“Stars in the Night”
(Jeff Owen) - “This song happened really fast. I was at home just noodling around and I sent this idea to Mike and Ruben, and Mike fired back and was like, ‘Look at these lyrics,’ and it was one of those text paragraphs that you have to scroll way down to get to the bottom. It was like the whole first verse and it was great! He and I sat down on his piano and came up with these lines around the idea of stars in the night. Old sailors had navigation only by stars. That's kind of like our walk as believers when the sky is the darkest, the stars always seem brighter and more stars appear to guide you to where you're going.”
“Iesu, Dulcis Memoria (feat. Audrey Assad)”
(Jeff Owen) - “This is a transition piece and it’s Audrey Assad singing in Latin: ‘Jesus the very thought of thee. Sweetness fills my breast. It’s sweeter by far thy face to see and in thy presence rest.’ That's the first verse and the second part of the last verse is what she sings too. She says, “Jesus, our only joy be thou as thou are prized wilt Jesus be thou our glory now and through eternity. Amen.’ It’s really cool.”
(Mike Donehey) - “When you say cathedrals typically your mind goes to old, beautiful, works of art, that were buildings for people to congregate and worship. And I said, ‘What if we did something very old and Latin mass sounding to communicate if that's even more than the beauty you see when you go into a cathedral, we have even more inside of us. His spirit lives there. So there’s just this juxtaposition of the old Latin song going into this very modern sound that brings you to the dwelling place is no longer a building, it’s inside of us.”
(Mike Donehey) - “Heaven’s Sound” is a praise song that we wanted the lyrics to be able to be sung by someone who’s doing really well and simultaneously by someone who’s really struggling. Sometimes praise songs can almost seem cruel to someone who’s in the throes of a struggle. They feel like, ‘Well I can't obtain that.’ And the beautiful thing about our faith is that we are redeemed people. That's why there's a little pre-chorus which says, “the strong, weak, come on. And let us join in heaven’s sound. And when we think of heaven’s sounds, sometimes you think angels; that's what will fill heaven, perfect, angels. But the thing that's going to fill up the sound of heaven is going to be a bunch of sinners who have been redeemed singing with great gratitude. Anyone can sing that.”
“We were writing it and we had a melody, and I started hunting through my journal and found this one phrase---‘joy takes temptation’s place’--- and it's repeated all through the song. When we realize that we are a cathedral, that we are a dwelling place, we also realize you need to fill a house with something. I think too many people of the faith, they think of temptation as something that just must be avoided. Instead of what they are keeping out of their house, they are not thinking about what they are putting in, and what they are filling their cathedral with. So this is really a prayer: ‘I just want the beauty of God, and the joy of God, and the glory of God to fill this cathedral and if it does that, it will push out the temptation.’ That's the prayer in that song.”
“I Need You, I Love You, I Want You”---(Mike Donehey) ‘This song came about when we had just written “No Man Is An Island,’ and then Jeff sat down and just started playing these chords on this piano and I just started singing those lines. I was thinking on that verse in Psalm 4 where it says, ‘You've put more joy in my heart than when there are wine and grain abound.’ And that's where that line---‘Your joy is better than wine’ comes from. Then I started arranging the lyrics of ‘I Need You, I Love You, I Want You.’ And I put them in that order because I feel like that's the continual realization we get from the love of God. At first it's just, ‘I need it. I am at the end of myself. I need you.’ And then as He comes and meets our need, we’re like, ‘I love you for that.’ And then as you start to fall in love with Him, it's like, Oh I want more of you!’ So it's just a continual snowball effect.”
“The Spark”---(Jason Jamison)
“It’s a worship driven song where we are talking about coming to God to find rest. When we were demoing these songs, I was listening through and one day I found myself in my house. My kids and wife were gone, which is a rare occurrence, and I found myself with my hands up in the air singing that song. It just kind of came out of nowhere and it just connected to me. It's definitely one of my favorites on the record. Sometime there's a certain song that hits you.”
(Mike Donehey) “It says: ‘You are where my soul finds rest. You are where I lay my head.’ We had those lyrics and I was in the shower. It was the middle of the tour. We had been away from our families, and we needed to finish these songs. I just kind of blurted out, ‘You are where I catch my breath.’ And I remember I just stopped and just started crying in the shower, just like, ‘That's it, that's it!” And you know that's one of my favorite lines of the whole record: ‘You are where I catch my breath, your grace lets me catch my breath’ – because it does.”
“Stay”---(Ruben Juarez) “We have a little drum box and some guitars. Brendon has an accordion and we were just cranking out song ideas and two of them ended up making it on the record. ‘Stay was one of them. ‘Stay’ is a song about marriage.
(Jason Jamison) “I had been going through something with someone close to me whose marriage was struggling, and my heart was aching over this situation. Then Jeff came to me, he was like, ‘Man there's a really good buddy of mine and he and his wife are splitting up. I just didn't see it. It came out of nowhere.’ It would just seem like every time we turned around, we were hearing about someone going through a divorce or adultery situation in a marriage. How does it get to that point? Marriage is a commitment to someone else and it’s not necessarily just a commitment to an emotion or to a feeling that can be fleeting. It can be gone and just one conversation can make your emotions change so quickly. And so just this idea that marriage is not just a commitment to emotion but it’s a commitment to a person and walking with them through all these different situations. So Mike started down this trail writing a song about marriage.”
“No Man is an Island”---(Jeff Owen) ‘Actually, I just had that line in my head for a long time: ‘No man is an island,’ and I was dwelling on that. What does that mean? It's like one of those cool lines that everybody knows.
(Mike Donehey) “Some of the time when we’d write we would lay down a groove and then record it and then we kind of write with the computer playing the music but at that time we all sat and Jason was playing a drum and Ruben was playing the guitar. I think I wasn’t playing anything – I was just singing and Brendon was playing accordion and Jeff was playing ukulele and we were just like grooving, happy. And we were like, ‘Look at us together. We are not islands either.’ I remember the line for me that really hit me was just, ‘I'm for you,’ which is something I think we need to learn to say more often because a lot of people that I know have never had anyone say that to them.”
“We Won’t Numb the Pain”---(Jeff Owen) “In a good way, it’s a musical fiasco. It's like strange noises coming at you from all angles. We started writing it on the bus and then we tried to write it again in another room. We had to write that song like five times I think until we got to a place where we were happy with it.”
(Mike Donehey) “The song actually came to me from an old, old poem I had written maybe eght years ago called ‘Anesthesia.’ I was sitting in an airport looking at people reading magazines, on their computers and a few people on their smart phones. It just hit me. I feel like, especially now, I just feel like we live distracted lives. You’ll just be talking to a friend and then in the middle of the conversation you are looking at the phone. I feel like I have seen it in my own life. There are times where I get hurt and then instead of dealing with the pain, dealing with the loss or the disappointment, I just run to entertainment and keep myself going and entertained and so that I am never actually able to deal with the emotions going on. I was reading an article about how children’s brains are being stunted in being able to handle conflict by the amount of electronic time that they have in front of them, and that you actually need to be bored sometimes. You need to just unplug and disconnect. So that's where I get that line: ‘We want the cure, not the medication.’ If I have a deep ache and a deep need I don't want to just like fill it with entertainment until I get over the hump. I want to deal with the loss.”
“Closer”---( Brendon Shirley) “This song started in the dressing room and this is another song that started a lot different musically than it ended up so to speak. It's pretty chilled. It's like an easy listening sort of song that you would listen to while driving through Kansas. And when we got into the studio it was just about to be left, left forever on the side of the road in Kansas and then Jason and our producer John revived the song with a double time beat. That was the first thing that brought it to a new ‘Closer.’ I got a little giddy and did some synth stuff and all around everybody just put in their magic and made it what it is.
(Mike Donehey) Lyrically this song is about just realizing that like the same spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives in us. It’s about realizing that wherever we are, we are close with God. A lot of times even though we feel like God is far away, we have to realize that He resides in us. There are certain things that make us afraid. The presence of God should help push those fears away. It should help clear them out.”
“All the Earth is Holy Ground”--- (Mike Donehey) “One of the last days in the studio I just sat down with the piano and I just felt this incompleteness in my head as far as what we were communicating with the idea of cathedrals. I really wanted one more song to explain that thought better---that we are the dwelling place. Particularly I just wanted to communicate, ‘Wherever I go, the kingdom comes with me.’ It’s just such a misunderstood concept in the church. People don't grasp the holiness of their everyday jobs. There's this division of, ‘Oh you work at a coffee shop. Well I work at a church.’ Or ‘Oh you are a lawyer, well I'm a worship leader.’ There are all these people who come in to church every Sunday and think the people up on stage, they are the real church and I'm just here filling the pew. Martin Luther, the great reformer, actually said, ‘The milkmaid has just as holy of a calling as the clergy.’ What would happen if people understood that? You need to be a lawyer, a reporter or whatever and you need to bring the spirit of God there. It’s almost like the secret op kind of thing where I just know that I'm the dwelling place. I'm a cathedral. I'm just going to bring the spirit of God with me wherever I go. I just really wanted to leave people with that thought as the record comes to a close. You have the sacred inside, so go.”