Song of the Day: Jason Gray

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This is the newest single from Jason Gray’s record All the Lovely Losers. He wrote here in the Rabbit Room about some controversy (in the mildest sense) over the content in a few of the lines that radio stations were squeamish about sending over the airwaves. (Read Jason’s post here.) I respect Jason’s decision to change the lines so that the song (and the rest of his music) would have a shot at radio play. I respect it because I know Jason and I know that he isn’t a sellout, he isn’t changing his music so that he can make more cash, he isn’t wishy-washy on his artistic integrity–this just wasn’t a hill he was willing to die on.

Besides all that, I happen to like the new lines at least as much if not more than the originals. What I don’t like is that the punk nixed my BGVs in this new version of the song, crushing me emotionally and ruining any chance of a deeper friendship. I have feelings, Jason. Just like you. Well, not just like you, I guess, since you were so cavalier about flushing all my work down your studio toilet.

Lest my attempt at humor distract from your enjoyment of the song, I’ll end that tangent, post-haste.

I love this song. Also, my daughter loves this song. By the way, Jason’s record is for sale here in the Rabbit Room. If you’re in the market for some solid songwriting, catchy hooks, and an artist whose music tells the truth, Jason’s your guy. And if you’re a singer whose heart might be broken if your good friend eliminates your BGVs from his song, Jason is definitely not your guy.

EVERYTHING I OWN (Original lyrics)
David Peightal

What would I give to be pure in heart
To be pure in flesh and bone
What would I give to be pure in heart
I’d give everything that I own
I’d rid my whole house of its demons of lust
And open the windows of trust
And out of those windows all fear will have flown
I’d give everything that I own

What would I give for the words of God
To come tumbling from the throne
What would I give for the words of God
I’d give everything that I own
I’d open my head and they’d roll right in
When I opened my mouth they’d roll out again
And uproot the weeds of the deeds I have sown
I’d give everything that I own

Now what would I give for my children’s strength
On the day that they stand alone
I mean what would I give for their strength to stand firm
I’d give everything that I own
I’ve wasted my life in accomplishing things
Ignoring the giver of wings
So Lord teach them to fly to the foot of your throne
I’ll give everything that I own

All I’ve accomplished, the titles I hold
My passions, position, possessions and gold
To God they must look like a thimble of foam
And it’s everything that I own
Dirty rags are all that I own

So I stand before God with my stubble and hay
He just laughs, but says there’s still a way
Because “Father, Forgive” are the words Jesus moaned
When He gave everything that He owned

So what would I give to be pure in heart
For the known to be made unknown
What would I give to be born again?

(This is a picture of my daughter Skye singing “Everything I Own” with Jason at our house one night.)

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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.


24 Comments

  1. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    I love that song. The ending twist–the twist of all twists–knocks my socks off. The phrase “Giver of Wings” is pretty cool too. In fact, it seems like a great stand alone title for a book or another song.

  2. Jesse Gray

    Great stuff, Jason! I’ve never gotten a chance to hear your work before. I’m with Curt on the whole “Giver of wings” phrase… kind of gave me a lump in my throat. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be picking up your CD very soon.

  3. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    David Peightal was the frontman for a group called Pegtop in the Minneapolis music scene.

    On each of my records I include at least one cover by an artist whose work has moved or inspired me – my way of saying thank you and spreading some love. This was that song on my last record. I first heard Dave sing “Everything I Own” in a bar in Minneapolis when Pegtop opened up for the Vigilantes of Love. You could hear a pin drop by the end of the song in a room that was bustling and rowdy with drinking just moments before. This was such a great song that deserved to be heard that I tried my best to get it out there.

    My album begins with a song about the beatitudes (a song called “Blessed Be”) and “Everything I Own” closes the record. I realized recently that it brings us back to the beatitudes again. The song speaks to our desire to try harder, do more or give more to be all that God would have us be. I think we like to imagine that we can be good by trying harder and by discipline. The verses emphasize what I would give to be pure in heart, etc. Then the bridge comes and blows any notions of self-reliance and self effort, reminding us that the best we have to give amounts to little more than a thimble of foam. Then the gospel – that Jesus did the work that we could never manage to do on our own.

    The first of the beatitudes is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” To me this is what this song is about – about coming to the end of ourselves and our own resources of righteousness to a place where we can only surrender and receive the righteousness of Christ. Notice that after the bridge, the lyric doesn’t return to the idea of my giving everything I own, but instead lands on the idea of the work of Christ, of being born again.

    I’m so grateful to David for letting me record this song, and I hope you enjoy it.

    And Andrew, I’m sorry we nixed your BGVs for the single. Elizabeth Hunnicutt is just way better looking than you.

    PS – if you want the radio version, you can go myspace.com/jasongraymusic and download it for free from my music player, or you can download it by going to: http://centricitymedia.com/Jason/mp3/everythingiown

  4. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Also, just so everyone knows… it killed me to lose AP’s BGVs on the song, but we had a short time for remixing this and it didn’t allow for us to mail the tracks back and forth with Andrew in Nashville while we were working on it in Minneapolis. When Elizabeth came in to help us, she added these great “oohs” and “aahs” that were cool, too, so I’m grateful for both Andrew’s participation on the album version (first time I heard his voice on there with mine it made me cry) and also for Elizabeth’s hard work to help us make the song radio ready.

  5. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Aww, man! I hope it was clear that I was razzing Jason about the BGVs just to get a laugh. I think the new version is great, seriously. Thanks for the insight into the song, JG.

  6. Tony Heringer

    Barliman’s BGVs notwithstanding this is an excellent tune. Jason this is the radio version, the lyrics in this post are from the original “scary” version 🙂

    There’s another “scary” song that loses this line on radio:

    “So tun off the radio and let’s listen to the songs we know…”

    I always find that funny. Like we are going to turn off the radio because some background singer tells us to do so. 🙂

  7. Shawn

    “some background singer”…LOL

    Jason, great song, and I enjoyed reading your synopsis of it as well. These Songs of the Day are cool because we get to hear the artist’s explanations that are normally only delivered in a concert setting. Thanks.

  8. euphrony

    Love the song, Jason. I must have missed the earlier post about the lyric change – its frustrating that such “harsh language” is found too offensive. Ah, well, its still a great song and I’ll keep listening to it.

  9. A different Josh

    Baby Taylors are awesome… Is Jason just really big or is that guitar not much more than a ukelele (pronounced: you kah lay lee)… I mean that thing looks small even for a BT…

    I still find it silly how a line like “demons of lust” could be considered too harsh. In the context of the song it just doesn’t come across as anything resembling offensive or edgy. but what can ya do?

  10. Bret Welstead

    I would just comment that, when looking across the profile pics for Rabbit Room contributors, Jason Gray looks to be the toughest of the crew. You don’t mess with Jason Gray. 🙂

  11. Tony Heringer

    And I thought that banjo player from Deliverance was scary. Ron is the action hero of the Rabbit Room! Jason is still taller though (6′ 5″, 6′ 6″?).

    Thanks for the afternoon chuckle Russ!

  12. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    I cede to Russ. I mean look at that mustache! It takes a certain kind of authority that I don’t have to wear a mustache.

    I think Evie could take me, too.

    JG

  13. Kathy

    Mr. Proprietor, you have an absolutely beautiful little girl.
    Just thought I’d throw that in.

  14. David Peightal

    Just gotta say something here: What would you say to someone who makes a full sized Taylor look like a ukalalee asking you if he can record one of your songs? Obviously, I wanted to say no, but what can you do in a situation like that?
    Now that I stumbled on this I can see that my therapist was right: “Jason is a fine man, and the song is in very good hands and dont forget to take your meds befor you go to bed tonight…”
    But really, in all seriousness, your understanding and explanation of the song Jason, is really cool. If I had understood it that well when I wrote it, well, I probably would have had to have been sober… Just kidding, honest, I am just kidding. I have never been drunk in my entire life. Or at least not that I can remember. But really, I might as well have been drunk at the time, because when I finished it, I layed down my pencil and wept because I knew I could not write a song like that. I’ve tried. All my songs fit pretty well into that thimble of foam. I had wondered if this one might be the exception.
    Thankyou so much Jason, for hearing it and for letting some other folks hear it. May God make his face shine upon you this day and forever.

  15. Roger Corbin

    I stumbled upon this post while doing some research on a couple of David’s songs. When I first moved to Minneapolis in 1999, I heard David play this song at a church service and was blown away. In fact, I have been blown away every time I have heard David play it.

    However, after hearing the butchered “for radio version” as posted above, I am going to get a refill on my meds and sign up for another anger management class.

    So how is it o.k. for Stevie Ray Vaughn to talk about demons in “Wall of Denial,” but Christians can’t be confronted with the truth.

    Blessings to you David and hope you are still writing tunes! Labor Day is not the same without seeing Pegtop at the Minnesota State Fair.

    Here is a video of Pegtop playing “Wall of Fire” at the State Fair shot by yours truly with my “ShakeyCam.” Also, “Charlotte’s Free.”


    http://www.youtube.com/user/watermelonbeast#p/u/6/PkkGcpy5YL4

  16. lefthand30

    I wandered to this post because of the section on the home page titled “Recent Discussions”. So, thank you for that feature and I’m so thankful I came across this post to read it and listen to the song.

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