As an afterthought to putting together this collection, I have to say that strangely I have never really considered myself to be a "songwriter." Insofar as songwriting is a craft that one practices by listening to, and learning from others in a deliberate way, I don't think I really do that. All I know is that for as long as I can remember my head has been constantly filled with melodies, noises and fragments of music. They are more or less always there. When I happen to be at home or near a piano, the odd seed might get put down. Once in awhile that seed becomes something more. There have probably been five distinct experiences in my life when I felt like I had been absolutely "paddle-whacked" over the head, musically speaking. The first was hearing The Beatles "Help" album (age 5). The second was hearing a Hammond organ being played through a Leslie speaker (age 12). The third was hearing a Mellotron for the first time (age 13). The fourth was my first Genesis concert (age 14), and the fifth was hearing "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield for the first time (age 12). Although multi-track recording and overdubbing were common studio practice when Oldfield produced Tubular Bells, using the technique in such an extensive way was uncommon in 1973 and I was stunned to learn that Oldfield was playing virtually every instrument on the recording. Even today I can distinctly remember that initial feeling of being awestruck by the power, mystique and beauty of a multi-track recording studio. I knew from that day forward that I wanted some day to be able to do "that" even if I didn't know exactly what "that" would entail. I never expected that a multi-track recorder would one day become a piece of software that you could carry around in a laptop computer. Virtually everything I have ever composed sounds to me quite unlike anything I would expect to hear anywhere else but from inside my head so it is difficult to describe any particular conscious musical influences. I listened to a lot of British bands that defined the progressive rock era of the 1970's, and I love listening to orchestral film scores and classical music in general, but beyond that I don't really know what I draw from. I don't have time to listen to much contemporary music except for a few Christian artists. I also have an unfortunate genetic flaw in the way I hear music. My brain generally perceives only instrumentation, arrangements, and chord progressions. There are songs I have heard hundreds of times that I do not know the words to, because my brain involuntarily chooses music over words. Interestingly I just heard Rick Wright of Pink Floyd say basically the same thing about words/lyrics in an interview recently. I think it is certainly possible that keyboard players are drawn to keyboard instruments because of their appreciation of complex arrangements and the beauty of really full rich sounding pieces. Who knows; I haven't asked any other keyboard players about this. I must say I feel a tremendous sadness as I see most pop music progressively becoming more an exercise in copying, pasting, pitch correcting, and compressing the dynamic range to the point where it has at times become a caricature of itself. Musicianship, feel, and dynamics are losing out to technology. Any disbelievers among you need only listen to almost any 60's or 70's recording by the Who, Pink Floyd, or The Beatles to understand where the heart and soul of music truly lives. For as much as I love music, I have essentially mustered only three conscious attempts at songwriting over the last 20 years. The first two came during periods of high stress: studying for exams during medical school (1985) and subsequently studying for my oncology fellowship exam (1993). This third period of composition has taken place in a more sophisticated and deliberate way, slowly over the past 4 years. This first compilation has been chosen from among 30 or so pieces I have been working on over that period, and the songs that made it are simply the pieces that got to the finish line first for whatever reason. As music is so subjective, I am not particularly offended if people don't like what I do. With little to no formal training in playing, writing, arranging or recording, this is what I have been able to muster. I hope it comes as a bit of a surprise to at least a few of you that I do all of this with nothing more than a laptop computer, a collection of keyboard instruments and many late nights. To me the "prize" has been the ability to learn to play synthesized or sampled instruments in a way that reasonably emulates the character and feel of the actual instrument. Many of the parts to these songs were improvised on the spot and played once or twice only before I felt they were "just right" for the mood of a particular piece. I have an amazingly interesting life through faith, family, and my job as an oncologist, and have few unrealized dreams, all through God's grace. I have learned to see the gifts in my life as sources of humility rather than pride. If I had to choose one "musical" dream it would be to hear a fully orchestrated version of one of my songs in a film soundtrack some day. Huge thanks to Doug Van Sloun for bravery in the face of unforeseen danger during mastering. Thanks to daughters Alison and Carolyn who tolerate loud repetition and still manage to joyously dance around the basement as new song ideas develop. Thanks to my spiritual brother John (lyrics) and good friend Cari (ridiculous voice). Thanks to Dave and Steve for friendship and encouragement. Thanks to my wife Amy and to Pastor Mark Zehnder, my inspirations to constantly be the best you can be in life.