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Charles Wolff

Charles Wolff got his first guitar for his seventh birthday, wrote his first song in the fourth grade, and has been writing regularly since he was sixteen. From greasy teenage love songs to off-the-wall Christian songs (one of which got him banned from singing in church for two years!) to praise and worship music to... well, whatever inspires him, songwriting has been a major focus of Charles' life for over thirty years now.

"My grandmother was a church organist, and my dad played a lot of country/western songs on guitar, but it was seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan that really got me interested in writing and singing songs," Charles recalls.

The following years saw a variety of musical influences and opportunities for Charles. He has been involved in writing and producing "youth musicals" for church groups, singing his own songs in church, singing with church choirs and the Arizona State University Choral Union, and, of course, recording. "My first apartment had two bedrooms, and from the very start, the second bedroom was the recording studio. When the recording equipment took over the big bedroom, we knew it was time to move!"

Proud to be a DeadHead, Charles' musical favorites over the years have included Paul Simon, Christian rocker Larry Norman, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Prince, Jimmy Buffett, and many others. Owner of a complete set of Spanky and Our Gang albums, Charles says, "As you can probably tell from my list of favorite musicians, I'm definitely a lyrics person - and in my songwriting, definitely a 'lyrics first' person." For more insight into Charles' songwriting process, visit his Songwriting Notes page.

His current main musical outlet is the worship band at Desert Foothills United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to playing bass or guitar and singing with the group, Charles takes care of selecting songs, handing the PA system, and providing original praise and worship songs for the group. "While we use a lot of the familiar Maranatha! and Vineyard worship songs," Charles says, "musically, the band owes a great deal to Jimmy Buffett..."

One of Charles' recent projects was to take a dozen of Shakespeare's sonnets, and use them as the basis for songs in a variety of rock, folk and country styles. You can see and hear the results at The Rhythm of the Sonnets.

His current projects include writing and recording more praise and worship songs for the church band, recording "contemporary" versions of a number of songs by hymnwriter Philip P. Bliss, and collaborating with other songwriters from Glade's Lyric Workshop Message Board. He also maintains a Real Audio Song of the Week site, where he presents a sampling of the songs he has written over the years, along with a little background on the inspiration for and writing of each song.

"Where Did We Go Wrong?" was written as an internet collaboration with Tim Erisman. Tim had posted the original lyric to Glade's Lyric Workshop Message Board, and in the process of discussing Charles' critique of Tim's original lyric, they decided to let Charles try writing music for Tim's lyrics. The song was recorded in Charles' bedroom studio, on an 8-track reel-to-reel deck, using "Band In a Box" for the basic tracks. Guitar parts were done on the 1957 Stratocaster he inherited from his father.

Thanks for visiting - and for listening!