All Sons & Daughters Redux, and a brief word about the songwriting process

All Sons & Daughters, Feb 25th at Neighborhood Church, Redding, Ca.

Reasonably soon, I’m going to explore the bedrock beliefs that drive my involvement in music, the parameters I believe music has, its true purpose, and how every attempt by anyone with nefarious worldviews using it only succeed in poisoning the outcome, but are unable to remove its purpose.

Make no mistake about it: Music IS WORSHIP.  It involves declarations, petitions, invitations, supplications and invocations–just to start. I don’t care if it’s Katie Perry’s Dark Horse, or a bunch of unanimous noobs in a red-necked, back-slapping conclave trying to canonize a Red Solo Cup.  Ronnie Dio can anthemize a Rainbow in the Dark, or Ian Gillan can caterwaul about an unexpected recording studio fire in Smoke on the Water.  It doesn’t matter. Exalting something, someone, or even worse and conversely as effective– the de-sacralizing of something–is an act of worship.

So really, what you are worshipping is the entire issue.

My last post probably solidified any lingering suspicion that that I love the music of All Sons & Daughters.  There’s a reason for this.  Primarily, they are indirectly responsible for the fact that I am writing music at all right now–with any confidence at all. A friend of mine told me to buy the song Brokenness Aside on my iTunes account. I did so, and just a few days later, I wrote the first song I have EVER thought was any good, a song called “You Are All.”

And no, the song is nothing like them.

Brokenness Aside is a very contemplative and transparent declaration:

I am a sinner
if it’s not one thing–it’s another
caught up in words–tangled in lies
but You are a Savior
and You take brokenness aside
and make it beautiful

Those lyrics might not seem complicated–and they aren’t.  But they are expressive, and when you hear the actual song, sell a complete point of resignation about oneself.

February 25th, I went to see All Sons & Daughters a few miles from my home.  I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with Leslie Jordan, the one you see singing in the previous video, and also one of the two principal vocalists for the group.  I asked her specifically about the origin of how that song came to be.

She told me she had “been involved in a horrible moment of gossiping,” something that involved fraying the reputation of another–all based on heresay and lies.  She said she was in her car, and was completely upset at her failures–to her fellow man, to God, and to herself, that she muttered.  “If it’s not one thing, it’s another . . . ”

And there was the song’s birth. Right there in traffic.  Right there in the car.  Just like babies are, occasionally. And think about it.  You’ve met some extraordinary people in your life.  WHERE they were born–matters not.  THAT–they were born–matters completely.

The best songs I am writing now are happening that way–no pomp and circumstance, no fanfare, no bells and whistles–they are just showing up.  Sometimes, it’s a phrase I hear. Other times it’s a thought I have in my head.

All I know is this.  They MEAN something.  They point upward.  They are an act of worship.  Even if I have a fly-rod in my hand when they decide to show up.

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2 Responses to All Sons & Daughters Redux, and a brief word about the songwriting process

  1. Ann Ahrens says:

    Really appreciate All Sons and Daughters, and especially this song. Glad you’re writing – it’s about TIME!!! Completely agree with your thoughts on worship. Sad part is that, even in what appears to or is meant to be worship unto God, we’ve moved him from his rightful place as subject AND object of our worship. We sing about ourselves worshipping God so often that the song has no real focus on God. What would it be like to write a song that never says “I” or “me”? Is that even possible today? There’s a fabulous chapter in a book by Marva Dawn entitled “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down.” That book slapped me right up-side my big, ole’ prideful head. Never have been so glad to be slapped in my life! 🙂 The chapter I’m referring to takes head-on the issue of keeping God as subject and object. I’d highly recommend that book to anyone who is writing or involved in musical worship.


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