I’ve been holding this completed recording captive for a little over a year now. Despite having had the pleasure of working with some of the best Nashville musicians on this recording, which I am proud of their work and the recording, I just haven’t been ready to let it out yet.
I woke up Monday morning and felt like it was time. Being that it took me so long to release it, there’s clearly a story here as well. I’ve decided to share why it’s taken me all this time, and more into the song’s meaning since you may notice this is WAY different than anything I’ve released before.
So, if you’d like a bit juicier of a share, than I normally give, keep reading!
Wade in the Water
This song is basically about what it’s like to be emotionally stuck. It’s this idea that a person is sorting through the fullness of his or her own humanity and is feeling the heaviness of a troubled heart, but they can’t get out of it. It feels like nothing works. The character in the song tries to Wade in the Water, only to realize that she can’t feel anything. She is neither living, nor dead, but just kind of suspended in a space in time, a purgatory of sorts. She’s going to need to let go of a few things in order to feel the sensation of that living water she knows is supposed to heal her.
Where This Came From
Not gonna lie, I’m stretching my vulnerability muscles on this one. Which is why it has felt a little difficult to share. Four to five years ago I started to realize that, in my own way, I was very much the character we’ve depicted in the song. Just numb to feeling, sensation and lying to myself about it in a pretty deep way. Those of you who know me well, know I started making some pretty big changes around that time.
I quit my job in non-profit fundraising, launched full time into music teaching (I had been part time), pursued art and music projects on the side. Worked at churches. Applied to grad schools. Anything and everything to just shake the tree and get my life moving. I eventually just completely changed the environment around me, moved across the country (from CA to Nashville) and tried on a whole different life. For a time, this “shake it up” approach seemed to be working. I was super productive, was getting a lot accomplished and was feeling like I was moving toward progress.
And then I realized (after lying on my back with a broken leg that wouldn’t heal for 6 months) that my problem was never productivity or working hard or finding new experiences. My problem has been simply… feeling… and being…and allowing myself to be vulnerable to those around me. Creating new excitement, just wasn’t going to change what needed changing in my heart.
One day in about November of 2015, I was driving to a student’s house and making up melodies (I often do this when I’m in the car on my speaker phone). And the old spiritual text “wade in the water” came to mind along with this new chorus melody idea. And then something shook loose. I immediately thought of all I had been going through emotionally and took this idea to a collaborator of mine, Tucker Bouler, who always helps draw out my stuck feelings. We fully realized this song and the story together. A few months later, I recorded it.
We left this song open ended with a little mystery, as it is up to each of us to figure out what we need to let go of to fully experience the lives that are available to us and receive healing from all the waters that exist around us (in whatever form those waters my look like). It’s this process of just learning to be who we are fully and unapologetically, but grounded.
I know for me, it’s taken a long time but I’ve found this new place inside of me that’s just really steady and really happy to be exactly who I am. It has taken a lot to get here and this song has played a very important role in that process because it unlocked real and honest feelings I didn’t allow myself to have before. It’s really opened up my heart to allow myself to just feel how I feel in life and let myself be. I feel a greater sense of confidence in who I am, that I can really trust myself and that I can better connect with others as a result. My hope for the song, is that it would allow people a chance to check in about how they really feel in their own lives. And that this process of learning to connect with themselves and with others more fully, would be completely transformational.
Lastly, The Recording
I’ve been a little protective of this song because it’s just so different than anything I had previously written before and I was worried if people would be expecting a country song from me (and it is definitely not country in genre). And I was also worried about people thinking I’d flown off the handle emotionally and spiritually or something, since the song is emotionally darker (and has religious undertones, though these images are meant symbolically and are meant to transcend any one religion). Too much thinking. Time for me to just create and share, and forget about the rest. It’s a nice feeling to let all that go.
Since musicians in this town never get the credit they deserve for their amazing work, I wanted to take a moment to mention the band who played on this track. These incredible folks seriously know how to make the music happen. We recorded at my favorite “go to” Nashville spot, Beaird Music Group, and I’m really proud of what they accomplished. A little side note that my music student, Anna Wellander, sang all the harmonies. I was so proud of her first time professionally singing back up in the studio, she was a total pro!
Drums- Evan Hutchings
Guitar- Larry Beaird
Bass Guitar- Eli Beaird
Electric- JT Corenflos
Steel- Scotty Sanders
Keys- David Dorn
Back Up Vocals- Anna Wellander
Recording Engineer- Jim DeBlanc
Vocal Engineer- Craig Headen
Mixing Engineer- David Buchanan
And That’s a Wrap!
To close… just a message of love: that purely and truly, you’re enough. Be the person you are, love that person and share that beautiful person fully. I hope you enjoy the song!
Hugs and love,