New Album

Still Stories

Kelley

May 6th, 2015

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Well, it’s almost time.  The masters and artwork have been sent to the manufacture and I should have my grubby little mitts on the new album in a couple of weeks – just in time for the launch on May 23.

So here’s the story behind this record.  I’m not a super religious person, but I consider myself to be quite spiritual –  I believe in God – more now than ever, and this is why.

I’m so completely grateful for the success of “Hallelujah” from my first album Tomorrow, and it’s not lost on me that I simply held the pen for that one; I do not take credit for writing these lyrics – they were given to me and I’m just so honored to have been the messenger for this song.

That being said, as a result of “Hallelujah”, people had begun to ask for a gospel CD from me.  I had given it thought for a while, but it wasn’t until I got seriously ill with Ulcerative Colitis and landed in the hospital for 9 weeks and got very close to meeting Himself up close that I decided to make this kind of a record IF I ever got home again.

I didn’t want to make a gospel album for the sake of making a gospel album to sell it.  That, to me, would feel like a lie.  I’m not a gospel artist – I’m a country girl all the way.  At least, that’s what I always thought.  So if I were going to do this, I wanted to make sure it was meaningful (selfishly, mostly meaningful for me) – it had to have reason and purpose for me and because of having come through being so sick, it does.

With that in mind, I chose songs that have meaning for me; I chose album covers that have meaning for me, I chose the location for the launch concert that has meaning for me, and I even chose a dress that has meaning for me.  And now I’d like to tell you about it.

ARTWORK:

All the artwork is by Sandi Komst from Out of Our Minds Gallery in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island.  I didn’t know her at the time, but went with my best not-from-PEI friend, Karin, to see her work because Karin (in Vancouver) saw her work and wanted to visit the gallery.  During that visit, I came to find out that Sandi had known my uncle Joseph decades before; she knew Joseph and his wife, Irene, when they all lived in Germany.  Crazy, huh.  Her artwork is stunning, and her work was the first choice for me for the covers.  Also because each cover has meaning.

Front:

The front is St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Belfast, PEI – this was the first place I sang after getting out of the hospital.  The congregation of that church is so special; hardly a week went by when I didn’t receive a card, a visitor or gifts from someone from that church.  One lovely lady brought in a giant basket with a ton of things in it; each one gifts wrapped in Christmas paper so that if I felt down, I could open a gift and that would make me feel better.  And it truly did.

I had been guest soloing at the church every now and then because my sister, Kim, is the organist at the church and had invited me and I knew that when I could, I wanted to sing my first song there.  Let me tell you, I got through the first line and that was it.  I lost it, and the next thing I knew, the entire congregation was crying!  It was incredibly emotional, and I’ll never forget that moment, nor anyone in that church.

Not only that, but during that first visit to Sandi’s, Karin bought this painting.  It’s just incredible, so I told Karin that she’d better will it to me!  A few years later, I married my one and only, and she brought the painting home and gave it to us as a wedding gift!

Liner Notes:

The inside cover with the liner notes is a painting that was called “Roses”.  Us kids bought that painting for Mom for her birthday, and when Sandi was framing it, she re-named it “Roses for Mom”.

Credits:

The opposite inside cover where the musician credits (AMAZING musicians!) are listed is a working board of Sandi’s.  When I asked her if I could use her work on the covers, she opened up her home and studio and let us (my mother, my step-daughter Savannah, and me) look through her all her work.  I was amazed and felt like I was allowed into the Louvre after closing!  Anyway, I saw this board and it was stunning.  The most beautiful colors and I admired it so much, and she gave it to me!  That image is also on the CD itself in full color and it’s beautiful.

Back Cover:

The back cover is a beautiful painting of St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown.  Just stunning.  And that picture of me in the bottom corner?  I’m wearing my wedding dress.  Fits better now than it did then!

SONGS:

There are 12 songs on the record and as I said before, I wanted to include songs that had specific meaning for me.  I did also include a couple of songs that I just love just because I love them.  Here goes.

O Beautiful Mother:  This song was sung at my parents wedding.  At their 50th wedding anniversary, my sister, Kim and I sang it at their celebration mass.

Put a Little Love in Your Heart:  One of the songs I just love and wanted to do because it makes me feel good.

Is it Me I’ve never kept it a secret that I struggled with alcoholism, but thank God, I’ve been sober for 14 years now.  This is about the way I felt when I was in the middle of it, and how I felt coming out the other side.

Heaven’s Bench:  This song about passing on and the comfort of knowing you’re not alone – someone’s waiting for you when your turn comes and that those left behind will be ok.

Highway Home:  This one’s inspired by the Christian Motorcycle Association.

Hang it on the Cross:  Everyone has fear/sing/troubles and either worry about their own, or for someone they love.  This song is about giving your pain over to God and letting Him handle it when you can’t handle it alone.

I Surrender All:  This is a big one.  When I was in the hospital, I finally figured out the fact that I am not in control and the more I tried to take it, the less I had.  I truly believe that once I realized that I couldn’t handle this mess on my own (my illness, being the hospital, the operations and recovery), and I gave it over to God for Him to take care of, I could concentrate on getting better and let Him worry about the rest. 

Put Your Hand in the Hand:  This is a great song written by Gene MacLellan – an incredible singer/songerwriter from my very own Prince Edward Island.  Check out the harmonica on this one!

Amazing Grace:  I was performing at a concert when I decided to not bother with the set list anymore and I asked the audience what they’d like to hear.  Someone yelled out “Amazing Grace”.  I had never sung this at a concert before, but when the lady asked, I said the rule was when someone made a request, the audience had to sing it with me.  Well, they did, and it was simply beautiful.  The next morning, a friend wrote to me that she had dreamt that I sang “Amazing Grace” to her father who had passed many years before.  That message prompted me to put this song on the record.

My Soul to Keep:  I was in the hospital for quite a while when a friend told me that I would write a song about my experience.  At the time, I thought to myself, “not a chance”.   It wasn’t until months later that this song pretty much wrote itself.  I remember being in that hospital bed and I vividly remember thinking – knowing – that if I had a billion dollars, it wouldn’t change a thing.  I’d still be in that bed, unable to get out of it.  Material things meant nothing.  I needed my husband, my sister, my brothers, my mom and dad, and my friends.  And there were there the whole time and with them and God, I got through it.

O Happy Day:  I just LOVE this song!  My sister teaches music and it was her suggestion to use the kids in her classes (Grades 5 & 6) to do back up and it was the best decision ever!  This song makes me so happy!

How Great Thou Art:  I first sang this song after I had been out of the hospital for 6 months or so, so I was well on my way to being all better.  I was asked to sing it at a funeral, and I was honored to do so.  What I didn’t bank on was that this song would come to hold so much meaning for me.  I mean, really; is there a simpler truth?  I started singing this at concerts and the reaction was incredible – everyone singing along and standing ovations and many questions like; “is this on your CD” and “are you putting this on a CD”?  While I’m so grateful that people wanted this on a CD, I recorded it for completely selfish reasons – every time I sing it, it gets me; very seldom do I finish it without choking up.  It’s just the truth; that’s all.

LOCATION:  The launch concert is being held at Trinity United Church – where I married Bruce, with his daughter Savannah, and where, incidentally, I was ½ hour late.

And those are the stories behind why I chose/wrote the songs on Still.  I hope some of these songs come to hold special meaning for you too.

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