There Was Jesus

Album: Rescue Story (2019)
Charted: 108

Songfacts®:

  • Florida-born and Arkansas-raised singer-songwriter Zach Williams started his music career fronting the Southern rock band Zach Williams & The Reformation. Formed in 2007, the group released two independent albums and gigged all around the South and occasionally Europe. In 2012, Williams disbanded the Reformation as he was feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the lifestyle of fronting a secular rock band; instead he wanted to perform material more befitting his newfound Christian beliefs. This song finds him reflecting on his spiritual journey.

    Every time I tried to make it on my own
    Every? time I tried to stand and start to fall
    And? all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
    There was Jesus


    Williams explained in a press release the song is about "looking back at 20 years ago when I had no idea that God was in the moment, that He was even with me through some of the hard things that have gone on in my life. Now I can see that He had His hand in everything I was doing."
  • Williams wrote the song with his regular producer Jonathan Smith and with Nashville songwriter Casey Beathard (Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall," Eric Church's "Like Jesus Does"). As soon as they'd completed the tune the singer knew he wanted to see if Dolly Parton would consider duetting with him on it. Williams' team sent the demo to Parton's manager, who played it to Dolly. She loved it, and as she was looking to work on some faith-based material, she agreed to jump on the track.
  • Williams and Parton sang "There Was Jesus" live for the first time at the CMA Awards on November 13, 2019. It was part of a faith-based medley performed by Parton that also included her collaboration with Swedish EDM duo Galantis and Dutch rapper Mr. Probz, "Faith," and her hookup with For King & Country, "God Only Knows."
  • The song topped the Christian Airplay chart, becoming Williams' third and Parton's first to reach #1 on the tally. This meant the country queen became the first ever artist to top both the Country Airplay and Christian Airplay charts.

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