Just a quick note to let you know I’m playing at Alluvium Cellars in Woodinville, WA (north of Seattle) on May 20th. It’s going to be a small, intimate vibe. While I’ll definitely be playing songs from Halflight, I’m going to throw in some covers and workshop some new stuff too. Tickets are $20 and come with a glass of wine. Alluvium they just cleaned house at the Seattle Wine Awards - 6 gold medals! Let’s hang out and sip some dam fine wine together! There’s limited tickets available, so get yours before they sell out.
When my faith began to unravel, Mike Cosper was one of the people I reached out to. We’d known each other from afar for long enough that I knew he’d have both context and perspective that few people would have. And he did. What I didn’t know at the time was that as I shared my story with him, it was in that moment he begun to think “this story needs to be told” and started thinking about making a podcast about Mars Hill. Specifically the human impacts and effects on the lives of the people who were there. Crazy!
We chat about how I ditched church to write Return My Heart to my Chest, what he saw in the song that made him want to use it in the podcast, and Bruce Springsteen’s writing process.
You can listen to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill anywhere you get your podcasts.
I had always imagined the guest for Don’t Let The Fear Capture Your Heart should be the songwriter Sandra McCracken because she strikes me as someone who lives in hope. Not the sanitized, rote cliché, influencer wearing a HOPE T-shirt on an Instagram reel hope. The kind of hope born in the trenches of real life where shit gets messy and hard. Failure. Unmet expectations. Cancer. Divorce. A hope that can find light in those places.
Don’t Let The Fear is a song about looking for hope when it can’t easily be found. I wrote it with my kids in mind, hoping that maybe the words Hold onto the light, it ain’t here yet, but the morning is nigh might find them in some future moment of need. But anytime you write a song for someone else, you also write it for yourself. Turns out, I needed this song as much as they did. I kinda thought Sandra would get that. I was so stoked when she agreed to have this conversation.
It’s a thing I made about another thing I made where I ask guests to come on and talk about the other thing I made with me. The album, and the podcast about the album, represent the last 4 years of my creative life. I never really imagined I’d make a podcast, but it just kind of seemed like the right thing to do for this particular album. And after experiencing the way Pádraig Ó Tuama is able to illuminate and access the depths of each poem he explores in Poetry Unbound (can’t recommend it highly enough, btw) it became possible to imagine a podcast about an album could do something similar. So, I went for it. And my buddy Jason joined me on this journey, pouring so much heart, love, and care into producing, scoring, editing, and mastering each episode. He’s made this podcast something I never could have on my own.
One thing I didn’t anticipate about making this podcast: the way having all these conversations would help me continue to process the fallout of the Mars Hill experience. What a gift it has been to hear the perspectives of each guest, and to dive into the songs together. At times for me it’s felt like we’re recovering fragments and pieces of what’s been lost - like the richness and beauty of community in the early days at Mars Hill (which truly was amazing). I went into this process not really knowing how it would go, whether I could carry a conversation, and came out so grateful for these people who gave their presence and reminded me how important and healing mere presence can be.
So I have a favor to ask: If you’ve been listening, would you reply to this email and let me know how it’s going? I’d love to hear how you’re experiencing these conversations.
When I was 13, I had a cookie company. Joe’s Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies. My mom had taught me how to bake cookies, and hatched the idea that maybe instead of getting a real job, I could start a cookie business out of our kitchen. It worked. That summer I became the wealthiest 13-year-old I knew, spending most of my time baking cookies and playing golf. I lived the life of a Florida retiree at age 13 and let me tell you it was amazing!
Late that summer, over Labor Day weekend, one of the stores that carried my cookies kept selling out. I was on site replenishing the jar with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, when someone behind me tapped my shoulder:
After months of slowly working through it, today is the day the Halflight Podcast finally reaches your feeds (subscribe here). And not only that, but I also have a new EP for you as well - the Fear and Love EP. More on that below.
Today, the first three episodes are available. Here’s a preview of each episode:
I hope you get some time to step back, take a deep breath, do something fun, drink some eggnog (or not), get time with family (or not), and have a generally rejuvenating holiday break. It’s one of those complicated times of the year, so above all make sure to take care of yourself!
This idea has been kicking around in the back of my mind for awhile because I’ve wanted a way to create more conversation around the Halflight songs. These songs come from a hard fought place of sorting through disorientation, disillusionment, and disappointment with the church. In the darkest moments, it was hard to know who to talk to, and it wasn’t until I started talking frankly about what I was experiencing that I was able to start taking steps forward again. These songs were a major part of that.
First things, apologies for sending the wrong link yesterday! For those of you looking for ticket info, you can find links to both shows on my website. I’m also including direct links to the Eventbrite events below. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am.
If you live in the Northwest, you’re not going to want to miss this
The First Halflight Shows - December 18th
I’m super pumped to announce my first shows since releasing Halflight! I’ve been envisioning playing these songs for a very long time, now that day is nearly here. And I couldn’t be more excited to share this experience with my good friend Tim Wilson, the lead singer of Ivan & Alyosha. Tim has a solo record coming out next year, and this will be a great opportunity for you to hear some of the stuff he’s been writing.
Tim Wilso and Joe Day playing two shows in Woodinville, WA on Dec 18
The cosmic comedic timing of my album coming out during The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast still amazes me. Was I aware of the podcast? Absolutely. I was interviewed for it, am in episode 1, and my song Return My Heart To My Chest is the closing song in the State of Emergency episode which came out a few days after the album. None of this was coordinated. In the span of a couple of weeks the number of people discovering Halflight along side the podcast lead to some beautiful moments of conversation. I started hearing from people who were telling me that the songs provided space to work out their grief, guilt, anger, and frustration that resulted from listening to the podcast. As one friend put it:
The impact Mars Hill had on people can not be overstated. There are many who were deeply wounded, there are are victims of spiritual abuse from authoritarian and heavy-handed leadership, a leadership I was regretfully a part of. Many continue to struggle to this day. As do I. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles over the last seven years, and I poured a lot of that grief and hurt into the songs.
🤘🏻🤘🏻 Like it. Share it. Add it to your playlists. AND TURN. IT. UP. 🤘🏻🤘🏻
Go get it!
Today is a huge milestone and we get to celebrate together! My full length album Halflight is finally here and now you finally get to listen to the whole thing. My hope for these songs is that they tell you you’re seen and heard, that you’re not alone, and that they remind you that there is good in this world that is worth pursuing. That’s what they have been to me, and I genuinely mean it.
I don’t know the way, I’m leaving today, return my heart to my chest
It's a mad world
Well, here we are. Single #3, Return My Heart to My Chest. This is the last single before the full length drops digitally on August 6th. Vinyl can be preordered right now, and will ship sometime in October. September, if all things go well.
First off, how are you doing? There’s a ton of heavy stuff going on in the world. I know many of you are Christians (or, at least were when you signed up for this email list). Since the last time I wrote, the SBC and PCA conventions were all the rage on Twitter which lead to me writing this very measured and eloquent tweet:
‘Dim light such as dusk.’ That’s the definition in the dictionary on my computer for the word ‘half-light’. Hyphenated.
Dim light such as dusk. In the dim light, the appearance of things is not always correct. In the dim light, it’s quite easy to mistake one thing for another. In the dim light, it’s a good idea to give things a second or third look. In the dim light, it’s ok to second guess your gut. It’s ok to be honest about not knowing what you don’t know.
It was early on a Tuesday morning. Me, Karina, and Jana met up at a Safeway parking lot to get whatever last minute provisions we needed before heading out into the desert to take photos for the album art.
Heading east on highway 2 through the cascades, there are moments where the mountains momentarily set aside any subtlety and rush towards the stratosphere like they were trying to grasp the wrist of a loved one falling into outer space. It’s dramatic, towering, sudden. You don’t just feel small. You know you’re small.
After a long hiatus, I’ve got something I’m very excited to share with you - a new album! But first, if you’ll indulge me, a little backstory…
Easter just happened for many of us, and it’s that time of year where there’s renewed interest in my songs. Particularly Christ is Risenand What Have We Done?as both tend to be played on Easter and Good Friday respectively. I always enjoy the tweets and text messages from folks who listen to the album this time of year. Genuinely, thank you.
Thinking about those songs, it dawned on me that the 10 year anniversary of my album Grace happened last year and I didn’t even realize it. How had it been 10 years already?
Well, here we are 10 years later and so much has happened since. How’d it go for you? For me, it was a mix. I was part of a church that had a very public implosion. I changed careers. I had a faith crisis. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I watched the evangelical world fall for a monster. I rediscovered old passions in photography and skiing. And of course, the pandemic. That’s the short list. I have fought my way through the last decade trying to find hope in the midst of chaos. I have scars. And somehow I still have hope. In fact I think it’s stronger. It just looks different than it did 10 years ago.