This has been a very turbulent time for our world. As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of us all, there is definitely a sense of anxiety in the unknown. As I've shared, music and songwriting has been something that I've used to remind myself of the Truth. Thoughts and fears definitely creep into my head and it has been nice to listen back to the album, with the reminder to not put our faith in fear, and allow that message to sink in through the music. I believe the heart of these songs are rooted in the hope and promises of God. I pray that any comfort or rest received from God that might be found through these songs will lead you to some peace in the chaos. Take care and be well!
I'm excited and honored to be included on the 2018 JFH Sampler Songs We've Been Trying To Tell You About (And Others We Haven't), Volume Seven. You can download the entire sampler for free, including 40 tracks! You can check it out the sampler via the link above or by clicking on the image below.
Rescuer - Live in Studio
There has been a lot of grief, confusion, and anger over the past month. It seems like the ever-heavy weight of life is getting heavier. As a society we’ve experienced devastating events through natural disasters and terrible acts of violence. In addition to those stresses, there is often some level of personal battle we are all facing, or with those we know. If our hearts are touched by these recent events in our world, I believe it points to the fingerprints of God in our lives. I've asked myself "What is that feeling weighing on me? Is it just emotional? Is it sadness, fear, anger?" I don't really believe that I am only impacted emotionally. I feel that my spirit is grieved by recent tragedies. I believe this points me to be in touch with my soul, not only my rational mind. To me, my "spiritual heaviness" in response to recent events is not simply an emotional response, but something deeper.
At times when we are confused, or emotionally/spiritually drained, and don't really know what to do or say, I believe we can simply "weep with those who weep" and cry out to God for comfort. We can have faith that there can be healing in the process of bearing out souls and supporting one another. Part of the healing comes in the unity we can experience against evil. However, for that to work, I think that we can only respond to such evil and tragedy in the world by acknowledging that evil exists in the first place. I feel we need to believe that evil is at war with goodness and that the matters at hand in our society have both spiritual and physical roots. I believe that responding to both the spiritual and physical problems will yield better results. Out of that, we can share and strengthen our faith in God’s control and His character while extending that hope to others. We can find hope in the claim that the person of Jesus Christ has conquered evil and no matter what is experienced here and now, there is eternal victory from evil in Christ.
Eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later, action must be taken to move towards restoration, however I feel that it is most important to first set the right course of that action. I feel that the response starts with an honest assessment of ourselves in light of God's perfect love and that we all fall short of that. I feel we need to be rescued from our spiritual shortcoming. A quote I heard today that said it wonderfully "Like breath we need something outside ourselves to come into us and give us life".
The song Rescuer rests in that place of heavy-heartedness for a moment. It allows my soul to express what it needs to express and call out for what it needs in attempts to align with the heart of my Maker. This song was written to call out my need for a Rescuer and express a longing for goodness and love to surround us again. I've been deeply moved by other songs that have expressed this kind of transparency and hope it reaches others in the way that those songs have reached me. If the world seems broken to you, perhaps these words offer some relief. I love the hope they offer.
John 16:33 - Jesus says: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
I am so happy to finally release this new album that we've been working on for the last 3 years. The team on this one is amazing and I am so honored to have made this art with them. Check out the album on your platform of choice! I'd love to hear your feedback on any of the social platforms you use! Talk soon!
Please join me in the journey of launching this new album "No Faith In Fear". Click the image below to be taken to the campaign page for some exciting opportunities and experiences bundled with the music.
I am very excited to give this update that we are finalizing what it will take to release a full length album within a year! The recordings are well underway, but we have a lot of work left to do and these songs have a lot more resources going into them as they grow and evolve. There has been an incredible amount of work put into these songs - some of which have been in a work in progress for years - taking shape through acoustic performances, early re-writings with the band, and final production. I think I've said this before and will probably say it again, that it has been a true joy to have put this much intention into a work of art. It has certainly been - and continues to be - a good work and one I will be proud to have been a part of.
There have been incredible relationships formed, strengthened, (and sometimes tested haha) throughout this process and I am looking forward to sharing more of the journey with all of you in the months to come. I hope in the coming months that you get to meet each of the people who have been so important and critical in bringing these songs to life.
Many of you have been following along with the recording process this past year through social media. Over the next few months we will have much more content to share, so stay tuned! Thanks for being part of this adventure and I look forward to giving more updates soon! Hope all is well.
Contentment and Ambition
These two words have been at the forefront of my mind in recent months. Ambition speaks to me repeatedly. I've been mulling over goals, dreams, desires, planning, focus, hard work, and diligence in the pursuit and striving to achieve those things to which I feel called. Contentment also speaks to me repeatedly. I've blended almost every period of time invested in those future thoughts with the ideas of contentment and the reality that I should be thankful in this moment, for it is all I really have right now.
I don't think these two things have to be in opposition and I think I am learning how to apply healthy desire for ambition in the context of contentment. For me I think that this is an ongoing learning opportunity. If I am honest, it is often a struggle. There are so many things to do, the culture of busyness and comparisons of myself to what I feel my ideal self should be often dominate my thoughts. There are ways in which I feel this is healthy and evaluative and ways that I think it can often steal contentment. For it to be held in proper context I believe it has to be rooted in truth that is not validated by my own opinion, but of my creator's opinion of me, which is encouraging.
As progress is made on goals and I am also looking to be open to the paths that are laid out before me. Many things have resonated. In the proper context, just the phrases "it's OK"and "do not be anxious" are very restful. I don't want these phrases to drive a lack of zeal for life, I don't want it to be twisted into a lazy excuse to ditch responsibility, truth, hard work. I also don't want to give a false sense of security or abandonment of things that are good, right, and trustworthy. I think there is simply a balance to be found in the "letting go". There is a peace to be found with keeping thoughts out of the endless anxiety-riddled churn and making so much importance out of such temporary things in our life.
I think the dynamic of contentment/rest and ambition/drive is one that will be ever increasingly important as the pace of life continues to quicken. What are your thoughts on how contentment and ambition play out in your life?
As I've said before, one of the greatest joys in my life are watching my friends create and getting to enjoy their art. A friend of mine, Ben, who plays Bass with Lacey Sturm just released a new single as a solo artist that has a great, restful vibe. Take a listen!
A season of Inspiration and Action
I always feel blessed to be in a rhythm of creative inspiration. There is an an excitement of ideas and wanting to bring them to fruition that has been really present recently. There have certainly been some emotional journeys throughout the past months and I think much of that has translated over into songs or ideas for songs for me. It is also hard to turn your ear in any direction without hearing some new and amazing music these days. That being said, I've been knocked off my feet and blown away by hearing a new album last week. Something that stirs deep and moves me. Of course I am speaking of "One Wild Soul" from Gungor. What incredible musicianship and passion. Definitely take a listen.
I have a tendency to go "total immersion" when I find groups or artists I enjoy. Videos, blogs, website, wikipedia...you name it... I found the entire presentation of the group to be equally as magical as the music. Quotes like the following really resonate with me. "Music doesn’t have to fit the mold to move people’s hearts, and at the end of the day, that’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make honest music that opens people’s hearts.” -M Gungor
Hope this is a time of inspiration for you all as well. Go create something wonderful! Attached is an image from a recent recording session. New songs are in progress!. Many Blessings.
There are some musicians, movements, ideals, and people that I feel so strongly align with my core that I have every desire to connect, support, and engage with them and their community. Josh Garrels and the community he has created through his music has impacted something in my soul that I wish to explore further.
As a musician/artist myself, The Sea in Between Documentary Josh released was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever viewed. The way that he and other artists articulated the creative process, its alignment to our basic core being, our Creator, and other people was invigorating, inspiring, and so enjoyable. Those times where you just think to yourself "YES! This resonates so well with me!"
I love continuously seeking opportunities to engage with my local music community, support artists I admire, and grow as a musician. I am really excited to share a December evening with everyone this Friday. It will be a great time of continuing the circle of inspiration that music fills so well, of sharing gifts and creativity, and enjoying the company of great community. Get tickets HERE! We would love to see you!
In the spirit of community and gifts, this month's Socality Community Project is GIFT. And in particular, Socality San Diego will be having "The Giving Meet" working in conjunction with Angel Tree to provide and donate brand new gifts to families and children whose parents are incarcerated. The meetup will be happening at The Overflowing Cup in Murrieta, CA at 3PM on Sunday, December 14th. If you can't make the meetup, no worries! My gift this month is that 50% of proceeds from my merchandise sales at the Josh Garrels show will be used to purchase gifts. So you can get some music to take home from the show and contribute to the gifts for Angel Tree. It's a win-win! If you want to contribute gifts, here is what is needed:
For kids, here’s what we’re looking for: (They ask that all gifts be new, preferably with a combined valued between $15-$25, and unwrapped)
- Dolls (Girl, Age 9)
- Musical Toys (Boy, Age 6)
- Sports equipment (Boys, Age 7-13)
- Action Figures (Boy, Age 2)
- Jewelry (Boy, Age 16)
For whole families: (Must be new and valued $15-$25) // (Just a few ideas…)
- Board games
- Movie night bundle (movie dvd, popcorn, candy, etc.)
- Coffee mugs
WHAT IS SOCALITY?
What is Socality?
That was a question that led me to attend SocalityPDX, a live event in Portland that occurred last week. My curiosity initially started in the social media and instragram community. I really enjoy seeing perspectives of others through photography and I have been growing more interested in instagram as a community and the opportunities to meet that community in person. As I explored the #Socality hashtag, the Socality website, watched videos, and saw the perspectives of those involved, I felt incredibly connected to whatever this idea was and the people that were a part of it. This was solidified even further when I went to Socality live in Portland and made the in-person connection to many of the people from online. I found that the group definitely embodied its mission of being:
A collective of local communities connected globally for eternity
The conference had a bunch of solid speakers and I took a lot away from what they had to say. Here are some of my favorite lines/key takeaways (some may be paraphrased/abbreviated due to my frantic note taking. Also, explore the links on the names for more information):
People over profit. People are attracted to movement intrinsically. Even greater is a pattern of movement. Patterns build trust. We desire an era of goodness.
Be an agent of change for community. Be a catalyst. act. move. you have to get your feet wet. There may be better seasons to cross a raging river, but dip your toe in and live by faith.
Clear out expectations. Let God do what he wants to do. Hard work, hustle, and miraculous intervention.
What is the central theme? Ask up. “This is just good, just make it be”. We see traces of the divine in ways that are undeniable.
What we can do together will awlays be greater than what we can ever do on our own. We connect for purpose. Love is a life lived on purpose. There needs to be action. Find people locally, connect globally.
Landscapes are huge pieces of art and a little piece of God’s massive glory.
Everyone has a unique perspective. What are you sharing with the world and why?
Your story matters. Never abandon what is going on in culture, step in and redeem it.
Are you telling your story and taking the time to do it with care?
HEARTS LIKE LIONS
For their power-packed, energetic performance.
I was really inspired by the people I interacted with, the companies that were in attendance, and the mission of the group. All are working to create culture, to engage culture, and to be a culture of love in action. I hope the continued emphasis on open arms, belonging, and non-exclusivity keeps this community vibrant and growing. I really appreciated hearing the sentiment that this was not a private club, with limited access, but open and inviting.
Overall I feel like this quote captures much of the embodiment of Socality and I look forward to being part of this community.
"But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture.
As an artist and photographer, I feel aligned to everything mentioned above. I am so excited to keep creating art inspired by it all and connecting it for purposes bigger than myself and the songs individually. I'm excited to continue the circle of creation and connection. Thanks to everyone I've met for the inspiration.
To be part of this story with me, get some free songs below by signing up for the newsletter! Also, see some photos from the event below!
Pursuing passions and appreciating the joys and blessings of life. I have been given so much, I'd like to use music as an avenue to give back.