Rocks in My Shoes Album

Rocks in My Shoes – featuring Austin & the Avenue and special guests

Where Heaven meets Earth in the middle path

Style: Rocks in my Shoes is a diverse and nuanced album.  It offers elements of contemporary worship, folk, blues, gospel, and even some brushes with Americana and pop.

Rocks in My Shoes – the message of this album is about our daily walk, the “middle path”, which can often feel uncomfortable to the point of being overwhelming, due to every day challenges. The rocks cause us to be squeezed to test our character, yet as we persevere and endure, the rocks start to get smoother as they are being refined piece by piece into shiny diamonds that become blessings not only to us but to others as well.  

The songs offer a tangible message encouraging people to be where their feet are, and to come together in unity, through having HaShem’s character and bringing Heaven to Earth. They carry the essence of a bygone age, yet offer current relevance through the musical styles (blues, gospel etc) and lyrical content, often drawing from the Psalms and Proverbs, which tackle every day life (the middle path), promoting love, life, joy, companionship along the way and personal reflection.

Special thanks to Austin Marsh who has helped to steer this musical adventure, especially with his unique dobro style, acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. He has also shown a willingness to go the extra mile in so many aspects of recording and mixing support, together with offering his enthusiasm and encouragement to Henta to press on to the end. Thanks also to Colin Boyd for being such a great session drummer and being willing to be part of this project! The story of how the band was formed can be found under the Studio Band and special guest information.

All songs written by Henrietta S Ellis (aka Henta Ellis). Lyrics often inspired by the Psalms, Proverbs, St Patrick’s breastplate prayer and the middle path living.

Mixing: Henta Ellis, supported and encouraged by Austin Marsh, who also mixed “Shiny One” .

Mastering: Jordan Stoffel – who is an International Recording, Mixing, and Mastering Engineer and Musician originally from Indiana. He recorded guitar on the first track of the album “Rocks in My Shoes” and returned from a long trip to Europe just in time to master this album! He has also been a great support for Henta in finishing this album ready for release.

www.stoffelrecordingco.com

Recording: Various locations including Anamchara Ministries & Monastery by Henta Ellis using Cubase, with additional tracks sent from Colin Boyd (drums), Austin Marsh (dobro, guitar, bass, vox), Joe Aymond (vocals), Enoch Heckman (vocals) and a few random recording moments using a Tascam DR07 to record Jacob Grove playing banjo/singing (in a spontaneous moment visiting him and his family) and Kate Orr, Caoimhe and Clint Dunn (group vocals in the dining room for “Oh Glory”)

CD Design: Tracey Howe and Henta Ellis. Tracey and Henta worked together many years ago in England and have been able to continue to work together, as Tracey is a professional designer and has done Henta’s album artwork for Exodus and Beautiful Creation.

Special thanks to everyone at Anamchara Ministries & Monastery, especially Clint and Caoimhe Dunn (Abbot and Abbess) who Henta has known and done life with for over 10 years and to our community of friends and artists who contributed to the making of this album. Anamchara is an Irish word for soul friend or soul mate – not a reference to a spouse, but instead a reference to “one with whom you would walk through matters of the soul”.   

www.anamcharaministries.org

Also thanks to Lindsay Colin Hough and Allen Larsen (both drummers), who gave Henta some great advice on some of the songs, exactly at the right time!

Henta and Austin & the Avenue, The Studio Band and special guests.

The core recording band for this album were:

Henta Ellis – (vox, keys, acoustic guitar, instrumentation), recording in Cubase at Anamchara Ministries

Austin Marsh (Dobro, guitar, bass, vox) – Austin & the Avenue

Austin Marsh is a songwriter, guitarist, music producer, and recording engineer hailing from Fort Wayne, IN. He worked work with Henta as an occasional guitarist, bassist, and mix engineer on ‘Rocks in My Shoes’, and you can additionally find his work with Austin & the Avenue on all streaming platforms. 

https://austinmarshaudio.com/

Colin Boyd (drums) – Austin & the Avenue

Colin is a lifelong student of music and the percussive arts. As a freelance artist, he performs and records with a wide variety of artists ranging from jazz trios and rock bands to singer-songwriters, Chilean folk artists and Americana troubadours, chamber orchestras, avant-garde projects, and multi-media performances incorporating dancers, film, and spoken word poetry.

www.boydsound.com

Where it all began

The first song that was written and recorded on this album was “Rocks in My Shoes” (the single) Inspired by Psalm 76 and Jordan Stoffel tracked electric guitar and mastered the song back in 2021. The essence of this song recognises that this walk of faith can sometimes feel very uncomfortable when faced with difficult daily challenges. However the rocks can also turn into great blessings through a willingness to wrestle with and overcome the tests through having the character of God!. The true power lies in His hands, to bring about justice and righteousness in the midst of chaos and conflict. Since releasing this album, this song has been remixed and has a whole new rhythm and bass section added to it so please listen to the new version!

Jordan then went on a long adventure abroad and recommended Austin Marsh to do mastering and that was the beginning of the collaboration between Henta and Austin. Austin mastered the second single from the album, called “Our Town” (which has also since been remixed), as well as tracking dobro and vox. He continued to play on nearly every song on the album, helping to develop a special new direction.  Austin introduced Henta to Colin Boyd, a session drummer and another member of Austin & the Avenue and this completed the core rhythm and bass section for the whole album.

Loki the raven is a captive-bred raven who was re-homed as part of a rescue project at Coda Falconry raptor centre in England. His handler Elliot kindly sent Henta some Loki bird sounds that Henta used on “This Day” and “King of Kings” as well a photos of him on the physical CD and the website. In the Bible, ravens make an appearance not only as examples of God’s provision but also as messengers with God’s provision.

www.lokitheraven.com

Enoch Heckman a longtime friend of the Anamchara Ministries & Monastery fellowship, recorded some great texture vocals on “Glorify the Father”. He also appeared on the Exodus album, Henta’s previous release in 2020.

Isaac Heckman also a longtime friend of the Anamchara Ministries & Monastery fellowship, plays harmonica on “Glorify the Father” which he recorded a few years ago when he also appeared on the Exodus album.

Clint and Caoimhe Dunn are the Abbot and Abbess of Anamchara Ministries & Monastery and also the main character teachers who have been great role models for Henta’s life during her time at the Monastery. They contributed vocals and joyful sounds on “Oh Glory”,  “Glorify the Father” and “You’ve Been Good” (Clint). They have also appeared on Exodus and Beautiful Creation album.

Kate Orr is the 11 year old granddaughter of Caoimhe and Clint Dunn and Henta is her Aunty.  She recorded a short character dialogue at the end of King of Kings with Clint Dunn and a giggle on “Oh Glory”.  She also appeared on the Exodus album.

Joe Aymond is the pastor at Out of Ashes ministries, closely connected to Anamchara Ministries & Monastery. He is a highly accomplished musician with a number of albums to his name and recorded the main vocals on “You’ve Been Good” which Henta knew would be perfect on this song!

http://www.outofashesministries.org/

Bob Strachan is a Pastor, Counsellor, Singer/Songwriter and Composer/Musician/DJ in Scotland, UK. Henta met Bob through Eve Williams Thursday Night Zoom Songwriters group and asked him to record some vocals for her. He contributed his deep vocals on “Oh Glory” and “King of Kings”.

https://www.bobstrachanmusic.com/

Roger Beardsley has been a friend of Henta’s since she moved to Roslyn WA in 2011 and has appeared on several of her albums, including Exodus , Beautiful Creation and Butterfly Song. He plays acoustic guitar on “Favour Me” on this album.

Jacob Grove is a longtime friend of the Anamchara Ministries & Monastery fellowship and used to be a student there with his wife before Henta moved there in 2013. He is an accomplished musician and singer/songwriter and plays banjo and sings on “You’ve Been Good”. He has appeared on several of her albums, including Exodus and Beautiful Creation.

Tracey Howe is a long time friend and work colleague of Henta’s. She is a professional graphic designer in the UK and has designed artwork for Beautiful Creation, Exodus and now Rocks in My Shoes album. She has also designed and maintained Henta’s website together with all the album imagery.

Song information including featured artists

1. Rocks in My Shoes inspired by Psalm 76 – this is about having good character and recognising that HaShem (the name we use for our Heavenly Father) is truly our Rock, Protector and Provider.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys, acoustic guitar
Jordan Stoffel – electric guitar
Colin Boyd – drums
Austin Marsh – bass

2. Oh Glory inspired by Psalm 30 – from the start this was just such a joyful song about lifting up the name of our glorious Father and Henta’s continued exploration into gospel music. This includes really fun backing vocals from Caoimhe, Clint, Miss Kate and Bob and she was especially grateful to Caoimhe Dunn who has the perfect voice and musical experience for this style of song. Also Austin recorded such a great walking bass and guitar riff to bring this song alive, together with Colin’s drumming.

Henta Ellis: Vox, keys
Bob Strachan  – deep backing vox
Caoimhe Dunn, Clint Dunn – backing vox
Kate – giggle
Austin Marsh – Bass, Dobro
Colin Boyd –  drums

3. Shiny One – this song speaks to those who have perhaps been damaged by religion and their false understanding of our loving Father and it welcomes them home with open arms like an old friend. This was very much a collaboration between Henta and Austin to create a strong ballad like pop rock song.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys
Austin Marsh – Bass, Dobro, Guitar, backing vox
Colin Boyd – Drums

4. Our Town – previously released as a single, Henta remixed this song to include a new rhythm and bass section to add great new layers. It speaks about the need to come together in unity as a community that has been crumbling into the sea of despair by focusing on having good character and being a great image bearer for HaShem.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys, acoustic guitar
Austin Marsh – bass, dobro, backing vox
Colin Boyd: drums
Clint Dunn – Shofar

5. This Day – this upbeat song reminds us to be where our feet are, every day, having good character and being in community instead of wasting time worrying about the future. This is about meeting people in the middle path, being grateful for what the LORD has provided and bringing Heaven to Earth. this was the first song that Loki the raven appeared on.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys, acoustic guitar
Austin Marsh: Bass, dobro
Colin Boyd: Drums
Loki the raven

6. You’ve Been Good  inspired by Psalm 13 – this folk/blues/bluegrass style song, driven by the strong vox of Joe Aymond, encourages us to remember how good the LORD has been to us and to continue to cry out to Him for help, as however hard it might feel, we can rejoice in His salvation, every day. This song sees the return of Jacob Grove with his distinctive banjo and vocals and also Clint Dunn proclaiming the goodness of God.

Joe Aymond – main vox
Austin Marsh: Bass, dobro
Clint Dunn: backing vox
Jacob Grove: Banjo, backing vox
Henta: Backing vocals, keys
Rooster: from Rolling M Ranch also appeared on Exodus album.

7. Arise – lyrics taken from by St Patrick’s Breast Plate Prayer, which is a frequently spoken prayer here at the Monastery!

Henta Ellis – vox & instrumentation

8. Walk Right In inspired by Proverbs 8 about wisdom – this folks/blues song features Austin’s cool dobro riffs. It focuses on how we have been given the gift of free will and that the LORD gives us wisdom through his Spirit to make the right choices based on justice and righteousness by having His character. “Walk right in and let the Son shine in …..” paints a picture of light streaming through us like sunshine when we choose to have the character of Yeshua (Jesus) and being a good image bearer for HaShem.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys
Austin Marsh: Bass, Dobro
Colin Boyd: Drums 

9. Glorify the Father inspired by Psalm 56 – another song with that gospel feel, just proclaiming the mighty strength of our Heavenly Father in whom we can trust in troubled times, knowing that He cares about us so deeply, even down to every tear that falls. This features the Father/Son Heckman team bringing their own style to the song, as well as Caoimhe’s gospel style backing vocals.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys
Enoch Heckman – backing vox
Caoimhe Dunn – backing vox
Isaac Heckman – harmonica
Colin Boyd – drums
Austin Marsh – Bass

10. Favour Me inspired by Psalm 57 – Henta wanted to remix this song to include a new feel using dobro (Austin) and a new rhythm and bass section to add new layers of richness. The message reinforces how we can trust in the LORD to save us in times of trouble, by sheltering in His wings and remaining steadfast in our faithfulness to Him.

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys
Roger Beardsley – acoustic guitar
Austin Marsh – bass, dobro, acoustic guitar
Colin Boyd – drums

11. King of Kings – focuses on the character quality of Availability v Self-centredness. Henta wanted to introduce a fun folktronica song that focused on one of the character qualities taught at Anamchara Ministries & Monastery. The animal for this character quality is a giraffe and he is travelling through the desert in this song, looking for water to revive his body and soul and is welcomed by a bright light shining down to the King of Kings. Clint Dunn and Kate Orr enjoy doing these character sketches together and they appear at the end of the song. The tagline for this character quality is “Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I serve …”, which is very important when living in community!

Henta Ellis – Vox, keys, instrumentation
Bob Strachan – deep vox
Austin Marsh – Dobro