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.
John Tibbs released his first album in 2010 and has gone on to release 8 albums. He was touring as an independent artist, got signed to Fair Trade Music and was touring with the Newsboys. He went back to being an independent artist and was as busy as ever. But then in 2020, the world stopped. A global pandemic stopped his ability to tour, which for a musician means a substantial hit to your income. He and his wife were expecting their first child, which added a bit more stress to his life. As you might imagine, John was feeling a bit apprehensive and frustrated.
Bryan Duncan is a Christian music pioneer. As a member of the Sweet Comfort Band, he helped pave the way for contemporary Christian music. After recording six albums with Sweet Comfort, he went on to a successful solo career releasing more than 20 albums. His powerhouse vocals combined with horn-driven rhythm and blues is just about the best music ever recorded. So I’m excited today to sit down with this legend of Christian music.
Garth Hewitt was the first British Christian musician signed to Myrrh records in the UK back in the early 1970s. And for the last fifty years, he has recorded more than 50 records and has toured the world using his music to share about the love of Jesus. Garth was dramatically inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, who used his platform to address social issues and spiritual needs and Garth's music reflects that.
I first learned of Bob Halligan, Jr from reading credits. Early on, I noticed his name as a songwriter and contributor to many of Rick Cua’s albums. If you are a rocker, you have undoubtedly heard Bob’s work as he was the go-to hard rock songwriter of the 80s, penning songs for Judas Priest, Kix, and Michael Bolton. But he also wrote songs for Cher, Kathy Mattea, Joan Jett, and more. Then, I discovered Bob’s band Ceili Rain, an Irish rock band with a penchant for releasing some catchy songs.
Brothers Shawn & Michael Cavallo have been singing and performing together since 1997. In 2004 they reorganized as Manic Drive and released a couple of albums that were recognized by the Canadian Gospel Music Associates with 4 Covenant Awards. Then in 2015 they received a Juno Award for Best Christian Album. Sitting down with these guys was a lot of fun. I really appreciated Shawn & Michael’s intent to make music that will share their faith in places that might not be open to traditional Christian music.
As I’ve been working on this podcast, I’ve found a number of excellent podcasts that I really enjoy. One of those is hosted by Rick Altizer a movie director who has produced movies for Chonda Pierce and Russ Taff. Rick was also a recording artist back in the late 90s. So it was great fun to sit down with Rick and chat about his transition from musician to movie producer, and I think you are really going to enjoy this conversation.
John Schlitt had it all, a successful band, a career that was really going places, and a life that was spiraling out of control. But God had other plans, and through a dramatic interaction with his wife and pastor, John began a journey that took him out of music so that he could focus on his relationship with Jesus. And just when John thought music would never be part of his life again, along came an opportunity to sing with a little band called Petra. And for the next 30 years, God used John to help spread the gospel around the world as one of the most iconic voices in Christian Music.
Today I’m chatting with Natasha Owens. Natasha’s new album Stand is set to be released any day now and we’re going to get a preview of the project. But more important than her new album is her story of how God brought her through a severe depression she went through after the accidental death of her father. Natasha shares about the importance music played and continues to play in her healing and going through several tough life experiences. She also shares how her community both helped and hindered her healing. And the realization that God has her back through it all.