I consider Come Join the Living World my best album. Putting the lyrics aside for a moment, I think the songs and the production still hangs together, and I can listen to it today and it still sounds current and vital. The lyrics were an extension of my “recovery;” just more overt and open, and hopefully somewhat fresh for the genre.
After my last record on Virgin/Charisma went nowhere, I just wrote songs for awhile for my publishing company. I wasn’t all that good at it. Charlie Peacock had moved to Nashville and had taken a swath of local musicians with him, and was tearing up the Christian music scene, of which I knew nothing about except that I had helped him on his last Sacramento album. Although I had become a Christian (again,) I thought Christian music deserved the reputation it had–dated, insipid, and clumsy. But Charlie and a few other people were changing that. He kept urging me to come take a look, and finally I did. He also told me that there was production work to be had, and he was right. I started writing Christian-themed songs my way, and before long I had more than an album’s worth. With Charlie’s arm around my shoulder we made the rounds of the Christian companies in Nashville, and settled on Reunion Records. This is significant, because it was Michael Blanton’s company–the same Michael Blanton who started me again down the path of making music that I am currently on. And the A&R guy who signed me to Reunion was Don Donahue–and Don has taken a major role behind the scenes in the marketing and promoting of Don’t Look Back.
In fact, many of the players and singers on Come Join the Living World have reprised their roles on Don’t Look Back. Steve Brewster on drums, Jerry McPherson on Guitar, Chris Rodriguez and Wayne Kirkpatrick on vocals, and of course Charlie Peacock were all major contributors to the 1994 album, and they are all back on this one.
For some reason, this grainy photo of engineer me, Craig Hansen, and my mom(!) is the only picture I seem to have of those sessions. That’s too bad, because there were a lot of great players and friends in and out of Charlie’s studio during the making of Come Join the Living World.