Hey, everybody! This is Sam. The last year and a half has brought a lot of changes for me, and I’m happy to say that one of those is a new CD! It’s called, “Holy is He: My Psalms, My Hymns, My Spiritual Songs.”
Some of the songs I’ve had for a while and have been looking forward to sharing with you, and some were written over this last year in the little bungalow where I lived at camp this last year, up on top of the highest mountain around in this part of Eastern Kentucky. A couple of the songs are old Hymns that mean a lot to me: “When I Survey,” and “Day By Day,” a hymn that has been especially helpful during this season of life which has had so much transition.
It was about a year and a half ago now that I made the move from Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville, to Beattyville, KY. My parents are both from Beattyville originally, my Dad’s parents are still there, and my Mom’s parents were missionaries from California to this part of Kentucky. My Grandpa was the director of Kentucky Mountain Mission (KMM) for years and a local pastor. KMM runs Youth Haven Bible Camp, the camp I grew up going to as a kid. I grew up working there and, since I started college, there’s only been one year that I wasn’t able to make it to work at least some of the summer. That was the summer I had the honor of being the interim Pastor at my church in Franklin, so I had a good excuse!
After the release of my first CD, “Sometimes This Road,” I was really seeking how the Lord would want me to do ministry. My mentor, Michael Card, had encouraged me to think outside of the box. I began to have the idea of being based at camp, at KMM, being able to be involved locally as one of the missionaries there, and still travelling to speak and sing. I could use those travelling times to also tell folks about the work there in Kentucky- of the need and what God is doing! When pastor and missionary friends started suggesting the very same thing, well, let’s just say I didn’t want to miss the way God seemed to be leading! So, here I am, a missionary intern with KMM! One of the songs on the new album is called, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and it talks about life here in the hills of Kentucky. It talks of the natural beauty that surrounds us but also of the abundant evidence that we live in a fallen world that is desperately in need of the Savior’s touch.
Making the CD was a blast! My buddy, Keith Compton, engineered and we had such a great time! Mike Card took a couple of hours out of a very busy writing schedule for his upcoming devotional commentary on Mark (I can’t wait to read this!) to come in and sing on a couple of songs and lend his signature piano style to one as well. One of my favorite singer-songwriters (and favorite people to talk and hang out with!) Ron Block, came in and played banjo on the opening track. Ron is well known for being the guitar and banjo player for “Alison Krauss and Union Station,” and his album “Doorway” is one of my all time favorites! My friends John Nehlig played drums and percussion, Brian Shind played bass, and Michael Smith played piano. My friends Elizabeth, Sharon, and Laura Spencer came down from New York with their folks and sang background vocals and played violin/fiddle, cello, and viola. My buddy Eric Hufford co-produced and and co-engineered the song “Pierced,” on which he sings background vocals and played percussion and lead guitar. He actually helped me write the song, along with Jessica Campbell. I am especially excited to share this song with you because of it’s message about the cross!
One of the things that most pleases me about the album is that the title track, “Holy is He,” was co-written with RJ Bercume, a teen who works at camp and attends the youth group where I lead worship on Wednesday nights. As I considered moving to Kentucky, RJ was one of the youth that God specifically laid on my heart. I guess you could say he was my “man from Macedonia!” (Acts 16:6-10) So, it means a lot to me to have a song on the album that is a product of discipleship. R.J. is a senior this year, and I would appreciate your prayers for his continued growth and for God’s clear direction in his life. Thanks!
The song, “My Friend Without End,” was written to go along with the theme of “rescue” for our summer camps, and, thank the Lord, went over well as a worship song. I am so very excited to be able to share it with you! And, of course, for those of you who have heard it, I had to put “Changing My Relationship Status (The Facebook Song)” on the album or the teens and kids from camp were going to lench me! Ha, ha!
The album closes with a lullaby. (Hey, my mentor IS Mike Card, and he’s the king of lullabies! For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, check out his album, “Sleep Sound in Jesus.” It’s excellent!) I hope that the song will be a reminder that God longs for relationship with us. He knows that this is what we need most of all, He is what we need most of all. At the end of the day, that’s what Christianity is about- relationship with the glorious, almighty God! This mighty warrior is the One who tenderly sings over us!
So, I am excited about the changes that the Lord has brought into my life over the last year and a half, the ministry opportunities that He has arranged (Eph. 2:10), and I am so thankful to be able to offer these songs to you! I hope, as Mike Card says, that they will be water to wash your feet with. (John 13: 1-17) It is my prayer that you will find them good travelling songs on your journey and that they will help you live out and experience Colossians 1:16:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)