A musician’s life isn’t easy. Just because musicians are doing what they love, crafting music is a job just like any other. First, there’s the writing process—lyric after lyric, chord progression after chord progression, organizing the percussion, changing up vocals. Then comes the recording process, which is more organization, changing, and take after endless take. Production is next and these days, a lot of artists like to help with the fine tuning of their final sound. When the album is finally released, artists endure a media blitz—three hours of 15-30 minutes phone interviews with various journalists, week-long tours to various radio stations to hype up the new album, and the album release show! Then it’s up to you to buy the album, which hopefully you do—if it’s good. And if it’s not, boy, do the reviewers go to town! (Amy’s note: It’s not easy being a reviewer either!)
Then there’s touring. Think about it—to come to a concert in your city, an artist or band has to travel to the venue (by plane or bus/van), set up equipment, eat whatever the venue is serving (if the venue is serving anything), perform, spend time with the fans, do the media thing, pack up, get about six hours of sleep, and do it all again the next day. Plus, a lot of artists are dealing with time away from their families, friends, and other support systems (church, small group, etc.) Wouldn’t it be nice if we turned down the music on our stereos and thanked the people who create the background music of our lives? It’s not just a “nice idea,” I believe it is necessary to pray for and encourage our artistic friends, so I’m going to start with the musicians who add so much flavor to my spiritual journey. (Also, please pray for me as I seek more ways to be an encouragement to musicians.)
To start, I’d like to call out some of God’s humble servants for cyber applause (iClaps?).
I am so, so, so thankful for my friend, Josh Wilson. A lot of times, I have a great interview with a musician, maybe exchange a few emails or Tweets, and move on to the next interview. But Josh and I just hit it off, so I began praying for him every day. Then he got engaged, so I started praying for his sweetie every day, too. I’m sure if/when Josh and Becca have kids, I’ll pray for the Wilson brood.
Through praying, emailing, interviewing, a few side projects here and there, and hanging out with Josh at a couple of shows, I have found not only a man who truly loves God, but a great friend as well. If you’ve been reading Backseat Writer, then you know how much I adore Josh’s music. He’s a musical and lyrical dynamo, whose talent is rare these days. I am constantly amazed at the articulation of Josh’s songs and the hard work he puts into challenging himself to craft original material.
A true musical genius, man of God, and genuinely wonderful person—I’m thankful for you, Josh Wilson!
Over the past few months, I’ve shared about how Jason Gray’s album, A Way to See in the Dark has impacted my life. I even told you that I met Jason Gray a few weeks ago at a concert and got signed CDs (one for me, one for you. The giveaway is coming soon…I promise). What I didn’t tell you is this—Jason Gray was truly a delight to meet, to chat with, and to banter with on Twitter. Plus, he’s really tall and looks like an elf. As you know, I have an affinity for elves (I stole that line from the movie, Elf).
Apparently, Jason has a stuttering problem—something that he’s struggled with since he was but a wee lad. I didn’t notice it when we chatted one-on-one (actually, four-on-four since BFF Sarah and Jason German from downhere were also in on the conversation), but it was evident from the stage. He informed the audience that he stutters and that he wasn’t “freaking out” on the stage. Then he went on to talk and sing about the glories of God. While Jason could’ve let his speech impediment hold him back, God just gave Jason a bigger platform in which to communicate…and I’m thankful. Because if Jason let the voice of doubt overtake his life, I wouldn’t have “Remind Me Who I Am”—a song which hit me so powerfully that I was gasping for breath between sobs and moans. That song was my undoing, the instrument God used to break open my heart. I am thankful for you, Jason Gray, for your boldness, your reading recommendations, and your music.
When I met Jason, he was on the “Called to Love” tour with Aaron Shust and downhere. When BFF Sarah and I were sitting in the “green room” waiting for various musicians to appear (really I was waiting for Jason Gray because I was excited to meet him and tell him how much I loved his album), a man in his late 30’s wearing dark clothes and a longish coat strolled in. He greeted us and kindly asked, “And what is your part in this production?”
“I’m just here to make awkward conversation,” I asked with a smirk. This was the “right” answer because it resulted in further banter. Later I found out that I was talking to “Jason G” from downhere. I assumed he was the bass player. (He looked like a bass player to me.)
Admittedly, I was ignorant of downhere’s music until that night when their live performance blew me away. Imagine my surprise when I watched Jason Germain make a piano sing by tickling a few keys! When I gushed to Jason Gray over his album, Jason G remarked, “It is a really good album. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, too.” Then he thoughtfully quoted a line from one of Jason’s song. I even told Jason G that I really liked the band’s Christmas album (which I do), but haven’t listened to much of their music. He was not offended in the least and appreciated the attention his tour mate was receiving. Even when I accidentally called his band “downthere,” Jason G did not bat an eyelash. This man’s humility and kindness spoke volumes to me.
Not only am I thankful for downhere, I am grateful to Jason Germain to introducing me to “the band” just by engaging in awkward conversation with a couple of gals in Pennsylvania. I am thankful for you, Jason Germain!
What musician or band are you thankful for? And just why are you thankful for your musician/band? Any song or album that you’re grateful for? Share it here or on Twitter (use “#thankamusician” so we can start a movement!)