in march of 2003, i released my first solo album entitled she must & shall go free. the title is an emphatic statement about the liberation and ultimate security of the people of god — the church — taken from the last line of a 175-year-old hymn written by william gadsby. she must & shall go free was an album born from questions. even after 10 years spent in churches and church culture, touring with the band my friends and i started in 1992 (caedmon's call), i still wondered if i had a particular role in the “church,” and if the “church” had a necessary role in culture. those questions not only led me to make my first album, but they also put me on a path as an artist that i am still navigating today.
a lot changes in 10 years. then again, a lot doesn't change. i'm so grateful for the fact that i can still sing and agree with every word of the 11 songs on my first album. but as i approached this 10 year anniversary i began to wonder what the album would have looked like if i were writing it today, exploring the relationships between the church, the culture and myself. i wondered about the observations, encouragements, criticisms and confessions i would discover if i asked these same questions 10 years later. what was initially nothing more than personal reminiscing and reflection quickly became the coordinates that led me to a new collection of songs — essentially a follow-up to my first album of 10 years ago.
the result is my new album — i was wrong, i'm sorry & i love you. i grew up hearing that these were the three things you must learn to say in order to sustain any relationship — be it a friendship, a marriage or a church community. the themes on the album include battling cynicism (“everything will change”), coming to terms with who god made you to be (“eye of the hurricane”), jesus' nearness to those who are disenfranchised (“closer than you think”), unity among the divisions of the church (“a place at your table”), the hard work of marriage (“the vow”) and god's great love (“lover part 3”). as the producer, engineer and nearly sole musician on the album made in my own home studio, it's easily the most confessional and autobiographical work of my career.
i was wrong, i'm sorry & i love you feels like a return to strength, a rest from running, and an encouraging start to what i hope to be 10 more years of “afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted,” starting, as always, with myself.