The “Captive” CD
The Captive CD, released in May 2010, is one of the most experiential, full-length and emotional CD's you'll ever listen to. I believe in giving people the bang for their buck, and along with that a full, rich storyline that comprises the whole spectrum of human emotion. I don't like to compromise the message out of perceived norms and industry standards; therefore the songs take the length they need to in order to tell their story. In short, it is a near-80-minute (the maximum for a CD) odyssey of human emotion in praise to a loving and redemptive Savior. It is a 12-page full-color foldout loaded with pictures, inspiring writings, lyrics, and the like - the whole shebang.
Unlike my debut CD, Servant, which I retrospectively consider somewhat "preachy" (though diminished in no way in sincerity and artistic expression), this album is much more honest, forthright and candid. That was pop; this is rock. I'm extremely proud of it, and overflowingly grateful for it.
This journey was fraught with failings, misery, joy, and victory - everything along the spectrum of human emotion and life. From the beginning, I perhaps unfairly labeled my previous commercial release as "bubble-gummy Christian tripe" by comparison. True, it was CCM at its core, but it was very eclectic and full of heart. And on some measure, it was a commercial success in the Christian realm. But Captive is very different! It's got the teeth that its predecessor lacked, save perhaps in "Judas" and "Wake."
It is real, honest, vulnerable and true: a "grown-up J.R." at last. It is full of maturity.
Captive contains 15 poignant and personal songs reflecting a difficult period of life, a journey through crisis, an odyssey of emotion, and a test of character and dependence on Christ. I've never been more proud nor more grateful for the visceral and tangible messages God gave me to present. These songs were potent. They were drenched with meaning...with passion...with sentiment. They were deeply expressive of raw human emotion and grit and angst and volatility and resolve. They represented tangible mood swings that every human has experienced at one point or another, through the prism of my own personal journey. I've never been able to inject such heart and soul into my works so freely - it's an awesome privilege. It was with great humility and delicate respect that I and my producer/friend Paul Racey undertook this project.
I could not resist the calling to lay down more music tracks. The process of creation is an alluring one, and a gift from above. I love to sing...when I am in the studio is when I sometimes feel most alive. It costs a pretty penny here and there but the precious end result, after hours and hours (and more hours) of sitting in the studio listening over and over and over and over and over to the same darn songs, is one of utter closure. By the time Captive was complete I was finished with a ten-year ordeal of self-cleansing, heavy introspection and accountability, beset with demands towards maturity. I’ve seen the brink and the abyss; I like them not. I intended to live fully and to continue not just surviving, but thriving. I longed to touch the sky every day, because it stretches me. I hungered to climb the hillside and drink in the wind. I am not fully healed (after all, I'm not dead yet), but I am healing, and the years from 2000 to 2010 have been stretching, intrusive, wracked by pain, disappointing, encouraging, and laden with travels. Some of these songs reflect those travels. I had to write them, don't you see? I had to produce them, or I would have imploded under the weight of the creative pull. My voice wants to persevere, though my body take blow after blow. So that thing lying there that emits sound (hopefully pleasant)...just ignore it and try to step over it, will you? It has a mission, however unclear as of 2010, but evidently it cannot be destroyed ‘cause here came just one more stinkin’ album from that Seattle Christian Rock Singer Graves, uh, guy.
This CD turned into a HUGE CD Release concert that you should also really check out.
One of the main songs I was most excited about on this album is called Whisper, which is a moving tribute to the fallen heroes and victims of 9/11. September 11th, for myself and many others, is still very raw and real. May we never forget those brave souls aboard United Flight 93, in the FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority workers, Pentagon personnel, emergency services personnel, and other volunteers and ordinary citizens who paid the ultimate sacrifice to show us what the American spirit is really all about. The saying rings true: "All gave some; some gave all." This piece is a 9 minute and 11 second opus to these heroes and victims, and I was deeply honored to write it. It also, as it happened to turn out, was my 11th song on my 9th collection of works.
May we always remember and never forget.
Captive...the entire album...was a catharsis for me. It was a humble homage to gratitude...to God's restorative power...to love and forgiveness. Thank you Jesus.
Captive was rereleased in April of 2023, with updated artwork and one remixed song, all on a limited run. I'm very excited.
Ryan Graves | Seattle Christian Rock Singer