If you haven’t heard, I released a song called “The Last Time I Was Home” and it’s the first song in a collection of music I’m calling Songs from a Sketchbook. You can listen to that song here and read more about Songs from a Sketchbook here.
Now that you’ve done those two things, I’d love to tell you a little about this song and what inspired me to write it…
First of all, I need to say that seeing “The Other Side” become the most popular song off the City Lights EP was like hearing it was okay to be myself.
That record was so much about learning how to write songs that could be sent to radio and while I’m proud of what I wrote and love how the production on that EP turned out, “The Other Side” was something I wrote when the record was practically finished and I was no longer thinking about how-to-become-a-radio-hit-writing-machine.
It was a scary song for me to write and it was even scarier to release.
It’s all about not being good enough.
It’s all about persistence for the sake of persistence.
Now more than ever, that’s true.
It’s persistence backed by no label. Persistence backed by no manager. Persistence backed by no booking agent. Persistence backed by no other band mates.
Wait, why do I do this again?
That’s what I’ve been asking myself a lot lately.
But when I look at a song like “The Other Side”, I know exactly why I love songwriting. It allows me to embrace my humanity, and in doing so, heal and grow and move forward and then connect with people in the middle of the same process.
I want to write more scary songs.
I need to write more scary songs.
Which leads me to “The Last Time I Was Home”…
I stopped going to church about 4 years ago, and I stopped going for all kinds of reasons.
Mainly, I decided I needed to see for myself where what man has created ends and God begins.
Because it all seems too human to me. How God works. What he expects of us. All the rules. The language. The culture.
It all seems twisted and manipulated to make life make more sense. To make God make more sense. But in doing so, it just makes God smaller. Even worse, it weakens our ability to experience freedom, to extend grace, and to love each other.
I understand churches can be different. I understand each person is different. But this has been my experience of most churches and most christians.
Believe me, I did not walk away easily. I grew up in it, I’ve studied it, I’ve argued it, I’ve exhausted it and now I want the real. I want the genuine. I want the truth.
Community is good. Freedom is good. Grace, mercy, love…
These are all things I value and want to experience and reflect. But I believe the structure that talks most about them is hindered by its own system.
All of that is to say, I’ve experienced real loss in walking away. It was home for me for a long time. It was a place of comfort and it was a place of identity.
This song is about what it has felt like to leave home.
It’s been difficult exiting a culture I was immersed in for so long, at such an impressionable time. It’s jarring. It’s part of me. For so long I thought myself separate from its fabric but the more time I spend away from it, the more I realize how threaded in I was.
Outside the church, l’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve experienced a lot of fresh perspective and my view of the world has grown. My view of who God might be has grown. But even more important than that, my love for other human beings has grown.
I’ve also seen that I need some kind of structure. Some kind of something to help focus me. Because I’m human and a wild one at that.
There’s a middle ground somewhere. There’s a community somewhere of people who aren’t numb, who pursue truth, who don’t try and rush other people to see the world the way they do and who look and act like love.
I’m definitely hopeful, but first I had to express this feeling. So I could move on.
Expressing these kinds of things is hard, but I also believe that writing and releasing this song has helped me take another positive step forward on whatever journey it is I’m currently on.
Being human is weird, am I right?
Here’s to being in process…