Without a doubt Michael is The Thirsting’s best album to date. If you enjoyed Companions of the Lamb and Universal Youth, then you will LOVE Michael. That being said, let me share with you how the album came to be and a little about each song.
It was around June of 2017, that I contacted producer/engineer Justin Abel who ran a small and humble studio in Gresham, OR known as ToneLab. I knew I was ready to record this album, but was still searching for the right studio and the right engineer/co-producer for the album. After searching for studios in the Portland/Vancouver area, I was recommended Justin Abel by a fellow musician. So I called Justin up, and right away I had a sense that he and I were going to make an incredible album together. After checking out his studio and discussing drum tones (something we both loved to do!) I placed my deposit and we set a date to begin the recording: July 24th, 2017.
We began recording actually with the acoustic songs “Dreams” and “Alone” (in my opinion, these are 2 of the best songs I have ever written). These songs just flowed in the studio. Justin and I immediately connected musically and understood each other. More importantly though, Justin began to see my vision of making great Catholic music.
On the third day, we brought in Thirsting band member Alec Maier to play drums for the rock songs. Justin supplied a TRUTH drum kit that was out of this world and a dream to record. Meanwhile, Alec showed up with coffee and donuts and went to work! And boy did he ever! Alec Maier is one of the best drummers I have ever worked with and he is a delight to be around. He nailed all the songs in a little over 2 days!
After hammering out the drums, we then recorded all the electric guitars, bass and lead guitar parts. Thirsting lead guitarist, Wyatt Kane supplied the lead lines and local bass player, Eric Macias laid down the bass. Throughout all this, I supplied all the vocals along with Justin, who makes a vocal appearance on "Holy Angels."
The songs sounded amazing. They had a Green Day sound with delicacy and hope. They were simple yet complex in their lyrics. Forceful, yet gentle… Everything you want in a record. And best of all, as with past Thirsting albums, full of great hooks. After all the tracking and producing, I enlisted Justin to finalize the album by mixing it and sending it off for mastering.
Below is a short summary of each song.
Running - This is the first song on the album, and the one that kept me up at night the most. I had spent years producing this song in my mind but was never satisfied until I added a short pre-chorus and Justin added an elongated ending. This is a driving rock song that sets the tone and pace of the album. Lyrically it seems vague, yet from a Catholic point of view, very clear. God is running after each of our hearts.
Tonight - Lyrically and structurally, I think this is one of the strongest songs on the album. It is a true rock anthem. I wrote it in conjunction with my good friend Mike Jackson over many years. The intro lick at the beginning was his creation and I added the rest. This song ROCKS!
Michael - The title track of the album. Take the Ramones and Green Day and make them Catholic with devotion to St. Michael the Arch Angel, and you get "Michael!!!" This song is a serious spiritual warfare song. When I wrote it, I couldn’t believe the lyrics that came out of my mouth. Honestly it didn't even feel like I wrote the lyrics... they just came out of my mouth and made sense. You will see when you listen to it...
Ocean - I really wanted to re-record Ocean of Mercy, which had originally been recorded on Companions of the Lamb in 2008. So I did! Justin added some amazing ideas to it and we really modernized the song. I think you will enjoy this fresh new take on a Thirsting classic.
Alone - This song along with “Dreams” are the most touching songs to me personally. I am very vulnerable in this song. Lyrically, I think you will be able to relate with the pain and struggle that I was going through. I wrote it during a hard time in my life when my wife and I were living in California. At the time, I felt very far from my family in Washington. It’s a very simple acoustic song. We added strings to it and it took on a life greater than I could have ever imagined. I think everyone who listens to this song will be able to relate in someway.
Holy Angels - This was almost the title track for the album because it is SUCH A GOOD SONG!!! I wrote it while setting up for a school concert at Holy Angels, Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio back in the winter of 2014. The verses are based off of the mass. The song sounds a little like an older Cold Play song with Catholic Lyrics.
Doing Nothing - Punk meets Catholic reality.
Seamless - If I had to listen to one song over and over for the rest of my life it would be this one. Truly, this song could have been the title track of the album. It's a gem that I didn't expect. When we began recording the album, I thought it was the weakest song, but was blown away when I heard the final mix. The drums especially sound amazing. This song is a throwback to my 90’s roots. Imagine Tom Petty and R.E.M. get together and write a Catholic song. I LOVE this song... and I know you will to.
Dreams - This was one of the first songs that Justin and I recorded. I cried as I was singing the lyrics in the studio because I realized where I had gone and how God had rescued me. This song really summarizes the story behind Michael. I wrote this song in Florida back in December, of 2014 at Fort Walton beach in the middle of the winter. My wife had flown out with the kids to finish the tour with me and we were taking a few days off in a hotel over looking the Ocean. For some reason I grabbed my guitar as I looked out at the beach and this song wrote itself. Jesus spoke these words to my heart. I wanted my dreams to be his now.
This time - I wrote this song in my basement garage studio. Mike Jackson supplied some of the riffs and we knew we had a keeper.
One Faith - My good friend Jerry Usher (EWTN, Voaction Boom) invited us to be a part of the One Faith conference in St. Louis. He said he wanted a theme song. So I wrote him one and then realized it was awesome! A fitting end to an album that I believe will touch many souls. It will probably end up being most peoples favorite song... Lets just say... "It's the the Catholic Church!"
That’s it my friends. Remember the album will be released Friday, 12/15/17.