BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#788 - "You Hold it All Together" by All Sons & Daughters
Leslie Jordan talks about the collaborative approach to this comforting song and All Sons & Daughters' new album 'Poets and Saints.'
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #788 -
Posted: January 17, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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The entire 2014 self-titled album by All Sons & Daughters feels seamless and intentional. The album includes standout recordings like the hauntingly accessible "Christ Be All around Me," "You Will Remain" and the lose yourself-in-the-moment singability of "Great Are You Lord." It was my 2014 Worship Album of the Year.

All Sons & Daughters' follow-up album Poets & Saints is one of my Top 10 Worship Albums of 2016. Lead single "I Surrender" beautifully sets the tone with Leslie's and David's distinctive and emotive vocals. I'm really engaged by the deep, prayerful and vertical lyrics throughout this album, with every song inspired by poets and saints including C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, John Newton, St. Patrick, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Augustine. If you like All Sons & Daughters' previous hit songs of worship, then you'll also enjoy this album. I had the chance to speak with Leslie Jordan about "You Hold it All Together."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

This song came together as we were sitting with our good friend Sandra McCracken. We were talking about our stories and where we were in life, and she had this lyric, which is the first line of the song: "it feels like an ocean of sorrow is under my skin." She was having a conversation with a friend, and her friend responded with "yes, but even the ocean eventually meets with the sand." We were sitting there and thought that sounded like a song. 

We started writing and the words came really quickly. As we were talking about the direction of the song, we thought that there is a beauty to tying in Scripture to our own situations, and we based the chorus of the song on Psalm 118:14.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 118:14 (NKJV): "The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."

Isaiah 12:2 (ESV): "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation."

Psalm 59:16-17 (Voice): "But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy Because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength--for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy."

Psalm 124:8 (VOICE): "Our help has come in the name of the Eternal, the Maker of heaven and earth!" 

Colossians 1:15-18 (NIV): "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy."

What is the takeaway message?

This record started out more community-driven than anything we've ever done before. We took a trip to Europe together last summer as a group to study these poets and saints. It began in community. We had 13 people together on a bus, and we studied the lives of these people and made a small group curriculum along with the songs. Our hope and intent is for people to experience these stories in community with their families and small groups. In the writing process, we pulled in the writings of these poets and saints. It feels like a gathering on this project. It had focus and attention. 

This song started in one place, and we ended up bringing Saint Patrick into the story of the song. Looking at his story and the parallels of this song, the whole bridge comes out of his profession. It's an adaptation of his journal entry. This was a very collaborative project, and the tour is a collaboration with us, Sandra and our Pastor, Jamie George. It feels very much like home. 

The small group curriculum that accompanies this album is a seven days a week study to help us daily, and the intention is to not give people something to do every day, but to meditate, process and read. The material is hopefully digging a deeper well and pouring truth in more consistently with Scripture, prayer and an in-depth story of the poets and saints. It's interesting to see how familiar these stories of these poets and saints are to our own stories. I think that's the major takeaway for us. In the culture we live in, the culture to produce and be successful, the beauty of what these people did was live in the present moment, teach us how to receive God's love in a pure way and love one another.

Lyrics:
It feels like an ocean of sorrow is under my skin
Even the ocean eventually meets with the sand
Sorrow on sorrow, I'm waiting
Heavy I'm anticipating
Trusting the current, will carry me
You are my strength
You are my song
You are my salvation
You hold it all together
You hold it all together
We come with great expectations, and fears in our hearts
Send us Your light, as we're making our way through the dark
All of the earlier troubles
Chaos and pain they unravel
Looking ahead we rejoice in You
You are my strength
You are my song
You are my salvation
You hold it all together
You hold it all together
Like a stone, in the wasteland
I was useless, until You
Lifted high, in Your mercy
Out of sorrow and made new
Oh this mind, it can't measure
All Your favors in this world
So we shout in adoration
Holy, holy are You Lord
You are my strength
You are my song
You are my salvation
You hold it all together
You hold it all together
You hold it all together


If you feel like many worship albums sound the same and you want to experience a fresh, deep, introspective and completely worshipful album, look no further than Poets & Saints. The standout songs are "Path of Sorrow," "My Roving Heart," "This My Inheritance," "Rest in You," "You Hold it All Together" and "I Surrender," which has quickly become one of my all-time favorite worship songs. The soothing musical feel is just one of the many attractions to savor in this ambient and introspective worship album. I'm drawn to all of the songs' sincerity, gorgeous musical beds and the profound songwriting. More than just a collection of great songs, this album is a deeply meaningful worship experience unlike any other I've heard this year.

The phrase "sing a new song" is found a few times in the Psalms, and I love this translation of Psalm 33:3: " Sing to Him a new song; play each the best way you can, and don't be afraid to be bold with your joyful feelings" (Voice). That type of biblical exhortation is exactly what All Sons & Daughters is doing with this wonderful new song of worship to the Lord. One of the key messages found in this song and album is to not have your joy be based on your circumstances. If you don't know how to word your prayers of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for you, just sing along with this incredible song of faith. It's okay to not be okay and bring your thoughts to the Lord no matter what you are thinking. 

This song is a great example of Church unity. It was written based on a Scripture and prayer that any follower of Jesus can read and say yes and amen to every word. It was a collaboration of worship leaders each breathing their breath into what God was telling them and in turn sharing these profound and true words with each of us to share with others. Like David's prayers and songs captured in the Psalms, when you allow those words to sink in, they change how you think. David and Leslie write and sing their breath, given to them by God, into anointed new songs for the church. You'll be blessed by this powerful song which is a stand-out anthem with a convicting declaration: "You are my strength, You are my song, You are my salvation, You hold it all together." 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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