Author Archive

Crying Out To You

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Chord Charts/Videos

Learn how to play “Crying Out To You” from Jon’s Back To You album.
By Chad Cates, Cary Pierce, Jon Abel, and Brandon Heath

Leave a Comment more...

The Story Behind RESCUE

by on Sep.30, 2010, under Life, Music

Last year, John Mayer posted some videos chronicling the creation of his new album.  One of the videos was an interview where he was asked about how on earth he could ever follow up and fill the shoes of his previous album, Continuum.  Instead of defending his new songs or leaning on the success of Continuum, I remember him saying something along the lines of, “You don’t follow it at all. Continuum was Continuum.  You leave it and step aside to create something completely new.”  And that’s what he did.  Mayer bought a house in L.A. and transformed it into a studio customizing every room for a different instrument to write and produce “the house record” or what would become, Battle Studies.

As I was in the dreaming stages of my new album, I was inspired by this because after all that I had been through with my accident, I needed a fresh start with my music.  Since I needed to re-learn how to play the guitar, I literally and physically needed a new musical way to express my experiences that wasn’t like I had done in the past.  If you know my music at all, you may not even be able to tell a big difference when you hear the new songs, but the process of creating and producing RESCUE was very different for me.

This EP is a collection of 4 songs that were written in this season.  It may sound weird, but it’s a musical declaration of the many ways that God rescued me through the accident.  The word RESCUE came from 2 Samuel 22.  This chapter in Scripture is a song that David wrote after God rescued him from a traumatic experience.  In verse 20, David sang, “He rescued me because He delighted in me.”  Hearing God’s heart through this song was my life-line during my recovery and healing.

Here are a few musings of what the word RESCUE has meant to me and what I’ve learned (and am still learning) through the past 1.5 years.

– During the first few weeks after the accident, I was forced to be completely dependent on my wife Sue to take care of me as I healed and recovered from two surgeries. I have found that there is always another level of love that we can experience with our loved ones than we are currently experiencing.  I’m not talking about an emotion or feeling necessarily, though it’s nice when those happen to be by-products.  I’m talking about the kind of love that empties itself and doesn’t expect anything in return. A love that won’t leave when things get hard and that ultimately comes from a Source greater than us.  Love is a mystery in how it works.  The hard times that our relationships endure are like gates that if both parties have the courage to walk through them, they somehow rescue us from ourselves and bring freedom, strength, and maturity.  When I look at my finger now I don’t think about the accident.  It’s now a reminder of how much Sue loves me.

– I was rescued from myself and falling into the lie that my identity is found in anything (music, career, successes, failures, etc…) other than the fact that He created me, loves me and has given me a greater purpose in life than living for myself.  Even though imperfect in so many ways, for unto Him does my life exist.

– God is more concerned about my heart for Him than he is about my ability to write, sing, or play my guitar.  God could have told us ANYTHING as the greatest commandment above all others, but He said, “Love me with everything that you are (heart, soul, strength) and everything that you have.”(talents, money, family, time)  He is jealous for our hearts when we love ourselves, careers, people or stuff above Him.  He always has been.  Once again, I have been rescued from the emptiness of worshiping me.

“He rescued me because He delighted in me.” 2 Samuel 22:20

Leave a Comment more...

The RESCUE Idea Awards

by on Aug.27, 2010, under Life, Music

First of all, THANK YOU for responding with all your creative ideas and thoughts on Rescue.  Out of all the responses, I was most inspired by this collection of “The Most Ridiculous Album Covers Of All Time.” If you haven’t seen this yet, please stop reading for a second to check them out.  You will not be dissapointed!  My two favorites were “Getting Down To Business” by Gary and “Ratt On” by Swamp Dogg. (Thanks Don Linnen!)

OK, now on a more serious note, I need to explain that “The Rescue Idea Awards” was not planned when I first sent out the request.  Since only after I received so many great ideas, I decided to do an impromptu virtual awards ceremony to celebrate. 

Two Disclaimers: 1. This is all on the fly….go with me here folks  2. virtual = virtual.

I received over 100 inspiring ideas and have chosen only a select few.  Authors are anonymous.

Cue dramatic music/lights…..Here are the six categories and winners:

1. Most Interesting : “How about a picture of you and your band slipping on Mount Rushmore, but it’s your faces instead of the presidents.  Your slipping while chiseling and the hand of God reaches down to offer you a lift.  The hand could look like Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” of the Sistine Chapel with your hand reaching also.”

2. Most Honest : “A very sexy fireman”

3. Most Funny : “Tax Refund”

4. Most Real :  “When I think of RESCUE, I think of water and someone being saved from drowning. I don’t know if this is because I am a trained lifeguard or because I often describe myself as “drowning” in life.  I am in desperate need of God to rescue me from myself and this world.  As a Christian, I know I am saved, but I am in constant need of my Savior to rescue me.  It often feels like a struggle, but it is a beautiful thing to be in the midst of struggle and feel God’s hand “rescue” me from myself, by changing my perspective, changing my circumstances or hopefully changing me.   So there you go…not the princess at the top of the tower rescue, but there it is. ”

5. Most Close To Home : “Katrina”

6. Most “We’re Not That Cool” :  “My vision for the cover would have a rescue helicopter sitting in field grass, with the sides open, the band members in hip looking attire inspired by rescue uniforms posed in a contemporary way around the opening on the side of the helicopter, and Jon posed in a cool way slightly closer to the camera. They could have a patch similar to the red cross logo, on their sleeve, except shaping it more like a Christian cross; white cross, red background. The helicopter is facing right, with the front slightly closer than the tail to give it perspective. If the shot includes instruments, the drummer would be set up to the left of the tail, a bit more distant than the others for proper perspective. The guitarist would be sitting in the side opening of the helicopter. The keyboardist could be more forward set up in the grass. Any other members posed in like manner around the opening. All of that further back, and Jon the star. I see different combinations of the uniform inspired clothing on different members. Dark aviator pants, white T-shirt on one, maybe jeans and cool jacket with the patch on another, and so on.”

….And that concludes “The Rescue Idea Awards.” Thank you again for all your submissions!

We’re getting close to deciding what the actual cover will be.  If we do use your idea, you will get a free copy of the new album delivered by your very own United States Postal Service.

Ratt On Everybody!!  What!?

Leave a Comment more...


by on Aug.25, 2010, under Music

Comments Off on StudioSessions more...

Song on ABC’s Private Practice Tonight

by on May.07, 2010, under Music, News

A song Jon co-wrote with Jason Walker called “Cry” will be on ABC’s Private Practice tonight at 9pm.(5/7/10)  Jason recorded the song on his self entitled debut EP.   Check it out on iTunes!

Leave a Comment more...

Worship Matters

by on Feb.10, 2010, under Life

I’ve been reading a great book the last few weeks called “Worship Matters” by Bob Kauflin. It has been both encouraging and convicting in many ways. He writes, “If our doctrine is accurate but our hearts are cold toward God himself, our corporate worship will be true but lifeless. Or if we express fervent love for God but present vague, inaccurate, or incomplete ideas of Him to those we’re leading, our worship will be emotional but misleading–and possibly idolatrous. Neither option brings God glory.” Good stuff!

Leave a Comment more...

God is Moving

by on Feb.10, 2010, under Music

There’s a new song I’d like to share with you called God is Moving. Written with Chad Cates and Lee Black, we wanted to write a song for the church to sing and be reminded that no matter the circumstances we are facing, GOD IS MOVING, He always has and He always will. The first two verses remind us of the works of God in creation, the cross, and His heart for the lost while the bridge cries out for every generation to open up our eyes to see this and trust Him.

I recently had the opportunity to teach this song at a conference in Seattle. Click here for the video. For the mp3 and chord chart/lead sheet, please visit Also, a video tutorial of the song and a studio recording will be released on a compilation CD soon. I’ll let you know about those tools as soon as I know more.

Leave a Comment more...

Jon’s Accident and Merry Christmas

by on Feb.10, 2010, under Life

Merry Christmas !

I hope you are doing well! You might be wondering what the title of this post is all about. Let me explain. A few days before Thanksgiving I had an accident while fixing my lawn mower and without going into the details, I lost part of my ring finger on my left hand. (I know…..not good for guitar players!) Now on the other side of two surgeries, I will continue physical therapy over the next couple months so that I can regain full use of my hand and continue playing music. The picture is of me and my two boys, Thomas and Connor, and what became known as “The Club” or my cast after the first operation. We laughed because it was as big as Connor’s head.

As you might imagine, this has been a challenging season to go through on many levels, but God has been very present with me through my family, our Church, faithful friends, and in times of my new found solitude as I haven’t been able to do much since the accident. Knowing that God is good and sovereign, it has been my prayer that I would not miss what He would want to teach me and accomplish through this. He has never let us go or never not made good come out of our troubles, mistakes, and sufferings. In fact, He humbly chose to become a child to pursue, redeem, and love us in the midst of them.

Have an amazing Christmas!


Leave a Comment more...

Recent Comments