There are two things I’ve heard consistently about Sparrow Recording artist Josh Wilson—he’s a nice guy and an excellent guitar player. Upon further discovery, I have also learned that Josh Wilson is a great lyricist, an exceptional producer, and a man with a heart that beats for God. I’m a big Josh Wilson fan, which is why I am so excited about the release of his sophomore album, Life Is Not A Snapshot. The seven-track album features Josh Wilson’s highly acclaimed (“Keaggy-esque) instrumental version of “Amazing Grace,” a love song for his new wife, and songs of encouragement for Christians like “Before the Morning” and “Right In Front of Me.” Life Is Not A Snapshot is a potent little album that delivers lyrically, instrumentally, vocally, and spiritually. Despite just returning from his honeymoon and prepping for his album release, Josh was kind enough to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer.
Life Is Not A Snapshot feels like a very personal album. What would you say is the over-arching theme of the recording?
If I had to sum up the album in one word, that word would be “hope.” As Christians, we live our daily lives knowing that whatever we are currently facing, there is infinite joy and peace that waits for us when we finally see the face of Jesus. Thematically, the songs on the album range quite a bit. There’s a song of praise (“Sing”), a song about doubt (“Right In Front of Me”), and even a love song (“How to Fall”). The title simply means that sometimes the individual snapshots in our lives don’t look exactly like the bigger picture.
My favorite song on the album is “Before the Morning” or maybe “Right In Front of Me.” It’s hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so good. Anyway, tell me about “Before the Morning” (and “Right In Front of Me”).
“Before the Morning” was inspired by my friends Tim and Paula Beal and their son Jayken. A few months before Jayken’s due date, the Beals went to the doctor to find out if their baby was going to be a boy or girl. During the sonogram, the doctor discovered that Jayken’s heart and kidneys were not fully functioning, and he said Jayken had a 2% chance of living longer than four days past his birth. The doctor said their only option was abortion. Tim and Paul went home and prayed and fasted, asking the Lord what they should do. They decided to go ahead and have the baby, and by the grace of God, Jayken is now 7 years old. He has had multiple heart surgeries and numerous complications, but his life has been a beautiful picture of God’s grace. The song says that the pain we feel is “just the dark before the morning,” and reminds us, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
“Right In Front Of Me” is about my struggles with doubt. I had a particularly hard time during college, when everything I had ever learned about God was being challenged. I did a lot of searching, reading, and praying. God was and is faithful to reveal Himself to those who seek Him, but sometimes it does take a lot of seeking. The main idea of this song is from Romans 1:20, where Paul writes that God’s existence and power are made evident by what He has created.
Every girl who listens to your album is going to swoon over “How to Fall.” Does the song have anything to do with your August marriage?
Absolutely. This song is the story of how I met Becca, who is now my wife. I actually wrote this song before I proposed, and it was a very honest and real-time description of what was happening. The chorus says “I don’t know how to say it / Don’t know how you’ll take it / Don’t know how to fall in love / But I want to learn with you.” Our wedding was August 8, and we love every minute of being married.
What was one of the most challenging songs on the album for you to write? (And why?)
“Do You Want to Know” was a very hard song to write because it challenges my comfortable American life. The song poses the question: If you could really see the world how God sees it, would you want to? Last summer I went on a short-term mission trip to Belize and witnessed first hand what poverty looks like. We all see commercials on TV that talk about “feeding the children,” but it’s different when the hungry children are standing right in front of you. You can’t change the channel. These kids receive a little food from the school they attend, but they go home everyday to parents who can’t afford to feed them. If we see the world the way God sees it, one of two things is going to happen. We’re both going to do something about those who are hungry and hurting, or we’re going to lose sleep because something deep in our spirit tells us that we as Christians are the ones responsible for helping.
On the album cover for Life Is Not A Snapshot, you’re running over a chair. Can you really do this? If so, what other amazing bodily stunts can you perform? (And will you consider adding a stunt show to your next tour?)
Actually, yes, I did run over that chair about 8 times. We didn’t really know it was going to be the album cover, but the photographer thought it would make a cool shot. He showed me what he wanted me to do, and after a couple tries I finally got it. As far as other bodily stunts, I can actually wiggle both of my ears at one time. No lie. Ask me next time I see you and I’ll show you.
For more information on Josh Wilson, check him on online at joshwilsononline.com. Also, check Josh’s MySpace for Tuesday blog updates. Just so you can be sure to get all pertinent Josh Wilson news, be sure to friend him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. Oh, and if you see him in concert, take him a block of cheese and ask him to wiggle his ears for you! Plus, read my interview with Josh about his last album, Trying to Fit the Ocean In a Cup.