Today pre-orders start for my new record, Lights of Distant Cities. Hard for me to believe the Oct 22nd release is just 3 weeks from today. It’s always so interesting to me to watch how the writing and recording process unfolds, how the songs end up finding a common thread between them that weaves some sort of theme. In ways, I think Lights of Distant Cities turned out to be an answer to my last record, Ocean. If Ocean was a record that sort of embodied an idea of longing for something, I think Lights of Distant Cities embodies the idea of finding it…or perhaps, rather, being found. One of my favorite things about the writing and recording process is that you just sort of put your head down and pour out until it’s done, and then sit back and try to reconcile what it all means…how it all represents and speaks to what life has been the past few years. The title itself is a nod to all that draws us forward in life, all that stirs our hearts and peaks our imaginations in a way that reminds us that there is still so much to be hopeful for, even in a dark and confusing world. I think maybe that’s the thing I keep coming back to in almost all of these songs…the goodness of God in the middle of everything, as the foundation for everything. I often find myself asking God why things are the way they are, why this world can seem so terrible some days and so beautiful on others; but there is a basic and simple truth that the German mystic Meister Eckhart wrote in the 1300s that I keep coming back to… “if the soul could have known God without the world, God would never have created the world.” Simple. Never more true. Like the mystery that lays out before us in lights of distant cities that we’ve dreamed of and never seen. It pulls us forward into that mystery and reminds us that there is indeed so much to hope for.