I’m happy to report that we’re releasing that album Friday, July 26.
We’ve been working on getting charts ready for the release, but we might not hit the street date. As soon as they’re ready, we’ll be making lead sheets, guitar charts, piano scores, choir scores, and backing tracks available.
When we started working on this project, I knew it was going to be a different kind of album. But I didn’t know how God was going to work in my heart. Here are three ways working on this album has affected me.
My musical comfort zone has gotten bigger.
I majored in classical piano but have dabbled in jazz and gospel throughout my life. I love music theory and have a fairly good ear. But sitting across from Jarvis James (pianist on the album), and having him spell out chords for me was a wonderfully stretching experience.
As a result of our interactions, I’ve started listening to more gospel music and am starting to hear and appreciate musical techniques, harmonies, and melodies that I missed in the past.
For instance, when Joe Pace first sent me their arrangement for the Sovereign Grace song, “He is Our God,” I emailed him my thoughts. “I don’t think that’s going to work. Too complicated.” Joe wisely waited to respond. And of course, eventually I saw the brilliance of the arrangement. It wasn’t as complicated as I first thought.
That’s because “complicated” is a relative term. And as someone who has gotten used to the minimalistic harmonies of many modern worship songs, it’s been refreshing to get more familiar with a different way of accompanying congregational song.
I understand how Christ transcends culture better.
The more time I got to spend with the musicians and members of Shiloh Church, two things became clearer. First, in most cases, our upbringings were really different. Different foods, different music, different relational dynamics, different social references, different ways of communicating, and more.
But second, the things we shared in common – our love for the gospel, God’s Word, and the church – made our differences less important. Distinctions didn’t disappear. They just became less significant.
I started to see that people standing up during a sermon, responding with a hearty, “Yes sir!”, or waving a raised hand were learned signs of respect and appreciation just as meaningful as my occasional, “Amen!” I recognized a zeal for God’s glory and a love for humility that I’m seeking for my own life. And I’m the better for it.
And I had my first taste of gator tail. Which should count for something.
I want to see and experience our unity in Christ more.
Not surprisingly, my experience in recording this album showed me how far I have to go in understanding what ways the gospel of Christ unifies diverse people. In the past I’ve been guilty of telling those unlike me, “I don’t even see your color/background/experience, etc.” That’s not the point. God makes us different for his glory. He wants us to celebrate our differences, not hide or obliterate them.
So I want to invest more time in getting with brothers and sisters in Christ who look different from me, but who proclaim the same gospel, believe and obey the same Scriptures, and seek to bring honor to the one and only Triune God.
I thank God for the opportunity to make this album with Joe Pace, HB Charles, Jr., and the dear saints at Shiloh. Lord willing, it won’t be our last partnership!
Until July 26, you can pre-order Behold Our God for only $9 and download three songs now.
And if you’re available, Joe Pace and the band that played on the album will be leading us in song for one of the sessions at WorshipGod19 in Louisville, KY, July 31-Aug. 3. Joe and a conference choir will be leading on Friday morning. You can get all the details here.