Lab Tracks

Lab Track: Bearing Witness

David Bazan is a recent skeptical-music discovery of mine. According to his interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, Bazan’s album Curse Your Branches is often called his breakup letter to god. Bazan was raised in an evangelical church by his father, who was a music pastor. In his adult life, he began to lose his faith, which led him to a downward spiral of depression and alcoholism. He pulled himself back up with the help of his wife and kids and eventually came out with his very first solo album. Today’s lab track comes from that album, and though it was written with religion in mind, I like to think the lyrics can be applied to any form of false belief.

Bearing Witness
David Bazan

I clung to miracles I have not seen
From ancient signatures I cannot read
Though I’ve repented I’m still tempted I admit
But it’s not what bearing witness is

To full of fear and prophecy to see
The revelation right in front of me
So sick and tired of trying to make the pieces fit
cause it’s not what bearing witness is

When the gap between
what I hoped would be
and what is makes me weep for my kids
I take a cleansing breath
and make a positive confession
But is that what bearing witness is?

Though it may alienate your family
and blur the lines of your identity
Let go of what you know
and honor what exists
Son, that’s what bearing witness is
Daughter, that’s what bearing witness is

This has been another installment of Monday Lab Tracks. Send us your musical recommendations through our contact link at the top of the page, and tell us what you think of the song in the comments below!

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

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