Over the last decade, Charlie Hall has become both a renowned worship leader and a voice for the lost, the broken, the unlovely. He’s back with a triumphant new record, The Rising, his fifth sixstepsrecords release, an album “about movement toward God and God’s movement toward us.”
This theme, he says, “encompasses my last two years—putting some difficult things behind and moving toward life and hope and faith and embracing God in every situation.” Those difficult things include “a few really rough years of marriage” that found Hall “wrestling through it and watching God heal and bring a lot of redemption to my marriage.”
“I learned so much about how to love my wife, as well as so many pictures of Christ’s love and embrace of us,” he says. “Just taking someone as they are and loving them like that, not trying to control that, but letting them bloom inside your love for them.” Echoes of his own brokenness and struggle, and the grace that’s met them, have always been a defining trait, and part of the appeal of his music.
Passion and sixstepsrecords founder Louie Giglio says, "Charlie Hall's passion to make the journey of worship and the healing found in Christ accessible to people inside and outside the walls of the Church is beautifully displayed on The Rising. This new collection of songs is not only musically alive and fresh, it oozes from its core the timeless message of the one who raises and restores our lives."
Those familiar with Hall’s music have come to expect a mix of songs for listening and songs for singing, and this album is no different. But, he says, “even in the things that everyone can sing that I write, I’m hoping there’s more, that the lyrics drop inside you and change the way you sing.” His goal, he says, is to write worship songs “to make the you think more than a happy Sunday morning song. I’m not thinking, ‘I want the world to sing my songs.’ I’m thinking, ‘I want to process my life spiritually and wrestle in these songs—and offer my personal journal to the church.’”
The Rising finds Hall’s longtime bandmates again making significant contributions to both the songs and production. Guitarist Kendall Combes produced the record, and the band wrote collaboratively on many of the songs. Because they have been hitting the road with Hall for between six and thirteen years, “we have a good understanding of and respect for each other,” which he says “forces an honesty in trying to find a lyric where anyone who knows me would say ‘that’s true about him,’ or ‘he’s trying to find that in his life.’”
On the title song, he revisits Psalm 126, which “talks about people who are freed and felt like they were coming back to life,” he says. “My favorite line in the song is the bridge: ‘our clenched fists raised slowly open to the God who saves.’ I like that picture—a fist holding onto things it should be letting go of. The God-ward thing is to lift it and open it toward God.”
”Yesterday Is Gone” is drawn from Psalm 51, a recounting of David’s repentance and restoration. Explains Hall, “It’s a way of saying over myself and over people that in God’s eyes, the past is past and not able to be recalled. We have a tough time letting things go, but He has the ability to forget.”
The last track, “Sleep and Dreams,” was written for Hall’s children first (“It’s basically a prayer for rest in Jesus,” he says). But as the band worked through the song, “it started to become this multi-layered prayer for peace over trouble children and orphans—speaks this blessing and peace over people.” Other tracks include “Constant,” which has been part of the band’s repertoire for a while, and “Lamp,” which he says is about inviting God to change and guide us through the truth of Scripture.
Hall senses a calling to those both inside and outside the church: “ I think I see myself as going to wash people with truth, bringing hope with me to people who may feel like outsiders. I want to come free people, to help break through a blockade so they can sing and talk to God.” With The Rising, Hall has crafted a new conduit through which he hopes listeners with do just that.
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