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Good to Great
Doug Doppler, WorshipMusician.com
first single, "The Way (New Horizon) from his self titled EP, is
currently #13 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian Music
that your self-titled debut album was just released, you're best
known for being part of Housefires. Although you've been releasing
albums since 2005, the 2014 Housefires II release included "Good
Good Father" which Chris Tomlin also went on to cover.
Considering the Housefires version you lead has 25M plays on YouTube
compared to Chris' 32M, people are nearly as familiar with your
worship leading as they are with your songs. You're not only the
first artist to sign to Chris' Bowyer and Bow label, he also
produced your album. Ironically, at the time of this interview you
had 1,300 followers on Facebook and 4,800 subscribers on YouTube.
Given the strength of your album coupled with your upcoming tour
with Chris, chances are the number of people following you on your
social feeds isn't the only thing that is about to change. Can you
describe the feelings you have going into all of this as well as
some of your expectations for this disc?
OK, some of the
feelings I have - excitement, pure joy, and crippling self-doubt
(laughs)! I've been gearing up for this for the past two years, so
I've gone through every range of emotion. When I started this whole
process, I never had it in my mind that I would do a solo record.
There's part of me that feels like I'm doing the same thing that
I've always done - writing songs, leading worship, and connecting
There's nothing really new, per se, about any of that. But releasing it
under my name makes me feel all of the good butterflies that remind
you that you're alive. That you care about what you're doing, and
that you don't know how it's going to turn out. There's something
about that feeling that I really love.
What Meg, my wife, and I have said over and over during this process is
that it feels like faith again. And it's not like it didn't feel
like faith before, necessarily, but something about this phase of my
life reminds me of when I was 18. The start of something brand new
reminds you of all of the unknowns you're about to walk into. It
just forces you to depend again; depend on God, depend on the people
in your life that help to give you strength and encouragement when
you need it. There's a dependency that's amazing that I think is
My expectations! I decided early on in this process that I wasn't going
to worry myself with things that I couldn't control. On my best
days, that has actually worked (laughs)! I can't control if someone
likes a song or wants to share a song. As an artist and songwriter,
I want to be as honest and transparent as I can. I want to be
sharing things with people that I actually connect with myself so
I'm excited to share them. These songs have all come from life
experiences. I needed to sing them. They brought hope, peace and
perspective to my own life in a way that has been really meaningful
It's easier to share things that have been really impactful and really
helpful to you. Then you are just sharing something that you love,
as opposed to, "I'm only going to love this if you love this too."
These songs have been part of my daily walk with Jesus for the past
years, so I'm excited to share that with people. How it goes over,
who knows - those are expectations. I don't think human beings are
meant to worry about as much as we do.
appropriate and telling juxtaposition to how many YouTube
subscribers you have is that fact that the video for "Sails"
has over 300,000 views. Amanda Cooke and Steffany Gretzinger weren't
just co-writers, they also sang on that track with you. People are
obviously connecting with how their style of worship is intersecting
with what you are doing.
What did it mean to you to have them come along side you to be part
of the album?
Amanda and Stef
are such a gift. I had the first line of the song "Falling is
easy/staying in love is hard..." and that's all. I had a couple
other ideas around it, but weirdly, I felt in my heart that Amanda
and Stef were supposed to help me with this. Months later, we wrote
together, and I loved it so much because there was a forced
sincerity. You can't be around them and just talk about shallow,
surface level things that you don't care about. This song is about
relationships and vulnerability, the difficulty of connection at
times, and staying in a place that is open. The Latin origin of the
word vulnerable means to be wounded, a willingness to be wounded -
that type of openness. That one line felt so true of my relationship
with my wife. It felt true of my platonic friendships. It felt true
of my relationship with God.
Connection is such a dynamic thing that can be tended or neglected, cared
for or forgotten. Connection is affected by that. It was one of the
songs that was so important to me, and I knew it was different. It
wasn't like, "Oh, here are some themes I want to write about." To
have them be a part of writing it and to have them sing on it - oh
my gosh... it was such a joy! When I first got back the initial
rough with their vocals on it, I was in the car with Meg, and I had
to pull the car over and I just weep. Then I simultaneously thought,
"Should I have had them sing on every song?" (laughs) I just can't
tell you how happy I am that they were able to be a part of it.
line "I let out the sails of my heart - here I am, here you are..."
opens up into what sounds like
a moment of free worship. Is this something that you planned, or did
it happen organically?
With the layout of
that song, I knew there was going to be verses and a chorus, but
once we went into that part, it was just going to stay there. I
wanted it to be long and extended. Funny enough, I was not in the
room with Amanda and Stef when they recorded their vocals, so it
really was like, "Hey, this is the plan!" and then just let it rip.
And that's what happened, we had the base already there because the
music was already recorded, but the way it was sung and their take
on how to sing it was just a mix of both - planned and not.
Speaking of writers,
Ben Smith co-wrote
"The Way" with you and numerous other songs. How did you guys meet,
and in the framework of this moment in your 'career', what does that
connection mean to you?
Pat Barrett's live performance in
Atlanta of "The Way (New Horizon)"
Ben was the best
man at my wedding. My friendship with him goes back to the beginning
of my leading worship. When we were 15 years old, we were in a
worship band together at our church. I traveled with him until I was
twenty-eight or twenty-nine, leading worship every weekend. It is
such an important relationship and friendship to me. He just has a
way of writing and melodies that really inspire me. I met him in
middle school! There aren't that many relationships where you can
have people that have been in your life that long who have been a
part of the process. He's just been such an encouragement to me
every step of the way! So, more songs to come!
I had a
chance visit the way back machine on iTunes and fell in love with
"Holy Is Your Name" off of the first Unhindered release City
Streets. What is it like looking back and thinking about that
just kidding! It's actually pretty amazing to hear the subtle
differences. My voice sounds different. My writing is different.
What I mainly think about is the stage of life I was in when that
was happening. Thirteen years ago, I was twenty, in college and
pre-kids. That was one of those formative times. I had no idea if
any of the relationships I had then would still be in my life. I had
no idea how many more songs would be written after that song. That's
what I think about when I look back.
don't just write songs, you also co-wrote the "Good Good Father"
children's book with Chris Tomlin which has sold over 200,000
copies. (Currently #13 on the Christian Bookseller's Top 50 list
followed by "Good Good Father For Little Ones" at #17.
How did this come together, and in your wildest dreams did you ever
co-author a book with Chris Tomlin?
When you say it,
it sounds like a joke! When Chris reached out about the song
"Good Good Father," he invited me to the studio to play acoustic
guitar and sing some harmonies and BGV's (background vocals). While
we were there, he came up to me and said, "I've been thinking about
how amazing would it be to have a way to talk to your kids about
what God's like? Like a children's book?" His daughter is the same
age as my daughter, so we're in the same life stage in that way. So,
it was just kind of a thought, but I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's
genius, what an amazing gift that would be." I thought, "I need that
right now for my own parenting (laughs), that would be amazing" That
was the beginning of it, and crazy enough, I wrote a children's book
with Chris before I ever wrote a song with him.
If you haven't read the book, each town is a different type of animal. I
want you to imagine two grown men having a conversation, almost
whispering, "Yeah man, so what should we do, should we go with
safari creatures or are we going with woodland creatures?" I
thought, "Am I really having this conversation right now? I had such
a blast doing it but I still can't believe that there is a
children's book out there that I helped write.
heading back out on the road with
Chris in the fall. Tell us about
We're going to do
a two-week run of dates in Canada. I've gone there a bunch to do
ministry, but to be there again to share some of these new songs,
I'm really looking forward to it. This past tour, "Worship Night in
America", was just such a blast. To have that opportunity again, I'm
just so excited about it.
Can you tell us about the relationship between Housefires and Grace
It was affiliated with the church, but wasn't necessarily under it
completely. Regardless of what you're doing, being in a community is
so important. It doesn't matter if you're doing music and traveling.
It doesn't matter if you're doing real estate or you're an
accountant, community is so important. So when I think of the
covering of a church, it reminds me that it's not good to be alone.
Even with a solo record now, in no way do I feel like I'm by myself.
I feel the support of my community back home. I feel the
encouragement and prayers. Those people and those relationships
build me up and also challenge me. If someone doesn't have that
dynamic, you miss out on the gift of the body of Christ. It's so
important that things function as a body. If anyone thinks they
don't need that, that they can be by themselves, I think that is a
very misleading thing to believe. Jesus didn't believe that.
Pretty much every
photo I see you in, you are strumming a Gibson, but you also played
electric in Unhindered.
Tell us about your guitars!
I'm looking at the guitars I have right now! A Gibson J-200, a
Gibson Hummingbird, a Guild D-40, and a Gibson 335 electric - she's
sweet! I've also got an Orange AD30 amp. I used to play Les Pauls,
and I had a Gretsch I loved and played for years. If I ever play
electric, I play more rhythm, holding down the foundation. I've been
exploring the Kemper (modeling amp) a little bit, although I think
its capabilities are so much more than what I'll ever use it for
In many ways you've come full circle, and in some ways, you are kind
of starting out again. From where you are now, what advice would you
have for someone who is just beginning the kind of journey you've
My advice would be a couple of things, the first being
encouragement. From a songwriter/worship leader lens, what's
happening in your life is really significant. What God is doing
right now with your life is so significant. I would also say, it's
going to take way longer than you think it's going to take to
develop the things that God wants to develop in you. The reason I
say that is because there has been a message of, "Oh, you walk with
God and then..." like we expect immediacy. As if we're immediately
going to have some spiritual moment and then have all this wisdom
far beyond our years. There is a big difference between a gift given
to you and something that's grown within you. I would just really
encourage the person who has the posture like they are waiting on
some gift that they haven't been given yet, to shift their
perspective a little bit.
What if God's not going to give you something, he's going to grow
something in you? If you're growing something, you don't want it to
grow quickly - weeds grow quickly! You want something that can take
root and have the integrity, the strength to hold the fruit that
will come later.
One of my buddies just planted this little peach tree, a sapling. A year
or two later he came outside and there were branches all over the
ground. The tree was destroyed because it started to fruit too soon
and the branches couldn't hold the weight. You don't want fruit that
your branches can't hold. If you want to see lasting fruit in your
life, significant, long-game fruit, then you actually want to grow
slowly and deeply. And I think God is far more interested in what
he's growing in you than what has already been given.
~ from www.worshipmusician.com ~
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(from Pat Barrett) EP
Housefires member, Atlanta songwriter, and worship leader Pat Barrett makes his self-titled solo debut on Chris Tomlin's label Bowyer & Bow. With this 12-song set, the co-author of "Good Good Father" builds upon his catalog of new worship standards. Includes the radio hit "The Way (New Horizon" plus "Into Faith I Go," "Everything Is Sacred," "Sails" (featuring Steffany Gretzinger and Amanda Cook), and more.
Chris Tomlin &
"Good Good Father"
In Good Good Father by Atlanta's Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett, Tucker is a little bear whose town is in trouble. Tucker seeks help from the King, and plans to bring Him a perfect gift. Along the way he encounters a variety of delightful and funny animals who each know one great thing about the King, but each of the animals has a different view of what makes Him so great. The advice confuses Tucker and he is still unsure of what to give as a gift. What if the King doesn't have time for him and what if He won't help? Just as Tucker is about to give up, the King runs to him offering love, acceptance, and help. A wonderfully illustrated story for young children ages 4 to 8 years, assuring them that God truly is a good, good Father and that they are all loved by Him.
Chris Tomlin &
"Good Good Father
For Little Ones"
Explore the fatherly attributes of God with your youngest children or grandchildren in this heartwarming story from Atlanta musicians Tomlin and Barrett. Their rhyming text and Lorna Hussey's whimsical art reassure toddlers that no matter what, God will always protect, teach, heal, provide, bring joy, and - most of all -
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