Father Bill Quinlivan, prolific writer, musician and minister, has done it again with a new CD out in time for Christmas. Titled "Jump for Joy," this is Father Quinlivan's eighth CD. Having published "Made to Praise Him" in 2014 and recently been named pastor of two parishes in Buffalo, you might wonder how he does all this.
Father Quinlivan writes his prose and music simultaneously. "I was always doing both at the same time. My books are more reflective thoughts on the songs." He enjoys creative expression through music, but also through the written word. His two books are centered on lyrics from songs written over the years, even though the songs had no melody at the time. The books are solitary and reflective, giving him time to think through and look for ways that God has been moving in his experiences. "When you stop and have to tell someone your story, you hear your story and you start to realize how blessed you've been," he said.
The title song was written several years ago, and was inspired by the story of the visitation. "When Mary visits her cousin, Elizabeth, and the child in Elizabeth's womb jumps for joy, that's John the Baptist. When we come into an encounter with Christ, our lives jump to a whole new level, too," said Father Quinlivan.
The CD cover photo has a different inspiration, though, brought to fruition on a recent trip to Austria. Father Quinlivan describes how the photo came about from "jumping up in the air to try and click my heels together like Julie Andrews does in 'The Sound of Music' on the very same path where she walked." It took a few tries to get the shot right, he said, adding, "I have the pulled tendons in my right knee to prove how many times I had to jump in the air."
A duet called "Abandonation" was recorded with Bob Halligan Jr. from Ceili Rain, a Celtic rock Christian band from Syracuse. Born in Buffalo, Halligan has been a successful songwriter and accompanies Father Quinlivan, trading lead vocals and playing electric guitar. "This is the most rock sounding you'll ever hear from me," said Father Quinlivan.
One song is inspired by Bernie Fine, a close friend from Florida. Fine and his wife, Nancy, had invited Father Quinlivan and the Voices of Mercy from St. Luke's to come and do some healing ministry. While married to a Catholic spouse, Bernie was Jewish. "He probably knew and had heard more homilies, and more teaching, than most other people who are not of the Catholic tradition," said Father Quinlivan. When Nancy Fine informed him that Bernie's illness was progressing, it prompted Father Quinlivan to write a prayer called "Shalom." The Fines always sign their written correspondence to Father Quinlivan with the Hebrew word for peace. "It's the first time I ever wrote a faith-based song that is not merely Christian. It actually has the Jewish kind of Old Testament vibe," he said.
Joining Father Quinlivan on "Shalom" is David Meyer from the band Kindred. Meyer plays cello and is joined by Cory Dusel playing violin. "Live strings," said Father Quinlivan.
Also appearing on "Jump For Joy" are Sydnie and Joanah Perkins, sisters whom Father Quinlivan knew from his days at St. Luke's Mission of Mercy. He noticed that the sisters had really good singing voices, but they never had a chance to sing together. "I thought it would be fun to have them involved because I've known them a long time," he said.
Father Quinlivan will be performing a 7 p.m. Christmas concert Thursday, Dec. 28, at St. Martin of Tours Parish in South Buffalo, with several other musicians.
The CDs are available for $15 at the Catholic Union Store, the Catholic Store at the Southgate Plaza, Tara Gift Shop on Southgate Road, Buffalo, and the parish office at St. Martin of Tours.