This is the second of four EPs from the “Heart & Soul, Flesh & Bone” collection, each individual project being an exploration of a different genre.
Soul is the kind of music I play when I’m just sitting with a guitar, thinking about something else. I’ve always loved old Van Morrison records, and I wanted to make music that gave me that same feeling. This collection of songs turned out to be mainly a love letter to my family. (And kind of also to my Strat.) These last few months have seen some major life change as I chose to leave my full-time touring-musician career for the 9-to-5 A&R guy gig. These songs are the obvious working out of a new set of goals and priorities.
They were also about the most fun I’ve ever had making music. Shane [Wilson] got amazing sounds and Brent [Milligan], Jacob [Schrodt] and Ben [Shive] were the best band you could imagine. Also, this was the first time my entire family has participated in one of my records. That was a blast.
Here’s a bit more about each song.
“Set Me Free”
Let’s be honest. This one’s mainly an excuse for that groove.
“Don’t Lose Heart”
This song is for my daughters. It’s based on something Brent said one night, “Whatever you do, whatever happens, the important thing is that you never lose heart.” I thought that was beautiful. I lost a few good years to being a selfish cynic and a few more to panic and fear. It’s not about never giving up, sometimes you need to because you learn that few things are worth losing everything for. But who you ARE, how your particular heart beats. THAT is important.
“Soul On Fire”
A song about the people I love most and how they inspire me. My Creator, my daughters, and my bride. When I’m done writing songs, and when I’m just done in general, I hope that people can look back at my work and see that the thread was how much I love, admire, and am grateful to live my life with the people I love.
“Leave It While I Love It”
This one is about the realization that I have loved playing music for a living for a long time, but that I was done doing it full-time. I came to Nashville 17 years ago hoping to do just a fraction of the amazing things I ended up doing. It was such an amazing gift, but not nearly as amazing as the gift of being a husband and a father. For me, the job had gotten to the point where to provide for them I had to be away from them, and that was no longer worth it.
I’ve seen good friends lose their families to chase some mythical dream of “success.” I’ve seen others get cynical and bitter when the doors that used to swing open for them were now opening for people half their age instead. I just didn’t want to go down those roads and was grateful for the answered prayer of a job that uses my love of music, people, and the story of God’s redemption.
My kids sang on this. That might be cheesy, but I don’t care. I love it so much.
I’m addicted to my devices. Sometimes the Lord speaks through them, but usually I’m just chasing distraction. And I’m tired of it.
“The Bird Who Was Friday”
Who knows what this is about? Each little vignette has meaning to me, but together it’s a sort of vision. Somewhat akin to G. K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday” (hence the title). I just loved the melody and thought about various scenes that were playing out in my heart among my family and friends, and this sort of appeared. I haven’t written a lot of stream-of-consciousness type songs before, but this is just one of my favorite musical creations of my career.