BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#663 - "The River" by Jordan Feliz
This new artist shares the theme of satisfaction in God's grace behind his hit new single.
 


Beloved, the debut project from newly signed Centricity artist Jordan Feliz, melds a 1970s vibe with contemporary pop elements, sticking to the essentials to create a sound emphasizing the vocals. The songs that result are pop tracks with a refreshing intentionality, a sound that may be surprising to listeners who have heard Feliz's earlier work in hard rock group A Current Affair.

This soulful ten song album was produced by Joshua Silverberg and Colby Wedgeworth, with the "Song Sessions" produced by Jared Fox. Feliz's fresh mainstream sound with Christian lyrics is already resonating with fans and radio everywhere, including the new single "The River," which sings "We're goin' down to the river/ down to the river / down to the river to pray. / Let's get washed by the water / washed by the water / and rise up in amazing grace." 

"I'm a big melody guy," Jordan has said, "and musically 'The River' is my own personal happy place. It's a great driving groove that just feels good to sing." I had the chance to speak with Jordan about "The River."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

The song came about and was co-written based on John 7:38. The song itself is an invitation to anyone who hears it. Whether they're stuck in pride and legalism, or wallowing down in the mess they've made of their lives, it's an invitation to take whatever we have and to run to Jesus. It's an invitation to go down in amazing grace and to rise up being made new.

For me and my wife Jamie, our testimony is that we lost our first pregnancy in a miscarriage before delivering our baby daughter Jolie just a few weeks ago. That was a huge writing influence for me on this album. Through that experience, God taught me that He is always there, and He is the true satisfaction that you may be trying to fill through someone or something else that has caused pain. He is the true satisfaction that can fill you.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

John 7:38 (NKJV): He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT): For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Revelation 21:4-5 (NKJV): And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

What is the takeaway message of the song and album?

The entire album is all about the fact that ultimately in our lives we can search for things to fill the voids in our hearts, and we all have hurts, we all have pain, and God is the only solution. Even though in our lives we can make things so difficult, it is very simple. God is the true satisfaction that can fill the voids in our lives. That's the message of this song and this album.

We named our baby daughter Jolie, which means "pretty" in French. My wife and I both have names that begin with the letter J. My wife picked her middle name, Bennett, and my last name Feliz means "happy." We found out that Bennett means "blessed," so our daughter's name means pretty, blessed and happy.

The title track "Beloved" was written for my little girl Jolie before she was born. In the process I thought, what is this world gonna tell her? Things like, "You're not skinny enough." Or "You're not pretty enough." So I wrote this song to let her know that no matter what, she is loved beyond her wildest dreams, not only by me, but by the Savior of the world. After actually laying my eyes on her, I learned a whole new respect for God's love for us, His children. That He feels the same way I feel about Jolie with every single one of you. That we are His Beloved.

Lyrics:
I know a place where we can go
To lay the troubles down eating your soul
I know a place where mercy flows
Take the stains make you whiter than snow
Like a tide, it is rising up deep inside a current that moves and makes you come alive
Living water that brings the dead to life, oh-oh-oh-oh

We're going down to the river
Down to the river, down to the river to pray
Let's get washed by the water
Washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace
Let's go down, down, down to the river (You will leave changed)
Let's go down, down, down to the river (Never the same)

I've seen it move in my own life
Took me from dusty roads into paradise
All of my dirt, all of my shame
Drowned in the streams that've made me born again
Like a tide, it is rising up deep inside a current that moves and makes you come alive
Living water that brings the dead to life, oh-oh-oh-oh

We're going down to the river
Down to the river, down to the river to pray
Let's get washed by the water
Washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace
Let's go down, down, down to the river (You will leave changed)
Let's go down, down, down to the river (Never the same)
Let's go down
Let's go down
Let's go down

We're going down to the river
Down to the river, down to the river to pray
Let's get washed by the water
Washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace
Let's go down, down, down to the river (You will leave changed)
Let's go down, down, down to the river (Never the same)
Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go down in amazing grace
Let's go down, down, down to the river
Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go down in amazing grace


The energy and infectious enthusiasm of the musical feel and celebratory message of this song causes me to worship along loudly "in Spirit and in Truth." The combination of the stellar vocals, up-tempo melody and NEEDTOBREATHE-like musical inflection really brings home this solid Gospel message. God's grace washes us clean in the River of His Holy Spirit, and we become a new creation in Christ. As we look at the fallen world around us, we all need to lift our eyes up to God and put all of our faith and hope in Him. For the saved In Christ, one day "God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying."

The chorus "We're going down to the river, down to the river to pray, let's get washed by the water, washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace" does an excellent job of explaining what grace is all about. My pastor uses the acronym "God's Riches At Christ's Expense" to define grace. The picture of God's grace being poured out like water is a beautiful and biblical image of the water and the blood that poured out of our Savior Jesus Christ when He hung on the Cross to provide God's riches to us at His own expense. That's when His love washed over us. When you've put all of your hope and trust in Jesus for your salvation, you can't help but want to celebrate that free gift of undeserved and unmerited favor from God.

The Christian walk is summed up poetically in the lyrics "I've seen it move in my own life, took me from dusty roads into paradise. All of my dirt, all of my shame, drowned in the streams that've made me born again." Dream big, live for God and know that He has great plans for you. It has been said that people remember songs longer than they remember sermons, and this is a truly edifying and uplifting offering of praise and adoration of our King, Jesus. Join with Jordan and sing the song of the redeemed: "Let's get washed by the water, washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace." Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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