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!

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. 

1 comment:

Folks For America said...

I had that t-shirt!