In exactly one month, on Friday July 8 we (The SHIYR Poets) are putting on a little concert to mark the release of our EP RECOVER at House of James in Abbotsford, along with special guest Ryan McAllister. We only have room for 90 people so get your tickets early at House of James (available now—$15 for concert, $20 for concert and EP).
RECOVER is our take on some of our favourite cover songs. Some have asked “The SHIYR Poets are focusing on creating new folk-rock settings of the ancient Psalms in sequence. So why take a side trip from the songbook of the Scriptures to release an EP of cover songs from mainstream culture?”
Here's my answer
I reconnected with the Psalms during the season when I lost my words and stop writing songs because they contained the language of prayer that I needed in my season of disorientation and darkness. During this season I also connected with spiritual songs from the mainstream songbook. Perhaps it’s the way that much of contemporary Christian music and modern worship music censors out the songs of sadness and honesty, but I needed these songs just like I needed the Psalms.
I remember once when I was driving and pondering my struggles and Adele’s voice came on the radio. As she sang “Make you feel my love” I drove with tears running down my face. She was singing over me. I knew this was a Bob Dylan song and I thanked God for him as a songwriter…and I thanked God that a singer like Adele decided to cover his song to help it connect with me. For me this project was born in that moment…in gratitude for songwriters who serve us through poetry and melody and in gratitude for singers who provide us with fresh interpretations of these songs that help us remember why we loved that song in the first place.
We started doing “Make you feel my love” at our live concerts. Singing a song like this provided a few minutes of relief from the intensity of the Psalms. We absolutely love singing our new settings of the Psalms (we’ve never had so much fun singing sad songs!) however we are aware that the Poets songs are new, and while people love hearing new music, our favourite moments in concerts are usually when we hear our favourite songs sung by an artist we respect and love.
Singing songs that are already deeply loved in our culture feels in keeping with the main vision of the Poets. We love singing good poetry that is resonant with people—and virtually all these songs have resonated with people for decades already. They are already known—it’s not our job to make them known. It’s our joy to recover them…to reinterpret them in a way that is true to our style. In that sense, every song that the Poets sing is a cover song; we are covering the ancient Psalms and we are covering the songs of modern songwriters.
Come join us on July 8th and hear our version of Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn, Kansas and more.