God of All Glory tour coming to city
Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Twila Paris and Wayne Watson all are well-known gospel musicians in their own right.
On May 4, all four – who have charted nearly 100 No. 1 contemporary Christian songs between them – will sing together for one night at Williamsport Area High School as part of their ‘God of All Glory’ tour.
The Sun-Gazette spoke with Harris and Watson about the tour, performing with each other, their songwriting processes, and more.
Sun-Gazette: What do you enjoy about touring as a group with others who have been singing Christian music for a long time?
Harris: “It’s a little special in that some of this music has been around a long, long time. It’s been used to encourage people for worship services, in churches. It’s a real honor and joy to be with this group as we do this tour.”
Watson: “We’re going to be singing songs people have heard on the radio for 20 years. All of us have been beaten around by life a little bit and by the grace of God have survived and still have the passion to sing and tell our stories. On this tour, we do sing together on some of our more familiar songs, and play for each other. People like to see that interaction.”
S-G: Is there anything new that you’re excited to share with people on this tour?
Harris: “I’m doing a song right now that I hope to share. It’s I Corinthians 13, set to music. The musicians just nailed it. There couldn’t be a better marriage.”
Watson: “I’ve got a song called ‘Heal Our Land’ that I’ve been singing (on tour). I woke up one morning with the words in my head and the melody and wrote it in three or four hours it’s kind of a reminder we’ve gotten casual with God over the years, that there’s a serious lack of respect for the mysterious nature of God and who he is.”
S-G: How do you approach writing a song?
Watson: “I’m not really a morning guy, I don’t know if many musicians are by nature, but the last three or four years when I wake up early in the morning sometimes I have fresh musical ideas. Most of my lyrical ideas come from paying attention, from observing and listening to other people, thinking about my reactions to what might be going on in world.”
Harris: “I’m really intent that it be sound from a scriptural point of view. When I’m writing something I believe God has given me, I want it to measure up to scripture. Writing as a poet, good poetry says one thing of worth to me and says something totally different of worth to you.”
S-G: How do you keep a balance of home life with touring and keeping your craft sharp?
Watson: “I have a wonderful church (in Houston), that when I’m not on the road I sing in a service every Sunday. They call it contemporary, but it’s really more just relaxed, playing guitar and keys. It’s a great balance of call and place that allows me to go out and tour.”
Harris: “God gives us talent, every artist you hear, secular or otherwise. We have the responsibility to work at it, to make it better, to find out what it works. One day off is not too bad. A week, I notice it.”
S-G: What do you think of the contemporary music scene, Christian or otherwise?
Harris: “The Gospel never evolves. The music has changed over the years. All the glue in what’s deemed the music of yesterday and what’s being written today, the thread through it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether it was the Baroque period, or the Renaissance period, or the euphemism we use ‘reaching the youth of today,’ God’s unconditional love never changes.”
Watson: “I’ve been a Christian most of my life no one has to tell me you should be listening to this, I’ve got a pretty good radar when something takes me to place I don’t want to go to. Over the years we’ve used the medium of music to carry all sorts of messages, to make people think or at least question some of things we’ve always taken for granted.”
Tickets for the God of All Glory tour, which plays at Williamsport Area High School auditorium, 2990 W. Fourth St., at 7 p.m. Sat., May 4, are available at the Christian Light Bookstore, 1009 Washington Blvd., and at ccmforever.com.