Category Archives: When Music Comes Alive

I am highlighting a song or band that has touched my heart, and that I feel needs sharing!

Out Of Nashville Comes Beauty That Is Colorblind: Introducing Neely

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                                   http://neelymusic.com

The streets of Nashville are paved with the blood, sweat and tears of many a musician – and frankly, many who fancy themselves as such. Also walking the streets where musicians dream is a duo made up of two incredibly beautiful human beings, a husband and wife team: Jeremy and Kaci Neely, collectively known as Neely. There are not enough words in written language to explain these two and their approach to music, and sharing it with the world – but, that won’t stop me from trying.

The music industry as a whole likes people to fit into a cookie cutter mold of a single musical genre. Neely, however, defies this with their approach to music and the people who they know are listening. They do not fit into a neat little packaged box. Nor do their beats and lyrics fit neatly into one single musical genre.

There may be a country twang, or a bluesy feel – maybe a touch of rock. No matter what beat or sound their music entertains you with, you can be sure of one thing; they connect deeply with the human condition. They are unafraid of pain, or of emotion. Their transparency in music comes from life. They have a past, and it’s not all a bed of roses. They don’t hide the parts of their past that they may not be proud of. As storytellers, they allow their lives, the good and not so great, to tell of the journey that brought them to where they are today. Theirs is a story of grace and redemption – full of hope, and backed by love.

I had the honor and opportunity to have a conversation and ask a few questions – an informal interview of sorts. I have seen the love that fuels the duo play out time and time again on social much media, but in talking to them – their words matched their online persona.

In speaking with Jeremy, I watched his love for people, all people, play out. I asked if the duo has a target audience, and any age range they seem to cater more to. His answer did not surprise me, though it was precious. He thought for a moment and said that their music’s goal is, as previously mentioned, to be in touch with the human condition. People everywhere. All people. From the young to the old – all are important in their eyes. People have all experienced life in different ways, but many common threads exist.

What Neely does is play an epic game of connect the dots.

They connect with any living breathing person with ears to hear. They are able to connect those dots and meet people where they are – whatever walks of life they come from, and with whatever they bring to the virtual table.

The passion in his voice was undeniable when I asked Jeremy if there was any one message Neely would like to share with anyone reading this. With many examples of life, pain and even brokenness – They want people to know that they are not alone in their struggles – that they are truly loved, where they are, and who they are.

They have a heart for God, and also for people. Neely strongly values family, and community – and have coined the hashtag #NEELYFam on social media. They strive to create a community that is close, and forms bonds like family. I learned all this without having heard word one of their lyrics or music. Their hearts, and their mission- those things shine through like a bright beacon in a dark and dreary land. I knew they were musicians, but, I hadn’t actually known their music also. Fast forward. I listened, and it grabbed my heart in an undeniable way.

This is the effect their music has. On people of all ages. I have had the honor of watching several live reactions to Neely’s remastered for radio edit of their song – actually releasing today, Colorblind. People reacted differently hearing Colorblind for the first time. In those reactions were smiles and also tears; people found hope, and people made choices to be intentional with seeing people and life from outside the status quo – stepping outside comfort zones to impact their world. 

I had the opportunity for a sneak peak at this remastered version of the song, and immediately felt compelled to share it with you, my friends and readers – and the entire world at large. This song is pertinent to our world, and especially the state of our Nation.

“…Everything changes. Everything changes when we see inside. Everything changes when we become colorblind.”

That, if I could sum up the entirety of this song – it would be those lines. However, this song encompasses more of the human condition – and shows how pain and brokenness can collide with love – and the hope, unity, compassion and community form as a result of us just seeing things from an different vantage point, when we become colorblind.

Please do your heart a favor and listen to this song today. If you feel led, and I pray you do, please consider supporting them and downloading it from one of these sources: ITunesApple MusicAmazonGoogle, and Spotify. Neely isn’t represented by a producer, or any major labels. Instead, they are supported by their fans, and in a huge way, by their local church. Any download of this song would allow their mission to continue, and allow YOU to link arms with them, and the people desperately needing their mission and music worldwide.

Jeremy mentioned the love and incredible support of his church community and family, and the multinational congregation they have. He explains that there are more than 17 different countries represented, all under the same roof. In the same way, he says on any given day, he watches as people join together simply as people – business people, politicians, musicians, people with jobs of varying degrees, people with expensive homes, and people with no homes. The homeless person locking arms with people of incredible influence within their community and beyond. People being people. Doing life together. Love. That is God’s heart, and also the heartbeat of Neely. 

No matter who you are, and no matter your status in life – or what brings you to where you are today, please allow me to echo something I have said before (and will likely say again) – and as I mentioned, the heart of Neely: you are not alone! You are loved, right where you are – who you are. For YOU. Please know that the world is brighter with you in it, and your life matters. Take time to listen to some music. Take time to take care of YOU. You are valued. If you are in a place right now where you need help, know that it’s okay to not be okay. Reach out. Allow others the honor of reaching back.

If any of these thoughts, or any of Neely songs resonate with you today, it would be an honor to hear from you. You can feel free to post in the comment section below, or for more personal replies, you can reach out through my “contact me” page. I will also gladly pass along anything you’d like shared with Neely, other readers or just the general public. Anonymity, if needed, is offered. It is an honor to do life alongside you.

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365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For The Redeemed Tour

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I am blessed and encouraged to know that in a few short hours I will be able to attend the Redeemed Tour with Citizen Way, Chris August and Big Daddy Weave. It has been almost two years since I’ve been able to attend a concert. In an amazing showing of God’s love for me, a way has been made for me to attend a completely sold out show. What a blessing to be able to go “as a guest” of one of the artists.

These last couple of weeks have been an interesting variety of curveballs thrown by life. I believe this concert will a perfectly timed oasis in the midst of recent chaos.

Thankful for this opportunity. Now it’s time to hit the road and get there nice and early.

Spotlight On 33 Miles – Let It Be Glory: Here

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I’d like to talk a little bit about this song, “Here” by 33 Miles. Before I go any further, I’d like to share a little bit about my life recently, so as to set up the background, and why this song means what it does to me.

Life hasn’t been all that fun lately. There have been many reasons to make me question so much of life. I do often wonder why certain things happen, but I have not stopped KNOWING that God is ultimately in control. No matter what comes up, and no matter where I am in life, He is always there. Though I have struggles, He provides peace and comfort in the midst of any storm I face.

So, with this all in mind, I’d like to share a song that has such a powerful meaning to me.

This song speaks of coming to God, right exactly where you are — no matter the situation. Even during the times you feel completely just empty, know that He is right there. This song speaks of the character of God. If you cry out to God, He will respond. Hope, though elusive at times, is very real. The beauty of this song is the reminder that Jesus is constant. He is right there with you, no matter what.

When you open yourself up to Him, He will show Himself faithful 100% of the time. All you need to do is cry out to Him, and ask Him to be your everything. The act of surrendering to Him, in and of itself, will bring hope and let you see how He is there with and for you…every step of the way.

This song is powerful. It’s message will speak to the heart of any who will seek after Him. This song is on 33 Miles album, Let it Be Glory. When it is released for sale, I strongly urge you to get your hands on a copy of the entire album. This song is just one of several that will bless you, and speak hope directly into your heart.

To 33 Miles – thank you again for following the heart of God and sharing His hope and love in such a real way through this album, and especially this song.

Spotlight On Allen Asbury: Somebody’s Praying Me Through

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There is a song that a good friend of mine shared with me recently. It has come to mean the world to me. The song title speaks for itself: Somebody’s Praying Me Through. This song, like so many beautiful songs, has the potential to reach you exactly where you are.

When I recently found myself facing some pretty unsure circumstances, this song made it’s way to my email inbox. It could not have come in better timing. This song (lyrics below) helps you remember and simply know that somebody is praying me through. And, as the song also states – somebody is praying YOU through also. You don’t always know who, but there is someone who cares enough to pray. Don’t EVER feel like you’re walking through this life (or your struggles) alone.

You may feel as if your heart has been broken – again, and again. You may look at yourself in the mirror, not fond of what you see. You may sometimes believe that life isn’t worth fighting for, and that it won’t ever change. You may be hurting in a way hard to put into words. You may be facing health concerns out of your control. You may have a laundry list of things in your life that you feel like are helping you feel apart.

HOWEVER, do not lose track of the FACT that somebody is praying you through. You are NOT alone. You ARE worth fighting for. YOU are beautiful. And, somebody is praying you through. Never, NEVER lose track of that thought.

If you are in that place of struggling, feeling broken or just need a friend – please feel free to post below in comments, or send me a message through my “contact me” page. I’m human, not perfect, but have much love. It’s an honor to walk through life with you. If you need to know somebody’s praying you through – know that I am, or will be if you reach out.

To Allen – I just wanted to say thank you for following the heart of God, and for this song. You have many songs that speak volumes as to God’s love. This particular song has met me right where I am, so to speak, time and time again. You have my gratitude.

The song lyrics:
SOMEBODY’S PRAYING ME THROUGH

Pressing over me like a big blue sky
I know someone has me on their heart tonight
That’s why I know it’s gonna be alright
‘Cause somebody’s praying me through
Somebody’s praying me through

It may be my Mother, it might be my Dad
Or an old friend I’ve forgot I had
But whoever it is I’m so glad that
Somebody’s praying me through
Somebody’s praying me through

Through the tears, through the rain
Through the sorrow, through the pain
It keeps bringing me through
Over and over again

So when you’re drowning in a sea of hurt
And it feels like life couldn’t get any worse
There’s a blessing waiting to push back the curse
‘Cause, somebody’s praying you through Oh…
Somebody’s praying you through Oh…

Somebody… somebody is, Praying
Oh… Somebody is, Someone Somewhere

Someone got down on their knees and prayed for me
Somebody’s, praying
Somebody’s praying… you through

Spotlight on Chris Habermehl: All Things New

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Chris Habermehl is a humble person with a heart of gold. He loves God, and he loves people. He is the worship pastor at Skyline Church in O’Fallon, IL. His newly released CD entitled “All Things New” has many songs that will connect you with the heart of worship. Have you picked up a copy yet? You can order through his website. It’s also available for download at iTunes or Amazon.

One song in particular, “All Things New” is beautiful, and holds great meaning to me. There is so much hope in the music and message contained in this song. This song is comprised of some beautiful instrumentals and vocals alike. God has blessed Chris with talent like no other. His heart and love for God and loving people enough to create music that connects them with God points back to his character. He is someone I am honored to call friend.

This is a song that reached out and touched me – right where I was. The lyrics are my hearts cry to our God larger than life. All of it. It’s pertinent in every way to me. “My heart is overwhelmed.” I often feel this way. I cannot imagine His amazing love. God has such crazy, unrelenting love for each of us. It can honestly feel overwhelming. Even when I don’t feel worthy, His love is redeeming. That’s the thing. I’m NOT worthy, but through Him, I’m precious. And, you are too.

As I mentioned previously, I was recently (January 6th) baptized, and this song just speaks volumes to me – especially in light of and in the timing of that. It speaks of being in despair and how God reaches deep within, lifting up my head, not letting go — and then being made whole. God takes each and every one of us from whatever place we come to Him and turns us into new creations — beautiful in His eyes. He lifts us up, and never lets us go. He makes us clean – all dirt washed away. He loves us that much.

He, and He alone can make all things new. This song so sweetly captures the heart of God and His love for us. That love is life changing. He makes all things new.

Thank you, Chris, for allowing God’s heart to flow through your music. This CD will touch the heart of many people.

Spotlight on Chris Lockwood – Coming Alive: I’m Still Standing

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Did you know that Chris Lockwood has a new EP out? Have you purchased / downloaded his Coming Alive EP? You can find out more at his website.

I can’t think of enough words to adequately describe this music. Full of heart and passion. My goodness – some phenomenal talent. The vocals and music are amazing. I will share my thoughts on the other songs on this EP as well, but this song – man, it’s good! The raw emotions – the perseverance – the fight — so real.

Do you ever feel out of place – like the new kid on the block? Like an outsider peeking in?

This song tackles the idea that life isn’t always easy. It isn’t always going to be smooth sailing, and you won’t always want to plaster on a fake smile. There may be times where you look around, eager to grasp onto anything – anything at all – that will give you strength. You may realize that things that were once of paramount importance are nowhere to be found. The question is – will you give up?

There will undoubtedly be times when you look around, and simply do not like what you see. Even when it seems like your world may come crashing down around you at any moment, never give up. Don’t ever allow life’s circumstances to get to you to the point that you lose your footing. Stand firm. Even if you find yourself staring life in the face, and feel like you’re losing that staring contest, always remember hope — and to stand. Keep on standing.

Never give up. Life’s not always going to be easy, but keep on standing.

Chris – I just want to thank you for creating this EP. Talk about moving and powerful. It really speaks volumes, on so many levels. You, my friend, are an inspiration.

Spotlight On 33 Miles – Let It Be Glory

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This new CD “Let It Be Glory” from 33 Miles has, literally, a message for anyone – any living breathing human being. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat listening, tears in my eyes, as God touches me and blesses my heart – exactly where I am, exactly when I need to hear the words. When this CD is released, you need to get your hands on a copy. If you, or if someone you know is hurting, your heart will give thanks for playing this CD. I can speak from a personal place when I say this is God’s heart poured out right here.

This song, also entitled “Let It Be Glory” is so very powerful. It speaks volumes to the hurting heart. It contains a powerful reminder to those who are struggling – who are walking through life, dealing with what may seem to be a sequence of unbearable trials. In a way hard to put in words (yet they did so beautifully) this song brings peace by explaining that you are not alone. No matter what burden you bear, there IS hope. Things may be hard, and you may not be able to see the light at the end of the virtual tunnel. You are not, however, alone. What you are going through right now will not last forever.

The biggest thing I walk away from this song knowing is that I am not alone in my struggles. In the midst of those, there is – and always will be – HOPE. No matter what I am, or will go through, God’s hand is in the midst of it. There is a reason for every tear, for every moment, for everything that is a part of my story.

God is God, no matter what. He is in control.

If this speaks to you as much as it has to me, I urge you to pick up a copy of this CD when it comes out in a few months. In the mean time, if you would like to talk about it, please don’t hesitate to post below, or send a message via my “contact me” page. I look forward to connecting with you.

Smile. You are not alone. Hope is real. Don’t ever forget how very loved you are.

To 33 Miles, you have my gratitude (again) for following after the heart of God continuously with such passion. You may never know the impact your music has on people, but never doubt the difference it makes. Your hearts and love of God and people touch and bless so many countless people, myself included. Also, never doubt how loved and appreciated you are.