Jason Deere: Music Fueled by Testimony

Wed Dec 02 10:00:45 EST 2020
Episode 109

The son of converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jason Deere has lived most of his life in Oklahoma or Tennessee. After finding success in the music industry, Deere took his love for country music and combined it with a love for the gospel. The result, The Nashville Tribute Band, has inspired thousands and redefined Deere’s career.

The heartbeat [of the Church] is family by family and it’s when you put a bunch of heartbeats together that you have something that really starts to sound like thunder.
Jason Deere

Emily Freeman and David Butler of Don't Miss This teamed up with Jason Deere and the Nashville Tribute Band to soundtrack your study of the Doctrine and Covenants! This EP features 3 brand-new Nashville Tribute Band recordings and a special QR code that will link you to the full Don't Miss This playlist! To access the playlist on your streaming platform of choice, simply point your phone camera at the QR code and a prompt will appear. Tap the prompt and it will take you to the playlist links.

See more of Nashville Tribute Band's music: The Nashville Tribute Band on deseretbook.com

The Nashville Tribute Band's song about missionary work:

The song Jason wrote about his dad:

Don't Miss This + Nashville Tribute Band: Spirit of God Music Video:

One of Jason's favorite songs that he wrote about Emma Hale Smith:

One of Jason's other favorite songs he wrote about Mary, the mother of Jesus:

2:46- The Son of Converts
6:50- A Bishop’s Encouragement
9:08- Driven by a Love for Music
12:38- “Too Stupid to Know I Couldn’t Do It”
15:30- Secular Taking a Backseat to the Spiritual
18:43- Beginning of Nashville Tribute Band
21:40- What You’re Known For
24:20- Respect of Other Artists
26:27- Two Songs About Women
29:20- Don’t Miss This
33:53- Miracles That Brought Us Here
38:04- Soundtrack
39:35- The Power of Families
43:03- What Does It Mean To Be “All In” the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Morgan Jones 0:00
The son of two converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jason Deere has spent most of his life in two parts of the US where there aren't a lot of members of the Church – Oklahoma and Tennessee. But he has now created music that has been heard by believers everywhere.

Jason co-founded the Nashville Tribute Band and today, despite having worked with some of the biggest names in music, Jason says he recognizes that his secular music has taken a backseat to his religious music, and he's totally okay with that.

Jason Deere is the writer and producer of many albums under the name of Nashville Tribute Band, a band that he and co–producer, Dan Truman of Diamond Rio, created in 2004. Most recently the band collaborated with Don't Miss This to create a soundtrack to accompany the 2021 "Come, Follow Me" curriculum.

This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones, and I am so thrilled to have Jason Deere on the line with me today. Jason, welcome.

Jason Deere 1:15
Thank you so much, Morgan. This is gonna be fun.

Morgan Jones 1:18
Well, I have to tell you, your music got me through my mission. And I'm sure that you've heard that from so, so many people, but your music was huge for me.

Jason Deere 1:29
You have no idea what that, what that means. And I do hear that from a lot of missionaries, and it kind of, when you first take that, "Your music helped me get through my mission," it makes it sound like missions are super hard. And you know, they are plenty hard. I think they're plenty hard, and I love that anything that we've done – any piece of music or any, any moment of music can just put a kick in some missionary's step and just help them, help them get through any day means a lot to me that you would say that. You have no idea.

Morgan Jones 1:58
Well, my dad, actually just yesterday, I told him that I was going to be interviewing you today. And he said the song, "The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do," he said, "I think I listen to that song about once a week, and it always makes me teary eyed." And that's like, I mean, my dad served his mission 35 years ago. And so I think that it's neat that that's what – that's what your music does. It not only helps people, like you said, get a little extra kick in their step, but then it also has the ability to bring back sweet memories of that experience. And that experience is hard, but it's also so rewarding. And it is something that you want to remember and hang on to, and so I think it's beautiful that your music is able to do that. But I want to start this interview in a little bit of an unconventional way. I was watching the latest on your YouTube channel yesterday and you recently shared a video on The Nashville Tribute Band page about your father. And you said that he was a convert to the church. And so I think – because I want to talk a lot today about the significance of the gospel in your life and why it played a role in your music, I think it would be good to start with how you have the gospel. And so how did your father originally come in contact with the Church?

Jason Deere 3:21
Yeah, you know his – and matter of fact his 80th birthday is coming up next week so this is really significant time to just talk about him – I mean he's a hero in every single way. And he's a hero because he grew up in Amarillo, Texas under not great circumstances at all. Had an alcoholic father and just tough tough tough. Poor, poor, and had to fight and claw for everything he wanted. And when you come up, when you come up that way you have a choice of either becoming just like your parents or you have a choice of doing the exact opposite. And in almost every way he did. And thank goodness he got a football scholarship which kind of got him out of the town and then he became a fighter pilot and was a flight instructor during the Vietnam years.

I was actually born on Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma and a guy who had a desk right next to his was from Idaho named Gary Cox. My dad just noticed something was different about him, and Gary Cox since then has said, "Your dad, you know this ex–quarterback from the University of Oklahoma who was like a football star and this fighter jockey," said, "He was the last guy in the world I thought would ever listen to word of the gospel." You know my dad locked on immediately. And I think there were two things that my dad told me that are significant stories. They flew one time into Hill Air Force Base I guess, and Gary Cox took him to a general conference and they walked in there in their uniforms, straight from the Air Force Base, and whoever was nice at the door let them in and they sat and my dad said he had never felt anything like that before.

And another time was when he just went to – in Enid – went to church and there was a hymn being sung that was about the nature of God and about his relationship with God –I I can't even remember what the hymn was. And he said he was just so tears, he could not stop crying and he never cried in his life. And so anyway, he locked right on.

My mom was Southern Baptist and was a little harder, six or seven years later, she joined the Church when I was, when I was six or seven years old, I guess. But I was – that was right when I was born, so he never looked back. It changed everything about him, and provided every opportunity for our family to be a believing family. And I'll forever be grateful for that. And you know, I grew up in, in Oklahoma and every – our ward was all, we were all converts pretty much. There was a few people that have moved out there from Utah, but we're pretty much all converts. So everybody was trying to just figure out what in the world people were doing on the mothership out in Utah and just trying to be the best members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints that we could be. And probably not doing a great job of it but, but doing our best, you know? And that has served me well in my life, I think. And it's definitely, if you like Nashville Tribute Band music, it's served in the way that I write that music because it comes kind of from just, I think I'm always coming from the outside perspective – of the human side, because I don't really know how to come from the comfort of the culture of the Church, because that's not really the cloth that I was cut from. I think I was, I came from human beings trying to figure it out. And so it's the human side of, of religious experience that makes the names on the pages become breathing, real people that I can relate to. And that's, that's kind of how I approach music.

Morgan Jones 6:50
Yeah. Do you remember Jason, when you first started to feel like you were gaining a testimony for yourself?

Jason Deere 6:58
I do. I can remember – you know, it's kind of a funny thing. I remember a bishop that I had when I was probably a sophomore in high school or something like that just coming up to me in the hallway at church and saying, "Hey, I really noticed that there's something really different about you lately, that just looks like you're really trying."

And it was, it was significant to me because I was, I was . . . reading the scriptures a lot at that time and I was praying a lot, trying to figure this out. Partially because my grandparents who I loved so much were Southern Baptists, and they were trying their best to save me from the Mormons. And, you know, shared with me whole libraries of literature and the, you know, anti Mormon stuff, out of the goodness of their hearts. And so I definitely – at 13 or 14 years old – I was trying to figure out who this Joseph Smith guy was, and what was going on with all this. And so I was spending a lot of time in prayer, and I had, it's just so funny, you know, what we can do in a young person's life just by, just by saying something to them at church, and just by giving them a little encouragement.

Morgan Jones 8:07

Jason Deere 8:08
And that was the moment –

Morgan Jones 8:09
That was beautiful.

Jason Deere 8:11

Morgan Jones 8:11
No no, keep going.

Jason Deere 8:13
Sorry, um, and that was a moment where I was like, man, I, you know, it just felt good to hear that – that I was doing something right. And then there was a spiritual confirmation with that. And it just kind of made me keep digging. And there's no way, if it wasn't for the experience of my grandparents and my best friend and all these kind of people, you know, coming down on because of, you know, this crazy church, then I never would have dug in and had the desire to learn the whole miracle of the Restoration and the necessity of it and all, and have the testimony that I have today. So it was absolutely by opposition and by just sheer desire to know that and not just coast with somebody else's testimony, you know. We all have to do that in some way or we're not gonna hang around.

Morgan Jones 9:00
Yeah, absolutely. Jason, thank you so much for sharing that. I want to talk a little bit about your music background, but first I wondered, you mentioned that a hymn stood out to your dad, are your parents musical?

Jason Deere 9:15
You know, my mom played piano but just kind of like, you know, just kind of like that mom sitting around the – playing hymns and whatnot. And so she would play and . . . but nobody performed. Nobody, you know, my dad's not musical at all. He played Merle Haggard on the radio, but not really. Now my dad's side there's a guy named Jimmy Wakely, who actually is a Grand Ole Opry member from like in the early 1940s, who was like a distant you know, great cousin or something of my dad, but he's like the only person that came out of country music that we know of in our family, so I don't think so. I don't know where it came from.

Morgan Jones 9:52
So, how did you – how did you get started in it?

Jason Deere 9:56
You know, just absolute love for music. I love to listen. In sixth, seventh and eighth grade, I just loved music of all kinds. And there was a kid down the block, it was a friend of my older brothers who was in a, in a pop band that was playing all the fraternities and sororities at the University of Oklahoma in my hometown. And, and he was pretty cool. And he got, he got lots of girls attention. And so I thought that was pretty cool. So I just picked up a guitar, like between my sophomore and junior year and just started started playing. And I took a couple lessons, but I just got – my ADD or whatever, I just got so, I just couldn't slow track it. So I just started listening to the radio, just playing along with what the radio was started kind of taking lessons, kind of from the other guitar players I was hanging out with and, and what they knew and just started playing in bands and doing that kind of thing in high school.

And when I started to write songs, the first time I wrote a song, it was country and the next, you know, 50 or 60 songs that I wrote driving a tractor for work in the summertime. In Oklahoma when I played them for people they'd say, "That's pretty country," even though I was listening to a whole lot of blue collar rock and roll back then, so. But yeah, I think it's just a, just a passion and a love for music that turned into, you know, the first time I wrote a song and I took it into my parents, I wrote a song about my grandpa, who was somebody I loved and spent a lot of time with and they cried. My parents cried and I cried and the song part wasn't very good, but I just kind of thought, man, there is a magic. If you can figure out how – if I can figure out how to do this, there is a magic in the translation of an emotion and the interpretation of an emotion when you play a song for somebody and they love it. In three minutes, you've figured out how to interpret or put a name or a title to an emotion they felt or an experience that they have experienced.

And then all of a sudden they look at you and point their finger and say, "That's – I love that song. That's my song." You know, this is not a great way to make a living. The music business is hard, it's just a lot of hard work and sometimes works out great, and sometimes it doesn't. But it's the magic of the right song with the right artist singing it that’s supposed to be singing that song at the right time, that translates into the right record being made by whoever's producing that record. And it doesn't always happen. And it's not always great. But man when it's great, it's, it's truly magical. It's like Disneyland. It's like Cinderella, when she comes out of that castle, you know at Disneyland. It just becomes like Christmas. And so that's kind of what you live for in this business, because all the rest of it between zero and there can be tough.

Morgan Jones 12:37
Yeah. So in your career Jason, you've worked with some big name artists. You've worked with SHeDAISY, and Little Big Town, you've written songs for people like LeAnn Rimes, Lady Antebellum, Jessica Simpson – I watched this video and your dad was saying, when you moved to Nashville, they were like, "Well, the percentages of people that make it are super, super low." And you were like, "Well, I'll be one of them. I'll be one of those that make it." So how did you get your foot in the door? And what has that success meant to you?

Jason Deere 13:08
You know, I couldn't do that probably now. I think I was too stupid to know I couldn't do it. I've said that a lot of times to people.

Morgan Jones 13:16
Ignorance is bliss, right?

Jason Deere 13:18
It is! Because it's so hard. And it's, everything is, "No," and everything is impossible and whatnot. But when you're, when you're young, you just don't know it. And so, and that energy is contagious. You know, when you – so many people come into this town, and they think, "Oh, if I can just get so and so to support me, if I can just get in the so and so's office or if I can just get so and so to produce my project, or if I can just get signed with so and so then I'll, I'll make it,"" and I just don't remember having that attitude. And that – and so people, when people see that you're going to do this with or without them, it makes them say, "II want that dude to win. And I'm gonna get behind that." And that's, that's an energy – a wave of energy that, like I said, I don't know if I could, I don't know if I could muster that again. I'm pretty sure I couldn't, actually.

But at that right time in my life, I could and I probably had half of the knowledge that I have now and certainly half of the minute portion of the experience. But you know, the three SHeDAISY sisters that were from Magna, Utah, they happened to just live down the hallway from me in my apartment complex when my wife and I moved here right after college in 94 and they were beautiful, they could sing great, and they – but they you know, they didn't know what they were doing any more than, than I did.

And we just started hanging out. Became friends first and started making music and tried really hard to make some music that nobody else – that was different from everybody else. And everybody said, "Oh, you can't do it. You can't do it. You can't do it. You guys don't you don't have anybody, major player involved in this project. It's – the girls shoes are too big. Their hair's too big. They're from Utah. They – you know, this, that and the other, there's all these negatives. "Their music is too pop, it's too this, too that. 2 million records later and five or six hit singles, and it's, it's just kind of like, "Haha" you know, because it just worked. I mean, plenty of projects don't work, but that one just did. And that was the, kind of the, that was kind of just the rocket fuel that kind of got my career started, because that happened pretty early on.

Morgan Jones 15:28
Yeah. So Jason, you had that success in kind of the secular music, and you actually talked in this one video that I watched – and we can put this in our show notes – but you talked about how little by little, that stuff started kind of taking a backseat to some of this religious music that you were you were working on. So, when did you first write your first faith based song?

Jason Deere 15:58
So I had taught a first discussion with Elder Orr, my companion, we lived in a pink trailer on boulder Highway in Las Vegas. And we had taught our first discussion one night and came back, and I sat out on the porch and I wrote really, really quickly, I wasn't even good enough to write anything like it – to be honest – at the time, but it was just, I was very inspired by this first discussion we had taught and I wrote "Lamb to the Slaughter," which is a song off of the “Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet” project, a prophet album. And I knew there was something really special about that song.

And on my mission I also wrote a portion of "Candles," off that same album later, and a portion of, "He Walked a Mile in My Shoes," which I didn't figure, I didn't finish either one of those for many years later. But and that was kind of– I realized there was a different kind of process on that stuff. On that, on deeply religious stuff. It felt different writing those things, it felt different experiencing those things there was a part – it was like a leaking of my testimony into my guitar, if that makes any sense.

You know, and then it takes everything you've got to break into the music business when you move to Nashville, or Los Angeles or New York. It just takes everything you got. And that's what I was doing. In 2003, when my Bishop called me and said, "Hey, I want you to teach early morning seminary." And I said, in my brain, I said, "No, I can't do that. I'm jet setting all over the place. And I'm, you know, just – my career's shooting straight up, I don't have time to do that." And I opened my mouth. And I said, "Yes," and it was really the most important thing that I've ever, ever done. Because I spent three years with 24 of the coolest kids every single morning before they, before they went to school and that very first fall, I wrote, really, the whole album, "Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet," finished up those other couple of songs and just kind of kept going. And I just it was, you know, it's just, it's just, the gospel it's just a different way. It's just with some – it's just country. Maybe with an accent or something like that, but it's the same, the same gospel that everybody else is preaching, it just – some of those thought songs, thankfully, those, you get a glimpse of some personalities that I think maybe that representation doesn't exist other places, and I think some people feel that. Not everybody, but some people do.

Morgan Jones 18:22
Yeah. And I think it's, it's so cool to take who you are and what you believe, and put it in a way that like, it will reach people differently. And, and maybe it doesn't appeal to everyone, but to the people that it does appeal to, it can touch their hearts in a way that nothing else can. With Nashville tribute band. How did you – so I know, Dan Truman, you and Dan Truman were talking and had talked about doing something that was related to faith. Dan Truman, obviously a member of the Church and a member of Diamond Rio, who had had huge success, but how did the rest of the band kind of come together?

Jason Deere 19:05
Yeah, well, Dan, and I did this you know, and he – Dan was super, super, super busy at the time, because Diamond Rio was on top of the world in 2004 –

Morgan Jones 19:13
Blowin up, yeah.

Jason Deere 19:14
– Whenever we kind of decided we're gonna do something. So we put this project together, we just kind of made it for us. And to be honest with you when the Joseph album came out, there was no Nashville Tribute Band. So, matter of fact, that album first came out not as the Nashville Tribute Band, it just came out as "Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet," there was no band associated with a it. But Dan and I had started doing some shows. Some stakes and some different people around the South had asked us to do stuff and I had a publishing company at that time and had a couple of writers signed on my publishing company named Brad Hall and Matt Lopez and, and they're both young LDS kids they're really talented songwriters and singers and they, they started hanging out and then Tim Gates later started hanging out in my office as well and the three of them became duets and got signed to RCA, and then at the same time, started touring with Nashville Tribute Band.

We've had kind of a revolving cast over the years. When people could, you know, be with us, and then you know, being on the road as much as we were for part of that time, there was a couple of years, we were out there for 180 days a year. And that's a, that's a that's a lot. So not everybody can maintain that commitment. But a lot of these guys have I mean, the newest guys to the group are Ben and Chad Truman, which are Dan sons, and they, they've been in the group for over 10 years. So it's been a long time that we've been, we've been doing this now. We've done it all over the world, and we're, to be honest with you, we're really, really, really, really sad that we've only been able to do – our last show was March the 8th in a . . . New Bern, North Carolina, and it's the longest we've gone without doing a show. We don't like it. At all.

Morgan Jones 20:11
Well, at least your last show was at the best state – in the best state in the United States, Jason. It's so impressive that a group of people as talented as you all have devoted so much time and effort to something that many times – like it's not like you're making big money off of this. And I was so impressed as I watched this video about you, you said, you talked about this, this idea of the religious stuff becoming more a part of who you were. When people Google you, that's the first thing that comes up rather than these other things that perhaps might look better on a resume. But you – at the end of the video – you were like, "I'm okay with that." And so I wondered, why would you want to be better known for this work than anything else that you've done?

Jason Deere 21:48
That's an easier question to answer the older I get, I think. I mean, because, you know, artists, I mean songwriters, which is really the core of what I am and I'm a record producer, I'm known as a record producer, I've managed artists, I've done I've owned a publishing company, I've done a lot of things in Nashville, but at the core of what I do I'm a songwriter. And songwriters are broken in this town. Just like artists are broken – kind of to a different audience, but I mean it's a process to build up a songwriter to kind of let everybody know who they are, and they kind of get hip and they get cool and they get in all the right circles and etc. And so I was a little scared to be honest with you in the beginning, wondering, you know, what what guys like Blake Shelton and stuff are gonna think when they – you know, see this guy kind of going Mormon crazy. You know what that what a . . . You know because you just don't know what people are going to – and there's definitely, there's no question in my mind that I've lost – I've lost some business opportunities and whatnot because of my faith.

Not because people are mean, no one's been mean to me about anything, but because people just would choose to do business with somebody who's not something that they don't agree with, and there's some of that. There's been some of that, I have no doubt about it. But the thing was it became a comfort level really fast when I saw all this stuff, you know, Trace Adkins, Lady Antebellum, and all this, all this stuff that used to stack up when you search my name in 2003 on the internet, and then all of a sudden that's all stacked and really, at a shorter short amount of time and stacked behind six or seven pages of Deseret Book stuff, "Joseph: Nashville Tribute to the Prophet" stuff, you know, this and that and the other and whatnot. And at first I was like, "Man, that might not be good for my career." But then I thought, what at, what a comfort level because I had friends of mine that I hadn't seen in 20 years that I went to high school with that are mentioning stuff like that that they found out and I thought, nobody, you know everybody before they work with somebody before – if you have an appointment with somebody you've never met and with a songwriter you've never met, you dig on each other a little bit. You look up stuff about them, you want to know something about them before you get in the room with them. And everybody's walking in the room knowing who I am. And there's comfort in that. Because I don't have to prove anything. It's all, it's all out there. And so that to me became a comfort because my reputation, whether they like it or not, is is out there long befor, long before I am and I think it's a blessing.

Morgan Jones 24:20
Yeah. Have you had any cool experiences with people who find out, like people in the music industry, who find out this is something that you do that has been a positive experience?

Jason Deere 24:34
I think so. I think this – I think Nashville Tribute Band, even in Dan's band, Diamond Rio, who those guys are all really good friends of mine, and they, you know, this is when Dan first got in that band and he was, a member the Church of Jesus Christ Latter – day Saints and the other guys are very religious. Most of them are very religious from different backgrounds. But all those guys have so much love and respect as they've watched Dan's sons go on missions, as they've watched the Nashville Tribute Band and Dan have this passion and time, every chance that he's not with Diamond Rio, he's out with the Nashville Tribute Band – sometimes he's out with us when he should be out with them too.

I think these guys and they've been a part of, they've willingly recorded on, "Peter (Wide Awake)" on the Redeemer album, and they willingly recorded on the Praise album, a song called "In the Garden," and they've, you know, kind of kind of joined us in, in a lot of those ways. And just a lot of mutual respect. So I think, I think there's . . . in the process of recording these records with these great musicians and stuff like that, they walk in there too, and when, when I start talking about what we're getting ready to record, these guys, all of a sudden, remember, they play on songs all day long every day for a million different songwriters. And all of a sudden, they think – they see our passion for what we're recording. And even if, even if they hated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – day Saints, hated everything about it, they all have been so respectful and given so much of their time and their talents to make the best music that they can with us, just based on our passion for it. And it's just – that's been a cool thing, just to turn kind of the temperature in rooms just to see that happen, that it can happen.

Morgan Jones 26:25
Yeah, for sure. Do you have a favorite song that you've written? I feel like that's always a hard question to ask, but is there one that stands out in your mind?

Jason Deere 26:36
You know, that's really hard because everyone, everyone has specific testimonies. If I had to just pick a couple of them, I mean, you mentioned you know, my dad, the song "Old Man," of course, I love that, because he's getting older and I've kind of watched him – my mom passed away about a year ago – and I've kind of seen him being alone for the first time. And so I love songs that are attached to people. But if I have to pick a favorite, there's a couple of them that come to mind. One of them is "Emma" off the first record, which is is our most popular song if you look at streams and and downloads and all that kind of stuff throughout it's . . . and I don't know exactly why that is.

But the reason it's probably my favorite is because it was the first significant spiritual experience that I felt like – and you can call me crazy or whatever – but I felt like for a split second that a presence, a personality came through the room just long enough for me to know her well enough to write that song. And I felt like, I felt like I felt a lot of voices from you know, I didn't hear anything, it's not – don't make this something that it's not – but I I felt a lot of people saying, "It's time. It's time to show her some respect. And to love her for the first lady of the dispensation that we live in." I really felt that in the process of writing that song. And another one is "Mary Holds Him." And that's off of the Christmas record, I guess I – so, in writing that song, I thought about this woman who was the mother of God, literally the mother of the Savior of the world. I thought about her after his ascension. And I'd never thought about her after the ascension before. And that's what that last verse in that thing is, is that he still held her and loved her because we don't know anything about her after the ascension. We don't know what the rest of her life was like, how long it was, you know, he was the Savior of this world, but He was her baby. And so that that always – I just listened to that song this morning, in fact, my buddy Aaron Copp who is our sound guy sent me a video of us doing that song live that I hadn't seen, ever, I guess and it just reminded me of just what an awesome, awesome woman she is. And I don't know. I don't know why the, my two favorite songs are about two women, but they are.

Morgan Jones 29:18
I love that. So I think that talking about Emma is a great segue into kind of this newest project that you've worked on, which is something in collaboration with David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman with "Don't Miss This." And you all traveled around to church history sites, and were able to record some videos that people that follow Don’t Miss This will be able to see throughout the year, and also you recorded some music. I just listened to David and Emily singing yesterday and I was like wow, they can actually sing. That's impressive.

Jason Deere 29:56
They can.

Morgan Jones 29:56
I said – David always tells me that he wants to be in a boy band, and I was like, maybe he really did miss his calling.

Jason Deere 30:09
He is the funniest guy. I didn't know him all that well before we went on this tour thing, and I am just, I'm grateful to them. I'm a huge respecter of what they do. And they're really, they're really good at it. And my family, my wife has brought several things in over the last couple of years saying, "Hey, check this out. Let's watch this as a family" and whatnot. And I had, I had done some Time Out for Women's with Emily, so I knew Emily pretty well, but I didn't know David all that well. And they really had a great idea. They wanted to go teach the curriculum of Doctrine & Covenants in the places where these things happen. And so Emily called me and said, "Hey, will you come along, and will you seen Nashville Tribute Band songs where they happened, after we teach what happened? Where these things happened?" Then I thought, "Yeah," you know, and so thank goodness, we got permission from, you know, from the Church and from the Community of Christ to go into those places. And we started in Pennsylvania back in the very end of July, and went to every one of those places, all the way through New York, Pennsylvania, through Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and even Wyoming. And it was an amazing, amazing, special experience, you know, kind of like when you read, if you read the New Testament, or you read the Book of Mormon, and you read it in six months, it's quite different from reading it in three days, you know? And that's kind of what this was like. It was just like church history sites, at mach speed. And it was, we just, we just experienced a lot of history really, really, really fast. And it was pretty special that way. I'm not sure you'll see that, as this lays out over the next year, the curriculum, because it's all going to be spread out week to week on how they, how they put all that together. But it was a special, special experience for me.

Morgan Jones 31:48
Yeah. Were there any memorable moments as you traveled around, or anything that stands out in your mind as you visited the different church history sites? I think it's cool, you got to go and do that while everybody else was shut up in their houses.

Jason Deere 32:01
It's true. And these places were ghost towns. I mean, Nauvoo was an absolute ghost town, like no one on the streets anywhere. And we – these very kind of members of the Church, they gave us some of those scooters that go like 30 miles an hour, and we were running all over Nauvoo in these scooters. And I think – I've been to several of these places before, the sacred grove is never not an amazing place to be. But my most significant experience for me personally was Adam-ondi-Ahman. And I had been there once when I was seven years old, probably, and it was just a gravel road going into the middle of the wilderness.

Morgan Jones 32:40

Jason Deere 32:40
And one more time when I was in high school, which was – it was shaping up pretty nicely to be a pretty amazing piece of property back then. This time, it was just . . . the feeling that I had – this has nothing to do with anything else, but just the feeling. I just thought some real stuff has gone down here. Where my eyes can see right now, and some real stuff is gonna go down here. And that was just, that was just a very significant experience for me. And then there's not a lot to see or to do there other than what you feel about what you've written.

Morgan Jones 33:14
I know – I've been there. And I, I can visualize it in my head. It's been, you know, probably 10 years since I well, longer than that since I was there. But I think it is – it's something unique for those who haven't experienced it. And I think that's the cool thing for people that are going to be able to see that with Don’t Miss This this year is maybe you never do get to go to Adam–ondi–Aham, but you'll get to experience a little taste of what it's like. And so when it's talked about in the future, you can visualize it as well. So I think that's really neat. Jason, how would you say that your testimony of the restored gospel has been strengthened as you've worked on this project? And I guess this kind of dates back to when you first worked on the Joseph project, but how would you say your testimony of the gospel has changed and evolved and been strengthened?

Jason Deere 34:12
It feels a little bit for full circle to me to be honest with you, like, we're coming back to the beginning. Yeah, it's been really interesting year for me. In one respect, my mom passed away November 1, last year, and right after that I had this surge of genealogy, just desire. And I had one goal because my dad and my brothers had done a lot of work. We had a lot of work done in our family line. But I had a desire to go and seek out photographs of every person as far back as I could, and having at least one photograph if possible, assigned to everyone as far back as I could. That was kind of my drive.

And because those faces meant something to me and so I went kind of crazy on that for a few months. And then I started to realize I got so far spread out into my line, that these people I didn't have a connection with. And so I didn't, you know, I didn't they're they're far enough away that they're my people, but they're not – they're not people that I have some kind of connection to, does that make any sense? You know, when you get so, you know what I mean,

Morgan Jones 35:13

Jason Deere 35:13
And so that is kind of how I've felt about you know, because you you can look at Church history and you can say, "Does it really mean something that, you know, this family was at Martin's Cove?" or whatever, whatever it is, "Do these specific things really mean something if I'm not related to them?" But what makes those things stick to me and to catch on fire is just the fact that no matter who our Prophet is today, Joseph Smith is a prophet of this dispensation. And I would say Emma Hale Smith is the first lady of this dispensation, and we are a family in this dispensation. And people have experienced unbelievable things. I truly believe that if you had a group of people that were at Martin's Cove or that were on one of these pioneer trek things, they would say, "I'll stay right – if I have a choice, to go right now and to be a teenager, to go on a mission somewhere where I'm trying to carve truth and spread truth and light through social media right now, I will choose, I will gladly choose to stay right here in this wagon train." Because I think they're just as afraid of what we're facing on a daily basis. But people have gone through amazingly tough things and miracles have happened. Just go back and look at the Kirtland temple dedication. I stood there, that silent building a couple months ago under those lights at about 11 o'clock at night with Emily and David and sat there and looked at this building and thought about what happened there. Thought about how Pentecostal, what happened there. I mean, the roof of the building looked on fire, there were angels on the roof, there was was Elias and Elijah and Moses, and Noah and Jesus appeared inside that people were speaking in tongues, things that we are way to reserved, or have been way to reserved and to reverent to even acknowledge in our culture, and this kind of stuff is going to happen again, at the culmination of all this kind of stuff, and I'm super excited about it. Because those church history sites they're way back, they're all quiet. We saw them really, really quiet. We saw lots of sister missionaries who were just so wonderful and beautiful that are they're serving. And there's nobody to even show the things to, you know, comeing through. And so those things, those sites don't matter. But the stories do, they matter. Because they're all a part of us and all a part of where this is all pointing. And that is the second coming of Jesus.

Morgan Jones 37:56
Yeah, that's beautiful. Thank you so much. I wondered, there are – so from what I understand, this album, it's songs that you've recorded previously, but then there are three new songs How did you decide what songs you would record for this new stuff?

Jason Deere 38:16
Well so there's an EP, which has only got three songs on it's got "The Spirit of God," it's got "Brightly Beams," and it's got "Coming Thou Fount." And those were all songs that were inspired out on this tour for different things. "Brightly Beams" was inspired because David loved that song and we stood in front of the lighthouse in Kirtland and where so many of the saints got off the boat there in Kirtland. And that's where that came from "Spirit of God" absolutely was inspired, in the yard of the Kirtland temple about 11 o'clock one night. And then "Come Thou Fount" was inspired in the pecan grove at Adam–ondi–Ahman. And so we knew we had to make some new music, but really the the soundtrack to next year's D&C that are songs that specifically Emily and David chose out of like 110 songs that we have in the Nashville Tribute Band catalog, that she wanted me and or the band, depending on who was there, to sing out there in these locations. So that playlist, that's the soundtrack for next year, those 21 songs with these three new songs. They're all, they're all kind of, they all kind of work together.

Morgan Jones 39:18
That's awesome. My family goes each year to a lighthouse on the coast of North Carolina, and we typically will sing "Brightly Beams." And so I was excited to see that you've recorded that one, and I think that's just such a beautiful song. One thing that I have personally been so grateful for the last couple of years has been the "Come Follow, Me" curriculum. And I think what you're doing is such a unique way to contribute to something that is blessing people's lives and helping us develop stronger testimonies of the gospel. And so I've just been so grateful for the Church for putting that together. What are you most looking forward to about next years "Come Follow, Me" curriculum and how has the come follow me program blessed you and your family?

Jason Deere 40:12
You know, it just seems like for our family, and probably for everybody, it's removed the Church as a crutch. And lots of us, we can get so leaning on this routine of the church as a culture and as a system. And it's the most, it's the greatest system in the world, I believe it's why people will come. When things go really wrong, there's gonna be a lot of people standing in the yards of the churches that we become friends with. Other churches, entire congregations, I believe are going to be standing in our yards going, "Hey, how can we all work together here?" And I think that's a beautiful thing. But I think, I think the system of the Church also can even possibly weaken us at times when we rely on it more than we rely on the good nourishment of the gospel, right in our own homes. And I think everybody's seen that, you know. The first time you have the sacrament blessed in our house was one of the most amazing experiences, you know, for us to, for us to experience. And I think that's a beautiful thing, so "Come Follow, Me," is just, it's making our families the driver's seat of our religious experience. And that's always needed to be true, but it hasn't always been true. You know, I mean, it has in some ways, but you know, what I'm saying, you know, what I mean? We still would take it to the address of the Church, and in the heartbeat is family by family, and it's when you put a bunch of heartbeats together, that you have something that really starts to sound like thunder, and that's just a beautiful thing. And you know what, we're losing people too, as this is, as we've thinned out and whatnot, because not everybody has the strength or the structure or the know how, or whatever it is, to have that in their families. And that's a hard thing to see, and that's why ministering becomes so important. And just being friends, being buddies. So it is sad because we are losing some great people that are taking the opportunity to step away. But it's making some other people strong, strong, strong, and I love seeing that and I love experiencing that.

Morgan Jones 42:19
I love that you said that. And I think, it makes it come to – it makes things come to my mind, like there are a couple of women from my home stake who I have seen – they've like leaned in to the "Come, Follow Me" program, and I have seen how much it has blessed their lives. And they seem like – not that they didn't have testimonies before, because they've been faithful members my entire life but seeing kind of it, start to change them, and seeing the scriptures start to come alive for them. And I feel that in myself as well. And so, I just am so grateful for the chance to focus on becoming disciples of Christ. And I think that's what the "Come, Follow Me" program does for us. Jason, thank you so much for sharing your testimony with us, for sharing insights into your music and for all the work that you've put into music that's just beautiful, and it has blessed so many people. My last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Jason Deere 43:22
Hmm. You know, at some point, one of the great, great blessings of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints is that truth has been restored. And we have a lot of it, but we get ourselves in trouble when we think we have – we know it all. Or we have access to all the answers. We're not meant to have access to all the answers. We're not meant to know why this is, or that is, in a whole lot of cases. And there's lots of things that if we get fixated on the fact that we've got to know something. And we have – I use this little stupid analogy, might be stupid, but it works for me, that we all have a bucket of things we know and a bucket of things we don't know. And never ever ever do I want to – even though our job is to get in the middle of things that we don't know and to put them in the bucket of things we know, we don't want to get so fixated on that bucket of things that we don't know, that we drop the bucket of things that we absolutely know, and they spill all over the floor – and we get lost because of this. I never want to do that. And so, I just feel like to be all in is to make a decision based on the things that are in the bucket of things that I know. I know 12 things. Maybe I know 50 things, but whatever, but I know them. I know them with everything inside my chest. I know these things. And I don't need to know – that's a beautiful thing about being my age. I'm not a spring chicken anymore. The beautiful thing about getting a little bit older is that you surrender to the things that you don't know, and that shows that you trust creator of the universe, and some people will call that, "Oh, that's," you know, "You're going blind." Yeah, I am – by choice. Because I made a choice based on the things that I do know, not based on the things that I don't know. And I choose to follow Christ and I choose to trust my God. And I can close my eyes and coast on that on the days that I don't have strength to stand and that's being all in. But it's a choice.

Morgan Jones 45:33
Jason, thank you so much. It's been such a treat to talk with you and I – it feels silly to say this, but I have been able to feel your spirit and testimony even over the internet. So, thank you so much. And I'm wishing you all the best.

Jason Deere 45:49
Hey, you're absolutely awesome and sweet.

Morgan Jones 45:54
A huge thank you to Jason Deere for joining us on today's episode. You can find the EP soundtrack to "Don't Miss This in the Doctrine and Covenants," as well as a QR code for the full Don’t Miss This playlist on deseretbook.com now. A huge thank you to Derek Campbell of Mix at Six Studios for his help with this episode. And thank you so much for listening. We'll look forward to being with you again next week.

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