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Roll Tape: Live from Melody League Studios – Jon Foreman
****

2021 was a busy year for Jon Foreman. Roll Tape: Live from Melody League Studios follows the February release of his solo album Departures (four of the twelve songs included here are from Departures), and the August release of Switchfoot’s album interrobang, followed by a tour with NEEDTOBREATHE. Foreman has described Roll Tape, which has an “unplugged” feeling, and some of which may have come from his livestreams, as his attempt to make a live album, his first, in a year when there was essentially no live music due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I enjoyed this new live solo release from Foreman, as I did his Departures, interestingly much more than I enjoyed interrobang from Switchfoot.
Below are a few comments about each song:
Terminal – This song, originally released on The Wonderlands: Sunlight, was written by Foreman. The song, which builds gently, features guitar, some excellent cello, bass, backing vocals, and drums.
Key lyric:
We are, we are the living souls
With terminal hearts, terminal parts
Flickering like candles, shimmering like candles
We’re fatally flawed, we’re fatally flawed

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics:  Promised Land – TobyMac and Sheryl Crow

Jesus, I Have My Doubts – This song, originally released on Departures, was written by Foreman. He has stated that this is a song that steps into the ring with God. It is Foreman asking the big questions at the end of a long, difficult season. It’s his honest attempt to sing into his doubts. The song features harmonica, guitar and cello. He’s been singing broken songs looking for the light for so long, but the pain goes on and on. Can God reach him in the silence?
Key lyric:
Jesus, feels like the worlds in pieces
I’m sure You’ve got Your reasons
But I have my doubts
Jesus, I have my doubts

Side By Side – This song, originally released on Departures, was written by Foreman. The easy-going love song features Madison Cunningham. The song features acoustic guitar and bass. Foreman’s and Cunningham’s voices blend well. They are as different as snowflakes, but side by side they start to melt into something wonderful. Foreman has said that the song is an attempt to sing out the truth against a backdrop of his fears and doubts.
Key lyric:
Oh, the irony, friends and enemies
We’ll all be buried side-by-side

A Place Called Earth – This song, originally released on Departures, was written by Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman and Lauren Daigle. The song features guitar, piano, bass and light percussion.
Key lyric:
Oh, how I long for Heaven in a place called Earth
Where every son and daughter would know their worth
Where all the streets resound with thunderous joy

Southbound Train – This song, which samples Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”, was originally released on Fall, was written by Foreman. The song features guitar, harmonica and cello.
Key lyric:
So, I’m looking out the window
And I’m drifting off to sleep
With my face pressed up against the pane
With the rhythm of my heart
And the ringing in my ears
It’s the rhythm of the southbound train

Red and Gold – This song, originally released on Departures, was written by Foreman. The song was inspired as Foreman was on a hill in San Diego watching the sun go down and the car lights on the freeway below. The city glows, the traffic and rushing, of thirsty souls, hungry for meaning and love. The song features drums, bass, harmonica, guitar, and backing vocals.  
Key lyric:
So, hold your faith, you’re not alone here
Stay your pace, you’re almost home
We’re on our way, we’re on our way home

Resurrect Me – This rocker, originally released on Summer, was written by Foreman. The song features bass and guitar, harmonica, and an excellent vocal.    
Key lyric:
Father Time steals our days, like a thief
There’s no price that I wouldn’t pay to get some relief
I’ve become an empty shell
Of a man I don’t like so well
I am a living, breathing hell
Come on and resurrect me

The Cure for Pain – This song, originally released on Fall, was written by Foreman.  The song features guitar, cello, bass and drums.
Key lyric:
And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like You do
It would be a lie to run away

Only Hope – This song, originally released on Switchfoot’s album New Way to Be Human, was written by Foreman. The song features cello, guitar, bass and drums.
Key lyric:
So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my only hope

Inheritance – This love song, originally released on The Wonderlands: Dawn, was written by Foreman. The song features guitar, bass, keys, and drums.
Key lyric:
Your heart is a work of art
I wanna be rich in memories not money
Our love is our inheritance honey

Your Love is Strong – This song, which samples the Lord’s Prayer, originally released on Spring, was written by Foreman. The song features guitar, keys, bass, backing vocals, and light percussion.
Key lyric:
Two things You told me
That You are strong and You love me

It Is Well With My Soul – This hymn was written by Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss. Foreman sings the song accompanied by acoustic guitar.
Key lyric:
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

A Place Called Earth – This version of the song was recorded live at the Ryman Auditorium and features Lauren Daigle on vocals. The song features guitar, backing vocals and bass.

Best songs:
Jesus, I Have My Doubts
Southbound Train
Resurrect Me
A Place Called Earth (Live from the Ryman Auditorium)


  • Brightest and Best. My favorite new Christmas release in 2021 was “Brightest and Best”, a hymn by Reginald Heber, and performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ricky Skaggs. I wasn’t familiar with the hymn, but the lyrics were also included in Sinclair Ferguson’s new Advent devotional The Dawn of Redeeming Grace. Watch the creative music video for the song.
  • How Important is it to Sing in Worship? How important is worship in song for the well-being of the local church? In this short video, Alistair Begg explains how worship in song is vital for the local church.
  • Best Christian Music of 2021. Brett McCracken shares this year-end recap of Christian music released in 2021.

Promised Land – TobyMac and Sheryl Crow

This week’s song of the week is “Promised Land” by TobyMac and Sheryl Crow. The song was written by TobyMac and Adam Agee. You can listen to the song here.

Head down as I punch this clock
The hours roll, they never stop
And I can’t ever seem to get ahead
Always tryin’ to do what’s right
Straight and narrow, it’s gettin’ tight
Don’t know how much longer I can stand

And I’m wonderin’
Yeah, I’m wonderin’
Where’s my promised land?

Out here on this desert road
It’s hot as fire but I’ve grown cold
Circlin’ like a plane that never lands
And even though the questions change
The answers always stay the same
Maybe someday I will understand

So I’m wonderin’
Got me wonderin’
Where’s my promised land?

Yeah, I’m wonderin’
Still, I’m wonderin’
Where’s my promised land?

Well, I’ve run this Earth for many years
If there’s one thing I know
There’s nowhere on this side o’ Heaven
Where streets are made o’ gold
I’ve long laid tell my grand illusions
Lookin’ toward the day that I’ll be home

I won’t give up on this race
Broken but I still have faith
That this old life is all part of a plan
And I can feel it in my soul
One day, I’ll stand before the throne
With nothin’ left but hope and these two hands

Through all these seasons
I’m still believin’
You’re my promised land
In all my grievin’
I’m still believin’
You’re my promised land

You’re my promised land
Ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh
My promised land
Ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh
Ah, ah
Oh, oh
You’re my promised land

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/author/billpence Tammy Pence's Amazon Author Page

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