Blue Sky Sliding
This music veteran brings a blend of styles (contemporary Christian, soft rock, folk, Beatlesque, even some classical-tinged instrumentals) to his latest release. Upbeat, yet contemplative, you'll be inspired to reach the higher things that life offers.
DOUG HANKS Doug formed his first band when he was twelve and never looked back!
Raised on Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, Doug's upbringing 30 miles north of Bakersfield established solid roots in country music. Later, The Beatles, Larry Norman, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne rounded out his musical influences. He is an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association, International.
Blue Sky Sliding is Doug’s newest CD release-- a mixture of contemporary Christian, country, and pop.
A veteran of the stage, his 1983 release, "Walking in the Father's Love" received extensive airplay in the U.S. and Canada. It featured Joe English on drums (home from playing with Paul McCartney & Wings). He has also published songs with Maranatha! Music.
ALBUM TRACKS Cross the River (For Tim Hunt) During the summer between sixth and seventh grade, Tim Hunt, Rick Lovett, and I took our guitars to summer camp and learned three songs-- Gloria, House of the Rising Sun, and Rain. We instantly formed The Red Barons (We all had red hair!) and played a talent show and two Sunday school parties. We listened to Beatles records and learned every Beatles song. We learned to play in the cracks. We played off and on through junior high school-- the last time getting together to rehearse the chord changes for The Beatles’ Revolution.
In the early nineties, I got a call from a childhood friend that Tim had died in a tragic car accident. I started writing the song that night. A little while later, I saw a funeral procession on the freeway and noticed that the other cars rushed by at their usual raceway speed, seemingly apathetic to the pain of the mourners. For some reason, the song came back into my mind as did all the memories of that week near the Bear River in California when I was twelve.
I am the sole surviving member of The Red Barons.
A Distant Friend (for George Harrison) The Beatles taught me how to play guitar; I listened to the radio and their records and learned every chord in every Beatles song. The George songs taught me how to play diminished chords (root + minor third + minor third.) On the day that George Harrison died, the line “A distant friend is gone” stuck itself in my head. At the most surprising moments, I still find myself singing his songs, especially the weird Indian stuff. (I paid tribute [ripped off] to the intro to “Taxman.”)
Tomorrow on Her Mind I sent this to four country singers looking for songs. Then I sent it to the good folks at Nashville Songwriters Association, who looked at it seriously, considered it for their publisher’s luncheon, but sent it back to me. I told myself if they sent it back I would record it myself and release it.
Elvis on a Greyhound I wrote this for my sister, Squid. She is a conspirator in the Elvis Didn’t Really Die theory and she loves Priscilla.
I Remember the Night (8:46 P.M. on 9/11) On the night of 9/11, I stood in my front yard, stared into the incredibly clear southern California night, and listened to the unusual and curious silence. I live about six miles from Ontario (California) International Airport, but that night the sky was ominously still. While I was outside, a military jet flew by about 2500 feet off the deck. Its air space was unrestricted.
When You’re Not Here A friend of mine on Facebook talks about her fiancé who is stationed in Afghanistan every chance she gets.
This Love I Have for You A simple one for Mary. She likes the raspy voice.
Watch the Lions Play (Hitchens, Sunday Morning, Lyon, 177 A.D.) Many consider the era of classical Rome to be a time of great, ancient civilization, yet it had its dark side. People gathered to watch gladiators maim and kill each other and animals tear each other apart. At a few times in history, followers of Jesus were placed into an arena with wild beasts and devoured. This certainly happened at Lyon; a memorial stands in the arena to those who lost their lives.
A Mighty Fortress / A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Psalm 9) Julie Larson’s arrangement of “A Mighty Fortress” on Revelation inspired me to do a similar arrangement. Her B section contains the descending bass part against a relative minor six chord which is so prominent in my songs. This tune is actually an ancient beer-drinking song! Luther merely borrowed it for his anthem. And about the lyrics... No, I could not find a way to fit the word “bulwark” into the rhyme scheme!
More of Ms. Larson’s music at: www.julielarson.com
Gotta Serve Somebody (Words and music by Bob Dylan. ©1979 Special Rider Music. All rights reserved. Used by permission.) The debate raged for months in the late 70s and early 80s about Dylan and his new-found belief. God is the ultimate judge of a man’s heart, so I’ll leave that part up to Him. In the meantime, I get to sing this great music from the master wordsmith.
Anyone But Jesus Download the first episode of CBS’s Survivor:China. During a welcoming ceremony, the survivors are asked to receive a gift and bow to some Buddhist idols in a temple. A woman named Leslie states that she cannot. After the host, Jeff Probst, reassures her that it is not a religious ceremony, Leslie states that the only one she will put her face to the ground for is Jesus. And this song was born.
Every Good Gift I wrote this in 1983 and used to do it with my band in Portland, OR. This is a slightly milder version.
Look at All the Children I traveled to Kenya in 2006-2007 and spent a fortnight among the people at the SamRoc School and the Children’s Home in Ilula near Eldoret. Every one of the 96 children there were orphaned by AIDS. Death from AIDS is so rampant in Africa that it is the same as 40 Boeing 747s crashing each day. Malaria, which is preventable with a simple $10 net, continues to devastate the population.
Daffodils at the Resurrection Sure, they were there! It was Passover, after all, in a Mediterranean climate!
Ode to the Penguin Café (instrumental) Inspired by “Perpetuum Mobile” by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. I knew about them in the 70s, but when a girl used it as the soundtrack for her viral video of self-portraits over 200 days, I had to pay tribute. When the founder of PCO, Simon Jeffes, passed in 1997 the world lost a truly creative talent. The group is eclectic and not for all, but their music was clearly unequaled at the time of its inception and is definitely hard to classify. Most of you have heard a guitar arrangement of their “Ode to a Found Harmonium” in Napoleon Dynamite.
Keep Your Eyes on the Sky After he [Jesus] said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their [disciples] sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11 Keep looking up... that’s what faith and hope are about after all.
The hidden track: The Joker Isn’t Laughing I wrote it when I was 19 or 20. I thought I would finally get it laid down.
Enjoy! I had a ton of fun making it!
Cross the River 4:190:00/4:19
A Distant Friend 5:010:00/5:01
Tomorrow on Her Mind 3:540:00/3:54
Elvis on a Greyhound 3:340:00/3:34
When You're Not Here 4:090:00/4:09
Gotta Serve Somebody 4:310:00/4:31
Anyone But Jesus 4:150:00/4:15
Every Good Gift 3:300:00/3:30