Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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
"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 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.
"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.-Jerry
"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.
"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.-Jerry
"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!
Tune in next time for new stories from Jerry, Ron, and Keith!
Friday, August 08, 2014
Friday, August 01, 2014
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!
"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
"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.
"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.
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!
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.
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!