Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"from the salt land to the river"

I'm beginning the planning for my next solo project. I have not released a real record for about 5 years so as you can imagine I have a lot of songs to choose from. I didn't really write any songs in 2006-7 as I was very focused on my role in the newsboys. I decided to take a break from song writing during this period as it had become kind of an obsession. This was partly due to having to write songs not just for enjoyment or self-expression but to keep us all eating. Not really the best source of inspiration! I was, and am still, very inspired by an old Scripture written by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (New International Version)

5 This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

This idea of a journey from the desert to the river has been a rich source of inspiration for me since 2006 and has been the source of many conversations, sermons and songs. I am still making the journey Jeremiah talks about. Therefore, the working title of my new project is called "From the salt land to the river". I have about 20-24 or so songs that are inspired by this scripture and even though not at all intended, 10-12 of them seem to be really about the desert and 10-12 about coming to the river.

Nothing is set at all right now but I was thinking about a double album. 'From the salt land…..' is CD one and …To the river" is CD two. Most of the songs are written although I have writing sessions planned to finish them. So far i have co-written with Tyler Burkham, Jason Ingram, Nathan Tasker, Mark Byrd, Peter Furler, Bran White, Chad Cates, Tony Wood, Brandon Bee, Paul Mabury, Michael Neale and my wife Rebecca.

The current plan is to record the album this year in about 5 sessions of 2-4 weeks at a time. The first job is to get a template for each song with an acoustic guitar, a vocal and some sort of percussion loop. Then I want to re-visit the songs, send them out to a select group of people and re-work them where necessary. The next step then is to start to build the tracks with some more guitars, keyboards, and percussion and go through the same process of listening and critique. In session three I am planning on assembling a band to track 2-3 songs a day for 2 weeks and get the drums, bass and guitars done. Then take a break and listen. Then stage 4 is over-dubbing on the songs for about a month. Stage 5 is mixing and mastering. All throughout his process I will have the tracks in my home studio editing and recording different bits. My hope is to have it completed by Dec 2010 for a 2011 release.

A thought about performing the record live is to actually play the entire record from start to finish and call it Paul Colman 'from the salt land to the river' live. I would possibly do it in two halves as there is truly a feel change on the 2nd record.

Not sure of any of this yet but this is the current plan. Here are the working song titles: I've played a few of these live.

From the Salt Land
The end of myself (f)
Run from Love (f)
This house (f)
Someday (f)
Let me go (f)
Love is where you left it (n/f)
I miss you (f)
Rome is Burning (nf)
The Table (nf)
By the river (nf)
Religion town (nf)
Come on Love (nf)

To the River
Real (f)
Floodgate (f)
The sweetest Place (nf)
I don’t know why (nf)
He is Alive (f)
Meant to be (nf)
The Real Jesus (f)
Baby (nf)
Your Cactus Heart (f)
Who I am (nf)
Need U Tonight (nf)
Daddy (nf)
Call to me (f) *see.www.paulcolman.com for podcast of this song

(nf) = not finished
(f) = finished

I'm sure there will be changes to this list as I am currently experiencing a flurry of new inspiration.

I've also been thinking about a couple few media pieces to accompany the project.
Book: A 20 chapter book where each chapter is a song title from the CD. It would be the story of the songs and really involve a lot of back story and testimony.

CDR songbook: A CDR songbook of all the songs with videos of how i play them and chord charts for piano and guitar.

Videos: Short video clips that encapsulate the songs. Some would be on location i.e. Your Cactus Heart was literally inspired by a cactus in Texas. Check out the pic below. Have you ever been inspired by a cactus? :) Never thought I would be!

So anyway, that is what I'm thinking at this stage. I'd value your prayers. There is always a fair degree of self indulgence in creating a piece like this but I hope that there is a great deal of my motivation that is for the listener. I have found that when people share their stories it inspires me and helps me feel that I'm not alone. 'From the salt land to the river' is a story of faith, heartache, passion, disconnection, triumph and love. I guess it's all of our stories. I'm just writing from my experience.

Paul Colman
Franklin, TN, Jan 26, 2010


  1. It sounds like you have an interesting project in the works Paul. I will definitely be praying for you as you are working on this project & going on this journey. God bless!

  2. I'm praying for you Paul. Blessings as we wait for the finished project. Yeah!

  3. Paul,

    I do ministry at a minimum security men's prison. All my guys are just months from release going back home. I took a talk you did on this verse in Jeremiah out for the guys to listen to.

    They related so much to the thought of being out in the wilderness, having relied on their own strenght, and the need to turn to God and rely on His strength.

    I just wanted to let you know what an encouragement you gave to brothers facing a tough time in their lives.

    I'm excited about this new project. Will be praying for it, and you, and your family.

  4. I would have to agree.. you are a very complicated man. However, I've seen through the years that your willingness to be used by God has caused 1000's to connect with your ministry.

    Enjoy the journey to your next project !

  5. So now we get to look forward to some amazing blogs too. Love the way you have been able to manipulate the english language to resonate the truth .... His truth. In a way that is not full of cliche's and christianese but honestly in normal people speak stating what is, how you feel and that and Who's you are. Cuple that with the power of music and you have the power to be the fuel that propells others to Him.

    Humbling huh?

    So from one project based person to the other ... Go for it! And enjoy the ride and the ride giver.

    By the way, went through a season I dubbed, 'the end of me' too.


  6. Thanks for keeping your curious followers updated on your next project...

    And it really is a toss up for me between Jesus and Paul. (you didn't have that as an option)


  7. A very interesting and well planned out time ahead for you Paul. Remembering what you said in Toowoomba last year about finding where God wants you to be and am now seeing a bit of the fruition of that. It's excellent :-)

  8. I just spent a week with Grant Norsworthy and we spoke of you often. It was great to have him here ministering in our local churches. I am glad to hear that you are releasing a new work. My son and I are the ones that flew to Australia to see the reunion at Easterfest 2009. My son was able to play drums all week with Grant as he went from church to church. I would love to have you come out to minister here in California. Talk to Grant and he will tell you that we took care of him while he stayed in our home for a week.

  9. Paul, I was just saying to my husband last night that we haven't seen you in Perth, Western Australia for, well, a long time. And that I'd be there in a shot to hear you. Loved all the performances that I got to both solo and with the trio - including Saltbush in Katanning. You were humble and inspirational, truly God's servant.
    Will be praying for you on this next venture and trusting that as you serve, God will provide for you everything you need.

  10. I love the idea for the dual disc album! Also, what an amazing picture of the cactus! I can't wait to hear the song. :-)

    P.S. I would be SO interested in the book and the CDR songbook! Definitely a great idea.

  11. Put one of our World Vision Artist Associates on your list to write with: www.keeskraayenoord.com. I'm sure you will like it (including the Dutch Stroopwafels ;-)
    Anthea from WV Netherlands

  12. Hey! Nice blog you've got here. I especially like your "About me." I was reading that thinking that it's pretty similar to what I think. That being said, I'm sure this is going to be one of my favorite blogs. Can't wait to read more!

  13. Paul,
    I am so glad you are working on another album. I am a big fan. I love the show you did with the Newsboys. I have a photo that you autographed for me when you were at Spirit West Coast. Warren Barfield crowded in front of me to get your autograph. Do you remember that? Well it is great to see your page. If you need anything just let me know. God Bless!

  14. Heard "Your Cactus Heart" in concert and loved it! Can't wait to hear more:)

  15. Wow. I honestly have to say that I am more excited about this project you're working on now than many of the projects I've heard about recently. Can't wait to see how it turns out. Will be praying for you!