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10 March 2016

Notes about Ethereal Encounter

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Ethereal Encounter was released in 2012. It’s my second solo album. Here are some notes about it.

Ethereal Encounter is a musical journey through space. For me, it conveys the feelings I had while looking at pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope. I was amazed to see other galaxies with what appeared to be planets swirling around a sun. These photos capture the immensity and vastness of space. The photo on the left appears to capture a shot of planets on their way to an orbit around a sun. As I look at these images of planets swirling around a sun it’s hard for me to understand why some people don’t believe there is a Supreme Being in control of the universe.

I had been debating whether to name the album, Autumn, or Ethereal Encounter. I was having trouble finding a photo of an autumn scene that I could use for an album cover. When I discovered how to create my own galaxy in Photoshop, I settled on calling the album Ethereal Encounter.

Something in the Way

This was originally written as a jingle for a jewelry store. I asked my wife to listen to it before I sent it off to the client. After she finished listening to the 30 second demo, she looked at me and said, “You’re not seriously going to use that as a jingle, are you?.” I thought she hated it. As we discussed the issue further, she said, “That’s too good for a jingle. You should put that on an album and send the jewelry store something else.

And that’s what I did. I created something similar for the jewelry store and re-worked the original version into a song. In the end I’m glad that she talked me into developing it more.

A Love That’s Real

My sister asked me to write and perform a song for her wedding. For some reason, the usual industrial-strength love song didn’t seem appropriate. I decided to write a song about the practical application of love in a relationship. Too often, true love is overlooked or mistaken for infatuation or some other superficial feeling. To me, a love that’s real means that you are willing to do more than your share and not complain about it. It means you’re willing to sacrifice self-focused desires and ambitions for the good of the relationship. That’s what this simple, short song is about.

Wishful Thinking

My mother was taking a dance group to perform in Mexico one year, right after school let out in May. She asked me to come up with something to perform while the dancers were changing costumes. There happened to be a guy that played the flute going on the trip, so I wrote 3 songs for flute and guitar and we performed them at the shows. This was one of the songs, although it has changed somewhat from the original version.

I Think I’m in Love

An earlier version of this song was included on an old album called, Out of Time. A few years ago, I pulled it out, blew the dust off of it and re-wrote parts of it. My wife once asked who it was written for and the answer was that it wasn’t written for anybody. I was single when it was written with no prospects on the horizon. It seems that I stopped writing love songs after I got married. I guess the longing for someone was fulfilled in marriage and the inclination to write love songs had gone dormant. I’ve been re-thinking that frame of mind lately.


When I was working on this album, I needed more material. I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to come up with enough material for a whole album. I happened to sit down at the piano one evening and started doodling. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was coming out, but I think that subconsciously I was trying to find some serenity from the stress I was feeling. As I walked away from the piano, my wife asked me what I was playing. I answered that I didn’t know, it was just coming out. She said that it was very soothing. I sat back down at the piano and started writing. Naturally, the name of the song was, Serenity.

A Walk in the Clouds

This song was created purely by accident. I was in my studio working on something else and suddenly this idea struck me. I was looking for a synthesizer sound and I stumbled on to this wonderful sound of the guitar. I started playing around with it and the idea for this song quickly started forming. It was written and recorded in about 2 hours.


A shorter version of this song was originally the opening for another song. Ultimately, I decided against using it and it has been in my archives for some time. After adding substantially to it, I decided to include it on this album. Because of the fact that it started as the opening to another song, I settled on the name, Prelude. I originally intended for it to be a solo piano piece, but there seemed to be something missing. For some reason, it just had to have drums with it.


Just before Christmas of 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately it was caught early and hadn’t spread. The tumor was removed surgically and I didn’t have to have radiation or chemotherapy. But for a brief period of time in the early months of 2010, I was uncertain how long my future would be. It was a time of serious reflection and soul searching. As I contemplated my uncertain future, I thought about my life. This song captures the feelings I had during those contemplative moments.


When I first started working on this song, it sounded a little too much like, Rain Dance, which is on my previous album, Piano. Some vague similarities are still there, but through some minor changes to the beginning theme it can now stand on it’s own. To me it has a mood that can best be described by its title. I originally named it, Enchanted Forest, because that was what it reminded me of somehow. But what is an enchanted forest? And what would make it enchanted? More important, how do convey musically the idea that it’s a forest without either words or images? I don’t know the answer to those questions, so I dropped forest off of it and called it, Enchanted.


It was not autumn when I wrote this song, but somehow the theme put me in the mood for autumn. The brooding feeling of the song is somehow reminiscent of a wet fall day with damp, multicolored leaves on the ground and the crisp cool air. The quick downward runs at the end of each section remind me of leaves falling from the trees.

Leaving Heaven

A song about a little angel leaving Heaven to be born to a family here on earth seemed to fit the overall ethereal theme of this album. My daughter, Victoria, provided the voice of the child. The song was written some time before my youngest daughter was born. When my wife and I learned that we were expecting a baby girl, we couldn’t even think of a name other than the name of the child in the song – Cheyenne Emily.


Have you ever walked into a dark room and suddenly have shivers down your spine? Those nights when you’re alone and you have a creepy feeling? This song celebrates those moments in a lighthearted way.