Josh Garrels and I could not be more different – he’s a total Portlander, a skateboarder, musician and mellow personality; on the other hand, I am a devote Texan at heart, ranch girl, painter, and bubbly personality. But, we have one thing in common – we both attempt to draw others into the beautiful Truth that inspires our art, a deep belief in Jesus Christ.
I learned about Josh Garrels years ago, in college, after a friend recommended a song to me. I heard his music and immediately something profound happened, it moved me; I can’t exactly explain it, but this song was more than just music – it touched my heart and made me crave more.
The pathos and beauty of Garrels’ music is a function of his artistry – good music is good music, and he knows how to make it – but he is, without a doubt, a man on fire with faith.
An unwavering belief in sin, sacrifice, and redemption are the beating heart of his every song, not as the shrink-wrapped transmission of an explicit message, but as the genuine expression of a lived reality, of a man finding God incarnate in all things – even pain. – Josh Garrels
Have you ever been affected by something or someone, and then had a desire to understand what makes them so different? Sparked by one song, I had this fascination with Josh and his story, and needed to understand what drives him as a person, and as an artist.
The way he approaches business is unusual and inspiring – he gives away his music for free. The beautiful rhythm of his voice, and his poetic lyrics draw listeners into a quiet meditation on the deeper meaning and purpose of life. His quiet personality, and contagious humility just make listeners more intrigued – humility in the sense of someone who does not crave attention for himself, but continues to use his platform to point to beauty beneath his music.
I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
After that I liked jazz music.
Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
– Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
I think Josh Garrels helped me truly begin to understand what makes real art. If it is authentic, it comes from a place deep within your heart. Any viewer, or listener can tell when an artist is creating from a place of vulnerable authenticity, or drawing from some outside source. Josh helped me understand that. Here’s to you, Josh Garrels! Keep doing what you love and creating beautiful music, it changes people… I know from experience.