Buddy Jewell – “I Surrender All”
“For I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” - Philippians 4:11-12
“I Surrender All,” the fourth self-produced album by singer / songwriter Buddy Jewell, grew from a simple request. It was with affection and maternal pride that Mama Jewell asked her son to record some of her favorite gospel songs.
“My mother Eva had asked me on several occasions to record a few gospel songs for her,” says Jewell. “Over the years, several friends and fans have suggested that I do so as well. So, in November of 2010, I began the process of putting this record together. It’s a collection of spiritual songs, some from the past, some from the present, and all from my heart.”
The album’s title cut, ”I Surrender All,” is a beautifully produced modern version of an historic hymn by composer and evangelist Judson W. Van DeVenter. Its message of hope and faith is still as relevant today as when it was originally written over a century ago.
“I chose to include ‘I Surrender All’ partly because of the truth and simplicity of its message, “ affirms Buddy. “Unfortunately, we live in a world that’s in turmoil much of the time. People need faith and to trust in God more than ever before.”
Jewell witnessed some of that turmoil firsthand when he traveled to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan in December 2010. Joining forces with the USO, Buddy visited with and performed for military troops, returning home with a greater appreciation for U.S. fighting forces around the globe. It is to these amazing men and women, who preserve and protect the nation’s liberties and freedom, that Buddy dedicates this record.
Turning to God for strength in times of struggle and adversity is an underlying theme throughout the album. “You’ll Find Your Way,” written by Neil Cody, is an uplifting tribute to the healing power of faith. Doubt, fear and darkness are powerful forces, but God’s love is stronger.
“’Don’t lose faith, you’ll find your way,’ is one of my favorite lyrics on the record,” says Jewell. “Throughout my career and my life I’ve trusted in the Lord to guide me down the right paths. I ask Jesus for His blessings in everything I do. If He is with me, I know I can face whatever comes my way. “
Buddy quickly rose to fame in 2003 as the first winner of USA Network’s “Nashville Star.” Having hit songs like “Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey’s Song)” and “Sweet Southern Comfort,” and achieving gold status on his debut album by selling over five hundred thousand copies, haven’t changed this Arkansas-native’s priorities in his day-to-day life. Second only to his relationship with God is his family. Jewell’s roles as devoted husband to Tene and proud father to three beautiful children (Buddy III, Lacey and Joshua) are the subject of the autobiographical “When I’m Good and Gone.” Written with good friend Leslie Satcher, this ballad (with heartfelt sincerity) reflects on the hopes and dreams of a dedicated husband and father.
Blessed with three healthy children of his own, Jewell has recently partnered with Compassion International to aid impoverished children around the world. For over 50 years, Compassion has been dedicated to releasing children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. Buddy traveled with Compassion in 2010 to Guatemala, to not only help in the much-needed physical aid of the children there (food, shelter and health care), but also to bring public awareness to the important role faith can lead in the crisis of poverty. Today, Compassion International helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries.
Says Jewell, “The Book of John states, that ‘ye love one another, even as I have loved you.’ Giving back is a true blessing. Together we can bring about change in the world. These impoverished children are innocent. With a little faith, kindness and, yes, music, we can make a big difference in their world. I can say that they’ve certainly made a difference in mine.”
Any Buddy Jewell project wouldn’t be complete without a few rockin’ uptempos. And “I Surrender All” is no exception. “Jesus, Elvis and Me,” (the latest single released to both Christian and country radio) is the perfect addition. Written by Chris Stapleton and Tim James, this honky-tonk flavored, hip-swinging, lip curling love song is guaranteed to put a smile on your face with its addictive beat and hooky lyrics. Likewise for "Hell Bent and Heaven Bound,” a bluesy toe-tapping story song with smokin’ fiddle and rockin’ guitars, a tune that Buddy penned with James Payne.
“Recording this album almost felt like a homecoming for me,” says Jewell. “These songs are familiar and comfortable. Somehow going back to my roots, to the messages and scriptures that have made me who I am, is opening doors and windows I never imagined possible. What was meant as a gift for my mother has truly turned into a blessing for me.”
Case in point is the album’s lead off single, "Somebody Who Would Die For You." Written by songwriting heavyweights Mark Narmore and Adam Wheeler, its powerful lyric and emotional delivery hit a major chord with Christian radio listeners nationwide. The song reached #1 on the Christian radio charts in April 2010, and earned Jewell the distinguished titles of Crossover Artist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year at the 55th International Country Gospel Awards in August 2011.
As a diverse and charismatic performer, Jewell has grown an extensive fan base which extends well beyond the country and gospel genres. From children to NFL players, Buddy appeals to music fans of all ages, from all walks of life. His music video “Reason to Read” (with Patty Loveless) has become one of the most popular music videos ever to appear on “Between the Lions,” PBS's award-winning literacy education series for children. When Falcons' safety #25, William Moore, was asked in a recent interview what his hobbies were, he said, "hip hop, country music and a little Buddy Jewell."
“’I Surrender All’ marks a new chapter in my career,” says Buddy. “I look forward to the road ahead. For me, ‘surrender’ has come to mean trusting fully that God is in control of every situation, every thing in my life. And through this trust I can find peace and contentment.”