Share the music of Dave and Jess Ray on NoiseTrade!

6 07 2009

We are happy to announce an easy new way to download and share the latest music from Dave and Jess Ray!  Using NoiseTrade you can either tell five friends about the album and get a free download, or pay whatever you think is appropriate for the music.  If you click “Tell 5 Friends” you’ll be asked to fill in five e-mail addresses of friends who would like to hear about the music and you’ll get a code for a free download. (And they will get an e-mail inviting them to do the same.) Or you can simply click “Pay What You Want” and pay anywhere from $1 to $25.  So check it out by using the widgets below and help us spread the love!


The Doorpost Songs on iTunes!

22 06 2009

Friends, I am happy to report that you can now find the new album, The Doorpost Songs: Next Generation on iTunes.  You can find it by searching for “The Doorpost Songs” or “Tallowood Kids” in the iTunes store, or you can just click on the link below:

Spread the word!  (I hear iTunes gifts are “in” these days!)


22 06 2009

The Doorpost Songs: Next Generation is finally here!  We had our release concert on Friday, June 12 at Tallowood with a full band backed by a choir of 100 kids.  The night was incredibly exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling for us.  It was wonderful to see the fruits of our labor over these last six months, and it was touching to see the kids sing these timeless truths with such enthusiasm!

The band was filled out by new and old friends.  Clint Milburn, the guitar player that I played with in Better Days Ahead, flew down from Nashville to be a part of the concert.  He was also heading out to Camp Tallowood the next day with us.  Seth Marcum, a new friend, also flew down to play bass.  He would be a part of the Camp band as well.  John Stanley, a new friend from Second Baptist who attended the band sessions in Nashville and actually played on one of the tracks, played drums, and Jeremy Good, a local musician, arranger, and producer played keys.  Finally, Lisa Pierre join us on background vocals.

We had a great rehearsal on Thursday with the band, which turned out to be an all-star cast.  They had all been listening to the music and had the songs down flat.  The only thing we had to do was put it together.  Having Lisa on BGVs was also a huge help, allowing us to pull off some of the more complex background vocal parts on the album.  The only question that remained was how the kids would sing on Friday night.

Just before 5:00 on Friday we finally gathered to soundcheck with the kids.  I was nervous about whether or not the kids would sing out and know the songs well, but those nerves were quickly put to rest.  They knew the songs cold, and sang their little hearts out.  There were multiple moments when I got choked up listening to them sing these words from Scripture.

Once we had soundchecked we dismissed the kids, put some finishing touches on our monitor mixes, and then grabbed a quick dinner.  (Regrettably I was only able to get a couple bites of my ice cream cookie sandwich!)  Before I knew it the clock struck 7:00 and we stepped on stage to begin the concert.  The lights dimmed and we played the opening video segment before launching into If God is For Us.  I tried to savor each moment, but they passed incredibly quickly.  Each song was met with enthusiastic response from the audience, for which the most credit must go to the kids.  Their energetic, enthusiastic singing carried the night.  In the blink of an eye we went from the first song all the way to Stand Firm, the final track.  The kids sang the final refrain, “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and after one last “trash can” ending, the night was completed.

It has been wonderful since then to receive feedback from kids and parents alike about how they are experiencing the new album.  I’ll try to share some of their stories in upcoming posts.  But for now it’s enough to say that I am both exhilarated and relieved to finally have the album out.  The CD release concert was a wonderful, memorable experience, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the media team (Gary Revis, Miguel Ortiz, Stefan Gerrard, Kyle Smith, Jonathan Lafferty); Alicia Music, the director of the kids choir; and, of course, the kids themselves.  We continue to pray that God would use this album to plant His truth in the lives of the next generation!

To the Manufacturer!

18 05 2009

It’s out of our hands! The Doorpost Songs: Next Generation has gone to the manufacturer and should return in plenty of time for our release concert on Friday, June 12. It’s a great feeling to finally send a project like this off to print. It’s been eight months since our first conversations about putting this project together, six months since I began writing songs, four months since we finished the band tracks, and almost two months since the kids laid down the choir tracks. But here we are, reaching the culmination of all the months of effort. I can’t wait to hold the final product and let people get a taste of what we’ve been working on.

It has also been a rewarding process spiritually, as we live with these songs, each one grounded in such important truths. Lately I’ve been thinking about one of the songs, called Shine Like the Dawn, which comes from Psalm 37. The text calls on us to delight ourselves in the Lord, promising that He will give us the desires of our hearts. Then the part that has been sticking with me:

Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
The justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

What a great image, that the justice of our cause may shine like the noonday sun. How often do we commit ourselves to causes so just that they shine in this way? I find myself often committed to much lesser causes, which mostly involve my own pleasure. I guess that’s why it’s so crucial to find our delight in the Lord, so that the desire of our hearts is simply Him. That is a desire that He is sure to grant! And when our delight is in Him, then our causes will truly be just, shining like the noonday sun!

Getting Close

19 04 2009

We’re getting closer to having the new Doorpost Songs record finished!  Scott sent us three more mixes over the weekend, bringing the total to 8 out of 10.  Next up in the process will be mastering, which takes place on May 1.  Then it’s off to the manufacturer so that we can have them in plenty of time for the June 12 release date.  We can’t wait to share this with all of you!

Kid Solos

15 04 2009

The final recording element for the Doorpost Songs has been completed!  On Thursday, April 9 I recorded three children singing solos for three different songs on the record.  Kayla Smith sang the introduction of a song called “Crucified with Christ,” Reyna Prameswari sang a chorus of “Seek Me,” and Ben Brown sang a verse of “Whatever You Do.”  They all did a fantastic job!

I continue to receive mixes from Scott as he has time to get things finalized.  Once I get a mix Jess and I will listen in several different mediums to get a feel for how the mix will sound in the types of places people will be hearing it: in the car, on the computer, through headphones.  Then if we have any tweaks to the fix we’ll fire off an e-mail to Scott and discuss them.  So far we’ve gone through five mixes, with five left to go.

We’re also working with Benji Peck, the artist that did the artwork for the Dave and Jess Ray record.  He is a great designer (check out some of his work here and here) and has agreed to work on this project as well.  We can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

Recording the Kids

30 03 2009

Well, we have finally reached the end of the recording process for the new Doorpost Songs record.  Last weekend our friend and producer Scott Williamson came down from Nashville to record our 25-voice kids choir for the album.  We set up risers for the kids in the Fireplace Room at the church, set up a makeshift studio for Scott just outside the door, threw up some microphones and went for it.

The kids did a great job.  I don’t know if they realized just how much energy it was going to take to sing the songs over and over until they were right, but (after a bit of mild grumbling) they got used to the process and thoroughly enjoyed it.  At the beginning of the first night I was talking to the kids about giving me lots of energy, and Grace Jones, a fourth-grader, raised her hand and said, “I’ve got five million shots of energy!”  At the end of the night, before the last song, I asked her how much she had left, and she responded, “One thousand, one hundred.”  Then, after the final take, I asked her if she had any energy left and she held up one finger and said dramatically, “One.  Just one.”

I had a blast conducting them (although my arms were quite tired at the end of Saturday from waving them all day) and was especially moved to hear them quoting the words of the songs from memory.  Since they were singing from memory, before each song I would review the words for them, asking them to give me each successive line of the song.  The words just flowed out of their mouths, and it was incredible to hear that they had already committed these great truths to memory.

Perhaps the most fun moment came at the very end of Saturday’s sesssion.  We had finished early – because they sang so well! – and had lunch together, and then as we waited for parents to come and pick up the kids we went back into the “studio” and Scott played a couple tunes for them.  They were incredibly excited to hear themselves, crowding around Scott’s little desk and dancing to the music.  After the first song, Scott started a second, but stopped it in the middle, saying “You get the idea,” which was greeted by a unison chorus of “Awwwwwwww!”

All in all it was a very rewarding weekend, and it was my privilege to be a part of it.  Thanks to all the kids who sang, and all the parents who helped!  Now we start mixing and mastering and before you know it the new Doorpost Songs album will be here!