"Who Do You Say" was written July 4th, 1981
in my cottage on West Linden Avenue - Nashville, Tennessee
From the Kingdom Come CD :
Recorded May 2002 at Smokey Mirror Studios in Milltown, New Jersey.
Alan Horvath: Vocal | 1968 Gibson Hummingbird Guitar
Overdubs by Horvath: Backup Vocals, McSpadden Baritone Dulcimer, Digital Congas (BOSS DR-770)
I was sitting in the usual traffic that bottle-necks into the Lincoln Tunnel on the Jersey side, entering New York City ... and there on the mouth of the tunnel ... along with all kinds of other graffiti ... but bolder (it seemed) than the rest ... spray-painted in royal blue ... was this: JESUS SAVES! I looked at it and thought there have been many, many "superstars" throughout history, but let's face it, Jesus takes the cake ... I mean, 2000 years after He "died" and individuals are are still shouting His message at the entrances and gates to every major city on earth. Who, of all the famed men in this world, have been given such notoriety? And why? Well, there I sat ... like many others do every morning and evening of every day of the year ... gazing at the graffiti and having that age-old question presented to my heart of hearts. Jesus. Who do you say He is?
The following Sunday, I listened to one of the most inspirational sermons I've ever heard ... given by my favorite pastor, Don Yarborough of Oneonta, New York ... and most ironic of all, it was based on Matthew 16:13 -- the same message that was being presented to me at the mouth of the tunnel.
In Matthew 16:13 Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" and they answered saying that people are claiming Him to be perhaps a reincarnation of one of the prophets ... then Jesus asks them, "But who do you, yourselves, say that I am?" ... there was some pause among them, but finally it was Simon Peter who answered, "You are the Christ ... the Son of the Living God!" to which Jesus replied, "Flesh and blood (men) have not revealed this to you, but my Father Who is in Heaven ... and I tell you ... on this rock I will build my church."
It is up to each individual, at some point in their lives, to answer this question for themselves ... I believe it to be the most important decision to be made in everyone's lives and a decision that each and every human being is eventually required to make.
John 1:3 says "All things were made and came into existence through Him (Jesus)."
John 1:16 says "For God so loved and dearly prized the world that He gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."
John 3:18 says "Whoever believes in Him is not judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
A few days after that, I was back in Nashville with that message sticking to my thoughts. It was a holiday weekend and I told everyone I had other plans, so no one would call or stop by ... and it worked. I took that 3-day weekend and jammed day and night ... meditating on what it must've been like to actually sit face-to-face with the Master and answer that question ... thinking about the magnitude of all the years and souls involved in this one idea ... and this song was the result. Who Do You Say sits on the same shelf, in my mind, as The Ballad of Tom Bombadil and The Ring Goes South ... representing my favorite examples of the kind of songwriting and performing I enjoy doing most.
P.S. - I'm using a modal tuning on my 1968 Gibson Hummingbird guitar for this one: D A D E A D ... but it's tuned down a whole-step, making it C G C D G C instead. Although, you could also say it's an open tuning by calling it an Open C9 Tuning like I do -- either way, you'd be correct.
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