One Scarred Hand: The Other Half of the Story

In 2007, we posted an unforgettable interview with Kyla Rowland. The most powerful moment in a conversation full of such moments was when she shared the story of how her son’s running away from home prompted her to write “One Scarred Hand.”

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to hear the other half of the story—from her son, Barry Rowland.

At age fourteen, Barry Rowland started singing in the Rowlands with his uncle, Ron Martin, and his mother, legendary songwriter Kyla Rowland. Yet four years later, at eighteen, he ran away from home. He recalls, “I was basically running away from God; I was trying to get away from her and her preaching to me—her consistent discipline, references to the Bible. I felt like it was just being thrown down my throat, and I was running away from it.”

He adds, “I didn’t realize at the time, in my immaturity and selfishness, how her heart was breaking.” Yet God used this in a way nobody could have predicted—for the night he ran away was the night his mother wrote the unforgettable anthem “One Scarred Hand.”

Four years later, “like the prodigal son,” he says, “I came back to myself, and began to build my relationship back with her and back with God.” He stayed off the road for several years; he was 25 before he started singing again in his home church, and 28 before he started singing again with his mother. After eight more years on the road with her, he launched Barry Rowland and Deliverance. “It was time,” he says, “to share what Christ has done in my life. Through four years of being in the hog pen, I have a testimony. I already had a testimony of salvation, but He really gave me a testimony of knowing who He is, through His mercy and grace.”

Barry Rowland and Deliverance signed with Crossroads this week—the quote above is from the press release—and will be releasing their first Crossroads project in May.

Sometimes, after I’ve prepared a Crossroads-related press release, it entirely slips my mind to discuss the story here. This one was too good to pass up!

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28 Letters to the Editor

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  1. When all the snarky comments have been replayed, again, THIS song, from THAT group, from THAT era, with THOSE four guys – is still one of the most powerful songs on video.

    “The Great Physician’s touch is the balm that can, Mend broken hearts with One Scarred”

    How amazing to appreciate that the broken heart of a Christian mother – how common is that not? – is matched by the grace of God in the, eventual, brokenness of a ‘prodigal son’ who can testigy how his heart and life was borken that he too might praise the Lamb who, by the ‘blood of His cross’ mended the brokenness of many.

    A wonderful example of how two sides to one story melds into the truth of one powerful song.

    Sing it again!

    • I know – I had heard the song before the interview, and knew it was good, but once I heard the story as Kyla told it – that changed things! I can’t easily listen through the song with a dry eye anymore.

      And then to hear the other half of the story earlier this week was just icing on the cake!

      I didn’t discuss this in the post or in the press release, but Barry Rowland’s sincerity really moved me. Some people have told their testimony so many times that they have it down pat – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing – but he had to stop at several points to regain his composure. In a world where things often seem too pre-packaged, sincerity is an incredible trait.

  2. I love that song! I wish Gold City would revive it.

    • They’ve been doing it with the Josh Cobb / Bruce / Danny / Tim lineup. Not sure about the current one.

  3. This is a song that seems rise up my list of favorites every time I hear it. The poignant lyrics are excellently crafted. It’s not a song that needs big orchestration or a bunch of key changes and fancy chords. It sounds great with just a piano, or even a cappella in the chorus. I sang this in a trio once in church a while back with just me playing piano, and I think we need to bring it back again soon.

  4. Great song and a great writer! Miss Kyla’s songs come straight from the Throne Room, and it shows!
    I believe the Lord is going to continue use Bro. Barry and Deliverance in a mighty way and I’m excited to sit back and watch it happen. I’m looking forward to hearing more music from them soon!

  5. I’ve seen at least one video of the group doing it since Brent Mitchell and Bryan Elliot joined, but Bruce was still with the group.

    • Sorry, that was meant as a reply to Daniel’s comment.

      • Interesting – thanks!

      • I can hear the “New Mature EHSS” doing this with an Ian Owens solo on at least one verse.

        This song is worthy o fresh exposure.

      • After doing a full project of cover material – and, in fact, the most recent three projects with mostly cover material – I really think they need to get a CD of new songs out before really thinking about bringing any more classics back!

      • Maybe so. But to some people who may not be SG historians, these songs they’ve done on those are new them.

      • That certainly applies to some songs, but Gold City has done One Scarred Hand with some consistency through the years, notably as an acapella opener last year.

  6. Maybe so Daniel, but funnily enough Irish Phil had this to say, among other things….

    “The highlight though for me was hearing Doug sing, “Until We Fly Away”. This song was interlinked with a video from the “Get Away Jordan” DVD, which added another dimension to the performance. Big song and an equally big rendition from Doug.”

    I would have possibly considered this a wee bit of Irsih blarney – except that I picked up a report of two ex-CCM, SGM ‘babes in the wood’ who wnet to the same concert; and came away with exactly the same comment.

    Their amazement at the intricacies, harmonies, lead-swapping abilities of good SG quartets [which we take for granted] was beautiful to behold!!

    “Who else is going to sing?” was asked! “Can four guys sing for three hours?” and “Don’t they need a choir?”

    However, the Blue Riband comment goes to a young lady who had never heard of quartet singing, never mind EHSS..

    On Ian’s first step out bass line she asked, “Is the chubby guy making that noise, or is there a machine somewhere as well?”

    Some Tribute!!

    • A wee link to Phil’s review would do no harm either 🙂 Den Master.

      • Very interesting. Well, it would stand to reason that non-US audiences who are perhaps less familiar with the original songs might not particularly care if the song is 50 years or 50 days old. That said, given that most of their fans are, for the time being, in the U.S., three consecutive CDs of previously recorded material is about all that most SG groups could/should do before throwing some awesome new songs into the mix. 🙂

        Oh: I emailed the link to Ernie in case he hadn’t noticed it, and he shared it with EHSS’s Facebook friends. I figured that was the best promotion I could do, since I’ve linked to Phil a number of times and y’all know to go there – I hope! 🙂

      • Check out the embedded You Tube link to Ernie’s guest singer – 17 year old, Stamps Baxter trained, non-white, bass solo Selwyn Colet [and there’s more…]

      • Daniel, David Mac…. Thanks! 😀

      • You’re welcome – good write-up!

    • I can understand why “Til We Fly Away” would stand out. It’s very fresh—definitely an attention-grabber.

      • You know, it’s actually a little funny – for some reason, ever since that CD came out, at least a half-dozen and possibly ten of the other songs struck me as stronger and more memorable.

      • Yeah, I know. It strikes everyone a little differently I guess. My mom liked it. 😀

      • How about your uncle?

      • I have no idea. He’s a crotchety bloke. He’d probably say the chords were mildly interesting and shrug it off…

      • Hmm. 🙂

      • Thats one of those songs that goes along with the “How many chances do you give a song?” post.

      • Personally I do agree,

        so I was surprised at “Until We Fly Away” being highlighted – until Phil, who knows a wee bit about SGM, also highlighted it on his review.

        It is maybe a little difficult for the educated southern state [yes I know!] southern gospel fan to appreciate that this genre is NEW and FRESH – every arrangement of every song, to a still growing global audience.

        [with Jim Reeves and Ernie Ford gospel LP’s still in the magazine rack :-)]