The first song on the “Covers of Comfort” CD is “Arms of Love”, and one of my favorite Amy Grant songs. It is on her 1982 album “Age to Age”.
“Arms of Love” is my “go-to” song for strength in tough times. I believe that if prayers are songs, this is one of my favorites. Before our “Circle of Comfort”, I added it to a playlist I call “Inspiration”.
But there’s a little more to the story behind why this song is on the album. And, why there even IS an album.
Beginnings, Encouragement, and “Arms of Love”
Ron asks me to come to Austin to record some of my original songs in his recording studio. I think this is such an incredible opportunity, and I have never done anything like this. So of course, I am excited! However, when I actually get in his recording studio, and everything is set for me to begin recording one of my songs; I choke. I am so nervous I actually forget the words and chords to what I had written. I am so embarrassed, and I feel bad for leading Ron to believe I was ready to record. Most of all, it is all a little overwhelming!
Here I am in this professional recording studio, playing a piano Ron has borrowed from a friend, and seeing these amazing photos of the work he has done. It’s one thing to see a great photo of Cher in concert on someone’s studio wall. It gets a little intimidating when the guy ready to record YOUR song is sitting behind her in that photo playing the drums! I feel bad, and have no idea how this professional musician will react to my failed attempt at recording.
A Surprising Reaction
Well, there is nothing that could have prepared me for what happens next. Instead of Ron saying I wasn’t ready to record (or wondering if he may have made a mistake asking me to) he kindly asks me what songs I like to sing. I tell him I have always loved Amy Grant and have sung with her for many years. He asks me what song of hers I like to sing.
Now, normally I could have a hard time deciding WHICH song, but I have been singing “Arms of Love” to myself a lot lately, so that’s what I say. Ron loads the accompaniment track, asks if I would like to sing it, and shows me to the microphone.
A “Saint” At The Console
Ron doesn’t let me leave his studio feeling defeated. He doesn’t judge my inexperience, or dismiss my worth because I am scared of doing something I have never done. Rather, he simply doesn’t doubt there is something “else” to give when your first try fails.
Ron records it, we listen to it, and I sit there completely amazed by the process. Since I was a child, I wondered what this would be like, but never knew how it could be possible. Also, I’m feeling pretty lucky to be in the care of this kind-hearted soul who is able to mend a broken spirit.
Ron doesn’t give up on me, even though sometimes I do. He doesn’t coach me, or compare me to someone he thinks I should emulate. I even tell him I always feel like I don’t fit in anywhere musically because I don’t think I sound like anyone. He says that is actually good, and I shouldn’t waste time looking for a place to fit in with others. In addition, he makes me feel like “I” am enough. Imagine that!
One Song Leads To Another
“Arms of Love” is the first song we do. Just playing around in the studio to get me more comfortable with recording. After “Arms of Love”, we take other songs from my “Inspiration” playlist and work on those as well. We record many takes of several songs.
I truly appreciate Ron’s patience. And, he has the courage of a warrior too, because I know he has his hands full with this insecure girl. Most of all, I am truly grateful he never gives up on me.
Realizations and Inspiration
After a while, we realize we have the bones for a whole album of “comfort music”, and we think it might be fun to record something – just for us, and maybe my parents. We honestly never set out to create the “Covers of Comfort” CD, but in a way, this doesn’t feel like an accident.
While we are finding comfort and inspiration in these songs, we start to wonder if other people would too. We have both been through a lot, suffered the loss of friends and family members, and (overall) had our limits tested. Yet MUSIC is a familiar friend we are both able to relate to, and find peace in.
Calling On Friends
We wonder if a CD of this kind of music (like “Arms of Love”) would be of value to others, so we ask our friends, Wally Minko and Kurt Griffey. They are both very supportive of the idea and want to help in any way they can. Wally and Kurt had played with Ron in the Gregg Rolie Band, and have been close friends for many years. And of course, Kurt and I have been friends since the fifth grade, so I’m feeling our idea is in the hands of some pretty capable (and compassionate) people.
Throughout this journey, it’s easy to lose track of how many times I sit in disbelief when I see all the places where God’s hand is in everything we do. Ron and Wally call some of their other musician friends, and they are all more than happy to do whatever is needed to make this happen. Ron would send me rough mixes with their tracks as they were added to each song, and I am literally in tears when I hear what each of these amazing musicians have created. I still can’t believe I get to sing with THEM!
Talk about a “Dream Team”!!!
I could never count the hours Ron works tirelessly and SO patiently producing, recording, mixing and performing on the album, creating the website, driving to and from Texas multiple times to work on details in Iowa, being a photographer – and that’s just a few of the many things he does to make this happen. Did I mention he is a saint?
Our motto is Every one has a story, and every story has a storm.
Therefore, that’s why our version of “Arms Of Love” opens with the sounds of a thunderstorm. Wally Minko’s stirring grand piano and keyboards weave beautifully between the rolls of thunder, and the lyrics of faith.
Handing Over The Reins
So, friends, that’s how it all began. Because of love, encouragement, and faith; the “Covers of Comfort” CD was created to offer a shelter to those who believe in the healing power of music. And it all starts with “Arms of Love” (both literally, and figuratively).
In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with this thought:
To find where God intends for you to be, it’s not enough to hand Him the reigns. You have to let go of them too!