Today is the day!
After months and months of working; recording, mixing, filming, editing, and waiting... my record Gentle Man comes out in stores today.
So does the new music video for the title track. It's another one of my favorite songs on the new record and probably the song that people respond to the most when I sing it. It's about being a gentleman in a world where many old-fashioned values seem to have gone out of style.
What it has to say is important. At least it is to me.
Asking people to go buy our record or book or anything else has never been something that I've been comfortable doing. It's always been more my nature to let folks know about it, and provide the information and just let it go from there. But I feel different about this album, about this moment and this whole project in general. I want you to buy a copy. For yourself or for someone you love. For your Dad, or grandpa for Father's Day. Or just because you want to support something or someone you know, but don't know, but have been following their journey for a long time.
I personally am really, really proud of this CD. And would love for you to hear it. To experience the 14 stories that these songs tell, and the larger one that the album itself is part of.
Even more than that, I want you to hear what Ben Isaacs and Matt Johnson have made. Every song, every part, and every track is absolutely beautiful. They, and countless songwriters, musicians, engineers, and creators of all sorts have poured their hearts and souls into this record. Of which, I am just one of them.
When you work this hard on something that means so much to you, your prayer isn't so much that it might top the charts and sell a million copies, although of course, that would be nice too... but, what you really want is for people to hear it. To let what's-in-your-heart meet what's-in-theirs.
Since there aren't many, if any, actual record stores left anymore, what does "it came out in stores today" mean exactly? Well, it means it's available in the places that sell records. Walmart, Target, ... and of course, Cracker Barrel. Which seems like a strange place to sell music, but it turns out it isn't. Over the years, it's become one of the best places to buy records, at least ours. So run down and find a table at Cracker Barrel and tell your server, "Good morning. I'll have some eggs, bacon, a biscuit, and the new Rory CD please."
To tell you the truth, we have been celebrating this whole week. I have sold-out shows at the farm tonight and tomorrow. Last night, I did a bunch of the new songs at a live-streamed Muletown In The Round, and on Tuesday evening, we had an album-release party at Matt's 'Muletown Coffee" roasting house. Where everyone came dressed as 'gentlemen' and ladies. We listened to the album and ate wonderful food and toasted the moment. But mostly, a community full of friends put their arms around me and celebrated a milestone that almost didn't happen.
It's been more than five years since Joey's and my last album, "Hymns" came out, and honestly, I didn't think I would ever do any more recording. I really didn't think I had anything to say through song, that Joey and I hadn't already said. I wasn't even sure that I even had a musical 'voice' of my own.
I've also come to realize that maybe, just maybe, on that night twenty-plus years ago, when Joey was sitting in the audience at a songwriter's night I was playing at the Bluebird Cafe. When she heard or felt God say, "he is the one I've chosen for you...," he was saying something else too.
I have always been in-awe of the thought that somehow He knew in that moment, that one day I was going to be part of his plan for the world to discover the gift that Joey was. That I would play a part in getting her from that seat in the restaurant, to the spotlight that ultimately would shine on Joey and her sweet voice and story.
But now, all these years later, for the first time, I've come to realize that maybe, just maybe, what God was 'whispering' that night didn't stop there. That maybe he was also whispering something else to her. Saying "and I'm going to need your help Joey, to get him from the barstool he's sitting on right now, to the place where I want him to be. He thinks he's just a songwriter... but I have many more plans for him. Stories that he will live through and tell, one day even on his own.
It has never occurred to me until recently that I might too have something important to say with music. With my own voice on my own record. But thankfully, I see it now.
I'd like to thank Ben Isaacs and Matt Johnson today, for seeing that long before I did. For putting their hearts and souls into producing this record. And to everyone else who has worked on, played on or sang on these 14 songs. I'm honored. So honored to be part of this wonderful piece of magic with all of them.
So... if you're old-school, please go buy a copy. If you don't have a Cracker Barrel, stop by Walmart or Target or anywhere you know that sells CD's and ask them for a copy. Or if you'd like FedEx or USPS to do the driving, that's even easier. Amazon carries them HERE. And my brother-in-law Keith will ship you a signed copy HERE
If you're even more digital savvy and would rather have it on your phone or computer by the time you're done reading this blog. The Gaither folks put together a link with lots of options for downloading or streaming the new album HERE.
Ok, that's about it. Needless to say, it's a big big day here at our house. First off the new record came out this morning, and we are all SO excited. Secondly, though, it's Indiana's last day of school. So Papa is gonna be heading over to spend the morning with the kiddos, where there's gonna be some celebrating going on in the playground. There will be swimsuits and sprinklers, cupcakes, and an ice cream truck (shhh... they don't know about that one yet). But mostly, we are all just going to be celebrating this amazing life that God has given us.
Another beautiful day to be alive. To be with the ones we love. To celebrate all God has done and is doing in each of our lives. Blessings to you all today from the proud Papa of a little one who is gonna be a second-grader next year...
PS... the family in the new music video are our neighbors Tracy, Delaina, Chance, and Callie Thompson. They lived next door to my mother when she was alive, and they loved my mom, like she was their own.