You Are the Light

Album: Lone Justice (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • Lone Justice bassist Marvin Etzioni told us that he wrote this slice of country-gospel when he "was going for a dark night of the soul." He explained: "I was living on my grandparents' couch. I just had the house to myself one day, and I wrote that song. And that was it. It just kind of came in the room."

    He added that he "wrote it on acoustic, and I wanted it to be kind of Rubber Soul-like."
  • Etzioni re-recorded the song for his 2013 solo double album Marvin Country! This time he was backed by South Carolina gospel group The Dixie Humingbirds whom you may recognize from their contribution to Paul Simon's 1973 single, "Loves Me Like a Rock." Etzioni told us that he sent The Dixie Humingbirds the files as they were touring with Paul Simon, so he wasn't in the studio when they cut their vocals.

    Etzioni added that he originally didn't intend to release it on Marvin Country, but he sent his original version without the Humingbirds as a birthday gift to someone, who responded that he should put it on his album. Then Etzioni got talking to Trevor Lawrence Jr. a drummer in LA, who is the grandson of Humingbirds member, Ira Tucker. He told Etzioni, "I have a song that would really work well for them," and Lawrence gave him his grandfather's number. "So the whole thing kind of took a life of its own," he continued. "Had I thought about it more, I would have arranged it different. You know, it doesn't have a solo, it doesn't have a key change like the Lone Justice version. But it is what it is. It still says the song."
  • This has continued to be a key song in peoples lives and is played at weddings and funerals. It also features in the storyline of Canada novelist Katrina Onstad's book Everybody Has Everything. Etzioni told us, "The main character in the book, her favorite song is 'You Are the Light.' And it's a thread that runs throughout the whole book."

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