Many of you know my love for music. I am not a musician (in any sense of the word!), but music is such a big part of my life. As one poet put it, “You can have the army, you can have the government, give me the music, and I have the people” (if anyone knows the source of that, please let me know).

I have also been somewhat of an outspoken critic of the Christian music industry, believing that it for the most part is shallow and lacks true representation of three-dimensional humanity (which all music should have). However, Tim Kimberley has been winning me over to some real depth in Christian music. He shares the same concerns as me with mainstream Christian music, but slowly he continues to introduce me to artists who not only do things right, but are incredibly talented.

Josh Garrels is one of those artists. I doubt he would call his music “Christian music,” but I think he may say that he is a “Christian who makes music.” I like that.

The following song is incredible. It is called Ulysses. Creative, emotional, and completely addictive. It is the story of Ulysses’ encounter with the Sirens. It is a timeless story accounting Ulysses’ sea voyage home. The Sirens are half-birds, half-women (often mistakenly seens as Mermaids like in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie) who seduce sailors with their beautiful voices, causing them to crash into the rocks and die. Ulysses desires to hear the Sirens but instructs his men to tie him to the mast of his ship and, no matter what he says, not let him out of his binds. His men were to plug their ears with wax so that they would be safe. It is a great illustration of temptation and determination to overcome. Listen to it with that in mind and enjoy. (The words are below the player.)

I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right
I’ve been shipwrecked, and left for dead, and I have seen the darkest sights
Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night
But oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until, I find, my love

Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones
But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the, memories of the, beauty I have known

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone
I want to hold, her in, my arms

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    14 replies to "New Artist: Josh Garrels"

    • Steve Martin

      Interesting and haunting style.

      I liked it.

    • Jeremy

      This is one of the most beautiful and powerful albums I’ve ever heard, and I don’t say that lightly. He captures so perfectly the tension of clinging to the hope we have while living is a very broken world. The lyrics just blow me away.

      If you’ve suffered from depression, or suffered almost any kind of deep trauma or loss, listen to Farther Along and tell me it doesn’t connect with you in a profound way.

      All that to say, THIS is what “Christian” music should be like IMO.

    • Chris Skiles


    • Chris Skiles

      Can’t stop playing this song.

    • Tom

      This is an awesome CD. Good musically and theologically/philosophically deep.

    • Chris Echols

      This is absolutely gorgeous!… wow… Thanks…

    • Henry

      Totally share the sentiment of “the Christian music industry…for the most part is shallow”…

      You should also check out one of the independent artists I like: Sandra McCracken


    • Luke Todd

      Incredible song, and generously available for free along with the entire album.

      CMP, a few others to check out if you haven’t heard them are Gungor and John Mark McMillan. A lot of excellent, non-shallow music going on. Check it out here if you like.

    • Aaron Walton

      The CD which includes this song is free on Josh Garrell’s Website. It can also be downloaded from

    • Jesse

      I’m teaching The Odyssey right now. This will be perfect to play for the class and discuss the lyrics.

    • Don

      I stumbled across Josh Garrels via his bandcamp page…his album was in their top ten and free. Amazingly versatile voice and solid lyrics…very mellow singer/songwriter type music…great stuff! They’re not straight up Christian music, but you might try Denison Witmer or M. Ward. Witmer’s The Gift of Grace is a beautiful song. And Ward has a song called Epistemology with the lyric “I learned how to keep my head from something Paul said about keeping the fruit in the Spirit from the chorus down to the hook.”

    • Seth

      I love Ulysses, but I would agree that Farther Along is one of the best!
      Have you come across any others from him on previous cds that you would recommend?

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      CMP –

      Thanks a lot for introducing some of us to Josh Garells.

      Listening to him right now; love it!

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