We Will RemembeR: Songs inspired by the book of joel (Overview)
In 2016, my dear friend Jaco Hamman invited me and a couple of musician friends over to his house for dinner. We sat around his dining room table and drank good wine and ate a marvelous dinner of tender steak and veggies. Jaco is a not only an amazing purveyor of food with his South African blood, but he is also a brilliant professor, pastor, teacher, author, speaker and all around incredibly smart guru of a man. We have had the pleasure of working together in many different live capacities where he is speaking and I have had the privilege of sharing music and leading folks in song before he speaks. I have sat under his teaching numerous times and every time, I walk away, changed, challenged and encouraged.
When he invited us into this project of writing the musical accompaniment to his upcoming book, I at first thought it was an incredibly daunting challenge, one that I could never do alone… which is why he invited a few of us in. Unfortunately, due to the timing of his deadline and the others’ schedules… the few became, only me… and the the challenge grew even more! Not only because I had never done a project like this before, but because I felt like my energy and writing well was dry, after writing an entire album worth of material for GATHER in a short period of time. When we originally met for dinner, I think that album was still in the writing phase too. The conversations continued and then the deadline loomed large… and after an intense year of touring the GATHER album, I found myself with only a couple months to write twelve songs and to make it even more fun with the deadline looming even larger, I booked studio time with my friend Paul Moak to record this album.
One of the hardest and most beautiful things about this album was that it was not only a musical accompaniment to Jaco’s book, but also to the Old Testament Book of Joel which is only three chapters long and uses the word ‘locust’ multiple times in those short three chapters! Jaco gave me alot of freedom as I pursued these songs, but he also set up some guidelines/rules for these songs, in that they needed to be written in a certain way, for a certain audience in mind. Along with these challenges, was the sheer content of Joel and the nature of the book - which is primarily about devastation in a personal and global sense - through the coming of three plagues of locusts in the first 6 verses. But the beauty came when I was able to steep myself in the story and the scripture, and through the gentle guidance of my friend Jaco and his wisdom, was able to find my own words through the experience. How often we can learn through others interpretations and understanding and wisdom from their journey; and thankfully, Jaco is a great guide! Never before have I spent such extensive time in one passage for so long, - a solid 6 months of reading, re-reading, praying, reading, re-reading, talking with others, and sitting quietly. I had to search my heart and my own journey and through that and the beauty of inviting others into the process, these songs came to life. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to write these songs on my own, so I enlisted many friends around the country to join the journey with me… much like the overall theme of Joel ‘s writings. Amidst the devastation and the difficulty and the task of finding meaning, Joel invites the reader to gather… as elders, as children, as families… to mourn and grieve and celebrate together. What seemed like a dry well, mainly because I felt like I had just written a bunch of songs about community in GATHER, became a well full of material that I got to mine and create with my friends. I’m grateful to my friends Rachel Taylor (who also sings throughout the whole album), Jim Trick, Justin McRoberts, Rob Blackledge, Janie Townsend, and Chad Cates who co-wrote these songs with me. They are all ridiculously talented folks you should listen to!
As these songs are released digitally in Chapters, I will be updating this page so please keep coming back! And thanks for reading… and listening!
I’d love to hear your feedback on this new release… LISTEN HERE
(November - 2018)