I'm excited to announce that I have a new single coming out January 18, 2019 called, "Lead Me." This is the second song I recorded with Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) at Gray Matters Studio in Nashville, TN this past summer. This song features guitar, atmospheric synths, some cool drum programming and cello played by Matt Nelson (Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Natalie Grant, Jars of Clay, Nichole Nordeman). It's a beautifully haunting song that sonically captures what the lyrics describe as a desire to be led into something new. This is the perfect song to release into the wild in the new year! I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
This song will be available to stream and download on January 18, 2019 on my website, Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Google Play, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube, and anywhere else you get your music online.
It's safe to say that 2018 had both the worst moments of my life and also the greatest moments of my life. How in the world does that happen?! I was taken beyond what I could handle (If anyone tells you that you won't be given any more than you can handle, it's a lie). There was tears, rage, frustration, anger, hopelessness, fear, and broken bones (I broke my hand). If I knew what 2018 had in store in terms of the bad stuff, I don't think I could have gone ahead with it. At the same time, for the first time in my life I felt like I was set on my own path...finally! I was writing music at a prolific rate. I was meeting amazing people who are doing the same thing. I got to make some friends in Nashville and record music in a space where I felt like I belonged. I had been dreaming about doing that for as long as I can remember. For me, this past year has summed up what life is all about: the good and the bad all wrapped up together.
So how in the world do we navigate a life like that? One of my favorite moments in the life of Jesus is when he's talking to a bunch of people and he uses this phrase..."you may have heard it said, but I say to you..." Phil Collins once wrote (yes, I'm referencing Jesus AND Phil Collins - that's how I roll!), "We always need to hear both sides of the story." There's a story we've all bought into that narrates our life for us. It dictates how we view and live our lives. We can't control the events of our lives. Things happen. But what or who we listen to to make sense of it can have a world of difference. I heard both sides of the story this year in my journey, but the further I went along the story became a little more clear and this is what I started to hear: "You may heave heard it said that you have to stay strong, but I say to you it's OK to be weak." "You may have heard it said that you have to be the one to clean up all the messes, but I say to you be still and ask for help." "You may have heard it said that this is hopeless, but I say to you, it'll get better - hold on."
As I look back on this past year and try to make sense out of this story, I feel like there has been a guide, a narrator, an author even who is more good than the other (I know that's bad grammar but I think it captures the idea best). Stuff is going to happen. The good and bad are all mixed together in our experiences of life, but there is something deep in me that wants to hear the good story. It must have sucked to have been Frodo bearing the weight of the ring, but that is ultimately told as a good story. Darth Vader was the most terrifying villian in the galaxy, but that is also ultimately told as a good story. Harry Potter literally had a mark on him his whole life, but, again, that ultimately is told as a good story. The good and bad are all there. It's who is telling the story. Who is making sense of all these things?
You may have heard it said that the story is all for nothing. But I say to you, there is more. May The New Year tell us a better story of who we are and what we can be. Hold on, it could be terrifyingly awesome!
Happy New Year!
Check out this video talking about the backstory to the song, We're Alright.
Hey everyone! The first song we recorded in Nashville this past summer is coming out Oct. 16! I am so excited to share this song with you! I had the help of producer Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay). This song has a little bit of a new style for me, but I think you'll find all the ingredients of my music in here. I can't wait for you to hear it!
Tell your friends and families about it...and tell them that it's gonna be alright. I think that's a message we all long to hear, know, and feel these days. Whether you're a student dealing with the pressure of fitting in...whether you're in your 20's trying to figure out what to do with your life...whether you've got a young family and are desperately trying to keep it all in balance...whether you're an empty nester discovering who you are again...whether you're nearing the end of your life and wondering what is beyond...we all long to be told that it's gonna be alright.
This song came out of the last year of life for me and my wife as everything came to a crashing halt with my wife having some significant health issues that could not be identified. We both needed to hear over and over and over again that it was going to be alright.
I hope that this song (and all my music) is the sound of peace ringing through the terror reminding you and helping you to feel that it's going to be alright.
My new single, Learning the Hard Way, is now out! Check it out and, if you wouldn't mind, share it!
This is a cover of a Gin Blossoms song that I recorded earlier this summer. I don't usually do covers, but this song just got me because it really helped to give words to what my wife and I have been experiencing this past year. She has been dealing with an undiagnosed illness for a year and it has hit us hard. Our life was put on hold as we were bounced around from doctor to doctor, having test upon test run. All the while fighting with doctors and insurance to take us seriously. It pushed us beyond our limits - to the point where one day I threw an ink pen at our kitchen cabinets and immediately punched a wall and broke my hand. Not a great thing when you're a guitar player!
Throughout all this we've had our junk laid out before us and have had to deal with some hard things - not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and relationally. I fully believe we're better for it. I also believe you can't get to true goodness without going through hell. That just seems to be the way it goes. I'm not sure there's any other way to learn than the hard way. So that's why this song stuck out to me and why I felt compelled to put my own version of it out there.
When I asked my wife what the cover art for this song should be she said it should be ink splatter - like what our kitchen looked like after I threw that pen. She said that moment was kind of the epitome of our experience this past year. There might have been easier ways to learn about expressing feelings and frustration than breaking your hand and splattering ink all over the kitchen. But, it's what I needed and it was definitely the hard way.
I hope you enjoy this song and I hope you won't be afraid to go through the darkness to get to the dawn. It's not fun. It's not what we would choose. But it's good. And goodness seems worth it to me.
I've got a new single coming out in September to tide you over until we've got tunes ready from Nashville. Here's a teaser from the cover art! Stay tuned for more details!
NEW Spotify Playlist for SEPTEMBER!
Check out some of the music that is inspiring me these days. It includes indie-pop and singer-songwriter groups like The Band CAMINO, Fickle Friends, Paperwhite, The Collection, Wilder Adkins, and more! Follow this playlist and enjoy it all month long (heck, for the rest of your life if you want!)
Summer is still with us and while it is I've put together a playlist for those late afternoons and evenings as we're grilling out, cruising down the road, chillin at the beach, or hanging out with friends.
This playlist includes some of the artists I've been listening to lately. Pop bands like Flor, Walk the Moon, and KYKO. Singer-songwriters like Matthew Perriman Jones, Hannah Miller, and Vienna Teng.
So get your get your headphones on, get the stereo cranking, or tell Alexa to get it together and play the Jeremy Hoekstra August 2018 playlist. You're gonna love it!
This past week I had the awesome opportunity to head to Nashville, TN to record a couple of songs I have written. I was working with musician and producer Charlie Lowell from the band Jars of Clay at Gray Matters Studio. It was a great time hanging out with a super talented artist and an even better human being. We made some music and talked about life and inspirations and it was so good. Nashville is a great city where music truly rules. It’s most famously known for country music but most other genres exist there as well. Charlie and I were not working on the next Darius Rucker single (but that would be sweet!). Instead, we were developing more of an indie sound for these songs. I’m a huge fan of music that creates space and wide soundscapes - something that your soul can sink into. We were working with synthesizers, drum programming, and mandolins to find something like that for these songs. I think we created something cool that has a fresh feel but is still rooted in the organic.
So one of these songs is a brand new one and the other is a super old one. Interestingly, they both are relevant to my life right now. This past year has been the most difficult and gut-wrenching year of my life. My wife, Lindsay, has been sick with an undiagnosed illness that has caused our life to shut down. She has not been able to work for about a year and has been basically bedridden for months. We have seen doctor after doctor, been to the ER countless times, have had test after test run, even been to Mayo Clinic with no real answers. All of this has pushed us beyond our limits in terms of what we have been able to handle emotionally, physically, and spiritually. On top of that, all of the junk of our lives has been brought to the surface through all of this. When that happens you have one of two choices: drink or deal with it. I have chosen to deal with it (but have been thankful for friends to talk with over a beer or bourbon). As Lindsay and I have simply tried to survive, we have come to realize that we don’t want to remain where we are and who we are. We feel like there has to be something better on the other side of this. So the only option is to move forward. This can also be a terrible place to be especially when you don’t know where you’re going and all you know is who you HAVE been. But we can’t stay in this place anymore.
So the songs I’m writing now are coming from that place: a scary place where we’re trying to hold on to the smallest sliver of hope - trying to believe that there is something better and more beautiful around the next corner. The new song we’re working on says, “I believe that all of this is gonna get better…it’s alright we survived in the half-life/it’s alright we can thrive and we’ll get by/we’re alright we’re alive in the bright light/we’re alright we ignite in the good fight.” The old song says, “You could keep me here but it’s not the same anymore…Lead me into here/breathe in me I feel/and I will believe/and you will see.” There’s hope and there’s no other choice but to move forward because where we’re at and where we’ve been is just not satisfying anymore. There’s got to be something more - There HAS TO BE.
I’m really honored and excited to be able to work with people like Charlie on songs that are so important and personal to me. We’ve got some more work to do on these songs, but I can’t wait to share them with you! I hope you’ll feel a little more connected with me through them, and I hope they might speak something to your heart as well.
Hang in there with me and I’ll keep you updated as we go!
I'm excited to share this lyric video for the song, "Taken," off my new EP! What I love about this video is that each shot captures this idea of being captivated or "taken" by something grand. That is what this song is about: coming to a place where you can't help but move forward because something amazing has taken hold of you. There's no other option but to follow it because everything about it captivates you, makes you curious, and just seems better than where you were at. As you watch this video and listen to this song, I hope you'll experience just a little bit of that. Let me know what you experience when you watch this!