Home Music Articles Forums Blog Chat More...      

Merton's Prayer (work-in-progress with Jim Bouchard)



 Genre: Folk-Rock

Get Flash to see this player.

Hi to all my old friends and also to those of you who have just randomly happened upon this page. Be forewarned before you listen to this song, this is a WORK IN PROGRESS and I'm not responsible for any bodily injury or death that occurs from listening to it in its unfinished state. :)

I'm 40 today and, shortly after I joined Macjams at the ripe old age of 35, SlimGirlFat had her 40th. Alimar organized a huge site-wide collaboration in honor of her birthday called, SlimGirThat (http://www.macjams.com/song/12370) I remember thinking at the time, "I wonder if I'll still be posting songs at Macjams when I'm 40?" At the time I wasn't too sure, but I guess the answer is YES, and who can blame me? You guys are fantastic and being part of Macjams has truly been life-changing for me. Checking out a list of the contributors to Slimmie's song, I can see a lot of you felt the same way. Tons of people who sang or played on SlimGirlThat are still highly active members of MJ's. (Drakonis, I'm looking at you ;-) )

I have had probably the busiest and most stressful last year of my life. Some of it was positive, some of it was pretty dark, but it didn't leave much time or energy for music. I worked with illuminati when I could on music for The Orbiting and privately I dinked around with this song, Merton's Prayer, that I intended to finish completely by myself, because it had been a very long time since I had worked on a project alone.

What was funny was that, as I wrote it, I kept hearing voices of friends from here, or wanting to add things because it reminded me of someone. The Drums on Demand I use here were a gift from alley-oop . I'm playing in Open D because he taught me about open tunings. The outer-space sounds come from goofing with a software synth that michael2 was big on at the time and Jim Bouchard was going through a spacey-sounds phase which inspired me. I don't think there's a single Orbiting track that doesn't have Meringue on it somewhere and I used it on the guitar at the bridge. I played with changing the DOD sounds, but then I realized they reminded me of perceptualvortex so much I didn't want to. I have never once touched a drum track without hearing Pie's voice in my ear. I put the whistling sound in on purpose because my friend Electro Estate is the best whistler I know and he and I started making music at about the same time and if he hadn't believed in me so much at the beginning who knows if I would have kept doing it.

The lyrics of the song are based on Merton's Prayer by Thomas Merton (http://koti.mbnet.fi/amoira/merton1.htm) which may surprise those of you that know me as a big fat atheist, but I identify with the theme of trying to find my way in life and having a deep understanding that I'm not alone. Some of you have helped me immeasurably during tough times, sometimes with your music, sometimes with your friendship. For me this is a song about having someone on your side and loving them for it.

I had intended to finish this song all by myself, but I was talking to Jim one day and shared an in-progress version of this with him and he sent me back a copy of an mp3 with him playing some awesome bass on the song, which instantly elevated the entire thing and I realized I could be stubborn or I could have a better song, so he very graciously then played a bass track for the whole song.

The song unfortunately isn't finished as you'll hear. The mix is a mess, the guitars need replaying and re-recording. The lead vocal was sung through once and never comped. The whole thing is a little too complicated and needs some stripping back, IMHO, but unfortunately my hard drive died at the beginning of December and I lost the Logic file for this song. This mp3 is the only exisiting version of this song and if I don't post it like this, no one will ever hear it, since I can't face the idea of starting all over with it. Since, I wrote it for you guys, most of all, I think that would be a shame, so I'm posting this imperfect thank you to say thanks for the last five years. I can only do that because I'm 40 and part of what I learned at macjams is that it's okay not to be perfect.

Joe, most of all, this one's for you. :)

Thanks you guys. I miss you!

(P.S. ElectroEstate took that photo of me.)
Leave a Comment
You must be registered and logged-in to comment.
Don't know where I'm going,
can't see the road ahead,
don't know for certain where it'll end.

Don't really know myself,
or if I'm following your will,
but I hope I'm doing so.

But everything I do is meant to make you smile.
And I hope you know that's my only desire.

Lead me by the right road,
though I don't know where I am,
and I will trust you to show me where to go.

Though I may seem lost
in my darkest moments,
I will not fear, for you are with me.

And everything I do is meant to make you smile.
I hope you know that's my only desire.

Don't known where I'm going,
but I know you'll lead me,
trust you to take me,
where I need to go.

And everything I do is meant to make you smile,
everything I do is meant to make you smile
and I hope you know that's my only desire.

(don't really know myself, don't really know myself)

Song Stats
Hits: 7227
Comments: 55
Fans: 55
Plays: 696
Downloads: 135

Uploaded: Feb 05, 2010 - 05:55:44 PM
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2010 - 03:58:47 PM Last Played: Jul 11, 2019 - 12:35:47 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons

Song Actions
share on facebook share on twitter download song
iMac G5, PreSonus Firebox, Rode Nt-1a, worlds crappiest acoustic guitar played with a purple plastic pick, Purple Fender Stratocaster with pink daisy strap.
Logic Studio, Blue, Albino, Meringue, Drums on Demand
Skean said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
There you are, lovely voice as always, this come to be just perfect... I hope you guys will post the finally piece too.

Happy Birthday, cheers :D
Check out my latest song called Dusk and gone
Skean said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
I did not read all here but I saw your post in the forum :( I feel sad for you, not fun at all w HD crash... Anyway thanks for sharing this and take good care of you.
Check out my latest song called Dusk and gone
ledebutant said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
Nice to see you :)
Thank you, Kenta. I could always count on you. :-)
mikkinylund said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Great to see you, and to hear you! Happy Birthday!!!
A beautiful song, with great vocal arrangements (but they're a little bit too low mixed). I think songs has their joy and passion, without being super-mixed, which this one for sure does, this sound great to me. And, once again, Happy Birthday and welcome to the 40s (it's a great society to be in really)!
Check out my latest song called Rune XV
ledebutant said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
I agree, Mikki. 40's not so bad and I spent most of last year pretending I was 40 so I wouldn't be shocked. Thanks for listening. :)
Jim Bouchard said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
So glad you posted this!
I wondered what happened to it. And I actually think it's pretty good as it is, without further refinement. I think the bass part came pretty easily as there's a really nice flow to this song, among all the little twists and turns in it. I thought we were going to pursue this further but now listening to it after so much time has passed, I don't know if it really needs it. It's just such a nice sentiment and a nice comfortable arrangement (not the tightest of arrangements but loose-limbed and friendly)that it's pretty darn nice just as it is. Happy Birthday!
Check out my latest song called Big Yawn (Apogee One mic demo)
ledebutant said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
I'm so grateful to you for playing on this goofy little song of mine and it really was magical how your bass really pulled everything together. Lord knows my acoustic playing needed something to help loosen the song up. For some dorky reason I decided to commit to record the first time I'd ever played a whole song with a pick and it was all I could to just play in time. Sometimes when I listen to this, I just pay attention to the bass and it really has such an organic, musical feel. You're magic, Jim. Whether we pick it up down the line or we leave it as a snapshot in time, I'm glad to have shared it with you. :)
Scott Carmichael said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
I miss that voice
Hey but it's not like you pulled your stuff off... I love the dreamy etherial quality... I really think the mix has real punch... I'd like to hear your voice up front a tad more... just a tweek....

you'll always make me smile...

Check out my latest song called He Has Passed this Way
ledebutant said 3541 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Thanks, Scott. Agree that moving the vocal up would be a good idea. I will probably redo this one someday. I don't like it that the vocal was really my scratch vocal. This isn't even the final melody I had in mind.

Glad to hear I'm still making you smile. :)
packosmokes said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Now that's just great... a bit of pop flare, acoustic goodness, great lyrics and a powerful performance, despite not being polished over. It's like a great demo so being a bit rough around the edges doesn't bother me at all.

My name happens to be Joe, so most of all this is for me. ;)

Happy birthday and great to see (hear) you again!
Check out my latest song called The Future
ledebutant said 3541 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Of COURSE it's for you, and you were on the Slimmie song, as well. Thanks for saying you like it. I managed to convince myself that it could be a demo, so I'm glad to hear someone else saw it that way, too. :)
jiguma said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
I'll listen later. Great to see you back Lisa! Happy Birthday.
Check out my latest song called Le Chemin De La Vie
magnatone said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
so GREAT to see something new from you. love your work with jim. sorry to hear about your HD crash, that so sucks. maybe it's not done, maybe it is - who knows about these things? very much enjoyed - your voice is always such a treat!
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Variations
ledebutant said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
You're right that it may not be done. I've picked up songs years down the road, so this could be one of those. I kind of hope so.

It's always such a joy to see you. Thanks for taking the time. :)
Cameron said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Great As Is
Your musicality shines through on this tune, "imperfect" or not. The musical message is clear, and you provide a very interesting variety of sounds which make this an enjoyable ride.

Here's hoping that the coming year is much, much kinder to you, Lisa, and that you are able to hang out with the ol' MJ gang more often!
Check out my latest song called Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano
ledebutant said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
Thanks for saying you like it and thanks for the years of support, Cameron. I really hope I can get back here to hang more this year!
Go_Turtle_Go said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
good to see you back
and stop being so insecure about your...song...
a solid collab, a solid voice and solid guitar playing. also, what a wonderful picture of you, strong and full of life. it shows that you have a good life, with EE. Very very nice! Happy birthday sister! And greetings to the hubby (?), EE. Btw, tell him that his music has been played on soma.fm (!!!). ciao, Marc
Check out my latest song called WFM
ledebutant said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
Thanks for the very sweet comment. I should clear up that EE and I are just friends, though he will make someone a wonderful 'hubby' some day. :) You're groovy, Marc.
drakonis said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Isn't it funny
How much the entire WORLD misses you? And soaks up the beautiful music you make. And yes, I hear that your voice could be mixed a little more up front in spots, but overall, this is the usual high-caliber stuff I expect from you, even without the refinements.

Boy, I sure wish I looked like that at 40... well, maybe not, I'd be really confused. :-) Happy Birthday, keep that gorgeous smirk through it all.

Check out my latest song called Miwok
ledebutant said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
You're right, Dragon Boy. If you looked like me at 40, you'd have a lot of 'splainin to do at home. You are so sweet and I miss you all so much, too! xL
dave_b said 3546 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Merton's Prayer
The first thing that struck me was the terrific tone on the acoustic - hard to believe it's the "worlds crappiest acoustic" :)
Beautiful vocals, really pretty melody, and Jim's bass is really holding things down. Thanks for posting, really enjoyed this one.

Check out my latest song called Llarions Blues
jiguma said 3546 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
I'm back for a listen. LOTS to like here Lisa - love the vocals and instrumentation, and it's a nice tune as well. Yes, there are mixing glitches and a few little bits that could be tidied, but to me it's a wonderful sound you've built. The looseness in the arrangement is a positive, not negative aspect of this - given a situation where your HD suddenly bursts back into life, you could bring the vocal up a bit, and there are a few places where one or two instruments are a little stilted, but the end result is that it sounds like a great band at a live gig.
You could have sung anything and I'd have been happy, but this is a great vehicle for your "big MJ comeback"!
Great to see you back around the place Lisa - a real pleasure.
Happy Birthday from Oz!
Check out my latest song called Le Chemin De La Vie
Mcboy said 3545 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
Happy B;day Lisa
happy to hear u again.....this is sounding mighty good....mighty great.....interesting use of the writings of merton..u r voice gives it a really haunting beautiful treatment.....jims bass cements everything together and moves it forward quite nicely...i remember when i posted the info on the meringue plugin and jim thanked me ...hehhe...and i remember when i got my gmail thanks to ur invite....and i remember all ur beautiful music.!!!! don't stop!!!
Check out my latest song called Bluesphemy (MJRF 2010)
particledots said 3545 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
nice in its 'rough' state
will be brilliant in its polished and finished state

love the lanois-like flourishes
Check out my latest song called I caught my scarf in the sputnik
Diviner said 3545 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
Happy Birthday Lisa
You certainly don't look 40, you look alot less. This is a really nice track and cannot wait for it to be mastered. You can hear the potential in this, and its great. Take care.
Check out my latest song called Away ft Lokka
illuminati said 3544 days ago (February 7th, 2010)
I've always thought this was a beautiful
piece of music, showcasing your electro-folk talents. Shame on that hard drive for depriving us all. I hope this gets you back on the swing a bit as far as music making goes. I hear on good authority that other band of yours has some music in the works.
BirdmanWayne94 said 3544 days ago (February 7th, 2010)
In any...
... way, it's great to hear your voice again. Lovely track. Can't wait for the final version!
Check out my latest song called Groove #7 (SoloMe-o Challenge)
Peter Bauckham said 3544 days ago (February 7th, 2010)
but still rather good. Good to have something new from you - and a belated happy birthday!

Check out my latest song called Reality TV MJRF2010
ktb said 3544 days ago (February 7th, 2010)
Merton's Prayer
Happy BD Lisa. This tune is a delight. Makes me wishful that you'll have an opportunity to record more this coming year.

I know you mention wip, but the relative sparseness gives it a sparkle all its own. That photo is a CD cover! Thanks for sharing this
Check out my latest song called Blackwater (by Tokai)
lengold said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
We miss you more!
So great to hear you again Lisa and hope you had a great birthday.
This doesn't sound far off being finished to me. Wonderful song and great performance. Lovely.

Check out my latest song called Decent Girl
blaky smith said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
What a great surprise ! So glad to see you back Lisa and so great to hear you ! Nice post. It's a very beautiful song. I love the instrumentation and the vocals are excellent. A pleasure to listen.
I'm late but, Happy Birthday !
Check out my latest song called Un jour de décembre
guygrooves said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
To have you back. Great song and great performance for a work in progress. Vocal is to far back in the mix for my taste. Happy birthday btw... and for what it's worth I never would have guessed you were 40. I am impressed you are as comfortable as you are with it.
Check out my latest song called Last Day Here 1998
Ed Hannifin said 3543 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
This is cool....
...even in its roughness...

Mostly I just want to carve out a little place for the vocals, and bring them up.... And have you post the lyrics.... Your vocals are always the center of what you do, so that would be the desired change.... The opening is nicely vulnerable and true, as is the so-o-o...

I really like the strummy guitar... That's you in the open D? I think it sounds really neat.... You ought to do a few more things where your guitar has a little prominence...

You and your varied partners always seem to have a great sense of soundscape, and this is no exception. Lots of atmosphere and ambience... Nice bass, excellent drums...

Mind you, you sing to God as if singing to an occasionally disappointing boyfriend, but I guess there's something appropriate in that...

It's very nice seeing you 'round here again...

Check out my latest song called Chime (Alone) (Inspired by Particle Dots)
billykirsch said 3542 days ago (February 9th, 2010)
Unfinished? This is just beautiful. I prefer fresh to perfect.
Love your voice and it's great to hear it again.
Check out my latest song called Everything
alley-oop said 3541 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Wonderful, wonderful song. I did my homework and read Merton’s prayer, too.
This is very listenable, i.e. It sounds really nice. The tone of your voice is both lovely and unique. Can’t teach that.
Your liner notes seem to indicate you were not pleased with outcome of the song. I can’t understand why you think the production/mixing was off. The way intruments are introduced, the interplay between them and your voice (voices) is exceptional. It really floores me how good it all works.
The song builds from small little tones and one voice to a full, rich ensemble. The instruments and electronic tones sound wonderful against each other. There’s a shifting, undulating quality that seems effortless and at the same time quite sophisticated. The guitar is tasty, no need to change. You play the perfect amount without over or underplaying. The guitar sounds very rich (got to love those open chord tunings)
Drum mix smokes. Jim Bouchard’s bass is pro all the way.
There are parts I really enjoy; for example when you sing the oh-oh-oh parts. Very Ledebutant-ish. And I like the sparse guitar and drum interlude/change-up further into the piece. It’s cool and synchopated.
note: I could be totally wrong about the song’s message because I am listening to the lyrics and not * ahem* reading them.
To me, the song has a universal message that resonates goodness; be good to others, think about others, do things to lift the spirits of others. Be unselfish/selfless.
This is the true essence of spirituality. Perhaps the best part of religion is it tries to teach the humans to be spiritual. Since I’m a big fat athiest too, I think what is essential about being human is what you’re singing about.
a keeper, on the ipod
Check out my latest song called rain
Willywagga said 3540 days ago (February 11th, 2010)
Belated Happy Birthday. Geez I thought you were only about twenty two, I'm shocked. This song is really nice, your voice is kind and engaging, hints of Dar Williams abound in a very positive way. I think the guitar sound suits the song. The song is truly worth redoing, your vocal could really shine.
And it's brilliant to see you post something.

Great photo.

Check out my latest song called The Jes on Sea Road
Sigmund said 3540 days ago (February 11th, 2010)
Merton's Prayer
Both your singing and your musical style remind me of Sheryl Crowe, and even Alanis. I would like to hear your vocals be a bit more prominent in the mix. Enjoyed your work - I look forward to hearing more of you. Thanks for sharing this - Sig
Check out my latest song called Running with the Wind by Peter B, feat rok41
lavalamp said 3538 days ago (February 13th, 2010)
I wish...
...this was your job...making music.


Check out my latest song called The Shallow People
AllenDean said 3536 days ago (February 15th, 2010)
i feel for you. i turn 43 this year.....ugh. well, at least we can take solace in the fact we look much younger.....
yeah.... right!
great song, but you knew that already
Allen Dean2010
Check out my latest song called Fireproof- rough vocal mix
2_Daves said 3536 days ago (February 15th, 2010)
This is Great!
Great arrangement, great vocals, & great musicianship. Great song
Check out my latest song called Passion 2
thoddi said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
You make me smile :)
I think this sounds really good. Can't say that I can hear any of the mix mess you talk about...

Jim's the man. Some fine music coming from him here.

So nice to see and hear you again, and I love that picture... :)

Check out my latest song called How can I make it up to you
renecalvo said 3535 days ago (February 16th, 2010)
Your voice is powerful. A potent mix of words and music. Pure emotion.
Check out my latest song called Another Mother's son
rustykangaroo said 3522 days ago (March 2nd, 2010)
great job. the song builds nicely...it flows and just opens up great. your layered vocals and harmonies work great. your very intuitive here as usual, and as i've said before your voice rocks. it's 100% soulful and very rock and roll. you have alot of sincerity and a great tone. it's a real treat anytime you sing, and you always have something constructive to say as you do it. it makes the listener engage and emotionally care about what's going on. no simple feat.
Check out my latest song called calling jesus
Outtaorbit said 3521 days ago (March 2nd, 2010)
Oh my goodness........
Keep posting....... music never dies..... we do.
Check out my latest song called My Last Great Depression
Drew Kopr said 3519 days ago (March 4th, 2010)
Great photo!
Your hair looks terrific! I sure miss ya Ledeb, and this is a great tune. I love the melody, harmonies, and playing. It's very well done. And, I know how you feel about recreating and retracking...life's too short. Great tune.
Check out my latest song called IfIWereHigh
michaelkoppenheffer said 3512 days ago (March 11th, 2010)
What a lovely song, and to my ears a very pleasing mix as well. Believe it or not, I ended up here via a MJ banner, never having clicked on one before. Lucky me!
Check out my latest song called Till the Tap Runs Dry (album version)
Monkaton said 3508 days ago (March 15th, 2010)
Happy Belated Burtday!
The song sounds pretty good and the arrangement is well done. I would agree that the vocal needs to be louder and the drums maybe a tad lower. I do like your synth sounds.
Check out my latest song called Blue Tie
jdholliday said 3476 days ago (April 16th, 2010)
Great tone to
your voice, unique style, I like it!
Check out my latest song called Please Help, Pride of NYC needs tracks!
Dadai.2 said 3433 days ago (May 29th, 2010)
A good one Led...
totally a fine song, uplifting and takes me where I think you want to take the listener. One could say, there is a little bit of eternity in all of us.

Check out my latest song called Into The Down...
867-5309 said 3431 days ago (May 31st, 2010)
diversity . . .
thanking you for that ethereal voice and gorgeous music ! quite diverse - preferido !
Check out my latest song called Red Wood
apb said 2725 days ago (May 6th, 2012)
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
bud said 2473 days ago (January 13th, 2013)
Better way late than never
Finished or not - this is a great track. Your voice sounds wonderful and the Merton prayer was an inspired source. Happy birthday in advance.
Check out my latest song called mixer 2
echoroom said 2341 days ago (May 25th, 2013)
wha happened?
Did you really post this 3 years ago? and havent you finished it yet? Pull your finger out yet, it sounds bloody ace, like a lost sundays track. hurreee up!
Check out my latest song called Light Sleeper
ste said 2243 days ago (August 31st, 2013)
really like your vocal phrasing. this still isn't finished? good song
Check out my latest song called songbreak
racerat said 1687 days ago (March 10th, 2015)
Merton's Prayer
I can't believe I didn't hear this when it was posted. What a beautiful song. Funny I should wander over to this page after you commented on my song "The Road Back" as this is another song about the road - the road of transitions and aging and challenges. As rough as you say this cut its it still conveys all the passion, uncertainty, hope and longing of coming of a new age.
Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
Artist Info
artist photo
Name: Lisa
Location: Under the Airplanes WA
send a note
I've been writing songs since 2005, which I tried initially because GarageBand made it possible for me to play with music for the first time since college, and I found very quickly that I really loved songwriting and in my time here at Macjams, I've ... [see more]

Check out some of my other songs:

Genre Info
Folk-rock is a musical genre, combining elements of folk music and rock music. In the original and narrowest sense, the term referred to a genre that arose in the United States and Canada around the mid-1960s. The sound was epitomized by tight vocal

More songs in Folk-Rock:

Who's Online
Invisible Members: 0
Visitors: 131