'Our true permanent home still awaits us'
Heaven is the 15th album from Paul Poulton: it emerged out of his mother's death and funeral, he explains
Heaven is my 15th album and came to be recorded almost by accident. Looking back, I can now see a providential hand involved, but at the time I didn't.
My mother died recently and I sang and spoke at the funeral. One of the songs that my band and I sang was I’ll Fly Away. Christians and non-Christians alike were moved and many people told me they had never been to a funeral service like it.
So, in an effort to capture the rich atmosphere of the celebration of my mother’s life I thought I ought to record one or two of the songs we sang that day. I paid a visit to the famous Raindance studio to record one song and found Chris Smith there, whose keyboard work is now renowned. Nic Burrows was also there; his solid playing on drums is to be heard on many recordings world-wide. My wife Jeannie was with us too and she is well known for her emotive and lush harmonies in the extensive work she did with evangelist Don Double’s touring band The Reapers. So the stage was set—11 songs were soon in the bag.
I’ll Fly Away is an old song and we felt we ought to keep that theme and give all the songs an air of 50s and 60s music but with enough groove and ideas to let the listener know that these are present arrangements of past songs that speak of the future.
Jeannie’s mother had died about seven years ago so the theme of heaven was close to her heart too. In the songs we remember that heaven and earth both contain members of the same family. 'For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name' (Eph 3:14-15). The first song is Milky White Way, a song recorded by Elvis in 1960 that mentions meeting our mothers who have gone on before. When Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was 'gathered to his people', a phrase that speaks of reuniting with family members. Elvis was very close to his mother so I’m not surprised that he recorded the song not too long after his own mother’s death.
I Believe In The Man In The Sky is another song on Heaven which Elvis also recorded. While we were recording our version the engineer said, 'Isn’t this idea of the man in sky debatable?' But I thought not, because Jesus, the man, ascended into heaven where he sits at God’s right hand, so we do, in fact, believe in the man in the sky.
The penultimate song is called Grand Time an infectious Caribbean song that never seems to fail to get people excited and smiling when we perform it live.
We shall have a grand time, up in heaven
We shall have a grand time up in heaven have a grand time
Walking with the angels, singing glory hallelujah
We shall have a grand time up in heaven have a grand time.
We understand that the life we now live is temporary, the Bible describes it as a tent. So our true permanent home still awaits us. 'For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.' (2 Cor 5:1).
Music has the ability to open people's hearts and I pray that God will use the music on Heaven to speak to people, encourage them and challenge them. All the songs can be heard free on Spotify, Youtube, Amazon etc. There is also a CD available too.
Paul Poulton is a writer, speaker and singer-songwriter. For many year Paul was a member of his local Baptist church in Staffordshire, until a recent move to the West Midlands. Find out more about his work on his website.