Music Monday: Dustin Kensrue – The Water & the Blood

Last week my favorite songwriter, Dustin Kensrue, came out with his first worship record, The Water & the Blood. I use the term “worship” that somewhat reluctantly, because worship music is such a loaded term. Dustin was the lead singer of Thrice, and while his songs in Thrice were definitely Christ-focused, they were never explicitly so[1]. If you want to hear some of Thrice’s worshipful stuff, I previously put together a collection of my favorite Thrice songs.

This album, however, is an absolute gem. The lyrics are encouraging, the DK experimentalism is there, and it just feels right. A few of the songs you may have heard before, either on other Mars Hill projects (Grace Alone – The Modern Post, Oh God – Citizens), and some share a foundation with previous classics (Rock of Ages, Psalm 145), but make no mistake, this is an album with Dustin’s signature style all over it. In fact, there’s not a song on the album that doesn’t feel original[2]. Some of the stuff just feels downright like it was meant for a Thrice album, particularly The Voice of the Lord. I could totally hear that song on the Fire album.

Dustin is the writer who touches my soul the deepest with his God-glorifying anthems. I can distinctly remember crying to more of his songs than anyone else.[3] By seeing God’s glory through his songwriting, I’ve wept to[4]:

If you’re wondering how those songs could make a grown man cry, then you’ll just have to check them out.

The album is full of great truths about God and Christ. Here are a few gems:

Rock of Ages

Rock of ages, no one takes Your life.

Yet, you died that I might live. Costly grace You freely give.

Grace Alone

In love before You laid the world’s foundation,

You predestined me to adopt me as Your own.

You have raised me up so high above my station.

I’m a child of God by grace and grace alone.

It’s Not Enough

Though all the wealth of man is mine to squander.

And towers of ivory rose beneath my feet.

Were palaces of pleasure mine to wander,

The sound of it would leave me incomplete.

Though every soul would hold my name in honor.

And truest love is always by my side.

My praise is sung by grateful sons and daughters.

My soul will never still be satisfied.

It’s not enough. It’s not enough.

I could walk the world forever,

’til my shoes were filled with blood.

It’s not enough. It’s not enough.

Particularly great in my mind is It’s Not Enough. At first listen, I thought it was going to be an evangelistic song, all about the perils of seeking earthly pleasures when infinite joy is offered. Then I realized that it is a song that goes much deeper. It is not enough. Nothing is enough to make us whole. Kids are not enough. A loving marriage isn’t enough. Comfort is not enough. Wealth is not enough. Praise of man is not enough. Pleasure is not enough.

Finally, the iTunes exclusive track, Psalm 145, is worth the price of the entire album. Seriously. This song is easily the best rendition of a Psalm I ever remember hearing. When I listened to it for the first time, I realized how beautiful the psalms are when put to music. It was so beautiful that I took about 20 minutes to write it out so I can have the lyrics up around the house. To me it is the perfect end to an album and perfectly sums up the “already-not yet” mindset.

The album isn’t on Spotify, and for good reason. You can find the album on Spotify.

Go buy it on iTunes and support good music that glorifies God.

Psalm 145 – Dustin Kensrue

I will bless you all of my days, LORD.

I will praise you always, my God and King.

I will bless and honor Your name, LORD.

Always and forever my soul will sing.

Such a vast, unsearchable greatness.

Great is Yahweh, worthy of all our praise.

Let Your people sound through the ages.

All Your awesome works ’til the end of days.

We have seen Your splendor and glory.

We have seen Your wonders and stand amazed.

Every tongue will echo Your story.

Every one will sing of Your righteous ways.

Oh let all that lives ever bless His name.

All that You have made, Lord, will praise You.

All Your saints will worship in joyful strains.

Praise the Lord who ransoms and rescues.

Praise the God of glory who ever reigns.

He is Holy, judging the wicked,

Guarding those who love Him and fear His name.

All that call out, Yahweh is with them.

He will hear their cries, He is strong to save.

He upholds the one who is stumbling.

Lifting up those burdened with heavy loads.

Opening His hand to the hungry.

Blessing all that look to their Lord in hope.

He is tender toward His creation.

He is faithful, gracious in all He does.

Great is Yahweh, full of compassion.

Slow to anger, filled with unfailing love.

Oh let all that lives ever bless His name!

  1. To be honest, I kinda like it that way. Worship lyrics, if not done properly, can easily become trite. The imagery that Dustin used in Thrice often helped me understand Christ better by putting him in real-life situations (The Great Exchange, Open Water, Red Sky).  ↩
  2. When I played “Oh God” for my wife, she couldn’t believe it was the same song as the one we know from the Citizens’ album.  ↩
  3. This isn’t saying a ton, since I think the only other artist that’s made me cry is Third Eye Blind back when I was totally emotional in Jr. High/High School. Ok, maybe old John Mayer too. Those were probably both more matters of the circumstances than the actual songs making me cry.  ↩
  4. Almost always while driving.  ↩
  5. This is an amazing cover Dustin did of a not-so-great song by Mewithoutyou. I can remember being reduced to tears reading the lyrics and while Amy was driving us to Christmas at my parents house one year. The song actually does a great job of showing Christ’s life in full circle.  ↩

    And the night was cool

    And clear as glass

    With the sneaking snake in the garden grass

    Deep cried out to deep

    The disciples fast asleep

    And the snake perked up

    When he heard You ask

    “If you’re willing that

    This cup might pass

    We could find our way back home

    Maybe start a family all our own”

    “But does not the Father guide the Son?

    Not my will, but yours be done.

    What else here to do?

    What else me, but You?”

    And the snake who’d held the world

    A stick, a carrot and a string

    Was crushed beneath the foot

    Of your not wanting anything.


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