Release Date: November 15th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Remind Me You’re Here
Jason Gray, quite possibly one of Christian music’s most honest and heartfelt singer/songwriters, has had quite a journey, personal and musical, to get to the point he is in today. From being a stutterer (and still currently) to changing his last name from ‘Gay’ to ‘Gray’ in order to kick-start his music career; it has been his lyrical poignancy in quite possibly all of his songs to date that makes Jason possess an ability like no other, to write songs that are able to unveil his own vulnerabilities without any attack or stigma, while all the while weaving into the songs a grace that reminds us all that amidst the guilt, shame, pain and hurt, God is still there. Songs like ‘Nothing Is Wasted’, ‘More Like Falling in Love’, ‘I Am New’ and ‘Remind Me Who I Am’ show us the comfort we need, that God redeems us continuously each day from the circumstances and events we are in. His EP last year, The Kipper Gray Sessions, was a collaboration between Jason and his son Kipper, and was unveiled in 2018 to be one of last year’s most lyrically rich and musically enveloping (encapsulating a myriad of musical styles within the confines of the 5 tracks) EPs. The Kipper Gray Sessions, in all its heartfelt moments of clarity, direction, emotion and comfort, became an EP of 5 tracks, two of which are seemingly fit and primed for radio (‘Mountain’, ‘Becoming’), all of which embody themes of community, individuality, alongside embracing the journey instead of longing for the end point at a quicker time frame, to name a few. Jason himself brings to us musical arrangements that further asserts his presence as an underrated artist in today’s Christian music society. Nevertheless, Jason is perhaps one of the greatest lyricists in modern CCM, and much of his 2018 EP supports this claim…which brings me to 2019, where Jason unveiled to us another offering of music. This time it’s a collection of songs, split up into three. With the whole entire project titled as Order Disorder Reorder, Jason gave to us Order EP in August 2019, while Disorder EP, releases very shortly- ‘Remind Me You’re Here’ is the first single from the forthcoming EP.
There is a smart process in releasing a set of songs in 3 parts. The journey of being in the cycle of order, disorder and reorder is often a process that can take years for us, and thus, having the 15 track album split into three and each ‘volume’ focusing on one theme and letting that sink in, in a reflective way, for us, is the most logical. Jason himself is a powerful and fantastic lyricist, and thus, having time between volumes of his project I reckon will be a good thing, as we tap into his lyrics and reflect upon the themes presented in each of the 5 songs, understanding that the Christian is often full of twists and turns, and that in the end, we’ll look back and see the purpose of the windiness. Until then, Jason has given us these songs to hopefully sing in our own stories of order-disorder-reorder. Disorder EP comes from the heels of Order EP, that featured standouts songs like ‘I’m Gonna Let It Go’, ‘Order Disorder Reorder’ and a re-worked ‘Becoming’, originally from The Kipper Gray Sessions. And now here we are in November, having a glimpse into the new song from quite possibly the most introspective EP out of the three, Disorder EP.
‘Remind Me You’re Here’ the song solidifies the theme of the whole new EP, that sometimes in our lives, hopes are dashed, and things don’t always come to fruition as they should. As Jason himself relays about what he believes is the essence of this EP in general- ‘…Disorder is when our plan falls apart; when we find we weren’t as in control as we thought we were. Reminded of our vulnerability, we are broken down and opened up enough to meet with God in a profound way. We think we want answers when the catastrophes of life hit, but the story of Job reminds us that an answer isn’t always what we need or even desire the most. Answers rarely—if ever—bring healing. Rather, to experience the presence of God in the midst of our suffering is very healing. Our questions burn away like fog at sunrise and in their place comes the deep sense that we are held…’ It is in this quote that I can appreciate Jason’s writing style and understand that such a song as ‘Remind Me You’re Here’ is as poignant as it is necessary for people to hear. The song itself? It is indeed a reminder, that often the reasons and answers as to why certain things happen in our lives won’t ever give us the full healing we desire- the reason doesn’t wipe away the pain, the hurt, the tears, whether we know fully what the Lord is doing behind the scenes or not, is beside the point. We still hurt, regardless. What we will need is the Lord’s presence near, and the comfort and the help of our family and friends in this time in need. It is in hindsight that we can see and understand what has been happening in our lives up until this point, but when we’re in the thick of it, we don’t need any rational way of justifying why God let a certain thing happen or didn’t. We don’t need justification. But we do need to be held, by our Father, to know that everything will work out in the end, even if we can’t see it now. ‘Remind Me You’re Here’ is a reminder of this, that ‘…I won’t ask You for reasons cause a reason can’t wipe away tears, no, I don’t need all the answers, just be here beside me, Father, remind me You’re here…’
Even though Jason is still not necessarily the most recognised or even the most popular artist within the ranks of CCM currently (artists like Chris Tomlin, Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli and Matthew West receive much more radio airplay than Jason), Jason nevertheless forges on, as a songwriter whose songs have become the cornerstone of change in many people’s lives around the world, inclusive of mine. On the same roster as artists like Andrew Peterson, Plumb, Lauren Daigle, Unspoken, Carrolton and North Point InsideOut, to name a few; Jason continues to anchor the roster, in both a songwriting and lyrical perspective, and his previous EP Order and forthcoming one Disorder is a testament to this. Order EP was a perfect start to the Order Disorder Reorder music project process and if ‘Remind Me You’re Here’ is any indication of how Disorder is going to go, then this new EP releasing earlier next year, is such that is going to be one of the most emotive and introspective releases of 2020. Well done Jason for ‘Remind Me You’re Here’, a great way to tie us over until Disorder EP, releasing early 2020.
RIYL: Andrew Peterson, Train, Bebo Norman, Jars of Clay