When was the last time have you heard Genesis 1 and the book of Revelation being told in songs? God has gifted singer-songwriter Art Wheeler the unique gift of taking stories, some from Scripture and some of his own creation, and setting them into music. Art has just released his album of story songs last year entitled "6 Minutes After 7." This year, he has just released a brand new single "Creation." We are honored to be able to catch up with Art for this exclusive Hallels' interview:
Hallels: Thanks Art for your time. For readers who may not be familiar, how would you describe your music?
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my music. First, my music has Christian themes. As far as style, it is hard to put it in one category. The majority if it has more in common with the country rock of the early 1970's but it also has a strong folk influence. I try to maintain a humorous tone to my music whenever it is appropriate.
Hallels: You have a penchant for putting stories into songs. On your last album "6 Minutes After 7," you have put so many stories (some from the Bible) into songs. What is your best story-song you have had ever written?
"The Prodigal Son" from my first album is one of my best. Like most of my songs, it tells the story from the perspective of characters in the story. I spent a lot of time on this song drawing from my life experience while trying to remain faithful to original story. I think it was more successful doing that on this song. I believe it also makes people consider this story in new ways. I think "It's Gonna Rain" from my last album does the same thing. It tells the story of Noah from his perspective without ever saying his name. It also emphasizes details from the original story that often get overlooked.
Hallels: I have read in your bio that you only started writing songs about faith and the Bible after the birth of your third child, tell us how that came about.
I started writing songs when I was in high school but never anything worth keeping. About the time my third child was born I was dealing with issues of forgiveness. I was being called to forgive people I didn't like very much. Through this, I started identifying with Jonah. I started working on the song "The Belly of the Whale" around that time. I wrote the first and last verses of the songs relatively quick. It would be another 4 years before I completed the song. The rest of my songs have come much easier. That song is on my last album "Six Minutes after Seven".
Hallels: You also play all the instruments on your record, how many instruments do you play? What instrument do you use to write?
I probably play about 10-12 different instruments. For my recordings, I mainly use guitars, keyboards and bass. You will hear an occasional banjo or harmonica thrown in. I am most comfortable on the piano and have used it most often when I write. More recently, I have written more songs using my guitar.
Hallels: You have just released a new single "Creation." What is "Creation" about?
"Creation" is the creation story from the first chapter of Genesis in song form. I wrote it as a way to remember what was created on each day. Each verse builds on the previous verses, similar to "The 12 Days of Christmas". It was written to appeal to children too. When I first sang this song for my family, my youngest daughter asked what a firmament is. Then she asked me how the plants could live if the sun had not been created yet. I tried to point her to the most important part of the song that says the story tells us that God had an order and plan for his creation.
Hallels: Do you have a brand new album coming? Will it be an album of mostly story-songs again? When will it be released?
At this time, I don't have enough material ready for a new album. I do anticipate releasing another single before the end of the year but I'm not sure of the timing.
Hallels: For our readers who may want to purchase your new single or your album, where can they go?
All of my music is available at the store on my website, www.artwheelermusic.net. This website is also a great place to see my music videos, see the lyrics to my music and find out more about any upcoming releases. My music is also available at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.