Today’s conversation is especially fun for me because I’m chatting with my friend David Nevue. David and I met in college when we lived down the hall from each other in campus housing. I was a video production major, and he, being the creative actor type, was often involved in acting and theater. And we would often be working on the same projects. What I remember most about David, aside from his humor and love of Dungeons and Dragons, was that he was always playing the piano. And shortly after we finished college, he released his first album of solo piano music.
Buck Storm is an author who has penned numerous fiction and non-fiction books. His current book, The Sound the Sun Makes, follows the adventures of Detective Early Pines into the world of Hollywood. He has also written Finding Jesus in Israel; an off-the-bus peek into the people and places that make Israel such a fantastic destination. But I can already hear you saying, "I thought this was a music podcast." Well, never fear my faithful listener. Buck is an accomplished musician, too.
In 1997, I was promoting concerts in Portland, Oregon, and was approached by a booking agent to do a show with this new band called Skillet. I distinctly remember that the CD had a white cover with a picture of a cast-iron skillet. And the music was much harder than anything I had promoted up to that point. Well, I promoted that show at a nearby college. Flash forward 25 years, that little unknown band did alright. And today, Skillet has become one of the biggest bands on the planet.
Every week I open our podcast conversation by saying that we are talking with people listed on the pages of the Christian Music Archive. Most of the time that means I’m talking to a singer or performer. But today, we will jump into the control booth and chat with Keith Thomas. Keith has production and songwriting credits on albums from artists like BeBe and CeCe Winans, Amy Grant, Kathy Troccoli, and mainstream acts like Vanessa Williams, 98 degrees, and Jessica Simpson. This is going to be a fun look behind the scenes in music!
Today I welcome the founders of The Worship Initiative to the podcast. Shane Barnard & Shane Everett met in college and have been making music together ever since. According to my count, they have 28 albums and a dozen or more projects for the Worship Initiative. These guys have devoted their lives to equipping worship leaders, and I’m eager to hear their thoughts on using music as part of worship. They have just released a new album, and we’ll talk a little about that, too.
Today, my guest is Matt Brouwer, who just recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut record Imagerical. That started a music journey resulting in seven albums and multiple music awards. But like so many artists, music is not necessarily the most important part of Matt’s life. After recently relocating back to Canada, Matt is celebrating a season of new beginnings, which just might include some new music. It is my honor to catch up with Matt and hear what God is doing in his life these days.
Sara Groves is my guest today, and if you’ve been following Christian music for any length of time, you’ll recognize Sara from albums like Conversations, Invisible Empires, and Fireflies and Songs. Sara has just released her 14th album called What Makes it Through. In addition to her work as a musician, Sara and her husband Troy founded the ArtHouse North in St. Paul, MN, ten years ago. And she has also been an advocate for International Justice Mission for the past fifteen years.
On today’s podcast, I get to introduce you to Abby Robertson, a relative newcomer to Christian music. Abby released her first album just about a year ago, although she is no stranger to music. Not only did she have a brief stint in country music, but she also had the opportunity to open for several country acts and even shared the stage with the Beach Boys. But what I appreciate about Abby is her transparency in telling her story. Even though she grew up in church, she had a lot of doubts and frustrations.
On today’s podcast, I’m honored to be talking with the director of Bethel Express, an inner-city youth program in Rochester, NY. Michael is an ordained minister and has been an ardent advocate for at-risk youth. Listeners to this podcast will likely remember Michael as one of the first rap and hip-hop artists in Christian music. He has been dubbed the grandfather of Christian Rap, and he released six albums in the late 80s and early 90s. Please join me in welcoming Michael Peace to the podcast!