New Release: Melanie Penn’s Hope Tonight

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[Editor’s note: Melanie Penn’s album Wake Up Love was an instant hit for me, and it’s also one of my very favorite of Ben Shive’s productions. Ben and Melanie have been working on this second record for a long time, and I’m so glad the rest of you finally get to hear it.]

In 2000-something, I read an article in which Michael Card was asked, “Who is the greatest Christian songwriter alive today?” He said, “Andrew Peterson.” (I bet AP hates that, but it happened dude.)

Back then I’d never heard of Andrew Peterson. So I found his website and bought every CD that I could. I had a train trip coming up, and on that ride I listened to The Far Country on a . . . discman (good grief what year was this?). I just ate it—I mean, it’s like I ate all of the songs on that album while I sat on that Amtrak train. I gobbled them up. I just loved that record. I had a feeling then, This guy might be my people. I wonder if his people are my people? You see, I am always looking for my people.

Turns out, Andrew would become a friend. And so would Ben Shive, the producer of that record, The Far Country.

Turns out, Ben Shive would produce my two solo records. The first, Wake Up Love, and now this one Hope Tonight.

Turns out, many people are Andrew’s people—musicians, Rabbit Roomers, and lots of other incredible folks. And we have all found each other, and loved songs, and loved the way that songs can bring us together and create a tribe.

I wrote the title song for this record, “Hope Tonight,” when I felt like I had no tribe. I wasn’t making ends meet very well, and I wasn’t meeting demands very well. I started throwing a pity-party for myself in my New York City apartment—just my guitar and me—like I do. “Here’s the thing, it’ll chill ya to the bone …”

But no sooner did I get into the guts of this song than all the blessings, promise, and hope of life came pouring back in—back into my heart and back into the lyrics. “There must be more than I / See with my naked eye / Some underlying design / Will make things right.”

Turns out our tribe has a lot more in common than songs, and artists, and the Rabbit Room . . . we have hope. And not just hope tonight—but hope right now, today, tomorrow, the next day, until the very end of the end when time stops and there is no more end. I hope this record reminds you of that.

I guess what I mean to say is, Hello from Brooklyn. Ben and I made a new record. We hope you like it.

[Hope Tonight is now available in the Rabbit Room store.]

“Hope Tonight”
by Melanie Penn
from the record Hope Tonight


Here’s the thing, it’ll chill ya to the bone
Make you wish ya could be frozen over
Numb to the cold

It’s getting harder, and we’re nowhere near the end
There’s trouble behind, maybe trouble up head
So it goes, over and over again

But I refuse to change my mind
I’d be more lost without a light
So I will choose to hold on tight
To hope tonight

Lot of nerve, who am I to raise a complaint?
I got a life in the west, and only an ache in my soul
But it won’t go away

And I am awake, I’m aware, I know the news
There’s hunger and thirst
Who am I to feel it too, in my soul?
But it won’t go away

I refuse to close my eyes
I’d be more lost without a light
So I will choose to hold on tight
To hope tonight

There must be more than I
See with my naked eye
Some underlying design
Will make things right

And I knew the truth, I saw a light
I’d be more lost, if I denied it
So I will choose to hold on tight
To hope tonight


10 Comments

  1. David Mitchel

    @

    I downloaded Hope Tonight this morning. The album is gorgeous, Melanie. It makes a good first impression, and I’ve no doubt it’ll improve with more time and listens, too. Thank you.

  2. Hannah Hubin

    Good grief. This is gorgeous. Just what I need to hear today…and everyday. This album is going on my iPod ASAP. Thank you ever so much.

  3. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Another beautiful record, Melanie. We listened about a million times to an early version last summer while we drove all over the U.K., and when I told Skye yesterday that this album was releasing she immediately broke into “Turn Around.” Thanks for writing songs my little girl can sing.

    Also, “Shadow of Doubt” is a ridiculously good song (and it goes without saying that Ben’s production is ridiculously good, too).

    Folks, you’ll love both of Melanie’s records.

  4. Pete Tegeler

    I started listening to this because Pete Peterson mentioned it somewhere, then found this post by Googling “Shadow of Doubt.” It’s great to hear the story behind these songs, it’s great to have some good new music, and I’m glad you’re a part of “the tribe.”

  5. Laura

    Good gracious, I love this. Thank you, Melanie. I think “Wake Up Love” was my second-ever purchase from the Rabbit Room back in 2010. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

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