My wife Joey still has a song to sing.
In fact, she has lots of songs that she wants to sing in the future. It’s part of what gives her the strength to push on through all the nausea and pain that she’s been experiencing as she goes through cancer treatment.
That, and a sweet little one that makes even her toughest day, oh so much easier…
Less than a week before we came here to Atlanta, Joey and I went into a studio in Nashville and recorded twelve tracks for a brand-new album. It’s a record that Joey has always wanted to do… an album of nothing but old traditional hymns. Since this is a project that has been a dream of hers to do since she was very young, I let her choose all the songs. Most of the ones she chose I knew fairly well, and some I’m still getting familiar with. Songs like… “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Old Rugged Cross,” “I Surrender All,” “How Great Thou Art,” “He Touched Me,” and many others.
I didn’t grow up with hymns or gospel music in my life. I was sorta raised Catholic (mostly because my Mom had been raised Catholic I think) and the few times that we went to church, they didn’t play those kinds of songs there. Much later in life, when I was in the service, I started going to non-denominational churches and slowly became acquainted with these old songs. Now I can’t get enough of them.
Joey was raised singing hymns in the little church in Indiana that she and her family went to growing up. She has always loved them... and because of her, and because of what God has done in my life, I have learned to love them deeply too. As a songwriter, I’ve also fallen in love with how simple, yet brilliant, the lyrics and melodies to these songs are. They say so much, with so little.
We will travel back home this coming weekend to play sold-out concerts at our farm on Friday and Saturday nights, and then on Sunday evening, we’re going to do a special tv taping at our concert hall for the new hymns album. It’s a lot for us to do, especially since Joey’s in the middle of chemo and radiation right now, and she doesn’t feel well… but this record is important to her, and she wants to do the taping before the next round of chemo takes her hair and most of her energy away.
We’ve been staying in a hotel a block or so from Cancer Treatment Center, and when Joey finishes her chemo and radiation treatments each day at the hospital, she’s been coming back to the room and recording her vocals for this new album. Since we aren’t home and won’t be home much in the next month or so, we set up a small microphone here in the hotel room, and in between treatments and taking care of little Indy, Joey’s been singing the songs that mean the most to her. Songs like this one…
And while she sings, Indiana plays at her feet—or sits in a chair nearby, as the chemo courses through her veins—innocently unaware of what her mama is going through. Filled with nothing but love and life, and a light so bright… you can’t help but smile when you’re near her.
Yes, my bride has a beautiful song in her heart… and I believe, the world needs to hear it.