Words by Chris Sligh & Tony Wood
Music by Chris Sligh
Produced by Brown Bannister
This song was originally conceived in the bowels of the Toronto arena where we played during the American Idol tour. At nearly every stop of the tour, I would take my Mbox Pro (which is an interface for the recording software Pro Tools), my 49-key keyboard, a Hagner electric guitar and my computer into the dressing rooms, set everything up and work on musical ideas. I would almost always finish a musical track, burn it to iTunes, then to my iPod and sit on the bus and write lyrics.
I remember sitting on the bus very late one night (or very early depending on how you look at it). I was in the back lounge with Phil, Sanjaya and Shyamali. They were enjoying each other’s company while I “worked”, ear phones in, computer out and typing lyrics as they came to me. I wrote the entire lyric, and showed it to Phil who told me that it was perfect. Ultimately my lyric wasn’t perfect but it felt that way for a while.
When I got into Nashville, I knew that this song had a chance of making it on the record but just needed some fine-tuning. Originally, the chord progression on the chorus moved much, much slower, so I sped up the changes to create a little momentum in the musical phrasing. Then I got with Tony Wood, one of my hero lyricist, and we worked out some of the kinks of the not-so-perfect lyric, changing a few words here, a line there, eventually coming onto a lyric that we thought worked quite well.
A lot can and has been said about God’s mercies being made new every morning - it is a basic truth that can revolutionize a life. I wanted to write about mercies made new, but in a way that I hadn’t heard before...I wanted, lyrically, to paint a picture of morning coming and relieving darkness and with the morning comes God’s mercies. When you reach the chorus, I wanted the lyric and music to become so bright that emotionally, a soul can connect with the sentiment of Arising with the morning to find God’s mercies new.
Brown produced this song. The players on all of Brown’s solo productions were Jerry McPherson on guitar, Jimmy Lee Sloas on bass, Dan Needham on drums and Blair Masters on keys. Of course, Steve Bishir was the head engineer on the entire album, so he was involved in the initial tracking. For initial tracking, we recorded at a studio on Music Row called Warm Front. In the 70’s and 80’s it was Ronnie Milsaps studio. The recording board even had braille to signify the track numbers. The room sounded fantastic and the board was an old Neve board from the 70’s. Bishir brought a bunch of his outboard gear (compressors and eq’s), too, so it was tricked out.
After the initial tracking, we moved to Brown’s studio. I replaced all of Jerry’s guitars, with the exception of the little delayed lick he played on the verses and the riff on the bridge. The big rhythm guitars are mine, as well as the 2-part harmony guitar going on in the pre-choruses and choruses. Most of the keys were done in overdubs at Brown’s. Blair had played a piano part at Warm Front that we kept, but all the other keys were done at Brown’s...with the exception of the trill little synth part you hear on the intros and verses - I did that in my original demo in Toronto.
Chris Rodriguez came in and he and I both got on a microphone and did the bgv’s. Later, we decided that some of Rodge’s parts were a little too edged (in the way they moved) - it wasn’t his fault, we had originally thought the vocals would move a little sharp-edged...ultimately though we decided to make the movement in the bgv’s a little softer, so I replaced them. The final version of this song sounds almost exactly like the demo I recorded in my little studio, just bigger and it sounds better. But the arrangement and feel is virtually intact.