People often ask me what moment most stands out for me from my music career so far. There are a lot of memories to choose from—I’m astonished when I think about all the brilliant artists and musicians I’ve had a chance to work with, and about all the profound and hilarious things that have happened to date.

But I think the most amazing moment for me was the first time an audience sang along spontaneously to one of my songs in concert. I realized with a shock that they had committed some of my words to their hearts. A little piece of my journey had become a little part of theirs.  It still blows me away when that happens.

That first time, the song was “Seize the Day,” and the year was 1995. I had just released my first CD (and cassette—remember those?), entitled I Can Hear You. If you are good at math, you will recognize that exactly two decades have passed since then. This fall is the 20th Anniversary of my music career.

We’ve been trying to figure out how to celebrate the milestone. Actually, I haven’t been sure whether to call attention to it at all. I have no plans to retire, and, as far as I know, I’m not dead. But then I got an email out of the blue that made me want to do something to say thank you for the gift that these songs—and the connections they’ve made—has been.

The email said:

I am writing to tell you that one of your songs has really touched and impacted me. I borrowed your album “Travelers” from my church library, and although I thought they were all pretty good, as soon as I got to ‘I Believe’ and ‘It Has to Be You’ I was suddenly alert. I was going through some serious doubt about God, and it felt like those two songs (particularly ‘It Has to Be You’ since I am an aspiring poet who finds inspiration from creation) were practically pulled out from my brain.

I Googled your album online and then discovered something amazing – “Travelers” was released on October 15, 2001, the exact month, day and year I was born! I thank the Lord for your wonderful songs, for it has really caused me to realize I’m not alone in my doubt and that the world is living proof that God does, indeed, exist. I am now learning to give over all my unbelief to God, but I know ‘It Has to Be You’ will remain a favorite song of mine for a long, long time.

How cool is that? God takes some lyrics and melodies I sang while the writer of that email was in utero, and he uses them to make brand new connections—in her life and in mine—years later.  Something similar often happens at concerts—I discover over and over again that the best songs outlive their original context and do new things in the world. That makes me very, very happy.

So, here’s what we’re going to do to celebrate.


If you’ve attended any of my concerts over the years, you’ve likely seen me with mulit-instrumentalist Spencer Capier.  The two of us (along with our pal and producer Roy Salmond) are going to do an acoustic project re-recording 10 songs from the last 20 years (plus a new one).  We’re going to give it away as a free download as our way of saying “Thanks.”

Here’s where we need your help. If you’ve connected with my music, would you please look back over the 11 albums of my 20 year career and tell me which songs you would most like to hear re-recorded in the acoustic-duo format? While you are most welcome to vote for any song that has meant something to you, we are particularly interested in:

  1. Songs that you feel have been overlooked in my catalogue OR
  2. Songs that you’d particularly like the next generation to hear OR
  3. Songs that you would like to hear rendered in a more stripped down, acoustic style.

Please go to the voting page HERE to make your suggestions. (There are audio players there for all 11 albums if you need to refresh your memory.)

We can’t wait to hear your ideas, and we stand at the ready.

With gratitude,


PS – we need to keep all the voting in one area, so, again, please don’t comment here – go to the voting page. Thanks!




  1. I’m not voting here, and I may not at all, because I have no idea what I’d like to hear stripped down. But I love the idea, and am eager to see/hear what comes out of this. May you be as blessed in the making of this new collection as we will be in the enjoying.


  2. The non-robot-proving math is getting harder!

    No votes here, but I just wanted to comment that I am so glad you’re celebrating the milestone in such a glorious fashion — and that you’re not retiring — and that you’re not dead. That’s all. Happy Upcoming 20th!

  3. 20 years since I conducted my first interview for TLeM (with you) just before you hit the road with Ashley and Rich. I’m going to take a Geritol, then roll up in the fetal position and sob quietly.

  4. Thanks for sharing. God works in mysterious ways, and both songs that were mentioned in the email were a real help to me as well, along with many others. God knows what our hearts need to hear, and he brings a musician alongside with words that are often so needed. Thank you for your willingness to be a part, and reminding us of those who have been on this journey before us.

  5. Hey Carolyn, i’m still glued to your song ‘You Take My Soul By Storm’. The reason, all the stars line up for me on this song…lyric, melody, the straight ahead beat. God’s providence and love are so amazing! It’s a rush when he moves in your heart and life. BTW i loved your story at ‘Duncan Africa Benefit concert about the beheaded snake and your analogy about satan etc….Brilliant! Thanks for your music, Carolyn! Keep it coming!!

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