So far, everything that led me on this path happened in 2014. So, what happened between then and now? Let's see if I can recap. I'll use my Instagram account to refresh my memory. Oh yeah!
We had our 4th child (you read that right), I graduated from Duke Divinity School, went through the ordination process in order to be commissioned as a deacon in the Western NC conference of the UMC, and became the Associate Pastor of FaithBridge. In short, life. Life happened and continues to happen.
I am sure no one else can relate to having so much going on that you tend to put off anything that does not seem urgent or have a deadline. Well despite all of these things, plus taking on more responsibilities such as cub scout leader, Sabbath chaplain, enrolling in a Youth Ministry Cohort as well as the Residency in Ordained Ministry program, I still felt the ongoing prod of feeling like I had to finish what was started with this musical endeavor. It is like God kept reminding me of the time we spent together in those days during Lent when I was so inspired by the words in Mathew 5-7.
With so much on my plate, I knew I would not be able to travel anywhere out of town to record this album. The only other recording experience I had ever had was with my buddy Jimmy and Elishah (later Second Hand City) with Ricky Rod at Bombhouse in Morganton. I would've loved to work with him, but I couldn't take the time to travel that much.
Thankfully, I met a man named Everett Hardin. We met because my wife's dance studio was performing at Harvest House where Everett's studio is also located. As soon as I met Everett, I described to him my vision for the project, and heard some of the projects he had already produced, I knew we were a good fit for each other. I trusted that Everett could help these songs become what they were meant to be, and I loved that it could happen easily by recording locally on my time schedule.
The recording process was a journey all in itself. The first decision Everett helped me make was to start with a 6 song EP rather than doing all 16 songs right away. By breaking it up, it allowed us to really focus on the first chapter of scripture in order to make these songs sound great and have something ready to share earlier. This will also allow me to gain some support from listeners in order to finish the other 10 songs this coming year.
As I brought in other friends to contribute on the album, we kept making small decisions here and there that continued to mold and shape these songs into the masterpieces they became.
With additional guitars and bass from Michael Gatlin, drums by Jacob Pawlik, piano, keys, and synth by Jacob Sorensen, auxiliary percussion by Brian Miller, trumpet and flugal horn by my nephew Charlie Smith, violin by Emma Gostling, and background vocals by my wife Elise, these songs soared to new levels. I could not be more pleased.
I am so excited to share these songs with anyone who is willing to listen and even more excited to see how the rest of the recording process turns out. It has been a journey of discovery through an openness to allow the music to emphasize the main point of these scripture passages. Music has a way of moving us and my hope for this album is that someone would be moved deeply to live into Jesus' concept of the kingdom of heaven on earth now.