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“At the moment of surrender

I’m falling to my knees

I did not notice the passers-by

And they did not notice me”
– U2


“Surrender” was an attempt at writing in the style of another band; a modified, low-budget

version, anyway. I’ve been a fan of the British rock band MUSE for almost ten years. Their style is

operatic in size, their songs are filled with gorgeous melodies and chord changes and they rock harder

than just about any major band on the planet. One of the original concepts for this project came to me

while watching a live Foo Fighters DVD and thinking, “This is the kind of music I like. Why can’t worship

music be like this?” So, from song to song, I can point out specific influences and styles that we were

shooting for, while still being as original and open-hearted as I could with the songwriting. I made this

record so I could listen to it and enjoy playing it live.


This song is also the first lead vocal appearance of the incomparable Dylan Brady, our guitarist

and my younger brother. As soon as I wrote this chorus, I knew his voice would be a perfect fit; that his

big, passionate, gut-punch vocals could wear the hook like a glove. After that, it was just a matter of

making the track huge enough to compliment his voice. His falsetto on the bridge is a highlight for me.


Surrender is a dirty word. Our human nature fights against it, and our strong will resists

obedience and subjugation. Surrender is synonymous with failure, weakness and the death of the

human spirit. We’re taught to “never give up” and “never quit” going after whatever we’re trying to

achieve. That’s not the surrender I’m talking about here. I mean the kind of surrender that recognizes

our need for Christ and admits we are lost without Him and the power of His sacrifice. This is the kind of

surrender that understands the world has nothing to offer us in comparison to what Christ freely gives:

forgiveness of sin, eternal life and a relationship with God. Surrender is saying, “I can’t do this life on my

own, and I’m exhausted from trying.” Maybe you’ve been avoiding God, and feelings of guilt,

unworthiness or anger are keeping you on the run. But you can’t outrun God’s love for you. That’s the

good news of the Gospel. The offer still stands, and He still wants a relationship with you. Is your fugitive

heart ready to be found?



Say the Word

“Did you say something?

I’m sorry, I apologize.”
– Phantom Planet


“Say the Word” was an attempt, on my part, to write a big, bright pop song about quietness and

listening for a word from God. I produced the track to be as clean and polished as our resources would

allow, and, for me, it’s a standout track on a record full of aggressive riff-rock anthems. Will created the

drum loop that opens and closes the track, I took several passes at the bass line to get the “feel” that I

wanted, and, as usual, Dylan’s guitar sound was the icing on the cake. I directed Lisa to sing the vocal as

if this were the single for the record; powerful and shiny. When her stacked harmonies come in on the

second chorus, I knew we had done something right!


Listening is a lost art. We can all tell when someone is actually listening to what we’re saying or

just waiting to respond. There are many ways that God wants to speak to us. First and foremost, He uses

His written Word. He can speak to us by the Holy Spirit that lives in all believers, like a spiritual prompt

or feeling that can gives us wisdom, instruction or comfort. Often, He speaks to us through external

means, such as circumstances, an encouragement from a friend or even a song.


We were created to be in a relationship with God. An ongoing dialog between Creator and

creation. Before we bring our praises, grievances and supplications before the throne, let’s remember to

stop and listen for what God has to say to us today. When we’re holding on for life for a word from Him,

our hearts, our spiritual ears, open to His instruction, He will say the word we need to hear



“Shadows are fallin’ and I’ve been here all day

It’s too hot to sleep and time is runnin’ away

Feel like my soul has turned into steel

I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal

There’s not even room enough to be anywhere

It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.”
– Bob Dylan


This song started with the drumbeat: gigantic, bombastic, jock-rock toms. I wanted the drums to

sound like warfare. I had the chords when we started, but Dylan hammered out the guitar riff

without too many suggestions from Will and me. As a modern worship leader, I am well aware

of the ubiquitous trend of “WHOA-OHH” choruses to fill in the middle part of worship songs

where lyrics used to be. However, it was unavoidable for this song. The lyrics are about unity

and glorifying God as one voice, and there’s just no better way to express that than with an easy-

to-sing refrain without any actual words to learn. Sue me. I had to take several passes at this

vocal to get the right attitude and energy, and I think we got it on the third session. Hey, you

can’t rush adequacy!


Man, it’s a dark world sometimes. I don’t just mean spiritually dark, as in “evil”, or “wicked”,

although there’s plenty of that all around us. I mean life can get so cluttered and filled up with

stuff that it’s difficult to function as a person. The arrows of distraction can be so numerous that

they blot out the sunlight of hope and purpose. The NOISE of the world can be so deafening that

we no longer hear the call to be distinct, separate and holy. And, maybe worst of all, we become

so accustomed to the noise that we begin to fear silence.


It’s almost a form of torture for me to take even the shortest of car trips without some kind of

music playing. And, if no music is available, I’m talking or singing as fast and furious as my

mind will allow. Anything to avoid a quiet moment. I crave entertainment and the constant buzz

of technology so much that a genuine, breathable, silent moment might be too much for me to

consume. But that’s where God waits for me. That’s where He waits for all of us. Why do we

fight it so hard?


We are called to be the light of the world, the city on a hill. How can we, when our minds are

preoccupied beehives of confusion, humming with distracted fury? We are not alone. And we are

called to connect, person-to- person, even in small, undocumented, un-photographed and

unfiltered moments that serve only to remind those around us: There is more to this world than

just darkness and noise. There is a God who loves you, and He is moving the universe to be with

you. Be the light in the dark. Let the light shine through the murky haze of hopeless distraction

and constant noise. And let it be love.


In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and

glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIV)


“Last of the men in hats hops off the coil

And a final scene unfolds inside

Deep in the rain of sparks behind his brow

Is a part replayed from a perfect day

Teaching her how to whistle like a boy

Love’s first blush”

– Elbow

Just Like Falling

For the second track on our record, I wanted to keep the energy up. I had the

basic song (chords, melody, and lyrics), but I hadn’t decided how to execute the

track. This is a good example of our production method:

  1. Dylan, Will and I would go into the studio, and I would play them the song on acoustic guitar.
  2. We would find the tempo, and I would record a demo, or “scratch”, version of the song to a click track.
  3. I would describe the attitude of the song to Will, citing various influences and suggesting beats.
  4. Will would create a drum part, based on our discussion, and record his tracks in about an hour.
  5. Dylan and I would have a similar discussion about the guitar part.
  6. Dylan would play several different versions, or “riffs”, of the chord progression until we found one that we liked.
  7. He would then record his various tracks in 30 minutes to an hour.
  8. I would show them the bass line I had in mind, and they would say “sure” or“meh”.

And so on… For most of these songs, the parts you’re hearing were

created and recorded within an hour of them hearing/learning the song. It’s a

very fast-paced way to track a record, but, since we were working one night a

week, it was the only way for us to get anything done. Fortunately, Dylan and Will

were up to the challenge, and it wouldn’t have gotten made without them and

their respective creative talents.


The vocal tracks that Pastor Lisa recorded required more time, as they are

the focus of the song. We went in four separate times, over a period of several

months, to re-record her lead part until we were both satisfied with the result. Her

lead vocal on this song, particularly the bridge, are definitely a highlight of the

record for me. Working with such talented, anointed, patient and flexible

musicians and vocalists on this project may have spoiled my producing career for

life, but I’ve never been happier with a finished product.


Lyrically, this song is about reigniting your first love. It’s about Jesus

calling us apart from the mess of the world to spend time alone with Him and

remember the feeling of meeting Him for the first time. I’ve often longed for the

zealous passion of my youth when I fell in love with Jesus and nothing else

mattered. But time marches on, life happens, stress and responsibility take the

place of youthful insouciance, and we can become weary and jaded.

Jesus still wants that relationship with us. Over time, we can grow deeper

with Him, find new understanding in His word and gain wisdom through

experience. The passion is still there, buried under the weight of the world with

which we surround ourselves. Listen to Jesus. He is calling you out.

“Come away with me…”



You Bring Me Life

“Love is the coal that makes this train roll.”
– The Black Keys


This record was a true labor of love that took more than a year of our lives to make, and even

longer to write. I will be using these blogs, over the coming weeks, to talk about the songwriting

process and production techniques for each track, as well as some of the larger spiritual and

philosophical themes this record explores. And I'll begin, appropriately, at the beginning…

You Bring Me Life

This is the oldest song on the record. I had written and recorded a demo of this song two years

before we started on Let It Be Love, and my youngest brother, Jordan Brady, had played

drums on that earlier version. It’s important to note that Jordan is a very different than Will

Vickery. Both are competent, inventive and dynamic musicians in their own right, but Jordan has

a much more aggressive approach to hard rock drumming. He’s incredibly fast, and has

tremendous punk, metal and math-rock chops. So, when I showed Jordan my idea for the song,

all those years ago, he went into the studio and created a drum part, in one take, that was pure,

thrashing, fast and furious perfection. Then the song sat there for two years.

When we started production on the record, I showed the demo to Will, and he loved it. But that

style of playing wasn’t necessarily in his wheelhouse. It was full of Tasmanian Devil drum fills,

quick stops, hammering the cymbals until they crack, etc. Will, God bless him, took the demo

home and rehearsed it until he’d learned it beat for beat. It was the only song on the record he

actually practiced before we recorded it.

I always wanted this song to start the record because I believe in setting a tone. If we’d started

with a more mellow, “easy listening” kind of song, and then the listener played this one, it would

be too jarring a switch. By opening with this track, we’re making a clear statement: this is a rock

record, adjust your attitude accordingly.

Lyrically, this song is about our need for God. He is our healer, our provider, our strength and

the very life in our bodies. Every breath in our lungs, every beat of our hearts, and every

morning we awake is a gift from Him alone. Each song on this record deals with an aspect of

our relationship with God, His love for us and our love for Him. And every song is addressed to

Him directly. As you listen to these tracks, let the songs speak to God from your own heart

about your love, longing and need for Him.

Thanks for reading this.



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