Song of the Day: Jason Gray

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I spoke with Jason on the phone today and when I told him that he was next in line for the song of the day, he pleaded that I not post his song after Goodgame’s Peanuts goodness. But I have no choice, I told him. I’m posting the songs of the day in alphabetical order according to artist, and Gray comes after Goodgame. Besides, though his great humility may tell him otherwise, Jason has nothing to worry about. His songs are honest and well-crafted, not to mention excellently produced. Check this one out, for example, sung with his musical compadre Sara Groves:

THE CUT
Words: JG
Music: JG & Matt Patrick
Psalm 119:67-77

My heart is laid
Under Your blade
As you carve out Your image in me
You cut to the core
But still you want more
As you carefully, tenderly ravage me

And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
I’m cold and I’m scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
They say the cut makes me whole

Mingling here
Your blood and my tears
As You whittle my kingdom away
But I see that you suffer, too
In making me new
For the blade of Love, it cuts both ways

And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
I’m cold and I’m scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
They say the cut makes me whole

Hidden inside the grain
Beneath the pride and pain
Is the shape of the man
You meant me to be
Who with every cut now you try to set free

CHORUS…
…With everyday
You strip more away
And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
I’m cold and I’m scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
The blade must take it’s toll
So God give me strength to know
That the cut makes me whole

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


21 Comments

  1. Arlen and Beth Gorden

    Jason’s music is life changing. This is typical Jason Gray and Matt Patrick gold!

  2. brad

    man what an excellent song that lays out the truth of the faith Journey. So as iron sharpens Iron so one sharpens another. Just like the blind man Jesus used spit and mud to heal. At first he said he saw, men but they looked like trees and then once Jesus touched him again he then saw clearly. His healing is like our faith Journey, the disciples voyage to and beyond the cross into the early church. Man it is a painful trip but it brings us to a place of clarity. Thank You Jason for crafting this song.

  3. Adam Bennett

    Great song Jason! I’m continually humbled by your craftsmanship, quality and sincerity that gets poured into every song. Completely agree with Matt’s comment above as well.

    Great pick Andrew!

    Also, thanks for setting up the Rabbit Room. I’ve been checking it out for the past few weeks and have been very blessed. Keep it up!

  4. Profile photo of Curt McLey

    Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    I love this song. Great choice, AP. Those are two beautiful voices, right there. The blending of the strings and the voices is wonderful.

    I have a question, Jason, if you don’t mind answering it. That harmony part that Sara sings–was that written and arranged ahead of time or did the producer just turn Sara loose with a variety of takes to see what naturally came out? Your voices mesh so well.

  5. Tony Heringer

    Barliman – Good choice lad. The funny think about Matt mentioning the Michael Card show (also posted by Barliman) is that Jason thought this song would be the one no one would like. Jason, it is not just I respectfully disagreeing with you this time. 🙂

    This is a very special thread because we have a post from the lovely and charming Mrs. Gray. It is good to know from the one closest to Jason that this song is as true to life for him as it sounds. Going back to Jason’s post about Tom Waits — this is another example of the topic we bandied about in that thread http://www.rabbitroom.com/?p=658

  6. Profile photo of Jason Gray

    Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Thanks for the kind words, everybody – grateful for them. I’m still mad at AP, though, for posting me after Goodgame. Ugh! Randall is so good sometimes I want to punch him. What if we switch it up and go alphabetical by first name…

    To answer Curt. Sara is famous for being a one take performer. She is pitch perfect! We just stuck a mic in front of her and ran through it a couple times, she interpreted most of it, and then we gave her a little direction after that. That girl can sing…

    I’ll share something with you, she originally sang this little response thing at the end of the song where she would repeat lines after I sang them, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard. It made me cry, in fact, when she first sang it and repeatedly when I’d hear it back. Nate, the other producer on the album, though he liked it, felt that it drew too much attention to itself, that it was too duet-y, and made you think of the voices instead of what the song was about. It’s interesting how things work, that you would sacrifice one of the most beautiful moments on a record in order to ultimately serve the song. In the long run, I think he was right, but it was hard to let that part go and I often return to the rough mix that still has Sara’s response vocal in it.

    We tried so many approaches with the electric guitar solo in the middle. At first I didn’t want it to be a solo, but more just a wall of sound. We had a take of that and I loved it, but some people we played it for wanted to hear a “part” or a melody to it, so we tried to compromise. Our intent was to have a segment that had a aural violence to it while still sounding musical and even beautiful. I’m not sure that we ever got that part quite right, but it is what it is and I’m happy that at least we reached for something and didn’t fall back and just do a predictable solo there. That moment in the song has divided people – it’s a love it or hate it moment and it’s the one thing people always comment on when they talk about the song with me.

    You can watch a clip of me performing this song on youtube if you like:

    (Don’t watch too many of the other songs up there. Without fail, the night when someone decides to record a video of your performances is the same night when your allergies are acting up, or you forget words, or your monitor isn’t working… the trouble with youtube is that there’s no quality control!)

    Anyway, thanks for listening.

  7. euphrony

    Jason, Sounds like that rough mix of Sara’s bg vocals, and the “wall of sound” would be nice little goodies to incorporate onto something in the future. You know, for the fans. Just a suggestion . . .

    To be honest, I found your music through Sara. The first I heard of you was when she talked about you on her website a few years ago. When I saw that she did this song with you I decided to check it out. After listening to the clip I bought it immediately. No regrets yet.

  8. Profile photo of Jason Gray

    Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Yikes! you said no regrets YET! I hope I don’t blow it now!

    😉

    Sara is great and has been a great support to me for many years. She’s the consummate songwriter and her and her husband Troy are some of the best people I know. I just had a writing session with Sara yesterday and we talked about her new Christmas project she’s working with Ben Shive of recent Rabbit Room renown. Can’t wait!

    JG

  9. Tony Heringer

    euphrony – I caught that too. BTW, I went to your blog and found this link:

    http://www.downhere.com/splash/

    A free download of the new Down Here album. I saw those fellows a few months back in a concert that also featured Jason. The room is just full of treats this week. 🙂

  10. euphrony

    Well, life is full of regrets. I regret Boston’s fourth album, as being just a little too much like the previous work. Still a good sound and still a fan of their music, tough. I regret that piece of cake at lunch today, although it’s taste is still yummy in my memory. Regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing (like the Chinese fast food at the Mall the other day). Hope I didn’t cause too much panic 🙂

    Yeah, downhere is giving away Wide-Eyed and Mystified as they get ready to release a new album in the fall. The free download is only for the month of June, though, so don’t wait too long.

    I wanted to go see Jason with downhere when they were in Houston last fall. Missed out because of a previous engagement. It also caused me to miss getting to talk with the downhere guys about World Vision for the other blog I work on (Inspired to Action). It seems every time a good concert comes to town I’m either busy of out of town. I did make Behold the Lamb of God, but had to drive an hour cross town to get to it. No regrets there, either – yet. Gas was cheaper way back then in December.

  11. Profile photo of Jason Gray

    Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Hey Euphrony

    Not sure if you know this or not, but Taya (my wife) and I are extensively involved with World Vision. Just last year we were on our second trip to Africa where, among other things, we got to meet the first girl we ever sponsored. In fact, I was invited to be a part of the Downhere tour and the tour with Shawn McDonald this Spring specifically because they wanted to me share my World Vision experience. Let me know if you ever want to talk about that – it’s my passion! Otherwise, you can read my blogs about our trip there in my blog archives on myspace. (myspace.com/jasongraymusic).

    Taya and I were also blessed to attend a fundraiser banquet for IJM last week with the Groves. I would say for both the Groves and us, these works – IJM and World Vision – are a big part of why we do what we do.

    Anyway, couldn’t help but share when I saw your other blog

  12. euphrony

    Jason,
    I’d love to shoot you some questions about World Vision, and about IJM, too, for an interview on Inspired to Action. I’ve done several in the past (with Shaun Groves and Addison Road, for example) and I’ve really been wanting to do an interview with someone who is passionate about their work with World Vision and IJM. If you e-mail me at articles-at-inspiredtoaction(dot)com I’ll get some to you by tomorrow.

    Thanks!

  13. Tony Heringer

    It’s a small Rabbit Room after all 🙂

    IJM president Gary Haugen preached a powerful message at our church (Perimeter Church/perimeter.org). It gripped the heart of my son in a way that few messages have before or since. As a church we have worked with IJM extensively. Most recently, we’ve turned our attentions to the sex slave trade here. Atlanta is a sorid mess when it comes to that topic. Please pray for our city in that respect.

    Not so much with World Vision (though they are one of my companies clients running some of our software for their financials) because we worked with Compassion International to adopt a village in Tanzania. Teachers from our school have gone over to serve for school year stints in the school there and we’ve sent countless teams in support of both areas of mission.

    Euphrony – I grew up in Orange Texas not too far from the big city. On top of that I graduated from A&M. We were just there a few weeks back. I took some training in Austin (a.k.a. The Evil Empire). Thanks again for the alert on the downhere download. I’m enjoying the tunes and recalling some of the music from the show.

  14. taj

    hello, i never heard of you and saw the link on beliefnet…
    so much better than mainstream christian music
    glad to know of you and this site.

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