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The Christian Music Archive Podcast

Today’s episode is a treat for me on many levels. One of the early records in my collection as a high school student was Night Watch by Fletch Wiley. As a young trumpet player, I saw this album as a path to my potential future. Maybe I would record an album one day. On another level, as I expanded my awareness of music, I began to see Fletch’s name on other projects by Candle, Pam Mark Hall, and Marty McCall & Fireworks. Oh yea, and you can’t forget his work with Andraé Crouch as a bandleader and arranger.

If you are tuning in to today’s podcast because of my guest, I’d be interested in knowing how you know Andrew Greer. Maybe you have been listening to his music. Or maybe you recognize him from the TV show Dinner Conversations with Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer. Or it could be because you read a book or article he has written. And quite possibly, you are a listener to his podcast with Patsy Clairmont called Bridges. So, whatever the reason you are listening, I hope you enjoy our exchange.

Today’s conversation is with Michael O’Brien. Michael was the lead singer of the group NewSong for several years. He also had a successful solo career spanning more than 25 years. But despite the powerful ministry and successful career, Michael had a secret that he kept hidden from his family and friends. And that secret started to ruin his life and was about to destroy his marriage. This is a story that we can all learn from, and I hope you will share this episode with men you know who might be struggling with sexual purity.

Today I’ve connected the longest microphone cable I could find, run it across the ocean to the city of Brighton, England, and I’m chatting with Elle Limebear. Elle is a relatively new artist who released her debut EP a couple of years ago, and she's got a new album, Lost in Wonder, out last year. But for me, the story of how God called her into her music career is pretty amazing. And it all stems from her relationship with God and her experience as a kid with her famous father.

My guest today was a member of Some Band, and no, I’m not trying to be secretive or protect the identity of my guest. But, if you are a fan of early 80’s Christian pop, you’ll recognize that name as the backing group for Steve Taylor. Today, we hear from Dave Thrush about his career as part of Steve Taylor & Some Band. But, more importantly, we'll hear about how his religion changed to a relationship with Christ. Dave will share that his decision to follow Christ did not make everything go smoothly. In fact, he experienced just the opposite.

To start our second year of the podcast, I’m excited to welcome Ginny Owens to the conversation. I first became aware of Ginny in 1999 when she released her debut Rocketown Records album Without Condition. The Gospel Music Association recognized her as the 2000 New Artist of the Year, and she has gone on to win 3 Dove awards. But her music is a tiny part of who she is. She is currently wrapping up a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies and is the author of several books, including her newest, Singing in the Dark, Finding Hope in the Songs of Scripture.

Chris Christian is a substantial name in the Christian Music industry. He helped launch the fledgling Christian music industry, signing artists like Amy Grant, Dogwood, and Whiteheart. He is also responsible for Home Sweet Home Records, one of the early industry leaders in contemporary Christian music. His impact in the industry goes on to songwriting, producing, and so much more. And he credits his entire career to his praying Grandmother.

The Prayer Chain was an alternative rock band in the early 90s, making thought-provoking grunge about the same time that Nirvana was also pioneering this new type of rock. Throughout the 90s, the band released several albums. Still, like so many band stories, they started to struggle with differences of direction, not only with the record label but also between their members. I recently got to talk with Eric Campuzano, bass player for The Prayer Chain, to hear about their story. So please help me welcome to the podcast, Eric Campuzano.

Dallas Holm has been making Christian music for more than 50 years. His first Christian album was in 1969, and for the first 10 years, he used the popular music of the day to share God’s love with drug addicts and gang members. With songs like "Rise Again," "I Saw the Lord," and "Jesus Got a Hold of My Life," Dallas became an integral part of the new and growing Christian Music industry. Now, 35 albums later, Dallas is a passionate advocate for making sure that everything we do is carefully crafted with sound biblical principles.

Steve Bell wears a lot of hats. He's a singer, songwriter, speaker, producer, author, recording artist, husband, and dad. But most importantly, he's a follower of Jesus. With over 20 albums to his credit, and a career spanning more than 30 years, Steve has some amazing stories to share. But what I found most appealing about Steve is his passion to be part of whatever God is doing. I think you'll find his enthusiasm compelling.

When you’ve written more than 300 songs sung in churches around the world, it would appear to many people that you’ve got it all together. But to hear Brian Doerksen talk about it, his songs are a growth out of his very personal and private time with God. So many of these times came through times of grief and hurting. And now, Brian looks at those difficult times as the seeds of Joy that helped spawn songs like "Come, Now is the Time to Worship," "Refiners Fire," and "I Lift My Eyes Up."

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.

Today I’m talking with David Zach from the band Remedy Drive. Here is a guy who was minding his own business, just trying to be a rock star, when he learned about the atrocities of human trafficking that is occuring in our world today. And David had the guts to say, “I’m not just going to read about it and watch the stories on the news. I’m going to do something. I’m going to get involved.”

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