As inspirational as David Dunn’s music has proven to be, the BEC Recordings artist has never written songs like the ones on his latest, Yellow Balloons (buy). The release contains a snapshot of his feelings and experiences from the last two years, a season filled with pain and suffering, fear and questions after the unexpected death of his two-year-old niece. At such a memorial service, yellow balloons are often released to symbolize hope in the midst of such dark times.
Dunn admits he’s a bit nervous to release these new songs, uncertain of what fans of his last release, Crystal Clear (buy), might think. They are vulnerable songs, ones that lack a clean, neat ending that he wanted to add. Fortunately the songs that are here resonate with an emotional power that invites others to share the experience. Here’s the story of Yellow Balloons and the growth of a songwriter who struggled to set such tragedy to song.
CCM Magazine: Yellow Balloons is such an interesting title. Let’s start there. Where did that come from?
David Dunn: The way I write both songs and albums are that anytime you’re listening to me, you’re getting a snapshot of my life. You’re taking in a period of time in what I’ve learned and experienced or felt in that period. On Crystal Clear, you’re getting the stories of my life from 2012 to 2013. Yellow Balloons, the new album, is about the last year-and-a-half and the thing that has directed my thoughts and heart is something that happened to my family about 20 months ago now.
I went back to my hometown, Midland, Texas, to play a show. I’m not there very often, but I was making the rounds to see my nieces and nephews. There are lots of them since I have five brothers and sisters who’ve had a lot of babies. I went to visit my sister, who has two little girls—ages 2 and 4, at the time—and they were settling down for a nap. I took off to do my sound check and then out of the blue, she didn’t wake up from her nap. She just died and no one has any idea why.
That was the major theme that came through in all of the songs I wrote for this record. In some way, shape or form, every song was about that tragedy. The majority of them ended up breaking down into two categories: songs about children or being a kid, and songs about heaven. Yellow balloons are released at a child’s memorial service, so that’s why the album is called that.
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