John Bowman has a gift; he knows how to craft the beautiful. He grew and developed through playing and singing with the best: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Isaacs, and The Boxcars. He earned a Grammy nomination with the Boxcars, and his recent solo album was Dove nominated.
His voice has developed into a tone that, while soothing and calm, strongly motivates. His instrumental mastery (guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass) is very nearly legendary, and his song choices and arrangements create packages like finely wrapped Christmas gifts.
This is all how we now come to the release of Beautiful Ashes (Mountain Home Music Company, 12/11/2015).
Hallels: Congratulations on the release of "Beautiful Ashes." After your excellent worship album last year, did you approach this new album any differently?
Thank you. Yes. I wanted to expand the prospects of getting my music played on different mediums. So, I included some bluegrass gospel, country gospel, and some contemporary. I wanted to appeal to a broader audience and get the messages to as many people as I could.
Hallels: How do you hope this album will encourage your listeners? What are some of the lessons you want to communicate through this new set of songs?
There are a variety of messages in the songs. I think the strongest songs promote the strongest messages. "Sweet River," is purely a revival song. We, as christians, are good at building walls. We need the Spirit to move in our lives and these walls must be broken down. "Ashes," could be a testimony song for me. There are so many things I would've done differently, and the devil is good at bringing them up. I'm glad we serve a forgiving God! "The Reach of His Hand," is a salvation song. I believe that song will bring people to the altar. We must remember that HE is never far away. I love the up tempo songs as well. All have positive messages. I guess the only one that deviates is "Baby Girl." I did that song for my daughter, Jakobi. She has been such a good friend to me and I wanted to show my appreciation.
Hallels: You have three songs written by Woody Wright, whom we interviewed some time again. Did you know him personally? What do you like about his songs?
I've know Woody for years! He sent those songs to me 6 years ago. I love everything he writes. They are written like something I would write, if I could write! Woody is a clever lyricist as well. "A Cold Day in Hell," is one of those songs when you see the title you say, "Hum. Wonder what that's about?!?" He and Jeff Easter did a fine job with that one.
Hallels: Then there is Tim Menzies' "Lies the Devil Told Me," whom we interviewed not long ago too. Why did you choose this powerful song?
I just felt "Lies the Devil Told," would be a powerful song to perform at the revivals I preach. There again, it is a song that all of us can relate to personally. There's one thing we know for sure about the devil. He is a liar and the father of lies. This song exposes him for what he is!
Hallels: Those of us who grew up on 90s country would remember Lionel Cartwright's "Let the Hard Times Roll." It's frankly my favorite song on the album. Why is this song an important one for you to cover?
I think with all the bad news in the 24 hour cycle these days, it's important for us to remember that God is still on the throne. Yes, there will be hard times, but God is always there to help us through. We must remember that Jesus said that offfenses would come and that we would be tried. With his help and love, we can make it through the hard times and come out on the other side better off than what we were before the trial!
Hallels: I believe you are also a pastor, how do you balance your pastoral work and music?
I am not a pastor. I am an evangelist. I've been preaching since 1997. I decided 3 years ago to get serious about the ministry God has entrusted me with. Last year, the Lord made a way for me to dedicate all of my time and talent to His service. It is a journey that I'll be forever grateful for. I've seen people saved, healed, restored, and filled with His Spirit. Just to be a small part of that is one of the greatest blessings of my life. By the way, if you need any preaching/singing contact me at facebook or email@example.com!
Hallels: Of your calling as a musician, what gives you the greatest joy? Writing? Recording? Or performing?
Well as I mentioned, I am not a writer. I've written a couple of instrumentals, but no worded songs. I love singing and picking, but I have to say that preaching and working the altars gives me the most joy. There is just nothing like seeing someone pray through to salvation, be healed, and filled with His Spirit. I will do this work for God as long as He lets me live!!
God bless and Merry Christmas.