Lainey is just Lainey.
A comment echoed time and again by those who have known singer/songwriter Lainey Wright all of her life–and by those who have only just met her. Her name is, interestingly enough, the very adjective that describes her best. In that name there is something real. Something honest. Lainey is just Lainey. And it seems she has something to say.
“I can’t get her songs out of my head,” said Paul Colman, (The Paul Colman Trio, The Newsboys) who is producing Lainey’s debut project. “If they were about nothing, I’d be furious. But seeing as these catchy tunes are loaded with poetry and spiritual yearning, they’re like prayers”.
Growing up in a small Texas town, Lainey remembers falling to sleep most nights to the sounds of her brothers’ guitars down the hall. She was very young when she began to get in on the action, and soon she began writing music. By age 16, with the help of her brothers, she’d produced a full-length CD of original songs at a small studio near her home. Then, she made a decision that was completely unprecedented in her little town. She gave up sports for music. She hit the road most every weekend sharing her music in coffee houses, churches and at community events. And people listened.
It was on this road that she met San Antonio promoter/manager Greg Carnes. Some may call the meeting chance, but Lainey prefers to think of it as ordained. It was at this point that life as Lainey knew it began to change, not slowly, but by leaps and bounds.
“Greg took me on and put me to work. My task was to write 20 new songs that we could take to a producer so we could get to work on a new album,” said Lainey. “I think maybe he was testing my work ethic!” At the time, Lainey was in her first year at The University of Texas at Austin. But work, she did. By March of 2010 she and her songs were in Paul Colman’s studio in Franklin, Tennessee. Originally the plan was to record an EP. However, after listening to the songs, Paul was convinced there were enough solid tunes to record a full-length CD. That is when the work began in earnest, with Lainey commuting between Austin and Franklin for co-writing, production and recording sessions.
It would seem that Paul has pulled out all the stops for this project, bringing in some of the most talented names to put their mark on the record. Among them Steve Mason and Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay. The result is a record that is refreshingly unique,earthy and organic.
“The album was written during my first year away from home”, said Lainey, “ and many of the songs reflect this new season of my life. I was hit with the reality that Jesus is the one and only steady, stable, dependent thing in this life. That truth forced me to cling to him in a way I never had before. This year has truly been a time of making my faith my own and discovering why I believe what I believe. Such a good, good time. I continue to grow and learn and fall and question and discover. The Lord continues to be there, strong and steady”.
It is this very journey that is chronicled with honesty in every song on this album, perhaps beginning with the title track, “Traveler”, a picture of the lone pilgrimage each of us makes to find God. “River” is an autobiographical and symbolic story of faith and trust, interrupted and then restored. In “Undone” (featuring Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay) a haunting emptiness finds its antidote in saving grace. In the songs “Home”, “Dive”, and “More of You”, one can almost touch the eagerness and readiness to run, not walk, down the road that’s presented and the heart’s desire to call this new place home.
Perhaps the conclusion to the entire album, the exclamation point that comes at the end of a most wonderful chapter, is the song “Ride”, which Lainey co-wrote with Paul Colman and her mother, Dana Wright.
“Riding black stallions into the wind.
Ferris wheels and carousels, how fast can I spin?
A bicycle built for two is so nice
God gave me this life, and I’m gonna ride.”
“It’s been a journey since my high school days when I was just discovering my passion for music to now, where I’m digging deeper, trying to map out how God intends for me to use this passion. He continues to give me songs, and I continue to put them on paper. There is always the struggle of doing this for myself versus doing this for the One who allows me to do it. The truth is though, that I constantly find my joy is so much deeper when I create what my creator inspires in me. Not to mention, the songs are just better that way!”
In 2010, Lainey played opening slots for some of Christian music’s most beloved artists. Among them, Leeland, JJ Heller, Casting Crowns and Paul Colman. Time will tell what comes next for this young artist. If this project is any indication, 2011 will be a year to remember. An early spring release is expected for “Traveler”.
“ So, I don’t know where this music will go or whose ears it will reach, and I try hard to have no expectations other than knowing God will use this music—the music that He is so present in—for his glory”.
So, Lainey is just Lainey.
God gave her this life, indeed. And ride, it seems, she will.