Adam Russell recommended this record to me after discovering it some time during his ebullient Song & Stories event and I’ve had this on repeat ever since. I love the lyricism and the accessible but surprising melodies; also there is a super honest, earnest vibe to it. As an aspiring songwriter, I love hearing other writers sing about following Jesus in such remarkably fresh ways.
In this review, Early made these remarks about the genesis of the record:
‘I have a friend who says that the most uncharted subject matter in songs is “everyday life.” Wild Honey really feels like a collage of the last few years of my life…marriage, love, fighting, crying, praying, failing, laying in my living room floor staring at the ceiling, dreaming, driving, dancing in the kitchen. The EP was sort of a collage of these everyday moments.
‘Wild Honey really started about 3 years ago. I hadn’t written a song in a few years. I had a friend come up to me one night and tell me that the things in my life that I thought were a desert were actually a river bed. It was really a divine moment for me. Basically the things that I felt like were totally desolate or forgotten or dead in my life were actually the things that were going to be really full of life, beauty, and creativity. For me, it really shifted my perspective on my marriage, on my life, and my writing. After that, the songs just started coming and the EP really came out of that place.’
The title track fashions “desert is a river bed” into a melody that has so much hope and heartache that I was hooked. There are certain things that I listen to that reliably make me write. Jessie is on that list. Give it a listen.
I’ve been wrestling with our tribe’s charge to embrace ethnic diversity and what that ought to mean for worship, especially for worship done in such an egalitarian way (i.e., “Everybody gets to play,” etc.). How can music be ethnically “better together?” How can it retain its authenticity? Especially if I’m an Asian guy in a predominantly white area (over 90% Caucasian in our immediate surroundings)? I’ve had long, good talks with my Senior Pastor John Elmer about this, because in the 9th most segregated city in the country, the church ought to prophetically lead the way in racial reconciliation and music needs to be a part of that. But how?
Enter Will Reagan. You know him from songs like “Set a Fire,” and “Break Every Chain” (this might surprise you, but look up “Break Every Chain LIVE” on YouTube and you’ll find Gospel versions of this song). “Tell All My Friends” has a bit of a Gospel flair, and for me it will function as a way forward, when I was looking for where to place my feet. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s great, and it has vision. And it won’t intimidate our young musicians in its musicality (at least not yet); and that might indeed be the chief criticism of the record: it kinetically doesn’t thrum with a strong rhythm section. But again, it’s a way forward, and as we’re all stumbling toward what it looks like to be the church, we might not face plant with these songs. Until the Vineyard Worship crew comes out with their forthcoming Gospel record, we could do much worse than this record and Casey Corum’s “Let Your Kingdom Come Now.”
Question: What are you listening to right now that challenges and inspires you?