Still, the full-length debut from Dallas-based singer/songwriter, worship leader and multi-instrumentalist John Marc Kohl, is set to release October 7 from The Worship Initiative. Hallmarked by a range of genre-spanning influences, Still delivers deeply vulnerable, autobiographical themes grounded in the promises of God’s unyielding faithfulness.
Co-produced by Kohl and Will Hunt, with two tracks produced by Bryan Fowler (TobyMac, Newsboys), Kohl penned or co-penned the entire 12-song set, collaborating with such acclaimed songwriters as Fowler, Shane Barnard, Mike Donehey and The Worship Initiative’s Aaron Williams, among others.
“The album is a remembrance of the faithfulness of God through various points of my life,” Kohl says. “The themes that have emerged are dependence, struggle and faith, and I hope people can get to know me through these songs. My story—warts and all—points to Jesus. Oh, how He loves me, still. In spite of habitual sin, still. In the midst of doubt and depression, still. When I succumb to my pride and a false sense of superiority, still. There is no fault, sin, or failure too great, too deep, or too wide for the perfect blood of Jesus to cover.”
Project opener “Tapestry” is a soulful pop groove celebrating God’s goodness. “A few years ago, I went through a very dark season of what I would call a spiritual depression,” Kohl shares of the inspiration behind “Tapestry.” “While it felt like a breaking to my core, much beauty and good came from the suffering. We won’t always understand pain, but I know that God doesn’t waste it as He weaves a beautiful story of mercy and grace. We see glimpses of His faithfulness now, but how I long for the day when I can see the entire picture of His goodness, the wonder of His tapestry.”
Further exploring the thematic arc of God’s response to human pain and suffering, the album’s forthcoming single, “Desert Places” (feat. Demi Pyle), is slated to hit streaming platforms September 23. The poignant piano ballad conveys a desperation for renewal and healing as Kohl sings, “You meet me here/in the wilderness/You draw me near/and I’m comforted/I’m surrendering to Your embrace/seems You work best in desert places.”
In addition, the emotive title-track showcases a Savior who never tires of pursuing His children. “’Still’ was one of the first songs I ever wrote about Jesus,” Kohl recalls. “I remember staying up until 3 am, crying and struggling through the writing of it. I was so angry with myself because of persistent sin in my life, and I felt like I deserved more punishment. I really couldn’t believe that Jesus would still love me after all the messes I’ve made; the wreckage of sin in my life; and the people I’ve hurt. I’ll never fully understand the persistence of His love for His beloved.”
John Marc Kohl is a veteran worship leader, songwriter, and multi-faceted musician dedicated to glorifying God through music. An artist in residence at The Worship Initiative, Kohl and his wife, Lila, reside in Dallas.
Founded by Shane & Shane’s Shane Barnard and Shane Everett—leading influencers of corporate worship around the world for nearly two decades—The Worship Initiative is an equipping ministry which features a library of hundreds of popular worship songs; team training materials; instrument tutorials; and song-based devotionals, among other offerings. The Dallas-based organization has released more than 30 albums to date, and its unique community of artists, songwriters and theologians seeks to be a catalyst for musical and spiritual growth in the Church.