The Jacob's Trouble Video Archives

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

JT "25LIVE!" Reunion Concert now available for digital download!

Hey Troublemakers far and wide! It's finally here! Last summer's JT reunion concerts were captured on digital audio and are now available for download. A pittance of $10 will get you a beefy 16 track collection of JT music, featuring the entire "Door Into Summer" CD performed live in the original running order. Plus you will hear a smattering of faves from "Knock, Breathe, Shine"! Click the link below to get your copy today! All proceeds go to benefit the ministry of Real Life Church in Dallas, GA where Mark Blackburn is pastor. Mark & Lisa and the boys are doing great work in that area and need your support! Rooty Toot Toot, indeed!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Toublemaker's Vote: Favorite JT Song Countdown Part 4 (35-31)

Here are the next 5 songs in our countdown! Sorry about the delay!

35. Let Me Love on You

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" - Luke 13:34

I sent you poets, baby, to pen sweet lines of love

I left a million undiscovered clues

I sent you prophets, lady, to beg you, "Please come home"
They all came back bloody, beaten and abused
Let me love on you

We were big fans of the TV show Twin Peaks around the time we made this CD. This song was an attempt to emulate that low, baritone guitar sound that was so prevalent in the music from that show by the great Angelo Badalmenti.

Some folks expressed some confusion about what the title line in the chorus meant. “loving on” someone is a Southern expression meaning to show affection and intimacy towards someone. A Southern mom might say to her children, “C’mere and let momma love on you a little bit!” and then wrap them up in a big embrace.

I wanted to pull back the veil and explore what I believed God’s heart is towards us. Over and over again, the scripture echoes His desire to be “among” us and “in our midst.” Revelation 21 records that the signature mark of the new earth will be that the dwelling place of God would be physically and literally with us. God would no longer seem a distant shadow or whisper barely heard. We will see Him up close and personal. His presence will no longer be something we sense or feel; He will be among us as our God and we will be with Him as His people.

I’m not sure if it worked in the context of the darker, somber quality of the music. It seems kinda juxtaposed now but it worked for us at the time. It seemed a great way to close out the record. Little did we know we were pretty much closing out our career together as a band with that track.

34. Wounded World

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." –Matthew 5: 13-16

We sting like salt in the wounds of a wounded world

I had the opening riff rolling around in my head for months before I wrote the rest of the song. I got the idea for the lyrics from Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth.” I was thinking of all the things salt does; preserves, flavors, etc. Then I thought and it stings in an open wound. Like salt in a wound, Christians can also be seen as an annoyance by a world wounded and separated from God. Whenever we are compelled to speak truth when people prefer lies, we are hated and scorned. We sting like salt in the wounds of a wounded world.

At first I sang the lead on this one but in the studio Terry decided Mark’s voice sounded more heartfelt and desperate, largely because he was recovering from a bad head cold.

33.It's a Boys' Boys' Boys' Boys' World

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

You better believe it's a dangerous thing

When we start believing that youth is king

Probably my third favorite JT song ever (right after Little Red Words and This Moment). I am especially pleased with the lyrics to this one. Ever a child of the Eighties, I was trying for a big jungle drum driving beat of stuff like Duran Duran, Big Country, etc. We only played it live a few times but I always loved it when we did. It’s a ton of fun!

The idea for the song grew out of a discussion about the youth-obsessed nature of our culture. We worship it like it’s the pinnacle of existence. We spend the first 20 years of our lives trying to grow up then the rest of our lives trying to stay 20! It’s insanity. The entire culture is geared toward youth and regards age as an enemy rather than a gift to be treasured and embraced.

It was my attempt to be both funky and philosophic at the same time. If you listen close we take a playful jab at our old touring mates, the Newsboys, in the fade out.

32. Time Bomb

"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." - Ecclesiastes 12:14

A well of secret shame is buried deep inside my crooked heart

It's quiet on the surface but inside it's tearing me apart

Alright, I need someone to talk to
I'm a time bomb, baby

We had been listening to a lot of INXS at that time. We were big fans of that band and I really wanted to capture their funky, dance-groove influence in a song. Listening back now it sounds really “white” to me, like Kevin James’ character in Hitch learning to dance from Wil Smith. “Don’t you bite your lip!”

Lyrically, it’s all about trying to handle your sin yourself. You try to keep it a secret from everyone around you because you don’t want to deal with the shame and guilt and embarrassment associated with it – whatever “it” is. So instead of seeking help and strength from the allies God has put in your life (and they are there, you just have to look for them hard enough and have patience), you just hunker down and try harder to do better. The problem with that it that the whole approach runs counter to the gospel. You cannot handle it yourself. You can’t ignore it and hope it just gets better. It’s just a matter of time before it manifests itself in your life somehow and you can bet it won’t be pretty. Find someone you can trust and get help. Your Enemy is too big and if we could have handled the battle ourselves, then Jesus on the cross was pointless.

I had high hopes of radio single potential for this track but it was not to be.

31. About Sex

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God." - 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-5
The Greatest Hit We Never Had. People used to drive from all over to hear us play this song in concert. It was, without question, the show stopper in our early live sets. It was originally intended for Door Into Summer but was passed on when the final song selection was made. We re-recorded it ,intending it for Knock Breathe Shine, but Terry declined to produce it. He felt the lyrics were too “moral majority” and that it clashed with the musical and artistic direction the album was taking. Looking back I can see that Terry was probably right, but the ideas expressed in it are still true and more relevant today than when it was first written, even if the pop-culture reference are outdated.

Tune in next time for new stories from Jerry, Ron, and Keith!


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!

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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 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!

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.

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.

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!