As a fan of old school record packaging (I miss vinyl and the tactile experience of holding large artwork, pulling out the sleeve, and reading every inch of it), I always want to include liner notes with all my records. And even though everything is moving to digital, I’ve still insisted to Centricity that we include a digital booklet for all downloads. Come on, I have to have somewhere to write my liner notes!
With my newest release – a remix EP made for core fans – it seemed imperative to include a written piece in order to help give people a context and help explain the concept behind this little labor of love.
Since liner notes seem like the kind of thing that rabbity folks would dig, I thought I’d share them here as well as another one of the remixes for you to hear. For your consideration:
As a music enthusiast (read: geek), I’m endlessly fascinated by songs – the seed they spring from, the process of their birth, and especially the different ways they’re able to escape the confines they were born into and take on a life of their own. Songs represent a holy kind of magic, or maybe grace is a better word. Either way, I’m grateful that I get to participate in the mystery of it in my own modest way.
Song Cycles is an invitation for whoever might be interested (read: a geek like me) to eavesdrop on the songwriting process. We wanted to pull back the curtain a bit to show the journey of a song – from the work tape we record to capture ideas as we create them, to the demo I turn in to my label for consideration, and finally the defining moment when it becomes the song that you hear on the record.
But there are also the rare occasions when a song breaks free and finds another life, independent of its author – and that’s when things really get fun. So we thought we’d nudge these songs out of the comfort zone of the little nest they were born into and see if they could fly on their own (with a little help from someone other than me).
Which brings me to the best part of this project: Derek Webb.
Derek is one of my favorite artists whose music never fails to challenge and invigorate. His work is always asking listeners — both lyrically and musically — to reassess things we think we know to see if there might be more to be learned from chapters we’ve presumed closed. He excels in the art of asking us to reconsider, to think again, further, and deeper.
It seemed perfect, then, to turn these songs over to him to reconsider and re-imagine them from top to bottom. As a fan, it’s a great honor to hear Derek’s artistry on display in my songs as he breathes new life into them and takes them to delightfully unexpected places. I’m so grateful for his participation in this project and I believe that you will be, too.
Thanks to fans for listening and caring about these songs, and for being interested enough to spend some time with me in the creative process of working out these songs with fear and trembling in hopes that they find a home in people’s hearts.
Thanks also to Taya, Kipper, Jacob, and Gus who love and support me though it costs them. Thanks, too, to John, Steve, Guy, Jeff and the rest of Centricity/Eaglemont for helping me conceive and deliver this project. Special thanks to Derek Webb for being that rare combination of excellent and kind.
Derek Webb’s remix of “Jesus Use Me, I’m Yours”
Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".