Saturday, April 26, 2008
3. I’m Clean
Words by Chris Sligh
Music by Chris Sligh & Jason Walker
Produced by Will Owsley
When I got into town, I started to co-write with several writers who write for various publishing companies. Word Publishing put me with one of the young writers, Jason Walker. Jason is actually a mainstream artist who signed with Word publishing as a writer. He is an incredible pianist and we hit it off pretty quickly. We wrote the music for this song (and another) before Jason went home. That night, I spent a couple of hours just listening to the music we had recorded. I finally pulled up my word processor and typed out these lyrics in about 15 minutes. The only thing that got reworked a couple of times was the bridge. I couldn’t decide if the brige needed to be longer or shorter, so I had a couple of extra lines that ended up being cut later. We thought shorter was better.
This is one of my favorite lyrics on the record. One of the things I want to do as an artist is write about truth but in ways that feel fresh or new; say it in a different way than is normally said. I feel like this lyric is my best example of that: we are covered by the blood of Christ, so when God looks at us He no longer sees our sin...so we are clean. What a comforting thought.
Just like Brown’s stuff, the original tracking was done at Warm Front. However, with Will’s production, we only had one extra musician: Jim Bogios - the drummer for Counting Crows. We spent half a day getting the sounds set up and then a couple of hours getting the 3 tracks Jim was drumming on. He flew in from San Fransisco ultra prepared and kicked butt. All the overdubs were done at Owsley’s studio in the basement of his house. Well, a couple of my guitar parts from the original demo were imported over and then Will played bass and guitars. Jason Walker’s original piano part that he played on the demo when we were writing ended up on the album, too. So, I actually got some engineer credit! When we got into mixing, we realized we needed something in the high range to fill out the sound of the song. So, we went back to my original demo and imported a lead guitar part I did and it literally made all of us feel like the song was finally completed. You can barely hear the part on the final recording, but just having it there harmonically gives it something that I can’t really explain...it’s weird and interesting how all that works.
Love is just a picture of your glory * And my best tries at love have fallen short * I pretend these dirty clothes are holy * Knees patched up with grace from you, O Lord * * No one is righteous * But I’m not the one you see * * I’m clean, I’m covered by forgiveness here * And only You can forget all I’ve done * I’m clean: through no good of my own * But when you look at me You see Your Son * And I am clean * * Looking back, my past is worth forgetting * But every try brings me to my knees * Where I can see the shades of your forgiving * Each color covers a sinful memory * pre-chorus * chorus * * On my own, I’m simply man, at best * But my sin’s as far as east from west * Christ's perfection now defines me * chorus