GRAMMY nominated artist Tim Menzies is joined by dear friends and colleagues the Isaacs, the Gaither Vocal Band, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, and Karen Peck on his second Gospel album, His Name Is Jesus. The album is now available via Daywind Records.
This album, produced by Ben Isaacs features some newly written songs written by Menzies as well as some classics such as "Something About That Name," and "Walking In Jerusalem." Menzies prayer is that His Name Is Jesus will touch lives and encourage a deeper fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Q: Tim, thanks for doing this interview with us. You have been nominated for a Grammy Award recently. How did that make you feel?
I received the news of the Grammy nomination with gratitude, thanksgiving, and surprise. Given that the nominees are 5 chosen from hundreds, the statistical odds are heavily stacked against someone like me, who is not as well known as many other artists in the category.
Q: So far, both of your Christian albums have been nominated for Grammys, does that encourage or pressure you in the making of your next album?
It is 100% encouragement. I absolutely believe that it is only through the supernatural coordination of our Heavenly Father that both albums were nominated. The Grammy qualifying process is very stringent, so the timing of creating, recording, and nationally distributing the album has to coincide with the Recording Academy's submission timeline's etc. The fact that I could never manipulate that many factors relieves any pressure to repeat. I'm also encouraged because with both albums, the Lord made my mission so clear that there were no creative doubts or stress. I plan on listening to our Lord once again before proceeding with a third album, and I trust He will guide me. I would love another nomination, but my first priority will be to glorify Him.
Q: Are you currently working on your third Christian album?
Not specifically. You know that I wrote songs for a living for 30 years, that was a year around, daily writing schedule. Since the Lord called me into full time traveling ministry in 2013, I've been writing at the slowest pace I've had in my adult life; but when I do write, it usually ends up being material for the next album. So why I am not yet looking at a schedule, I am thinking, praying, and writing towards a third album.
Q: Let's talk about your latest record "His Name is Jesus." What are you proudest about this record?
After it was nominated for a Grammy, I realized the evangelical power of the album title, "His Name Is Jesus." Because the album was nominated, the album title was repeatedly listed in magazines, both Christian and secular, and really was a printed proclamation of The Name above all names, Jesus. The whole album lifts The Name of Jesus, and once again, I did not cognitively coordinate what became the theme of the album. I find that very reassuring and comforting.
Q: On this new album, you got to work with the Isaacs, the Gaither Vocal Band, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, and Karen Peck. Can you share with us any interesting stories while working with these artists?
Well first off, what a blessing to be joined by these gifted, accomplished artists. Each artist brought a special texture and generous creativity to these songs. I've known The Isaacs for many years and absolutely love each one of them and continue to be blessed by their gifts and anointing. " I Hope You See Jesus," was written with Sonya and Becky and then they shared their beautiful voices on the album. Ben has produced both of our Christian albums, he is a multi talented singer, musician, and Producer and always generous with his gifts. Ben is also one who never stops working. Out of his love for music, Ben would play songs we were recording to other artists and many times they expressed an interest to bless us with their voices. That's basically how all of these artist became part of the record.
The Isaacs were playing a Gospel event with Karen Peck and New River and Ben said to Karen, let me play you something I'm working on. Ben played "That Little Crowded Room," for Karen; by the second chorus, Karen was singing a harmony part. I am so thankful Ben asked Karen, "would you like to sing on the record?" and she said "yes." Then Karen and Ben graciously agreed to sing "That Little Crowded Room," with me at the National Quartet Convention in 2019, that instantly became one of my favorite memories.
I was walking out of a hotel room in Charlotte North Carolina for a Church engagement and Ben called; he said "Hey I've got someone to sing harmony on "Hanging Out With Old Folks." Now Ben and The Isaacs are among the best harmony singers in the world, so I never worry about quality control; not wanting to be late for the church I just said, "great, thank you!" Then there was a little pause and Ben asked, "Don't you want to know who it is?" I said sure, but I trust you, then Ben said, "I got this guy named Vince Gill." Of course, I was thrilled and thankful and smiled all night.
Q: I really like how you tackled so many subjects on the album. My favorite being "Hanging With Old Folks," not many people address the issue of ageing and older folks. Why is this issue important for you?
Thank you for mentioning that song. As a society in a hurry, we tend to overlook and sometimes even devalue the wisdom and experience of our elders. With our understandably busy schedules, unless we are intentional, we will not make time to slow down and listen to those whose busy years are mostly behind them. The kind of conversations reflected in "Hanging Out With Old Folks," can only unfold through an unhurried time investment. Folks in their winter years are less likely to try and compete with the noise of life, but if we are interested in them, in hearing them, being in relationship with them, we will receive blessings and understandings that took them years to accumulate. Experience can not be taught or transferred, but the lessons learned from their experience can equip and prepare us.
Q: I also love your story songs like "That Little Crowded Room" and "He Didn't Come That Night." What inspires you to write such intriguing stories in songs?
Thank you for those kind words. Growing up I experienced years of surgeries and pain due to ear issues, and for extended time periods had difficulty hearing; as a result, I tended to observe human behavior from a spectators perspective. This sport if spectating evolved into a deep interest in the stories of life. Along the way, my favorite singer/songwriters also wrote stories, very prevalent in traditional Country music, and I fell in love with stories told through melodies. Most of the song ideas I'm blessed to receive, start from a story or concept.
Q: For many years, you have had written for so many country artists, including Patty Loveless, Shenandoah, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire and many others. Do you still actively write for country music artists these days? How connected are you now with country music?
I am eternally thankful our Lord blessed me with the desire and ability to write, and allowed me to move to Nashville in 1980, while many of my favorite singers were still recording and dominating Country music. I wrote every day for 30 years and woke up every morning eager to write, what a blessed answer to a boyhood dream.
I received Jesus as Lord and Savior in 1991 and consequently fell in love with teaching Bible classes. I thought I would spend the rest of my life writing country songs and teaching Bible classes. In May of 2013, our Lord called me into full time ministry, He began that calling by removing my desire to write country songs, I'm still amazed by that instantaneous transition.
When I am moved to write now, the desire always ultimately points to our Creator, the stories that interest me now always involve our Heavenly Father. Lately, I have felt a growing desire to spend more time writing, I would love to have time to write for other Christian artist. I hope that's part our Heavenly Father's future plans for me.