Notes on the Families/KS split and The Sacraments Project

This is a post by Justin Rose of Families and Sun Baron. He posted it to Facebook and I (Dave) yoinked it to put on our blog.

In the past month, I have been a part of two wonderful musical releases. If you have not taken the time to listen to them, please take some time and let me know what you think..

The first release was a split with the illustrious Kevin Schlereth. We first played with Kevin at a DIY punk venue above a laundromat in Milwaukee back in 2011. It was love at first sight and we have been sister bands ever since. Kevin and Jay create beautifully deep and honest tunes about faith and community. But the best part about them is that they put their money where their mouth is and live out their ideals in their daily life. There are two songs by Kevin Schlereth on this album: TRY HARD, which is an incredibly catchy song about making sure your life means something (with guest vocals by my favorite Evan Kunze); and AUTUMN NIGHTS, which is a jam about being mindful of the things you say and how they can affect others. The two Families songs on this split are both Bible stories: CLOUDS weaves three biblical stories about clouds together to talk about God's presence among his people; FRIENDS is about the story in 2 Kings 6 when the angelic army surrounds Elisha and his servant to remind them that God is with them and fights battles on their behalf. This little split is a wonderful album about God and his people and we are SOOOOOOOO stoked and honored to put it out with some of our best friends.

The second release is a compilation album about the seven Catholic Sacraments: Holy Orders, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, Baptism, Marriage and Communion. There is one track for each of the sacraments and, needless to say, this is a powerful album full of certified, theological bangers! I could not have imagined that this album would turn out so good, but everyone really brought their A game!

My band, Sun Baron, along with the help of Samuel Arias, Nate Irvine, Scott Daniel, Caleb Allan, and Dave Mantel, recorded a song about Holy Orders and focuses on how God uses His broken people to do amazing things in this world and the privilege it is to serve him.

Evan Kunze recorded a beautiful and honest song about confirmation ending with the lyrics: "but if you say that faith without works is dead then Iā€™m dying, but you say that resurrection comes and I believe"

Kevin Schlereth wrote a song about Anointing of the Sick and really got to the heart of the sacrament with the line: "May this oil be a conductor for your grace. May these hands fulfill the reason they were made"

Wind Words, with maybe my favorite track, sings a song about Reconciliation. Maybe the hardest one to sing about and yet the one we need the most in our world and country. Michael rightly points to Jesus as the heart of true reconciliation: "Behold, faith made sight. Brought from death to life in the arms of Christ"

Healing Pool, a band created just for this release under the leadership of Dave Mantel, wrote a praise and worship song about Baptism. I want to worship to this song every week. Dave beautifully crafts lyrics around the physical and spiritual aspects (the physical and metaphorical) of baptism. I find myself praying the line: "Lord, break down the religion I've constructed in my mind."

When I first saw that Ian Morley was going to be on this album I was surprised. Ian is amazing, but I would never have thought to include him. But how dumb I am! Ian wrote an amazing, theologically-strong love song about marriage. The lyrics are great, the music rules, the melody is catchy. I love this song. I can't think of many better things than listening to a good love song that makes me remember some of the reasons why I love my wife and Jesus at the same time! Summed up with these lyrics: I give you my heart, my future, I lay myself down. To lift up your head, to carry and be carried still."

The last track on the album is a beautifully simple and sweet acoustic track about communion written by the hella talented Laura McElroy. It is the perfect end to this album, causing us to slow down and reflect. Reflecting on this song, and album, I think that the last line beautifully sums up the friendship of this album, the purpose of sacraments, and life within the Church: "This communion bringing us in, closer to union with him. The shadow and mirror speak loudly of His great heartbeat. We celebrate as family."

Enjoy these albums and explore all the other music that these artists have released. (This could keep you busy for weeks!)