Last week I had the pleasure of joining one of my seminary professors and heroes, Steve Brown, in his studio to record a Steve Brown Etc podcast for the upcoming Grace Party that Steve's Ministry, Key Life, will be throwing later this month in Orlando, FL. I shared a couple of songs while Charlie and Ruth Jones, and Buddy Greene, also joined the conversation. It was a lot of fun!
Something that was especially meaningful to me to was sharing "Only The Sinner," a song that was inspired by Steve's teaching about God's grace. You can hear the podcast here or click on the image above.
Last year I wrote a guest blog for Key Life about "Only The Sinner" and you can read the story and listen to the song here.
If you're in Orlando the weekend of May 20th, please join us at Willow Creek Church for Key Life's Grace Party. It's going to be a blast. Details here.
In July, for the 10th year in a row, I played the Summit Ministries conference in Tennessee- joining a few hundred folks in ten nights of 35 minute liturgy and hymn sessions! It was a blast and is an event I look forward to each year.
July was also the month we released The Birds Their Carols Raise, a new album of hymns. The process of making this album on my own was so challenging and exhilarating that I have already begun to dream about a second hymns album. I'll keep you posted on that.
The months of September- November are always full of opportunities to share music and this year has been no different. Over the past few weeks I've played the songs of The Birds Their Carols Raise and Count The Stars for audiences at Christ Church Intown in Jacksonville, FL, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Saint Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Titusville, FL, Wycliffe Bible Translators in Franklin, NC, Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, FL, Clergy Conference for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida in Oviedo, FL. I never grow tired of the excitement and energy that comes from playing live music in a room full of people!
My role at Saint Luke's involves heading up our weekly 6pm Eucharist (pictured above) along with other pastoral duties. It's also a role that encourages me to continue writing, recording, and touring, for which I am very grateful. If you're ever in Orlando for the weekend please come see us. More information about the service can be found here.
It's that time of year (almost!). As we round the corner of November we will celebrate the first anniversary of The Holly & The Ivy, my Christmas album! You can stream this album online or download it at iTunes/Bandcamp.
Y'all, thanks so much for supporting my music! I hope to see you at an event this Winter or Spring. And please continue to write and say hello. I love hearing from you and do my best to respond to each note.
If you're interested in checking out the new hymns album, you can stream it for a limited time at Relevant Magazine's The Drop! More about the album...
About "The Birds Their Carols Raise"
An album of hymns from singer-songwriter Josh Bales
I've wanted to make a hymns album for years. Hymns are the songs I sing when I'm leading worship at my local church, or on the road. I love their poetry. I love their history. I love their theology. I love their ability to take a thousand different voices in a room and make them one. They are common songs for a common faith, and that's a REALLY. GOOD. THING.
This Is My Father's Worldand Fairest Lord Jesus both ask me to read the day's pessimistic headlines only after I've engaged nature and been reminded by it that,
though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
who makes the woeful heart to sing.Be Thou My Vision asks me to consider the way Orthodox Christians talk about salvation- a life long process of God cleaning the lens of my heart so that I can see him, the world, myself, and others aright.
I first heard The King Of Love My Shepherd Is on a choral album from John Rutter and The Cambridge Singers. I'm brought to tears each time I sing,
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
but yet in love He sought me,
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.
And of all the destructive ways and places that I seek to hide from life's storms, Rock Of Ages offers me the hope that God, in Christ, is my ultimate refuge.
Holy, Holy, Holy! helps me sing the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, and transports me into the heavens where, with all the saints and angels, I join in the song of Isaiah, Revelation, and the Church's early Eucharistic prayer (did you hear the Sanctus at the end of the track?).
In Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, I proclaim that God's provision for me- a weary pilgrim- will be enough.
I also wanted to update the recordings of several original songs that I consider to be the brothers and sisters of hymns- at least that’s how I intended I Need You, The Pilgrim Song, Come to Me, and A Hymn For All The World. Thanks for supporting my music all these years. I hope "The Birds Their Carols Raise" will be the first of a few projects focused on the songs of the Church!
You can get a free download of my song Only The Sinner at Steve Brown's website and blog: Key Life Network. This song is very dear to my heart and was inspired by years of listening to Steve's teaching on God's scandalous grace.
It was a magnificent treat to get to say "thanks" publicly to Steve for the way his life's work has impacted me.
If you've never checked out a book by Steve, or heard him speak, you are missing out on one man's enormous gift. Read the story behind Only The Sinner, listen to the song, and download it here.
Have you seen the behind the scenes footage from the making of the Count The Stars EP? It's a brief taste of what it was like to rehearse, dialogue, record, and just be creative with a wonderful team of folks in Nashville. Glad to still be touring this CD, sharing the songs with fresh ears all around the country. Check it out.
"The Holly & The Ivy" is a new Christmas album from singer-songwriter Josh Bales. "I wanted to make a Christmas album that captured the longing of Advent and the hope of Christmastide," Josh said. "I recorded most of the album in my home, and in my counseling office.
As a part time mental health therapist, it was very meaningful to sing the lyrics "He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found..." in a place where the waiting of Advent is often felt more than the joy of Christmas. So these songs reflect that mixed spirit of longing and hope. I think that's what Christmas probably SHOULD feel like in a broken world." This is Josh's first Christmas project, and it comes on the heels of "Count The Stars," a collection of songs he released in 2013 with multi-award winning producers Ed and Scott Cash.
You can stream the new Christmas album at RELEVANT MAGAZINE's THE DROP by clicking below. THE DROP features all kinds of other great artists and albums to stream as well. Thanks RELEVANT!