Album Spotlight: Cody Carnes, ‘Firm Foundation’

Posted on Friday, August 25, 2023 by Lindsay Williams

K-LOVE Album Spotlight: "Firm Foundation" Cody Carnes

Churches around the world have been singing Cody Carnes’ “Firm Foundation (He Won’t)” for the better part of a year-and-a-half since the Dove Award winner released the song as a one-off single at the end of 2021. Regardless of the waves “Firm Foundation” has already made, Carnes insists the hopeful anthem still has a lot of life left in it. That’s why he decided to build his latest live project on this title.

“Firm Foundation” serves as the prolific songwriter’s second consecutive live effort, following 2022’s “GOD IS GOOD!” Both albums were recorded across two back-to-back nights last summer at Carnes’ home church, The Belonging Co., in Nashville. Furthermore, his inaugural live set produced “Ain’t Nobody,” the first No. 1 solo hit of his career.

Sure and steady like its namesake, “Firm Foundation” isn’t necessarily a companion record to “GOD IS GOOD!” Rather, it’s a collection that stands on its own affirming Carnes as one of this generation’s most consistent lyricists for the Church. For his sophomore live offering, he also invited some of the genre’s best writers to help him craft a follow-up that’s every bit as good as the first. Brandon Lake, Brooke Ligertwood, Steven Furtick and Carnes’ wife, Kari Jobe, are among the respected lyricists included in the album’s credits.

Despite the all-star cast of co-writers, “Firm Foundation” only features two cameos: David Leonard and Leeland Mooring. Following Carnes’ uplifting rendition of the title-cut, Leonard joins him on a tag of “Great Are You Lord,” the iconic hit Leonard co-penned with award-winning songwriter Jason Ingram and his former All Sons & Daughters bandmate Leslie Jordan. Carnes has been pairing the seamless “Great Are You Lord” transition with “Firm Foundation” for quite some time during his worship sets. Meanwhile, Mooring — who recorded the original demo for “Taste and See” — is out front on vocals for the anchor track.

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“These songs celebrate the God who never ever fails. They were written out of encounters with Jesus, and they carry His certain hope in uncertain times,” Carnes shares of the project. “When everything around me is shaken, I’ve never been more glad that I put my faith in Jesus.”

The “Run to the Father” singer kicks off the 11-track set with “Be Glad,” an up-tempo opener that extols Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” From there, the lighthearted energy of track one descends into the depths of “Plead The Blood,” an impassioned prayer as Carnes draws a line of protection around his family. Further down the tracklisting, his voice earnestly breaks on “The Dove” as the singer chokes back raw emotion on the soaring ballad he initially wrote for his local church.

The live outing concludes with an epic 10-minute masterpiece, courtesy of “Who Is This Man,” an exultation of praise that ends with an additional two minutes of unfiltered worship as Carnes leads those gathered in a repetition of the chorus: “No other name gets the glory. No other name gets the praise. No other name has the power. No other name makes a way.”

While “Firm Foundation” is rich in brand new material, the album’s familiar lead selection stands as a shining beacon of solace, especially considering the ironic circumstances that birthed the single. Carnes began the song on the verge of a panic attack during the global pandemic. “As I was dealing with those emotions,” he explains, “one morning I woke up and just felt like I needed to sing my way out of that.”

The father of two was the first in his house to awake, and he spent the earliest hours of the day pacing the halls, quietly singing the lyrics over himself in an attempt to still his anxious spirit: “l’ve still got joy in chaos. I’ve got peace that makes no sense. I won’t be going under. I’m not held by my own strength.”

Perhaps “Firm Foundation” has already made its way around the globe because it’s comforted people in the same way it comforted Carnes in a moment of all-too-real fear. Now, the full album, bearing its name, is poised to become a soundtrack of peace. Furthermore, the songwriter and his wife will take “Firm Foundation” and additional hits from their respective catalogs across the pond to Europe and the U.K. on “The Blessing Tour” this fall.

Album SpotlightAll Sons and DaughtersBrandon LakeBrooke LigertwoodCody CarnesDavid LeonardKari JobeNew Music

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