I once saw this woman at a supermarket, it was some gold light summer evening, and she was picking out watermelons. She was on the side of one of those big cardboard corrals the supermarket attendants always seem to place right in the way of grocery carts. The bin was freshly full of the light, dark, light, dark, green shades of the summer melons. She was testing what the watermelon sounded like when her fingers struck the think jungle rind, and she was turning the rightly tuned melons over in her hands looking for bee stings. (That means the pink fruit is sweet.)

This got me thinking about taking time. Focusing on each moment of a task. After seeing her slow movements directed towards a right summer evening treat I started to think about writing. If I am to write a song it must mean something to me more than stock lines I could jot down so I had more songs to choose from when playing a show or recording a record.

Towards the end of this cycle of songs that now have been collected into ‘To The Big River’ I came across two pieces of music that I kept listening to over and over. There is a moment in one, ‘Paper Cities’ by Other Lives where I feel as if I was driving over a ridge into the gold, red light of a rising sun. The other, Master And A Hound by Gregory Alan Isakov feels like I’m standing face to face with a woman I’m in love with and it’s snowing and I am alive.

So there I was sitting in my room watching the play count on my iTunes skyrocket while I imagined myself in these beautiful stories, just from the texture of these songs. I had grappled with the idea of ever being in love again and had decided that one day, maybe that could be a reality in my life. All I want is to love and be loved.

This isn’t just a longing for that one person that someday I’ll want to see every moment, that I’ll write songs for because I can’t get anything else to come to mind when I sit down to write, that I will stand in the snow with and hum the melody of that beautiful song. It’s also a longing just to love people; to engage and care every day.

I have only written one love song in my life. It was for a girl I had dated and I even made her a music box that would play the song from my Dad’s old Discman (that I hid inside the painted cardboard and colored paper). One night, late in the dying of last summer, I was thinking about being in love as I was fixing myself a mug of almond tea. I was looking at the art on the tea box and reading this fact about almond trees: It’s the white flowered trees that make the edible almonds, and the pink flowered trees make bitter tasting almonds. That night, I went to bed thinking about those contrasting colors and how the simple white was the beautiful, not the overly made up pink shades. When I woke up I was thinking about God, and some woman out there that maybe I will marry.

Maybe she was reading a book, or riding her bike, or eating an orange, and then I started to think about what being in love is like and how life feels different; like your heart is a horizontal plain, like a deep green garden, that expands and explodes from your ribs and it feels like it will go on forever in ivy and watercolor shades of reds and yellows and purples.

I then realized that if I am to be in love, I want it to be moments of expedition, together.

Moments of revealing the wonder of a glorious world all around me to that one person that I spend my time and focus on, the textures, the colors, the glory of God’s goodness and creation in our lives, together. It excites me to think of falling in love and being able to drive someone to the lake that catches the mountains reflection and say “Look what I found! Look what I have been seeing by myself. Share this with me.” That feeling is what Canyons is all about.

Canyons is about sharing our love with other people in the wonder and glory we have experienced. It is about quieting ourselves enough to let another person be a part of this. It’s a love song I wrote to no one, so everyone can have it and share it with that person in their life.

Maybe I am hopelessly romantic. But that’s ok because writing a song like this feels full of life, full of hope, and that is exactly why I write music.

The other night we were hanging out at my parent’s house after walking through a dry riverbed, and our brilliantly talented friend Luca Venter suggested shooting a video of us playing Canyons. My parents are to be moving in the next months so the thought of a video of us singing this song of love in the kitchen I grew up in seemed too beautiful to pass up.

Along with this video we have recently released our album ‘To The Big River.’ I know, you’re probably thinking, “ok we get it man, you have an album out.” But if you are looking for it, it is now on iTunes and Amazon and anywhere you might like to find music. For now the album is only available digitally, and I think that’s just great, because people all over the world might randomly stumble upon it instead of people having to hunt us down at little shows to buy our music out of my backpack. You can find links to it on our discography page

In other news, we have a beautiful opportunity tomorrow night to play a benefit show/album release at the Acoma Offices of our good church TNL in Denver. All the money will go to a restaurant called Café 180 that shares good meals with the struggling and only asks that people pay what they are able. I think that’s a beautiful way to live a life. We are so excited to be a part of this and we would love for you to join us. you can find details on The TNL website. We will be playing the songs from the album as well as a brand new song titled “Indian Summer pt. 2” It’s a barn burner.

And finally, over the past year and a half I have been blessed to be accompanied by the brilliance of my two best friends Marshall Usinger and Dan Garza. I am so excited to officially announce that our best friend Crisanta Baker has joined us. She is one of the most talented and wonderful people I have ever had the joy of knowing and I hope you get to know her too. It will make your life all the better. You can see new photos of us (with her) on the media page

I hope to see you soon.
I hope you will look outside and see the green leaves.
Good day.

jay j

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