Easter… a state of grace

A long time ago, I wrote a song about Easter. This one does not talk about the occasion, the tradition, or its religious connotation. It simply tells of a place where Easter never fails to transport me, personally.

Happy Easter, everyone.

State of Grace

I desire to run this race
In my desire to see your face again
Wake me up in the morning light, I am here

I desire to wrong no one
In my desire, the damage is done again
Walk me home where the big blue sky’s always clear and near

The pain is gone, the weight’s lifted off my shoulder
The rain has come and gone, the storm is over
Welcome to the state of grace

I desire to call on you
Yes I desire to run to you once again
In my soul I thirst, but it’s okay you say

Yes I desire to break the code
Say hello to the yellow brick road again
Let me mend your heart dear broken hearted

I hear your thunder on the misty mountain top, never stop
I hear your voice, you’re calling to my face sayin’
Welcome to the state of grace

I want to find a place to live
Somewhere I can give, yeah
A place where you and I could meet, yeah

I desire to run this race
In my desire to see your face again
Wake me up in the morning light, I am here

©2000 Chris Alma Jose

Songs about Heaven, part 2 (Homebound)

First, I’d like to give Selma a big thanks for she deemed me worthy of such an honorable award. Thank you, my friend! I will always remember that you deserve it first.

Anyhow, I was reading her latest post, The Sound Of Time A-Passing, earlier today. For some reason, I felt a little depressed afterwards. Perhaps, because I am at the same point in life as she is now. Although, sometimes I get busy with my own life that I forget about time and how it affects my relationship with my own family. It’s not easy for me to constantly think about my family as they are on the other side of the planet and I don’t get to see them often. Maybe once every twenty years. Yep, not much. Told ya.

This past week, I have also been wrapped up with packing and cleaning and getting ready for my big move this weekend. I might not even be on here for a few days while all this transitioning takes place.

But, back to family. I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle of the night, with tears in my eyes, wondering how much time is left until my aging parents finally depart. They’re in their early 70’s now. When I left home in the mid 80’s, my dad was tough like Goodfellas. Now, it’s like I’m watching Cocoon.

Anyhow, I didn’t mean to rattle off on this topic. After all, this post is about a song I wrote. It is installment number two of my Songs about Heaven series. On this one, I’m expressing heaven in the form of the house I grew up in. Not that it is anything comparable, in the least. But when you’re a kid growing up, it is the only place you know. It is the greatest place. And it is yours. This house is where you find security. This is where your innocence comes from. In this house, you might even have your own room. This room is where you build your personal sanctuary. It’s where you carve your very own identity. Yours was probably painted with an outrageous color. It’s where you have the coolest things flaunted like trophies. Like a stereo system (mine had a turntable to boot). Posters of KISS on the wall (at least for me, this was the case). And still, after a hard days work in school or a rough play with your next-door friends outside, you always come home to mom and dad. All muddy and hungry, sometimes. Hollering as you go into your room to change… “what’s for dinner, mom?”

Yeah, that’s home, alright. And one day, I know I will be back. Just like when I was little. But this time, it will be a little different. A good kind of different. And I so look forward to it, like you wouldn’t believe.

In My House
i remember sitting on the gutter at my parents’ place
playing barefoot with the neighbors’ kids down our street
recalling days of youth as if they were just the other day
no i still can’t seem to scrub the dirt off my feet

cause in my house hangs a picture of a sunny sky
and in my house hangs a picture of yesterday waving goodbye
and in my house there’s an old chair that my father gave to me
and i sit there in the afternoon as i try to rest in my dreams

winter comes and winter goes and, uh, it always seems that way
but i swear it never gets any colder than this, no no
and time may slow and time may flow but in the end it all goes away
but when the bell begins to toll there’s nothing i would miss here

cause in my house hangs a picture of a sunny sky
and in my house hangs a picture of yesterday waving goodbye
and in my house there’s an old chair that my father gave to me
and i sit there in the afternoon as i try to rest in my dreams

i try to rest in my dreams
and the water it streams when you rest in your dreams

i remember driving my car in the pouring rain
and you were with me though i know that day you didn’t want to
my thoughts they always used to haunt me like a man insane
though the scars remain forever
may forever be with you, yeah

cause in my house hangs a picture of the morning sky
and in my house hangs a picture of yesterday waving goodbye
and in my house there’s an old chair that my father gave to me
and i sit there in the afternoon, yeah, uh huh

yes in my house hangs a picture of a diamond’s glow
and in my house hangs a picture of tomorrow saying hello
and in my house there’s an old chair that my father gave to me
and i sit there in the afternoon as i try to rest in my dreams

cause in my house
hangs a picture of you

Songs about Heaven, part 1

Nine more days to go and I’m off to my brand new flat! I’m so excited and anxious, I can hardly wait. I just want to do this and be there already. Thoughts of this reminded me of a time when nine out of ten songs I wrote was about heaven.

Why do you think it is? I believe, I’ve always been a positive thinker and would always look forward to tomorrow being a better day than today. The downside is that I couldn’t enjoy today as much because I was too busy focusing on tomorrow. It’s almost like a child that couldn’t sleep in excitement realizing that when he/she wakes up, the family is going on a trip to Disneyland. How could you possibly sleep, alright?

lez parteh!Now, I’m not sure how many songs about heaven I’ve actually managed to write and record through the years but I can imagine it being at least half of all my songs. That’s how much I love the idea of it.

A lot of us have our own vision of heaven. Some people see it as walking in the clouds. Some think it’s a castle. I mean, the possibilities are endless. In my opinion, there’s just no way we can even be close to describing its sheer beauty. It goes beyond our wildest imagination, for sure.

When you attempt to cram the idea of heaven in a song, you don’t even want to try to be perfect. To humble yourself by keeping it down to human levels, I think, is the best possible description you can make.

I see heaven in different ways. Each song I write describes it in ways I can see with human eyes and experience with human emotions. That’s all I can do, really.

Since, every once in a while, I post a music blog, I thought it would be nice to showcase a set of songs about heaven. One post at a time, that is. So this is part one. And the first song is called Welcome to the Ball. This song describes heaven as a ballroom party. Like a high school prom, perhaps. There are scenes of dancing, conversations, food buffet and a fountain out in the garden where you can walk and enjoy the breeze. The venue? At a fancy hotel sitting atop a fluffy cloud. It’s a whimsical description with the overall theme of happiness, celebration and good company. And by the way… I just got an invitation!

Did you get yours yet?

Welcome to the Ball

Stand up by the fountains in the sky
Stars lay in your eyes
Pick a flower in my little garden
And roam with the butterflies
Hide your head in the clouds above
Fill your plate with mounds of love

Have some fruit, oh by the way
I love your suit but do you feel alright
Here you wait a moment till the gates are opened
Then you’ll see the light
Let your little flower grow
Cuz when I call you need to know
And take with you everyone you meet
Cuz here we go

Welcome to the ball
We can talk forever at the ball
You can chase your blues away
Welcome to the ball
Fill your cup with laughter at the ball
And you can dance the night away… come on

Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Come on up, help yourself at the table
And don’t forget to taste the wine, no no
And take a stroll down the gallery
Where snapshots of your memories
Hang down the line
See the courtyard by the pool
Here you’ll find the breeze is cool
Come and meet everybody
Cuz here we go

Welcome to the ball
We can talk forever at the ball
You can chase your blues away
Welcome to the ball
Fill your cup with laughter at the ball
And you can dance the night away… come on

Yeah, yeah, yeah…

©2000 Chris Alma Jose

Are you ready to gruuumble?

If only we had meat to eat… but now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna.
~ Numbers 11:4-6

You can’t always have what you want. And you can’t have everything either. At least, not all at once.

Have you ever struggled with having to choose between what you want and what you need? How about forcibly getting what you need instead of what you actually want? Of course you have. You’re only human, after all. It is a battle we all face, constantly. And there is no way out of it, I’m afraid. We will always be in a tug-of-war against ourselves. Unless, of course, you opt to simply give in. Then, I rest my case.

But, that’s just my observation.

Me? I’m usually pretty good at being disciplined about making sound decisions for my own sake. Like, you know… given the state of my own personal economy, I would buy something suspiciously cheap, if I deem it able to serve the same purpose as one that costs way more. It doesn’t always work but I, at least, learn from the experience. I’ve never been enticed by brand names. Not that it should matter to anyone else. However, if a brand name is more cost-effective in the long run, then I would not skimp. You can relate, can’t you?

When I was younger and was a working musician, I remember starving myself, eating only ramen noodles everyday, just so I can save the money to be able to buy a two thousand dollar guitar. Yep, I was that crazy back then. And I would sacrifice that way again and again, every time I had a piece of gear I “needed” to purchase. After all, the tools of the trade are a must, right? And so, worth dying for.

However, there are times when I’m not too happy with what I’m given either. Because what I asked for was something different. Something of selfish nature, perhaps. But in the end, I was glad because it all worked out well in the long run, as it always does for me. It goes to show how much I know about what’s right and what’s wrong.

These past few days, I’ve been trying to find a new place to move in to in three weeks. It’s a battle in my mind because a lot of people think I should go ahead and buy a house now. And I’m thinking… hmmm, yes I could. I’m able to… so, why not? For a couple of days, I was really tempted. I could swing this and get it done with, already. But then, I thought… I still have debt to pay off and other financial obligations I need to tend to, at the moment. Sure, I could make it all fit into my budget, no problem. But I had to stop and think of a better scenario. The big picture. The future. Instead of just today.

Today. Yes, today, I need to chill. I need to sacrifice today so tomorrow will be rewarded. I now believe in this philosophy. Sacrificing today doesn’t necessarily mean depriving myself or halting my life. I think, contentment is key. If I am content with little now, who knows, I may be rewarded with a bit more, later. I have to trust in hope. If you don’t have hope, what else can you possibly have? The cake is already good. But a little icing would be nice too, right?

So yeah, what’s it gonna be? Want or need? It pays to choose wisely since we’re only allowed one choice at a time.

Meat or manna, people… it’s either one or the other.

Meat Or Manna

don’t even think about it, it’s not what you need
don’t fly away forever, just to come back down to bleed
i have only one thing to say
you don’t have to run away

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

if only life was easy, you can do what you please
you just hide behind the curtain and pretend no one sees
there is only one thing that matters
but all you want is everything that shatters

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

you feed on your wisdom as you sit at the table
and you wanna save the world
but does your mind think you’re able
i know what you’re after tonight
don’t question my answer cause it’s black and white

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

©2002 Chris Alma Jose

Dreaming of white picket fences

Every once in a while, I feel the need to post a music blog. Much like some people do a photo blog. Hey, maybe I should try that too, at some point.

Anyhow, yes, a music blog. For now. Maybe it’s because, in a particular moment, I am reminded of a time when a song I wrote had everything to do with it. Like my failed marriage, for instance (I apologize for having to mention this over and over). But then, there are times when I am simply reminded of a friendship. A partnership. A time when art was created through a collaboration. Sometimes, even a necessary collaboration. As in the case of this song.

White Picket Fences was written and recorded back in the summer of 2001, in a basement of a friend’s house in Kennesaw, Georgia. Jeff and I had a friend at church that got married fairly recently. This couple was a happy one. They dreamed of a life together. Of white picket fences, as Jeff was fond of calling it.

The bitter part of the story is that, way before his wedding day, he knew that his soon-to-be-wife will be dying of cancer at some point in the near future. To make a long story short, we wrote this song the day after attending her funeral.

Funny how, at times, I find myself dreaming of white picket fences myself. And, it almost came true, in fact.


This is not good

The plan was to start this long weekend with a positive and cheerful attitude. At least, that was my original plan. I tried. However, I just got off the phone with Deb, my ex, about an hour ago.

This is not good, I’m telling you. This is NOT GOOD! I should not have answered her call. But, that would’ve been rude, I guess. I don’t know. Maybe, we should not have been talking for hours, at least. But, I couldn’t let go. I am tortured. What a way to start the new year.

Although, I think, I kind of pushed her away somehow, by telling her to not expect me to call her, ever. But, I’m thinking, she shouldn’t be calling me, in the first place. We’re never going to heal this way, I don’t think.

Hence, the quest to do the right thing, continues.

I’m just being real and open about where I’m at. So, please bear with me.

I think, I’m back in the mud, this moment. I hate this. I even started listening to these sappy songs again. Like this one, I wrote for her when I first asked her to be my girlfriend, long time ago. It was about a prediction I was hinting on. Since Christmas is my favorite time of year, I wanted to celebrate it on our wedding day. In June.

It’s all just a memory now, though. But, I don’t want to throw it away, yet. It was a big part of my life and I still treasure it to this day.

Christmas is Coming

The sun comes down
It’s cold outside
Snow falls to the ground
Like a leaf on a tree
So tears leave my eyes
When you’re not around

How long shall I wait for you my wife
How long shall I hold my breath before I die

Christmas is coming
It’s coming soon
Christmas is coming
We’ll wait by the moon
Christmas is coming
I’ll be with my love
As we celebrate our time
Our Christmastime in June

In my thoughts I recall
The cry of the ocean
Under the midnight sky
We walked on the shore
We played in the sand
How could I even say goodbye

There goes the bride

It’s so hard. Everyday is torture.

Sure, it helps to write things down but still, it haunts me to this day that my marriage didn’t work.

I take all the blame! I am weak and did not deserve her in the first place. Though, I am grateful to God that he gave me a chance to love and be loved. A chance to see me for who I really am. How I was and who I can be from this day forward.

As promised, I am sharing with you the bridal procession song that I wrote and recorded for my wedding. All I have now are the memories. And this song is from a moment in time when love was born. Like a baby, so tender and pure. I am so sorry that it has now passed away. Oh, so soon. How I wish I could bring it back to life.

Deb, I know you’re reading this. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here. This will always be your song.

Here Comes My Bride

Here comes my bride
All dressed in white
I have been waiting all my life

My brand new day
Will wipe the tears away
All arise
Here comes my bride


One ordinary afternoon back in the late 90’s, a couple of my friends and I were walking down a street somewhere in North Hollywood… heading from one guy’s apartment building to another looking to hang out and watch a movie. Along the way, we stop by a yogurt shoppe to get some… well, from what I can remember, yogurt.

Now, we walk inside and immediately drool over the choices behind the see-through freezer. Here, the shoppe’s counter is right in the center when you first walk in. To the left are tables filled with a number of customers hanging out, enjoying their yogurt. To the right are a bunch of tables as well. Unoccupied. Except for one person sitting on the far corner eating his yogurt by himself. The three of us can’t help but stare at this man as he surely looked familiar. He’s a heavy-set, older individual we all knew too well. Without  second thoughts, we start our trek towards the gentleman, much to the other customers’ dismay. Our eyes are wide in amazement as we shamelessly invade his privacy. One of us wastes no time and immediately breaks the ice.

“Hello, Mr. Brando, my name’s Paul. These are my friends, Steve and Chris. We’re big fans of yours and it is such a pleasure to meet you in person.” Mr. Brando takes one last scoop of yogurt into his mouth, looks up and glims at each one of us with that famously contemplating look. And with that all too familiar Corleone-ish tone in his voice, he speaks…

“You come up here to talk to me because my name is Marlon Brando. You know Marlon Brando but you don’t know me. I bet, if you spotted an ordinary no name big old fat pig instead, you wouldn’t have bothered. Now would you, boys?”

I don’t know about Paul and Steve, but I am mightily convicted at this point. How do you respond to that? What do you say to Mr. Party Pooper? There’s no way out. He knew the truth. The bitterness in his voice is very telling. He must be used to this, I thought. No, he must be so sick and tired of people doing this to him. All the time. All his life!

As much as I am saddened by the fact that he knew that people only love and respect him for being a great actor and not because he is simply a human being longing for sincere affection, I am, in fact, even more devastated by my own lack of concern and sensitivity. I was starstruck. And that’s all that mattered at that moment.

Anyhow, Mr. Brando is kind and understanding enough to not drown us further into a pool of guilt. He starts conversing with us, in fact. We all confess to him that we’re musicians and entertainers ourselves trying to break into the business. He in turn tells us a little trivia about his early life. He’s a closet drummer. Wow, I bet you didn’t know that! Yes, he loves to play congas at home. When he was growing up, he hated the idea of being an actor but instead wanted to become a professional drummer. One day, he was at a big band concert where his idol, the legendary Gene Krupa, was playing. Wanting to get some inspiration, he walked up to him to shake his hand after the show. Sadly, Mr. Krupa refused and turned his back on him. Too proud, perhaps? Too big a star to shake a supportive fan’s hand? That simple gesture alone made him change his mind overnight (albeit in rebellion) and decided to go ahead and become an actor anyway. Sometimes, I wonder if Mr. Krupa ever knew that story? Amazing though, how someone’s simple but thoughtless action can turn one person’s life around completely. Indeed, large ships are steered by a very small rudder.

Well, needless to say, we had to part company. So, we bid our thanks, goodbyes and goodlucks; and the three of us proceed to the apartment building to watch a movie. Still  high on what just happened, guess what we decide to put on? That’s right… The Wild One.

Never forgetting a second of that moment, I wrote a song about it years later. The title pertains to Mr. Brando’s character’s name in this movie as I imagined him introducing himself to us by.


My Name Is Johnny

i don’t think i like it when you come talk to me
no, i don’t think it’s fair, this is my time and space
this might sound crazy to you
you don’t know me like you think you do
i bet you haven’t got a clue
so let me tell you

my name is johnny, how do you do
my name is johnny, i’m just like you, yeah

i don’t think you’d ever spot me in the movies
no i don’t think you’d even recognize a star, no
well here’s my candle to burn
move over cause it’s my turn
you’ve got bigger lessons to learn boy
so let me tell you

my name is johnny, how do you do
my name is johnny, i’m just like you, yeah

cause i’ve got fake tears in my eyes
i’m so numb to all the lies
my shadow’s falling over me
and i’m not so strong
tell me where i’m wrong

i don’t think i’ll ever go the way you did
cause i’m too big to fit through the eye of a needle
yeah, cause my name is

my name is johnny, how do you do
you think i’ve something, well so do you
yeah, u-huh

i feel your pain boy
could you give me back my little joy
cause my
my name is johnny, how do you do
yeah i’m just like you

my name is johnny
uh huh, yeah, i’m just like you
my name in johnny
i’m the wild one
i’m the wild one on a ship of fools
my name is johnny
uh huh, i’m the wild one
but i’m just like you
my name is johnny
uh huh, yeah

Let’s dance, shall we?

Having chipped in a good amount of ridicule to love songs on yesterday’s post, it dawned on me… hey, wasn’t I also guilty of contributing to an already saturated pool of mushy cornballs myself?

Uhm, Just a little bit, actually.

Okay, wait. So, you probably think I’m just now wallowing in my emotional mud again, don’t you?

Actually, I just happen to like this song a lot. Really. I just want you to hear it. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to write something with a slight country twang to it. Yeehaw! After all, she’s from sweet home Alabama. So, I had to at least try! But since I can’t yodel without breaking out a pee-in-my-pants laugh, so much for it being a real country tune.

Uh, what in the world am I talking about, you asked? For some of you who haven’t read my previous posts and have no clue whatsoever… it’s a song I wrote and recorded for my wedding day. Some four and a half years ago. I actually wrote about five songs that were played during the ceremony itself. And this particular one is the song we danced to at the reception. (Deb, please don’t kill me if you ever read this.)

Awwwww, how romantic!!!!

We’re divorced now. Sorry to bust your bubble.

But hey, it’s still a legitimate song, I think. My friend in Atlanta was even begging me to let him use this song for his own wedding. What? Me? Pimp my song? Sorry pal, not unless I get royalties.

Anyhow, I wrote it in the tradition of Hotel California, since I’m such a big Eagles fan. It’s about as country as I can get as well, I’m afraid. But it doesn’t sound like HC at all (although, I must admit, a tad similar to another song of theirs, hee hee! See if you can tell). However, it does have that long guitar solo (my futile attempt at faking a pedal steel guitar) in the end that’s suppose to be the signal for everyone to join in the dance. Ha! See, I planned this all out in perfect timing!

I’m not used to writing sappy love songs, though. In fact, I try to stay away from it as much as possible. But obviously, this time, the job called for it. So I had to deliver.  But don’t get any ideas. I really meant the lyrics, okay? I still do, in fact. Sniff, sniff…

But allow me to send out a warning… this is for first-time saps only. No romantic pros please. Think shaky, sweaty nerd approaching gorgeous babe with hair moving in slo-mo!

Next time, I’ll share the song I composed for the bridal procession. You’ll be blown away that I timed it precisely, in sync with bride and dad arriving at the front of the altar right when the minister says… Who gives this woman… blah blah blah. At that moment, the song goes into a short whispering break. And then it goes back to a crescendo and finishes right when we finally arrive at the altar. Pardon me, I’m just so easily amused! Ha! 🙂

But in the meantime… let’s dance, shall we?

First Dance

When I was younger than yesterday
I used to smile on my own
And then I prayed to my God one day
To show me that I’m not alone

Did my dreams just die, my water dry
As the music began to play
Then I saw you there, an angel I swear
And I had just one thing to say

Let me have this dance, my very first dance
My crown, my honor, and my romance
Let me have this dance, my very first dance
As I sing this song to you

Seems like it was only yesterday
That you and I walked down the beach
I gazed at the stars oh so far away
As my prayer proved they’re not out of reach

And so my story goes, the proof it shows
No mountain our love cannot climb
So here we are today, our special day
Please let me ask you one last time

Let me have this dance, my very first dance
My crown, my honor, and my romance
Let me have this dance, my very first dance
As I sing this song to you

I will come to you, there is only you
You’re my dream come true
I’ll take you away till we’re old and gray
Let me hear you say

Let me have this dance, our very first dance
My crown, my honor, and my romance
Let me have this dance, our very first dance
My joy, my laughter, my love at first glance
Let me have this dance, our very first dance
My crown, my honor, and my romance
Let me have this dance, our very first dance
As I sing this song to you

As I sing… my love

Ooh… my love…