Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"Shepherd of My Soul"

While on a recent out-of-state trip to visit family, I found myself mentally reflecting on the twenty-third Psalm.  You know the one I'm talking about:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Yes, I realize that I posted the King James Version above.  I almost never use that translation myself, but I can't deny that as a child every bit of the Holy Bible that I memorized was memorized from that translation.  And that childhood memorization turns out to have been important, because I was reflecting on the psalm while in a musical frame of mind ... and while driving my family's minivan around West Virginia!

So with no instrument in hand (unless the steering wheel counts...) I began morphing Psalm 23 into a singable tune.  By repeating the song in my mind over and over again, I managed to retain the concept until I was able to get back to North Carolina and see how it felt over an instrumental accompaniment.  A few days later, I recorded a demo version (with my son Aidan providing the drum tracks) to capture the idea.  Here's that demo version, imperfections and all:



In an unexpected twist, I plan to introduce the song to my church family this coming Sunday.  This fact pushed me to try my hand at using MuseScore 2 to transcribe the vocal parts for the song so I can get the rest of my worship team up to speed on the song quickly.  Writing sheet music is still not something I claim as a talent of mine, but MuseScore certainly makes it easy enough, especially since it runs flawlessly on the Linux and Windows platforms that occupy all my desktop computing devices.  If you care, here's what I whipped up in MuseScore:


Finally, here are the song's lyrics.  Feel free to sing along!
Shepherd of My Soul

You are my Shepherd.  I'll want for nothing.
You make me lie down in pastures of green.
Beside still waters and down paths of righteousness
All for Your name's sake, Shepherd, You lead.

You restore my soul. You restore my soul.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
There with my Shepherd, the Shepherd of my soul.

Even when walking down through the valley,
There in death's shadow no evil I'll fear.
You're always with me.  Your rod and staff comfort me.
Jesus, my Shepherd, You're always near.

You restore my soul. You restore my soul.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
There with my Shepherd, the Shepherd of my soul.

You set a table before me with my enemies all around.
Let your anointing fall on me.  Let my cup overflow with your pow'r.

© 2019 C. Michael Pilato; License: cc-by-3.0

UPDATE (2/28/19): We ran the new song at our full worship team practice last night, and thanks to the extra layers of intrumentation and my super-talented fellow singers, it sounded A-MA-ZING!  I'm so excited for Sunday!