This is the third album by the Christian singer-songwriter duo of Phil and Debi Jones. In contrast to earlier projects, that blended folk rock fused with gospel and blues, this project turns almost exclusively to a country & western style palate.
The first song, "To Die For," is a powerful and direct statement of our worth in the eyes of the Eternal God. Audiences react differently to this song than to any other we have ever written.
The second song, "I've Been Redeemed," is a universal anthem of the Christian experience of how life is transformed by the sacrificial love of Jesus of Nazareth.
The third song, "Little Things," is an upbeat, Dolly-Partonish tune about a simple but profound truth.
The fourth song, "Even More", is something of a Christian protest song. According to Biblical principles, whenever we are forced to choose between obeying God and obeying the government, we are to obey God and risk the penalties of the secular authorities. This can be very difficult and dangerous, and this song articulates that choice in clear and powerful terms.
The fifth song, "His Gentle Touch," is a melodious love song to the Savior, from a distinctly feminine perspective, written many years ago by Debi, and only now recorded for others to share.
The sixth track, "Hard to Believe," grapples with the mind-boggling truths of the Living God and the Risen Lord in an honest and searching way.
The seventh track, "I Rejoice," is a moderate-tempo song of joyful praise, in 3/4 time.
Based on the last words of Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross, the eighth track, "Into Your Hands" is a poignant and beautiful expression of surrender, turning over to God that which we ourselves cannot control. It features a moving piano solo by Ron Huckaby of George Strait's Ace In the Hole Band.
"I Love to Praise Your Name," the ninth track, was inspired by a reading of the works of Baha-ullah, and returns to Phil's roots in gospelbilly.
The final cut, "Send Your Rain", is a classic western expression of the yearning for water, allegorically compared to a yearning for contact with the Holy Spirit during a season of spiritual dryness.
Produced by Mike Hersh of Promiseland Studio in Austin, Texas, the tight and talented rhythm band includes Jacob Lowery (bass and acoustic guitar) and Mark Johnson (all other guitar), who tour with Phillips, Craig, & Dean, as well as Ron Huckaby on piano, and Jason Meekins on drums. Also appearing on this album is the steel guitar and dobro artistry of Kenny Grohman, and the lyrical violin work of Haydn Vitera.
The story of Sunrise Ministries begins in 1976, when Phil Jones graduated with highest honors from the University of Texas, with special honors in psychology. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, with a Mensa-level IQ. He was also agnostic and a drug abuser, believing that God was a useful myth, but seeing no reason to believe God was alive or real in any other way.
That same year, Phil was stricken with a life-threatening illness for which man has no cure. For the first time in his life, he sought God through prayer. To his joy and amazement, he discovered that there is indeed a Living God, who answers prayers, and has the power to heal and guide. Having survived, Phil is living proof of that healing power, and his life has been radically changed.
Now, in obedience to Psalm 107:22 and Jesus' parable of the talents, Phil lives to tell of the goodness of God, with songs of joy. Phil says, “The God I have come to know through prayer is magnificent in love and goodness, generous in mercy and forgiveness, and abundant in blessings (and has a great sense of humor!) No one is beyond the reach of His saving embrace.”
In 1995, Phil and three of his friends formed Sunrise Ministries, Inc., a 501.c.3 nonprofit corporation. The mission of Sunrise Ministries is to share God's loving kindness and healing power with our brothers and sisters in the human family, through an alive and exciting ministry of original music,personal witness, and healing prayer that engages the soul and inspires the mind.
From 1995 - 2000, the company brought out 3 cassette tapes and 2 CD's of Phil's original music. The tapes and CD's are available for the asking, on a donation basis.
Through the Christian Music Connection, Phil met fellow Christian singer-songwriter and comedienne Debi Witt in April, 1998. Debi and Phil formed a band known as "The Lighter Side," and married in March, 2000. In November 2003, they released their first album together, entitled “My Heart’s Desire”.
In April 2006, the couple followed with "All Along the Journey," their first professionally-produced project, with 14 songs spannning their full musical range, including the popular, upbeat "Waymaker," and the quietly compelling "Do You Know Him?"
Phil & Debi's music appeals to people of all ages and walks of life. Children enjoy the warm-hearted exuberance of the songs, and adults find deep meaning in the lyrics.
In addition to original music and the personal witness that comes along with it, Phil has a Master's degree in Adult Education, and offers a course entitled, "The Healing Power of Forgiveness." Participants in this course take a journey of forgiveness that results in new peace of mind, renewed physical and emotional energy, healing in body and in relationships, and enhanced prayer power.
Debi performs an original comedy routine that imagines Lily Tomlin’s famous character Ernestine, the telephone operator, as God’s switchboard operator, taking prayer requests from Old Testament characters who call in for help. Her bulls-eye impersonation and the hilarity of the material never fails to delight audiences, and she is frequently asked back a second or third time.
Phil and Debi have appeared in over 100 churches throughout the heart of Texas, from Dallas-Fort Worth to Brownsville, and from San Angelo to Brenham, before congregations totaling over 30,000 people.