God Is Your Rock

Ragan Courtney Back Then

Ragan Courtney Back Then

“God Is Your Rock” is a make over of a song that began decades ago from the pen of lyricist Ragan Courtney. Ragan was my best friend at the time and we roomed together in Greenwich Village and lived our hippie lives.

Ragan was also an aspiring NYC actor at the time and we had met studying acting at NYC’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater where we studied with Sanford Meisner, one of the fathers of American Method acting.

The song, lyrics by Ragan and music by yours truly, was entitled “I’ve Tried Hard” and referenced the Biblical lines about foxes having holes and birds having a nest, but Jesus (as a baby) having no place to lay his head. It was catchy and fun, but strangely a downer because ultimately it said,

I’ve tried hard
I’ve done my best
But now there’s nowhere to go except the road

And that’s just what Ragan did. Eventually, he left NYC and went back home. However, here’s where the story takes an unexpected turn. He became a huge star both as a lyricist/playwright, actor and inspirational leader in the Christian Music world. There he married one of the top singing stars of that world, Cynthia Clawson, and the two of them had wondrous careers and even had their own very popular church for a decade or so in Houston, Texas where Cynthia sang and Ragan preached.

Ragan Preachin' / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

Ragan Preachin’ / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

I was always proud of my pal, Rags.

When Julia and I moved a little over a year ago out of NYC to the country (after 40 years living two blocks from Times Square any place with trees is the country) I reorganized all my past files and notebooks of decades of writing into new and better files. I found myself sitting in my basement for a week every day going through my life as a songwriter and looking through hundreds of songs. With most of them I could remember parts and pieces – the ones that never got recorded, but a few I could not remember at all.

Then I came across “I’ve Tried Hard.” As I read through the lyrics, the entire song came back to me as if it had been written yesterday. I thought to myself, “Hmm, this one’s really sticky. I could really do something with this.”

So I started fiddling with the lyric and one day I just decided to turn it positive and out popped the God is your rock concept. So I finished the new lyric, using much of what Ragan had written before, and called him to see if he might approve.

He did and “God Is Your Rock” was born again.

Jenny Burton

Jenny Burton

It did seem the perfect song for Jenny Burton. You might call it a Gospel flavored rock-a-billy song and I knew she could eat it up. I needed a song for Julia’s Duets album that both she and Jenny could sing together. Julia, being a classical crossover artist would not have been my first choice to sing this funky little song with Jenny. But the idea kept coming up.

Julia Wade

Julia Wade

For a period of time Julia grew up in Georgia, so she had a sense of southern funk to her. On top of it all, Julia’s an actress and is great at morphing into characters when she performs. So we went to work on it. I’ll have to admit that she really surprised me. I think she did herself proud on this song and further expanded her amazing range of styles.

Jenny was a big help as well leading the way stylistically. For her it was a natural and she brings both a spiritual commitment and also a fresh sense of humor to the song.

When you get a chance to see and hear our theatrical concert and webcast, “Is Anybody Listening?” you’ll see the song performed by the two songbirds. It’s truly a fun moment in the show and raises the roof a few inches.

God Is Your Rock

Music by Peter Link

Lyrics by Peter Link and Ragan Courtney

Julia

Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

But Jesus had no place to lay his head

And now I know

Just how he felt

 

Mountains are high

Oceans are wet

Well I’m about as low as I can get

And I know

I’m all by myself

 

I’ve tried hard

I’ve done my best

Jenny

But maybe your best just ain’t good enough

Without the Lord in your life

 

Girl it’s a long hard road

Julia

Yes it is!

Jenny

When you’re goin’ it alone

Julia

It’s so lonely

 

Jenny

So why not make it a little easier

Julia

Uh huh …

Jenny

Uh with the Lord by your side

He’ll carry you all the way home

 

Remember God is your rock

God is your rock

And his faith in you is solid as stone

 

Julia

You mean he’d carry me

All the way home?

Jenny

That’s right!

Julia

There by my side?

Jenny

Yes sir!

Julia

Bearin’ all my burdens like a long lost friend …

Well I don’t know girl

I think I been gone too long

 

Jenny

But Julia

God don’t hold

No bad blood

Forgiveness is the essence of His humble heart

God is your rock

An’ He don’t let ya’ down

 

Julia

I’ll try hard

I’ll do my level best

To open my mind back to letting him

Come in and be in my life

 

Jenny

And when the road gets long

He’ll always be your song

Step by step settin’ your mind at ease

With all the rhythms of His soul

They’ll carry you all the way home

 

Remember God is your rock

Julia

God is my rock

Both

And His faith (in you) is solid as stone

 

So people take heed

We got what we need

God is always with us when the trouble comes

God is your rock

Mighty in His power

 

Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

An’ now ya’ know the truth about what God knows best

That God is your rock

And God IS your home

 

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God is your rock!

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