WORDS of REFERENCE

words of praise for CHRISTA WELLS

 

 

Christa has long been admired as a songwriter, and is due to take the stage.  She is a true artist who sings and speaks with sincerity and conviction, not to mention her music and melodies are simply beautiful.  She is the kind of artist who would be doing this if we were watching or not, and so it benefits us to listen.”

 

-Sara Groves (recording artist/singer/songwriter)

 

 

 

“Christa made a real connection with our church family, both musically and spiritually. Her sincere and authentic approach as well as her gifting as a singer/songwriter has left a lasting impact on us. She is awesome!”  

-Rick Whitter, Senior Pastor

(Maranatha Church, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida)

 

 

 

“I want to wholeheartedly commend the ministry of Christa Wells to you and your church!  Christa is a singer/songwriter whose well goes deep.  Her songs reflect an intelligence and spiritual sensitivity that have few peers.  Our congregational was profoundly moved by her lyrics, melodies and vocal interpretation.  She is well-spoken and works beautifully within the context of any worship service or concert venue.”

 

-Steve Williamson, Worship Pastor

(Madison Park Church of GodAnderson, IN)

 

 

 

“Listening to these two terrific songwriters [Christa Wells & Nicole Witt] perform together is a rare treat. Their angelic harmonies are absolutely seamless and at times brought tears to my eyes.  I cannot wait until the next time they play in my hometown! 

 

-Delia Liuzza (owner Tipsy Teapot—Greenville, NC)

 

 

 

“Christa Wells is a hidden arrow of immense talent. When you meet her, you see a friendly, warm, engaging woman with a great sense of humor and humility (not to mention a tender closeness with her husband and five children!) Then she sits at the piano and opens her mouth to sing, and you realize that you are in the company of someone who is truly, deeply and uniquely gifted. Her songwriting is thoughtful and poetic; her lyrics are refreshingly devoid of predictable cliches, and her melodies are pleasing and engaging. And her voice! What a voice! It's strong and soothing, all at once. I could listen to her for hours (and now that she has a CD out, indeed I do!)”

 

-Christy Tennant, Director of Development and PR, International Arts Movement

 

 

“With a deep desire to say something that matters, Christa delivers a rich, deeply compelling lyrical journey through themes of forgiveness, devout love, overwhelming loss, tangible faith and everlasting hope. With her unique voice and delivery, this album, recorded at the renowned Zodlounge in Nashville, is full of compelling, memorable lyrics, wistfully poignant lead vocals and well-blended harmonies. Christa's vocal style has been likened to that of Sarah McLachlan and Sara Groves and she is the equal to both these huge talents. Guest appearances on the record are made by talented and respected friends of Christa's including Grammy Award winning producer Michael Omartian, Dove Award winners Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb) and Todd Smith of Selah and Sara Groves. A particular favourite of mine is "On The Mountain", performed with Todd Smith and Angela Jones Henry, which boasts an old-fashioned black gospel sound that just makes you want to shout while elsewhere the haunting acoustic pop sound exudes musical intelligence. Thoroughly recommended.”

 

-Beckie Weadon, Writer/Music Reviewer—CrossRhythms

 

 

“Christa and Nicole [Witt] share a wonderful gift of songwriting and vocal performances that both entertain and engage their listeners.  I make a point to hear them live whenever I get the chance… Hosting a house concert is my favorite kind of party.  And I have lots of parties!  It’s an intimate evening where the audience really gets to interact with the artists (or Christa and Nicole) and gains insight into how the music was created.  I try to host one once a season now!  ”

-Cherie Phillips, House Concert Host

 

 

 

Our church has been so privileged to consistently enjoy Christa Wells' exceptional musical talents- which are matched by her sincere love for Jesus, His Body and our little church community.  Recently, she teamed up with Nicole Witt and they led us together in the worship of God through a beautiful, creative and harmonious piano duet.

 

-Rev. Scott Cook, Pastor Christ Our Hope Church

 

 

 

“Christa and Nicole brought the house down at The Listening Room Cafe during her [Christa’s] CD Release Party.  Their vocals were an amazing blend and the attention they held was well deserved!  I especially loved "I Wanna Know That Man" and would personally recommend Christa and Nicole to anyone!”

 

LYRICS


YOU'VE GOT A HOME 


Mountains melt into valleys and 

you suddenly find yourself in shadowlands 

where all of life seems out of your hands 

don’t think you’ve got no one left 


Here’s a key to my front door 

got a pillow if you lost yours 

you got a seat at my table 

you've got a home 

Here’s somebody who believes you 

let truth remind you 

you’ve always got a place to go to 

you’ve got a home 


Rain has come for all of us 

pours out a different tune for everyone 

there’s rhythm and rhyme inside the dissonance 

we’ll listen for it side by side 


Chorus x2 



ALL THE MORE 


Clear as the cloudless sky 

were the countless reasons that I fell 

in love with the boy from a small town that I’d never heard of 


It was first the great span of your grin 

that caught me and reeled me in 

I was raised not to ask to be kissed, otherwise I would’ve 


‘Cause you were perfect in so many ways 

I thought surely one of these days some skeleton’s gonna come callin’ 

After a while I came to see 

that your humanity only made me want you all the more  


All the more, all the more 

I have loved you all the more 

For the many things you don’t realize you do 

I have loved you all the more 


The beauty of loving through time 

is the intimate knowledge of lines 

and of creases that tell all the stories we’ve written together 

You’re in love with the truth about me 

all those scars that no one else sees 

and that vision you hold speaks louder than a thousand love letters 


Chorus 


‘Cause you were perfect in so many ways 

I thought surely one of these days some skeleton’s gonna come callin’ 

After a while I came to see that your humanity only made me want you all the more 


Chorus x2 


For the many things you don’t realize you do 

I have loved you all the more 



MY BEST REMEDY (AMAZING) 


Thank you for making me laugh today 

you took me by surprise 

Thank you for catching me down at the mouth 

You ambushed me with delight 


Amazing amazing 

I’ll take your medicine anytime  

you are my best remedy 


Thank you for standing outside my head 

‘til I came out to you 

You forced me to wash my face in the fresh air 

and step my feet in the dew  


Chorus 


Be here tomorrow when I awake 

come running for a dance 

Mischievous angel you’ve taken your place 

in my heart at last 


Chorus x2 


I’ll take your medicine anytime You are my best remedy



 A THOUSAND THINGS 


You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

You’re gonna soak the pillow for many weeks 

You’re gonna cry Why? Why me? 

But in spite of the ache that doesn’t go away 

You’ll be sharing your story one rainy day 

And at the next table somebody catches your words 

He hears a truth that he’s never heard 

He takes it back to the marriage he’d given up on 

Hands it down to his daughter who writes it into song 

You didn’t know 


A thousand things are happening in this one thing 

Like a thousand fields nourished by a single drop of rain 

So honey, wrap yourself in promise while you wait the morning light 

A thousand things are happening tonight 


You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

‘cause for the moment all that you can see 

Is what you’ve lost, lost Why me? 

But in the midst of the most exquisite pain 

you’re drawn into a peace that you cannot explain 

and the praises you sing of a sovereign God 

reach the girl whose last hope is gone 

she never thought there was purpose in anything here 

now the seed has been planted and it’s taking root there 

You didn’t know 


Chorus 


A thousand things are happening tonight 


You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

A thousand miracles you’ll have to wait and see 



LIFE COST SO MUCH 


Death is easy you don’t know you’re a ghost 

The fee is taken out nice and slow 

While you’re walking around with your cardboard crown 

We think we are kings 

We think we are kings 


Wisdom warned us but our flesh is strong 

we’ll find our own way we’ll get along 

Who knows what we need 

We want everything we’re living like kings 

living like kings 


But life cost so much 

Life cost so much 

Someone paid for the damage 

the damage we’ve done 

How else do you explain all these open graves we’ve got 

Someone must have paid ‘cause life cost much 


A law of justice was long before and all the people here in this world 

We hid our souls in shame 

how could we be saved? 

send us a king

send us our king 


Chorus 


How else do you explain all these open graves we’ve got 

How else do you explain all these open graves we’ve got

 


DON'T CALL IT LOVE 


I’m tempted to sit back in my overstuffed chair 

with a gavel in hand and a tired-eye stare that says 

I’m not surprised you’ve messed it up again 

I’m tempted to sigh, I’m tempted to yawn 

if you’d only do life the way I’ve told you all along 

It could be so easy 

If you would only be more like me 


But oh, that’s the beast that brings us down 

It’s the devil in a satin gown 

So don’t, don’t call it love (don’t call it love) 

love wraps herself around the wound 

and weeps while she speaks truth 

So don’t call this love 


Too much to say, not enough time 

you’ve got so much to learn, it’ll hurt for a while 

but you know that I’m only concerned I- only want to help 

You got what you gave, I said that you would 

I guess it must be really hard to be so unsure

it could be so easy 

if you would only be more like me 


Chorus 


Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh (Repeat) 


Come along beside me 

I’ll come along beside you 

and I will wash your hands in my tears 

I’ll take your boots to the river and we can sing 

where love makes music 

love makes music 


Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh 

Oh oh oh oh (Repeat x3) 



I WANT TO KNOW THAT MAN 


If there’s a man with a vision to recognize beauty 

in places and faces the rest have passed by 

If there’s a man who can meet with the queen 

and stay warm with a beggar the very same night 

a man who would pour himself out for a stranger for years, for no kind of pay 


let me know his name,  I wanna know that man 

I wanna know that man, I wanna know that man 


If there’s a man without a wallet or looks to explain 

why these masses of people wanna follow him around 

if there is something compelling,  if he’s saying 

something they know they’ve gotta know more about 

a man who could love like a mother and die for a world instead of saving himself 


I wanna know his name, I wanna know that man 
I wanna know that man, I wanna know that man 


Oh, I’d be a fool to go on acting like it’s unimportant 

it might take a little more faith to imagine him away 

to walk the other way…….Oh Oh 


If he came, if he lived, if he came, if he lived 

If he died, if he lived,  If he IS, if he IS 

If there’s a God who would enter humanity to capture the love of a rebel like me 


I want to know his name (I want to know his name) 

I wanna know that man I wanna know that man (I want to know that man) 

I wanna know that man,  I wanna know that man, Oh… yeah 




WEIGHTLESS 


Nothing scalds 

like the memory of wrongs I did when I was young 

how could I,  how could I 

I’m sorry 


I see the eyes 

of the ones that I so carelessly abused 

how could I, how could I 

I’m sorry 


Well, I’ve carried this a long time 

in a well hidden bundle on my back 

but I’ve realized repentance is weightless 

so I’ll leave my burden on the tracks 


And then I face 

the yesterdays that disappointed 

misunderstood by a cruel world 

and I’m angry 


You might suppose 

the years would close the curtains on a scene 

from such a time,  but this was mine to harbor 


Well, I’ve carried this a long time 

in a well-hidden bundle on my back 

but I’ve realized forgiveness is weightless 

so I’ll leave my burden on the tracks 


Its gonna be like delivery that’s overdue and getting too heavy 

Then suddenly,  I’m weightless 


Chorus 


‘Cause I’ve carried this a long time

in a well-hidden bundle on my back 

but I’ve realized forgiveness is weightless 

so I’ll leave my burden on the tracks 

I’ll leave my burden on the tracks 




ON THE MOUNTAIN 


I’ve been climbing my whole life 

and I’m only at the bottom of the mountain, 

at the bottom of the mountain 

Rising up from my feet in the daylight 

rising up into the clouds and out of my sight 

is the height of that mountain 


Well my hands cannot reach it and my mind can’t comprehend it 

but my soul is gonna get there one day 

No, my hands cannot reach it and my mind can’t comprehend it 

but my soul is gonna get there one day 


Lord, these shoes are gonna need some help 

so we can make it to the top of the mountain 

to the top of your mountain 

Many feet have gone before us 

with a habit of faith and courage 

they’ll meet us at the road’s end 


Chorus 


Yes, yes I think I will 

Oh Yes I know we will 

Yes yes I know we will 

Oh yeah, I know we will 


I’ve been climbing my whole life 

and I’m only at the bottom of the mountain 

at the bottom of the mountain 

All along this road when it feels so 

far to the top, you say, just hold on to the mountain 


Chorus x2  


Well my soul (oh, my soul) is gonna get there one day 




FRAME THE CLOUDS 


Oh, friend, what a great listener you are 

You sit across the table with your coffee long gone 

And I am talking about the books that I’ve been reading 

when the house is dark and still 

All the words, all the words 


All the words, they are my fingers on a face 

oh the words, looking for patterns in the shapes 

You’re so good to be a witness to my sound

trying to frame the clouds 


My feet are stepping on new earth all the time 

discovery lights the fraying wires of my mind 

for every one good answer, two more questions 

and it all feels incomplete 

until the words,’ til the words 


Chorus 


Well I wish I’d more to show for the years I’ve been alive 

there’s more to learn before I go than there is time 

So friends don’t take me wrong on those days when I 

sound too sure of the things I say, I say 


Chorus 


I’m trying to frame the clouds 



FLY 


Ten years have brought us here 

ten years are gone 

ten years have made us parents, told us who we are 

My mother seemed older at my age,  but I’m just a baby 

'cause the years behind me are a handful of days 

I am 26 and 17 


and I’d like to hold those moments again 

turn them over like stones in my hand 

before they fly 


I wanna know grandma back 

at age 35 

I wanna know the mystery woman that she carries inside 

Her world moved slower than mine does but passed as quickly 

‘cause the work and the wars and her life’s love 

are hard- to-catch memories 


and she’d like to hold those moments again 

turn them over like stones in her hands 

before they fly 


Ooh, I miss the flowers on the walls,  I used to trace them ‘til I could fall asleep 

Ooh, I miss the welcome we’d come home to,  we would gather under one roof back then 

Ooh, I miss my baby on my chest and the downy top of his head 


Try to hold those moments again

turn them over like stones in my hand

before they fly




Masterpiece Project 2009: Flow

I’m  the onlyone awake. 

The kids are sleeping on floors and beds around the house—my parents’ house—in rural Tennessee.  I hear Mom’s sporadic little coughs from their bedroom, and I imagine she’s holding a flashlight over a spy novel, waiting for sleep to come and sweep her off the page.  (That’s a great feeling, falling asleep without any “lying there trying.”  Have  I mentioned the time I bruised my eye falling asleep reading?  Paperbacks are safer.)

I’m listening in the dark to The Weepies, who are new to me but who have come highly recommended. 

Our annual week at Masterpiece Project has reached its end once again.  So many beautiful young artists learning together what it means to be about art and about faith and about community.   I snagged some pictures from fellow staffer, Claire’s collection on Facebook (thanks, Claire!), since my camera was broken.

Every year has its theme, this year the theme being Flow.  It turned out to be a rich and inspiring theme, as we explored what it means to be “in the flow” and also, what keeps us from being there (fear, woundedness, critical attitude, etc.).  We fleshed out the ideas of Thirst, Thirst Quenched, and Overflow…studying Acts 2 and John 7:38 of the New Testament. 

“He who believes in me, from him will flow rivers of living water.” 

The thing is that real life has everything to do with community (despite our efforts to make it only about the individual), and being “in the flow” means accepting our gifts and resources with open hands so that as we are filled up, the overflow spills out into other people’s lives.  The students at camp incorporated a painted image of this into their collaborative project:  water poured into an open palm, splashing  over and through fingers.  (The project was a jukebox musical which utilized numerous pieces of pop music, drama, visual art, choreography, and musical performance.)

Isn’t that gorgeous?

I sing for you.  You draw for me.  Someone serves.  Another teaches. 

Young artists are often riddled with fear.  Fear that what they have is not enough.  That they will be frowned upon.  Misunderstood.  Invisible.  They so need to hear (as we all do) that what they have been given is not owned by them.  That the most loving they can do for the world is share themselves.  To be humble but generous in the contribution of thought, idea, creativity.    Every piece of the puzzle matters in the completion of the whole picture--if any one piece holds back, the rest suffer for its absence.

This is community.  This is the flow.  This was Masterpiece Project 2009.  Students and staff immersed in art & faith for six beautiful days. 

Every one of us better for it. 

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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE "HELD"

I'm sure I have it documented somewhere, maybe on a piece of notebook paper, but I can't recall it.  I do know it was several years ago--several years before Natalie Grant released it--when I first heard the stories which prompted the lyrics that became the song called Held.  Because I am still being asked the background of that song, how it came to be, I thought perhaps I should write a little something about it.  

I could talk all day about the three women whose lives I so greatly admire, who so inspired me and continue to mentor me in one way or another.  But for now, I'll briefly introduce each one and tell you how they participated (unknowingly) to this song.  


Patti had been a widow for less than five years when we first met.  And she was only about 40 years old.  With three young daughters.  My first encounter with Patti's family was when I heard her then 10-year-old daughter sing...wow.  Her raw talent and beauty were stunning.  We soon met her other two daughters who were equally remarkable and we thought: How is she doing this??  Patti had only had a year to prepare for her husband's death.  And her husband, by the way, was young, tall, handsome, strong, athletic, intelligent, devoted and successful.  How does this happen?  Toby and I fell in love with Patti's family instantly...here was a woman who had lost her HUSBAND, the FATHER of her very young children and she was still LIVING.  She was transparent in her grief and questions and struggles and she was determined in her faith.  She shared her heart and her story with us over dinner, coffee, in the swimming pool...I particularly remember her talking about the idea of us "giving" everything over to God, except for some unspoken "sacred" parts of our life.  We mean to say: "Of course, you won't ask this of me."


Vaneetha was already a survivor before the tragic death of her baby boy.  She had contracted polio as a baby and spent her childhood in hospitals around the world.  She continues to live with the effects of the disease, but when I met her she was (and still is) a beautiful, vibrant wife, mother, friend, leader.  A handful of months after we met, but before we became real friends, her infant son, Paul David, died from a heart defect that had been treated at birth.  Paul was doing remarkably well and had just been celebrated at a church-wide baby shower, when he died unexpectedly in the night.  The first verse of "Held" refers to Vaneetha and her son, Paul.  She has always spoken to me about how knowing sorrow has allowed her to also know joy...and about the strange reality of feeling God's presence most keenly in the moments of deepest grief.


Sherry is my mother-in-law.  She had mentioned her daughter Erica to me at different times, but I remember one conversation in particular when she talked about Erica's birth and death in detail.  She spoke through tears about the pain of carrying a child to term and then having to let her go without even getting to take her home from the hospital.  She told me about the still, small voice that spoke to her in the delivery room, saying: You have to choose how you will carry this loss after this moment.  You can choose bitterness.  Or you can choose to let me wrap you up in peace that can't be explained and that will lead to hope.  You can choose to trust that you are not alone, and that everything you suffer here will someday be redeemed.  


This conversation with Sherryeventually helped write the third verse.  


Other words from these women became the second verse, taught me that no person of faith since the beginning of time has ever lived without suffering.  In fact, they said, those who are students of Jesus have been promised that we certainly should expect pain and suffering in this life.  


BUT.


But.  In the middle of that heartache.  At every lonely, dark, lost moment...the Truth.  


That in those moments, even then, especially then...we are held, held up, held together, by the the One who has walked here and knows the pain, and who also holds all of time, every story, my story, your story, the Greatest Story in his hands.


Every word was chosen with loving care, because I didn't write this song for a market, or any audience, but for those three women.  I wrote it and recorded it with my old 8-track and made a cassette copy for each of them.  


What has become of "Held" has meant a whole lot to me.  It has meant something to many people--maybe to you and your story.  And it has meant a great deal to Patti, Vaneetha, and Sherry--to see their stories used to minister to so many others is an affirmation that John, Paul David, and Erica lived and died for at least this purpose...there is so much we can't see or fathom.  But at least this one beautiful, healing thing existed because of them.  

House Concerts

House Concerts: More Fun for Everyone!

What do you mean by “house concert”? 

Simply put, a house concert is just that…a concert at your house!  It can be in your living room or in your backyard or any other space that will hold 50 or more people and have enough space for a keyboard plus three guys (smaller percussion set-up, when room is tight).  If you prefer, we can keep it even simpler than that, with keyboard and percussion or keyboard/guitar.  (My own living room is not large, but with some rearranging I can squeeze in about 35 folding chairs and spillover in the kitchen.)

There are endless good excuses to have a house concert: start with major and minor holidays (and don’t forget your own birthday) or a seasonal shin-dig!  Then again, all of your friends would thank you for spicing up a plain old holiday-less month mid-winter!


Before you get scared and think this sounds way too hard/scary/expensive/newfangled/artsy/fillintheblank. . . read on.

 

You say it will be “more fun for everyone."  Why?

 

·         YOU: Enjoy the music from the comfort of your own home…without noisy talkers, smoke, or other distractions. 

·         YOU: Share the music with your friends in a private &comfortable setting.

·         YOU: Throw a great party and feel good about it later.

·       THEY: Enjoy your lovely home and gracious hospitality.

·         THEY: Get acquainted with new music and meet/support  local musicians (who happen to be saving up for a new recording project!)

·         THEY: Have a sweet date night that didn’t cost them a month’s groceries.

·         WE: Get to do what we love (make music) in an intimate setting without disturbances you might encounter in a public venue or elaborate set-up. 

 

How is it done?

 

A house concert can be done in any number of ways and you can plan it as simply or as creatively as suits you.  It might be dessert & coffee, or a full catered dinner, or a potluck.  Let it be known: you do  not have to have a mansion to host us!  The Wells fam recently hosted a house concert for Jessica Campbell & Kelleigh Bannen (see some footage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnX4fMQH3f8 ).   We actually moved out the large chairs and couch and arranged 35 smaller chairs and stools in rows (had to borrow from the neighbors!). 

 We encourage you to be intentional about your invitations and follow up to confirm intentions to attend.   Consider asking people to contribute financially in advance, reserving their seat, which helps you know there will be enough people to hold the concert, but not too many for your space. When it's time for the concert, everyone can gather round and get comfortable.

My friends have never heard of a "house concert" before.  How can I make them comfortable and encourage a listening environment?  

Through some trial and error, we have found the following things helpful:

1.  Make sure your invitations/Evites emphasize that this is a "House Concert" and explain that it's a private concert featuring guest musicians in an intimate setting, etc.  

2.  Also state on your invitation something to this effect: "To support our guest artists, a minimum donation of $10/person ($30/family) is suggested.  All proceeds will go directly to the musicians.  Merchandise will also be available for purchase."

2.  Invite your guests to come an hour or so prior to the start of the concert--and state that on the invite--ie.  "Doors open 7pm/Concert at 8pm."  This way your guests have time to visit and talk and get their coffee and dessert.  

3.  If possible have the food in a very separate space from the music, so that guests who want to revisit the refreshments can do so without disrupting the listening environment.

4.  At the concert start time, dim the lights in all spaces except for on the musicians.  This really helps to give a concert vibe and people instinctively understand to keep noise levels down when the lights are low.  

5.  Introduce your musicians from the "stage" area, to draw your guests' attention.  

 

How much will it cost me?

If you provide food and beverages (often dessert and coffee--or you can ask guests to bring something), you only need to suggest (on your invitation) that your guests contribute a minimum donation of $10 ($30/family) in lieu of a formal ticket price.  

For contact/booking: toby@christawellsmusic.com


How can I ask my guests to pay for the concert?

If you simply include it on your invitations, everyone will know up front and be prepared.  People are used to paying for performances and usually enjoy contributing to good causes, such as local art!  As suggested above, phrasing might look like this: "A minimum donation of $10/person to support our guest musicians is suggested."  Also, let them know if there will be merchandise available for purchase that night and what forms of payment will be accepted.  

You can set out (at the door or by the drinks) a tasteful "tip jar" with a reminder of the minimum donation.   

 

This sounds like a lot of fun.  What do I do first? 

If you are able and interested in hosting a concert for 50+ people in your home, please contact Toby Wells at toby@christawellsmusic.com and we’ll  find a date that works for all of us.  

*The band is able to perform in your home for 50 or more people.  If you would like to host a smaller gathering, we may be able to accommodate with an acoustic singer/songwriter performance.  

 

 

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