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interview: mike obrien

This weeks guest interview is with Mike Obrien – husband, father, worship pastor, songwriter, producer, engineer, studio owner and all around good dude. Mike is the worship pastor at Vineyard Community Church in Marietta, Georgia and is a Worship Task Force leader for Vineyard USA, serving the Southeast region. You can check out Mike’s studio, Lucko Sound Studio, HERE.

I.W. – What’s your main instrument – make and model please? (cause we’re all gear-heads!)

M.O. – Primarily I play a 2003 Gibson Advanced Jumbo, Cordoba Classical, and Gretsch Country Gentleman. I also have a Maple Valley Hammer Dulcimer that get’s lots of work around the holidays.

I.W. -What makes a great worship song?

M.O. – Technically: Syllabic alignment coupled with singable melodies. Good Theology. Soft rhymes.
Creatively: Saying cliche phrases in a fresh way. A great worship song Inspires me to love God more. A great worship song shows me a fresh revelation of God.

I.W. – Why is songwriting in the local church such a big deal?

M.O. – Giving creatives permission to reflect what they are learning in their own local church encourages the worship teams, the congregation, and the teachers. Making new original songs in church breathes life into services like nothing else.

I.W. – Who are some of your musical influences?

M.O. – I love simple vocal jazz from the mid century like Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald, it’s very emotional and not overly technical. Folksy singer-songwriters like Rich Mullins, Sarah Harmer, Iron and Wine, David Gray, and Ryan Adams really speak to me as well. My guilty pleasure list includes Imogen Heap and Foster the People.

I.W. – Where do your songs come from? What inspires you to write?

M.O. – A while back I felt like God told me he wanted me to write when I had my green space with him. I journal, read, pray, and then write. The inspiration often times comes from unfinished ideas that are in my songwriting book. Sometimes i hear a chord progression or groove and I want to rip off and I get excited to put my own feel on it.

I.W. – What’s your writing process like? Revisions and edits?

M.O. – I often times just start thowing ideas all over the place with no refinment. From that mess I ually find one theme to run with and then start crafting a verse and/or chrous around that theme. Sometimes revisions and rewrites happen over the course of 2-3 years.

I.W. – What do you do when you get stuck?

M.O. – I usually give up and go to something else. If there is deadline looming I will just press in or schedule a co-wrtiing session.

I.W. – Do you ever co-write? If so, what’s that process like?

M.O. – Yes, I am increasingly co-writing more and more. I schedule 2-3 hour appointments with writers. One person brings an idea and then we contribute to that idea. More often than not, I have a song that is 90% done and the other writer helps me with grammar, emotion, alignment.

I.W. – How do you balance the purely artistic side of songwriting with accessibility – poetic lyrics, singable melody, a groove you can feel, and theological substance?

M.O. – I normally err on the side of accessibility exclusively in songs. I am learning that “accessible” is actually a much smaller target than I originally thought. I grieve many artistic urges in my worship songs realizing that a majority of the people just won’t get where I am going. I’ve been thinking lots about nursery rhymes and how powerful they are in culture…. I would like to write more worship songs that are as assessable as those nursery rhymes.

I.W. – Have you always considered yourself a songwriter or was there a moment when you went from being a worship leader to a worship leader who writes songs?

M.O. – I wrote songs about 10 minutes after I learned the piano. Writing came first, then worship leading. When I write now it’s about 95% for worship.

interview: molly williams

This week’s post is an interview with special guest, Molly Williams. Molly is the worship pastor at Morningstar Ministries in Fort Mill, South Carolina. In addition to being an accomplished worship leader and singer-songwriter, Molly is also a gifted pastor – training and developing others in their creative gifts.

You can find Molly’s music HERE

I.W. – When did you start writing songs?

M.W. – I didn’t really start writing until my 2nd year in ministry school…the ministry I was involved with really emphasized writing your own songs, but I was really comfortable just singing backup for other worship leaders so I hadn’t really pursued writing my own stuff because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a worship leader. Anyway in school we had to do a creative project with another student in our class and I got paired up with John Mark Mcmillan (who’s now my brother in law) and we wrote a little song together and I did it for class and the response was encouraging so I thought maybe it was something I wanted to try.

I.W. – What made you want to write your own worship songs?

M.W. – Well, as I was saying I was singing backup for a lot of other leaders, but then I just got to that place where I felt like I had something to say. One of the worship leaders I was around a lot, Leonard Jones, always talked about how as a worship leader you should dig your own well, meaning we all have the unique perspective of our walk with the Lord and if you sing about something you actually have walked through, and deeply feel, there’s hopefully going to be a distinct passion about how that comes across. I just started feeling like I wanted to write about what God was doing in my life and see if that connected with other people in worship…and i looking back now I just started feeling like I had a different sound inside of me that I had to express.

I.W. – How amazing is it that the first time you wrote a song, you were paired with John Mark?

One of the things I really like here is that at the beginning you didn’t really see yourself as a songwriter – you had settled into just singing BGV’s – so in a way, songwriting was something that you “learned”, a skill you discovered and refined, right?

M.W. – Yeah totally…songwriting is something I sort of stumbled into as I grew in expressing myself in worship. I thought of myself primarily as a singer, in some ways I still do, but becoming a songwriter definitely gave me more of my own unique language and sort of helped define who I was as a worship leader. 

I.W. – What does your writing process look like?

M.W. – Well so far my songs have come in many different ways. There’s been a few that I’ve just woken up with the melody & lyrics in my head and then I get my guitar or sit down at the piano and try to figure out chords…sometimes I hear something in a sermon or read something in a book and can hear some lyrics and melody and a song will come out of that. I think it’s important for songwriters to be listening and reading because there’s so many different ways we can be inspired….but the most common thing for me is I get sort of a theme in my head of what I want to write about… it’s always something I’m going through in my life personally…stuff like, trusting God, overcoming loneliness, knowing more of His love…real life things I’m dealing with….and then when I’m playing guitar or piano I sort of start just singing a melody & lyrics start coming out of something that God is doing in my heart. There’s almost always the editing process after that…Rarely do I spit out a song in one sitting, I wish I was like that but that’s just not how it works for me. I have to stew on something for awhile usually. I want to write about what Jesus is doing in my heart because I think that’s more real and honest, but then I want to try to do that in a way that other people can relate to and find hope in. If it’s just all tied up in me then it won’t necessarily be helpful in a worship setting, so I want to try to make things accessible lyrically and melodically so that everybody can be in the song together. That’s when it’s the most fun. :)

I.W. – What do you do when you get “stuck”?

M.W. – Well sometimes I get stuck so bad that I just scratch the idea and move on to something else….but more often than not I just keep stewing on something and when I’m just spending time with the Lord I keep coming back to it and get bits and pieces over time. I don’t like to put this heavy on myself like it’s got to be all written in one sitting….maybe some people work that way but I don’t. I’ll be driving down the road and get a line or 2 and sing it into my phone so I won’t forget it. Also I’ve brought songs I’m working on to super talented friends of mine like James Duke or Paulette Wooten and they’ve helped me by adding ideas…They can bring things to the table musically that I can’t because I just don’t have the guitar/piano skills they have. It’s good to bounce ideas off friends sometimes because I think we can get stuck in a rut creatively and our friends have their unique giftings that can inspire and add different aspects to a song. You have to be willing to trust and appreciate what someone else brings to the table to work like that and I really trust James and Paulette.

I.W. – Do James and Paulette help out with lyric and thematic ideas in addition to music and arrangements?

M.W. – No…I usually do the lyrics/theme by myself…With James I usually take him a song after I’ve got the lyrics/melody and some of the chords, and he helps me with the arrangement and usually adds some parts like a bridge or some cool guitar stuff. It’s really easy for me to work with him because he knows what I like musically and he doesn’t push stuff on me, he always does things that I love. If you’re going to co-write with people I think it’s always a good idea to work with people who can add something different, but still let you sound like you. Paulette and I write together a little differently because typically she comes up with something first, maybe a just a pretty chord progression, I start hearing melodies and lyrics over what she plays. One of the songs we wrote together called “Drink Your Cup” came about in a funny way…..Paulette came up with a gorgeous chord progression that had almost an “over the rhine” feel to it (Over the Rhine is a band from Ohio that I love) and she made a little demo of what she’d come up with and emailed it to me, and I just listened to it over and over and got the lyrics and melody by listening to it. I had just started a job where I was on the road with folks I didn’t know well and was feeling really lonely and isolated, and the music she had come up with really captured what I was feeling, and a pretty song and Jesus meeting us in our loneliness came out of that. 

I.W. – I know you are heading up the creative department at Morningstar Ministries these days – and that part of your work there includes raising up new worship leaders and songwriters – how involved are you in getting the “newbies” to write? What is your role in developing creativity?

M.W. – That part of my job is super fun! I get so excited when I hear the great new songs the younger leaders are writing. Back in the spring we did a few months of a songwriting class where we just got together and sort of paired up a lyricist and musician and some great songs came out of that. I actually got that idea from what you’ve done with folks at the Vineyard and it really was successful not just because of the songs but just the camaraderie and encouragement that everybody started giving each other. Another thing I’ve been doing is encouraging different younger worship leaders to get together and try writing and some awesome songs have come out of that. I think it’s been good because another person can sometimes fill in musical or lyrical gaps and it can open you up to new ideas, and even more so when you’re younger and haven’t really developed your songwriting chops. 

I.W. – How do you encourage people who have never written anything?

M.W. – I encourage people to just start….you’ve gotta start somewhere….One of the young worship leaders I work with here used to just sing backup for me and have awesome spontaneous songs and I just kept on encouraging him to just get together with a musician friend and just try to write…and he did and he’s writing amazing songs now. You can’t be to self-critical, everybody is growing and the more you write the better you’ll get, but if you don’t even attempt it you’ll never get anywhere. When I first started writing I’d sit down with a guitar in my room and sing spontaneously what I was feeling, and then I shaped a song from there, or I would write things in my journal and go back later and see if it was something “song worthy.” I guess not every worship leader is a songwriter, but I think more often than not if you’re called to lead worship the Lord has put songs inside of you and you have to develop the discipline of writing.

Leonard Jones who was the worship leader at MorningStar Church for a long time would always tell student leaders that there’s just something special and powerful about singing something that comes from your own heart. I think singing other people’s songs is cool sometimes, but even then it’s gotta be a song I really feel in my heart. 

I.W. – who have been some of your influences? who taught, trained and encouraged you?

M.W. – Don Potter & Suzy Wills Yaraei have probably been the biggest influences in my life. I met both of them when I moved to Charlotte 13 years ago, Don was leading worship for Morningstar & Suzy was mainly singing backup back then & then she progressed into leading more & being a songwriter herself. I started singing with both of them & got to know them on & off the stage & they just really influenced how I think about worship & life. They’re both my friends & I am who I am because of them.

I.W. – What would you like to tell worship pastors about writing songs? about developing leaders?
M.W. – With songwriting, go for it! You have to start somewhere and songwriting is like anything else, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Get help and input from other writers/musicians and write what’s in your heart. As far as developing leaders, I think the people that helped me grow as a leader made me feel loved and got to know me in an authentic, friendship-driven way. They weren’t trying to be some sort of domineering person in my life, but because I trusted them they could call me out on stuff. I think if you’re going to speak into someone’s life, especially in a disciplining-type way, they have to know you love them. I try to give guidance in a loving way and let people grow at a natural pace. I try to be the most encouraging leader every so that the people under me know how much I believe in them. It gives them confidence and builds trust.

I.W. – What is a really, really good day?

M.W. – Gosh…let’s see…Shopping in London is always a good day! :) Seriously though, my best days involve spending time with the people I love. I’m really blessed with the best friends/family in the world…they make my life beautiful. Whether we’re worshipping together or traveling somewhere fun or just hanging out having a meal or coffee, having honest loving relationships is what life is all about to me. The best day to me is one where I get a lot of things accomplished, then I go have a dinner outside with my best friends and we laugh and talk forever. I feel like I have that day all the time. :)

I.W. – All-time favorite book?

M.W. – The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, non-fiction….Paradise War by Stephen Lawhead, fiction.

I.W. – What are you listening to these days?

M.W. – My musical taste is all over the place but I’ve been OBSESSED with Adele’s 21 since it came out…I get sort of hooked on stuff and wear it out….for the last week I’ve been listening to Skrillex in my car…everybody needs a little dubstep in their life from time to time. The new Black Keys and Florence + the Machine albums have been in rotation lots lately. :) I’ve listened to Bon Iver’s version of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” about 100 times lately. I’ve always loved that song and the way he does it with just the upright piano is about as gorgeously heartbreaking as you can get. As far as worship stuff, I’m loving Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s & Jonathan and Melissa Helser’s new projects. Great heartfelt songs.

I.W. – You play guitar, what kind? (because all worship leaders love gear)
M.W. – I play a Gibson Hummingbird Artist & I love it so much…I think it sounds like butter. I think some guitars are just more inspiring and I wrote lots more songs after I got that guitar because I loved playing it so much. Recently Don Potter gave me a Fishman aura system to use with it and I’m not extremely techie but it definitely makes it sound even better through a system. 

I.W. – Hopes and dreams?

M.W. – hmm….one day I’d like to be married. :) I want to be a better leader and write more songs and help more people. I want to have a life that’s full of creativity, joy and love and know Jesus more every day

interview – john barnett

John Barnett is a worship leader and songwriter living in the backwoods of Montana – He and his wife Marie are pioneers in the modern worship movement, writing many of the classic worship songs sung by the church around the world – most notably, “Holy and Anointed One” (John) and “Breathe” (Marie)

John has a brand new record, Never Look Back, due out in early November – check it out HERE

1. What’s your main instrument, make and model – because we’re all gear heads…

That’s a tough one. My main instrument is the guitar but I do play a mean “hunt-n-peck” piano. There is a guitar in every room of our house except the bathrooms. I usually go through seasons with different guitars, usually according to my moods. These days I have been playing a 1967 Gibson J160E and a Gold Tone round neck resonator mainly. I also pick up my 1972 Guild G37 from time to time. Having said all that I’d guess my “main” guitar would be a Santa Cruz model D. (which I am currently trying to re-humidify).

2. What makes a great worship song?

Another tough question that to me begs other questions. A great song from who’s perspective? To me, the only view of art that isn’t subjective is God’s view. I say that because knowing my likes and dislikes and tendency to embrace different songs accordingly, I try to be slow to respond to whether a song is “good” or even “great”. That is from a musical and stylistic standpoint. When it comes to a “worship” song, first I would try to determine the context. Is it for personal worship or for corporate worship in a congregational application? There are some songs with all the obvious traits of a “great song” that go around the world. Singable, great melody, memorable lyrics etc. That is just a song that works well in crossing denominational and cultural barriers. Since I tend to look at the quality of a worship song in light of the church and all it’s differences both minute and large, I think a great song is one that reaches out into all the church and secondly that it is a song that LASTS. For years the top CCLI songs used by churches changed very little at a time. These days it is as constant a shift as the pop charts. There are just so many worship songs being written today.
There is also the influence of Christian radio. Radio has never been known to be a bastion for creativity. In my opinion there are some amazing songs that people who fill their worship catalog from mainly the radio will never hear. That is a sad condition. Another horror is that there are people who look at the top CCLI songs and try and write songs like them in attempts to “succeed” as writers. These days I just don’t know anymore. I just try and keep my part of the yard clean.

3. Why is songwriting in the local church such a big deal?

I’ve always thought that embracing, supporting and encouraging writers in the local church was important. That’s how I learned.
I think it’s important for a few reasons.

First, it is the people that God has placed and gifted in a local body to express in a unique away the things that He is doing in that local church. For too long, from pastors to prophets and everything in between have been able to express what they felt God is saying, doing and teaching to a local church. God has placed writers, singers, musicians, in fact all the arts to facilitate a response back to God for all he has done. Who better to represent the tribe than members of the tribe?

Second, it is a place of both nurturing and accountability for the arts. Church isn’t just a gig for musicians, nor is it to be a gig for pastors. In an ideal situation it forces pastors and artists together to work for the common goal, that being the glory of God and the shepherding of the flock.

Third, songs document what God has done. They are milestones to His faithfulness. Reminders that we can go back to, not in some sappy or hyper romanticized feeling but as faith builders to encourage and help us through various situations.

4. What are some of your musical influences?

That would be a pretty long list, especially since I’ve been listening to music for a long time. When I was a kid I would steal my sister’s Beach Boys records and listen to them over and over. Especially the ballads. The Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel and anything Spector produced. Neil Young, Poco, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, all that country rock stuff.
There was a lot of music I liked, but I don’t know how much it influenced me. I still remember the first time I put Neil Young’s album “After The Goldrush” on the record player. It was like “game on”. In looking back I think that record had more influence over the direction I would go in music more than anything else.

5. Where do your songs come from? What inspires you to write?

In the end, I hope they come from God. The problem with saying that is that it implies or could be used to imply some sort of infallibility. What I mean by that statement is that through Gods gifting, calling & leading, through experience, patience and maturity, I’ve learned to recognize when I have the unction or if you’d like to call it “anointing” to write something. When I’m not in that “place” I am still constantly “listening”. A passage of the Bible might spark it or something said in a sermon. Meditating on the nature of God he’s revealed in creation or simply a conversation with a child. Through all these things and more God can speak to us and inspire us. I try to make sure that God is never out of the artistic process. Like I said, I can be inspired by many things. Sometimes switching from a nice acoustic guitar to picking up a dusty sounding old guitar can spark something just by it’s tone. Sometimes plugging my Tele into a couple AC30s and turning them up does the trick. I’ve written songs in the front of a work truck writing the words down on a piece of cardboard and singing to myself. I’ve written songs digging ditches and crawling through attics. I look for inspiration whenever and wherever it comes. Sometimes I even sit down and intentionally write! I’ve always tried to avoid some formula or program that I might become dependant upon at some point. Those things are beneficial (programs etc), but after a few hundred songs I’m more relaxed about the whole process. That’s just me though because everybody has to work out what works best for them.

6. What is your writing process like? Revisions and edits?

I have notebooks, journals, scraps of paper and even church bulletins with lyrical ideas on them. I even have a bunch of “stickies” on my computer full of tidbits of songs. I have so many of them that when I sit down to write I always have some sort of starting point. Kind of a “review”. Having so much to start with I rarely start out with a guitar and a blank piece of paper and start writing. Sometimes when an idea comes to mind I’ll grab a guitar and the closest thing that pencil lead will stick to and start writing. If I am writing just lyrics, I try to write with consistent syllables in the lines and usually have some sort of tempo in my head. That consistency in the initial process helps a lot when working out melodies and chords.

There are times as well when I will sit down with a guitar or at the piano with no expectation of writing. It’s a good way to just enjoy an instrument. In my opinion, if the only time you pick up an instrument to “work” then it just becomes a tool. If you play it to express yourself, it becomes a part of you. Big difference. It is in those moments that I often discover what my heart wants to say instead of just what my head wants to say. Again, big difference. When that happens I can write because there is something that I really want to say.

As far as revisions and edits go they are usually things like having a consistent thought or fixing lyrical problems. If a word doesn’t “sing” well in that situation what would be a word I could us that would mean the same thing and be a better fit. If I think that I can say something better with just a “pickup” note I’ll change it. For myself, I don’t have a problem with every line not being perfectly matched (syllables, rhyme). It makes it sound more “human” to me and less robotic.

7. What do you do when you get stuck?

The first thing I do when I get stuck, I mean really stuck not just working something out is to get up and walk away. It’s a song not a midterm examination. I always want to be at peace with the process. If the issue I’m stuck on is lyrics, I have more than enough backlog to pull from. There is always something I can fit in but more often than not I end up with “filler” and in the end I’m not so happy about it anyway. If it’s a chord problem my experience tells me that I have a melody problem as well. So I just walk away and go do something completely unrelated to music. After awhile when I am a little more relaxed then I’ll come back and work on a song. Repeat process as necessary. Another thing that really helps is to sit down with a pen and paper and write out what the song is “about”. What is it I’m trying to say? How can I expand on a concept? An example would be if a song was about the cross. Then I’d sit down and write about it. Pick up a Bible and read about it. Pick up some theology books and read about it. Lyrics, whether simple or complex can become trite and cliché not from overuse, but because we have forgotten what they mean. So, digging into the content of a song can unveil deeper insight into what I’m trying to say.
That will usually get the wheel out of the ditch.

8. Do you ever co-write? If so, what’s that process like?

I have only co-written a few times. I’m trying to figure out how to do that more these days. Of the few times I have done it, it has been more relational that intentional. For example. One song that I wrote with Chris Lizotte called “Weight Of The World” came from a phrase that Chris was singing at church during a ministry time, “and it all falls down, the weight of the world, and it all falls down on Jesus”. One Sunday, after church I sat at home and began playing and singing that part over and over. It really moved me! Within a couple hours I had written the verses and some lyrics for the bridge. I called Chris and went over to his house to play him what I had so far. We came up with chords and melody for the bridge, tweaked a few chords and melody lines in the verses and then made a demo. Chris eventually recorded that song virtually the same as we had worked it out that day. I think the total time from the end of church that day to tracking the demo was less than 8 hours. If it only worked that way all the time!

Another song that happened in a similar way, because of relationship is a song called “All Is Well”. In November, 2010 when we were recording the basic tracks for Never Look Back, during some down time I sat down with Ryan Delmore to show him a song I was working on. I had the first verse and “B” section and some scribbled ideas for the second verse but nothing I was happy with. Casey Corum was in the control room and I called him in as well. We grabbed some guitars and just started singing it, at least the part I had. Then it was “now what do we say”? We jotted every suggestion down, working through ideas then playing it all the way through from the beginning as we made changes. In a couple hours we had the second verse and second “B” part. It was done.

One other that I just remembered as I have been typing this is a song that me and David Ruis put together. David was visiting last summer to hang out and do some demos of Christmas songs he wanted to record. I had to go outside to do some work and as I passed the piano I sat a paper on top and told David “these are some words for a Christmas song I’ve been working on”.
After an hour or so I came back inside and David looks at me and says “dude, listen to this”. He had turned that sheet of words I left on the piano into a song. We tweaked it some and then recorded it. Deciding that the key was wrong, we retracked it in a different key. The last thing on my mind was that he’d grab that paper from the piano and write something from it!
Co-writing is fun and rewarding with the right people.

9. How do you balance the purely artistic side of songwriting with accessibility – poetic lyrics, singable melody, a groove you can feel, and theological substance?

I guess it’s a benefit for me being a guy who predominantly writes “worship songs for churches” that I’m not complicated. My musical influences are pretty simple. Since I write mostly on a guitar and sing the melody with about a 5 note vocal range my melodies end up being pretty simple too! I joke that all my songs are written in 4/4, 4 chords and 4 notes! I love metaphors, analogies, types, allegories, all that. It’s a great feeling when you come up with that one line that “speaks volumes”. There is in fact a tension between all those things you mentioned. And I’ve discovered that even if you are careful there will always be somebody that says “I don’t get it”. And example from my experience would be a song I wrote with the line in it “and the lightening strikes in the same place twice”. To me it made perfect sense in the song and that phrase is one I had heard all my life referring to the chances of something bad happening twice in a row. In my mind the first chapter of the book Job is a perfect example of that. I was just trying to express a really, really, really bad day! I actually had a guy say that since he was on the West Coast that people wouldn’t understand that. Maybe I should have said that an earthquake strikes twice! And that is nothing compared to the uproar that other people have received over their songs. That’s just the way the deal works. I don’t try to be provocative for the sake of it. I don’t try to be poetic for the sake of it. I don’t shy away from them either. Having done this a long time I am pretty aware of the grids that songs have to fit through in different denominations and parts of the church. I try to be true to my expression, be doctrinally sound and always remember a quote I once heard, “when you write worship songs, remember that you are putting words in peoples mouths to sing to God”. That kinda simplifies things for me. For others, they might feel trapped by that and need a greater expression. I’m sure that can cause some tension.

10. Have you always considered yourself a songwriter or was there a moment when you went from being a worship leader to a worship leader who writes songs?

That change was gradual for me. I’m not sure there was one point in time when I recognized it. I think that once I started writing it seemed like something I had a knack for and I just kept doing it. I would hear new songs come out and like them but for some they wouldn’t express whatever the song was saying in a way that worked for me so I would write something that I was comfortable with. Among my peers writing songs for Vineyard those early days I always felt like the most unqualified person there. I was a worship leader that wrote a few songs from time to time! But I was also blessed to be at a church where I could write songs and teach them at church without being challenged by the pastor with some notion that I was just trying to promote myself. Only once in 20 years can I remember my pastor telling me he didn’t think a song was not “working”. Usually if they weren’t working either I would know or Marie would tell me! These days I lead worship at a little church in the country with 20-30 people. No big stage, no sound system to speak of, no video production, no parking attendants, no glitz, glamour or hurrah, just some people trying to live their lives following Jesus. That and I write songs! Those are things that I do but not who I am. At some point in my life I might stop doing one or the other or both. I don’t want to find myself in a place that I don’t know who I am.

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