My album Depravity, Grace and Reckless Abandon was written at an interesting time in my life. First, it was in my early twenties (need I say more?). Second, I was working cross-culturally with Native American youth at the time. Third, I lived alone in a cabin in the woods, so my introverted self had much to contemplate. During this time the Lord awoke my heart to the tragedy, of Christians all over the world who were being martyred for their faith. Voice of the Martyrs was the organization that taught me those realities. I would wake up in the middle of the night and weep and pray for those in prison on the other side of the world. So, there is much in the album regarding the fleetingness of life and living with meaning and abandon – I guess that the context that has to be given there.

For me, depravity is the daily realization of the tragic truth that not only am I unable to save myself, but I am not even so much as capable of helping in the Salvation process. Grace is the truth that out of nothing but pure love for me, the Creator made a way for me to have Salvation and abundant life through Jesus Christ. That gift is free, no strings attached. Reckless abandon is my heart’s response to this radical Grace. It’s giving up all I am to experience the depths of Jesus Christ. These three aspects of my personal relationship with my Creator are what weave this project together, bringing to fruition my heartfelt compilation of love for my Savior as intimate and as contemplative as I (at the age of 20 or so) knew how to record it into an album of sound.

Like any project of a student sound engineer, there are parts of this project which I cringe at. My friend engineered it, but I did the mixing (back before I knew what ProTools was). It was recorded down to adat tapes, mixed on a partially automatable Soundcraft Ghost console. It’s still one of my favorite projects for the sheer passion of it. It’s not perfect, but neither am I.

Over the next week I’ll be taking a song from the project and blog the story behind it and post the audio.

Depravity, Grace and Reckless Abandon speaks the heart of the Gospel. From the freedom of forgiveness of sin, to the fellowship of sufferings, this CD presents lyric truth and hope. Joel Bidderman’s musical talent shines as he sings his heart to God. Anyone listening to this CD will be drawn into the worship and their hearts will be lifted up in adoration of Christ. As I think of this CD and Joel’s witness to the Gospel I am reminded of Philippines 3:10, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings…” I believe Joel’s music will give the listener greater insight into those words.

Joel’s life and music has always honored our suffering, persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. He has a love for the Body of Christ and I applaud his faithfulness in sharing that passion with others through his inspired music.
Pastor David Witt, The Voice of the Martyrs

Joel Bidderman’s latest release, Depravity, Grace and Reckless Abandon, is a heartfelt compilation of sincere music to God. Joel has the amazing ability to convey a Godly message in a very down to earth manner. Catchy rhythms, excellent guitar playing and prayerful lyrics are found throughout this release. I count this as Joel’s best work to date.
Ron Everingham, Apache Youth Ministries, Whiteriver, AZ

Joel’s songs enable the listener to reflect while painting a beautiful picture of life, focusing on grace and selflessness.
Gina Wells, Missionary