Produced by long time friend Cliff Downs (Sierra, Pam Thum), LISA BEVILL is Lisa's most personal album to date, running the gambit from introspective ballads to aggressive, in-your-face, apocalyptic rockers. "The record is self-titled because it really represents who I am," she explains. "Everything I feel is in this record. There was such a freedom to sing like I have never sung before. I wrote six of the eleven songs and even played the piano on this record. It will be interesting to see how people relate to it because it's a little different from past records."
With 3 other projects under her belt, Lisa is no stranger to making music that works. She holds many number one hits including "Place in the Sun," "Turn and Love," and "Only a Savior" from these previous recordings, and this new project is predicted to hold it's share of chart toppers as well.
Lisa's eagerly-anticipated fourth solo project was a long time coming. After five years of constant touring she found herself physically worn and emotionally drained. It all came to a head on Mother's Day during her final tour. "I called home to talk to my kids, and listened in helpless desperation as my husband recounted the events of the day. Our three year-old son, Trevor, had been missing for over an hour. He had followed a puppy, fallen into a creek and was soaking wet and terrified, when a neighbor found him and brought him home. Three thousand miles away in a lonely hotel room, I came to the realization that I needed to re-prioritize my life."
With her last recording contract at an end, Lisa wasn't sure she would ever record again. "I remember looking out my window one day, praying and asking God, 'was that it?' My dream since I was twelve years old was to sing and now it seemed as if it were over. And I felt the Lord say to me, 'No, I just haven't heard your best yet. Now clear your calendar, go home, and give Me two years.'" Two years turns out to be a very important number.
Lisa finished her remaining commitments, and then shed her diva image like a worn out housecoat. She continued doing session work, lending her passionate, mellifluous vocals to projects by such superstars as Garth Brooks, Michael Bolton, Faith Hill, Amy Grant, and Michael W. Smith.
And she started cleaning house.
"I felt the Lord telling me to clean my house," she remembers. "I went through every drawer, every closet, everything. I really looked at my house, and it was very cluttered." Lisa points to herself, "And this house was really cluttered, too. While I cleaned the physical house, there was a lot of spiritual cleaning that happened as well."
In the midst of this two-year soul cleansing, Lisa experienced a spiritual awakening. "I was missing something," she confesses. "I knew there had to be more of the Lord and I was hungry for it. I'd heard that some of the youth from Brownsville Assembly of God from Pensacola, FL were coming to speak at a local church in Nashville. And I was hungry to hear about the revival happening there and wondering what it was all about. Before the service even started I fell apart in the pews while talking and praying with a dear friend." She recalls the night when the Holy Spirit fell on her like never before. "I got a taste of something I had never tasted before and felt the deep, abiding presence of God. It gave me strength to walk through that desert season."
Lisa continued to press into this newfound intimacy with God, pondering the mysteries He was showing her in her spirit. Exactly two years later, she felt the release to begin writing again. She penned "No Turning Back," a song about faithful endurance that the Lord had given her during this process. She wrote "How Strong He Is" for a friend who was going through difficult times in his marriage. And then she wrote the uncharacteristically aggressive, "Something Worth Dying For."
In keeping with her tradition of dedicating a song from each album to the young ladies from her girls' camp, Lisa wrote "Life Is A Mystery," as a challenge and an encouragement for girls to slow down and enjoy their youth. "Come Back To Me" is a song she thought she was writing for her runaway niece. "My niece had run away from home for the 4th time, and no one knew where she was. To me, this song is the tender voice of the Lord saying, 'Please come back to me so I can sing over you, and bless you.' But when I sang it the first time, I heard the Lord say, 'Despite who you think this is about, I wrote it about you.'
"Ride," one of the project's most powerful songs, almost didn't make it onto the album. Ten songs had been selected and recorded, and both the time and money for the album were already spent. But after much prayer and with a strong sense of confirmation, Lisa approached her producer, Cliff Downs, with the song anyway.
"I was at an early morning prayer gathering in October 1997," she recalls. "It got really intense, really fast. The Holy Spirit fell on the room, and it got incredibly quiet. I felt the Lord say to me, 'Do you hear the horses running? Do you hear their hoofbeats on the plains of the earth?' And I saw a vivid picture of a wide-open plain. On my left was a tall wheat field, ready to be cut, and on my right was a corral, filled with horses. And far off on the crest of a hill was Jesus - waiting, looking at the wheat, and back at the horses. Just waiting. And I saw the hand of the Lord reach down and take the pin out of the lock on the corral. The gate opened and the horses took off running."
"I went home, wrote down the vision, dated it, and promptly forgot about it," Lisa continues. "In October of 1999, while looking out my window at the leaves coming down, a melody began to run through my head, and I felt the Lord say, 'The horses are running. Go write the song to the melody I just gave you.' It was the exact same week, two years later. I knew we didn't have the time or the money to put this song on the record, but I just prayed over it and presented it to Cliff anyway. After hearing it he pulled out a poster print of white horses running with their riders, following Jesus over the plains of the earth. And at the bottom of the print was the scripture, Revelation 19:11-14. I later found out the artist, Vera Foster, goes to our church. She is 70 years old and has Alzheimer's disease. She painted that picture from her perspective on that day when she'll ride her horse home with Jesus." Downs not only agreed to do the song, he wanted Lisa to play the piano on it, something she had never done on a record.
"I had asked the Lord for peace and constant confirmation on the whole recording process or else I wasn't going to move without Him," Lisa says. "And He has given that, continually. It is such a precious thing. I am the happiest I have ever been. I know and feel for the first time, that God really loves me. I actually feel Him loving me. And for the first time in my life, I feel truly alive."