For those of you coming this week to Nashville to join us, I can’twait to see you, meet you, and watch as God brings us all together to listen, teach and be encouraged. The Worship Leader Magazine staff has been covering this event in prayer and I know they have worked very hard to make this an event that is beneficial for the Kingdom Of God.

I would love to meet many of you while the event is happening. Look for me at Brothers McClurg/Old Bear Records Table Monday night, at the UTR Media showcase on Tuesday, and around Trevecca’s campus Monday through Wednesday.

If you want to reach out, feel free to tweet me @RickLeeJames or email me at Rick@RickLeeJames.com.

Let’s hang out!

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

Voices In My Head Productions LLC

New Album Update

I wanted to give you a quick update about the progress of the new album. Two months ago I started crowdfunding to raise money to pay for the recording costs for the new album.

Total costs to pay for the remaining unpaid studio time, mixing, and mastering of the album came to $10,200.

Last night the crowdfunding campaign ended. All total we’ve raised $5360, which means I’ll be paying $4840 out of pocket to pay for recording costs.

So where does that leave us?

I’ve decided to go ahead with making the album in spite of being short of funds. So many of you have given so generously and have shown such enthusiasm for this new music that I feel like there is no other choice.

It might take a little longer to make the album than I originally though since the money I was raising did not cover the costs of printing the CD. Distributing, marketing, or any other if the many expenses involved in making then album. This makes the financial burden much greater, but I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to get the album made.

Thank you to all of who who have helped by spreading the word about the new album. Thank you to all of you who have donated money so generously and sacrificially. Thank you for all to all of you who pre-ordered the album.

From here we will trust God to provide and I’ll keep working to bring it to you.

Podcast News

I’ve been working very hard to bring some great guests to my podcast, Voices In My Head.

In the past year I’ve welcomed amazing like William Willimon, Tim Madigan, Shane Claiborne, Stephen Tobolowsky, Science Mike McHargue, Andrew Peterson, and many more.

We’ve had conversations on music, Worship, Ethics, Sexual and Racial Equality, Islam, Judaism, and much more. The podcast listener community keeps growing and the feedback I’ve been getting has been very encouraging. I just wanted to take a moment to recommend that you give the show a listen and leave some feedback on iTunes. I think you will be glad that you did.

www.RickLeeJames.Podbean.com

Escape To The Lake

ESCAPE TO THE LAKE 2018 (JULY 19-21) – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Escape To The Lake 2018 is coming July 19-21 to Cedar Lake, IN. It’s UTR Media’s flagship event and a one-of-a-kind retreat bringing music makers and music lovers together to be spiritually, emotionally, & musically refreshed. It is an amazing time of friendship, food, laughter, learning… and of course gourmet music. We are looking forward to live music & sessions with Me (Rick Lee James) Andrew Osenga, Christa Wells, Nick Flora, Royce Lovett, Caroline Cobb, Brothers McClurg, Taylor Leonhardt, The Mosleys, Adam Whipple, Dave Trout, and over a half-dozen others artists to be revealed soon.

UTR Media also will host the 4th annual ETTL Songwriters’ Bootcamp on July 18-19. A team of world class professional songwriting mentors will help you hone your craft at any level of songwriting (beginner, hobby, church, professional). And ALL are welcome for this optional add-on experience… including those who don’t write songs but just want to ease drop on the creative process and soak in the amazing conversations.

Plus you’ll be able to enjoy our “Epic In The Round” concert on July 18th.

Come and join us!

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

Escape To The Lake Info: http://escapetothelake.net/?utm_source=Listeners&utm_campaign=a8fb0aa12e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e794087610-a8fb0aa12e-127142502&mc_cid=a8fb0aa12e&mc_eid=92ac97db8e

Hello my friends,

I just wanted to send a quick reminder that have 12 days left to raise $4000 so that I can pay for my time spent in the studio in New York. This doesn’t cover the printing of the new album or any of its promotion, just the studio costs which I’ve already incurred.

I could really use your help in making this happen with your pre-orders and donations on Indiegogo. I just added a new sheet music perk this week that you might want to check out.

Together, by your help in donating, pre-ordering, and sharing this campaign, we can do this.

I can’t wait to share this new music with you.

Thank you for your much needed help.

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

DONATE & PRE-ORDER HERE

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rick-lee-james-new-album-thunder#/

Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters

By Doug McKelvey

On paper Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is a project that shouldn’t exist. The math doesn’t add up. After ten years of putting it off, ten years of feeling too intimidated and inadequate to write and record the project he instinctively knew could be the most important and personally meaningful of his career, Andrew Peterson wrestled a growing sense he could put it off no longer. After all, we’re only given so many years in this life.

 

Peterson’s twenty years of creative output as a songwriter and novelist had already served to articulate and shape the longings of hundreds of thousands of fans, turning and training their desires towards eternal things. His poetic and theologically rich expressions have been always honest, sometimes painful, ever restless, ever hopeful, ever human. He is the rare artist who clearly sees his talent, not as a reason for pride and self-promotion, but as a thing he is given primarily to steward in the service of others. And it was because of that posture of humility—and despite all his recent successes as a recording artist, novelist, filmmaker, and non-profit organizer—that the unfinished Resurrection Letters project was always present somewhere in the back of his mind unsettling him like a splinter under skin.

 

“Listeners asked me again and again about when I would record Resurrection Letters, Volume One,” Andrew remembers, “and I would wince every time.”

 

To put all of this another way, there are many artists who are gifted, and then there are a small handful of artists who are gifts. And Andrew Peterson is a gift to the Body of Christ. He has not pursued a career by asking what would sell well and seeking to cash in on that. Instead he has pursued a calling by asking what would serve well and then laboring to bring those expressions of beauty and comfort and longing into being. When he creates, he creates with a measure of fear and trembling, because he begins in the knowledge of his own limitations, never presuming he will be able to bring his work to any meaningful completion. So it makes sense that the project he saw as most necessary would also be the project he would feel most unprepared, even unworthy, to pursue.

 

“Honestly, as the centrality of the resurrection became clearer and clearer to me from a theological standpoint,” he says, “the less I felt up to the task.”

 

A decade ago Peterson had been so stirred by implications of the resurrection expressed in N.T. Wright’s Surprised By Hope and C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce that he penned an album’s worth of songs unpacking those epiphanies. For the intervening decade since the release of Resurrection Letters, Vol. II though, he’s found himself mumbling ambiguous and reluctant answers to that obvious, repeated question: “When are you going to go back and record Volume I?”

 

“The songs I wrote for Volume II traced the ripple effects of the resurrection,” Andrew explains. “They explored how it impacted my own life and hopes rather than being specifically about Jesus. I called itVolume II because I knew there was a more fundamental part of that story still to tell. The whole church, the whole history of our faith, hinges on Christ’s resurrection. But I didn’t feel adequate to the task of communicating that, so for ten years I’ve carried that insecurity along with the sense that I needed to bring it to completion at some point.”

 

Eventually, that time came. In the fall of 2017 Andrew met with his label Centricity Music and together they agreed on a deadline three short months away so the project could release in time for Easter of 2018. Now Resurrection Letters, Vol. I was on the calendar. The gears were turning and time and money from the label were being invested in anticipation of the pending release, so one way or another Andrew was going to have to deliver something. Problem was, those three months spanned a quarter year which was shaping up to be the most unlikely recording season of Andrew Peterson’s career.

 

“I came into the process with only two songs written,” Andrew explains, “and during those three months I had two trips to England scheduled, a trip to Israel, a deadline to complete the Wingfeather Saga animated film, and a deadline to finish writing a nonfiction book. I was also staging the Rich Mullins tribute concert, staging the Rabbit Room Live show, hosting the annualHutchmoot Conference, and coordinating and touring the Behold the Lamb of God Christmas concert. It really didn’t make sense that we could record Resurrection Letters, Vol. I during those same three months, but somehow, on odd days when I was home in Nashville, it happened.”

 

Happened is perhaps a slight understatement. Three months later Peterson had managed to record fourteen new songs. At that point a decision was made to split the project into a five-song EP and a nine-song album, partly because of the number of songs, and partly because of the subject matter. Most of the songs were about Christ’s resurrection, but a handful centered instead on his crucifixion.

 

“My dream was always that Resurrection Letters, Vol. Iwould be a record you would listen to on Easter Sunday,” Andrew says, “so I wanted it to feel like a celebration. Early on I imagined a three-part structure following the line from the Anglican liturgy ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.’ But once everything was recorded it just didn’t feel right to open the project with “Last Words (Tenebrae)”(a song based on Christ’s final utterances on the cross) and then to spend five songs contemplating his death. So we split it. The Prologue EP (Resurrection Letters: Prologue), honors the necessary darkness of the cross and becomes a musical meditation for Passion Week and Good Friday, allowing Resurrection Letters, Vol. I to be the pure Easter celebration we envisioned.”

 

Much of the credit for the prolific song output during those three months, Peterson says, goes to producer Ben Shive (Ellie Holcomb, Colony House, Mercy Me). Shive stepped up to shepherd the project through Andrew’s frequent absences. Having produced Resurrection Letters, Vol. II a decade earlier and toured for years with Andrew, Ben was the obvious choice. “He understood more than anyone else what we were trying to do,” Andrew says. “Plus, Ben Shive knows scripture better than any friend I have, which is essential for a project like this. He even wrote two of the songs and co-wrote another three.”

 

Shive had also split production credits on Peterson’s last two studio projects, Light for the Lost Boy andThe Burning Edge of Dawn. Those albums were autobiographical, dealing in large part with Andrew’s “long, dark journey” through a three-year depression.

 

“One of the reasons I love doing the Behold the Lamb of God tour every year,” Andrew says, “is that it feels really good to spend a month of the year not singing about me and my story, but instead singing words from scripture about the Lamb of God. After four years spent writing and singing songs about my own struggles, to spend this season writing and singing about the death and resurrection of Jesus felt like a culmination of that hard journey. When I die, I’m not interested in people saying that I told my own story well, except in how the telling of my own journey might have drawn them to a deeper understanding of the gospel.Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is a distillation of that hope.”

 

Such hope is articulated most clearly in the first single and video “Is He Worthy?” Drawn from the fifth chapter of Revelation, the song is structured as a sort of liturgy set to music, utilizing a call and response format that invites listeners to become participants. It isn’t difficult to imagine that “Is He Worthy?” might be printed in hymnals 200 years from now. The poetic, catechismal lyric begins in a recognition of the world’s brokenness and builds to a hope-filled and worshipful proclamation of Christ’s worthiness.

 

“When I sing those words from scripture, I can hardly believe they’re true,” Andrew says. “‘From every people and tribe, every nation and tongue, he has made us a kingdom and priests to God who reign with the Son.’ We’re told that we will actually reign with Christ. That is a mind-blowing promise. How can we even wrap our thoughts around it?”

 

The album’s upbeat, anthemic opener, “His Heart Beats,” likewise deals with an incomprehensible reality: that the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t only a spiritual event, but involved a dead physical body being restored to life; that a heart which had been silent for three days suddenly contracted and began to beat again; that the blood which had stilled and pooled in Christ’s veins suddenly began to flow again. “His Heart Beats” is a joyful meditation and triumphant declaration likely to be incorporated into many Easter sunrise services.

 

A third song that could similarly serve the church for generations is the psalm-like “Always Good,” written when a friend suddenly and unexpectedly lost his wife. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, “Always Good” is a hard-won confession of faith that lives in that expectant tension between the hurts of this life and the hopes of what is to come.

 

“I never cried so much making a record,” Andrew reflects. “What it really means to ponder and pray and write about the significance of the centrality of the resurrection is that the whole album is about Jesus. It’s about the person of Christ. Through that creative process I found myself loving him more. IfBehold the Lamb of God is about dusting cobwebs off the Christmas story to remind people it’s about the incarnation and the atonement for sin, then Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is the next chapter in the story, a celebration of what Christ saved us for. My hope is that these songs kindle a new longing not only in hearts, but down to our very bones and sinews—a tangible longing that we were made for this, for this coming redemption, for God dwelling with his people in a more profound way than he did even in the garden.”

 

www.andrew-peterson.comFacebookTwitter

 

Guess what? That’s a wrap! We’ve completely finished recording my new album, Thunder!

There were so many wonderful moments in the making of this project, and I don’t quite know how to put them into words yet, so I’ll try to be brief.

I put in several 12 to 15 hour days with producer Chris Hoisington and the tremendously talented crew at Old Bear Records. I’m moved by their commitment getting this album right, and giving me the time and space to find my own voice, to let me play several different instruments, and to express what is on my heart through music in new and unique ways. I’ve had wonderful times in recording studios in the past, but never anything as unique as this.

I have never been more excited about making music than I am at this point in my life. I put my all into this album. I played and sang my heart out. I laughed, I cried, I had space to pray, and to follow the Spirit’s leading. This is the gift that Old Bear Records gave to me, it’s why I wanted to work with these amazing people. There was an atmosphere in the studio that Made me feel we were creating on holy ground.

This picture was part of a promotional photo shoot that happened after we wrapped. I love dogs, and this picture represents the joy I found in this whole experience as Instagram sensation, Mabel the dog stopped by (Find her at @Mabel_thebully). This picture represent just one of the many moments in which I was surprised by joy while recording at Old Bear Recording Studio! To Chris, Anthony, Jeremy, Pauly, Ron, Sarah and all of your families, I sincerely thank you for all you did to make this project what it needed to be.

I promise you, this album is going to be something like you’ve never heard from me before.

There is still a lot left to do before the project can be released, including raising the funds to finish paying for the recording budget. One way you can help me to do that is by pre-ordered here at the link below. I need to raise nearly $5000 and your pre-orders of the album itself, t-shirts, books, and various other perks connected to the album will help me to meet the financial need. By pre-ordering through Indiegogo you not only get some great new music before the rest of the world does, you actually get to be a part of making the record.

I’m grateful for you. Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

Pre-Order and Donate To My New Album Here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rick-lee-james-new-album-thunder/x/17048881#/

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Hello my dear fans, friends, and family,

On March 12th two big things are happening.
1.) I enter Old Bear Studio in New York to spend a week recording my new album.
2.) I launch a new Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to pay off the remaining $5000 of the recording budget that I wasn’t able to raise in the last campaign.
I’m writing you all to ask a favor.
  • It’s a fact that the more web traffic a campaign gets, the higher up its ranking will receive on Indiegogo, which means more potential backers get to see it.
  • Because of this I’m asking you to contribute to my campaign on March 12th, even if you’ve have given before on the previous campaign.
    • Even if you can only give $1.00 to the new campaign it generates more traffic, which helps it to be seen by more potential donors.
    • $1.00 really does help.
    • Essentially, 50 contributions for $1 is better than One contribution for $50 as far as driving traffic to the web site is concerned.
  • When others back a project, potential backers start to feel more secure, it seems to add a level of security and trust in an artist and their project.
  • PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER MARCH 12th!!
    • Statistics show that those who are able to secure 30% of their contributions in the first couple of days after they launch from their initial crowd will more than likely be successful and actually get more contributions.
Successful crowd funding takes work and needs support, so I’m asking you, once again for your help. I literally can’t do this without you. I know many of you have already done so much, and I hate asking again, but these kinds of projects just don’t work unless everyone pitches in.
I hope you will be a part of making this new album.
You can find out more about it at RickLeeJames.com/Thunder and sign up through the Indiegogo link today to be notified when the campaign goes live at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rick-lee-james-new-album-thunder/coming_soon#/
With your help, I know we can finish making this album.
  • ONE LAST THING!!
    • See the list of perks we will be offering to donors at the bottom of this message.
Blessings,
Rick Lee James
Some of the Perks That Will Be Available To Donors On March 12th
  • Thunder – Full Album (Digital and CD)
  • Your Name on the Album Credits
  • Pizza Party and Live Concert Performance of the Album
  • T-Shirts
  • Concerts In Your Home

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8xh9z-8c0b59

https://youtu.be/eZ04wQcbqIs
We Now Have A New Funding Goal For The New Album and Two Easy New Ways To Contribute

Our New Funding Goal Is $6000

Two Easy Ways Help Make The Album:
1.) By Text Message (Text ‘Thunder’ to 555888)

2.) Indiegogo Pre-Sales will start on March 12th, 2018

 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rick-lee-james-new-album-thunder/coming_soon#/

  1. —-more—-

Preorders starting soon. Sign up to be notified when we launch. 11 days until I’m back at Old Bear Records. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rick-lee-james-new-album-thunder/coming_soon#/

Over the last year I have quietly been using a great app called crowdfire (http://web.crowdfireapp.com) to run my social media and it has taken a lot of the work out of having a steady presence online. I’ve steadily gained about 3000 followers and have developed many new relationships along the way. It has even influenced the number of people who follow my Podcast (Voices In My Head) and helped the show into the top 100 chart on iTunes last summer.  Because it has been such a help to me, I wanted to give you a closer look at Crowdfire.

Crowdfire has helped me gain more followers on Twitter (follow me!), to gain more followers on your Facebook page (Like me!), and drive more traffic to your personal site (Me Again!).

It might interest some of you too so here I’m quickly going to reveal my secret weapon for steady, long-term Twitter and Facebook growth: the Crowdfire app.

So what is it?

The Crowdfire app is focused on improving engagement across social media platforms with the help of features like content recommendations and smart posts.

A big part of gaining social media followers is following others and interacting with them. But following lots of other people can take a lot of time that you may not have and risks being pointless if you’re not doing it correctly?

Gaining meaningful followers on social media is less about following people and more about creating relationships with the people you follow and who follow you.

You don’t want to simply follow random people and hope that they are interested in what you have to say, right? That’s pretty much a waste of time. Having random followers means that you’ll be less likely to have a long term, engaged audience. However, if you want to keep your brand exposed, you do have to keep following new people.

So here’s what you can make happen with Crowdfire:

1. Keep your social media timelines active using the content recommendations handpicked by Crowdfire depending on the topics you enter.
2. Promote your creations- After connecting your blog, Crowdfire makes it easy to promote all of your new updates on the blog across all of your social medias with the help of a few clicks. Crowdfire will draft beautiful posts for you with a link to your blogpost which you can share across all of your social medias together. This saves a lot of your time. You just create, Crowdfire will take care of the marketing.
3. Post and schedule social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and More.

`For Twitter`

4. Quickly and quietly unfollow people who aren’t following you (“non-followers”).

5. Follow relevant people based on who they are following. (“Competitor’s Followers”).

6. Follow relevant people based on keywords or hashtags that are relevant to your brand/interests (“Keyword Follow”).

7. Unfollow people who aren’t active on social media (“Inactive Following”).

8. Whitelist accounts you don’t want to unfollow or Blacklist people you do.

9. Check to see if a specific person (or account) is following another specific account.

How I  Use Crowdfire to Gain Twitter Followers

I use Crowdfire to gain Twitter and Facebook followers, and I also love Crowdfire’s  services for scheduling posts on those platforms. I can schedule a post for the best time for engagement and not even have to be online when it happens.

Some tools I use a lot are the “Non Followers” tool and the “Copy Followers” tool because I can “spend” my follows on meaningful people and accounts that are like mine.

The “Non Followers” tool is especially helpful in keeping your numbers low,  which is important because it’s best to keep the number of people you follow below the amount of people who are following you.

I also love the “Copy Followers” feature because I can choose other influencers in my niche, and then follow their followers.  For instance, If you love comic books then you can copy followers of your favorite writers.

You really need to get on Crowdfire to get the feel of it but I wanted to share a couple of screen shots with you so you can catch a glimpse of what it’s like as a user. Here is a screenshot of what Crowdfire looks like on a PC as well as a screenshot of what it looks like on the iPhone app.

crowdfire screenshot
PC Screenshot
img_7617
iPhone Screenshot

For me, the very best thing about using the Crowdfire app is that is frees up my time. I can schedule posts, follow, and unfollow people one time a day, right from my phone, and it takes care of all my posting for me. I don’t have to be tied to my phone or PC for the rest of the day and am able to get some real work done like songwriting, service planning, and caring for my son.

Note: Due to the Terms and Conditions of various social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t allow the “Copy Followers” feature. Also, Instagram doesn’t support every feature mentioned here.

So how much is Crowdfire?

The price is the best news, Crowdfire has a free and paid version. Depending on your needs and how many accounts you want to manage it can be very affordable to manage your social media presence on Crowdfire.

That’s about it for now. That’s how I have gained over 3000 followers in about a year. I hope you have found this helpful and will give Crowdfire a try. (web.crowdfireapp.com)

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

Booking Black Square
Official Artist Booking Agreement For Rick Lee James