Dear Heart

Dan: “Dear Heart, do you belong to me, or do I belong to you? Look at all the trouble, you’ve dragged me into.”

This is a light-hearted (no pun intended) song about the effects of “following your heart.” Sometimes our hearts can motivate and strengthen us to pursue and achieve incredible things.  Other times though, and these are the times we’re singing about in the song, our hearts aren’t always the best guidance.  Emotion is a powerful and persuasive force, and it’s easy to let it be the one calling the shots when it shouldn’t.  Many times our hearts want what is contrary to what God wants.  Lyrically, this song is an audit of sorts to our hearts’ selfish wishes.

From a musical aspect, the song has a quirky, fun sound.  I played a Hofner bass (like Paul McCartney in the Beatles) and that made it enjoyable to write a bass line with some classic pop rock influence.

Dear Heart, do you belong to me, or do I belong to you?
Just look at all the trouble you drag me into.
I’ve heard it said to follow your heart,
But I’m starting to wonder if it’s gone too far.

Oh Heart, you’ve let me down,
Chasing love where it can’t be found.
Heart, we’ve fallen out,
Cause all of your emotions
Have led me to doubt. Tell me who’s gonna save us now?

Dear Heart, you’re in the wrong place,
Looking out for yourself no matter what I say.
And I know that you’re holding me back,
And it’s time for a change, so I’m giving you away.

Heart, you’ve let me down,
Chasing love where it can’t be found.
And Heart, we’ve fallen out,
Cause all of your emotions
Have led me to doubt. Tell me who’s gonna save us now?

La la la la la la la la la,
La la la la la la la la la (2x)

Heart, you’ve let me down,
Chasing love where it can’t be found.
And Heart, we’ve fallen out,
Cause all of your emotions
Have led me to doubt.

Only Jesus can save us now.
'Til I Got To Know You

Dan: Ever since that fateful day when Adam and Eve realized they were naked and hid from God in the Garden of Eden, we’ve had this innate sense that it’s better to hide our imperfections than to let them be seen.  Do we think we’re valued only when our best foot is forward?  Is it that we believe to reveal a fault or a weakness is to admit that we’re failures?   We act this way toward each other, and we act this way toward God. How many times does He have to tell us we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?

Our insecurities, if we let God have access to them, are so often our greatest strengths. When we get to know God as He longs for us to, we see just how perfect it is that He created us this way.

‘Til I Got To Know You – Lyrics:

I tried perfecting myself
Would You love me more without my mistakes
I tried not to ask for Your help
Cuz I didn’t want to scare You away

Yeah I was always worried
I was gonna let You down
Oh, it felt like I was standing
In between the lost and found

Til I got to know You
You, I was at a place when You found a way
To break through
Its true
I was just a skeptic
Til I got to know You, You

And its hard accepting Your grace
In a world where nothings free
For so long I was afraid
That You’d only see the worst in me

Yeah, I was always worried
You were gonna figure out
That I wasn’t what You wanted
Wasn’t worth being around

Till I got to know You
You, I was at a place when You found a way
To break through
Its true
I was just a skeptic
Till I got to know You, You

And you have always been on my side
I finally see it
It took so long to believe in it
Cuz I was always worried
I was gonna let you down
Till I got to know You, You
Till I got to know You, You, You

Till I got know You, You
I was at a place when you found a way
To break through
Its true
I was just a skeptic
Till I got to know You
Take Over Me

Coming Soon

The Redeemer

Mark: The Redeemer” has got to be one of my favorite Sanctus Real songs…not just on the new record…but ever. This is one of those tunes that Matt brought to the table last minute. It wasn’t quite finished lyrically, but I think we all knew there was something special in the song just waiting to come out.

It was the usual scenario that played out in the studio; our producer, Chris Stevens, challenged Matt to re-think some of the lyrics he had written and to try and find a way to clarify the message he was trying to convey. As usual Matt was able to step up to the challenge and knock it out of the park. I can’t remember what the exact original lyrics were, but I remember thinking that in about an hour’s time, the song went from feeling good with some thought provoking lyrics to a genuinely worshipful and passionate cry of the heart.

Listening back now, at least for the drum parts, I think the style of the song came from a place of trying to find the balance of a Tom Petty-style simplicity and U2-esque atmosphere with a wall of big toms and big guitars. This was definitely my train of thought when we tracked this song. It was all about that straight ahead, so simple it’s almost dumb yet brilliant, Steve Ferrone-type drum groove on the verses. Then that almost tribal warfare sounding thing between the toms and snare with the kick drum pounding out the quarter notes dance-club-style on the chorus, cool enough to make Larry Mullen Jr want to stick around to hear the next tune.

As a whole, this song feels like a worship experience waiting to happen every time I hear it. For me personally, the idea of Christ making everything new is just so breath taking, healing, powerful, and glorious… It’s honestly hard to put describe the feeling it gives me inside to think about how one day, everything that is wrong in life and in this world will be completely done away with.  Everything will be new, innocent, pure, and holy.

Having lost my Dad to cancer five years ago, the thought of Christ as the redeemer has taken on a much deeper significance to me. Everything that I’ve missed out on with my Dad dying unexpectedly at 47 years old (him not seeing my kids grow up, not seeing my sisters get married and have babies, him not getting to see how far the band has come…); all of this will somehow be redeemed. One day I will be re-united with my Dad again but this time it will be in a place that Jesus described as Paradise. Jesus will wipe away every tear, and we will hurt no more. We already see him doing these things in our lives every day in all sorts of ways.

It’s truly amazing…His ability to make anything new. It makes me fall in love with Christ all over again every time I think about it.

Matt: I remember once in high school being gathered for our weekly chapel service to hear the Athletic Director give a speech on the word, “Almost.”

In it, he discussed how with every 1st place winner, there is always someone who is almost 1st place…otherwise known as 2nd place.  His point was that we all experience a time, or many times, when we almost win or almost achieve a goal.  He used mostly sports analogies and as a musician, I remember thinking, “this is almost a great speech.”

Apparently it was better than I thought at the time though, because the words are still with me today.

Thinking about this concept of almost, I reminisce on all the things I’ve wanted to accomplish over the years but never did. Maybe I wasn’t skilled enough or didn’t have enough discipline. Maybe I was too weak or gave up too soon. “Almost” becomes a jabbing reminder of what I couldn’t do that someone else could.

I reflect on more recent times; life in the band and all the times we almost have a great show or almost land a huge opportunity. Family life and the days I’m almost a great husband or father, but instead am distracted and consumed by less important things.  Almost. Almost. Almost.  That word can be such a sad and dark cloud hanging over our heads when attached to our failures.

Think about the word “almost” as it pertains to our relationships with God.  Who is 1st place?  Who is almost?  Are we so driven to accomplish our goals that we forget to take the backseat and rely on God for help and direction? Imagine being face-to-face with Him and saying,

“God, thanks for trying.  You’re almost what I need, but I can do this myself.”

It’s a scary thought to tell God he’s not 1st place in our lives, not the answer, not the fulfillment of our needs.  Every time we choose to tackle life on our own however, this is basically what’s happening.  One of us will be 1st place, and the other will be the almost.  If we’re too stubborn to let go of control, we’re telling the almighty God of the universe that he’s the latter.  That’s bad news.

Here’s the good news.  In God’s infinite wisdom, he actually designed us to be almost.  We don’t have to be perfect and faultless.  We don’t have to know everything.  We’re not meant to act like we do.  2nd Corinthians 12:9 says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness (NKJV).”  Isn’t that a relief?

Our song, “Forgiven” came from this sort of revelation. We were talking as a band about the wear and tear of our insecurities and failures.  At the end of the conversation we realized that no matter what we are or what we’ve done, in this world, to other people, or even to ourselves, we don’t have to carry the weight.  It was a huge burden lifted to remember the truth behind the lyrics, “when I don’t measure up to much in this life, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ.”

It’s so hard to see past our weakness and failures sometimes, or rather the things WE think are weakness and failures. They can corner us…trick us into believing we can’t be used effectively by God. But it’s when he can use us most!

The message we hope to convey in this song is that in striving to live a life pleasing to God, we’ll always have weakness and failure.  We’ll always make honest, and not so honest mistakes. It’s part of being human. God’s great promise though is that we can always run into his arms.  We’ll always be forgiven.
These Things Take Time

Pete: During the writing process for Pieces of a Real Heart, Matt and Chris came down to work on one of the songs in Nashville.  After their writing session, I picked them up, and we went back to my house to hang out.  We began discussing all these big questions of life and came to the conclusion that we might never know the answers.  It wasn’t long before we broke out the acoustic guitars and started working on a song.

Musically, it’s one of the most fun, happy-sounding songs on the album.  Being huge Tom Petty fans, we thought it would work well as a musical tribute to one of our favorite artists.  Paul Reed Smith actually made a sweet 12-string electric guitar for me that fit perfectly in the song when it came time to track it in the studio.

Being in Sanctus Real, we have the opportunity to share our faith regularly with our audience, and people often expect us to have things figured out.  The reality, however, is that we don’t.  We have questions too.  Even though we’ll never know some of the answers in this lifetime, we have hope and faith that the Creator is in control. That nothing happens in vain, and everything, good and bad, can serve a purpose.  Matt started off with the line, “these things take time,” and the rest of the words instantly began coming together.  The song started speaking to us in a huge way.

I can’t even image some of the tragedies that people face in this life.  We encounter pain, but we can’t just give up. We have to move forward, and somehow things eventually get easier.  The song ended up being a good contrast of light-hearted music with a message that touches on a fairly heavy topic.

I hope that in some way this song can bring hope and a smile to people in the midst of chaos.

“These Things Take Time”
I want to know why pain makes me stronger
I want to know why good men die
Why am I so afraid of the dark,
but I stray from the light?
I want to know why you gave me eyes when faith is how I see
And tell me, is it easier to doubt
or is it harder to believe?

Oh there’s so many questions
stirring in me

And I’m wondering why
sometimes the truth ‘aint easy to find
I want to know all the answers
But I’m learning that
these things take time

How can success make us feel like failures,
And the harder we fall the harder we try
The more I have, the more I need
just to feel like I’m getting by

There’s so many questions
in one short life

And I’m wondering why
sometimes the truth ‘aint easy to find
I want to know all the answers
But I’m learning that
these things take time

We spend so much time chasing our tails
Hoping to find every last answer
to everything in life
So many questions, not enough time

But I’m still wondering why
sometimes the truth ‘aint easy to find
I want to know all the answers,
But I’m learning
These things take time
Yeah, these things take time

We all want to understand why
evil lives and good men die
On the way to heaven the truth unwinds
Yeah, these things take time

The Way The World Turns

Chris: Sometimes I wonder what people who listen to our records would think if they could hear our demos. Basically, a demo is a song idea in its most raw form. Usually it’s just us in a bad sounding room playing into a couple microphones and Matt doing his best to sing into a guitar amp and be heard over everything else. In this case I can definitely remember recording the demo for “The Way The World Turns.” It would have been sometime last summer, probably in June. Pete brought his lap steel with him and we were trying to figure a way to incorporate it into a song. I think I had just seen some band on the late show rocking some sweet Stratocaster guitars and so I had pulled mine out and was digging on the tone that day.

Now where the song really came from, I can’t remember, but that part usually involves Matt having a basic idea with some lyric and/or melody and then the rest of the band writing in some musicality. So that’s where my memory best serves me, on the musical part. I remember having the intro guitar part almost immediately and then trying to figure out a way with Mark to make it more interesting by changing the meter every couple bars. When I go back and hear the demo now, not too much has changed on the music side of things. I feel like the same Fender Strat that was on the demo is there and Pete’s slide on the lap steel is still rocking. On the lyric side though, it’s pretty obvious that Matt really honed in on what he was trying to convey. Writing a clear, yet artistic concept all packaged within a few verses and a chorus is by far the hardest part of writing a song.

“That’s the way the world turns” was an interesting phrase to me when we started writing this song. Mainly I feel people use this term when describing a feeling of hopelessness or despair. I.e. ‘Bad things happen, that’s just the way the world turns…’ Maybe everyone has a reason for blaming his/her misfortune on the simple precept that the world turns. I would be quick to admit that I’ve felt this way, I feel this way a lot actually. I throw my hands up in a moment of helplessness and say, well that’s just the way it goes – in fact, why wouldn’t that happen?

“Doubt and sadness have kept me in fragments, longing for a better life…”

And this is where the song turns hopeful…

“Cause you’re the hope of a new sunrise, breaking over a desperate life, and I keep turning to you”

The heart behind this song, in my mind, has always been to illustrate the contrast between the brokenness we often feel and the hope that God offers us if we’re willing to turn to him. It’s in this idea of ‘turning’ where the song really gets my heart. Yes this life has its difficult moments, but I’m going to keep turning to Christ.

“And I feel the current pulling me down, can’t keep the world from turning around. So I keep on turning to you”

I hear this song now and I’m grateful that, in my mind at least, it has accomplished a few things well… an honest lyric and a pretty good Strat tone, if I do say so myself! I hope you enjoy it.

(oh and huge thanks to our producer Chris Stevens for hanging in there with us on this song – in case you’re reading this)

Lead Me

Coming Soon
I Want To Get Lost

Jason Gray: (note from Dan) Jason Gray is one of our best friends on the road. His thoughts and songs are deeply profound. It was such a privilege to tour with Jason, and we’re very fortunate to have him co-write a song with us. And write a blog…

I got to tour with Sanctus Real in the Spring of 2009 and not only did I become a big fan, but they’ve become some of my closest friends. I’ve said it many times, but am glad to say it again that these guys are among the kindest and most generous groups of people I’ve been blessed to work with. These are the kind of guys you want to win because they work hard, serve others, and have a genuine love of the Lord and Kingdom things.

During the Spring tour I was working on songs for my upcoming record, Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue, and invited Matt Hammitt to collaborate with me. Together we wrote a song that many have considered to be one of the best from my new album, “Jesus Use Me I’m Yours” – a song I had started with a friend of mine before he succumbed to cancer, but couldn’t have finished without Matt’s help.

I got to tour with them again in the Fall of 2009 and was so grateful when Matt and company invited me to collaborate on a few songs they were writing for their new album, Pieces Of A Real Heart.

Matt had an idea for a verse and I jumped in.

Though neither of us are necessarily big fans of country music, we both recognize and appreciate the way that country music writers can take a phrase we think we know and turn it inside out to mean something else. So we started with the idea of getting lost. Usually being lost is a negative idea, but is there some sense in which getting lost is good?

Lately I’ve been trying to put my identity or sense of worth in anything but Christ. Easier said than done. We all have a tendency to look to our friends, our status, our jobs, and those we love to define us and give us value. If my wife is in a bad mood, I feel disrespected and rejected because I have put the burden of my fulfillment and happiness on her. If my song isn’t doing very well on the radio or if concert attendance is low, I can have a crisis of my identity wondering why I’m here and if I have worth because I’ve put the burden of my existence on my audience and career. If a friend doesn’t return my call I fear that I’m no longer cool enough for them.

You reading this have your own stories of rejection, fear, isolation, and disappointment that come from putting hope in people or things that fail or degrade us. We question our existence when we feel like we don’t fit the bill of what our peers and culture considers attractive, talented, or valuable. It can leave us feeling worthless, alone, and lost in the worst sense of the word.

But why should we feel this way when God tells us he loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us? Why would we question our worth when we read that God has numbered the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), knit us together in the womb (Psalm 139:13), and carved our very names in the palm of his hand (Isa. 49:16)? Why should we feel so worthless when God puts so such a high value on us?

There is a parable that Jesus tells that most of us have heard – it’s in a series of stories he tells about the Kingdom. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matt 13:44)

For years I thought that the man in the parable is me, and that I should give up everything in order to lay hold of the treasure of the love of Christ. This may be a true understanding of this passage, but it’s possible that another interpretation is even truer. You see, in the stories that precede this one, the protagonist (“the farmer” in the earlier stories, the “man” in this one) is always God. Is it possible that Jesus is telling us that we are the treasure that moved him to give everything he had – his very life – in order to recover us? That he considered us such treasure that it was his joy to give up everything to have us? Are we the pearl of great price? I believe it.

Would our lives look differently if we understood ourselves as God’s treasure?

The world works everyday to make us doubt and forget this – to forget who we are, our very identity. The world offers hundreds of ways to be lost outside of the love of Christ, and along the way we pick up all kinds of lies that try to name us and burden us with shame and feelings of worthlessness.

The only way to break free of all this is to lose ourselves in the love of Christ, to get lost in his arms where we discover that we are his beloved, that we are treasured even, and that we have purpose (Jer. 29:11)

Come away from the liars who try to tell you who they think you should be. Come away from the empty hope that anyone else can bring you happiness, fulfillment, or identity. Only One knows who you really are, and he calls you His treasure. Come and lose yourself in His presence, trusting Jesus when he says that “…whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Jason Gray
I'll Show You How To Live

Coming Soon
by Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Dan Gartley, Pete Prevost, and Jason Gray
Pieces of a Real Heart LYRICS and SONG STORIES
Keep My Heart Alive

Coming Soon