SON is the musical companion to the book Ascribing Worth. While writing the book, I went through some of the hardest times of my life, and these were the songs I wrote/sang/prayed during that time. SON represents a journey of having your identity stripped away only to find your true self; learning what it means to be a child of God made in His image and likeness. It’s a journey of letting go what you thought you needed and keeping open hands so God can place in them what He desires. Prayer walks were integral to my well-being during this time, and these songs were the very intimate songs of my heart. Although some of these songs have been used in corporate worship, the bulk of them have not and remain very personal. I hope they are as much of a blessing to you as they’ve been to me.
About 5 years ago I released what I believed would be my final solo album. At the time I believed I had gone as far I could on my own. This was certainly true in the corporate worship sense, and it was also true based on my experience and understanding of what I thought I knew. While my songwriting had progressed to becoming more theological and more informing or teaching, what I didn’t know I had missed out on was the more personal, intimate side of worship.
I’ve always believed albums should take the listener on a journey, and this one is no different. There are two parts or two paths here. The first path (daytime - as referenced by the chirping birds) is much more of a macro-view; the songs tend to be much more corporate worship focused; bigger songs but still songs based in relationship. The second path (nighttime - as referenced by the chorus of crickets) is much more of a micro-view; much more personal and ones that look more inward. Both paths of day and night are part of our human experience. Sometimes everything is great. Other times everything is not great. Most often it’s a mix of the two. As I’ve walked this journey and continue to walk this journey, these songs have continued to be the cry of my heart, ever drawing my attention and affection to Jesus in every season of the soul.
I recorded this album with short fragments of found time throughout the 2nd half of 2018. Life with kids means personal time is few and far between. Since it’s a very personal album I decided to keep the recordings simple. Most of these songs previously existed only as personal prayers between myself and God. And since it’s personal, I wanted to be the only voice on this album. However, I decided to add a little extra vocals and percussion to flesh it out a little. Unlike my previous album “The Kingdom” I felt like this needed a little more musical muscle on it.
© 2019 Ascribing Worth
Father hold me close
This is where the journey began before I even knew there was a journey. A song prayed more than sung; a cry, and need to be held. The line “I find myself in You” was almost prophetic; little did I know how true it was. A chose to record this with a chorus of bird songs as it represented the times I would typically sing it, daytime prayer walks. As this is daytime, the songs that follow tend to be a little happier, more corporate, bigger picture songs.
Abba was a breakthrough in knowing my identity. The initial song was started during birth-week turning 43. A re-framing of who God is as my Father caused this song to easily flow out. I wanted it to be a big fun sing-along which is what it feels like. My songwriting group helped me tighten up the verses and melody.
My friend Eben and I wrote this song over texts to each other while he was living in Georgia and I was living in Ohio. This song is the oldest of the bunch by a few years, and one that we recorded originally for a Central Vineyard EP release. However, the song is powerful and continues to stick with me, and one I still use regularly when leading worship. I felt it earned a spot on this solo release.
This was initially a song that I didn’t think much of, but my songwriting peers saw value in. It’s quickly become a song of my heart, and a song I didn’t know how much I needed until after it was written. Singing of God’s faithfulness has been a rock to stand upon when the waves have completely surrounded me.
There are elements of many other songs I’ve written previously in this one; this one effectively summing up many thoughts I’ve previously written of. Try and catch all the easter egg references. This is one of those life songs that I’m still learning how to sing and trust completely, and to have open hands in every moment.
Another life song that I’m still learning how to sing. Long after this recording I’ll still be singing it. Another prayer walk song, this time sung at night along with the crickets. I may add a chorus to this someday, but for now it stands on its own. I wanted the nighttime of crickets to represent a change of walking through the darkness. As this is nighttime, the songs that follow are more personal.
Requiem (The Onion)
My walk through the dark night of the soul. Initial plans were to not include this song, but it’s a significant part of my journey, and it kept popping up. Hoping this provides hope to the listener to keep pressing on and trusting even when it doesn't make sense. When you can't see in front of you and you don’t know what to do.
Not down but through / Setting Sail (coda)
The words from “Not down but through” were originally from an old poem called “Passing through”. It’s a poem that several in our community found solace in when going through a dark time. I was inspired to add a melody and chorus. The “Setting sail” coda was originally part of “Requiem”, but I felt like it came to the conclusion too quickly and too easily. It wasn’t until much later that I was able to rewrite it incorporating the ‘adopted as your son’ line. I originally thought of making Requiem/Not down but through/Setting Sail one big song, but “Not down but through” is so powerful I wanted it to stand on its own. Setting Sail completes the thought and finishes the journey. It’s all still one big musical piece, but by breaking it up you can decide where to pick up on the trail.
Letting go (The Artichoke)
As I walked in darkness I believed I had been handed an onion with lots of layers to process through, but it was also an artichoke leading to the heart of what God wanted me to discover. Letting Go is the sibling to Abba. Abba originally had multiple verses, so I revisited some of what had been cut and wrote a new song out of it. There are still some definite similarities from the lyrics to a similarity in the guitar riff. However it is a different key so it literally stands on its own. It's also represents to me a hard fought battle where you find yourself on the other side.
Thank you / Beloved Son (coda)
Thank You is likely the most personal song I have ever written. The story of the prodigal son finally coming home to encounter extravagant grace. Ultimately it’s a story of rescue from the identity and strongholds I placed myself in. Beloved was originally on another release as a full song, but I felt like the chorus beautifully finishes the thought of Thank You. Beloved existed in many different formats for a long time, but the chorus I continue to come back to and sing - this is my identity.
SML20 (Bonus track!)
For those who download the album will discover this bonus track. This song was written 20 years ago and for a time was a Joshua House staple. It was brought back to my mind the past couple of years as the lyrics took on an entirely new meaning to me. The original version was in more of a minor key. I wanted it to feel more like a hopeful anthem this time around, yet still for the most part retain its original melody. This was a helpful prayer to offer up in my journey. Yet ultimately I felt like the new songs deserved the greater focus; thankfully this one made the cut for a bonus track. Something old, yet done in a new way.
Checkout the album SON here.