Christian rock band Kutless have sold more than 1.4 million records and become a household name for such hits as “Sea of Faces,” “Run” and “To Know That You’re Alive.” On the heels of their highly successful CD Strong Tower, the band continues to spread the message of Christ with their newest worship album, It Is Well. The band shares in their own words the experience of preparing for this latest release.
We began this worship project, It Is Well, by asking one question, “Can we do something unique?” There are many worship records; however, we were driven by the challenge to do something different, something Kutless. Although we’ve done a worship-oriented album (Strong Tower), we are in a different place right now and wanted this project to reflect our hearts.
From February through May 2009 we poured over hundreds of songs. We looked for songs that had a special meaning to us, songs that were traditional, songs that were modern, and songs we could make our own. As the list of songs started to form, we began arranging the songs to fit our style—after all, we are a rock band. This was a challenge in terms of how to take a hymn written in the late 1800s and make it sound like a Kutless song.
We recorded in late May and early June at a beautiful 300-acre hazelnut farm south of Portland, Ore. The recording process was unique for us for many reasons. For one, it was our first project to co-produce; and secondly, we recorded in the living room of a farmhouse. We also met as a band every morning and dug into the Word and prayed, knowing God was there. There was freedom, laughter and unity.
We had one of those incredible experiences that happen to Christ-followers. We started with a goal, but through the process, God took that goal and turned it back around to Himself. The quest for a special album became a unique time for us to go deeper in worship. The goal of composing original songs became a time for us to grow in our love and appreciation of each other. The epiphany for us was that the purpose of a worship record was to reflect who God is—His peace, freedom, power and ability to help us grow in relationship with Him and others. In the end, this “unique” experience happened to us in the making of It Is Well.
One of the biggest challenges for us on this record was in how to balance the traditional and modern worship songs. We selected to record “It Is Well,” the title track because of the story of the composer, Horatio Spafford, and his faith in God in a time of personal tragedy. We also love Keith Green, and we tried to honor his memory by combining two of his songs “There Is a Redeemer” and “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful” into a medley we titled “Redeemer.” We recorded several favorite modern songs including “Hungry” and “God of Wonders.”
For the original songs, we took the opportunity to combine traditional adoration-based worship songs with elements that wouldn’t typically be found on a worship album. “Remember Me” is written from the perspective of the thief on the cross. The idea of a lifetime sinner falling into the arms of salvation at the end of his time on earth was redemptive to us. Our first radio single, “What Faith Can Do,” is more encouragement to all of us that God is there, and His power is real, which makes it a worship song in that realization. It wouldn’t be a Kutless album, without a rock-oriented track, which is “You Save Me.”
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