La PORTE — One year of marriage. And one deeply profound worship album.
A few weeks following Kaden Slay’s and Melanie Tierce’s first wedding anniversary, their record label, PEOPLE & SONGS, will release the young couple’s debut album, appropriately titled “The Slays,” at the third annual “Turn Up The Lights - Live From La Porte” worship festival Oct. 18-19 at the La Porte Civic Auditorium in La Porte.
Kaden came to La Porte in September 2016 as an intern for PEOPLE & SONGS, and he was part of the move-in crew at the Ruth Sabin home.
Since then, Kaden has helped lead worship for a number of local churches and community events. Melanie came to La Porte at the beginning of 2018 and immediately began serving local churches as well.
They were married on the south lawn of the Ruth Sabin home on Sept. 15, 2018.
“We started dating, got engaged and got married all in one year,” recalls Kaden.
The new album is sometimes gritty, sometimes tender, but always genuine, heartfelt, Americana-infused worship songs from two artists totally in love with Jesus, His Church — and each other.
“It was all a seamless stream of events, from the wedding to the honeymoon to the first few months of marriage to working on the album,” said Kaden.
The album opens with audio from a church service at Crossroads Free Pentecostal Church in Lucedale, Mississippi, where Kaden grew up, blended and layered with intercessory prayers from the entire PEOPLE & SONGS community.
The pastor is Rev. Warren Slay, Kaden’s father, reciting the familiar Scripture passage from second Chronicles 7:14, a fitting preface to “Heal Our Land.”
“That opening prayer and Scripture is my favorite part of the album. It adds so much heart,” said Melanie. “And it’s the perfect lead-in to ‘Heal Our Land.’ The whole first section of that song came out of a spontaneous worship moment at our fourth Emerging Sound summer camp. From there, we crafted the song around the simple truth that healing is directly tied to repentance and a repentant people.”
“Arms Of My Beloved,” written by Kaden, Melanie and Wesley Nilsen, is a tender, deeply intimate song about the love and mercy of Jesus. It begins: I used to think that I was living when all I did was long for more... Then the chorus turns and declares, Thank you Jesus for Your mercy that holds me steady on my way, Leaning on the arms of my Beloved, in the arms of my Beloved I’ll stay.
Kaden reflects, “Jennie (Riddle) quotes this scripture a lot from Song of Solomon 8:5, ‘Who is this coming out of the wilderness leaning upon her beloved?’ I’ve always loved that. I also love the hymn, ‘Leaning On The Everlasting Arms’ so ‘Arms Of My Beloved’ is our take on all that.”
Kaden and Melanie’s version of “Hell Or High Water” infuses that down-home Americana flavor into the powerful anthem from PEOPLE & SONGS.
“We wrote that song at a conference in Birmingham, Alabama, with our PEOPLE & SONGS writers and about 60 attendees,” remembers Kaden. “From the get-go, this song had unbelievable punch. Every time we get to the chorus, the room erupts in praise! We were excited about how that one turned out. It went a direction we weren’t expecting, but really ended up loving.”
Melanie added, “We deliberated for a long time about using the word ‘hell.’ We didn’t want to be divisive or offend, but we wanted to write a song that does the work of bringing peace.”
The discussion among the 60 conference attendees included a number of pastors who felt that this was an honest heartcry that they would want their congregations to sing, Come hell or high water, You’re still on the throne…
“In a day when all music has gone to the cloud, this one is worth holding in your hands, so you can fix your eyes on every word,” said Jennie Lee Riddle, founder of PEOPLE & SONGS and executive producer of this album. “The lyrical content alone is worth the 8-panel beautiful album cover. Worth the vinyl. It’s a forever keepsake, filled with some of the strongest songs and most anointed voices I’ve ever encountered. This album has become a part of me. Kaden and Melanie are loved-filled, creative, and inspiring servants of the Lord. The Slays have won my heart.”
Reflecting on the project as a whole, Kaden said, “Our heart for this album is for people to experience the full-range of everything Jesus has to offer, These songs cover the different aspects of all that God has for us and displays our full walk with Jesus.”
Melanie sums it up simply, “I want them to see Jesus, and have those moments of just being with Him.”