Song Snapshots #18: Bless Your Holy Name Again (Lesters, Three Bridges)

Ben Storie spent ten years honing his songwriting skill while traveling in a Southern Gospel group with his wife before moving to Nashville to pursue songwriting professionally. After three years with little success, he decided to make a last-ditch effort, recording demos for about a dozen songs and passing them out at a National Quartet Convention one year.

“I gave it to anybody and everybody, including Daryl Williams,” he recalls. “I had met Daryl several years before, because my family’s group had done some of the same events as the Daryl Williams Trio.”

He continues: “I didn’t hear anything from anybody. That was my last-ditch effort; financially, we had to make some decisions, so we ended up moving back home, where we had come from, in Oklahoma.”

For the next six months, he kept submitting songs to different artists and publishers. One Tuesday, he got a polite no-thank-you letter. “I honestly don’t even remember exactly what happened,” he recalls, “but I just made the conscious decision that I would no longer pursue writing as a professional goal. It was one of those moments where I told my wife and the Lord, ‘I get it. This is not meant to be. I’m wasting a lot of time and resources and energy and this is not the direction You have for me.’ And I settled it in my soul.”

“I don’t know how to describe it,” he continues. “It wasn’t dramatic; it was just one of those moments where I made peace with it. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; I had walked away and laid it down. I knew that if I wrote again, it would be just purely for personal enjoyment.”

That Friday night, he got a call from Daryl Williams: “Ben, I’ve had a chance to listen to your music, and the stuff that you’re writing is already good enough to be published and for artists to be interested. You just need someone to connect you.”

Not only did Williams introduce him to Rick Shelton at Daywind Music Publishing, he also co-wrote eight to ten songs with Storie over the next several months. “He was just very, very gracious to mentor me and encourage me. What looked like the end of the road became the beginning of my songwriting story, professionally.”

One of the songs they wrote together was “Bless Your Holy Name Again.” “We set out to write a Southern Gospel praise and worship song,” he recalls,” something that would have a chorus that was very congregational in nature.”

“We wanted to communicate a praise and worship thought that a Southern Gospel artist and a Southern Gospel audience could identify with and want to sing,” he adds. “A lot of Southern Gospel artists want to have a point in their concerts where they invite audiences to join in singing a worship song together to the Lord. At that time, I think we were thinking that the Gaithers had the market cornered on congregational-type songs; we wanted to write one of those. It’s something that would still flow in a traditional worship service with a fresh melody and a fresh lyric.”

Three Bridges, the Lesters, and David McVay all ended up recorded the song; the Lesters used it as a concert opener. “It really is fun when you you write a song and it kind of takes on its own life and gets cut by several artists,” he concludes. “It is cool to hear through the grapevine that someone else has recorded this song and has breathed a new life in it.”