Journey with Christ: Mark Baynes' Latest Recording
Takes Listeners Down "Revelation Road"
Church members will soon hear a familiar voice on WBFJ-FM and other Piedmont radio stations — music from "Revelation Road," the third album by Mark Baynes, associate pastor of praise & worship and single adult ministries.
More than three years in the making, the recording's acoustic-based Christian Celtic folk reflects Scotland's musical imprint on Baynes' life and music. He fell in love with Scotland in 2002—and met his future wife there—while visiting friends studying at King's College in Aberdeen.
"The very first CD I did in Nashville, Tenn., was more of a pop/country sound," Baynes said. "Over the last 10 years, I experimented with a folk/Celtic style by adding the mandolin, hammer dulcimer and Irish whistles to the instruments I play. Dawn and I have always loved the old hymns, and living in Scotland exposed me to numerous hymns that I had never heard before."
The result was "Hymn of Season" featuring Dawn's lyrics and Mark's music. "I was always encouraging Dawn to write some lyrics, telling her I would try and put some music to it," Baynes recalled. "She gave me the first two verses several years ago and I thought they were brilliant. I tried a variety of melodies and nothing seemed to fit and then I finally had a breakthrough to what you hear on the CD”. After I had the music, I went back to her & pleaded, ‘Please write two more verses!’ She did and I couldn’t be happier about how it turned out.”
A perfectionist who believes in giving God his best whether preaching or singing, Baynes considers "Revelation Road" his most professional recording to date. Baynes and his good friend, recording engineer Gil Gillis, put the project together from sessions in Mark’s hometown of Dublin, Ga. “I laid down the guitar & vocals, plus the mandolin & hammer dulcimer parts in GA. I then went to Nashville to complete the recording with drums, bass, fiddle & the pipes.”
A constant theme throughout the recording is the Christian life as a journey, whether a sailor daring to set sail again across the sea in "The Winds of God," or a follower boldly saying "yes" to a new life in "Journey With Christ" —one of Baynes' two favorite songs on "Revelation Road."
"I began writing that song while on a trip to Israel," Baynes said. "My home pastor in Dublin, Dr. Cliff Morris of First Baptist, was teaching about the calling of Matthew while we were standing beside the Sea of Galilee. It could have been a day like this, perhaps very near here, he told us, that Jesus looked at Matthew and said, 'Come follow me.' The simplicity of Jesus' call overwhelmed me in that moment as I saw with fresh eyes what the Christian life is: following the Jesus who calls us."
Baynes' other favorite on "Revelation Road" is the musical tribute he wrote to his father, Jack, who adopted Mark shortly after he was born in Atlanta, Ga., and later adopted his sister, Katy, too. "Dad's Song" has since become an audience favorite at Baynes' concerts.
"It certainly doesn't have a 'Celtic' feel to it but, at the end of the day, I thought it belonged on the record," he said. "My 'Dad's Song' is the most personal song to me for obvious reasons. I'm most grateful to God for that song. After all the labors of love my dad has done for our family, I wanted to give him back a labor of love from my heart. It's just a small reflection of all that he has invested in me. Outside of knowing Jesus Christ and being married to Dawn, I can't think of anything I'm more grateful for than that William Jackson Baynes is my father."
Writing many of the songs in a cramped Scottish apartment, Baynes said that one of his own revelations was realizing a life of faith is always on the move. "The Christian life is never static," he said. "We cannot stand still and follow the Lord. The phrase 'along the road,' occurs in Mark's gospel repeatedly, especially after Peter's confession of Christ. From then on, Jesus is heading directly to the cross. We must follow Jesus along the road as well."
When people listen to 'Revelation Road,' I hope they enjoy the excellence of the music. I pray they will not be satisfied with a comfortable routine but will be inspired to ask God, 'What road do you want me walking down?' I hope they will see life as a journey that ends with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, 'I go and prepare a place for you, so that where I am, there you may also be.' I long that they will keep their eyes fixed on God for revelations of Himself along the road they are called to travel."