I'm so happy to share these songs with you. The good Lord shared them with me, so I wrote them down and recorded them. I would love to take more credit, but it would not be true. A special thanks to my wonderful friends who helped me out on this project. Without you this would not have been possible. I must also point out that Connie Cookman, my beautiful wife, helped me write lyrics and melodies on most of the songs. She is more talented than she knows, and without her I would be lost!

This project began because a group of guys in a Bible study I attended told me I needed to get the songs I had on tape. With their encouragement and support more songs came, and pretty soon there was a vision for the project. The Lord certianly had his hand in the timing, because it did NOT go as I had planned. It took a long time to get started and many life happenings set us back. But if it hadn't all happened when it did, I wouldn't have been blessed with some of the guest artists. And frankly, the project would not be very good without them!

I've included the lyrics and story behind each song below. The story of the song, is almost as important to me as the song itself.

Enjoy!
mAc
Thank You
Thank You
written by: Matt Cookman - 2009
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Electric Guitar
Shane Harrison, Becky Harrison, Jody Zack - Background Vocals



Official Lyric Video

Story
I wrote Thank You one day when I was feeling down… Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I was frustrated with my job, expecting too much of me… my wife was having troubles at her job, we had some minor everyday life irritations and my dad and step son were on long roads of recovery from their accidents in 2006. I began to focus on all these things that were affecting me and I was busy making a list in my head for use at my pity party, when I realized I was sitting in my own recording studio, in a 3400 sq ft home, I had my health, I’m happily married, everything I need is being met…. As I began to think about all the things I did have, I began to be filled with gratitude and I started to make a list of the most important things. Thank you Jesus, for such an easy way to turn my mind around; take the focus off myself and consider what all you’ve done for me.

Lyrics

Shifting Sand
Shifting Sand
written by: Matt Cookman - 2000
Featuring
Doug Anderson - Vocals
Josh Ginder - Bass, Banjo, Mando

Story
This is the oldest song on the album. It came to me one summer day when I was living and working in Nashville, TN, but still owned a home in central Indiana that I had to maintain. I was driving the 5 hour one way trip to mow the grass at the home in Indiana and listening to a preacher on the radio. He was teaching on the subject of the foolish man who builds on sand and the wise man who builds on rock. The words of the song just began to flow and I also had the melody and the guitar "lick" at the beginning. The only thing I didn’t have was a guitar, pen and paper and time to write it all down! So, I basically sang it over and over again, all the way to IN, the whole time I mowed my grass and the 5 hour trip back to Nashville before I could grab my guitar and see if I could play what was in my head. I love the final version of the song. I had always heard something like a round during the chorus with various people singing shifting sand. When I just gave a small opening to Doug Anderson during the recording and inviting him to just "riff", the end result was what I’d had in mind from the very beginning. Many thanks to everyone who made this tune I carried in my spirit for 15 years a reality.

Lyrics
Love Me Back
Love Me Back
written by: Matt Cookman - 2/14/2013
A love song from God to you...
Featuring
Doug Anderson - Vocals
Anna Hodge - Violin
Josh Ginder - Electric Guitar
Deb Fiechter - Background vocals

Story
As you can see, I remember the exact date this song was written. It was Valentine’s Day and the wife and I had just agreed to lead a church service that night for the women’s county jail. We were not too excited to be giving up our Valentine’s day, but the Lord had made it clear this was part of fulfilling my wildest dream to "play music everyday". I realized as we prayed about whether to accept the request that if we said YES, that would make 5 days in a row that I would be playing music. How could I turn that down? So, we made the decision that morning to do the service. The good thing is that all the pressure is on Connie because I just show up and play my music and Connie has to get a lesson and make it all make sense! Anyway, she went out to run errands and I was working at home. I had started to think about a good friend of mine I had recently run into. His health was getting very poor and I knew that he did not have a relationship with Jesus. He had been burned by an experience with a church when he was younger and never went back. As I thought about his situation, I thought, "all Jesus wants from you is to just love him back"… The tears came to my eyes as the words and tune to this song just began to flow. I grabbed a piece of paper and pen and on my knees wrote out the lyrics from front to back. I would call this a divine download! Best of all, when I called Connie to tell her "the Lord just gave me a song!", we realized this was Jesus’ Valentine for the ladies at the Madison County Jail!! How sweet it was to be his messenger that night, as the ladies incarcerated there were the first to hear this love song from our Savior. Ps. Writing this story reminded me that I’ve never given a copy of Love Me Back to the friend I was thinking about when the song was given. I’m excited to make plans now to share it with him.

Lyrics
Grover
Grover
written by: Matt Cookman - 2009
Featuring
Doug Anderson - Vocals
Josh Ginder - Electric Guitar
Background vocals by: Shane Harrison, Becky Harrison, Jody Zack, Connie Cookman

Story
The inspiration for Grover came to me in the form of a tow truck that pulled up next to me at a light in Indianapolis, IN. On the back window of the truck was a reflective decal that covered basically the entire back window. It said "Stay Together, Go to Church and Praise the Lord." It was in memory of the owner. As soon as I read the words, I heard the hook for the chorus, "stay together, go to church and praiee-aiee-aieese the Lord". My wife encouraged me to call the tow truck company to ask permission to write a song and to see what kind of background information I could learn. The man’s family was rightfully cautious and then I got to speak to the guy’s wife. She told me that these were the last words of her husband to their family…. I also learned that one of his grand-daughters would say, "He was the calm in our storm." The rest of the song is just the imagination of me and my wife. It was great fun dreaming up how the whole thing could have gone down, with the tow truck driver turning out to be an angel. One of our favorite things about this song is the way the chorus sounds, as it rings off the cement walls , floors and ceilings of the various penal institutions we have had the privilege to sing in…. can you just imagine it…"PRAISE THE LORD!" We’ve been waiting for the produced version to be complete to share it with the family who inspired it in the first place. We pray that it will bless them and provide a lasting legacy to their loved one.

Lyrics
I Cried
I Cried
written by: Matt Cookman - 2010
Featuring
Connie Cookman - Vocals
Anna Hodge - Violin

Story
I remember writing this song like it was yesterday. It was the 4 year anniversary of a double traumatic event in our family. (In 2006 my dad had a massive heart attack on April 17 and our 16 yr old son had a near fatal auto accident on May 4, only 2 weeks apart.) As I drove to work that morning in 2010, I was just remembering all of the moments of that crazy time in our life….first getting the news and then all the things that came after. I began to cry and then I began to sing what I was remembering through tears. I probably had 15 different verses to that song. If someone saw me in the car that day, they would have seen a real mess! I think that was when I actually let myself feel all of the emotions that I had held at bay throughout the ordeal and even years later. It was the release of pressure that finally allowed me to stop bracing myself for terrible news every time the phone rang. The other cool thing about this song is that my sweet wife is singing the harmony line. She has always wanted to sing harmony, the only problem is she can’t find it herself! I sang the harmony line first and recorded it with the melody turned way down so she could learn the harmony as her melody. What a neat blessing to be part of making one of her dreams come true and at the same time sharing the song that tells the story we shared…. which, by the way, was the catalyst that put us on the journey to pursue the Lord with all of our heart & soul.

Lyrics
Stomp & Shout
Stomp & Shout
written by: Matt Cookman - 2010
Featuring
Doug Anderson - Vocals
Troy Parker - Electric Guitar
Background vocals by: Imagine IF - Fall 2014

Story
This is a song of High Praise! It all started with the chorus or hook, Makes me want to Stomp and Shout. Cool side story, I had started working on this song around the same time the Lord was leading my wife to scriptures that described the exhuberance of praise in the Psalms. One day, as she prayed with a friend, they felt they were to stomp and shout to the Lord. What fun when she came home and learned I was writing this song. Shortly after, we offered to host a bonfire for the Free after school program in our community, called Imagine If. We decided it would be fun to hold a mini "concert" for the kids and this was the debut of Stomp and Shout. Later, the kids responded so well to the song the leaders decided to put motions to it. On the CD, the stomping is about 50 kids who were part of the program in the fall of 2014, stomping on the bleachers at the Intermediate school and then the shout "JESUS" is them singing at the top of their lungs.

Lyrics
Sometimes
Sometimes
written by: Matt Cookman - 2010
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Lead Guitar
Troy Parker - Electric Guitar

Story
Sometimes was inspired by the story of a young man we knew, struggling with his identity and taking a break from college to try to break free from his addictions and get his head on straight. The first verse of the song is describing what’s going on in his head. The chorus is his excuse and 2nd verse is the response.

Lyrics
I Haven't Heard a Melody
I Haven't Heard a Melody
written by: Matt Cookman - 2013
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Lead Guitar, Bass

Story
This song started as a lament. I had been on a real drought, no songs for a couple of years! I was crying out to the Lord for Him to speak to me and this was His response. Pretty ironic that He gave me a song to go with me begging for a song, while I knew that it was tongue in cheek, it was also Oh, so sweet. There’s a part in verse 2 that says, "when the test is on, the teacher don’t speak". This was a lesson we learned through Connie’s mom (Mama). She is so wise in the ways of the Lord and able to put it in terms we can all understand. I guess the 2 year drought was my test and boy, did the teacher not speak. Thank you Lord, for seeing me through. I also love how my friend Josh, laid in a lead guitar line right where I’m saying to God, "let’s hear what you have to say"... No doubt God is speaking in that guitar!

Lyrics
Unforced Rhythms of Grace
Unforced Rhythms of Grace
written by: Matt Cookman - 2013
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Electric Guitar
Derek Bishop - Jews Harp, Percussion

Story
The title song for the album has become the theme of our lives. It comes from the invitation to the weary in Matthew chapter 11. The Message translation has Jesus saying, "…watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace." This phrase captured our imagination and we began to discuss what are the unforced rhythms of grace and how can we incorporate them into our lives? It was also an obvious song title with the whole "rhythms" part and me being a drummer. We decided to try to write a song. Connie worked on some lyrics but was in some odd wrap-type cadence that I knew I was never going to do. I "accidentally" lost them…. then in the winter of 2013, as I was shoveling our drive way, burying the shovel til it hit the drive and then scraping the snow off the side, "clunk – swoosh, clunk – swoosh, clunk-swoosh", the rhythm was established! The verses pretty much follow matthew 11, but then comes the crazy wrap thing that somehow made it back into the fray. Then it was a surprise to all of us that it ended up being a call to the church!! But on careful inspection, who is more burned out on religion than the church and don’t we need to learn the unforced rhythms of grace? I would remiss in telling the story of this song without mentioning the vast and varied contributions of one Derek Bishop, who threw everything at it, from the jew’s harp to the glockenspeil!!

Lyrics
Philippians 4:6-7
Philippians 4:6-7
written by: Matt Cookman - 2006
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Electric Guitar
Anna Hodge - Violin

Story
This song is straight scripture from the NIV. It became special to us when our loved ones were fighting for their lives in the spring of 2006 and our anxiety was at it’s highest. My uncle Mike had a list of topical scriptures and looked up stress/worry and suggested we take a look at it. This was the first time we had ever really 1.) had a problem 2.) looked in scripture for the answer 3.) did what it said and guess what? IT WORKED Like a charm. Just like the Word said it would, the peace of God, that transcends all understanding, fell on us like a blanket.

Lyrics
Way He Made the World Work
Way He Made the World Work
written by: Matt Cookman - 2014
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Lead Guitar

Story
I had the riff that I used in this song for about 2 years, I was just waiting for lyrics and a melody to go with it! One day when I was going to pick up my guitar from the repair shop, I just thought about the phrase "if you eat your fill, you got to pay your bill" That night, Connie and I were in the studio. She was painting a picture for our bedroom wall and I was messing around with trying to make the words fit the lick. Together we just threw ideas back and forth until we had the song, front to back in about an hour. The next day it got debuted at the Level One prison where we volunteer. At the end of the last line, one older gentleman was heard to say, "Ain’t that the truth!"

Lyrics
I Want You
I Want You
written by: Matt Cookman - 2010
Featuring
Josh Ginder - Lead Guitar
Troy Parker - Electric Guitar

Story
This is basically the story of how I met my lovely wife. I was playing the drums in a band called Nuthin Fancy in a dive in Daleville, In. ……… fill in the blanks. The other important thing I remember about this song is that even though it started out to be a song about my wife, it also was an expression of my heart for the Lord… I realized that "I want Him more than shelter in the pouring rain!" How sweet to walk with Him.

Lyrics
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Hisplace productions