New Music: Little Sheep

By

In 2013 our church commissioned several musicians to write songs for the annual Christmas concert. At the time I felt drawn to write about shepherds, because my own son, Shepard, was reaching an age where he might begin to understand this strange story, and I wanted to approach the nativity in a way that might catch his interest. The more time I spent contemplating the pastoral scene of these random witnesses to the annunciation, the more I began to think about David, moving from the same mistrusted, marginalized occupation into the role of his nation’s most revered king.

But what I find so compelling about Christmas is that it tells the reverse of David’s Cinderella story. While we spend much of our lives fighting obscurity, humiliation, and ultimately, death, chasing our American dreams, Advent celebrates the opposite: a movement from royalty to rags. The highest king, for love’s pursuit, dons the cosmic poverty and sheep-like insignificance we so futilely spend lifetimes fleeing. In hindsight, the birth of Christ completes David’s 23rd Psalm with a truth-ringing twist. To keep his sheep, this shepherd would go so far as to become one of them.

Though we recorded “Little Sheep” in the heat of summer and there probably needs to be more sleigh bells for this to be considered a true Christmas track, I am putting it out for free on noisetrade for the holidays. Ben Shive pulled together a dream team band to help flesh it out (Jillian Edwards, Stuart Duncan, Gabe Scott, and himself), and I am so excited to share it with you all.

AnimationAlso, Jesse Rademacher, an animation professor at Southern Adventist University, is creating a simple, animated lyric video for this as well. Here is a peek at Jesse putting together the opening scene, which we also used to design the album art.

We are hoping to be able to share the video with you before the end of the Christmas season. For now, you can add “Little Sheep” to your Christmas mixes. Enjoy!


And click here to download the chord chart.

When I hear the wolves in the wilderness
and my heart begins to leap
I see my shepherd guarding the gate
and I go back to sleep

For the Lord is my shepherd
He’ll do anything for me
Lo! My shepherd
became a little sheep

I don’t like to be a follower
I love to find my way
but the animal inside of me
takes me far astray

I get lost and trapped and tangled
I cry out for my needs
he finds a way to bring me back
no matter how he bleeds

For the Lord is my shepherd
and he was coming after me
When Lo! My shepherd
became a little sheep

Glory hallelujah in the highest
For he stooped right down
to the very lowest

When my fate was right before me,
the slaughter and the flames,
he came to speak my language
he came to take my place
Now I shall not want for anything
for my god became a beast
to prepare a table
to prepare a table
to prepare a table
and to become the feast.

For the Lord is my shepherd
and behold this mystery
When Lo! My shepherd
became a little sheep

For the Lord is my shepherd
I will follow where he leads
When Lo! My shepherd
became a little sheep

For the Lord is my shepherd
I will follow where he leads
When Lo! My shepherd
became a little sheep

Chris is the mastermind behind Son of Laughter. His debut EP, The Mantis and the Moon, took just about everyone by surprise. He’s currently touring the country and raising money to record a full length record—which is cause indeed for rejoicing. Chris lives with his wife and children in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he teaches high school literature and loves it.


25 Comments

  1. aimee

    Thanks for bringing such a beautiful song into our home this morning, Chris.

    I think we first heard you sing it at the North Wind Manor House Concert. (The concert that captured my 12 and 14 year old to be your faithful fans, I’ve been a fan since hearing you at Hutchmoot a few years ago.)

    The production on this is wonderful and brings out such joy in the listening (my 5 year old is joyfully dancing to the tune at the moment).

    We are looking forward to your next album 🙂

  2. Pete Tegeler

    Right on, Chris! There are so many cool moments in this song lyrically and musically. Thanks for making it available.

  3. JoeB

    I love everything about this.. love that a church would commission artists to write music, love the story and LOVE this song!

    and love you just put the chords and lyrics out there 😀

  4. Glenn

    So, just sent an email to our worship leader asking if we can make this a part of the Christmas Eve service in a couple weeks. 🙂

  5. Sir Jonathan C. Andrews

    Free music. Free Christmas music! GOOD free Christmas Music! That’s what I’m talkin’ bout.

  6. Carrie

    Chris, I think you already know that I love your music (#superfan), but in case you haven’t figured that out by the fact that I have your unreleased songs memorized already because I’ve attended more Son of Laughter concerts this year than any other artist, let me remind you here: this is an incredible song and I’m delighted to know you and now to have the recording of it. Thank you.

    Thanks also to Ben Shive for working his incredible magic on the production, and to all the guest musicians for filling it out. Excellent work.

  7. Peter B

    Holy cow (sheep?). Hearing this live was a delight — but add this all-star cast and WOW.

    Thank you to Chris, Ben, the pro musicians, and the patrons; this just about made my day.

  8. Loren Warnemuende

    This is amazing!

    And when I listen to your music, Chris, I think, “Why haven’t I put on Chris’ EP more often?” Time to listen again. Such good music and terrific lyrics.

  9. Chris Slaten

    Thank you all for your encouragement! It is safe to say that this particular production would not exist without all the support I’ve had from Rabbits this year.

  10. Africa_S

    Joining in the chorus of praise for this. Chris, this is brilliant work. Truly. Thank you for sharing your talent with us all. Mantis and the Moon has already been in my CD player for nearly half a year. Beauty and truth (and great musicianship) abound on every track you’ve released. That is rare, and special. Can’t wait for the full album!

    P.S. my thanks also for sharing the chord chart. Truth be told, I found a copy sitting on the stage at HM and wanted to steal–I mean, ask you if I could take it.

  11. Jennifer

    This song is inspiring to me, and reminds me that God is always on my side, even when the darkness is all around. God became the sheep and saved me, at a moment when, I had no way out, He became the way the truth and the life. Lovely song about Him.

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