Going Places

Throughout the making of Tanya Godsey's album, "Love Lines The Last Horizon," (Tanya and I referenced a certain film again and again. "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty," (we referenced the Ben Stiller version, though I saw Danny Kaye's version as a kid) is the story of a man who is outwardly reticent and introverted, but inwardly lives a life of adventure. He works as a negative assets manager at Life magazine, most notably archiving the work of a photographer named Sean O'Connell. When Walter misplaces a negative of what O'Connell regards as his finest photo, he finds himself thrust into a real adventure, following O'Connell into the path of an active  volcano, onto a ship tossed at sea, and into the Himalayas in search of a snow leopard. In doing so, the negative assets manager, who has thus far only lived life in the negative space of his mind, archiving other people's stories and his own fantasies, comes to fulfill the mission of Life: "To see...things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed and to feel."

It was an accident that we referenced this film so often. We referenced it because it has a great soundtrack, because it's visually striking, and because the trailer is marvelous to watch over and over. I'm not sure we recognized (maybe Tanya did) that it was our story. It was Tanya's, it was mine, and it was the story of the work we were doing together.

My pastor says that when you suffer you go places with God you would not have gone otherwise. The morning of our first day in the studio, Tanya awoke to the onset of a panic attack. Not hers; her husband's. This would set the tone for the season we spent making this album. Tanya's life was in upheaval. I didn't know what was going on at home, but I knew from Tanya's countenance that she was in pain. This is not the first time I've made music with someone whose life was falling apart. I'll tell you what I know about it: the music you make in those seasons is painful to come by, but singular in its beauty. It's like the snow leopard you climb a mountain and wait in the cold for, hiding, holding stock-still to see. Tanya Godsey left her quiet street, braved her fears, and bore her anguish every day for months to bring "Love Lines The Last Horizon" into the world. And though it was born of pain, the music brims with joy and hope, wisdom and insight. There are flowers that only grow in the valley of the shadow. Tanya walked through that valley with God and she has brought back something rare for you and I to see.

Dear reader, let me encourage you to go and do likewise: bring the song of your pain into the world so that others can hear it with joy. Rachel called her son Ben Oni, "the son of my suffering"; Jacob renamed him Benjamin, "the son of my right hand." God will bring joy to the world and glory to himself out of your faithfulness and you will see things dangerous to come to, but marvelous to behold. You will draw closer, and you will see.

Also, let me add that some of us are born to go places with people who go places with God. We are the negative assets managers, cataloguing the magnificent things other people do, going on the long quest to bring their work into the light when it might otherwise have been lost. This is my work. I fail at it often, but I believe there's dignity in it and that God will reward it. If this is you, carry on. God sees you. 

You can listen to Tanya's album here: tp://apple.co/299xpVF

 

Keep Singing

Some mornings you wake up and you know you've tossed and turned the heavy covers right off the bed in the night so you wonder then what is this weight on my chest? and then you realize it's THE ENTIRE WORLD. I was having one of those. 

I don't remember the exact circumstances. I just know it had all been too much for too long without a break or a breakthrough and I was worn out. This must have been three or four years ago. On my way to the Beehive that morning, aiming myself into the day, my phone dinged with an email from Melanie Penn; it was a voice-memo demo of a new song. Melanie and I were just beginning conversations about making a new record together--a follow up to her dear-to-my-heart debut album, "Wake Up Love." As I hit play, a scan would have revealed the critical center of my brain opening its doors for business while my emotional core slept off a bad hangover. Little did I know this memo-demo was about to bring my emotional core breakfast in bed.

It's a long year already,
And only February 4.
The days are hard,
Who are we kidding?
Older we are, we suffer more.

And I think we deserve a song.

I don't know about you, but I can start to feel like a beast of burden--like what I'm for is to work long hours until my brain is mush and then sleep not quite enough only to wonder where the money went at the end of the week. I know it's not the truth. Actually, I'm quite convinced it's a lie of the devil. And Sabbath is the word for God's answer. And Jesus is the word for Sabbath. Still, I can get to feeling that way. I know for certain I was feeling that way when I first heard Melanie sing these lines. "We deserve a song?!" It still brings stinging tears to my eyes to hear my small sufferings identified with and dignified in such a way and then answered with, of all things, a song. My heart recognized it at once as God's song over me.

And yet, throughout the remainder of Melanie's gorgeous song "Turnaround" (which now appears as the opening track on Melanie's brand new album, "Hope Tonight") it's you and I doing the singing. Singing to gray skies with winter birds. Singing all manner of songs to befit all manner of occasions.

Is it our duty to keep singing,
Whether funeral songs or hymns,
Whether lullabies or battle cries
Until the spring?
I think it is.

Sometimes I'm not sure if I can keep singing when it seems so futile. Why? Why keep singing? Who will hear? Who will care? These questions are ever-present to me. Sometimes when I finish an album for an artist I feel like I am handing her an enormous burden. "Go now and make these songs heard amidst an ocean of noise, all the while wondering if it was utterly vain to write them in the first place." And yet how can we stop singing? Jesus our Lord did what he saw his father doing--and Jesus' father is always singing! Singing the song of belonging to the orphan, freedom to the slave, salvation to the sinner. God's people will never stop singing God's song in the world.

I would love to tell you more of the joyful moments of making "Hope Tonight" with Melanie, and perhaps I will in further posts. But I could think of no more fitting way to convey to you the quality of Melanie's songs than to share with you the way that Turnaround came out my car speakers one morning and helped restore my faith. 

On Co-Writing

The Lord must want me to start co-writing. It keeps coming up.

Before January of this year, I had avoided co-writing like the plague. Why? I guess I've always been a bit cynical about the outcome and even more cynical about the process. In my view, the difference between the process of writing by myself and that of co-writing has always looked something like this: when I write for myself I attempt to come up with the words that will most delight me; in a co-write I try to come up with the words that I hope will least offend what I perceive to be my partner's sensibility. Sound like fun?

But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't know what happened. My distaste for it simply vanished.

It might be that I wrote two records by myself. And yes, I was trying to prove something. But what I ended up proving (NOT my intent) was that it's lonely when you don't have anyone with whom to share your victory, or worse, your defeat.

Or--Lord I pray it's true--it might be that I'm in the foothills right on the border of that lovely country called Over Myself. If I am approaching that fair land, let's be very clear that God brought me to the verge of this country and on the way I got dysentery and my wagon caught fire--both clearly my fault. I can think of two modes by which God would have brought me safe thus far. One would be the aforementioned two albums' worth of trying to be Brian Wilson's heir-apparent only to find out that was a dumb dream. Don't argue. The other would be ten years' worth of producing, every day of which I've had to make the decision whether to appease my unholy ego or to render the best service I can to my artists.

I met with Charlie Peacock a few years ago and in his words I saw my next twenty years of spiritual and professional growth. He told me he believed in his own ideas more than ever but that never has he been less interested in pursuing them. Why? Because he has become so captivated with other people's ideas and because he has learned to choose loving his listener over flattering his gigantic brain. Yowza! Them's words to get excited about. Am I going to write my string arrangement all by myself today to prove that I can or am I going to ask the artist if she wants to sing some ideas together? Am I going to bristle when the producer says he doesn't like the first piano hook that popped into my head or am I going to get excited because that sounds like an invitation to go find something even better together?

Maybe that's why I feel like co-writing all of a sudden. Regardless of how I feel about it, it's the order of the day. Like I said, God keeps putting it on my plate right next to the humble pie.

Take, for example, the curious case of Kelly Rae Burton.

Kelly Rae Buuuuurrrrrrtooooonnnnnnnn. I elongate her last name so profusely because she's just that good. She's got a sweet country charm to her voice, somewhere in the neighborhood where she can borrow a stick of butter from Alison Krauss and a cup of sugar from Mindy Smith. And let me tell you, she has got the songs to throw at it! Her songs are so good I pretended they weren't just so she'd let me write more with her.

She came to Nashville and brought with her three or four songlets as she called them. A verse and a chorus and a shrug of the shoulders as to where they should go from there. She played me all of them and we picked one at random because they were all lovely.

We didn't pick out china patterns
Baby you and I were paper plates
We didn't rent a car
I don't recall a sunset
We took your old Ford
And made our escape


And I won't say the rain came down on our parade
But I won't say the dream came true
We set up camp somewhere in the middle
And we're still
Learning that love
Is something you choose


After I inhaled deeply and exhaled a few superlatives we went to work. The first thing we did because I am assertive to a fault was change the chorus. I didn't like "set up camp." It's a nice phrase but "up" and "camp" don't want to be sung together. We brainstormed a minute and changed it to "settled down." Not only did that phrase sing better, but a "down" metaphor was better than an "up" metaphor at conveying the emotion of the chorus. I also didn't love "and we're STILL learning" because the emphasis fell on "still," which didn't sing well enough or convey enough emotion to bear the weight we were placing on it. We changed it to "and we're HERE." The way "here" fit the melody created a nice sense of "well, I guess we're here and we're going to be here a while."

From this beginning, I already knew a thing or two about Kelly. First, she could receive criticism. Who cannot accept criticism? The insecure, unseasoned, and immature. I can say this with authority because I often have a difficult time taking direction and I am all of those things. Second,  I knew she had a great sensibility about words and melodies because she felt just as I did the better-ness of lines that roll off the tongue and of metaphors that suit the sense of the lyric. This was going to be a good day.

Where to go from here? Sometimes writing verse two feels like starting over...but this time with constricting rules. "I found pants I like, but they're a weird green and now I have to find a shirt that matches." One thing we had going for us--this was a country story-song, so we knew we weren't going to go wrong just telling the next part of the story. I asked if we were going to write about kids or marital difficulties (they're one and the same, baby…one and the same). She chose marital difficulties because she felt it would lead us back to the chorus. Duh. I will now put a little extra space between this paragraph and the next to represent the interval of time we spent staring at the wall and mumbling to ourselves.

 

 

I didn't come up with any lines, but a framework popped into my head. The first half of this verse would be about those funny little flaws you discover in one another during the early years of your marriage and the second half would either be about some of the deeper flaws--the ones that hurt a little more--or would be about some of the things we come to value about one another. Kelly offered this as a start:

I'll never learn to cook
Like your mother
And you can't fix a car
Like my dad


And here I return to the subject of co-writing. Had I written those wonderful lines myself (though of course I wouldn't have written THOSE lines exactly) I would have smiled and thought, "Those are delightful." But because I was writing with someone else, we got to look at one another and say, "I love it! I love the way that the melody and phrasing make 'like your mother' sound like an eye roll!"

I came up with this to complete the verse:

But I can make you laugh
Like no other
And you bring a joy to me
I never thought I'd have


We found a little melodic change to lift those lines up and deliver the listener into the second chorus. And here is another reason I enjoy writing with someone else: when I sing my melodies they sound like me singing my melodies. It's fine. I'm just over it. What a joy to hear someone with a really lovely, winsome voice singing a melody I'm proud of!

So then it was on to the bridge. What is a bridge exactly? Well, it's not a verse and it's not a chorus. Andy Gullahorn would argue that in this sort of song the bridge is where time passes, but that requires a third and fatal verse which we weren't willing to write. So instead we opted for a simple sentiment:

Oh, it's worth it all
We have to believe it's worth it all
If we stand or if we fall
Tell me that love is worth it all


It's not earth shattering but with the melody we wrote it comes off as tender and heartfelt. Basically it conveys, "This thing isn't easy and some days I need reassurance that these tears aren't for nothing."

Are we done? Yes we are! We high-fived. We made a bad iPhone recording of our little baby song. We spent a few minutes sort of walking around the room of the lyric, testing the floor boards to make sure they held weight. Good. Done. We then proceeded to finish three or four more songs in about a day and a half. Crazy! And so fun. 

Don't You Want To Thank Someone? Yes I Do.

12 years ago at a Wesleyan college in Indiana, I played my first show as Andrew Peterson's full-time right-hand man. Tonight in Greeley, Colorado, I played my last. At least for now.

In January of 2002 I was 22 years old and newly married. I had come to Nashville two years prior to pursue my goal of playing sessions. I also hoped to be a sideman to a great songwriter. I just didn't know who that might be. Rich Mullins had died in 1997, my freshman year of college. I figured eventually somebody had to pick up that torch and run with it. I wanted to run alongside.

I met Andrew through my friend Mark, who was AP's college roommate. Mark told me I was meeting the next Rich Mullins. The magic words! I wrote a string arrangement of Andrew's song, "Faith To Be Strong" for a class project and sent the recording to AP. It worked. He hired me to write strings for Behold The Lamb Of God, which was then in its second year of touring. After the show, AP asked me to come on the road in the spring.

Little did I know...

Now it's March 2nd, 2014. Beth and I have been married almost thirteen years. We have four kids. Our oldest is 10 and our youngest is 5. The goal of being a session player never quite came to full fruition for the best reason possible: production got in the way. I spend nearly every day in the studio helping one artist or another shape her best songs into a cohesive, inspiring, truthful recording that will help her say what she needs to say and take the next step on the path marked out for her.

I always said I'd travel with Andrew until he made me stop. But anyone who's been around record-making can tell you that production is a more-than-full-time job. Sometimes I work average hours, but when the river's in flood you can find me in the studio 15 hours a day for days on end. In those seasons I am keenly aware that I am just one man. It took me a while to admit--because I didn't want it to be true--that I can't be the husband, dad and producer I'm called to be AND be the drop-everything, fully present sideman I want AP to have.

Here's a sidebar about sidemen. The artist's ministry is to the audience; the sideman's ministry is to the artist. The artist carries a heavy burden, and when that gets too heavy the sideman carries the artist. It's Sam Gamgee work. Sometimes I was good at it. Most of the time I flat-out sucked. 

Sidemen have our own signature blend of psychoses. The sideman feels like he's always about ten feet away from someone really interesting. I think there's a movie with a similar title now, and that only corroborates my story. The sideman finishes second every night. As AP has said, if he does his job right, he becomes invisible. People have come up to me five minutes after I played my heart out and said, "Weren't you the drummer?" Yes. Yes I was.

Boo hoo, Ben! Woe is you! That's not my point. My point is that everything I've just said about sideman work turns out to be what's lovely and sanctifying about it. 

So John the Baptist has this great ministry going. He's baptizing in the desert and people are coming out in droves. Then Jesus comes along and takes the limelight. What does John say? "He must increase, I must decrease." And there was never a greater one than John the Baptist! 

Then Jesus starts his ministry and what does he say? "I do nothing on my own but only what I see my father doing." 

I love the way the Message translates Colossians 3:3. "Be content with obscurity, like Christ." Obscurity is appropriate attire for human beings. It looks really good on us. The sad fact is, I have a fame idol. Not a front-page fame idol. More like an "everybody whose opinion matters knows who Ben is and thinks he's the best at everything" fame idol. And now that I've made my most humbling admission, you have to send me yours. 

What could kill a fame idol deader than a nightly spoonful of second-place? I used to think it tasted bitter. Now I like to keep it in a hip flask and sip it. Production, for example, tastes so much better spiked with obscurity. My best days in the studio are preceded by the following prayer: "Lord, I am going to the studio today not to be served but to serve and to give my life."

So I recommend sideman work, with all its glorious difficulties. Especially if you can find an Andrew Peterson.

Speaking of which: I'm not dumb. I know a controlling majority of you clicked on this link not to hear me flap my gums but to read something about Andrew Peterson. Your pulse quickens each time I say his name. Andrew Peterson. See, there it goes again. Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here you go:

Andrew knows his calling and because of this he has incredible spine. I don't know if I've ever seen him make a move that wasn't in keeping with his calling. And it's a worthy one. It's all about mining the depths of his own wounded-ness and coming up with the kind of rare jewels in which the poor in spirit see their own reflection. His songs are like Harry Potter's thestrals; you can only see the winged horses if you've experienced death. The people who appreciate Andrew's music the most are the ones who've known real sorrow.

AP himself has been Job-tested as of late; kind of punched in the gut over and over by the accuser. I'm very proud of him for hanging in there, staying in community, seeking out counsel and encouragement. Go and do likewise.

As for our relationship, Andrew and I have spent enough time together to know every last one of each other's stories and most of each other's flaws. And yet I've never questioned whether our friendship mattered to him. Andrew takes community very seriously. He meets conflict head-on because he sees the kingdom coming and he wants to enter it alongside his brothers. He's prone to point out the elephant in the room with disarming bluntness. Some of the words I most needed to hear, whether I welcomed them or not, were spoken by AP.

Finally, it goes without saying that Andrew possesses a hard-to-match creative intelligence. It manifests itself in story, wit, and insight. He wrote Light For The Lost Boy (the whole record) in about two weeks. He's always adding irons to the fire, new projects that will keep him fresh and engaged. Or wear him out! When you engage in a critical discussion with Andrew, you know you've met your match. To say working with Andrew has sharpened me as a writer doesn't do the last 12 years justice. I learned the writing life from Andrew.

Tonight we closed the show with Don't You Want To Thank Someone. It's my favorite AP song and I used to think it was pretty long until I wrote this post. Yes, I do want to thank someone. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the gift of these years. As I walked off stage tonight I glanced back at my keyboard world. I thought, "Goodbye, little domain; it's time for me to go." 

Thank you, Lord for the time I spent on that piano bench, ten feet from someone really interesting. 

Thank you for the whole trip. From the car to the shuttle to the ticket counter, through security, to Starbucks, to the gate, to the jetway, to the plane, to the jetway, to baggage, to the rental car, to Chipotle, to the used book store, to the venue, to soundcheck, to dinner, to the green room, to the stage, to the green room, to the rental car, to the hotel, and eventually to bed. Goodnight AP. I'll see you one of these mornings and we'll do it again.

As Sure As The Sun

Ellie Holcomb's album, As Sure As The Sun releases today. I was so blessed to be a part of it. Here are a few things I learned working on this record:

-The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

-An great artist with a vision that's bigger than herself is a REALLY great artist! At our first meeting, Ellie clearly articulated a vision for bringing the light of the scripture into the darkness of her own heart and the hearts of her listeners. So while we made this music, we never had to ask which way was north. We knew which star was ours.

-Fearless singers give great performances. March if necessary.

-Sweet 16 bakery in East Nashville makes a wonderful cheddar bacon scone and if you ask Ellie, "Who makes that scone again?" she'll buy you one and bring it to the studio.

-When you realize you didn't get the right drum sounds on a song you can use Massey DTM to capture the performance (which was great) as MIDI and use the MIDI to trigger Native Instruments' 80s Drummer for pretty darned good results. Split the mics out from 80s Drummer so your mix guy still has control. And layer in additional sounds using Trigger like you would've done naturally. Won't say which song that was, but I bet you couldn't guess either!

-Watching a dad (Brown B., my co-producer) make a record for his daughter is something you definitely want to be a part of. 

Congratulations, Ellie, on your big day! Thanks for letting me literally make music with Ellie Holcomb. 

No Skin In The Game

Over the past few years I've had the opportunity to co-produce records with Brown Bannister, a personal hero of mine. He'd shudder to know how young I was when records he produced for Amy Grant, most notably "Lead Me On," taught me what pop music is capable of.  Needless to say, I've learned so much by working alongside him.

Producers have their own jargon and we tend to collect phrases as we go. A phrase I've heard Brown use often is, "I've got no skin in the game." It encapsulates one of the things I most admire about this man.

The first time I met Brown, I was playing keyboards on a Dave Barnes record. We got word that Brown would be arriving mid-day to help Dave produce the session. I wondered what would happen to the dynamic in the room when this legendary guy came in. I was at the piano when he first said hello to everybody over the cue system. I have spent the ensuing years trying to answer this question: how did I know the moment that I heard Brown's voice in my headphones that this was going to be a great day, I was going to play my very best, and there was nothing to worry about?

I came into producing as a player, arranger and writer. I felt I had something to offer. Or something to prove. I also had a lot to learn. I knew nothing of engineering and had no ear for tones. This made me insecure. I needed a controlling share of the good ideas to be MY ideas in order to justify being called "producer." That's because I didn't yet know what makes for a truly great producer.

To hear Brown tell his story, you'd think he fell accidentally into production with no qualifications whatsoever. After engineering his first tracking session totally blind (a friend hired him though he was brand new in town and had no experience--and the record went GOLD!), he was asked to produce Amy Grant's debut album. When he protested that he didn't know how to produce, his friend reminded him, "You don't know how to engineer either!"  Because Brown didn't think of himself as especially good at anything (though of course he is) and because he kept finding himself in over his head in increasingly high-pressure situations, he developed a distinct mode of operation: he surrounded himself with talented people and cheered them on to greatness. It worked very, very well. Like, double-platinum, Grammy well.

My pastor recently offered me some advice.

Walk into your house, your job, your church, and make it all about you. Use people to get what you want and see how much joy that produces. Now go into those same places and open your eyes to the people around you. Serve them and meet their needs. In service you find a renewable resource of joy.

Which pretty much describes the difference between Brown and "the old Ben."

When Brown says he has no skin in the game, he means he has nothing to prove, no ego to appease, and nothing to defend. He wins when everybody else wins. And this posture creates a palpable sense of calm and assurance wherever he goes. The Holy Spirit had already put me on the path to getting over myself by the time I met Brown, but I had never seen others-ness modeled so beautifully as I saw it in my friend and mentor.

2013 In Review

Here’s what I did last year:

Produce! Pretty much every day! And many, many nights. I got to work with amazing artists. Here are a few of them:

Colony House. Formerly “Caleb.” Joe Causey and I produced their first full-length album this year. It’s called When I Was Younger. These guys write songs that have the element of surprise, always keeping you engaged with perfect little twists and turns. They hope to release WIWY sometime in 2014. In the meantime they’ve put up an EP (which I did not record—my friend Brent Milligan did it) to tide themselves and their fans over. HOWEVER, you can hear one of the tracks (maybe my favorite) that Joe and I did for them here.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/caught-me-by-surprise/id757891554?i=757893903

Ellie Holcomb. Ellie has been stealing the show for years with her husband’s band, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and has released 2 acoustic eps along the way. This year I got to work on her first full length album, co-producing it with Brown Bannister who just happens to be her dad! Brown is one of the people I admire most in the world. Ellie is an amazing singer and writer and is just perpetually delightful to be around. You can pre-order the album we made here and you’ll get the first song.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/as-sure-as-the-sun/id763695704

Brandon Heath. Brandon is one of those artists that just does it right consistently. He’s been on Andrew Peterson’s Behold tour with me, so we knew each other, but I really enjoyed getting to know him better this summer when we made a Christmas record together. It’s called Christmas Is Here. I got to write a lot of arrangements for this record. Full orchestras, Disney choirs, New Orleans horn sections. It was a blast. And here it is. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/christmas-is-here/id720266122

Slugs And Bugs. Slugs and Bugs is kids music of the very best sort and is the brainchild of my friend Randall Goodgame. I got produce Slugs And Bugs Under Where with Randall a few years back. This year we made a record called Sing The Bible With Slugs And Bugs. All the lyrics are scripture. We worked HARD to make this record fun, gorgeous, and sing-alongable and we had a blast. The African Children’s choir plays an integral role in it, which is pretty darned fun. I don’t see it up on iTunes yet, but you can always go to rabbitroom.com to find it.

JJ Heller We’re currently putting the finishing touches on a lullabies album. It features some old JJ songs done a little more stripped down as well as a few new songs. Lots of strings, horns, clarinet, pump organ, piano, guitar, and of course JJ’s perfect vocals. I turned to her at one point during vocals and asked sincerely, “Are you from the planet Sing?” This album should be out around Mothers’ Day 2014.

Ben Rector. I might be misspeaking if I say I produced on his new record. I actually don’t know how I’m credited. But I did get to help revamp a song called Thank God For The Summertime on his new album. Got to record his vocal too. And holy cow that boy can deliver a vocal.

Carousel Rogues. They’re a Maryland band. I produced their debut album a few years back. We recorded the first one like a garage band. This one has a little more polish on it and I think it works. Their main singer, Caitlin, writes great melodies and sings with plenty of swagger. Weezery guitars abound. This new record is called Seize The Day and they’re currently plotting how to release it to much avail.

Danny Oertli. Danny leads worship and is based out of Denver. He’s an old friend of mine and AP’s. We did a christmas record this Fall and it was good for my soul.

Tommie Bozich. A worship leader from Virginia Beach. We did just a few songs together. I think he might take the radio by storm one of these days.

Son Of Laughter. SOL’s Chris Slaten is from Chattanooga. We started his five-song ep a few years back and finished it this year. The writing process took a while only because Chris was so uncompromising about his songs. The end product is a set of songs with inventive, layers-deep lyrics and striking musical vision.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-mantis-and-the-moon-ep/id662165618

I bet I’m forgetting somebody! It was quite a year. My best one yet. I also got to play some shows with Andrew Peterson, take my wife to Sweden, write some strings, play some piano, and WRITE SOME NEW SONGS! I had been pretty frozen in the writing department for a while. But the thaw started at some point mid-year and I’ve got about 6 or 7 new songs I’m excited about. Now I just need to think about recording them!