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The History of Whispered Words

Hey all! It’s Jared.

I have been writing music since the 10th grade. I was listening to my dad’s old Doc Watson recordings playing in the house on a quiet Saturday, something hit me, and I sat down and wrote my first song, “Works of Glory”. It was an old-school hymn, I was done writing it inside of ten minutes, and it has survived in that same completed form ever since.

The first time I sang one of my songs, it was at a youth conference at Covenant Bible College, just outside of Calgary in Strathmore, Alberta. There was a talent show on one of the evenings, and even though I didn’t (and still don’t!) play any instruments, I just felt it was something I should do, and signed up. It went well; I got a standing ovation from the crowd of teens and CBC staff, and I was very humbled and pleased. It didn’t seem strange to me that this song had appeared very much out of nowhere at the time.

A few months later, I had another epiphany, and I wrote three songs in a two-day period- “Face of Him”, “You Are”, and “Thank You”. The first two of these still hold up so well that I am putting them on the recording that I am working on. (The third… not so much. It sounds a little juvenile these days, lyrically speaking…. but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t turn into something else someday!)

I still had a problem, though- I could not play anything, instrument-wise. When I write, I sit down and write a fully-formed song in about twenty minutes, usually. The melody and lyrics arrive at the same time, and as soon as I am done, I sing it into a cell phone recorder or something similar to make sure I don’t lose the melody. So, without someone in my life who could play a guitar and help me “chord everything out”, I just sort of sat on them.

A few years went by. I finished high school, got married, and moved to Saskatoon, in fairly short order. My Beautiful Wife and I started attending a church, got jobs, and a year went by. I met some friends at the church, but we eventually stopped attending and started looking for another church that suited us better. And by “looking”, I mean “sleeping in on Sundays instead of looking”. After a year and a half, we eventually decided that we needed to start paying attention to our spiritual lives again, and had heard that the situation at our original church had changed somewhat. We went back, were welcomed with open arms, and we had found what was going to be our church family for a long time.

One of our first few Sundays back to the fold, I sang Works of Glory as a special music thing in one of the services, and caught the attention of Larry and Troy, two music-minded men in the church who were going to be hosting a “coffee house”-style shindig. They asked if I was interested in joining them to sing backup, and I was very flattered. Eventually, the subject of my having some original music came up, and they asked if I wanted to do something with it. Having musicians at my disposal was too good to pass up, so I not only had them help me suss out the stuff I had already written, I started writing again in earnest, and wrote a good chunk of material in the 2004-2007 period with their help. “Broken Man” and “Old Letters” both came out of this period.

Through this time, I also made two of the longest-lasting and rewarding friendships of my life! Troy and Larry are still a major part of my life, musically and otherwise.

Troy has moved on to a promising and exploratory solo career and is headlining his own alt-country band now, but Larry and I played together often, on the church stage and off. We continued to play little coffee house gigs here and there, and even got paid to play at a wedding once (the high point of our old band Day of Rest, for sure)! In the last couple years, though, we hit some major life changes- Larry and I both decided, for different reasons, to move on from our church home to see what was out there.

Around the time of the move, I wrote a few songs (the last in 2011)- “In Your Presence”, “We Come to You”, and “Carol for a Child” (my one and only Christmas song). I actually sang and performed “We Come To You”, an exploration of prayer, on my last Sunday service at our old church, and was moved to remember how much growth and change My Beautiful Wife and I had been through there, and how much we had to thank everyone there for. It remains a precious memory to me.

Larry and I moved into other church families, but I didn’t want our musical relationship to end there! Over the years I mentioned many times that if I ever recorded a real professional studio release, he was going to get a co-writing credit for music, as his sensibility and skill absolutely informed every single one of the songs in my catalogue! It was and is true- I plan to keep playing music with him as long as he and I are both able; I can’t even remember what some of these songs were like before he helped me shape them. He has been a true brother, musically and otherwise.

 I have been playing it cool a bit with the music program in my current church home, as I did a lot of “up-front” work at my last church, and felt God telling me to take some time off.  I also had a lot to examine about why I was doing the things I was doing; was I on stage because I just enjoyed being on stage in front of people singing, or was it for a higher purpose? The music I have written and am still writing has always been about Christ and my relationship with Him; my struggles, my hopes, my failures.  I also still have questions about why God keeps giving such a flawed guy like me music to write and songs to sing.

 I met a singer/songwriter recently who has been a bit of an inspiration to me, and who I have been able to work with in a couple of different capacities, namely: child-wrangling and music-playing. Her name is Julia Dawn. Check out her page! It has been fun watching a young and confident musician and singer with a STELLAR voice make her way, and it sort of rekindled a hopeful little fire that I had always had about making a real album of my material. Really soon after I met her, I got to see her open for one of my all-time favorite musicians, Derek Webb. That’s right, I got to meet one of my all-time musical heroes and I did NOT blow it (for those of you who don’t know me, I have a favorite saying: “Never meet your heroes. Only one of two things can happen: Either they disappoint you in some way, or you blow it.”). I repeat, I did NOT blow it.

 Around this time, I had an old friend named Colin come back into my life as well, and he and I picked up right where we left off like no time had passed!  He stopped by my work to talk business, and the subject of his current work came to the forefront- he runs a studio here in my beautiful hometown, and actually had just finished working on Julia Dawn‘s album!! We got to talking, and I told him about my music and what I had (and hadn’t) done with it up ’til now.

 A brief aside: Colin Richet is the owner and proprietor of Revelation Studios, and does sound engineering, mixing, producing, multi-instrument session work, composing, and mastering- all in-house. He specializes in taking a simple melody and turning it into a fully-orchestrated experience, as big as you want it! If you have some music in you that you need to get out there, Colin is just the amazing person to help you make it happen. I highly recommend that anyone who is interested check out the site and get in touch with him to talk.

 When Colin left me that day, apparently the wheels started turning, and he got in touch with me the next day, and we started talking plans to record! This was around the end of November 2012. He said he was going to see when in the new year we could sit down and plan something out.

 In the meantime, I was getting a bit more involved in the church programs, and was asked to sing for a “Spirit of Christmas” event that a local church hosts for the surrounding community each year. I asked my good friend Larry to play guitar for me, while I sang a song of mine called “Carol for A Child”, and the response I received after was very affirming!

 Fast forward to March 2013: We started recording.  It seems almost criminal to have that much fun while working. A couple times, Colin would hit PLAY, we would listen through the most recent version of a song that has been with me for 15 years, and I had to hide the fact that I was tearing up at how amazing it sounds. We took our time; Colin often referred to it as a “labor of love”, as we would have to take time where we could get it to work on the songs. Later on in the year, Larry came to join us in the studio, and we got him to lay down acoustic guitar and bass tracks! I wanted him to put his stamp on the material he has shepherded so graciously over the years.

And so… that brings us to now! Larry and I have taken a band name- Whispered Words. We are on the cusp of a new stage in our musical partnership, with our first album wrapped and ready to release, and a new era upon us!!

Won’t you join us on the journey?

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