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Behind the Song: John Tibbs, “After the Night”

If you’ve followed along with the Rabbit Room over the last few years, or have been on the lookout for meaningful music, you’ll likely recognize the name (and potentially the tunes of) John Tibbs. Not only have we featured him here on the blog in the past, but he’s been a guest at The Local Show as well.

The last few years have served as a real turning point in John’s life with significant life events occurring alongside the seismic global changes that have marked us all. In the aftermath of it all, John says depression set in and the future seemed uncertain and it took some time for the music to come back around.

“After the Night” was the first song to “reappear,” a hopeful sign that there was more for the Midwestern native to say/sing. He recently detailed the story behind the song for us here at the Rabbit Room. Check out the song below and John’s explanation in the text below.

I wrote “After the Night” in the fall of 2021. It was the first song I’d written since COVID began. My wife and I found out we were expecting our first child one month before the pandemic hit. The inability to tour for 15 months, the stress of pregnancy and birth in a world sheltering in place, the ongoing political and spiritual turmoil, and the adjustments of being a dad … it all felt like too much.

Like a square peg being crammed into a round hole, my new world no longer felt in sync with my old one. I wanted to write, but I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t the same person anymore and writing felt like the old me. How was I supposed to just sit down and write a song? Becoming a father made me feel, more than ever, a deep need to make every single moment count. Was songwriting really how I wanted to spend this gift of the present?

In the face of so much sickness and death, in the midst of so much political and social unrest, I am supposed to just sit down and write a song? A song about faith, no less? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said? Who am I writing for?

For most people, the fall of 2021 began to feel like normal again, but I fell into the worst depression of my life. I was figuring out what it was like to be a father, trying to get touring back off the ground, and navigate the small and large details of both of those things. It felt like a bridge was being built between the old and new me. Building a bridge is not easy. Sometimes it hurts.

And then one morning in my living room, this entire song showed up in my mind and it was written in just a matter of minutes. It surprised me, a lot like hope does. It caught me off guard. I still had something to say in this new world. In fact, more than ever I now know the importance of hope. Sure, it’s a simple message: Hope is and is to come. But to me, it’s a necessary one, and one that I need to sing.

I hope that whatever season you find yourself in today, that you will see the good that is on the horizon and “just keep walking.” Much love and peace to each of you on your journey.

Check out more about John Tibbs and his music here.

Matt Conner is a former pastor and church planter turned writer and editor. He’s the founder of Analogue Media and lives in Indianapolis.


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