Singer/songwriter Janet Blair releases her debut album "Songs for the Waiting" today. The 10 tracks on "Songs for the Waiting" were recorded over a three-week period at Nashville, Tennessee's Gray Matters Studio.The album was produced by Jars of Clay guitarist, Matthew Odmark. Blair accompanied her vocals with an upright piano, and Odmark added in layers of cello, guitar, brass and percussion to produce a moving, melodic album about finding peace in the tension of life while waiting for God's redemption.
Q: Let's start with yourself. How did the Lord lead you to become a songwriter and a singer?
It honestly feels like God has drop-kicked me into songwriting. I am amazed when I consider the path God has led me on; I didn't know I could write songs four years ago. I am an oboist by trade and I was playing a season with the Las Cruces and El Paso Symphonies when I went through a period of deep grief over a tragic death. I was crying out to God about it, and He answered my cry by giving me a song. It was late into a sleepless night, but I sat down and wrote it out. This is "For Shania" on the album.
Q: You are a classical trained oboist and also a pianist. How then would you describe your style of music?
Tricky question. I think the best thing to do is listen and see if you like it. The connecting thread between my style to this point is that it is written and performed on the piano....a yellow piano preferably.
Q: Why did you call your new album "Songs for the Waiting"?
This album deals with being in the place where God has you, wherever that is. Our hope is in Him and we are waiting for Him to finish what He has started in the plan of redemption.
Q: I believe you co-write or wrote every song on the record. What song on the record particularly captures your heart right now?
Yes, I wrote all of the songs on the album and Matthew Odmark contributed the bridges for "Divided" and "Belong." I think at this particular instant, I would say "Belong." This song was written in the studio in Nashville. What a thrill it was for me to be recording my first album and seeing all the doors God had opened for me. I am standing in that place again as I anticipate releasing my album this Friday and seeing all that God has done. It reminds me of the Psalm, "Surely the boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me."
Q: How did you get to work with Jars of Clay's guitarist Matthew Odmark who produced your new record?
This was a door that God opened. I was in Nashville interviewing producers and had interviewed two very good ones, but felt unsettled about them both for different reasons. I was heading back to the airport and praying about it, when one of those first producers texted me "There is one more person you should talk to while you are here". That person was Matthew Odmark, so I rescheduled my flight and met him at his studio. I liked what he played me as his sample work and felt really comfortable working with him.
Q: Your new single and video "Eternity Grows" is getting great attention. For our readers who have not heard it, what's the song about? What was the inspiration behind the song?
This song channels a lot of my experience as a mom of two young kids. The chorus is, "Set expectations down low. What we've accomplished I'm not sure I know. Eternity grows, wrapped up in each day." This song wraps up the mundane into the eternal. It is about realizing that despite and even through our daily failures, God's eternal plan is taking shape. His ways are higher than our ways and His plans are greater than our plans.
Q: You speak about waiting. For those of us who are in the midst of waiting, what encouragement of hope do you have for us?
As Christians, our hope must be wrapped in the eternal picture. Our lives are short and temporary; we might not see the fulfillment of our hope in our lifetimes. But God has paid the downpayment by His blood. He is making all things right. That is our hope.