Making an album is like having a baby. That’s what the writer of Everlasting God and Praise is Rising thinks.
“Nine months of prep. Very hard work right at the end when you have the baby. Then you have to actually look after the baby so that’s what I’m going to be doing for the next year.”
The baby in question is Brenton Brown’s first solo album 'God My Rock'. Recorded at the end of a year-long tour, the singer says the project is a “document” of what he’s been up to.
“I’m glad we’ve got it down even if it’s just for my Dad so he can hear what his son has been up to on the road.”
First Live Solo Album
Brenton admits the live recording has been a long time coming. His Kingsway debut 'Everlasting God' was released back in 2006 and he’s released two more studio albums since.
In his defense, Brenton argues that live albums require more time and effort than studio albums.
“The studio record you can do at your own pace but the live record is a bit like a 100m sprint. There are a lot of things you have to get right. The first record I ever sang on was a live record 'Come Now Is The Time' with Vineyard UK. It was very special. If you have the energy and wherewithal to do it then a live worship record makes a lot of sense. Studio records are a little bit like a recipe book and live records are like the actual meal.”
“I listen to live records all the time in my car and feel really drawn into God’s people and his presence. There’s something nice about it. I remember Matt Redman once told me there’s something about live records that has a special sauce in it and I think he’s right!”
What “special sauce” can listeners expect when they hit play on 'God My Rock'? The title track was written with long time friend and songwriting partner Paul Baloche.
“He was just round one night and we were talking about writing in the next few months. I said I’ve got this idea I’ve been thinking about just three words and three lines God my Rock God my rock God my rock. For some reason it struck me and I sang him a melody.”
“On top of the melody without even thinking he just sang straight from Psalm 61 ‘when my heart is overwhelmed I will look to you alone God my rock God my rock God my rock’. He used to do all those scripture memory records back in the day and he’s got all these verses inside of them so he literally quoted from Psalm 61. There’s also a psalm that has been very special to me over the years Psalm 73 which says...
My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever - NIV, Psalm 73: 26.
“He’s asked us to love him with all of our heart. It’s not always easy. Often I’m like ‘God I want to love you with all of my heart but I’m weak and I don’t always get it right’.”
“Then we get this promise from the psalmist, - even the strength of your heart can be a gift from God. It’s a wonderful promise. The second half of the chorus is ‘you are the joy of my life, you are my song in the night'. I’m very happy with that song, it’s filled with psalm references all the way through.”
But before you think Brenton’s expression and experience of his faith is superior to others, you may be interested to learn that even the worship leader’s mind can wander while singing to God.
“After about 45 minutes of intense worship I normally need to take a breather,” he admits.
“What we’ve found works a lot better than me telling jokes is us singing country songs. There are a couple of country tunes on the record. I grew up with my mum and dad listening to country songs and I hated it at the time. Now that I’ve gotten older I love it!”
“I took the opportunity to do 'I Saw The Light' on this record and then we do a very country version of 'Like The Angels'. We love it man, we can’t help it! It’s our guilty pleasure. There are worship bands out there whose secret passion is metal but ours is making country worship!”
'I'll never leave you or forsake you'
Whether the genre is country, rock or pop, there’s a clear message on the recording.
“In this world you will have trouble. That’s one of the promises Jesus made. It’s not one that we rejoice in or like to revisit in church very often but it is a promise of Jesus. Right next to that promise is take heart I’ll be with you I’ll never leave you or forsake you for I have overcome the world.”
“You don’t have to live very long on this planet to realise there’s trouble and hardship and it’s a world under judgment and is fallen but there’s this hope that in the middle of all that God is here and we don’t have to fear. He is more than enough and capable of carrying us through whatever we’re facing. His peace and joy will sustain you.”
“As we walk through valleys in our own lives – we lost our first child – we found that to be true that God is an ever present help in trouble.”
“There’s a song on the record called 'Word of God' and right at the end is the phrase ‘he will not fail us Word of God.’ That’s what we’ve found Jesus to be; the faithful Word of God. He’s everything he says he is, greater than our deepest need, the ground beneath our feet, his promises will not fail us now. That really is the message and the hope of this record.”
Read Eden.co.uk's review of God My Rock [Live] to see what we thought of the live album.
October 9th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes