Beauty of Grace
I will never be famous for being quick out of the blocks or first in the queue; when it comes to being laid back I've redefined "horizontal." But like the proverbial tortoise I get there eventually. As far back as I can remember I've admired singer songwriters and dreamed of performing. As a child I wanted to emulate Paul McCartney but it wasn't until I was 16 that my Dad bought me my first guitar by which time my role models were the likes of Paul Simon, John Denver and Don Maclean. The first song I learned to play was "Vincent" (Starry, Starry Night) which I picked up by listening to the record over and over again, picking out every note. For years I learned contemporary folk songs and would play them for anyone that would care to listen, doing floor spots on folk nights and playing to family and friends. When I became a "born again" Christian I learned the latest choruses and went on to lead worship in various churches but song writing, it seemed, was not a talent I was blessed with. Looking back it's apparent that what seemed a barren time was, in fact, an extended incubation period. As I learned to play devotional songs both old and new, listened to sermons and lectures, read many theological books and absorbed the Bible in all it's power and beauty, I developed my own musical style and drew on the rich repository of knowledge and literature that I had so readily absorbed. It's no coincidence that after marrying the woman that I'd fallen in love with 15 years earlier (but had lost contact with for 13 years) I discovered a well inside me of music and poetry that I could draw on. And when the leaders of the Methodist Church in Wigton, Cumbria, asked me to sing for the congregation I found I was able to write songs on demand and become a kind of poet laureate. I've recently recorded an album (The Beauty of Grace) with songs inspired by my theology, religious experiences (good and bad) and the love of a remarkable woman. And, typically, I had to write a brand new song, which would become the title track. Just as the flavour of an egg is determined by the richness of the chicken's feed, so I believe my song writing is developing as my life experience becomes richer. By God's grace I've discovered a well of inspiration and by that same grace I will find expression, in my music, to tell of His love and unfathomable mercy and my faith and hope in a God that believes in me more than I believe in Him.