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Music by

Keith Sanford


Songs with Drums:

An archive of old projects

with songs that feature prominent drum tracks.

    Drum-focused original songs    

Songs recorded before I began using video.

Scroll down for song information.


Mustard Seed

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Watts Riots 1965

This song includes a reference to the Watts riots of 1965, which lasted five days, and law enforcement killed over 30 people in efforts to restore order. The riots heightened feelings of anger and fear, not only in people who were being oppressed, but also in those with power and status. I wrote this song, and on the recording, play drums, synthesizers, and vocals. To record the rhythm track for this song, I first used a sequencer to create a rhythmic pattern of electronic, metallic sounds, and then I played drums along with the sequenced pattern.

For lyrics, click here.



Hope and Tears

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This song is about the Trail of Tears in the winter of 1838. The people of the Cherokee Nation had made many concessions to keep peace with the United States, and they were viewed as one of the Five Civilized Tribes. But, they lived on valuable farmland in present day Georgia. The Cherokee were moved to detention camps and then forced to march to Oklahoma. Due to harsh conditions, several thousand people died along the way. I wrote this song thinking about the possibility of maintaining hope, even in the face of injustice. On this recording, I play drums, synthesizers, and vocals.

For lyrics, click here.

Trail of Tears



The Pearl

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pearl on beach

This song is about finding something of great value in life. Maybe it is something that gives a person hope and purpose. Maybe it is something that taps a source of goodness woven throughout the universe. This song draws from a simple parable to tell a story that raises many possibilities. I wrote this song, and on the recording, play drums, synthesizers, and vocals. I wanted a thick harmony for the chorus, so I recorded multiple background vocal tracks, with one part near the bottom of my range and another near the top.

For lyrics, click here.



Sumter Cannons

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This song takes the biblical story of Cain and Abel and combines it with images from the Civil War.  Fort Sumter was the location of the first battle in the war.  The song makes a reference to the “Wide Awakes,” which were a Northern anti-slavery group of men who wore military hats, shiny black capes, and held torch-light marches at night.  I wrote this song, and on the recording, play drums, synthesizers, and vocals.  If you listen carefully to the drum track, you can hear me click my sticks together before the second verse.  This was not intentional but I kept it in the mix just for the sake of authenticity.

For lyrics, click here.

fort sumpter




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Part of the human condition is that we are quick to build walls, creating boundary lines between friends and outsiders. Often, these walls are built on a foundation of religious belief. But other times, a much brighter type of religion shines and people break these walls down. I wrote this song, and on the recording, play drums, synthesizers, and vocals. Sometimes, my ideas about how a song should sound will evolve as I record it. As a result, on this song a drum track and a synthesizer arpeggio track were each created separately, and then later “pasted” on top of each other in hopes that everything would line up. The high-hat sound was created by splashing it with my left foot.

For lyrics, click here.



Frozen Certainty

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frozen certainty

The idea I had in mind when I wrote this song is that we best relate to others, and we even best appreciate the nature of God, when we recognize the limits and fallibility of our own understanding. To claim to be absolutely certain is to show how little we truly know. On this recording, I play drums, acoustic piano, synthesizer, and vocals. The drum part turned out to be somewhat of an exercise for my right foot with frequent double strokes on the bass drum.

For lyrics, click here.




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oak tree

For this song I took an old hymn melody, wrote new words, changed the rhythm, gave it a different chord structure, and placed it in the context of a non-traditional musical arrangement. In spite of these changes, the song is still intended to function as a hymn. If you are familiar with hymns, you might recognize the melody. For this recording, I play drums, acoustic piano, synthesizer, and vocals.

For lyrics, click here.



Cha Cha Kaleidoscope

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This song uses the standard tempo and rhythm of a cha cha, while at the same time fits the genera of modern jazz-rock and contains polyrhythmic interludes. I wrote this song in 2007, and on this recording, I play drums (recorded with no overdubs), synthesizer, and acoustic piano, which is mixed at some points to sound like an electric guitar. I had to practice a bit before I was able to play the entire drum part in a single take.




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