Only a Mountain
There’s a reason it’s the title track. It’s the message I want to carry. Above all else, you just gotta have faith. There’s no problem too big for God to tackle. Now as we’ve been touring for a while and playing it live, a lot of people have come up to me at concerts to just tell me their stories about how the song helped them. I was at a show about a month ago and this guy came up to me and said he was a drug addict, and he’d been clean for six days because of this song. You don’t expect something like that. You’re not ready for that. Seeing his family there – it made me cry. God can really move in people’s lives through songs, really use them to minister to people and to encourage them and to give them hope and to change the course of their life. That’s what music can do. And I’m thankful to be a part of it.
It’s a declaration of faith. I think along my journey there have been a lot of moments that I’ve felt really close to God, and times I’ve felt far away. But when I start weighing the options and considering, “What is my faith? What if this isn’t real? What if?” – every time I start doubting, I always come back to, this is the truth. This is what I believe. I don’t get what’s going on here, but God does, and He has a bigger plan. That’s where I find my hope. This was one of the first songs that I wrote and got excited about for this album. I felt like just getting it out. And it’s my wife’s favorite song.
If It’s Love
This was the very last song we wrote for this record. We were literally starting to record and I’d been writing for months, and I was like, “You know what? I don’t want to try to write something that I think people want to hear. I just want to write from my heart.” This song is inspired by the lifestyle of a touring musician, and the demands of it – travel, late nights, all that stuff. It can really take a toll on a relationship if you’re not careful. Like the song says, there are nights where it doesn’t end well at home, and you have a 5 a.m. flight. It’s tough. But no matter what the days bring, or how tired you are, you have to make the choice to love. And just like Jesus, you give it your all, even when you’re at your end. Fight for love. It’s worth it.
I really wanted my album to be universal for people. I really wanted it to be something anybody can pick up and find inspiration, and hopefully truth. This song was purposefully written in that way. As a Christian or a believer, I think people will very much relate to it as the experience of that first time you really meet God. Even if you’ve heard the story all your life, there’s that moment when everything starts to change and you start to see everything for what it is, and who God really is – the fact that he’s been there all along and he’s just waiting for you. He never gives up. He’s just always right there, waiting for us to turn around.
Stay This Way
This is one of my favorite live songs at the moment. This album is a step up musically for me, as far as the weight of the music – it’s not just acoustic guitars – and “Stay This Way” is some killer intense singing for me. It’s also the most relevant one to me lyrically. You know, in the last couple years I think I realized for the first time that I’d grown up accustomed to some things being the way they were, thinking that I can’t outrun my last mistake, and I’m just stuck here. I always believed in God, I knew He was good – I thought I was just messed up. I didn’t understand what people meant by freedom in Christ. I never felt free – I always felt like a slave to my sin. It wasn’t until these last few years that I got into my first real Biblical community. And as I started to share my life with others and we studied God’s word together, I really discovered freedom for the first time. And so that’s been a big part of my journey these last few years, and one of the highlights.
Same Kind of Broken (feat. Moriah Peters)
Most songs are inspired by something that’s happened to me, or drawing on my experiences. This song is the first song I’ve written that was really inspired by my immediate surroundings. I was writing with someone I hadn’t met before in Nashville. She lives in a really cool place, really new and urban. But you look out the window, and there’s government housing all around. She said that she chose to live there because she loves looking out the window and seeing people that are different from her – but we’re all the same. That’s really where the title came from: We’re the same kind of broken. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you get to in life – at the core of it all, we all have the same needs and desire for love and for a savior and for acceptance. I chose to duet with Moriah Peters because when I heard her sing, I thought she sounded real. And having a female voice in the mix adds a universal element to the song. This isn’t a guy thing, this isn’t a girl thing, this is all of us.
I was doing an event here in Dallas to raise money to build the first Safe House in Texas, to help victims of sex trafficking. This topic was something I was not really aware of, in my state, in my city, and it was just a really moving night. And at the end of the night, the lady who started this organization said in passing, “You should write a song for these girls who come to the safe house.” And that stuck with me. I started exploring the idea one day, and it turned into this song. It’s not so much a song to the girls, because I didn’t know what to say. But I did know that I could talk to the people out there who can help, and so it’s really just a call to awareness and action.
This is the most rockin’ one of the crew, and it ties really close to “Stay This Way.” The heart of this song is the idea of running away to something new. Being a runaway doesn’t usually have a positive connotation, but I find it positive. I think that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to be different, to run away from the sleazy things of this world and run to Christ. Run to the light. This song is very much an anthem for me. This is an invitation to run away, and you don’t do that on your own. You’re joining a group of us, a long line of saints that have come before you. And I just think there’s power in that, in knowing that you’re not alone. One of my favorite moments is when everyone is singing in unison, when we all, with one voice, declare that we’re runaways.
Enough is a song to my daughter. When I started this album, she’d just been born, and everybody was like, “Oh, you must be so inspired! Have you written any songs to her?” And at the time, I hadn’t, because I wasn’t getting a whole lot of sleep. So as I started writing, it was always in my mind – I need to write a song for my daughter! And that was a big task! This song has to be great. It has to be perfect. The heart behind it was, if I could tell my daughter one thing, what do I want her to know? And that’s really when it came to “Enough.” I want her to know that she’s enough. That she never has to try to be somebody she’s not. I’m always gonna love her, because she’s my daughter.
Rise To You
This song is very much drawing from my past, remembering a moment when I was in a time of need, when I was down and trying to find some hope. Those times come and go, and I had to wrestle with this song. I liked it, but I wasn’t sure if it was an album contender, and I didn’t have a deep connection to it. But I kept getting overwhelming response from people, because I guess it was speaking to them. And it’s funny – you don’t think of your own music speaking to you, but it’s a song that has been really encouraging to me recently. It has brought amazing hope to me, and that’s something I never expected. It’s kind of weird. I wrote something to encourage people, and it ended up coming back to me.
I think this song is kind of a bridge between my last album and my new album. The first album was based on acoustic love songs, and my new album is a much more wide-open version of me. But I love songs like this. “Good Love” was inspired by the great times in my life over the last year. There have been moments when I’m sitting on the couch and I just can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m just in awe. How did I get here? How has God been so good to me? This song is a celebration of where I’m at, and a celebration of my relationship with my wife. It’s just a good old-fashioned love song.