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The creation of Listening Now was a long,soul-searching process for Kortz, who releases an album every four years to document his life journey.

“It’s just cathartic to me, what rose to the surface while I was writing the music,” says the 33-year-old Kortz. “This album is very genuine, a true statement of where I feel like I am right now.”

An exploration of three universal yet deeply personal themes – relationships, family/loss and spirituality – Listening Now weaves together an album that’s introspective and vulnerable. Listening Now also represents an evolving new sound for Kortz, whose warm blanket of voice has been compared to James Taylor and John Denver but whose style is all his own.

Your Spring is dedicated to Kortz’s brother Jason, a Navy SEAL who died in a parachuting accident in March 2015. “It was the first song I wrote after he passed,” says Kortz. “I feel like he was talking to me through the song.” Lyrics like “You know, sometimes we have the answers, clear as the summer breeze. Sometimes it’s a horizon, and at best a mystery” speak of the depth of loss and the effort it takes to carry on.

Listening Now “describes a war that’s just ended and destroyed everything in its way, and I am left standing among the ashes,” he says. It examines how “the spiritual path can be tricky, and you have to find out how to really listen intentionally” to God.

Hands are up, lay my weapons down In the carnage of the battleground<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">There’re no heroes anymore<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">White as smoke, black as ash<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">It’s so clear in the aftermath<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">But all is fair in love and war

“Losing Jason has been a battle embracing how I live life after he’s gone. The lyrics describe a wasteland; you’re left with only ash on the ground, ruins. But the ash becomes fertile soil that can create something new,” says Kortz.

Kortz was also inspired to write States Apart by “the ashes of a relationship a year ago that represented everything I was looking for, and then just crumbled and crashed to the ground. The song is about letting go of what I thought love was supposed to be, letting some of that die in a sad but beautiful way, and how that is reborn with a new concept of love and relationship.”

You have your road<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">Solid line has been paved<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">And it’s hard as the asphalt<em style="font-size: 14.4px;">That you ain’t going my way