Oh, you know that back road path. The one no one wants to talk about, because everyone calls it “lost”, and yet it is your only way. It’s the path that the great writers only hint at between the lines of their greatest works when they just cannot quantify what caused them to arrive where they arrived.
I don’t know – it’s the space where my soul is growing, where you linger because The leaf just hasn’t unfolded yet. It’s where nothing and no one can find you, and you don’t need to be found.
“Where lunch will be weeds and heaven’s conversation,”I put it once.
There, yes, there, I recorded some songs on my old piano in the middle of a random August week.
To document and declare–I’m alive! The wilderness didn’t kill me. And the wild flowers are vase-worthy.
The great machine did not succeed in telling me I have no voice. Nor did the glamsuaries where songwriters became rockstars.
Here, I found the slow pace of growth. And everyday miracles. The nutritional value of locusts and honey. Where Jesus delivered the cream for my coffee – not metaphorical cream, but actual cream.
Jesus is the abundant universe. I roamed the ends of the earth to rediscover Him.
And songs are for sharing.
My wild hymns.
May we reconnect raw spirit to raw spirit and feel the rushing wind of God’s love, independent of the lush rug and lamp set up of today’s worship gurus and preaching goddesses.
Here in the dirt. Let’s have church.
Wild: 1. (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment.
Here’s the journey of making the album:
This is my official #wildhymn selfie… Because there was no way I was putting this face on album artwork 😏 …. looked in the mirror and my hair was half curled, my food half-eaten, my make up half on, and I was half dressed. And I thought, this is IT! I am at peace, yet I’m half done. My ability to cope with being a mom of three young children is half-developed. Our marriage problems are half-solved. The Joni Nichols Band tracks from years ago are still half done, and these piano songs are half – produced, but I am determined to say to myself, “I produced some music in my 20s, and something in my 30s.” I want my children to know these songs I cried to, my old friends whom I haven’t spoken to in a decade or more to know what I wish we’d shared over coffee, you to know what it will be like if you could come over So with my piano “in its natural element” (“wild”) of my home, you can hear a dog bark, a neighbor kid knocking, birds chirping… There is no auto-tune or foam padding on the wall…. It’s neither flawless nor amazing. But these #wildhymn s are a kind of manifesto to never stop sharing the songs of our heart, in whatever form they come… to encourage one another, spur one another on in the spirit with songs … that mix tape, that texted link, that melody shared …. YOUR wild hymns! //// officially ready #wildhymn #itunes #bandcamp #free
This project got Zach & I going at it again….. We tried a few things but only the #wildhymn (s) prevailed… I REALLY wanted to share what we did here but we decided it was a little odd in comparison… so another day. Zach makes no appearance on #wildhymn which is ….painfully reflective of this season. All the more reason to overcome the “wish-I-could’s” and …. embrace the lonely, intimate sounds of some of the very prayers that got us through it. (I still sound better with you @zachnicholsguitar .) #zachandjoni
A photo posted by Joni Nichols (@joni_nichols) on
IN A WEEK! ….. Long before there was a guitar, a 4-track, Zach’s electric, or Dolf’s ProTools rig I’m borrowing, there was a piano… and hymns. This last decade has found me in a state where no other song will do. I want my kids to know these songs I wrote during these hard years of rooting and establishing our family while they crawled up and in and on and around my stretching, growing heart. I want to share more music before a DECADE passes… So I’m sending off a kind of wild hymn to be mixed & mastered from my squeaky-pedal home piano…. The songs in their natural element. It’s going to be interesting…. Hmmm… and I’ll have them in about a week. (This piano bench is identical to my grandmother’s old dining room chairs. When this piano was given to me, I knew it had come to the right place.) #wildhymn #wild #wildandnatural