Singer/songwriter Josh Wilson grew up the son of a preacher in Lubbock, Texas. He signed to Sparrow Records in 2006 and released his major label debut, Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup in 2008. The album was met with critical acclaim, hailed by Christian Retailing as “the future of Christian pop” and named among the Top Ten Best Albums of 2008 by GospelMusicChannel.com. Since then he has released numerous No. 1 hits including “Savior Please” and the powerful track “Before the Morning,” which recently landed the No. 4 spot on Billboard’s Year-End Christian Songs chart, while also releasing a sophomore album, “Life Is Not A Snapshot” and a compilation self-titled record. Now he is preparing to release his third studio album “See You” on Feb. 8, 2011. Wilson also attracted national media attention and a breakout viral video when he had travelers at the Newark airport breakout in ‘Hey Jude’ during a 6-hour security lockdown.
About Josh’s 2011 release, ‘See You’:
“Faith is being sure of what we hope and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Singer, songwriter and musician extraordinaire Josh Wilson makes his way through life, fully dependent on what he can see with his own two eyes. Whether it’s navigating from starting point to destination on a map, moving from F sharp to C sharp on one of the myriad of instruments he plays, or interpreting the expression on his wife’s face, movement requires the ability to see.
At least that’s the way it appears.
But some days, when reality hits him square in the face and the sting leaves him on the precipice of doubt, Josh Wilson’s eyes fail. They’re simply not enough.
“Something I’ve been learning over the past decade is that when we want to see God, we have to depend less on our physical eyes and more on the Holy Spirit,” Josh says. “The subtle, still small voice of God. I admit it. I’m not the best at it. I want to see God with my eyes…”
That tension between faith and sight is the undercurrent of Josh’s new project, SEE YOU, a vivid collection of unforgettable songs that focus on the evidence of God at work in our lives. With a probing spiritual curiosity and imaginative, self-examining lyrics, SEE YOU solidifies Josh Wilson’s place among the finest song crafters of his day.
The project, the follow up to the critically acclaimed release, Life is Not a Snapshot, SEE YOU also marks several new ‘firsts’ for the singer/songwriter. It’s the first time Josh has worked with a single producer over an entire project. Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin) worked with Josh to make the most of his many strengths—on both lyrical and musical fronts. “Matt and I shaped the whole thing, from beginning to end,” Josh says. “so each song flowed into the next, which I’ve never done before.”
The whole experience—from days of seclusion writing new songs, to fine tuning every melodic component in studio, to playing 18 instruments on the record, including, ukulele, hammered dulcimer, and glockenspiel—pushed Wilson to a new level of authenticity and creativity in his life’s work.
All the words in all the world could never say enough
All the notes in my guitar could never play enough…
“The writing felt more focused than the last album,” he says of SEE YOU’s evolution. Hopefully, I’ve grown as a writer, so when I sat down to write, I focused less on finishing a good song and more on the message that song conveys. …Matt pushed me extremely hard to make every single part of the song great. It was exhausting, but it was such a good thing.”
Bringing all his musical influences to bear—pop, folk, rock, classical, hymns, and more—Josh Wilson’s SEE YOU paints a refreshingly relevant musical palate that frames its message beautifully. From the worshipful opener/benediction “Sing It,” to the picturesque, powerful storytelling of “Behind the Beauty” to the driving, anthemic “I Refuse,” Josh creates a captivating melodic landscape that compels listeners to open their eyes and hearts… all at once.
The first single, “I Refuse,” evolved as Josh was reading David Platt’s perspective-shattering book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. During that time the 1000-year flood hit Nashville, devastating entire communities on May 1, 2010. “Once the flood hit, the temptation was to simply pray and ask God to rally the community and bring other people to help,” Josh explains. “I was using prayer as an excuse to not do anything myself. But as a Christian that’s not enough. We’re the hands and feet of Jesus; we’re supposed to do something. So that phrase came back to me… I refuse to do nothing…” Josh and co-writer Ben Glover then finished the song as it was meant to be. Listen closely, and you’ll hear Josh pounding it out on the hammer dulcimer, just one of 20 instruments he plays on the record.
From there, SEE YOU sings with such compelling simplicity the irony of being lost and found with “Fall Apart,” a song Josh wrote for a friend who found himself in Christ while enduring a painful divorce.
Wilson’s playful, quirky way with words shines brightest on the contagious upbeats on the record, the piano-pounder “Know By Now” and “Always Only You,” a song Josh wrote for his wife Becca after a year of marriage. “It’s literally what we’re living,” Josh says, “just a fun little love song for her.” Be sure to listen for a sampling of Becca’s voice throughout the song, and for random kitchen implements played in studio by various Wilson family and friends (think: ice cream scooper, toaster, flour sifter, and more).
The title track, “See You,” is the songwriter’s ‘Thomas confession,’ his struggle to see God at work when life is hard. “I admit it,” he says, “I’m not the best at it. We all want to know that God has it all under control. But when we’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t look like God is at work. We have to rely on what we know to be true, our past experiences with God, and the promises of his word.”
Inspired by an eye-opening mission in the slums of Mumbai, India, in January of 2009, “They Just Believe” brought the issue of faith vs. doubt front and center in an unforgettable way. “We’d go in two by two to share the gospel,” Josh explains. “One day, we were invited into a home where four generations of women were living together. The third oldest was sick, lying down, shaking, so we figured she had Parkinson’s disease.” Just as Josh and his friend began explaining their purpose for coming, a fifth woman entered the room and said, “‘If you pray to your God, and he heals her, we’ll believe. If he doesn’t, we won’t.’” Josh prayed earnestly in silence, while his friend Mike prayed aloud: “Even if you don’t choose to heal her, we know you are still God.” But when Josh opened his eyes, he saw the sick woman, still trembling.
“I was devastated,” Josh says of the experience. “I didn’t understand why God wouldn’t heal her in that moment. I’d prayed with all the faith in my heart. Then the sick woman said something in Hindi. The translator said, ‘She wants you to know she feels peace in her heart.’ “I don’t know what happened in her heart,” he continues, “but I know it was a holy moment.”
The Bible says, ‘Blessed are those who never see but still believe,’ but doubt is almost inevitable. We’re human, after all. “But until that day when faith and sight finally come together,” Josh says, “I’m going to remember what God has done, that he is always faithful, and that he always has a plan that is bigger than what I can see.