James Lawrence Wirth | James Lawrence Wirth: Guitar and I, Fifty Years

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James Lawrence Wirth: Guitar and I, Fifty Years

by James Lawrence Wirth

Jazz influenced Modern Classical Guitar
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Take Me There
James Lawrence Wirth
4:13 album only
2. The Depths
James Lawrence Wirth
3:54 album only
3. Unter Mondlicht
James Lawrence Wirth
2:49 album only
4. Spring, God's Breath
James Lawrence Wirth
6:32 album only
5. Irkutsk
James Lawrence Wirth
4:59 album only
6. A Minor Swing Thing
James Lawrence Wirth
4:08 album only
7. Morning Offering
James Lawrence Wirth
4:28 album only
8. Every Blow
James Lawrence Wirth
4:20 album only
9. Water Pouring
James Lawrence Wirth
4:56 album only
10. Sulam Ya'akov
James Lawrence Wirth
3:22 album only
11. Miriam's Tambourine
James Lawrence Wirth
4:38 album only
12. Andrea Dancing
James Lawrence Wirth & Swang Lin
11:25 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Guitar & I, Then to Now
This project consists of 1 hour of my works for solo guitar, spanning over 50 years of writing.
I took guitar lessons from age 9 to 11, then self taught from then on, except for having some pointers from professional colleagues. I took up String Bass at 18, getting a degree and professionally playing in Louisville Orchestra and other ensembles.
Many years I had just one guitar, either acoustic or classical, so many of these are recorded on steel strings, though the style is primarily fingerpicking, or classical technique.
Glad I kept the manuscripts of my works, many just in pencil, and it’s been fun reliving and working on pieces I wrote in my teens and early 20s, some quite difficult! My fingers seemed to have much flexibility and strength. I’ve played guitar and other strings now for half-century +. May the Heavenly Father preserve our lives as well as our intellectual property. So much has been invested in time talent and treasure. How sweet it is to be able to make music to reflect His presence, honor, glory!
My style is Classical and Acoustic Steel String guitar with influences of Jazz, Flamenco, Latin, Baroque, Bach by a multi-instrumentalist playing over fifty years.

Take Me There I recall about age 12 playing this for a friend. This must be the oldest of my manuscripts that I still have. He remarked I was using an upper pedal tone. Similar to organ pedal tone continuing below other events, here I use the open E string while other melodic material passes below. Baroque influenced, In my early teens I read lots of Bach! I was not afraid of repetition.

The Depths I wrote this about age 17. Having been influenced by both Bachian progressions as transcribed for guitar, and folk playing traditions. As to Bach, I had taught myself pieces such as the A minor prelude, the 'fiddle fugue' and many other intricate baroque pieces from about age 11 to 16 and beyond. I also retained folk and bluegrass techniques, notably, 'cotton picking', named after Elizabeth 'Libba' Cotton, who used this technique on guitar, adapted from African American banjo picking. I saw her live outdoors in Iroquois Park in Louisville , KY one summer. At age 90 she played folk songs, including her own "Freight Train." I was impressed that she played barre chords way up the neck, and so agile! I went backstage after the show and she consented to receive from me a hug. What a gracious soul!

Unter Mondlicht Relearning this difficult piece from about age 17, now past 60 I'm still able to perform the 5-fret stretches and hinge bars, and use these techniques in recent writing. Hope I can in years to come! I believe I was trying to describe aurally the atmosphere of evening filled with the celestial light reflected from moon to earth, the luminous clouds passing over, transparent, moved by the gentle winds. The tranquility of solitude. I often played my instruments outdoors, on front porch, in nearby parks.

Spring God’s Breath The Lord Jesus became very real to me in my senior year in high school. The Holy Spirit came to me in the form of deep conviction of my lostness and need of salvation. Previously, I had been self satisfied, thinking my musical talents were extraordinary, and that I was assured to have a good future mainly because of what I could develop. But when the Lord moved on me to experience some depression just because of my lack of direction, my self confidence dissolved. I also got sick with strep throat for two weeks, which further pushed me to cry out to God. He gave me dreams, like nightmares, that made my need and aloneness quite real. I had previously heard the gospel presented in a few forms at various times, so I knew to call on the Name, Jesus. When I did, I had an instant experience of His peace and nearness overshadowing me, replacing my sense of self as the center of my life. I felt that I was passing from death to life in a moment, and for these many years His Presence has continued to sustain me.
I wrote this during this early time of my walk with God, later reflecting how in this season when I was born again, and the Spirit of God was breathing his new life into my soul, bringing healing and refreshing, the season presented a visible expression of what was happening in me. The warmth, flowers and vegetation, birds, perfume in the air. I was becoming truly alive! What a great Saviour and salvation!

A Minor Swing Thing Just a piece in 12/8, latin jazz chordal influence, and a few cheap rock licks.

Irkutsk I went to Irkutsk in Siberia in summer 1994. Weather was fine, high about 70. We took the worship team from our church and played on the streets day after day, with a gospel presentation. Young college jazz students were coming often, curious what music we were making. I sometimes really let loose some guitar jams on those streets, sensing a boldness and freedom. We had a lot of love of good jazz and guitarists in common. One asked, "are you also an evangelist?" Surprised that I was indeed one of them. Some of them even came to some of the evening gospel meetings, and a few responded to the invitation. Was I grateful!
I spent an entire day with these musicians, and showed them this piece I wrote, latin jazz influenced. Evgen asked to borrow it overnight, and returned it the next day. I (with permission) went with them to the night club where their band played. The played Russian folk, American Jazz, Beatles. So amazing, professional! I sat in with a few tunes, such an unforgettable experience, the atmosphere so exotic.
Evgen Seredkin wrote, "James Wirth guitarist and unique composer from Texas, became friends while with us. We talked all day with great enthusiasm. Showed him our city, listening to him play, a lot of joking, talking about music, the musicians, about God, about religion, about life. He wrote this piece just at the time and called it "Irkutsk". I apologize to all for being renamed it to our taste, but James did not mind when I heard his work in the form in which it is presented it on my CD. He is very praised by us all for the good work!"
A few months later, I received a cassette in the mail, Russian writing all over. It was their jazz band, and they included a cover of my song, doing a wonderful job!

Every Blow A piece with mysterious atmosphere, using meter with multiples of fives, diminished scales, and the Petrushka chord.

Water Pouring A ceremony at end of Succot in Yerushalayim, where the streets are washed clean from the many pilgrims.

Morning Offering Total improvisation.

Miriam's Tambourine
Title here refers to the 'song of the sea' Exodus 15, remarkable to me in that Israel sang this song to Yahue after the miraculous deliverance! the song seems equally miraculous. Afterwards, Miriam picks up tambourine, repeating a lyric, leading in dance, as if the song needs to go on! Here I'm using some of the most dramatic left hand stretches and hinge bars.

Sulam Ya’akov Named after 'Jacob's ladder, rather, 'stairway.' Never in Scripture called such (to split theo hairs). Centuries later, Messiah says He is this stairway, and that he is the only such to heaven. and the eternal life he offers can't be earned or purchased, is freely given.

Andrea Dancing
Written before her passing into shamayim at age 40, however, now to memorialize Andrea Neitzel, who never spoke, nor walked, run, fed or bathed herself, absolutely all her life dependent on those who loved and cared for her night and day.
She heard the heavenly music on earth, and was evidently finely tuned to the unearthly above, and moved dance-like with tambourine prone on the floor often during worship times provided by her parents Gary & Ladell, and myself betimes. She also laughed, squealed, smiled, and ran the full range of emotional and spiritual life.
May El Shaddai grant to us the appreciation of the lives of those who possess profound disabilities, and who never in their lives can communicate in the ways that we value, but in so many ways reflect the glory of Elohim and His Kingdom, often in subtle ways that we overlook.
I had sang to her some of my songs, notably "Blessed Name" close to her, and I believe she became familiar with my voice, and enjoyed my musical ministry. Her countenance and gaze was most often 'otherworldly.' it appeared to me as if she was constantly gazing into the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm convinced she was. How may we receive this rare gift, when we are so tied to the earth, so capable, full of cares, tasks, and surrounded by the needy among us? Elohim is able to impart to us His grace in such a way that we can glimpse into the eternal heavenly realm. May we not underestimate his ability to make us aware of his presence!



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