Voices In My Head (The Rick Lee James Podcast) - Episode 472 - THE WOOD DRAKE SESSIONS with Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers
Wood Drake Sessions’ co-creators Paul Ranheim (top) and Kirk Sauers.
About The Wood Drake Sessions Birthed in 2020 when longtime friends Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers began songwriting via Zoom, The Wood Drake Sessions is a creative collective seeking to provide inspired and timely worship songs for the Church. The Wood Drake Sessions also offers a variety of resources, including charts, lead sheets and tutorials to help worshiping communities sing together.
Ranheim is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, worship leader, pastor and church planter currently on staff at Redeemer Longmont in Colorado. A Pacific Northwest native, he has served with Young Life as well as at churches in Spokane, Washington; Santa Barbara, California; St. Louis and Nashville, among others.
Currently a worship leader and artist-in-residence at First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, Sauers spent eight years in Nashville as a songwriter, touring mandolinist and background vocalist. His acclaimed solo worship EP, Always and Forever, released in 2015 and Sauers’ songs have been recorded by bluegrass favorite Lonesome River Band and chart-topping Canadian country artist Jess Moskaluke, among others.
THE WOOD DRAKE SESSIONS FULL-LENGTH DEBUT WITH SANDRA MCCRACKEN AND LESLIE JORDAN AMONG STANDOUT COLLABORATORS
From the Valley to the Golden Shore Released April 29, 2022
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—From the Valley to the Golden Shore, the full-length debut from worship newcomers The Wood Drake Sessions, is set to bow April 29. Showcasing collaborations with such luminaries as bestselling singer/songwriter and worship leader Sandra McCracken; singer/songwriter Leslie Jordan (All Sons & Daughters); modern hymnist Wendell Kimbrough; and NPR-lauded singer/songwriter Liz Vice, among others, the album was written by The Wood Drake Sessions’ co-creators Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers.
Produced by Lucas Morton, From the Valley to the Golden Shore features nine roots-based, organic pop tracks conveying the surety of Christ’s sovereignty despite the turmoil of the times. Offering a preview of the album’s overarching message, the April 15 Easter-themed single “All Will Be Well” is a Sauers-led track joyfully proclaiming Jesus’ victory over death, “I’m alive/I have won/See the grave I’ve overcome.”
Additional highlights include album opener “Oh How Good To Be Together,” an engaging corporate worship anthem led by McCracken; “I See A King,” with Vice’s signature vocals atop an R&B-infused groove celebrating the Savior who will right all wrongs; the Kimbrough-featured “Grace Will Prevail,” articulating God’s unfailing promises; and Jordan’s poignant closer, “Bountifully With Me,” a gentle song of praise for Christ’s provision.
“Our great desire is to see the Church flourish today, and we believe new songs that capture God’s faithfulness and great deeds in the midst of our cultural moment are important for her flourishing,” Sauers shares. “We hope our music can inspire and stir the affections of our hearts to continue to love, trust and enjoy God. We also envision these songs helping shape the faith of God’s people as they sing them together in worshiping communities, serving not just to help us know Truth and inform our heads, but to feel Truth and shepherd our hearts.”
“All too often we feel like we’re drowning in the noise of this world,” Ranheim adds. “We need to be reminded that we have a King who is coming, and believers of all cultures, races, and times—along with all creation itself—will rejoice at the restoration and shalom that Jesus will bring. We need songs that shape us to hope deeply in Him.”
“We wanted the album to be brought to life by a variety of people, to have greater representation than just our own voices,” Ranheim continues. “I still remember the moment I heard Sandra in my head singing ‘Oh How Good To Be Together,’ and I knew she could make that song come to life unlike anyone else. Pretty soon we found ourselves reaching out to a handful of artists who all generously agreed to join in our mission.”
“The Wood Drake Sessions name was inspired by a Wendell Berry poem, ‘The Peace of Wild Things,’” explains Sauers of both the duo’s moniker and mission. “When despair grows within, the poet writes of lying down ‘where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water.’ The imagery of a still and worriless creation extending its welcome of peace profoundly touched the ache of our hearts. Paul and I knew this was how we wanted our songs to exist—as works of art inviting us into the stillness of God’s presence, the grace of His goodness, and the rest of perfect peace.”