Listening In: Sandra McCracken

WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith, and today you’re listening in on my conversation with singer, songwriter, and worship leader Sandra McCracken.

For more than 20 years, Sandra McCracken has been a significant force in Christian music. She made her first album more than 20 years ago when she was still a student at Belmont University in Nashville, and her career has included more than a dozen studio albums, two live albums, and another half-dozen children’s albums with the side project Rain For Roots, a collaboration with Katy Bowser Hutson, Ellie Holcomb, and Flo Paris and Sally Lloyd-Jones. I had this conversation with Sandra McCracken at a restaurant near her home in East Nashville.

Sandra, welcome to the program. You know, I’ve been wanting to have you on the program for a long time just because I think we have so many mutual friends and folks that I’ve had on the program before—like Ellie Holcomb and Katy Bowser Hutson and Andrew Peterson and folks you know.

SANDRA MCCRACKEN, GUEST: It’s good to officially meet in person, Warren. 

SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I want to start with some of your biography. Let’s just sort of go back to the beginning. You were raised in a Christian home. You were raised in the church.

MCCRACKEN: Yeah, I was. Well, I mean, so my mom took us to church and largely they were mostly Presbyterian churches in St. Louis and St. Louis is an area which is like—because of Covenant Seminary there—there’s just a lot of that.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, you know, it is interesting because, you know, I think of the PCA—the Presbyterian Church in America—as a relatively small denomination that sort of punches above its weight in evangelicalism, so to speak. And also, I think of it largely as a Southern thing, founded in, you know, Atlanta and Birmingham and Southern cities. But you’re right, because of the seminary there in St. Louis, there’s a pretty big PCA presence there.

MCCRACKEN: Yes, for sure. Yeah, I guess if you think about it like that, it’s not a very old denomination—part of the denomination. So I kind of grew up right alongside that development and then moved to the South. So I moved to Nashville in ‘95 and so from St. Louis to Nashville and then now I think of Nashville is such a central point for that network of churches as well.

SMITH: Well, I think you’re right. I mean, partly I think maybe because of Scotty Smith back in the day and—

MCCRACKEN: I don’t know what it’s—for some reason there’s a magnetism.

SMITH: Yeah. And a lot of, I think a lot of Christian artists back in the eighties and nineties were you know, sort of gravitated to the PCA and maybe again gave it a little bit of an outsized commitment, but you know, and I don’t want to get too inside baseball into, you know, denominations and evangelicalism and that sort of thing. But the reason I wanted to bring that up is because you now attend an Anglican church, which in some way—and I do too. And John Stonestreet, who’s the president of the Colson Center does and Mark Galli, who is the, you know, editor of Christianity Today. I mean, in some ways the Anglican church has become what the PCA was in the seventies and eighties. It’s been sort of a magnet for folks that I don’t want to say—I mean, I don’t have any bad experiences with the Southern Baptist and the PCA churches that I was a part of earlier. But I just found that the Anglican church nourished me in a way that many other evangelical churches didn’t. And I’m just wondering if that was your experience.

MCCRACKEN: Well, they’re not all that far apart in a sense. I mean the practice is slightly different, but if you think about some of the—well, okay, I’m coming at it as a songwriter. So if you just take that one piece of it, you’ve got like Isaac Watts and John Newton and like all these like English hymn writers were Anglican. And so if you zoom out from where we are in this moment or what a denomination looks like, those variations in practice—to me they’re, and I’m not really talking about theological differences, I think the Anglican church offers a wider space that, you know, some people call it the middle way, right? Where there’s like you’ve got the more main line. I mean, just different ways of practicing a Sunday.

SMITH: Well, yeah, and I mean in the PCA in particular, solid reformed theology. And of course, even though the Anglican church to maybe someone looking at it from the outside looks a lot like the Catholic church, but in fact the theologically speaking it is way closer to the PCA or, you know, reformed churches generally than it would be to Catholic theology. And, once again, Nashville seems to be a real home for that. I don’t know if it’s because of Thomas McKinsey who wrote a book called The Anglican Way and he’s a pastor here in town, or if it’s other reasons, but—

MCCRACKEN: Gosh, I mean, I think the movement toward that ancient liturgical practice—the shift for me was probably Jamie Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom. The book was—and Jamie wasn’t even an Anglican. 

SMITH: Yeah, James K. A. Smith for those of you who are not on a first name basis with him.

MCCRACKEN: Yeah and I think reading that book kind of exploded my imagination toward what it would mean to consider baptism and liturgy and kneeling and standing in the way that we practice our worship on Sundays. How much that is affecting who we are. And because I think I was so in my head prior to that, realizing like, we can actually embody what we believe by these gestures and it doesn’t earn us something before God, but it surely opened up a new dimension of worship for me.

SMITH: Well, yeah, you know, I think in fact, one of the things—if I did have a bone to pick with a lot of evangelicalism today, it would be—which I love and I’ve found very nourishing over the years—is that there is a little bit of gnosticism that creeps into evangelicalism. And by that I mean sort of this separation from the sort of the physical incarnate world with sort of this spiritual transcendent world. I mean, the transcendent is vital. I mean, it’s important, but you know, one of the things that is unique about Christianity is that it is not merely transcendent. It is both transcendent and immanent. I mean, that’s what the incarnation is all about. And I think evangelicalism tends to lose that. And one of the things that churches like the Anglican church allows us to recover is sort of that physicality.

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. Yeah. Just remembering we have a body and that that’s part of it. But it’s funny though, cause if I think about my initial encounters, like I visited an Anglican church in high school and I felt like—I was sort of turned off by how rote it felt to me. So it can be, no matter what your practice or your tradition is, and I think we are always going to—I mean that’s the nature of the fall, right, is you’re always going to be, we tend toward disintegration or like the things coming together that are supposed to be together, are falling apart and yet they’re, because of the resurrection, they are put back together. So, when worship is renewed, whatever the tradition is, when we find renewal in worship, we are moved toward the heart of God, toward his intent for us.

And I think, you know, so for the last five years I’ve been worshiping in an Anglican church and that has been a means by which I have experienced a relationship with God and some new ways of practicing it, you know. But it hasn’t been a, it was not a theological shift. It was not a breaking of my connection to the Presbyterian church. And I still feel like I kind of have kind of my arms around both, you know, kind of a hand in both worlds, you know, in terms of relationship and an affection for sure.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, didn’t mean to go down that rabbit trail as far as we did, but because I really just wanted to maybe go back and explore your biography because you talked about, you know, growing up in the church and then coming to Nashville. If I’m remembering right, you came to Nashville to go to college to go to Belmont. Right. And you know, Belmont, has, again, become one of those places that has become a real, a sort of center for Christian artists. It’s been a magnet drawing them from like you, from St. Louis and others from all over the country. Talk a little about that experience at Belmont. I mean, you were there at a time when a lot of—it seemed to be a pretty, pretty rich time. Kevin Twit was there, if I’m remembering right. He was doing campus ministry at Belmont at the time and of course he went onto found the Indelible Grace movement. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say that. I mean, was that formative for you? Were those experiences formative for you?

MCCRACKEN: Well, especially that. Kevin was my first friend in Nashville, so he was the only person I knew when I moved here. Came here with 40 boxes or something in Kevin’s green van. And I I think because of that and Kevin’s kind of dual gifts within both campus ministry and theology. And in music. And then the middle part where he loves like history and hymnity. And so he was handing out hymnals left and right. And there was just this integration of music and even related to what we were just talking about where you’re kind of connecting to the past these hymns that you had when you grew up, but then a new context of singing them and a new way of singing. And so that was really formative for me for sure. And community building around that was yeah, it was really important and it was really, it probably happened for more than just my college years. It was probably like about eight years of pretty intense formation around community that just happened loosely around the college experience.

SMITH: Yeah. And so talk a little more about that because, so you graduated from college and your music career kind of took off almost right away, right?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. Well, I started out—so my Midwestern blue collar self, it was like I started out, okay, I want to make this, I don’t want this to be a vanity project. I’m going to set up a separate bank account. And if I go and play shows on weekends, like I started a job nannying right out of college, but I had just finished an album, my first album and completely independent and I would just travel around bookstores and clubs and colleges and anywhere and just start playing. And I had this separation where it was like, okay, if this can pay for itself, I can keep doing it. Right. And so that was the idea is keep the overhead low and get out there and try to make it work. And I think having that approach at a time when the music industry was going through major change, like the front end of major change in terms of how people consume music, how people experienced Christian and mainstream music in these categories, what Christian music was—because you would have this, you know, shift from the earlier years where you have like Rich Mullins or Amy Grant or kind of defined characteristics of what Christian music was to a shift where it was all worship music later in the 90s and early 2000s.

And so by staying as an independent artist for the majority of my time and career, it has afforded me the opportunity to be really flexible around what kind of art I want to make and just maintaining yeah, the sustainability of it. Thinking of it more like a small farm, like, okay, let’s plant some corn over here and see if this does well, and then let’s plant some carrots in, you know, whatever. And I think as I’ve approached it that way it’s probably just kinda kept me on this steady path where I’ve been able to do it for a very long time.

SMITH: Was there a moment—now you graduated… I should know this…


SMITH: Yeah. ‘99. And, you know, it was 20 years ago. Your first album came out and I think then, too, right? The independent album, ‘99? You got married when?

MCCRACKEN: I got married, I guess it was 2001.

SMITH: So just right in that same period of time. And you married Derek Webb. Caedmon’s Call was kind of starting to explode. I mean, there were a lot of folks who would call you and Derek a power couple in terms of the Christian music. Did you feel that and was there a moment where you said, oh wow, you know, this separate bank account has now actually got money in it. This thing is actually gonna work out?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah, I mean, I guess like in a sense thinking about what it is to be a young woman who’s single and making music and traveling around there are certain kind of guard rails to that that were probably—that definitely changed when I got married, you know. I could probably do more. It took a little pressure off of like feeling like I gotta make everything happen for myself, you know? And so in a sense there was like some stability and security around that as is how marriage can work when it works, you know? And of course I look back at it now and it’s like, there’s so many complexities around all that stuff, you know? And I think, well, what would that have been like if I hadn’t been married and hadn’t been kinda swallowed up in Christian music the way I was by marrying somebody who was in that.

I mean, obviously it’s not regret and it’s also, but there’s a natural curiosity I think for me as I continue to grow forward and I have so enjoyed the last five years as I was like single. And after that marriage came to an end I have experienced like kind of a Renaissance of what it was to figure out my own voice and who I am. And there’s been so much joy and healing in that even as you would imagine, some of the process to get there was pretty hard. 

SMITH: Yeah. No, I can imagine. Well, that allows me to sort of pivot in our conversation a little bit, if you don’t mind and talk about some of the things that you’ve been doing over the last five years that maybe, I mean, maybe artistic rebirth is too grandiose a word for it, but one of the things that I’ve admired, Sandra, about you is the same thing that I’ve admired in some of the artists that we’ve already talked about. So, for example, Andrew Peterson, who is a musician but also writes novels and he leads the Rabbit Room Collective and he’s an entrepreneur. He kinda has that, you know, blue collar—

MCCRACKEN: Start up all these things.

SMITH: Yeah, work ethic about it, which you have sort of pursued as well. And in your case it looks a little different in that you have your own musical career, but you’ve gotten involved with the Rain for Roots Collective. You’ve started writing for Christianity Today magazine, a column there. And I guess other than just to observe that and say that that’s one aspect of your life and artistic career that’s different from a lot of other folks. And also maybe to observe it. I don’t want to make too much of this either, is that of all the other artists that I’ve mentioned that might fit into that category with you, like Andrew or Mike Card or others that have, you know, multidimensional artistic careers is they’re all men. You’re the only woman that I know that’s in that category. Is that a so what for you or am I making this up? Is it not true? Is it true? What?

MCCRACKEN: I don’t know that I think about it in black and white terms. I don’t know that I think about it, you know, binary in that way. But I do think there is an aspect of the singer-songwriter world tends to be a lot of it’s kinda male driven or the music industry itself is often very male driven. And when you’re on a tour or you see it certainly in those environments. Like when you’re on a tour, there are not many women doing that. But I have really enjoyed the company of other female artists like Sarah Groves and Joe Phillips and just friends along the way where there’s just comradery in even in like their unique roles because they’re also raising kids while they’re doing tour and creative work. And I think that’s a really unique space to be in. I’ve probably learned a lot from Andy Ashworth, Charlie and Andy Ashworth who had the Art House for years here in Nashville.

SMITH: Yeah, again, for those that are not on the inside, most folks would know Charlie not as Charlie Ashworth but as Charlie Peacock. 

MCCRACKEN: Oh, right. Sorry. Charlie Peacock, right. And Andy Ashworth. I think finding those friendships where that’s been a real yeah, I think there’s always something to learn and being invited into environment, various situations, like whether it’s the Gospel Coalition or—so to be alongside people in these moments and in these, you know, leading with Matt Boswell last year at the Gospel Coalition, it’s like, it’s a real, you know, I don’t know that a lot of women are in that role. I mean, the Gettys are definitely in that role. Keith and Kristyn Getty and they’re in it together and I think that’s unique, but I think I don’t really have an agenda around it, honestly. I think I want—

SMITH: You mean an agenda around the gender piece of it? 

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. Like, I don’t have something I want to prove or somewhere I need to add something I need to achieve in terms of a platform. But I have been grateful for places where I feel invited to speak and to share the way I see the world. And I would love to see that grow for others, you know, for people to be seen for who they are and to contribute what they have to bring uniquely.

SMITH: Well, if I could ask you to do this, is there a common thread to all of this? I mean, so for example, you’ve got a podcast that’s called Steadfast, which the theme of that podcast is that God is steadfast. His steadfast love. That his mercy, his grace is unchanging throughout the circumstances. So I guess you could say the podcast has a theme. You know, when I read your column in Christianity Today, which I find to be very nourishing, I find a theme there to be that you often talk about some personal experience that usually some theological insight comes of some personal experience. Something, you know, renovating an old house or putting lights down the stairs or you can see when you’re walking down. So I mean, but if you look at it as a whole, is there a message or a theme to what you’re trying to do?

MCCRACKEN: That’s a good question. I think there’s probably the bigger umbrella is who we are, right? So who we are and then over the course of our life, realizing that there are these seasons where those things change. So the idea of the podcast being called Steadfast or the album that came out called Steadfast Live is—it’s a remembrance that my life has changed dramatically like year to year and changes and some of it is like self-created. Some of it’s stuff that happens to you, like change is inevitable.

SMITH: You mean life from child to adult, from student to mother to wife. 

MCCRACKEN: Like roles that we play. And I think within those roles, those changes of circumstances and like you look around and it’s like, man, this is not where I thought I was going to be. And at the same time, I think, what is the theme? So the theme is that he is unchanging and his faithfulness to us is unchanging. And so the steadfast nature, God’s steadfast nature pressing in on us in all those changes is a tremendous comfort to me. And I think so in my work or writing or songwriting, I think the active part of that is that I would express or channel that kind of comfort, right? Like to offer, like to sort of open my hands to say if I’ve experienced that comfort, I want to share the comfort, right? The same thing Paul said, what we have experienced, we can then give. And I don’t think it’s because I’m uniquely equipped. I think it’s just like, man, I see it and I have received it and want to offer it. So the connection between the love of God and the way we offer hospitality to each other through his comfort on our lives, when we are distressed, when we are uncertain, when we cannot find answers to questions and the more complex life has become for me, the more important the work seems.

SMITH: Sandra, I’d like to talk a little bit about your latest album, Songs from the Valley. If there was one song on that album that you would say, if you don’t listen anything else, listen to this one song, what would that be?

MCCRACKEN: I would maybe say Kindness. I think that song—there’s a lot of nuances on this record. It’s kind of one that’s meant to be listened to over time. And I think that song really captures the light that’s in this batch of songs. A lot of these songs, I mean, the title is a giveaway, but Songs from the Valley, these songs have a lot of shadow. They experience, they hold open a lot of shadowy experiences. And I think the song kindness is a center point because it’s a song about the light coming by way of community and friendship.

SONG: Kindness 

SMITH: You know, one of the things that I liked about that song was that it really in some ways, I don’t know whether you intended this, but I think maybe you did. It highlights the difference between kindness, true biblical kindness, and being nice, which is kind of a southernism, right? I mean sometimes being kind is talking to a friend about some tough stuff and it’s not something we like to think about too much.

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes it’s hard for us to differentiate the difference between niceness and kindness and just culturally we walk around kinda thinking about maybe cultural norms around what it is to interact with each other. But it’s a different thing to really get to the point of sitting with someone past the awkward moments, like past the moments where you don’t have an answer and you can’t fix something. But where you just like spend time together and you share life and you share a cup of coffee and you sit long enough to really engage some of the deeper questions. 

SMITH: There’s another song on the album that I just can’t resist asking you about and that’s Parrot in Portugal. There’s a little bit of a backstory to that song, isn’t there?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah, it’s a little bit left of center, but I actually was in Portugal. I was in Lisbon and I was heading to the airport the next morning and I had a window open in my hotel room. And there were these parrots, huge parrots that had at some point escaped from captivity, really bright green birds. And after they escaped from captivity as somebody’s pet in the city, they flourished. So there’s this pack of them that just fly. There may be multiple packs—what do you call a pack of birds? Like a flight? 

SMITH: A flock? I don’t know. Maybe. I have no idea.

MCCRACKEN: I should know this. But, yeah, so this flock of birds. They were right outside the window and they were just making all theses crazy sounds and talking to each other and engaging. And as I walked around the city that evening I would see them in the city and I just thought about what does it mean to be sort of transplanted, displaced, brought into captivity and then transplanted somewhere else and then to actually flourish maybe more than they did originally in this new place. And I just sort of marveled at the whole metaphor of that and how our identity changes, but it doesn’t really. So like you could be pulled out of one place, dropped in another place, and you see new characteristics of your personality, you see new challenges, you see new ways of interacting with people and yet you are still fundamentally exactly who God made you to be. And so for me, even though I didn’t know what I was writing about necessarily, I was really moved by those birds as I kind of walked through this urban environment and I watched them like up in the trees and thought about what it is to be called to, you know, sing your song and like say whatever you need to say before your maker and know that you’re going to kind of find your way and he’s going to continue to bring flourishing no matter what happens.

SONG: Parrot in Portugal

SMITH: Well, you know, those two songs that we’ve talked about, Kindness and Parrot in Portugal, I’m not 100% sure that they’re typical of the album. Because as you said, there is, you know, the title Songs from the Valley, it really does—if I can say it this way, and this is probably not the right way—it celebrates the lament in some ways, right? I mean, it acknowledges that even in the Psalms, which we think of as songs of adoration to God, a whole lot of them are, you know, kind of woe is me, laminations. You know, sort of having a real clear sense of yourself as a human before a Holy God. 

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. I think that’s an accurate observation of also how I experienced it. The songs on the Songs from the Valley album were written at the same time as the Songs from the Psalms album and they were just at a certain point kind of brought into two different piles and made two different albums out of those. But I think they really were narrative Psalms for me. And there are some moments that are where you see the triumph coming through, but there are a lot of moments that the lament was appropriate. And I think we need kind of modern day examples of that. I think it needs to be okay to say like, how would we sing a Psalm? Like, if you wrote a Psalm today, how would you do it? And could we be honest? Do we have language within our church communities and within our faith communities where we would be able to really say—not just the, like you said before, like not just the nice answer, but how are you doing? You know, like, no, really how are you doing? And that we would be real with each other in that way and cause that kind of maturity to emerge from within our communities.

SMITH: Well, that was your last album. You’ve got another album coming out? Another Rain for Roots album coming out soon?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. We are just putting the finishing touches on a new project called All Ceatures, which is rain for roots. We took about two or more years off of doing albums. And this has been such a fun side project and a collaboration with some other friends in Nashville. Actually it’s, yeah, like Ellie Holcomb was part of it at some point. And Sally Jones. But the constant members have also been Flo Paris Oakes and Katy Bowser Hutson. And we are excited about it. These songs are, I think they’ve continued to grow as our families have grown, as our kids have grown up. But since the beginning of this Rain for Roots project is really intended to just bring scripture songs to life for kids and for families and for even individuals that it wouldn’t just sound limited to kids’ music, but that it would be something anybody would enjoy. And the way that you can get those songs and those scriptures into our hearts is by keeping the ideas simple and keeping them really singable. And yeah, we’re excited to bring some new ones forward.

SMITH: You know, one of the things that I love about Rain for Roots is exactly what you just said, that they’re kids songs in a way. I mean, let’s put it different way. They are songs that kids could find very, very accessible. And yet they are also songs that I listen to and I think, you know, this is really pretty music. This is not just sort of G, C, and D—three chords and the truth—kind of thing. I mean, there’s some pretty sophisticated music going on there. And I’m also wondering, and maybe I’m going down a, you know, looking for something when it’s not there, but you know, you talked about your first marriage ending, Katy has gone through cancer. I mean, what kind of a, I dunno, a struggle or medicine has it been to do these kinds of songs, you know, sort of keeping it simple for kids while you guys have been going through some really grownup stuff?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think Katy’s—her process of going through chemo and spend basically about a year at every kind of treatment you can have for cancer and coming through on the other side of that. And as we re-gathered as a group, we started talking about the Psalms and we kind of started there and recognize that kids really need to—and all of us, but like, we want to give our kids space to ask those hard questions. Like one of the songs that Flo wrote says like, “Tell me, do you always hear me?” Like the song is called Tell Me. And it’s just this, like, it’s similar to a lament where it’s just one question after another of like, are you gonna leave me? Are you with me? You know, and asking these things before God and giving dignity to those questions.

And so if your kids, you know, if your child is there, they might be there today. They might not be there for 10 years, but giving them somewhere to grow that when they are ready for those questions, that there will be a space that they know it’s not just permissible, but it is actually like, it is God’s invitation to say, come and ask me, like, come and find out who I am. And then that I am with you. And those affirmations are gonna be the echoes of our lives as we go forward.

SMITH: Sandra, I know, you know the work of Makoto Fujimura and he often talks about this concept, it’s an ancient art form, I think it’s called, I think it’s pronounced Kintsugi, where the ceramic bowls that are broken and then they’re put back together using gold in the cracked places. That’s the sauder, the mortar that holds these—and the broken bowl because it’s got gold in the broken places is actually much more valuable than the original ceramic bowl. You’re resonating with that idea?

MCCRACKEN: Yes, for sure. I was out in California at Fuller Seminary and got to see one of these bowls and was there with a group of artists and Mako was there and he put one in my hands and it’s profoundly beautiful and to think about the care. So it’s the value of the gold itself, but it’s also the fact that somebody had to put that back together and had to take the time to reconstruct something. There’s so much that I, you know, from an artistic standpoint that I don’t know, but I could experience it from holding that in my hands and say like, yes, and amen. Like this is something that I feel like it resonates deeply and I know that even in our church community and in the practice, the more honest we can be in bringing forward like who we really are with the cracks exposed, the more we find the freedom to still be a vessel that holds beautiful things for our life.

And I mean, there are so many implications to that. There’s something for me that I thought of a couple of days ago during like our prep for Easter and we were talking about—you know the passage and when Jesus is on the cross and in the seven last words he says to John and to Mary, he says like, you know John, this is going to be your mother now and Mary you go home with John. And you think in that moment he was like putting together a new family structure, sending them out because they needed something like that. He knew they were going to need that. Mary needed that. And I’m sure that when they got home there were all kinds of complexities around what that was going to look like. And yet what an incredible affirmation of like he puts our lives, he continues to like pull things together and say you’re going to need each other. You’re going to need a home, you’re going to need a system to make this work. And that’s the incarnational bit, right? Like he continues to affirm who we are, our bodies. Like every little detail about the cracked bowl would say like, this matters in our, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our Father in heaven, without his attention on it. And I think that bowl really reminds me of that attention to detail and the renewal of all things.

SMITH: So Sandra, at the end of the day, how do you want people to relate to your career? When you’re dead and gone, which hopefully won’t be for many, many, many years or even decades, what you want people to say about the life, the artistry, the career, the work of Sandra McCracken?

MCCRACKEN: Such a big question. Mako Fujimura painter, writer, he talks about asking the 500 year questions, right? What are the things that we are putting forward? I would love to contribute to the history of people that have gone before me and before us in affirming the faithfulness of God in spite of the changes and challenges of our lives. And but I think it’s going to look like a lot of different, you know, it’s like I want to be able to do that through kid’s music, through a bluegrass album, through a Christmas album, through an Americana. I mean, I don’t think it needs to look like one thing as far as even just under the umbrella of a songwriting career. I think hymns for the church are really important and I’d hope to contribute a few of those that would stick around, but I think any way that I can support the practice of those kind of renewing songs of Zion, songs of hope. I’d love to fan the flames of that for anybody who’s coming right after me.

(Photo/Sandra McCracken)

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