cover me with You

 

Chorus

 

Lord God, my spirit King, You knew before my birth

My heart was made to sing, ”come fill me now, O Blessed Spirit of God”

 

 

Verse 3

 

Holy Spirit, overwhelm my thought, send the mighty river from above

Let me raise my hands above it all, let me ride the waves of endless love

Oh come to me and make Your presence known, flood my thirsty soul

 

 

Bridge

 

O Blessed Spirit come light my fire,

O Blessed Spirit my one desire

Show me the ways of Your holiness,

Send me the power of faithfulness

 

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Okay, don't know if you've seen what happens when I really dig into a song, but take what you need and leave the rest...


The first time I listened to this, I was going to comment on the difficulty of trying to do 5/4 with the congregation, but as I listen again, I can hear that you're doing a 3-3-2 beat.  After five or six listens, I could feel the music, but it still "feels" like it would require a lot of mental counting...


If I was doing this, I think I would make a point of the guitar not hitting that first "D" chord until the start of the new measure, even if the word "me" starts on beat 4 of the previous vision... and I think it would probably also evolve to "on" being a quarter note and "me" just coming in an eighth before the beat.  Same thing throughout... basically, have the instruments maintain a steady 4 & 4 feel, even if the melody is 3 & 3 & 2 over that.  Especially at the start of the song, work on making it clear musically that this is a 4/4 song, and then maybe later in the song you could syncopate a little more.


This was definitely one of those "first hearing" things, by the time I'd heard the song a few times I wasn't hearing it any more, but I'd still suggest you consider making the beat more obvious, at least at the top of the song.  You might also be able to "solve" this by just starting out with a chorus, it's not so syncopated.


Don't know if others are seeing this or not, but on the lead sheet, the tops of the characters are being cut off, which makes the Bm chord look like a Dm...


Some observations on the lyrics...


With the understanding that you may be going for something a bit more Presbyterian than I would... the title and last line "O Blessed Spirit of God" feels a little squishy to me.  Like, something in me wants to get rid of that word "blessed."  Hold out the notes on "Spirit" so that "God" still hits on the 1 of the next bar.  Or just sing "Holy" instead of "Blessed."


Verse 1, I know that "leave it all behind" is a phrase that means a certain thing, but hearing it in the song, I was kinda thrashing around to figure out what "it" that line was referring to.  


It felt a little clumsy in v2 to refer to Jesus in a third-person way when the song is addressed TO the holy spirit... I realize this brings up various trinitarian questions, but in the chorus "Lord God" is addressed as "you" and it just felt weird to have that line about "Jesus told me..."


Verse 3 (and this will show how picky I'm being here) how about "like a mighty river" instead of "send the mighty river."  The word "the" bothered me at first because we haven't really established "what river?" earlier in the song.  And then as I thought about it a little more, "send" started to seem like the wrong word, too.


All of which is some pretty small, subtle stuff, but I think the song is at that point, where that's all it needs.  I like that it is consistent in theme, it has a pretty specific message and is (almost) consistent in being addressed TO God (or God's various bits, as the case may be).


Putting on my "WL in search of songs" shoes for a moment... when I first saw the title and listened to the recording, I would have passed over the song... but once I figured out what's going on rhythmically and (for me, anyway), if it was okay with you to get rid of that one word, I'm feeling more like, yeah, this is something that would work, maybe put it in the rotation during Pentecost season next year.  Yes, it would work for a congregation, but the arrangement needs to make it clear where the rhythm is.

Charles--

Thanks so much for your thoroughness.  This is the way I critique, as well, and I really appreciate it.  I will be filing your comments into any rework thoughts along with others I've also received.

I shouldn't try and explain some of the nuances in the lyric, for, as the saying goes, if you have to explain the lyric, then you didn't do the proper job of writing it!  But just know that overall, the thought for the verses is to be showered by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And the third person reference of Jesus is when Jesus said in John 16:7 that "unless I go away, the Counselor cannot come to you".  

So I agree in understanding your confusion around the lyric also with another critiquer who believes there are too many ideas in this lyric for clarity's sake.  The other overall idea is from John 4:23, "God is spirit, and he must be worshipped in spirit and in truth".  God, the spirit king, Jesus, God in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit, the Helper.  It probably is too large of a topic for a single lyric, but attempts to focus on the continual receiving of the power of the Holy Spirit.

The emotional/situational setting is that of a person who comes to escape the week and to experience the Holy Spirit.

Charles, you can use the song however you like and change whatever you would like in order to make it work for you.  I'm not seeing the Bm chop.

Thanks,

Steve

Charles Wolff said:

Okay, don't know if you've seen what happens when I really dig into a song, but take what you need and leave the rest...


The first time I listened to this, I was going to comment on the difficulty of trying to do 5/4 with the congregation, but as I listen again, I can hear that you're doing a 3-3-2 beat.  After five or six listens, I could feel the music, but it still "feels" like it would require a lot of mental counting...


If I was doing this, I think I would make a point of the guitar not hitting that first "D" chord until the start of the new measure, even if the word "me" starts on beat 4 of the previous vision... and I think it would probably also evolve to "on" being a quarter note and "me" just coming in an eighth before the beat.  Same thing throughout... basically, have the instruments maintain a steady 4 & 4 feel, even if the melody is 3 & 3 & 2 over that.  Especially at the start of the song, work on making it clear musically that this is a 4/4 song, and then maybe later in the song you could syncopate a little more.


This was definitely one of those "first hearing" things, by the time I'd heard the song a few times I wasn't hearing it any more, but I'd still suggest you consider making the beat more obvious, at least at the top of the song.  You might also be able to "solve" this by just starting out with a chorus, it's not so syncopated.


Don't know if others are seeing this or not, but on the lead sheet, the tops of the characters are being cut off, which makes the Bm chord look like a Dm...


Some observations on the lyrics...


With the understanding that you may be going for something a bit more Presbyterian than I would... the title and last line "O Blessed Spirit of God" feels a little squishy to me.  Like, something in me wants to get rid of that word "blessed."  Hold out the notes on "Spirit" so that "God" still hits on the 1 of the next bar.  Or just sing "Holy" instead of "Blessed."


Verse 1, I know that "leave it all behind" is a phrase that means a certain thing, but hearing it in the song, I was kinda thrashing around to figure out what "it" that line was referring to.  


It felt a little clumsy in v2 to refer to Jesus in a third-person way when the song is addressed TO the holy spirit... I realize this brings up various trinitarian questions, but in the chorus "Lord God" is addressed as "you" and it just felt weird to have that line about "Jesus told me..."


Verse 3 (and this will show how picky I'm being here) how about "like a mighty river" instead of "send the mighty river."  The word "the" bothered me at first because we haven't really established "what river?" earlier in the song.  And then as I thought about it a little more, "send" started to seem like the wrong word, too.


All of which is some pretty small, subtle stuff, but I think the song is at that point, where that's all it needs.  I like that it is consistent in theme, it has a pretty specific message and is (almost) consistent in being addressed TO God (or God's various bits, as the case may be).


Putting on my "WL in search of songs" shoes for a moment... when I first saw the title and listened to the recording, I would have passed over the song... but once I figured out what's going on rhythmically and (for me, anyway), if it was okay with you to get rid of that one word, I'm feeling more like, yeah, this is something that would work, maybe put it in the rotation during Pentecost season next year.  Yes, it would work for a congregation, but the arrangement needs to make it clear where the rhythm is.

Here's what the lyric looks like on my monitor - I suspect that you're using a font that I don't have on my computer and the font isn't embedded in the .pdf file, my computer tried to substitute a font and it didn't quite work.  You can see in the title how an upper-case B gets chopped off.  Thank you for letting me know I can "use the song however I like..."   If I have a little time, I'll try recording a version of how I might do it a little differently.

I'll need to make sure that the fonts are embedded, thanks.

Hmm, when I open it in Firefox (even after clearing cache), it has those clipped characters, but if I download and open in acrobat or pdf reader, it looks okay...

I wonder what it is about Firefox....

Here's a demo version I recorded that emphasizes the 4/4 beat more (the melody is pretty much the same, but the chord changes happen on the 1 beat) and also includes a few lyric tweaks that I would make if we were going to do this with our band, see my comments above for the wayfore on most of the changes.  Vocals are not the most bestest, our lead singer at church is an alto, so we do most of our songs pretty low, and now and then I can't quite get down to the notes.

Anyway, enjoy or not.  If you can't download this .mp3 (seems like I used to be able to download the mp3 files, but can't anymore, hooray for DR-40 mini recorders :-), let me know and I'll put it somewhere where you can get at it.  If you want to :-)

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Bravo!!  Quite lovely.   I really enjoyed your interpretation.  The music didn't sound much different to me, except I get what you mean about more emphasis on 4/4.  What you did fills my heart with joy. I very much appreciate that.

I actually love your lyrical tweaks.  I am going to consider some for any re-write.

You're welcome.  If I may, I would suggest focusing on making the chorus lyrics flow and speak... make the chorus really nail down the message of the song.  Especially if the song is going to start out with the chorus, like my recording did...

Glad this cleared up what I meant about the 4/4 vs 3/3/2 timing.

For the record, you are welcome to "keep" any of the lyric tweaks I made and I don't expect any co-writer credit or anything.

For the record, you are welcome to "keep" any of the lyric tweaks I made and I don't expect any co-writer credit or anything.

Thanks Charles, for your efforts and your input.

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