A couple of weeks ago, my friend Gareth Hides released his album Rescue as his third music project in recent years, following on from a couple of shorter EPs and a debut album in 2014.
I’ve met Gareth a couple of times in person and been Facebook friends for the last five years so I know that he is a man after God’s heart. This is why I wanted to get his album straight away now plug the heck out of it.
This blog is not a review of the album in any way but I will say two things: if you a) like Keith Green and b) want to be refreshed by the backstory, lyrical directness and production quality of an album, this will cap your weekend with joy and you should go and buy it immediately!
I met with Gareth last week and asked him a few questions:
For anyone who hasn’t heard your latest album yet, could you explain its title?
“Rescue” is the album’s message and mission statement. I’ve got a passion to use music to communicate the message of the Gospel to people who don’t yet know Jesus. To be ‘rescued’ is the single greatest need of every human everywhere, whether they know it or not. This was the mission statement of Jesus: to seek and to save the lost. He came on a rescue mission for broken and sinful people like you and me. And He gave up His perfect life on the cross so that we could be forgiven and reconciled back to the Father. He rose again, defeating sin and death. And one day soon He will return. The question the opening song leaves us with is, “Will you be rescued on that Day?” It’s my prayer that the album proclaims this Good News loud and clear and calls people to respond.
What’s your favourite track and why?
Tough question – there are several favourites! I love “He Was Despised,” a song based on Isaiah 53, the beautiful Old Testament chapter where the message of the cross prophetically shines through perhaps most clearly. I’d wanted to write a song based on Isaiah 53 for a while but didn’t want to force anything. Then, during the afternoon of a retreat day I was taking, as I sat down with my guitar, the song formed quite naturally – a gift from God! I love any song that points people to the cross of Christ!
What was the hardest part of the process of writing/recording?
I don’t really know. At the start, I wasn’t planning to record an album but a smaller EP (about 4 songs). Having recorded my first album in 2014, I knew how big a project it was to make one!! I’d taken the decision to record at a studio in Ukraine, on the recommendation of a friend of mine. The idea sounded crazy! It probably was, but knowing some dear friends out there in Lviv, it was great to be able to be away from London. I was joined by my friends Manuel and Elmar from Germany and I was amazed with what we managed to get done in 3 days – 9 of the 10 songs!! The hardest part was probably in the ‘polishing’ – knowing the songs were pretty much finished but waiting for the mixing and mastering which took many months. It’s such a blessing to make an album independently, with all the creative freedom it affords, but it means that all the management and responsibility of pulling everything together falls to you! That was hard at times.
Who have you been influenced by?
Lots of people! A key influence for me, both in his life, message, and music has been Keith Green – who, incidentally, you likened the sound of the album to shortly after you’d heard it. I admire Keith’s boldness and the cutting edge of his lyrics. On first hearing his music, I was thrown a bit by the classic late-70’s Pop-Rock production on the tracks which were very much ‘of their time’ – but a sound I have come to love and appreciate. I’m glad I persisted, as his heart for sharing the Gospel through music shines through his powerful songs. I’ve also been influenced by a man that time (and most of the Church) has forgotten – Charles M. Alexander. He was an American singing evangelist at the turn of the 20th century who became known through leading the music at the evangelistic campaigns of R A Torrey and as an editor of hymnbooks. One of the songs the Lord really used during their 1905 6-week mission at the Royal Albert Hall in London was “The Glory Song”, a version of which features on the album.
How are you selling the album?
The album is available on all major online platforms to stream and download. Physical copies (with 5 bonus tracks) are also available to purchase from the K180 website (the ministry I work with) – www.k180.org/store
What are the three main things you want the album to achieve?
Firstly, I want the album to clearly communicate the message of the Gospel to the listener. I want it to be a tool in the Holy Spirit’s hands to draw people to Christ. Surely there is no greater aim to any song, album, written work or piece of art, than to point people to Jesus!
Secondly, I want it to encourage and challenge followers of Christ to go deeper in their walk with Him and to stand firm upon the Rock, the Stone that the builders rejected. I hope these songs can spur believers on to growing in their witness for Christ.
Finally, I want the album to be heard! I want people to share the songs, and by extension the message they contain, with unsaved friends and family. I want to play these songs live – I’ve been blessed recently to partner with local churches in putting on small, quite intimate evangelistic concerts in neutral venues for people to be able to come to and hear the Gospel proclaimed through song and word, as it’s very easy to explain the meaning of a song to people who’ve just heard it.
Please go and get behind this album by buying it HERE. Christmas is just around the corner and it would be a superb gift for friends and family who don’t know Jesus or who have wandered from Him.