The Jacob's Trouble Video Archives

Friday, August 08, 2014

Toublemaker's Vote: Favorite JT Song Countdown Part 3 (40-36)


Here are the next 5 songs in our countdown! Ron adds his comments to the mix alongside Mark and Jerry in this installment. You don't wanna miss it!

40. If You Believe



"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." - Revelations 3:20

I wanna say everyday in every way 
what you mean to me
 
They say that time heals all wounds and this certainly applies to this track for me. The original, frantic, punkish version of If You Believe (that you hear on Diggin' Up Bones) was kind of like our theme song. We opened all our early shows with it. It was our way of establishing right out of the gate, "This is who we are, this is what we do."

Once we got in the studio with Terry, he began disassembling many of our songs and reconstructing them. It seemed at the time like Frontline had maybe instructed him to concentrate on the whole Beatles/Monkees aspect of our sound, when truthfully live we were a little more like the Who. Anyways, "If You Believe" was the most radical departure from the original version. Most of the changes were arrangement variations but with this one, it was a complete overhaul. At the time, it freaked us out. We absolutely hated it. So much so that we dropped it from our live set entirely. We felt at the time like a big chunk of our identity as a band just got taken away from us. It was a bitter pill for us.

I grew to really like it over the years, and recently as we have been rehearsing for the reunion concert, I am really enjoying it. The only thing about it that still bugs me to this day is the drum flub on the track. I cam in about a half beat too late on the second verse and we never went back and fixed it. It stands out to me like a big zit!
-Jerry


39. O.N.F.S (Obligatory New Father Song)



"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." - Psalm 127:3-5

There's a grand adventure there ahead of us

I can hardly wait to rediscover this old world

You can only see things for the first time once

And the razor edge of youth is all too quickly dulled

...for Erik and Kelsey

When my firstborn, Erik, was a baby, I didn’t know a whole lot of the kids songs and lullabies so ay bedtime I would sing to him things like “Young At Heart” by Sinatra and “Blackbird” by the Beatles, stuff like that. Also, I would make up songs. This song is the result of one of those homemade kids songs. This is probably one of the most personal songs I ever wrote with JT because it’s such an unfiltered inside glimpse into what God was stirring in me with the birth of my first kid. I actually wrote songs around the birth of all three of my kids but since I was no longer in JT by the time my other two were born, you will probably never hear them. (For any of you who actually heard the ultra-rare sideways8 CD, Uberpop!,  I recorded Whitney’s song, “What Will You Be?”)

The title is a reference to the seeming inevitability of a recording artist writing a song about becoming a parent. In my opinion, this track stands out as a gem if not for the sole fact that it actually turned out like I wanted. I am especially proud of the lyrics in the bridge: “You can only see things for the first time once/ and the razor edge of youth is all too quickly dulled.” I confess I stole the phrase “razor edge of youth” from Mike Nesmith’s classic unreleased Monkees song “Carlisle Wheeling.”

There is a 4-track demo of this song that Keith, Steve, and I recorded that didn’t make it onto Diggin’ Up Bones. The only real difference is that in the break between the first and second verses I inserted a simulated baby burp for comedic effect. We tried it in the Truth sessions for the CD, but it sounded silly and Mark Heard thought it better to leave it off. Also, the “Aw, shoot!” you hear in the timbale break is me actually expressing very real frustration at botching the part. It was very simple to play but I kept screwing it up to the point where I was getting mad at myself. We left it in because it made us all giggle. It really plays well with the theme of the song, embracing all the imperfections of becoming a first-time parent.

Nathan Fink, who plays Hammond organ on “Something Good Happens,” play s the marimba part. If memory serves me, I think Nathan was Ron’s brother-in-law. One good thing about recording in Atlanta was that we had access to all our friends in the local music scene to come play on the record.
-Jerry


38.Never Would Have Known



"What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory...?" - Romans 9:23

Well I get down on my knees to see Your face

I listen for Your footsteps as You knock upon the door

As the line I draw between us disappears

Hand in hand we're walking side by side

I have always been able to write best with a 12 string guitar, because the chords you can create have a bigger sound and have all these cool overtones. This was another of those fun, jangly songs that you can write, another one with that "sterling silver sound" that Jacob's Trouble was known for.

Romans 7:7, What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet.

This was the idea I wanted to convey, that if I had continued in wavering between two opinions, I would never had known what sin was. It was because I could not measure up to God's standard did I finally realize my need for a Savior. None of us are exempt from our need for a Savior.
-Mark



37. Morning Light





"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; 
weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." - Psalm 30: 5

I don't have to cry anymore

Tears will fall down but just for one night

I don't have to cry anymore

'Cause I know I'll be fine in the morning light

I was invited to join the band after the release of “Knock Breathe Shine”. The band had recently added Keith to flush out the live sound. After doing a number of opening dates as a three piece with Jerry singing lead from behind the kit they wanted to get him out front.

They did a short tour with another drummer, Matt Goldman, working as a ‘hired gun’ prior to bringing me in. But I had known the guys for years and they invited me in as a full member before we ever played a note together.

We toured a lot. More than they had before and most people who saw the band live never knew that Jerry had once been trapped behind the kit. Like Phil Collins or Dave Grohl, Jerry was one of those few that made a very natural front man / lead singer. A great drummer too, one of my favorites. But JT would have never achieved the reputation of such an entertaining group without Jerry up front. Props brother!

As we began to prep for ‘Truth’, the 3rd JT record, the guys asked me to take a hand at bringing a song to the table. I had written and sung before in a few previous bands but never expected to write anything for JT. We already had the power house writing of Mark and Jerry. Then Keith started blowing us away with his stuff. So it was a little intimidating bringing my ideas. If one could even make such a comparison, we already had a Lennon/McCartney duo and a George Harrison. This was definitely a ‘Ringo’ situation.

Mark and I got together one evening at his place. I already had a basic structure, the chorus melody and a rough idea for a few lines. With me on a six string Mark picked up the Twelve string and came up with that great opening hook. At the time the main line of the chorus “ I don’t have to cry anymore” was just a place holder for some future brilliance I hoped would come. But as we worked thru it Mark got out his bible and flipped right to Psalms 30:5. (He was always good like that). So that became the permanent hook. I went home and the rest of the lyrics, melody and bridge wrote themselves. I was always a fan of cool country rock and considered this a fun little ditty. It had all my favorite elements of JT, jangling guitars, acoustic rhythms and great harmonies.

No one was more surprised than I was when the label released Mornin’ Light as a single.

Over the years many people have shared how much the song meant to them. I never really liked singing lead and we only performed it live a few times.

You never know what will happen when you throw Ringo a bone.
-Ron

36.I'm a Little World




 
 Genesis 1 through Revelations 22

Knock, Breathe, Shine seek to mend me now
Break, burn, heal and make me new again

John Donne’s influence is all over Knock Breathe Shine, as much as Terry’s or the Beatles’ or anybody’s. In fact, the title itself was taken from one of his sonnets, which we used as the basis for “I’m A Little World.” Donne’s passion for God, his desperate thirst for Him, runs all through the record.

Of all the songs we wrote based on Donne’s Holy Sonnets, this is the only one where we took the actual lines from the poems. It’s also the song where we got the name of the album.

This is pretty much Terry’s brainchild from start to finish; musically, lyrically, and in the studio. Dan Michaels from the Choir plays saxophone. 
-Jerry 



Friday, August 01, 2014

Fan Favorite JT Song Countdown - Part 2

It's Friday! You know what that means! Time to continue our JT song countdown! Check out some writings from Jerry and Mark on these great tunes! Special thanks to Mark Blackburn for taking time out of his busy schedule to provide stories for his songs!


45.All For You








"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12

It's not a game of win or lose,

Who you portray or who you choose

The fact won't change if you don't decide

Because a Man of Love was still crucified

All For You was, I think, the third song I had ever written. The title came from a phrase that was repeated on a spiritual retreat I had been on in February of 1989. That Christ had done all this for you. That He died a sinners death, but never sinned. That He paid a penalty unto death for me that I owed, and that helpless feeling of knowing I can't repay Him. All He asks in return is for us to repent and believe.

I was thinking how the world disregards the greatest plan of escape from total separation from God. Hebrews 2:3 "how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?" I started writing down phrases about how I felt before I got saved. Kind of having a conversation between my saved self and my unsaved self. 

I don't think the song ever made it to demo form, the chords G Bm Am we're the basic structure of the song, our producer for the Door Into Summer album, Terry Taylor created the arrangement that was recorded. All the "George Harrison" sounding guitars were played by DA guitarist Greg Flesch. It wasn't how I imagined the song should sound but it turned out being well recorded and fit well on side two.
-Mark



44. If You Believe (Indie Version)


"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you belive and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." - Romans 10:9-10

Don't wait to find it on your own

Begin a new way, trust someone

Who can give you a better way

A way that leads to better days

"This is how it all started. We recorded and mixed these first five songs in about three days at a little studio called Songbird in Atlanta. We only pressed 500 copies of this cassette-only release in November 1988 and sold them for $5.00 each at two of the four shows we played before we got a record deal. They go for upwards of $30-35 in some places, if you can find one. This is what Frontline heard when they first decided to sign us. And Mark got a job working at the studio as a result of those sessions.

Mark brought this song in from a previous band. He had a demo of it with a guy named Bill Douglas singing lead, For you JT aficionados, Bill would later be a member of Janah with Keith, Ron and Steve. He even shared a co-writing credit on the original cassette EP. We pretty much just re-recorded that version for our demo with Mark singing.
-Jerry



43. Days That Passed Me By


A life of love can recognize the shadows of your heart

Substances of days that passed me by

Days That Passed Me By, was recorded in 1992 with Mark Heard as producer for the third album "...let the truth run wild". I was told a story about a group of fans who keep vigil day and night, 24 hours a day at the grave site of Jim Morrison. This person who told the story asked these kids what were they doing, we're they waiting for Him to come back?

I became a Christian when I was 21 years old and remember very well, how I was before I got saved. I was like everyone at that age, very idealistic and not very realistic. Anyway, the line "a lizard crawls along a weathered stone, a gathering of footsteps keeping eye" refers to that story, but also reminds me that I was just like that, wavering between two opinions.....thankfully those days are in the past.....like George Burns would say, "I'll never make the mistake of being 25 again!"

Musically, I had been listening to the Byrds "Younger Than Yesterday" especially the songs Chris Hillman had written with Clarence White on lead guitar. I had asked Mark Heard if we could get someone to play a solo in that style like Clarence White. He called his friend and songwriting legend Pat Terry to come by the studio and I watched as Mark and Pat put that solo together. The song is all of 2:10 with 1:00 being that solo! Outstanding!
-Mark






42. Eden Again




 
"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." - 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

It only took one single human to tear creation down down

A single man, his name is Jesus

Defeated death and turned the whole thing round

I brought this song in from the college band Steve and I were in called "Transit." We switched some of the lyrics around to make it more doctrinally sound. An early concert fave, this one was omitted from the first record for sounding "too much like U2". Ironically, "Waiting for the Son", which sounded even more like U2, was included on the record. See if you can guess who the cameos are and where they come from. First one to get them all right wins a dream date with Steve Atwell.
-Jerry



41. Just Like You

 "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." - Romans 12:3

Now you're asking for my autograph and I just have to laugh

‘Cause I know what's behind the name

There's a heart so dark and wild, and a frightened little child

But I'll sign it for you just the same

Touring opened up a whole new perspective for me and it definitely affected my songwriting. It began to dawn on me just how much blind faith music fans in general (and Christian music fans in particular) put in their favorite artists. The other edge of this two-edged sword was the impossible standards of absolute moral perfection artists were held to. You could have a guy on stage who genuinely loves Jesus and is trying his best to write and record honest songs expressing his journey of faith, and in the audience would be a fan who condemned his eternal soul to hellfire because he overheard him say a “curse word,” all the while the fan ignores the poor, speaks harshly to his wife and kids, and treats his fellow coworkers like crap. It’s ludicrous!

As we began to play larger venues and festivals, I got very uncomfortable on the shaky pedestal we were being placed on. “Just Like You” is a plea to the listener to put their trust in the God who never fails them and not so much in the Christian singers and “celebrities” who inevitably would.

Musically, I had high hopes this would be a single. I originally wanted the opening guitars to be a little fuller with more distortion. Compromise is the name of the game in a band. That cool guitar riff Keith plays after the verses and at the end was something he used to play during sound checks. I asked him one day if that was a song he was working on. He said it was just something he came up with and didn’t have a place for. So we worked it in this song.
-Jerry





That's it for now! Keep your eyes on the Facebook page throughout the week as  we will be posting some rare live performances of these songs and other goodies. Tune in next Friday for the next five songs! Be sure to check out the previous post and listen through the songs we've revealed so far on the spotify player bellow. Please post your thoughts on these songs in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fan Favorite JT Song Countdown - Part 1

Here you have it, Troublemakers! You voted and now we have part 1 of your Top 50 song list! Where will your favorite rank? But that's not all! We have some goodies in store for you along the way. Some of the members of JT will be sharing their thoughts and stories about each and every song that you voted for! Who was Mr. Hitler? Why are there two versions of About Sex? And who is that on the answering machine in "Church of Do-What-You-Want-To? All this and more you'll find below. Let the countdown commence!


50. Cosmic Mailman




"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20

“Now I'm not trying to shove it down your throat

'Cause after all, we're all in the same boat”

"One of the great lost gems from the same sessions that yielded 'About Sex' and 'Let It Rain'. Believe it or not, we were thinking Elvis Costello when we did this one. 'Cosmic' was intended for KNOCK, BREATHE, SHINE but was dropped due to some concern over the melody in the chorus being the same as in the verses. We always thought this one deserved to be on a record, so much so that we considered recording it again for "...let the truth run wild!" But by that time, we already had too many songs and not enough time, so it got the axe again. Only a handful of family, friends, and proud owners of the ultra-rare cassette-only release, The Songbird Sessions, have ever heard it until its release on the 1994 compilation CD, “Diggin’ Up Bones.”
-Jerry 



49. About Sex (Part II)



"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
- 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20.


This song came about as Terry’s effort to appease the powers that be at Frontline. They had their heart set on our original song,  "About Sex" being on the record and Terry had his mind made up that it would only be on the CD over his cold, dead body. So Terry came up with a plan to have a song called About Sex on the record that was not our song About Sex.



He sent me into the drum booth and I sat down behind the kit. “Start playing,” he said over the talk back in my headphones. “What do you want me to play?” I asked. “Anything,” he said. “Just play and I’ll tell you when to stop.” So I did. That’s the drums you hear on this song.



After that he sent Mark and Steve in respectively and told them what to play over my drum track. They pounded away and when they were done, they came out and sat down next to me looking just as confused as I probably looked at that moment. Terry then began to feverishly construct what became About Sex Part II literally ex nihilo. He put in a call to Frontline’s offices and had some guy there start looking up statistics on divorce, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. I think it’s the same guy who researched all that stuff who drove over to the studio and read it into the microphone!


By this time, we felt a little like our record had been hijacked. The recording continued without us. I think we wandered off into the next room and played golf on the Nintendo. Terry brought in Dan Michaels of the Choir to play some terrific saxophone stuff. Greg Flesch came in and was amazing on lead guitar, as usual. The preacher’s voice is from an old cassette Terry had of Jimmy Swaggart losing his mind and screaming about sex in pretty graphic detail. All the vocals were Terry and guys from DA or the Eddies. Other than the initial drums, bass, and acoustic guitar that we played without even knowing what we were doing, we had absolutely nothing to do with the song.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am not slamming Terry. He did an amazing job assembling this complex and riveting track literally from nothing right there on the spot. It’s a tribute to his genius, no question. It jus wasn’t us. It didn’t sound like us. It didn’t feel like us. It didn’t flow with the rest of the record. It was purely politics resulting from a producer being pressured by a record label.
-Jerry


48. Icicle Face



"...I am sure there is a common spirit that plays within us... the Spirit of God, the fire and scintillation of that noble and mighty essence, which is the life and radical heat of spirits... Whosoever feels not the warm gale and gentle ventilation of this Spirit, though I feel his pulse, I dare not say he lives..."

- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici

“It's a cold, cruel, difficult world for the little things, the simple things
And you don't have to hate yourself
There's Someone above you, 
Someone who loves you true”

I had the idea for this song when I was working at the Record Bar in the local mall. On the weekends the place was crawling with these teenage goth kids all dressed in blacks and grays with piercing in every imaginable orifice. The would wear this pancake white makeup to make themselves look really pale and then wear black lipstick and tons of eyeliner to stand out against the albino skin.

The saddest part was their passionate commitment to despair. It became something of a game for me to try to make them laugh or smile whenever they were in the store. Once they smiled it immediately revealed how ridiculous the whole fa├žade was. A laughing goth kid was really little more than a failed mime.

I tried to share the gospel with as many as would listen and turned a few of them on to some of the better alternative Christian bands of the day. But for the most part they seemed to enjoy staying depressed.

Musically, I was aiming for something like XTC from their Black Sea record. I was a huge XTC fan and even considered the idea of covering “Respectable Street” in our live shows. I expressed this to Mark Heard but somewhere along the way it lost some of the punch and ended up this thin, wispy little filler track. I had much higher hopes for it, like just about every other song on this album.

I think we only played this song live twice: once at the CD release party and once at Atlanta Fest ’93.
-Jerry




(Here's one of the rare performances of Icicle Face from the album release party. Featuring the talents of the interpretive JT stage divers!)


47. Mr. Hitler






"Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him" -1 John 3: 15


I'm an ordinary man, I believe in wrong and right
If it were up to me I would have them shot on sight!

This song was just plain fun to record. I was in my element completely. It was kind of a Magical Mystery Tour vibe ala “I Am The Walrus.” It was fun to hear all the elements come together.

I wanted to show that everyone was capable of evil given the right circumstances, even everyday ordinary situations like work and traffic and religion. This guy was supposed to be an everyman kind of a guy, revealing his evil heart in everyday situations we all deal with. I was hoping the listener would feel, “Wow, I could be just as evil as that guy if I don’t guard my heart.”
There were some lyrical changes made to the third verse and the chorus and I'm afraid my original concept was lost in translation.

But, let me go on record as saying this: Whatever decisions Terry made, he made in our best interest. And the result was arguably our finest moment. Many critics and fans alike regard Knock Breathe Shine as our best record. Mark, Ty and David from Third Day all list it on their website as one of their most influential CDs. And we all know they certainly like “These Thousand Hills!”


"Bad Lick Gunshot" was supposed to be at the beginning of this song but for some reason it became it's own track. Greg Flesch was in doing some guitar work on the record Knock, Breathe, Shine and kept playing this obnoxious heavy metal lick just to annoy Terry. Terry pretended to pull out a gun and shoot him. Somebody suggested we record it and add the sound of the gun shot so we did. It was just one of those crazy things you do when you are locked in a studio for weeks and start to go a little stir crazy.
-Jerry


46. Step By Step


In 1998 I was contacted by Kent Songer, a good friend and former Frontline employee who had been a huge JT supporter back in the day. He now worked for the Killen Music Group who had procured possession of all things Frontline, including our entire catalog. Kent told me that KMG wanted to put together a “greatest hits” package of Jacob’s Trouble “hits.” He asked me if I would drive up to Nashville and be a part of the song selection process. “Absolutely!” I said.

I don’t remember how it all went down – it’s a blur to me now – but I somehow managed to talk him into letting us record a new song. I was still in touch with the fellas, who were now touring and recording as Janah, and rang them up to see if they were interested. Kent warned me not to go to too much trouble or expense. I think he knew they were not planning on promoting it. At all. And they didn’t. At all.

I had previously written and recorded a post-JT solo demo of a song called “Sycamore.” The other guys were all fully involved in Janah and there wasn't time to write a new song, so I proposed we re-record “Sycamore” as a JT song. They agreed and we commenced recording. Basically, the three of them got together and came up with an arrangement and recorded it without me. I came in later and added my vocals. Not really a group effort exactly but the results were better than I think we had a right to expect at the time. I think we renamed it “Step by Step” because Ron’s recording studio was called Sycamore Recording and I guess he didn't want there to be any confusion between Janah and JT.

The song itself is about the aching desire to know God, to get a good look at Christ and in Him see the God our hearts have been yearning for since Eden. I love the lyric “Grace is a haze in the view from way down here/I want to climb ‘til I clear the atmosphere/In the wild blue I will meet You.” Regardless of what some theologians say about Total Depravity, I do believe that all people everywhere worship and long for God, they just don’t know what to call it or where to find satisfaction so they worship anything they think will give them what they are looking for. The scripture says of God, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” That is what “Step By Step” is about: capturing that longing to be fully satisfied in Christ.
-Jerry

Well that's all for now folks! What do you think? Are you disappointed with any of these rankings so far? Are you surprised by any of the stories? Leave us your thoughts in the comments bellow! Also check out this spotify playlist to listen through these 5 songs again.