Beautiful guitars played by the masterful, Grammy Award winning David Cullen, smooth bass, emotionally nuanced piano, and subtle string sections accompany strong, passionate vocals and sweeping background harmonies. Listening to Kathi Wilson sing, many are reminded of Karen Carpenter, in part because of the warm alto style, in part because of the intimate vulnerability of her voice.
To hear the rich acoustic quality of this album, track playback is dramatically better when you push the 'Play all Songs' button for
'hi-fi: broadband' (and listen through headphones or a component
There’s a great story behind this album, told below, followed by testimony from people who have enjoyed deeply emotional spiritual experiences through the music.
THE STORY BEHIND THE MAKING OF 'NOTHING WILL I WITHHOLD...'
Kathi Wilson has been writing and performing songs inspired by the Holy Spirit for a long time. She has recorded several CD’s of these amazing songs, but to be honest, they were always done on less than a shoe-string budget (almost no budget actually), and the sound quality just wasn’t very good.
Friends and family made the CD’s prized additions to their music collections, listening to the beautiful and powerful songs over and over again, ignoring the quality problems.
With the family together for Christmas a couple of years ago, Kathi handed out a new music CD to everyone. It was very simple, done again on a shoe-string budget, just Kathi singing and accompanying herself on piano.
It was the first recording Kathi had made since her operation. About a year and a half earlier, Kathi had been suffering from severe pain shooting down her arms and in her neck. She was diagnosed with deteriorating vertebrae in her neck, causing pinched nerves and the resultant chronic pain. The only solution was surgery to take bone from a donor site in her body and graft it into the spinal column in her neck. The operation was going to be incredibly dangerous. She could become paralyzed for life if the doctors ran into a problem or made a mistake.
On top of that and even harder for Kathi to face, was that the operation required that the doctors do the surgery through the front of her throat, working around her vocal chords. They warned that her voice could be destroyed in the process, and there was the very real possibility that she would emerge from the surgery with no voice at all, unable to even speak for the rest of her life.
The possibility of Kathi not being able to speak the Word into peoples’ lives or to continue to minister to them in that way was an overwhelming prospect. But for a singer who had been given a voice to sing for the Lord, that it might now be taken away completely was truly terrifying personally. Even the thought of it was heartbreaking.
Kathi relied on the Lord. She prepared to lay down her life on the altar for sacrifice if it was the will of God. Like Abraham preparing to give up his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:2), Kathi could not understand why the Lord would take from her what he had given her, but left it in God’s hands and obeyed.
With the prayer support of family and friends, the brilliant work of her surgeons, and above all the faithfulness of the Lord, Kathi came through the surgery with miraculous results. All pain disappeared, her spinal column healed perfectly returning her to full strength and health, and even the big scar on her throat virtually disappeared.
Praising God, Kathi’s singing voice came back changed, now even stronger and more beautiful than before. She could never again take her voice for granted, if she ever had. Now when she sang, there was an emotional power and commitment in her voice that could only have come by passing through the furnace and having the dross burned off, refining her so that she could be a dedicated voice for the Lord.
The new recordings had emerged after her crossing over experience. After listening to it once, Bryn Williams (Kathi’s brother) knew that it was anointed. Listening a few more times, he felt directed that what the album could be just had to be made.
All ten songs were diamonds in the rough. The music and the words were wonderful, and every song was strong in its own way. All ten songs went together to form a complete album with a natural progression from song to song, taking the listener through a transformational experience from beginning to end. What really struck Bryn, and everyone else who listened to the CD, was the way the songs seemed to take up residence in the listener’s heart and mind.
Everyone commented that they couldn’t get the songs out of their heads after listening to them just once or twice. They were listening to the album over and over again, day after day. Young children were singing the songs to their parents, and knew all the words to all the songs.
The songs relaxed people, made them feel better, ministered to them and connected them at a deep emotional level to a spiritual experience it was hard for them to explain, and that they talked about in different terms. There was a power and beauty experienced that seemed to have a transcendent, supernatural effect. People shared similar observations about the overall nature of the experience, but with each having personal aspects of the experience relating specifically to their lives.
The songs brought the listener into closer communion with God, cutting through the clutter and stresses of everyday life. The music seemed to become internalized, coming back at different times of the day like a prayer playing in their heads, encouraging them and supporting them. And the anointing oil of the music flowed to the places in their life that needed healing, insight, or comfort. All reported the feeling of being changed and somehow 'worked on' by the Holy Spirit from within as they listened to it.
Everyone agreed that this was an album that had to be made and sent out into the world to minister to hearts and minds everywhere.
Bryn felt strongly called to make sure the album was made professionally, so that it would be accepted by as many people as possible, to become a powerful tool for creating to the Lord’s purposes in all those who heard it.
As a businessman having no experience producing music, Bryn approached a professional producer who had done Grammy Award winning albums. The producer thought the music was special, and was interested in taking on the project, but without the backing of a record company, the costs to produce the album were beyond the means of the family. Unfortunately, the quality of the CD Kathi had recorded for Christmas gifts was not good enough to get record company interest at a time when they were all being flooded with demo CD’s, and many were actually no longer accepting them.
After an assessment of the situation and prayer, it became clear that Bryn was to produce the album, looking to somehow find a way to achieve a professional result within a very limited budget. Depending on the Lord for guidance, inspiration and direction, Bryn and Kathi embarked on the project.
First onboard was John LeVasseur, owner of Sound Design Music Studio, a state of the art studio in Lancaster, PA. John believed in the music. He became a creative collaborator and the technical foundation for the project. A talented musician himself, John performed synthesizer parts that completed the orchestration of the songs.
John hooked Kathi up with David Cullen, an amazingly gifted guitar player who has played on Grammy award-winning albums. After hearing the music, David joined the team and brought his inspired magic to the project.
Working with only a chord chart, David opened himself to play what the Holy Spirit led him to play. Most of the guitar tracks on the album are first take recordings that just came to David. He played several guitar tracks for each song, and the bass tracks as well. Since he was one person playing several parts, they all had to be done one at a time in the studio, oftentimes with limited correlation to each other in the overall context of the song.
It was later, in the mixing stage when all the guitar tracks were arranged and put together, that it was revealed how amazingly well they worked with each other, the piano, and the vocals. It could not have come together more perfectly if every note had been written ahead of time. It was apparent that the notes had been written in David’s heart, and he had delivered them through inspired surrender.
Kathi asked her daughters, Hannah and Hadassah, to sing background vocals on the album. Having sung together all their lives and performed with Kathi at all kinds of concerts over the years, there is an amazing ‘genetic’ compatibility to the way their voices blend together (many hear an angelic quality). There is beauty, spirituality and powerful emotion that only a mother and her devoted daughters, committed in their faith, can bring to the vocal performances on this album.
As producer, Bryn directed the project, investing his own money to get it done. Despite having no prior experience, the role came naturally and he quickly settled in, relying on his professional project management experience and instincts. As a drummer and music lover, he had the musical ear for knowing what he was looking for, and very talented people performing to the shared vision. With his hi-tech engineering background, he quickly became comfortable with the software and music crafting process in the studio, developing innovative techniques at the mixing board to achieve the desired musical results.
All of us loved working on this album. The experience changed us. We all feel blessed to have been a part of it. We pray that the music ministers to you the way it has to us. Please visit our website at www.living-water-productions.com to learn more about the inspiration behind each song, the inspiration behind the album art, and more. Blessings!
FEEDBACK AND TESTIMONIALS FROM PEOPLE SHARING THEIR EXPERIENCE OF THE MUSIC
I was not prepared for how deeply your CD was going to touch me. WOW. What a precious gift to the body of Christ. Thank you for being his vessel. I have listened to the CD three times since yesterday and replayed some of the songs that I like best. I have cried and I have felt drawn closer to God - all whilst cooking in the kitchen (I did stop long enough for the tears). I do look forward to listening to the CD without being busy - so that I can focus wholly on the Lord. I feel that your songs and your music act as a bridge for those of us who have trouble getting quiet before the Lord. Your songs also paint a picture of such a loving, gracious, merciful God - another area where I struggle. I look forward to sharing your CD with others who I know will also be touched deeply. I enjoy hearing Hannah and Hadassah's harmonies - if I didn't know otherwise from the cover I would swear that you did your own harmonies. Having three such powerful yet soothing voices is incredible. Thank you, Kath, not only for this precious CD but for your continued example of one who clings to God. These songs are made more powerful by the testimony of your life.
I am finding that the timing of your giving us your latest CD was sovereign. God has, just recently, been stirring a deeper longing for Him in my heart. Your CD, with its unlying longing for God, is helping me give expression to this longing. Snippets of your songs are floating through my heart constantly (literally). My head feels like a CD player that is constantly shuttling between various sections of various songs (now playing: Nothing will I withhold). I have no control over it and I'm not really sure what God is doing. But in combination with the other things God is doing in my heart, He is using your songs to do something deep! Thought you'd like to know...
Just to let you know...I think your new cd is fabulous. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to SIT and listen to it until yesterday. I have now listened to it continuously. What a powerful moving experiece to help me enter the throne room of Chrst!! I am excited to share it with those in my life. I continue to marvel at God and how he moves in my life. I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of your life and those in it. Your cd is just another example of that. Blessings Kathi, as you continue to work for the kingdom!!
We have been sitting under it soaking in the presence of the Lord...
What a treat it was to drive home "with you" the other night! I was into about the third song on the cd when i remembered the song you sang at church about "I want to tremble at Your Word" (which would come to my mind every now and then after having heard you sing it that Sunday) and i found myself anticipating and hoping, hoping, hoping it was on this cd and here it was the very next song. i must admit i've been stuck on that one... playing it over and over again. i will get to the other songs on there, i'm sure, but this one is NOW!!! :) May God continue to open the doors to use the very gifts He's given you to bring His Kingdom to earth!! :D Bless you, Sweet Sister! :)
Wow! It ushers in the very presence of God! So restfull and healing.
I was just given the CD and it has profoundly touched me. As a new widow, music is very difficult to listen to. *** and I worshipped together to so much music. It is difficult to be alone and on a new journey. The song Crossing Over - leaving all I know behind is what I have to do. It is such a new way to live. This CD feels anointed.
My name is ***, and I sing in the praise team with ***. I also have breast cancer and I'm facing surgery on Feb. 23rd. My mother is in a nursing home and doesn't know me, and we are moving into her house -- all of this adds up to STRESS. Why am I telling you this??... To let you know how very blessed, calmed and reasurred I am whenever I listen to Kathi's cd. This beautiful, relaxing, deeply spiritual cd transports me to a close , quiet place where I can be alone with my Lord and Savior. I am comforted and calmed by the sweet music and words and I can focus on what God has for me in the future.
I just thought I'd let you know some of the people who have been blessed by your CD's. I gave one to ***, my friend from church. She and her husband and four children are leaving for a year in New York City in about two weeks. They will be in missions training there. Then it's on to Morrocco for language training and finally to Spain to church plant among the Muslims there for who knows how long. I especially thought of her with the song "Crossing Over". She told me the CD was just what she needed on the day she received it. She also told me you spoke at a homeschool moms meeting where she was and that your prayer and laying hands on her so ministered to her. Thank you!
Another friend I gave one to is my Nigerian friend *** who I've known since nursing school. I gave her your Psalmist's Heart tape back then and she treasured it and shared it with her brother and actually was asking me about getting more of your music before you even spoke at LIFT. So she was thrilled to get your CD.
I loaned mine to *** and she appreciated it too. I listen to it over and over because it just has a way of expressing my heart to God a different way each time. Even my almost four year old daughter likes it. I think one of her favorite songs is "These are the Tears". She has a very sensitive spirit and tears flow extremely easy for her, much to my frustration at times. But I think in her own way she understands that Jesus can wipe away her tears.
In regards to "Nothing Will I Withhold..." What a beautiful mature edifying CD!!! What an edifying experience listening to it this afternoon! Thanks so much for such a treasure.
I have found it to be an absolute inspiration and encouragement in my life. I feel the Lord speaks abundantly through her music...
Hey Kathi. Its been a long time since I've seen you and I just wanted to write and said hello. I'm pretty sure you remember me. :) I also wanted to write and say what an EXCELLENT cd you've made. *** brought her copy over to my office today and told me to listen to it. Its awesome. I think I've replayed #10 "Beautiful Glad Tidings" 20 times already today. You all sing beautifully and harmonize well. :) I'm giving *** money to hopefully buy me a copy when she can. I don't want to give hers back but will.
What a masterpiece... It was so soothing to listen to your voice and the girls singing beautifully to such heartfelt and moving lyrics. I loved each and every song. I will definetely include it as part of my healing program.
Since the conference I have watched God use your music (surely from Him) to prepare me for a new chapter of following where He leads. Recently He has called me into battle for lost and broken teens: right after the conference (just when I "should" have been preparing book proposals in response to the requests of several publishers), God called me into a part-time teaching position in which I interact with kids who don't yet know Jesus. Daily, I am in battle against lies, and daily God is faithful to His promise to "never leave or forsake me." I have watched Him chase giants from me, and open paths into kids' broken hearts. Thank you for the gift of your music. It has sustained and encouraged me to stay faithful in a hard place.