Song of the Day: Jason Gray

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In case you haven’t heard, Jason Gray’s “More Like Falling In Love” is getting lots of radio play these days. (Call your local station and tell them you want to hear it.) But just because he’s got a song on the charts doesn’t mean he’s abandoned his noble folkish roots.

The song of the (tues)day is my favorite off his newest album. It’s called “The Golden Boy & The Prodigal.” Like a good Bob Dylan song, it’s got about 47 verses and I dig that (even if the radio stations don’t.)
There are two sides to every person
Like the two sides of a dime
Heads or tails it depends upon
Who’s watching at the time
Though I hate to say it
Mine is no exception
One part is the prodigal
The other part: deception

Like the prince and the pauper
Like Jacob and his brother
Each hide a different heart
Each a shadow of the other
Me and my doppelganger
Both share the same blood
One I have hated
The other have I loved

One of them’s the Golden Boy
The man I’d like to be
I show him off in the parades
For all the world to see
The other is much weaker
He stumbles all the time
The source of my embarrassment
He’s the one I try to hide

The Golden boy is made of straw
His finest suit will surely burn
His vice is the virtue
That he never had to earn
The prodigal’s been broken
And emptied at the wishing well
But he’s stronger for the breaking
With a story to tell

I’m not easy with confessions
It’s hard to tell the truth
But I have favored the golden boy
While the other I’ve abused
And he takes it like a man
Though he’s longing like a child
To be loved and forgiven
And share the burden for awhile

So take a good look in the mirror
Tell me who you see
The one who Jesus died for
Or the one you’d rather be
Can you find it in your heart
To show mercy to the one
The Father loved so much
That he gave his only son…

Get Jason’s Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue in the Rabbit Room Store for just $10.

Profile photo of Pete Peterson

Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


35 Comments

  1. Tony from Pandora

    This is going to be my next cd purchase. Each time I listen to Jason Gray, I become a bigger fan.

  2. JacobT

    This is probably my favorite song off of this great CD. I love the folky sound of this one and can almost hear Mark Knopfler soloing in the background.

    But it is this line that knocks me down and then picks me up, dusts me off and leaves me grinning:

    “So take a good look in the mirror
    Tell me who you see
    The one who Jesus died for
    Or the one you’d rather be”

  3. Laura Peterson

    I’ve been a “lurker” in the Rabbit Room for the past few months, but it seems fitting to make this my inaugural comment since it was a Jason Gray/Andrew Peterson concert in Michigan that led me to the Room in the first place….and I have to add my “Amen!” to this post. The line that JacobT posted, as well as the fourth verse of “I Am New,” knocked me off my feet and have been life-giving words for me recently. Also I add my thumbs-up to all things noble and folk-ish. 🙂

    Excited to have found this great place!

  4. Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

    Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Oh, man do I dig this song. I remember Jason playing it for me in its not-quite-finished state and I geeked out. I was so glad to hear a Dylan-esque song on this record. Sometimes Jason’s voice is so smooth and pleasant, and the music is so well put-together, that it’s easy to miss that he’s singing these gut-wrenching lyrics. Even his poppier songs are bold, smart, poetic, and honest. The fact that he’s had a lot of radio success is awesome, because the average Christian radio listener isn’t used to having to put on his/her thinking cap. Jason is saying something. With every song.

  5. Aaron Roughton

    This song is one of my favorites on Jason’s album, which is one of my favorite albums. If you don’t own it, own it now. Thanks for posting, Pete.

  6. Paula Shaw

    This is my favorite song on his album. Well, okay, I guess there are a couple more I really, really like, too, but this one is the most awesome!

  7. DrewP

    Wow, what a song, I think I would give my left arm to write like this but then, how would I play my guitar. Gotta figure that one out.

  8. LauraP

    Laura-a-different-P — A Jason Gray/Andrew Peterson concert is on my bucket list! Welcome to the Rabbit Room. It’s a fine establishment, as you’ve already noted. 🙂

  9. Kaitlyn

    Oh yeah. You guys know where it’s at. This has always been my favorite on ESICU. From the moment I heard it it knocked me off my feet and took me about 5 minutes to recover and get back up. Love this one, for real!

  10. Jaclyn

    I too dig the details, especially the word choice. I really want to write a children’s book titled “Me and My Doppelgänger.”

    This song is like an Everlasting Gobstopper. I can keep chewing and chewing, and continue to enjoy it. And instead of nasty side effects like sore cheeks or dental work, I become a better person. Thanks Jason! And thanks, Pete, for featuring this!

  11. Tony Heringer

    Has to be one of the best songs period. Anytime a guy can work the word ‘doppelganger’ into the lyrics props are in order. To echo the prior posts, if you don’t own this album or haven’t caught Gray live, make sure you do. To see Barliman and Gray together would be an awesome night indeed and quite funny because Gully would be lurking there too and between Gray and Gully you have two of funniest guys on the planet. A buddy of mine said if the music thing doesn’t work out Gray should consider stand up comedy. But the best part is that my teenage, metal loving, son listens to Gray and to hear “Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue (Part 1)” coming out of his room is an instant “God, please bless Jason Gray today” from dad. 🙂

  12. Jaclyn

    ^Aw, that is great to hear, Tony! We youngins can make for a rough audience, but I think our generation needs so badly to know that tragedy isn’t all that’s real, that “every winter breaks upon the Easter Lily’s bloom.”

  13. Deb

    I love a good turn of phrase… Jason Gray excels at them. I agree with you Jacob…love that line! Also have to say that the next line hits me where I live…

    “Can you find it in your heart to have mercy on the one the Father loved so much that He gave His only Son?”

    Our only son died of cancer a little over a year ago…my heart cries when I hear this line – it cuts me to the core as I grow to understand more personally the Father’s amazing Gift…I am so unworthy. Having mercy on myself in the face of my unworthiness is a real struggle.

    I read once that “God can use no one greatly until He has wounded them deeply” Jason writes as one who has personally known great pain – I’m sorry for the wounds that have brought him to this place, but am grateful too as God has used Jason’s music in my life to bring hope and the encouragement I’ve needed to press on in the midst of my own wounds.

    Keep writing Jason – God is using you greatly!

  14. Profile photo of Jason Gray

    Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Deb – so generous of you. Your story and faithfulness is an inspiration…

    Russ and Tony – I struggled over whether “doppelganger” was too showy of a word to use there and if it would be a distraction. I kept it in there because I realized that it was the right word and that my intentions were pure (I didn’t use it because it’s a showy word).

    And then about a year later along came facebook and the whole doppelganger sensation… and now I fear when people hear it they’ll think I’m trying to be trendy! But that’s probably just my pride…

    So grateful that you guys like the song – it’s the one song on the record I wrote all by myself. I think it’s the truest song on the record, and ironically for me the easiest to write. It’s those little 3 and a half minute pop gems that I labor over! And that’s why I like those, too – they are the hardest kind of song to write and I enjoy the challenge.

    But this kind of a song is always like coming home for me. I doubt these songs because I’m afraid I’m the only one who will care about them. I thank you all for the delight of being proven wrong. Thank you 🙂

  15. Dave Trout

    Yes, yes, yes! I think it’s the best song on ESICU… and simply one of the best songs period. Heard this track as a preview before ESICU released, and had a similar experience to Kaitlyn. I first was floored. Then listened again. Then had to recover for 5 minutes. Amazing! And hearing Jason’s story behind the song only made it better for me.

    This song was my pick for the #2 BEST song of 2009 [as published here http://radarradio.net/blog/top-gourmet-songs-of-2009%5D — only behind Jill Phillips’ “Resurrection”.

  16. Tony Heringer

    Dude, the context of that word is what makes it brilliant to me. It’s a great word and it fits perfectly. Thaks for sharing and it always cracks me up when you think this type of song will not be embraced. This is similar to your thoughts on “The Cut” on the last album.

    Deb, thanks for sharing your heart. It is an honor to hear your story and to know that I have such wonderful sisters who are also daughters of the King. You are most worthy because He has made it so. Live full on into that right as an heiress of a Kingdom that is without end.

  17. Profile photo of Jonathan Rogers

    Jonathan Rogers

    @jonathanrogers

    Right after hearing that song for the first time, I remember closing my German-Enlgish dictionary and thinking, dude, what a great word.

    I’m kidding, of course. Why not use doppelganger? Except that the spell-checker doesn’t seem to like it.

  18. Gail Strom

    Good music speaks to the ear. Great music speaks to the heart and leaves you feeling understood. Jason speaks truth on so many levels. The Golden Boy and the Prodigal is my favorite song on his latest CD, probably because the lyrics point to my own reality. Jasons music is a blessing…

  19. Profile photo of Jason Gray

    Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Well, I heard the US poet Laureate Billy Collins talk once of a story from his childhood when he went on a glass bottomed boat ride with his family. He got lost in the wonder of this underwater world he’d never seen before – it was magical and he was caught in it’s spell.

    But then another passenger on the boat bent over and her sunglasses fell off and onto the surface of the glass floor of the boat, and for Billy it broke the spell – it reminded him that it wasn’t magical, that it was just the floor of a boat.

    His advice to artists is to not drop the glasses, or in other words don’t do anything that calls too much attention to the craft of the thing, that the craft and the craftsman (or craftsperson :-)) serve the work best when they are most invisible.

    So my concern was that using a word like doppelganger might qualify as dropping the glasses, drawing attention to me for using a 10 dollar word more than drawing the listener deeper into the magical world (I hope) of the song.

    But maybe I overthink it…

    So anyway, that’s where the hesitation came from. But it’s a word I knew and loved because I first heard it years ago when it was the name of an old Daniel Amos record that I thought was cool! Does anyone here remember them? They were way ahead of their time for sure.

  20. Tony Heringer

    Great story and insight to the process. Given the blogs on writer’s block, I’d say yes on the overthinking but that wrestling is what makes songs like this one and ‘The Cut” so special.

    As for Daniel Amos, no, but I found the album on youtube:

    Sort of a Talking Heads vibe.

  21. Tom

    I am a big, big DA fan. One of my favorite memories is from Cornerstone ’90, when I danced myself to exhaustion during DA’s concert. One of the highlights of the set was a version of “Memory Lane” (from Doppelgänger, for those of you keeping score) that completely tore up the room.

    I still need to track down copies of “Bibleland” and “Zoom Daddy”…

  22. Profile photo of Russ Ramsey

    Russ Ramsey

    @russramsey

    I’s just playin’.

    I remember you warning us when we featured this song almost a year ago that you used the word “doppelganger” and I wondered how it would fit. But it works in such an unobtrusive way, I’m just jealous.

    I’m thinking about writing a lyric featuring the word “mammothrept” which is a child brought up by his or her grandmother– not that I was. But still. I’m gonna give it a try.

  23. Kaitlyn

    Dave: I had read the lyrics on Jason’s message boards while he was recording, and I knew how much he was fighting for that song. Knowing the story behind it, then listening to it, realizing how personal it was for Jason just added a neat little spark to hearing it for the first time. While he played it for me when he was at my church I nearly started crying. The transparency and honesty is enough to wreck my heart over and over again. Hearing it live just wrecked my heart even more.

  24. Jen

    Absolutely my favorite on the record. There are so many others I love, but there’s something special in this one besides the nice use of doppelganger. (which is an awesome word and totally works. glad you kept it, Jason!) No amount of radio airplay can quell the folkish bard spirit. This radio person digs it. 🙂

    I do get a little happy every time I hear “More Like Falling in Love” on the radio though. Okay… a lot happy!

  25. Tim Stromer

    Jason is one of the most complicated singer song writers I’ve ever read, but he makes sense. His message is moving and compelling, cause he tries to write in a place where God is.

  26. Dryad

    Tim Stromer…
    You just made the witty doppelganger comment I was about to write seem petty.
    Thanks.

  27. Rebecca

    I love the vulnerability of Jason’s music. The lyrics grab you and don’t let go. I love the instrumental of this one too. The tempo feels like you’re walking to the soundtrack of your life.

  28. Mindy

    Like a good Bob Dylan song, it’s got about 47 verses and I dig that (even if the radio stations don’t.)

    This made me chuckle.

    Great, great song. Great, great reminder of what we should be. I have been battling hard with the worldly and the Christ-like me. Thank you for singing this Jason a couple weeks ago for us. I really needed to hear it!

    Keep writing, bud. You rock my face off.

  29. Zak

    This is arguably the best song on the album, and the reason is its honesty, both in the lyrics and the music. I think that the best songs Jason writes are the ones that he strips off all armor and lays his heart bare. Though I love Everything Sad is Coming Untrue, the album is short on these heartfelt expressions of brokenness in exchange for songs that seek lighthearted pop in its music and audience edification in its lyrics.

    Which it absolutely achieves, and praise God for it. I’m disgusted with Christian music that has deadened the brain and taken only from the Psalms the word “lovingkindness.” It is blind. Songs such as “More Like Falling in Love” need so badly to be heard on Christian radio.

    But this is my favorite from the record. The honesty, the brokenness, the desire for God, it’s all there in the lyrics and music (in fact, it reminds me a lot of A Place Called Hope, which is, in a way, thematically similar). It probably won’t get air time (which is another sad reflection on Christian radio), but this probably one of the best songs Jason has written in a while.

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