How can you make peace a reality in everday life? Singer and songwriter, Josh Garrels reflects on the idea of peace with our host, Oliver Hersey and guest co-host, Kelsey Bowse. He created the album Peace To All Who Enter Here, with classic hymns and worship songs in quarantine. Lately, he's found peace in obscure places: in a car on a morning drive, in his garage recording simple hymns, journaling on week days, or taking walks out in nature.
Josh said “I didn’t set out to make an album which is important. I had been feeling before this pandemic ever hit. I really felt the Lord telling me to not tour. His words were strong – ‘don’t tour anymore.' ”
Josh Garrels doesn't easily fit into a category for Christian musicians. He often bridges a gap between the sacred and the secular. John Burnett, an NPR reporter said “He's been courted repeatedly by what's known as CCM — the contemporary Christian music industry — and he always declines” in an article from 2013.
He also talks about his family’s plans to relocate, and the path which led them to an old farm house in Michigan. Part of what inspired this move was a deep desire for “meaningful occupation,” or life-giving soul work.
Part two of this interview with Josh Garrels will be released on Oct., 6, 2020.
We’re very excited to talk about your album and the concept of peace. But before we do, we have a very important question. You are moving, and we want to know where you’re moving to. [2.41 – 4.16]
You were telling us how you found this place. Maybe you can just share that, because it’s such a cool story. [4.17 – 6.20]
Your move sounds a little reminiscent of Wendell Berry. Do you have any of those influences Josh? [6.21 – 7.21]
What will you use the farm far? Will you cultivate it? It sounded like you wanted to grow things. [7.22 – 9.49]
You were talking a little bit about how you can’t be in the constant recording mode all of the time. How long did it take you to discover that’s how God had made you? [9.50 – 13.32]
Do you find that as you’re able to slow down – that when you did get down to the creating drawing board, or to write the song or play the song? Do you feel like it was that much easier to create the thing God was putting on your heart? [13.33 – 15.47]
So you just got done with a project. The new album you have Peace to All Who Enter Here. What was the motivation driving you to hunker down in your garage and make that album? [15.48 – 18.18]
Your music has always struck me as very honest and raw. I get the feeling a lot of people are drawn to it for that reason. I’m wondering what was it like for you to record that song (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus) and how do you turn your eyes to Jesus, the way that particular hymn call us to do? [18.19 – 25.52]
Check out what was referenced on the podcast:
- “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” sung by Josh Garrels, Bandcamp, track 1 on Peace to All Who Enter Here, released May 22, 2020.
- “The Biggest Little Farm,” directed by John Chester, starring John and Molly Chester, released on Aug. 20, 2020, on the film’s website.
- C hristianity Today article “Love & War and the Sea In-Between,” written by Jeremy V. Jones, June 7, 2011.
- Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.
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Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter