The debut album – Ragamuffin Soul – was produced and largely co-written with producer-of-the-moment Jason Ingram. There was a lot of ground to be covered – like finding a sound, a voice and honing a message. And it needed to happen fast.
The result was an album that Carlos poured his heart into and songs like God of Second Chances that have pierced people straight to the heart. Carlos watched that song as well as many others take off almost as virally as his online presence. It was a fantastic beginning to this journey.
But two years are a long time in the life of a social-mediarista like Carlos, and in between the then and the now he has joined the Paradigm family – home to the likes of John Mark MacMillan, All The Bright Lights and The Royal Royal – a brother partnership featuring Nathan ‘Producer-Of-A-Moment-Coming-Very-Soon’ Finochio.
“Nathan and I became friends before we became music partners. My kids love him and he knows me as a father, as a husband and as a friend. He sees my successes and my failures. So when we work together he produces and crafts in a whole different way. He gets my heartbeat.”
That heartbeat has a fresh sound. In The Arms features no heavily-delayed guitar parts, but a double swiss of keys, loops and all the rest (although, to be fair, in a concession to bemused guitar players everywhere, Carlos has recorded acoustic versions of all the songs). Still, there’s a reason for the change:
“People see me as this creative guy, and I don’t want to give them cookie-cutter worship music out of Nashville.”
The lyrics are equally deliberate, equally disarming, equally raw:
“I’ve been on 20mg Paxil for the last nine years. I used to have panic attacks so strong that I was unable to stand up. So these songs come from a life that has had to practice total dependence on God. Maybe the brokenness levels are higher than in others, but I’m tired of the fear. I’m tired of getting emails every day from people saying ‘you said what I wanted to say’…”
So these songs have an agenda, like a sheepdog let loose in the field. What might seem like chaos and collision is something else entirely: a Spirit-scripted plan to drive us to the place where the fear loses its grip. That’s where they’ll leave us; right over there In The Arms of God.