Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads

Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads
Get the new CD, "The Third Time" HERE

WARNING: Listening to this music doesn't require parental approval. It's a bit of clean rebellion. It keeps your outlook up and your hope alive. It's got strong drums and screaming guitars. It pumps you up and drives your life. It's a hunger for exploration. It chooses the right and returns with honor. It's music you don't have to confess to your bishop.

It's not your parents' "Saturday’s Warrior".

It's "A Joyful Noise"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Johari Window - Make Better LDS Music

A Window to Your Soul

A long time ago, I took a poetry writing class that had a really big impact on my ability to write LDS music.

For the time being, by the way, we’re going to set aside the debate as to whether or not songwriting and poetry are equatable.  I’ll make a note to do that one later.

We talked a lot about imagery, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyming, meter, form, metaphor, similie, personification, and about a million other traditional literary devices.  The really cool thing about this class above all other writing classes I ever took, however, was that we really delved deep into the source of the poetry, and how to truly express the most impact using the fewest words possible.

We got right down into the nature of art as a means of expression and self-discovery.  To that end, the instructor taught us a model called the Johari Window.  This is a pretty famous model, and it’s used in a myriad of situations, from psychological studies to business and communications training.  This instructor taught it to us as a way of becoming more and more self-aware.

Anyway, here it is:

There are four panes to the window.  The top two panes represent the things about us that are known to others around us.  The bottom two panes represent all those things around us that others can’t see.  Meanwhile, the left two panes are things we know about ourselves, and the right panes are those that are parts of ourselves that we don’t know.

So, that makes for four parts:

  • The first pane, then, is full of things about us that others can see, and that we also know about.  These things are usually good things, the sort of things that we put out in front of the world.  This is labeled the “open” pane
  • The second pane, is our “blind spot”.  These are things about us that others can see, but we, ourselves, don’t know, don’t get, or (often) don’t want to see.  Our character flaws and blemishes often are in this category.  Good things we do, but often overlook or discount can also be here.
  • The “hidden” part of ourselves is full of things that we know about, but the rest of the world doesn’t.  We usually try to keep it that way.  These are the skeletons in our closet, that we don’t want anyone to see.
  • The final pane in the window is the “unknown” area.  This is what we don’t see, and what the world doesn’t see, either.  This is the area of the subconscious, and it’s often thought of as a scary place.  It’s also where the best songs you will ever write come from.

As we went through the class, the instructor gave us many assignments to write and rewrite, and much of them were geared toward shining light into this dark and confusing area of our souls.

As the years have gone by, I’ve continued to search that area.  I’ve discovered that not every song I write comes wholly from that space.  Some are well in the first pane, and some from the second.  I’ve also learned that there’s a little bit of the unknown pane in almost every creative endeavor you do.

I’ve explored it a lot with prayer as well as effort.  As an LDS musician, I’ve found that, with God as my guide, it’s not as scary as you might think.  Each new thing that I’ve discovered about myself has only helped me to know the real me better.  And after I get through the weirdness of that discovery, I’ve always found that I like me a little better each time. Even though the instructor was as areligious as you could get, even a bit anti-religious, she helped me to be a better member of the church, and helped me, in the long run, to make better LDS music.


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Monday, May 30, 2011

LDS Rock Music Droid App, LDS Music Today

Some cool news updates:

Droid App

First, do you want to know what’s happening in the world of LDS Rock Music?  There’s an app for that!  That’s right, I have an app, now!  Currently, it’s only available for Droid, but as soon as the app application process on iTunes is complete, it will launch as well for the iPhone format.

It’s pretty simple, nuthin’ fancy, but I’ve had a lot of fun putting it together, and I think it’s cool!  It’s like a mini-magazine.  I write up a featured artist, with links to sample tunes, show off some of my own tunes, spout off a little opinion column, and share a bunch of great links.  All of it is focused on promoting LDS rock and alternative musicians.

The cool thing is that it went live on May 6th, and since then, I’ve had over 500 downloads.  It’s a free app, too, by the way.

Here are some easy ways to get it on your phone:  One is to simply go to the Droid Market on your phone and search for “LDS Rock Music”, or even just “LDS Music”.  Then download and install the app.

Another is to point your phone at this QR code (if you’ve got a reader app), and scan it.  You’ll jump straight to the Droid Market page.

And, finally, you can point your Droid phone browser at this address: market://details?id=com.appclaimer.ldsRockMusic, and it will take you there as well.

If you like it, please go back and leave some pleasant comments!

LDS Music Today

My song, “Long Long Time” was featured in the LDS Music Today podcast, in episode 108.  That’s not too out-of-the-ordinary, in and of itself.  I’ve been lucky to be included several times in the past.

This time, however, was unique, in that it was an entire episode centered around LDS guys that rock.  I was surrounded by great musicians like Bill Dent, Michael Dowdle (his new CD is incredible!), Bill Williams, and Kirk Bullough.  There’s a lot of screamin’ guitar goin’ on this time!

You can go to the LDS Music today main page, or to the episodes downloads page to get it and all of the other episodes, too.  

I really appreciate all that Steve Larsen does to promote LDS music.


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Help Me Out - Two For One Sale


We’ve all got them.

Right now, I’m facing two problems that you, dear reader, can actually help me with.

My Problems: Job Certification

One of them is that my job (which is all about internet marketing) is requiring us all to prove our worth by going out and making some money on the ‘net.  There are all kinds of details, but basically it’s simple.  By May 15th, we have to each show that we’ve made a certain amount of money on the ‘net or our jobs are in jeopardy. I'm not complaining about the requirement, I just have to fill it.

My Studio

The other problem is that the computer I’ve been running in my studio has died, and because of a lot of other details, I can’t install it on any of our other family computers (the old version I’ve been running is incompatible with the newer computers).  So, my studio is down, and I can’t afford to upgrade the software.

This Is Me, Begging

So, here’s where I get really shameless...  If I can sell 45 copies of my CD’s (along with all of my other affiliates and ebay efforts), I’ll have enough money to satisfy my job requirements, AND get my studio up and running again, making more tunes and CD’s for you to enjoy.

Two For the Price of One

If you help me out, I’ll be willing to help you out, too.  So, here’s the deal:

Between now and May 15th:  Anyone that buys at least one CD, at the normal price, will receive the mp3’s of another one of my CD’s (buyer’s choice) - FREE.  That’s mp3’s of all of the songs of the other CD, sweetly mastered, without the annoying voiceover tags at the end, all FREE.

Final Plea

So, if you’ve ever thought, “Hey, it would be cool to have a copy of ‘Lost and Found’”, or “My brother would love a copy of ‘The Third Time’ for his birthday...”  Now is your chance.  



Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Dreams

A very, very long time ago, I was feeling sorry for myself, and being really mopey and emo.  I started questioning the point of doing music and wondering if I should keep working at it.  There was this overwhelming sense that if I were to quietly stop doing music, nobody would really notice.

In recent months, I went through a similar existential meltdown.  I wasn’t sure what I was doing nor what I was doing it for.  In the end, it all kinda sorted out.  Obviously, I feel the need to keep making music, and I don’t see that ever changing.   I’m not really sure what the purpose of it all is, but then, who really does, right?  We’ll just see where it goes.

Anyway, even though I wrote the lyrics many years ago, I still felt them.  And I finally set them to chords and melody tonight.  Anyway, here’s the words:

My Dreams
By Mark Hansen
Lyrics: 1/22/2006, Music: 3/30/2011

Last night I dreamed two dreams…

I could hear the music playing
And I stepped onto the stage
I was blinded by the spotlight
I couldn’t see beyond the cage

And the words that I was singing
Sounded through the air
Echoed off the ceiling
And fell down on the chairs

And when the song was over
And I listened for the applause
I saw the house lights flicker
Lighting up the empty hall

Is there anybody out there
That is hearing what I say
Is there anybody listening
Listening anyway

I dreamed I saw a distant forest
In its depths there was a tree
Its limbs were growing, stretching, reaching
But there was no one there to see

It could feel the seasons changing
And the trunk and roots grew old
Its leaves flew in the new wind
The limbs too tired to hold

And in the end it tired of fighting
And fell broken to the ground
Since there was no one there to listen
It died without a sound


So why isn’t it enough
To sing it just for me
Why can’t I just sing it out
And let the music set me free



Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back in the Studio!

So, I'm resetting my studio, and my old Cubase isn't working any more.  Until I can afford to get a newer version (not sure when that'll be), I've been researching various options.  One was a low cost system called "Reaper".  The other was

I was debating which one to use, so I thought this would be a good chance to try them and review them.

Tonight was my first attempt with Reaper.  As I looked it over, it seemed to have a lot of robust features.  MIDI, VST plugins, soft synths, a lot of the things I need.

It wasn't very intuitive to launch, however, and it took me a long time to flick all of the right switches and get a signal from a mic to my audio box, to the computer and into a track.

I'm very excited to be back up and running!  My first task will be to cut acoustic and voice demos of all of these tunes that I've written since February.  From there, I'll see what happens.  I'd like to start making more complete productions, but I'll have to see what software I'm using at that point.

I'm baaaa-aaack!


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.
Mark's Other Blog Posts: name post, name post, name post,

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Pigment on Paper - A New Song!

 I’m a little bit worried that this one will be too personal, too close for the general public to grok.  In part, I’m OK with that, because it’s written for my mom on her umpty-somethingth birthday.  It supposed to be personal.  I’m also OK with it because another song I wrote that was very personal often turns out to be a favorite of some of my friends (“Toy Soldiers”).

So, read the lyrics here, and see if you get it.  Then read the explanation below.

Pigment on Paper
For Louise, on her birthday

For years I have watched you load up your brush
You’d pause and consider in a moment of hush
You’d sweep ‘cross the paper with a wrist finely turned
A cerulean blue or sienna that’s burnt

The colors would bleed as you dabbed, wet on wet
Your hand was so certain, no chance for regret
Dark storms on the Rockies, distant but near
I saw the clouds building, I remember the fear

But it’s not real
It’s not real

All of my sorrows and all of my fears
All of my sadness and all of my tears
All of my grudges for all of these years
Are all just the stroke of a brush
All that I whisper and all that I say
All that I worry about day to day
All I imagine that stands in my way
Are all just artistic illusions
Just pigment on paper

You painted with care, with a detail precise
Each tumbled-down barn and each rusted device
Revealing a beauty of shadow and form
From inside the ugly, forgotten and torn

They seemed so real
They seemed so real


And everything I think is so wrong with me
Looks as real and as clear as the painting I see
But if I step forward and look up close
Then my eyes can plainly see the brush strokes

And I know they’re not real
They’re not real


See, my mom is an incredible artist, and her main medium is watercolor.  One of the things she taught me is that a painting isn’t real.  It’s a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object.  It’s a painting of onions in a basket, not real onions in a basket.  A skilled artist will use shadow, form, and shape to create the illusion of three dimensions, to create depth, but it’s still a flat piece of paper with pigment on it.

So, as I’ve been dealing with all of my garbage of late, I’ve started to come to the realization that all of my troubles are, like the painting, two-dimensional.  They’re all in my head.  Imaginary.  They’re not the real me.  They’re just pigment on paper.

Do ya get it now?


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Beyond FAWM

So, FAWM is over!  I wanted to get one more done, but I just didn't have the chance.  Oh, well...

I got 6 new songs, though.  Not the complete 14 that the challenge calls for, but I got a lot done!  These tunes explore my life and the things I'm going through right now.  I can see a lot of spots where there are weak lines, or confusing threads, and I can start to work those bugs out.

My goal is to continue writing, at a pace of at least one new song each month.  That would give me enough for a full album by the end of the year.

Recording them, however, might be challenging.  My studio computer is kaput.  I think the hard drive is finally failing, after all these years.  For me to get a new system that works would probably cost me on the order $1000 to $1500, so that's not going to be happening any time soon.  I might be able to find some lower-cost alternatives, and just work my way with those.  Each one that I've looked into, so far, has also presented me with lessened functionality, but then, anything is better than nothing, right?

So, now's the best possible time to go an buy my albums!   Help me get back to making more music...


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FAWM #6 - Been There Done That

I'm going to just start with the lyrics, then tell the story:

Been There Done That
By Mark Hansen

I see myself again
Back where I started in
Looking out the window at the bright blue sky

I don’t like to see me there
With a dark and cloudy stare
I want to help but I don’t know what to try

The storm on the inside’s full of hopes and fears
The rain on the window’s dripping down like tears

Been there done that
Been there done that
Don’t know why
Keep going back

Out on the sidewalk here
The sun is shining clear
I wish I’d come out where it’s warm and dry

I smile and wave and say
Hey, Mark, come out and play
But something holds me in and I don’t know why

I know that I’ve been out on sunny days
But I always end up inside, back in the rain


I want to see me change
I watch me and it’s strange
I don’t know what else to do or what else to try

I hate to see the pain
To watch me in the rain
I want me to come out and see the sky

But soon I know that I’ll go up and step to the door
I’ll push it open, step inside and cross the floor, ‘cause I’ve..

...Been there done that
Been there done that
Don’t know why
Keep coming back

This one speaks to the cyclic nature of depression.  It's weird, and there are a lot of dichotomies.  When I get this down, I feel like I'm two people:  One who is happy and normal and wondering why I'm moping so much when it's obviously much better to be happy and normal.  And the other who is all mopey and whiney and wishing it would stop, but not doing anything to fix it.

And even though the happy person wins out for a while, it always seems that I end up back in the cloudy, rainy, stormy sadness.  And I don't know why I keep coming back, when there's so much to enjoy in life.


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

FAWM #5 - Messin' With the Recipe

Jodi and I went out tonight, and as a bit of our dinner conversation, I was telling her about some of my song ideas.  She's been following my FAWM-ing efforts, and it's been fun to share them with her.

I mentioned to her that it would be fun to write a song about my cooking experiences.  Many of you that follow me (well, some of you, anyway) might know that I love to cook, especially in my dutch ovens.  Until I blurted that idea out, it hadn't ever really occurred to me to blend my two interests: music and cooking.  Jodi smiled and shot out a title: "The Recipe of Life".

The only problem with this kind of situation is that when a great idea like that is handed to me so clearly, I immediately start running with it.  It struck me that some people really stick to the recipe and others are free-form chefs.  That set up the central metaphor for the entire song.

Messin’ With the Recipe

By Mark Hansen with Jodi Hansen

Some people I know
When they cook
Double checks the recipe
And follow the book

They measure every spice
They sift and pour
Doing to perfection
What’s been done before

No reason to question
No reason to doubt
Somebody else already
Figured it out
So why go
Messin’ with the recipe

Some people I know
When they’re in the kitchen
Work fast and free
With their imagination

A little of this and
A Pinch of that
What should we add
Well what’ve we got?

No time to wonder
No time to waste
Just throw it in
And see how it’ll taste
So why bother
Messin’ with a recipe

Is your life savory or is it sweet?
Is your life dessert or is it meat?
Do you like the smell?
Do you like the flavor?
Do you chomp it down
Or is it a dish to savor?

Now I’m not a chef
But when I’m cooking
I’ll have the book open
And I’m always looking

But I can’t ever leave
Well enough alone
I’m dashing, splashing flavors
Stirring on my own

Sometimes I hit
Sometimes I botch
But I always try
To kick it up a notch
Seems I’m always
Messin’ with the recipe

Repeat Bridge

Seems I’m always
Messin’ with the recipe

The music for this one has a kind of peppy, jazz/folk feel.  Sam would certainly be proud.  I hope.  Anyways, for a first draft, I'm feeling like it's pretty good!


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FAWM #4: Oh Simeon

 As I posted up my first few FAWM songs, David left some suggestions for a song.  He suggested the story of Simeon, as told in Luke Chapter 2.  He suggested it, I think, because it's traditionally commemorated on February 2nd.  

I was really glad of the suggestion.  In this story, there's a lot of wonderful lessons, of ongoing faith, of enduring to the end, of rewarded patience.  I thought of his longsuffering, and willingness to submit to everything the Lord sent him, with the assurance of the prophecy that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

And he didn't just patiently wait.  He waited while serving.  He gave his whole life, and in the end, it was rewarded, as promised.

Oh, Simeon 
By Mark Hansen with David Lund

Each morning you woke up
Lifted your weary head
Placed your aching feet
And rose up out of bed

The robe you wore was heavy
Each year slower than the last
A meager bowl of meal and
A prayer to break the fast

Oh, Simeon
Oh, Simeon
How long you have waited
Oh, Simeon
Oh, Simeon
With a faith that never faded

And at the temple door
Each day you watched them come
As they brought in their sacrifices
And then left one by one

A father brought his new son
And his wife, both new and clean
This family brought the spirit
Like none other you had seen


I’d sure like to know how you felt as you held the child
That all those years of waiting had finally been fulfilled
The holy promise you’d been given: that you would see the one
That you’d been serving all these years
At last it was all done


One morning when the sun shone
Across your weary head
Your eyes no longer opened
Resting in your bed


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My LDS Music History - Part 1 - In the Beginning

I find myself at odds with much of the LDS Music world.  In a lot of ways, it’s the club that I always wanted to be in, full of all the cool kids in school, but for which I, myself, would never qualify.  On the other hand, it’s full of songs and albums that, while I may own them for their study and archival value, I hardly ever listen to for fun.  To that mix, add that many of the people in the LDS Music world are some of my closest and truest friends.

Yes, it’s complicated, innit?

In addition, it’s tough to say which moments in LDS music history were the most influential, because, frankly, most of it isn’t really history yet.  It’s all still too new.  The big picture is still too small.  Yes, there are core moments like “The Plan”, and “Saturday’s Warrior”, but their impact is still, being measured, I think.

But, I CAN talk about the moments that had a big impact on me, personally.  So, I think I’ll tell that story, in the context of as much of the big picture as possible.

The Seventies

In the summer of 76, I started to wake up to popular culture.  Prior to that I was in isolation as a geek.  I listened to classical music and read fantasy novels.  But that summer, a friend I grew up with introduced me to The Rolling Stones, Nazareth, and Kansas.  

I also went into ninth grade, and so I stared early morning Seminary.  That was when I had my first taste of LDS pop music.  In those years, the church did two things in the Seminary curriculum that struck me:  They had a series of films starring a group of Mormon teenagers (that we supposedly could relate to), and a soundtrack album of songs that went with it, that we would supposedly like better than the evil noise that was on the radio.  The first one I remember was called “Like Unto Us”, and I can still sing the hook line of the title track.  Back in the day, I didn’t really like it.  It wasn’t my sound, but it gave me some hope.  Each year, another soundtrack album came out, with new films.  Most were, in my ears, pretty forgettable. Others were bad enough to actually make me angry (like “I’ll Build You a Rainbow”).

There was another thing in the LDS pop world that was stirring up waves, a play called “Saturday’s Warrior”.  Since we lived in Indiana, however, it never was performed even close to us, so it’s impact wasn’t felt until many years later.

Another thing was happening to me, during those early high school years.  My musical focus began to shift.  I had grown up playing classical music on the ‘cello, and I got fascinated by the electric bass and, eventually, the guitar.  A friend of mine took me to my first rock concert:  Styx, on the Grand Illusion tour.  It was eye and ear opening to me in many ways.

Soon, other friends introduced me to other bands that would have an equally big impact on me:  The Resurrection Band (later known as the “Rez Band”, and even later as “Rez”), and Petra.  I discovered Christian Rock.  In my own mind and limited experience, I held the three up and compared them:  Like Unto Us, Mainstream rock, and Christian rock.  Even back then, I was forming a dream that someday, someone would do hard rock like the mainstreamers and the Christians were doing, but they’d do it for us Mormons.

Also unknown to me at the time, the Osmonds had put out their Mormon Concept Album “The Plan”, several years before, and I didn’t even get a copy or listen to it until just a few years ago, as of this writing.

I kept learning to play bass and guitar, and I also began writing songs.  If nobody else was going to do it, I would!


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

FAWM #3: That's Just How They Roll

This one was a blast to write.  It was based on a driving guitar riff that I’ve had in my head for a couple of years, now.  In fact, I recorded it as a short little one minute idea, and I found it the other day when I was reconnecting my studio.

I was just thinking about how much fun my two kids often have with each other, and how they used to ride together on Jake’s wheelchair.  They would spin around at top speed, doing donuts on the park grass.  Jake would be bouncing around and laughing his head off.

The FAWM challenge is really just about first drafts, right?  They don’t have to be perfect out of the gate, do they?  I can see a few spots where the lines need to be teaked a little bit, but then, that’s kind of like the kids themselves, innit?

That’s Just How They Roll
For Jacob and Brendon

He likes to play games with his brother, and
He likes it when the chocolate’s sweet, and
He wishes he could run like any other
But in his chair they go flying down the street

Don’t need to fight, don’t need to be told
Spinning left and right, that’s just how they roll
That’s just how they roll

He fights to play the game on his own, but
He likes it when his brother helps him win
He likes to spend time by himself, but
He loves it when they’re home again

His brother jumps on the chair and grabs a hold
They fire it up and like lightning - off they roll
That’s just how they roll

He’s like an angel without wings
Who fell out of heaven by no fault of his own
And though sometimes he can be a little devil
I’m still amazed at the ways he’s grown

Time goes on and I get feeling old
But I still feel like a kid when I watch them roll
That’s just how they roll


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

LDS Musicians - Shop here!