We music fans often get caught up in an artist’s professional accomplishments. They released so many albums, were part of these bands, and had x number of hits. While I enjoy talking about music history, listeners of this podcast will know that some of the best encouragement comes from the off-stage life of our musician friends. Today I’m talking with Rick Heil. You probably know Rick as the former bassist for Big Tent Revival or the lead singer for modern worship group Sonicflood. But that is a small part of Rick’s story.
Music is in Tony Elenburg’s veins. As a recording artist, he’s had ten songs in the top 20 charts. As a songwriter, he’s penned songs for Christian and mainstream artists alike. In addition, he has served as a music pastor and now works as a mentor to worship leaders and songwriters. And just this year, he released a new book, A Worship Shepherd, A Call to Gospel-Centered Worship. I’m excited to catch up with Tony and find out what God is doing in his life today.
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.
Kendall Payne is my guest today. Kendall splashed onto the music scene in 1999 with her debut album, which earned her a Dove award. Everything seemed to be going great! And then her label dropped her! But God had other plans for her music. She got married, had two kids, and then the rug got pulled out from under her again—another twist in the story. And yet, here she is, still making music, releasing her 6th album in 2021. And she is still seeking to understand what it means to be a child of God.
Stephen Stanley has been working on his music career since age nine. He grew up listening to '70s and '80s rock bands, but a water ski accident focused his energy on music. He knew he wanted to be in Christian music from a very early age and even attended college specifically to “help his writing because he didn’t want his songs to say anything that wasn’t based on scripture.” Then, early in 2020, Stephen got a record deal, just in time for a global pandemic to nearly shut down the music industry. And yet, here he is, still making music, pointing people to Jesus.
I first learned about Angelo & Veronica back in 1992 when they released Higher Place on Benson records. Since that time, they have released more than a dozen albums, both as a duo and a few solo projects for Veronica. Veronica has also written a book called How I Made it Out Alive, documenting her journey through and victory over depression. In addition, in 2015, they started a Higher Place Church where they minister each week.
To get things started today, I’m going to throw out a few names and see if you can figure out how these musicians are related: Little Walter, Toots Thielemans, Charlie McCoy, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Darrell Mansfield, Buddy Greene. If you are a student of music, you’ll probably recognize that these are all harmonica players. Astute listeners will also realize that these are some of the most popular and best harmonica players. Well, today we get to talk with Buddy Greene, yup. He was on that list of amazing musicians.
When the Jesus Movement was getting started in the US, British musicians were also looking to use music to express their faith through their own Gospel Beat movement. One of these early music pioneers Is Adrian Snell. Adrian released his first album in 1975 and has released more than 20 albums. Then, in 1990, he retired from being a professional touring musician to focus on using music as a therapy tool. But he’s continued making music, and in March, he released his latest project: Kintsugi: The Art of Precious Scars.
David Baroni may best be known as a Grammy award-winning songwriter, penning songs for a whos’ who list of Christian musicians. And in addition to writing songs, he has eleven worship albums, several instrumental projects and is the author of numerous books. But more important than his career accomplishments, he talks about his marriage of 41 years to Rita, who is not only a life partner but a minister partner, too. As we prepared for this conversation, David talked about the importance of our Identity in Christ and how God’s grace and strength are made perfect in our weakness.