BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Jon Foreman: Limbs and Branches
By Hannah Goodwyn
Switchfoot lead Jon Foreman didn't intend to share his personal songs with anyone. But thanks to the encouragement from his bandmates, he took a big step and released them. A compilation of the best tracks from his solo EPs were put onto Limbs and Branches. Recorded in his home, these songs are as raw and organic as you'll ever get.
Foreman talked with CBNmusic.com about his solo endeavors, love for songwriting, and interaction with a divine God.
You have such success with Switchfoot. Why produce these songs as a solo artist?
I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid, The songs always were a vehicle to express myself and moreover to come to terms with the world around me. A lot of times, I’ve found that subjects such as sex, God, women, politics -- these are all subjects that are hard to broach in a conversation. But in songs I can say anything I want. In a song, I can travel to places that I’d never be able to get to go in conversations. I think gradually through the years the songs become your transportation.
The reason why I put these songs out solo is because they felt so personal and so broken that they wouldn’t feel honest singing with a full half back and drums in the rock band setting. You kind of have to sing them in their own setting where they belong. That’s kind of the reason why I put them out on my own.
What do you want people to get from these CDs?
The reason why I put it out was not for other people so much as it was for myself. They're just a simple statement of honesty. But it has been really encouraging to hear how honesty can be a breath of fresh air for some folks. I’m thankful that simple, honest songs can still pack such a punch.
What sort of specific feedback are you getting from this project?
A lot of these songs were written and recorded without the intention of ever releasing them to the public. That allows you to be much more honest. You’re not choosing your words with the idea that somebody in Ohio or Virginia Beach is ever going to hear the song. You’re singing for basically yourself, your God, and your best friends. So they become almost confessions in nature. Looking back at the songs now, it’s been a gift to be able to sing them for people who feel like they’re in a similar situation. We’re all broken people trying to figure it out. Music is a way to come to terms with pain. In many cases, that’s what these songs are attempting to do.
What do you do with the pain?
I’m not a counselor, but I can tell you what counselors have told me. I guess I was afraid of therapy for a long time and thought it was for failures. Then, I’ve recently got a different opinion. Many times the post-modern human soul is in this predicament that is highly unnatural, and so coming to terms with the oddity that is trying to be human in the 21st century is probably the first step toward figuring out where to go from there.
“Resurrect Me” is a powerful song about getting relief from pain.
Yeah. There’s a certain amount of death that we endure every day. The miracle is not that someday we finally truly die, but that we’re actually living and waking up after it every day. This is a song that acknowledges the pain and asks for rebirth. It’s almost a song where I’m yelling at God a little bit. There are things in my life that I’m angry about, that I’m frustrated about, and I feel like these are issues I’m still dealing with. When I acknowledge the anger, frustration, and pain and then move on, it is a healthy experience.
“Your Love is Strong” is an honest version of the Lord’s Prayer for today. How do you feel God’s love strong in your life?
I feel it when all the chaos is pushed aside. The greatest fear that we have in the 21st century is to be alone in stillness. Yet, that’s usually where -- in the terrifying places -- when I seem to have run-ins with God.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for LivingTheLife.com and CBN.com. She also writes regularly for these sites.
For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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