Eleventyseven: Good Spells EP
Normally when bands release albums, they hire a publicist to create a press release for them. That guy or gal gets paid to make the band sound like creative geniuses who somehow think more deeply about the world than you do, and to make their album sound like this mind altering journey through the depths of heartbreak that no one but them could have ever walked away from and lived to tell the tale. Those types of press releases are really fun to read, so I apologize in advance for this not being one of them.
Since day one of our musical career we’ve been asked by various management, labels, and even friends to talk about Jesus more in our music. We were told that we had to write more spiritual songs to have a career in the Christian music industry. I can’t even remember all the times I heard the phrase: “We really need that one song that pulls on the heartstrings of the soccer moms enough to make them go buy the album.” It didn’t take us long to realized that the point of a Christian music industry is to make money off of Christians, not to share a gospel that has always been free to all. For us to put the name of Jesus in a song just to make something marketable and profitable is blasphemy. It is to reduce the name of our Savior to a marketing point. There is nothing wrong with making money, and running a good business, but there is something wrong with us telling people the music we make in our own CCM bubble is somehow more acceptable to Christ than other kinds. Putting the name of Jesus in a song doesn’t make it “Christian”, or even good. We shied away from making overtly Christian flavored music because we didn’t want to treat the name of Jesus like a clearance sticker. We didn’t want to take something sacred to us, and use it for our own gain.
We have come to have no interest in being a part of “Christian” music, in being role models, or in building a following. It’s taken us a long time to learn that those things are kingdoms built to us, and built on shifting sands. What we love is making music, because the Lord gave us a passion to do that, and we hope to honor Him by pursuing that passion. We just want to be a part of Jesus, abiding in Him and following his lead. Anything of worth in our lives comes from Him, and Him alone. We never really fit into the subculture of Christian music, and maybe that was for the better. We know we are a little rough around the edges, unpolished, and unprepared in many ways. May Christ be glorified in our weakness; may He somehow be honored through this crappy music we make! We have learned that you don’t need Christian music, perfect theology, a clean reputation, awesome camps, huge festivals or even great teaching. You only need Jesus, and he usually shows up in a quiet whisper (not at 180 decibels). People don’t need another mind-numbingly regurgitated Christian ballad that sounds like the same thing they have been punching their ears with for the past decade. They need a reason to wake up every morning, a way to hold their marriage together, strength to keep a family running, and a way to not feel like they give away all their peace to every person or circumstance that they encounter. These songs remind us that Jesus is all of those things, and we hope they can do the same for you.
This EP contains 5 of our favorite hymns that we used to sing growing up in southern churches. Over time these hymns have come to resonate a Truth so powerful and so perfectly placed that we feel indebted to them. They remind us of all the times we were ready to quit, ready to give up, and ready to leave loved ones. They remind us that the Lord asks for mercy, not sacrifice. They remind us that our identity doesn’t come from our preferences or how strong our opinions and arguments are; it comes from Christ. He is greater than our ability to defend Him. He is perfected in our weaknesses and not in our strengths. Our music won’t change your life, make you a better person, or bring you any closer to Christ. Jesus will.
This has been longer than a normal press release, so congratulations if you’ve read this far. We can geek out and talk more about the album some other time. This all just seemed much more important to write about.
-Matt Langston (Eleventyseven).
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