A number of writers and artists have gently called to me that there is another way to life that is different from many of the messages in the world around me… There is a path where Life is in the very journey, as difficult as life can be, and where hope and joy and peace are fruit that ripen along the way. There is a strong part of me that doesn’t want to hear this, and many times will dismiss this idea outright-- my ego hates it. But that is where the ‘gentle calling’ keeps coming back to me in songs like this one.
Julie Miller wrote “By Way of Sorrow,” and having been a longtime fan of the Millers, I liked it when I heard it. But when I heard Cry Cry Cry cover the song, I found myself drawn to the song afresh. I was learning to play violin and sing more interesting harmonies myself, and those musical moments recorded by Cry Cry Cry showed me beauty in the song that drew me into some deeper meaning, that I had glossed over a bit in Julie and Buddy’s version.
Around that time, my sister Shannon came to visit, and we recorded a simple version that she sung here in the studio. Shannon reminded me of the expanded lyrics that Julie sang in her version with Karen Peris -- of the Innocence Mission fame. During this late winter into early spring, I had the idea to work on a recorded meditation of the song by creating four different versions. I wasn’t sure how they would sound, or what instruments I would use, but I hoped that as I sat and worked with the lyrics and the melody for one version, other ideas would present themselves. This project turned into the four different versions here, and I have added a tag to each version title to help listeners with what dominant instrument or feel is present in each.
Something that kept emerging for me was this idea that the Way of Sorrow is the Way, or the Path that I had been finding myself on over and over in my life. I related to the lyrics in the song that told me that yes, I had come by a difficult road and there was no denying that. But I also heard that love and care and compassion were always coming to find me on this road; and in fact, they certainly have. They have not always shown up at the time that I wanted, or in the form that I hoped. Many times, grace has shown up quite differently than I could have ever imagined. And like fruit that shows up in the summertime, it just seems to keep expanding, when I have the eyes to see, and open heart and hands.
Listening to the final four versions, and waiting with anticipation for the beautiful and incredibly inspiring cover collage by Amy Keenan-Amago, who also created the amazing images for the “New Heaven New Earth” book-cd, gave me a chance to reflect on something that I hoped might work as an overall blessing and thanksgiving for what ‘By Way of Sorrow’ has given me. I had been reading how Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was a modern hymn for many, and when I paired my reading of it with a simple acoustic version of Amy Grant/Michael Card’s “El Shaddai,” it felt like a good place to pause and just breathe.
These projects that we have been releasing through Bandcamp have come out of our lives-- Denise’s and mine. We’ve wanted to share this music with you in a way that we hope will give you space to breathe and reflect and simply Be. Please stay, look and listen to what’s here, and many thanks for coming by!
released April 18, 2015
Produced and Recorded by Wade Baynham at the Second Story, Durham, NC
Album Art by Amy Keenan-Amago
Album Art Photography by Denise Baynham
Very Grateful Thanks to Denise Baynham, Amy Keenan-Amago, Dale Baker, Mike Garrigan, Keith Matthews, Jack Hester, and Robert Bailey.