On May 18th, I will be releasing my first recorded project. It’s been a long time coming, and I thought of you all every step of the way - I couldn’t wait to share the news with you, and I can’t wait for you to hear the new songs. I wanted to give you an inside look into the making of the Valleys EP, and share some personal details on how it came to be.
The Valleys EP was written over a few years of my life, and includes songs from the beginning, middle, and present parts of my musical journey. The first track (and the first to be written), “Jericho,” tells the story of a broken society that invites us to join in on the revelry, but it’s clear that things are falling apart. I had recorded an old demo version of this song previously, but the version on this EP has a sense of danger - a sort-of mad carnival feel. The title track, “Valleys,” was chosen as the single because lyrically and melodically it's a song that almost anyone can connect with. We’ve all been through low points in our lives, we all need hope, and we all need a catchy power-pop tune in our lives, right? The last song on the EP is “Wild,” which actually shares topical origins with “Valleys” - both written at difficult times in life. I had originally written lyrics asking God to lighten my load, but ended up rewriting them to ask God to change me and let me live wildly and without fear. It's one of the most recent songs I’ve written, and it reveals the change I’ve gone through as I’ve learned where I put my hopes and expectations - and where I SHOULD be putting them instead. These three songs paint a picture of who I am as an artist, and give people a glimpse into my own story.
Recording this project in Nashville, Tennessee was a wild ride. Once I had the songs chosen with my producer (Jeff Quimby), we took to the studio and completely reworked them. “Valleys” was the song that got the biggest facelift from the original version - I got the chance to sit down with David Leonard from All Sons & Daughters to rewrite the melodies and some of the lyrics. We ended up with a HUGE bridge and chorus that make me want to do something active - like run or box! Once we had the song forms nailed down, we hit the studio. I was fortunate to have some top-notch Nashville musicians record on the EP and as you might imagine, they were incredible! I had Jeremy Redman from Big Daddy Weave, David Leonard, Matt Melton from Chris Tomlin’s band, and Jeff Quimby on drums and loops.
Without a doubt, “Wild” was the highlight of the whole experience. The guys completely captured the spirit of the tune, and literally went wild with it. It became a big “jam” tune and it makes me want to get in my car on the hottest day of the summer and drive with the song on full blast. Unlike a lot of modern recording experiences where each individual instrument is recorded separately, we tracked most of it at the same time. This is just one of the great many things I love about this EP, and I can’t wait for you to hear it on May 18th.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some more about the songs individually on the blog. Tomorrow, Thursday, April 24th, I’ll be doing a Facebook Live broadcast at 6pm pacific time. I’ll be playing a couple tunes with just my guitar and answering questions. PLUS, I’ll tell you more about the EP release show on the 18th. Go to my Facebook page now (click here!) to follow so you don’t miss it!