New YouTube Channel

Hey everybody! I just wanted to take a quick second and let you know about my brand new YouTube channel exclusively for my compositions and arrangements. I will be uploading videos for all my future pieces and will include applicable links such as score download, audio track downloads, etc. So stop by and subscribe! Be sure to like, share, and comment while you’re browsing, too!

Channel name: Christopher Hodges [Musician] 

 

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I’d love to introduce you to my latest creation! This arrangement of You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch was one of my favorite projects this year. It was also my very first arrangement for piano duet. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to get it recorded before the holidays are over so this software rendering will have to do.

The arrangement takes us through the story of the Grinch. Starting in C Major (when he was mean and thought he was happy) to A minor (as he sinks into self loathing and more downright, nasty, not-niceness), then builds (his transformation) and modulates into A Major when he realizes the true meaning of Christmas.

When I started working on this, I didn’t really intend for it to tell so much of a story but I couldn’t be happier with the direction it ended up going.  I think it’s a great piece for holiday parties, recitals, and concerts. You can download the score here and play it with (and for) your friends. While you’re at it, take a video and post it or send it to me! I’d love here your rendition!

What Hate Considers Might (A Poem)

What Hate Considers Might
(By Chris Hodges)
Guns don’t kill people
but people who shouldn’t have them do

 

I wish we were bullets of love
and we would all go “boom”

 

They want us to be afraid
but I’ll respectfully refuse

 

Fear is not a weapon
I’ll allow them to use

 

I’ll let them take my body
before I give them my mind

 

My soul is their weakness
because it’s love-lined

 

The Lord is my shepherd
He leads through the Valley of Hate

 

I’ll walk straight through
the blood they leave for me as bait

 

Love will win
if only on the other side

 

I will not give into hate
nor will I hide

 

I will not be distracted
by what I think is a right

 

But focus solely on the battle
most humans fight

 

Love is stronger
than what hate considers might

 

And our flames are brighter
than what hate considers light

Hot Cocoa (A Short Film and Score)

I posted this little video (taken directly with the Instagram app) of me making hot chocolate on the first really cold day of autumn. I had to kill the audio due to the rambunctious 6 year old playing in the background. After I posted it, I decided to put some music to it. I originally intended to have a few instruments but when I started working on it, I realize piano was all it needed. So, here it is. I call it “Hot Cocoa.”

Studio Time and New EP

Greetings!

So a couple of months ago, Clint Singleton, Jacob Patillo and myself locked ourselves in a studio in Alabama and recorded six original songs.

We arrived around 4 pm, setup our gear, worked out some audio kinks and started recording instruments and scratch vocals. We all crashed on site and started the vocal sessions not long after 8 am. By 1 pm, we had the vox and overdubs (what few there were – mainly perc) on lock and ready for mixing.

It was a great time of collaboration and creation and it definitely ranks as one of – if not THE – best recording session I have been a part of. I’m so proud of what we accomplished that day and since with post production and design. Fun fact – the cover was designed to be a 10′ vinyl. It’ll be a while before we can make that happen but we made sure it will look good when it does :).

So here it is! The debut EP from The Carolina Stomp, an Americana/Alternative Country trio.

Check out the tracks and, if you dig ’em, head over to your favorite download/streaming service and look us up. Then, share it!

Playing God

It’s ridiculous the number of times that I have heard “sane” people say “I wish I would have had my gun on me” or “They better be glad I wasn’t packin'”when talking about a mild confrontation with someone. It’s also ridiculous the number of “sane” people I know that has actually pulled a gun on someone -over little things like grocery store or highway encounters. Not life threatening events; encounters and mild arguments. These people commonly refer to the other (generally – but not always – of another skin tone) as crazy. They say something like “you never know about people” to justify their action. They fail to see that they are the crazy ones. They are the “people” they just referred to. They just entertained the idea of killing (or, at minimum, grievously injuring) someone. Taking a life. Not to protect their own life but to extend their views and ideals of how someone else should act – especially towards them…you know, because they are the next best thing to God and are due the appropriate respect.

Dylann Roof was just another “sane” crazy person. He was a legal gun owner. Yet his ideals caused him to murder people based on something they had no choice in; something that doesn’t affect the value of a person or their potential to contribute to society. He played God and decided to destroy the worlds of dozens of people with the sole purpose of extending – no, forcing – his own views on the rest of the country. By playing God, he devalued the lives of people God made – for the differences God gave them.

The disconnect is we all think we deserve respect; certain kind or level of respect because we are us. When we rise up with anger over being cut off on the road or otherwise disrespected, we think – in some way or another – “how dare them treat me that way.” The problem is two fold. 1) They (probably) don’t know you. So you are expecting them to play by rules when they don’t even know the name of the game. They don’t even know they are playing. 2) Whatever they did to upset you… I hate to tell you this… You’ve done that same thing to someone else. At some point, you have broken in line. At some point, you have cut off the car behind you. At some point, you have insulted someone and offended him or her to the core of their being. You are just like them.

The ONLY REASON any of us should be respected is because we have been created. It was decided we should exist. That is our common ground. There is no more reason to love each other than the fact that we are all human. The only reason there are more than one of us on this planet is to make life easier for the rest of us.

Guns put power in our hands. A power we aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle. We all have our limits (thresholds are diminished by current situations) and once those are crossed, we lose control and let emotions take over. We use whatever we can reach to prove our point and to right where we feel wronged. We allow ourselves to fall into a mindset that we have to do something. We hide behind the power of guns to shield our insecurities from the change of an evolving world. Behind that (and any other) shield, we start to act on perceived threats and not actual threats. We become paranoid. We become over reactive.

Beliefs, ideals, style, musical taste, how long you grow your fingernails, etc. are inconsequential to the beauty of life. When you think about murder – whatever guise you put it behind – you are pretending you are important enough to hold something as precious and miraculous as life in your hand. You are sentencing someone because of either something they can’t help or a mistake they made that you have likely already made yourself. You are contemplating something that will rob a loved one from God-knows how many people (by the way, you would magically know how many if you were indeed God) and, consequently, alter the directions of their lives.

Life is worth defending; the way you think everyone should live it is not.

 

Success, Redefined.

 

Garden lights cast a warm, yellowish tint on my book and me. The breeze causes my hair to tickle my cheek. I can’t see much through screen except some lights of the city off in the distance. This is probably my favorite room in the house. The floor is slanted like many add-ons to a house this old. The house itself is small. At least, smaller than we need. We struggle to fit our lives into its seven rooms and there’s a dozen or so things I would prefer to add to (or take away from) this house.

I love my car. It’s a little older. A Honda Element – perfect for a musician. The driver side window doesn’t let down. It’s got some creaks and groans but it runs great and saves my gear from being packed into overly tight spaces during the rigors of gig life.

There are about a hundred things (give or take) that I figured would be different about my life at this age (35). When I was 20, I figured I would be a rock star living in New York and touring the world. In my mid twenties, I thought in 10 years I would be raising a kid or two while freelancing and composing (in New York or, at least, the North East). In my late 20s, I was stuck. I didn’t know what I was going to be or do.

Then came my 30s. Particularly, my early and mid 30s.

In my dream job – Music Director at a large modern church – yet struggling with the tension of being in a town I didn’t connect with. Burdened by a need to move and the unsettling awareness that I had no idea where to go. It wasn’t like before when my wife and I would just pick up and move. We had a kid now and it freaked us out.

I was eventually forced to ask myself what I would consider success. What would make me happy?

Not money. Not possessions. Two things: Family. Music.

Music is what I am on Earth to do. Period. I have no doubt about that. I knew that I wanted to be a very present husband and father. The rest? Doesn’t matter. None of it.

We moved to Atlanta. Found this little, wonderful house. It’s small but bigger than a lot of people have. God or the universe or whatever you want to credit keeps me busy doing work I love. The bills are paid and my family and I have, very literally, never been this happy.

So what’s the point?

To be successful, sometimes you have to redefine success. We live simply and transparently. No keeping up with the Joneses. We value family and loving what you do. And we do. Happiness didn’t come until we adapted our lives to fit it.

What is your definition? What you think it is may be what’s stopping you from living your dream. And, ultimately, being happy.

Sunsets and Starlight on the Radio!

Hey everybody! I hope this quick little post finds you well. I also hope I can make the day even better for you 🙂

A little over a year ago, I wrote this little ditty called Sunsets and Starlight. It was inspired by a beautiful time-laps nature video. Even though its released version isn’t the most polished, it has actually seen air time on a couple of European radio stations! Crazy, huh?

See you soon,
CHo

InstaGroove in 7/8 – Interactive!

Today I pushed out a new video to my YouTube channel (it hit my Instagram, too, officially making it an #instagroove). I’ve done several of these short, improvised groove videos but this one is a little unique. It’s got me all giddy and stuff.

On instagram, you will see the 15 second clip of the longer (1:15) video from YouTube. It’s a little ditty in an odd time signature – you guessed it, 7/8 – that I played while I was setting up to write. It wouldn’t leave me alone. It just kept creeping between my fingers and bass strings. So, I laid it down and threw some drums on top of it. Then I got to thinking… If I put this out and make it available for people to add to and play along with, would anybody do it? If so, how awesome could someone – or a bunch of someones – make this sleepy little groove?

So I decided to do an experiment. A collaboration experiment. Not just to see if you guys would help but to see what we could create together.

I posted three versions of the InstaGroove in 7/8 track to a Soundcloud playlist. One is straight bass and drums, one is click (panned Left) and bass (panned Right), and one is click (panned Left) bass and drums (panned Right). They are all downloadable. My hope is that you guys will grab ahold of it, make it your own and pass it on for the next musician, singer, rapper, or whatever. The beauty of it is that anyone can jump in at any level and take it in a new direction! It can split into so many unique projects (and that’s before anyone starts manipulating the original file (looping, cutting, reversing, etc.). Put that in the mix and fughetaboutit.

So what do you say? Wanna be a part of it? Wanna see how this little one minute groove can grow and what it can become? I’d love to have you on board! Here’s what you do –

1) Download the track(s) from Soundcloud.

2) Put it in your preferred software and record your part to it.

3) Make that downloadable on Soundcloud and hashtag it #78InstaGroove

4) Put the audio to a video or image and upload it to YouTube with the #78InstaGroove hashtag

Something like this:

 


That’s it. Also, if you need a file a different way so you can use it, let me know and I will help, if I can.

I can’t wait to see what you guys will come up with!