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The Hills of Morning

These are the hills of morning

dark blue against the sky,

the winter sky turned gray to gold

as the sun begins to climb.

The hilltops of your kingdom, father,

how they catch my eye,

like the starlings in the winter corn

I look up

as you draw nigh.

And this is what you love:

to touch your heart to mine;

what you love:

your kingdom standing open,

so radiant and fine,

radiant and fine.

(c) Lamson, 1992

Right. So I made this up a long long time ago. And it's a song, right? I sing it and play it on the guitar. But I am musically illiterate - cannot read or write musical notation, so you'll understand I still wanted to document things, and the only real way to do that was to record it; so when Mike and Russ said hey Derek, Rob's doing recording, we met Rob and what I was going to say was I'd like to record a song, but what fell out of my mouth was, I'd like to record an album, so he said yes and we did. We didn't know much about anything, but I knew a little about poetry, and God knows I was enthusiastic enough. Anyway, one of the lavishly talented young singers I met then through West Hills Friends Church, a singer/pianist named Jill Townley, trooped out to what was it? Molalla? To Rob's basement studio in a line of folks that included April Redmond Vanderwal, and Melanie Weidner, and a children's choir of Quaker kids that we all had fun with, but couldn't quite pull off a useable take... and we produced a cassette of my original songs - Jesus music all - and pressed a hundred copies, I think. Including Jill's pretty darn soulful take on Hills of Morning. I have two in the wrappers still - but no machine with which to play it .........

Jill of course has gone on to build a great life as a valued professional at Portland State University, as a mom and wife, support to her family and faith community and extended family; and a seasoned veteran performing pop and gospel songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. Plus, bonus, she still takes my calls, and has found time to arrange and record a new Derek Lamson song, a piece you have never heard before called Green Sunny Upland.

We're scheduled in the studio Feb. 26th. The recording, God willing, will join another dozen on the new Derek anthology that we've been working on this year. You can just bet we'll keep you posted on that one.


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