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.
Today we are headed to England to learn about a relatively new band, Lion of Judah. This group is working to bring Christian music into the mainstream music scene in the UK. Lion of Judah has recently signed with Gospel Song Records, an imprint of Tooth & Nail Records here in the states, and their brand new album Closer was released in October 2021. Today I’m chatting with the lead singer and primary songwriter for the group, Josh Bannister.
Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters is my guest today. He and the guys in the Headhunters have been making music since the 1960’s when they started a band together for an elementary school talent show. I first heard about Greg due to his work with Darrell Mansfield, but I have discovered that he released a gospel blues project called the Mighty Jeremiahs and worked with the likes of Dale Thompson and Bride, Phil Keaggy, to name a few.
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.