NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter Cheri Keaggy has been hard at work in the studio producing and recording her ninth album, No Longer My Own. The project is slated for release to retail on Friday, August 7, 2015 from Psalm 91 Records and Elevate Entertainment, but fans can order advance release copies directly from Keaggy's website,cherikeaggy.com.
"I gave a copy of No Longer My Own to my Dad," muses Keaggy. "After he had a chance to give it a good listen, he called me. Through broken-up tears, he said, 'You wouldn't have been able to write these songs if you hadn't gone through the things you've been through.' He went on to say, 'This is your best one yet.' It touched me that it moved him so deeply."
Keaggy believes this project might be her most bold recording to date.
"I have often referred to my last album, So I Can Tell, as my beauty-from-ashes project or my bleeding heart album," she confesses. "But, the Lord heals. And this album feels a little more broad. Brokenness humbles you and makes you more sensitive to the world around you and, perhaps, even more in tune with the Father's heart. It was a stretch, both spiritually and emotionally, and I stretched myself vocally too, going for notes I might have been too timid to reach before."
Donning the producer's hat, Keaggy employed the talents of some of Nashville's top musicians, skillfully steering the project's instrumentation and her own trademark velvety vocals toward the pop and gospel genres. The result is a cohesive collection of Christ-focused songs that exude a sense of deep felt conviction and, ultimately, surrender. No Longer My Own seeks to embolden fellow sojourners of the faith to live more fearlessly for Christ. Perhaps that sentiment is best expressed in the album's title cut, a song inspired by the "Covenant Prayer" popularized by John Wesley.
Listeners can look forward to such vertically oriented songs of celebration as "Lucky To Be Breathing Your Air," prayerful petitions like "Jesus, One and Only," poignant ballads like "You Go Before," and the powerful anthem, "Overcome," a response to recent news reports of believers facing persecution, even unto death, and the increase of moral decay in our nation. She also enlists her uncle, Grammy nominee and Dove Award winner Phil Keaggy, who contributes a jubilant ukulele track in the lighthearted Scripture song, "Whatever is True (Phil. 4:8)."
Composing new music and melody to the hymn "He Giveth More Grace" in her newly named "The Giving Song," she includes a hint of the church classic, "I Surrender All." Keaggy offers an invitation to abide in "I Love Your Company," a sentiment that echoes every parent's wish to see their child content and at rest in blessed communion.
"My prayer is that all-too-busy believers will rediscover the simple joy of being with Jesus, sitting with Him, delighting in Him. After an incredible season of pouring out, I knew I had to guard that, to remember my First Love. And it has humbled me, in a good way."
Perhaps the most poignant and achingly honest song on the project is Keaggy's newly penned, "Be My Sabbath," which serves as a desperate cry for God's restorative power and refueling. She wrote the song after experiencing the sheer elation of reaching her goal on the Kickstarter campaign that funded the CD, and the unanticipated physical and spiritual burnout that followed.
"One definition of 'burn-out' is 'to cause to fail, wear out, or become exhausted, especially from overwork or over use.' I'm not entirely sure what constitutes burnout," Keaggy muses. "But I think I reached that point sometime around the Christmas holidays. The hectic pace of life, work, and ministry simply caught up with me, and the usual things I did to find renewal wouldn't work. I was stuck."
All the traveling, pouring out, promoting, administering, and bill paying had taken their toll. Keaggy, who has often said, 'When you come to the end of yourself, you come to the beginning of Jesus,' had finally reached her end. "I woke up one morning and scribbled out a whole page of words and feelings with no concern for order or rhyme. And realized a song was brewing.
"I don't mind being broken as long as I get a good song out of it," she quips. "It might contain the most angst-ridden lyrics I've written to date, but it's real; it's authentic and it points to God, my Source, my Sabbath."
Keaggy employed the innovative Kickstarter crowd-source business model to fund the project, joining such high profile Christian recording artists as Carman, Shaun Groves, John Schlitt, Five Iron Frenzy and Thousand Foot Krutch, who also used the outside-the-box service to fund recent projects. Keaggy is no stranger to the business model, having successfully employed Kickstarter to raise nearly $25,000 to fund her 2012 release, So I Can Tell.
While Keaggy admits to being both humbled and excited by the number of doors that opened for ministry through concerts, church services, women's events, TV appearances, interviews, and radio airplay as a direct result of So I Can Tell, she insists the story is far from over. With a quiver full of new songs burning in her soul, Keaggy prays No Longer My Own will inspire and embolden fellow saints to live more fearlessly for Christ.