Two guys - guys who love the guitar, the keyboard, the drama and destiny they drew from the notes - finally get their dream of a record deal and go off on tour.
Picture a late night, after a crazy show, the band is all exhausted and sweaty. They climb into their tour bus and most crash into their bunks as they begin the trip to the next city for their next show. The early morning hours are black and flatlining in that time between sense and dawn. The band member driving can't stay awake. His head nods and suddenly, the tour bus wheels diagonally jut across the rumble strip and before he can bring the wheel back around, the entire bus is off the road. It bumps crazily for a moment and then there's a crack, a deafening pop and the bus lurches to the side, rolling over and over.
No one died, but the lead singer Brennan Shawn broke his foot. For the next year, he was in and out of the hospital. His best friend had been the one driving. Brennan couldn't forgive him for so deftly killing the dream they had seemed to be living. The band eventually went their separate ways.
Brennan moved to New York, with a heart burdened with depression and bitterness.There, he picked up the guitar again and wrote. He wrote about disappointment, failures, pain and darkness. He wrote the album Lowly.
"When I wrote Lowly, I had just been rejected by everyone I thought would get me where I needed to be in the music business. I was alone in a tiny apartment in Queens, barely making enough money to eat, while feeling so disconnected from God that I fell into a deep depression. The lyrics, "Will I die in this room alone? Will I vanish behind my door?" and "So I will hide, count to ten, if I'm gone, I'm sure you will win" were all written while I was barely able to find a reason to go on with my life. It was [written] out of total desperation and solitude. I wasn't even sure it would ever get made, so I arranged the songs the way I heard them in my head. "
Lowly is one of my favorite albums of music. I am touched by the tenderness of writing, the honesty, the heart-cry combined with musical genius and soaring vocals. His rawness can be compared to modern-day psalms. This album encourages me when I'm discouraged because no matter now low I can get, in my mood or in sin, I can always find my Savior, the Light in my darkness, just as Brennan did.
I first heard Lowly over three years ago and I still listen to it often. I recommend getting the whole album and listening to it from start to finish. You can buy it here. Two of my favorite songs are the one he wrote about the accident - Stay Awake - and the title track Lowly. Go here the full interview transcript.
Does hearing a backstory about a song or album enhance your experience of the music?