|Meet the Artist: Brandon Heath|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2012 03:50 PM America/New_York|
Brandon Heath, the five-time GRAMMY nominee, Emmy winner and two-time Gospel Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year—offers his fourth full-length album, Blue Mountain (6-02341-01712-1, Reunion Records/Provident Distribution), releasing Oct. 9, 2012. Read his comments on the new project here:
In a few words, how would you describe the music on Blue Mountain?
It’s about storytelling. Most of the characters on the record are fictional people who live on Blue Mountain. In terms of the music, I wanted to bring Appalachia to Pop so you’ll hear pop backbeats surrounded by Dobro and steel guitars. The vocals take on the characters they portray, with dialect and accents very much intact.
What sets this project apart from your previous releases?
All of the songs on Blue Mountain were written with one theme in mind: “Who are the people that make up Blue Mountain?” I’ve never had a thread that ran through not only the songwriting process, but the recording, too. I knew what I wanted to hear, so we took a crew out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and recorded in an old church-turned-studio in Asheville, N.C. I think it helped us capture the spirit and feel of the Blue Mountain characters and community.
No doubt Southerners will be drawn to the fictional Appalachian setting of Blue Mountain. Did you set out to appeal to them particularly?
Not necessarily. There are themes that would appeal to anybody throughout the record. Some characters and stories will resonate more than others, but we all have a common perspective, and it’s here in the songs—forgiveness, desperation, seeing Jesus in the ordinary.
Tell us about the first single. Why was it selected as the song that would introduce this album?
Commercially and sonically speaking, “Jesus in Disguise” is not terribly far off from what I've done in the past, so rather than throwing everybody into the deep end with a song that features hints of Dobro and steel guitar, I thought I’d open with a one that’s got what’s become sort of a signature of mine—a pop song with beats. It’s a big rock to stand on before you take the plunge.
What are the some of the other significant songs and why?
My favorite song on the record is a song about my granddad, “Paul Brown Petty.” Written with Heather Morgan, a country writer in Nashville, it tells the story of a man who grows up in a small town, marries a girl from down the street, goes off to war, comes back and opens a barber shop and lives out his life as an elder in his small-town church. A lot of people will never know who he was, but he made a big impact on me. He was a part of building my character and my story; through this song, I hope to pay tribute to him.
Is “Love Does” a departure from the album’s overarching theme?
Yeah, a bit, it’s a song about a hero of mine, Bob Goff. I’ve known him for about 10 years through Young Life. He sat me down when I was younger and asked me about my dreams and was my friend along to road to pursuing those dreams. He recently wrote a book about his philosophies and his life. It’s inspiring, and they are the same stories that I've heard over the years that gave me the confidence to believe he was a good friend to follow.
What touring do you have planned in support of the release?
I’m heading out on the 24-city Blue Mountain Tour on Oct. 11, just a few days after the record releases. It’s my second headlining tour and I’m going out with Matt Maher. It’s going to be a great night because I feel that through these tour dates I’ll be able to personally invite concert goers to “come on up to Blue Mountain,” plus [I’m] a huge Matt Maher fan! We’re going to be joined by the Church Sisters, who are 16-year-old twins who are bluegrass singers. They’re really special, and I can’t wait for my fans to see them. They are going to steal everybody’s hearts.
Any thoughts for Christian retailers as they promote this project?
I just want to say “thank you” for the support you’ve shown me throughout my career, and I really do appreciate all that you do.