Family Ties was released by Wilburn and Wilburn in September of this year (2011) and brings fans of this duo new, exciting material in Gospel Music! This father and son team took on a distinct Country sound with encouraging lyrics. The lyrics span a broad range of topics, including themes on family, heaven, salvation and the faithfulness of God. If there are two subjects addressed the most on this Cd, it would be those of family (seen in Mama and Family Ties) and God’s faithfulness (Jesus Will, You’ll Still Be There and I Ain’t Given Up On Jesus). On this recording you will hear five solo’s from Jonathan Wilburn, four numbers featuring Jordan and two songs shared. This is one Cd you’ll want to be sure to add to your collection for the thoughtful contemplation behind each song selection and the messages contained therein … for our “family ties” not only bind us together, but carry us through times of trial as well as encourage and bless us each day that we live!
1. It’s A Shore Thing
Message: This tune has a play on words that uses an analogy of sailing on a boat as our journey from earth to heaven. The first verse talks about “riding out the storm” and “dropping our anchor” in a sunny harbor where there is sand to get “beneath our toes” – though the length of the journey ahead is unsure, there is one thing we can count on – it’s a shore thing! (There’s the play on words!) The chorus portrays a determined confidence that nothing on this earth (or sea) can keep us from reaching our destination in heaven. The waves will soon be a thing of the past, we’ll complete our journey and refuse to drift away from the course. The second verse compares keeping a ship to the trials of the faith – you’ll have to repair the sail every now and then and bail out some water, but with the Word of God as our compass – we’ll never go wrong. The bridge is my favorite part of this song! It simply says that if God doesn’t calm the sea when the storms rise, everything is STILL going to be alright because He is in control!
Other Comments: This is a great up-beat song to start a project with! The way all the lyrics revolve around the sea, ships and everything that goes along with them is evidence that this is a well written number as well.
2. Jesus Will
Message: If you’ve ever wondered if there are any consistent things in this inconsistent world, this song has the answer! The first verse talks about being discouraged by the times that we’re living in. Yet, there is hope if we still keep the faith and look for the good things in life because, “in a world where nothing is settled, there are some things that never will change.” The refrain reiterates the truth of Scripture by listing those very things that won’t change through Jesus. He will comfort the broken, answer the call of a searching heart, and love unconditionally. If we ever come to a time in our life when we feel that no one understands us, we can know for certain that Jesus will! The second verse continues those thoughts by reminding us that with Jesus – we are never alone and that He will remain to bless us. When a time arises that causes us to doubt everything we’ve ever stood for and feel confused – just face your uncertainty with conviction!
Other Comments: This little ballad will be a ministry to many – the words are just so practical for the world we live in today. Besides, who can’t appreciate be reminded that Jesus will never forsake us!
3. Devil Be Gone
Message: Written in first person, this number takes a stand against the Devil and all of his tricks and games he likes to play with those in the household of faith. In the first verse of this song, there is a struggle between holding on to the failures, regrets and lies that the Devil attacks you with and taking a stand on the ground that you’ve been bought, paid for and forgiven! The chorus is written in the view of “talking to the Devil,” where you are telling him to basically “be gone” from our lives and poses the question, “don’t you know I’ve been covered by a crimson stain?” Continuing, the lyrics tell him to take his sorrows and suffering back to where they came from because, (I love this next line!) – “You might as well leave me alone, Devil you ain’t that strong – the God I serve is greater…Devil be gone!” The second verse goes on to tell the Devil that you have had enough of him in your life, with the whole armor of God on, you’re going to put his scam to the test. One of his greatest weapons is acting like you’re already defeated, but this is where you claim that Christ is the one fighting for you and with him is victory!
Other Comments: The track music reminds me of an old Country style song you would hear in an old Western movie! You gotta love it!
Message: This is a personal song between a son and his mother, and how he thanks her for everything that she has meant to him in life. Setting up the scene, the first verse is written like a telephone conversation where the son is talking to his mother, sharing what he just discovered for the first time. The chorus questions, did he ever thank her for tending to all of his cuts and bruises as a kid? For just giving him her mothers love and praying for him late at night, when she could have been asleep instead. For all the things she sacrificed to give her child her best – the chorus just lays it all out there and closes with the tender words, “I love you, Mama.” During the second verse, we get the idea that the mother responded to her son, and what follows is his reply back to her. He points out that it’s just like her to pretend like she’s the one who made out in the end and shrug off everything she’s done. Well, the son disagrees and declares that she’s the best and how lucky he is because God placed her in his life…and for all the little things that she’s done he says one more time, “I love you…”
Other Comments: This one really touches the heart and captures the essence of a mother’s love. What a beautiful tribute to our mothers!
5. You’ll Still Be There
Feature: Jonathan and Jordan
Message: This Bluegrass tune begins with the chorus, which refers to our journey upon earth. Though the world is where the Devil tries to trap us, it will never overcome us because as the lyrics say, “You’ll still be there when the rest have come and gone.” The first verse reflects on how He has walked beside us every step of the way, been our solid rock – He will always hold onto us no matter what. After repeating the chorus again, the second verse heads into imagining that time when we will cross over the river into heavens bliss. When that comes, none other than Christ will be there to welcome us home, for He has always been the One to deliver us from harm. The bridge brings the song together and clarifies that when people fail you – Christ will still be there.
Other Comments: The intro to this one sounds like Triumphant Quartet’s song White Flag! LOL! Jonathan and Jordan harmonize on this one together, not featuring any particular part. Bluegrass (and SG) lovers will delight in this one – I know I did!
6. A Cross Became My Saving Grace
Message: The center of these lyrics point to the work of Jesus on the cross as the most important part of life. Verse one begins with a search that every human being embarks on in their life: trying to find someone who’s dependable, a friend to lean on every now and then, and someone who can help get them through. As the search progresses, the knowledge of sin is revealed and we add forgiveness and grace to the list of things searched for. The search ends with the chorus revealing the Redeemer who came to earth for ones such as this. Upon hearing of Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary, His grace is accepted and the theme points back to the title of the song. The second verse looks back on that day and recalls that the Holy Spirit has been with them ever since, guiding them through the trials of life. That day, grace was received and blinded eyes were opened. The bridge also turns back through the pages of history and repeats the old, old story of how Jesus bore the shame and agony, taking our place…becoming our saving grace.
Other Comments: This beautiful song stresses the importance of the cross in a believers life. It stands as a daily reminder of the stark contrast of what we were in our sin and who we are in Christ … reminding us too, of our constant companion – the Holy Spirit. I just LOVE this chorus and the bridge is powerful – putting the message right out there!!!
7. I John
Feature: Jonathan and Jordan
Message: This “quartet song” is a description of the New Jerusalem from the book of Revelation. Starting the song with the chorus once again, much of the lyrics are focused on that depiction from the last book of the Bible. Facts like the great multitude John saw in the air and how many gates there were in the city sum up the refrain. Jordan takes the verse that recounts when John saw the Lord in His glorified state, with eyes of fire holding twelve stars in His hand. Jesus tells John to write what he sees in a book, then we’re back into a different chorus, instead of counting gates, this time we’re numbering the angels! – 48 altogether!
Other Comments: The highlight of this song has to be at the two minute mark where Jonathan says, “Aw, move over a little bit son and let me show you,” – then, Jonathan and Jordan almost duel back and forth between the lines encouraging one another with a “c’mon” a time or two! If I’m not mistaken, I believe Tim Riley came on as a special guest on this song filling in the bass part!
8. Things I’ve Never Done
Message: “When I reach that city, I’m gonna’ do some things I’ve never done.” – is the last line of the chorus and the idea behind this up-beat number. The first verse begins with a question, “Have you ever thought about what heaven is going to be like?” The speaker in the lyrics goes on to mention that though there will be some who will stand in awe of the marvelous scene, that won’t be what he’ll be doing! The refrain lists the things that, as the title reminds us, the speaker hasn’t done on earth. Running down streets of gold barefoot, listening to stories about the Lord that never have been heard before and singing with a choir of angels, are just a few of the things that can’t be done down here on earth! The second verse continues the thoughts of the chorus. (So what would you do in heaven?) Talk to an angel, maybe? Meet Paul and Silas? Forget what it’s like to worry and not be able to remember pain?
Other Comments: What a fun song! I love the thought behind the lyrics. It’s amazing to think that there will be things we can do in heaven that we cannot do on earth! The thought makes my head spin! What treasures we have to look forward to … and this song reminds us of the glorious blessings we have in store.
9. Family Ties
Message: This medium tempo ballad talks about the most important part of life ~ family. The lyrics are written from a father’s point of view, and in the first verse the father looks at his children and questions why God has blessed him so much with them. He compares the features they inherited from both him and his spouse, and hopes that he can be the kind of father that God has called him to be. The chorus repeats those thoughts and adds that this father sees in his kids, God’s love dwelling on earth through family ties. In the second verse, the father looks back on his own childhood and recalls how his own parents made special memories…teaching, loving, growing…these are the things that he wants to do right for his family also.
Other Comments: The thoughts behind these lyrics are critical to keeping families together in this day and age. At the end of the song, we are told these things cannot happen unless we are centered on the Lord. With all the fractured families in our culture and around the world, it is nice to be reminded of the pattern our heavenly Father sat forth for the “family” – and what a special blessing God meant for “family” to be. Lovely song.
10. Let’s All Go Down To The River
Message: These lyrics beckon us to “go down to the river” and see the Man (Jesus) walk on water…as we invite others to come along, we declare that “all I want to see is this Man walking on the water.” The first verse excitingly tells us some of the things this Man can do: He can raise the dead, turn water into wine, make the lame walk, the dumb to talk and the blind to see! Once the chorus is repeated, we go into the second verse that openly declares Jesus as this Man we find at the river. Over any of the other things He does, the most important is that He washes our sin away and save our souls.
Other Comments: This number opens with a slow intro backed by a choir and then speeds up for the rest of the song. I love this old song, undoubtedly recorded by many artists over the years. At the very end, Jonathan adds some ad lib and finishes the track with singing – “I believe I see Jesus!” I love it!!!
11. I Ain’t Giving Up On Jesus
Message: “I ain’t given up on Jesus – cause He ain’t never give up on me.” These words are the first thing you hear from the last track on this Cd, and goes into what I think is the best song on the project! The first verse pictures a grandpa out in his field with a handful of parched soil in his hands, he says rain will come soon, and the speaker (the grandchild) notices that his grandpa is not concerned. I love the next line – “Hard times can shake your spirit, hard times can make a grown man cry – some folks wanna cuss their Maker, I say just give ’em time.” These thoughts usher us into the chorus that announces (in first person) that they are not giving up on the Lord, because He’s never given up on any single one of us. It continues to say nothing can come in between him and the Lord, because he’ll never give up on God. The second verse talks about the time when he fell to the bottom and couldn’t understand, but then… “should’ve known He was down there with me, waiting on me just to take His hand!” (I love that line: isn’t it the truth? He’s always there, usually waiting on us too!) The bridge confesses that he doesn’t always pass the test and he’s still working to be better, but in spite of that, he knows that he’s forgiven and on his way to heaven. I love the little phrase that says, “and I don’t care who thinks I’ve lost my mind.”
Other Comments: This is Wilburn and Wilburn’s first radio single from this project and was a perfect pick! It has a blues feel, and fits Jordan’s voice like a glove. Not only is it fast and fun, it has an encouraging message. When I listen to the words, I’m blown away by the eternal truth packed into four minutes!!!
I ain’t given up on Jesus
Cause He ain’t never give up on me
Ain’t nothing gonna come between us
I ain’t given up on Jesus.