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Went down to the ocean just the other day

Listened for what the sea and sky had to say

The breeze was a caress and the sun was in my eyes

The summer temperature was beginning to rise

The storm from the day before was just a memory

The lashing rain and thunder were by then history

And then out of nowhere came the word

With a force so undeniable—this is what I heard:

This is the time

The time of the season

This is the time

The season for completion

This is the time

The completion of the overdue

This is the time

It’s overdue but you’ll see it through.

Cruising through the atmosphere up above the clouds

Far from the rat race and the madding summer crowds

The earth spread out below me, above me just space

Held aloft by physics and a dose of divine grace

A spiritual magnet, drawing me near

Not by might, not by power, not by terror, not by fear

But rather by a force much greater than us all

And all around me on that flight I heard its voice call

This is the time

The time for new horizons

This is the time

Bear is bull and bull is bison

This is the time

The present, not the future

This is the time

The time to silence the accuser.

Walked through my beloved city just the other night

Heard that voice calling, Do you see the light?!

The rising of the truth comes like the morning star

All the doom merchants will be shown for what they are

Don’t let the lies and propaganda wear you down

Your blinded brothers and sisters will eventually come around

Your mind has been poisoned living in exile for so long

Your resolve has been weakened, now it’s time to be strong

This is the time

For salvation and redemption

This is the time

No exception or exemption

This is the time

For doing what you’ve planned now

This is the time

The world is in your hands now.

This is the time

The time for fulfillment

This is the time

The potential is so brilliant

This is the time

For so long you have wished it

This is the time

Now it’s yours, don’t you miss it.

©2007 The Hesh Inc.

Asbury Park from the air.
The earth spread out below me, above me just space.

This song has its genesis in the dorms of Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim, the high school I attended in Jerusalem for my junior and senior years. The whole religious-Zionist curriculum and atmosphere inspired (some might say "brainwashed") many of us there to believe that the Messiah's arrival was imminent. My roommate, musical partner, and fellow Blues Brother, Izzy Kieffer, first came up with the initial kernel of the idea to have a rhythm-and-blues tune about thinking we saw Moshiach incognito in the streets of the city; he titled it "This Is the Time" (this was about four years before Billy Joel released a very different type of song with the same title). Right around the same time I had scribbled a few lines of my own about a similar idea, but with a slightly different tempo. We kicked the idea around in late-night conversations and off-campus jam sessions, but we never quite got around to finishing the writing of the song, let alone performing it.

Fast forward some 18 years to the Jersey Shore. In the aftermath of 9/11, I, like a lot of songwriters, became very introspective and seeking some sort of spiritual explanation or answer to a very changed world. I turned to various teachings from my tradition and memories of my experiences in Jerusalem, and the three years 2001-2004 became a very prolific period for me as a result. I resurrected the 'Moshiach song' ideas from my high-school days, gave it a different rhythm (more of a rock-based feel built around a 12-bar blues) and lo and behold, here was the 21st-century version of "This Is the Time."

Not too long later I was recording the second album in my Soul In Exile song cycle. I needed something to end the album/story with a bang, and possibly serve as a single. A few small changes to the lyrics and I had it. It was actually the first song I recorded for the album, with my old friend Yonah Lloyd on guitar and Steve Lopresto on bass. The percussion was totally electronic, performed by me; later on, vocalists Christine Ghilino, Wendy Horn, and Chimene Petitt, with whom I had played in Polyester, added their voices. The song was released on Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby in July 2007.

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