Tag Archives: Christian Country

Interview with Mary James

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MARY JAMES 3 TIME ICM FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

 

Last November I met a beautiful and talented Christian Country Artist with a heart for worship. That artist was Mary James.  I was at the 2014 ICM Awards and I kept feeling drawn to one artist booth and was not sure why.  I believe that it was her heart for worship and the hurting and down and out that I was being drawn to.

Mary James  is not a woman unfamiliar with being down and out.  She has faced many circumstances in her life; from a baby on up, into her adult life that help develop that very heart for worshiping God and for others.  To lean more about her testimony click this link http://www.mary-james.com/about.html

When I met Mary James for the first time we were at one of the showcase nights for the ICM.  I had been friends with her on Facebook for several months before meeting.   We all have many friends on Facebook that we never get the pleasure of meeting in person.  I remember that night when I went to speak to her she said “hey your Cassie”.  I knew she had many many friends on her friends list and I am going to be really honest….. I was very honored and touched that she recognized me.  I was able to talk with her a couple of times during that week and sit in on a panel board class she and some other great artist put on.  I learned a lot about ministry in that session as well as her heart in ministry.

 

While at the ICM I asked Mary James if she would do an interview with me.  When I asked her I had only published one interview and I felt God was leading me in this direction.  Mary told me she would and I took her business card.  That week at the ICM opened many doors for me and I knew that meeting Mary James was a divine connection.  I have prayed and asked God to lead me in when I do these interviews and with whom.  I know that it has been almost a year but I believe this interview is right on time, that is God’s time.  I hope you enjoy getting to know  Mary James.

INTERVIEW WITH MARY JAMES

 

How long have you been singing Christian Country Music?

It started about a year or so after my salvation, which was in 1999. Worship and Country Music collided…..I did not even know a Christian Country genre existed, I simply responded to God organically through the music I was singing at the time.

What or who has influenced your love for music?

I could make something up that sounds really cool, but I would have to say my earliest influence was Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music. She is why I initially leaned toward Musical Theater and Classical, which runs in my family. But after a long break from music I gravitated toward Country Music.

What artist would you say has influenced your music the most?

There is not one Artist that I can think of to be honest. Between Country music and Worship, I would have to throw out names like….Shania Twain, Allison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, The Judds, Bonnie Raitt, Patsy Cline……Christy Nockels, Jennifer Knapp, and Third Day.
What was your first song to hit the air waves?  And which station started your adventure on air?

My first release was “Sweet Sweet Love” from the Truth Cries Out CD and I have no idea who played it first….just thankful that they did.

What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do?

My Pastor, at the time, was teaching on ministry gifts and he said, “Whatever you can do better than 10,000 people, is what you should pursue. “ My husband and kids looked at me and said, “You need to do music!” As I was singing in church, I also received quite a bit of validation from strangers. I had also heard that you need to receive validation from people who do not know and love you, like a friend or family member, but from people who are not biased. It was not long after that that I began working on my first CD.

What motivates you to keep going when you’re tired?

Prayer, the Holy Spirit and Worship. When my fuse is fried, I cry out and ask God to ignite me. Works every time, unless of course, He wants me still.

What’s your current single on the air waves that we might hear?

“No Wound Too Deep” is still playing on some stations, but I do have a new single coming out called “Take Me Away From You” written by Corey Barker and Jody Harris. A video will follow the release, Lord willing. Corey has been an ICM Nominee a few times now and Jody tours with Taylor Swift. Jody has shared how meaningful the song has been for him personally and is excited to hear about its impact (especially from those who struggle with strongholds).

Do you write any of your own songs?

Yes, I do. In fact, my last three singles, ”Strong,” “Nothing Can,” and “No Wound Too Deep,” where written by Gary Livesay and me. Quite a few from the last projects as well.

What is your personal favorite out of all the songs you have recorded?

Probably “No Wound Too Deep” because I am passionate about people being healed and set free. “Strong” would be the next on the list, then “Flowers, Angels and Jesus,” and “I’m Not Willing.”

My personal favorite is Strong; can you tell us what it means to you? (If it’s different than above)
It has become a big part of my ministry vision. I’ve been fine tuning some of the foundation pieces of the ministry for some time now and 2 Corinthians 12:9 has become, what I believe to be, my primary ministry verse: “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I am passionate about helping the broken know and show the love, grace and strength of Christ. There is a story behind the song, yes, but the bottom line is God is our strength—because of Him who lives in us, we have hope and victory.

 

 

Can you share one of your funniest memories of Singing on stage or while recording?

I can’t think of anything funny really, flubs yes, but nothing that strikes me as humorous. We just had a Sunday, not long ago, where all three microphones on the stage went out one by one. Our night ended with a partially def man standing up and saying, “I can barely hear, but when that mic went out and she started to sing anyway, I could hear every single word. Every single word.” The enemy may try to silence us, but God always has the last word.

Do you have any new projects in the making?

Yes, we are currently praying about a full-length studio worship project. I lead so much worship for churches that it just makes sense at this point. We do have the live worship project “At His Feet,” but I want to write all the material this time around and keep the covers to a minimum.

Can you share something from your heart about your work with Magpie Madness?

Magpie is the jewelry company that makes my jewelry line “Beloved.” On top of offering women items that are meant to remind them of God’s love, a percentage of the proceeds go to aid the homeless in San Diego’s East County.

What is your favorite scripture and what does it mean to you?

My favorite Scripture is Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. The Word of God is too amazing to narrow it down to one passage. Every day, every year it brings new light and perspective…..all profoundly brilliant!

If you could share three things to those out there that are hurting and wanting to give up what would those be?

Giving up is a choice and we know that giving up is Satan’s game, so I would first suggest that anyone who is discouraged start by getting resolute about trusting God for the victory…..even if it takes time to get there. So many people quit before the sun starts shining again. They believe the hurting will last forever. Or they resist working through the wounds within them effectively. With that, I would offer three suggestions: First, pray and ask God for deep healing –I for one know that God wants us to be free. What lies below the surface is not always pretty, but the Lord is eager to bring that which lives in the darkness into the light. Secondly, be ever so careful about the words you speak over your own life. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (MSG). This truth is not limited to what you say to others, but your thought and words regarding your own life. Third, take good care of yourself in the healing process. As I tell my children and friends, other people’s sin does not need to become yours. So instead of making harmful choices in response to pain, make choices that are healthy and nurturing. Too much ice cream, hanging out with the wrong people, buying what you cannot afford, drinking, etc. is never the answer. Lastly (which you did not ask for), why does it matter? Because you matter to God and you cannot give others what you do not have. If you are living without hope, if you feel unloved or deal with unforgiveness…..theses mercies and grace filled qualities of Christ cannot be imparted to others unless they are fully formed within your own heart. God has you here to bear the fruit of life in your unique circle of influence. Every person, on an average, will come in contact with 10,000 people in their lifetime. Whose power are you going to display…God’s or the enemy’s?

 

Thank you so much Mary James for sharing your heart with us.  As I was reading these answers God was speaking to me.  When I was reading your last answer the more I read of it I found myself forgetting I was writing a blog interview.  I felt like God was speaking directly to me in that moment.  Your answer was confirmation to where God has me right this very moment.  I pray that anyone reading this blog has had their heart tugged on as well.

 

Be sure to go over to Mary James website and order her cds. They are full of God’s Grace, Love and Encouragement.

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER MARY-JAMES.COM

 

Dream Catcher 3:320

Cassie G

Interview with Mo Howard

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I met Mo Howard last year at the ICM.  I had no idea we were actually neighbors. Mo was living in Stephenville Texas and I was living in Gordon, a hop, jump and a skip away.

 

I started really paying attention to Mo Howard’s post and his music.  I loved his heart for worship.  In early spring I asked Mo to be a part of a concert that Dream Catcher 3:20 was hosting.  He accepted the invitation and helped us spread the word.  That night I remember feeling so bad that we did not have a crowd there.  It was right in the middle of all the tornado out breaks and it really affected the outcome.  What it did not affect was Mo’s heart or attitude.  He brought us into a place of worship and fellowship that night.  It was such a sweet blessing.

 

There are so many exciting things going on for Mo Howard and his ministry.  Many changes just since I have met him.  He has moved to the Nashville area and began a church there.  We will learn more about that with his interview.

Please take a few moments and read this interview I did with Mo Howard.  Check out his links to his websites and videos.  Then go over and download some of his songs or purchase his cd’s.

INTERVIEW WITH MO HOWARD

 

How long have you been singing Christian Country Music?

From a very early age, probably 6 or 7, my mom would send me to the stage. I would tell the piano player the key of the song and the name of the song and away we went. I especially enjoyed the fast country gospel songs in those young days.


Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I have written close to 100 songs and I am currently signed with Bill Traylor of Cheyenne Country as a writer.

If so how do you go about doing so? Is this something you feel you are a natural at or where do you get the inspiration to write from?

Lately, I’ve been telling folks, anything you say or do could be used in the form of a song. I do not consider myself a natural. Although, it is fun to have those times when you know The Lord has just downloaded a song into your spirit and it just comes so easy. I’ve always thought of myself as a musician first and songwriter second. For years, I would write the music first and then the melody and lyrics would come later. It seems lately the role is in reverse as I am writing the melody and lyrics and then adding the chord progression and structure of the song later.
What or who has influenced your love for music?
My brothers are all musically minded. I have 4 awesome brothers. All of them are in the ministry and all of them play music and play well. Some of my favorite artist are Steven Curtis Chapman, Russ Taff and Alan Jackson.

What artist would you say has influenced your music the most?

I have to Steven Curtis Chapman. I love the way he plays the acoustic guitar. I love the progression of his songs and stories he tells with his music.
What was your first song to hit the air waves?
And which station started your adventure on air? My first song to hit the air waves was a single in 2005 called Just To Know on KSPM 89.3 FM.

What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do?
In 2011, I wrote a song called Sacred Gift to honor my late father James Howard. Everyone that new him would say his life was a sacred gift unto the Lord. I entered the song in a National Songwriting Contest and it won. They flew us out to Nashville where we recorded at Omnisound Studios. I looked on the wall and found a Steven Curtis Chapman Gold Record along with other great Country Artist who record there such as Travis Tritt, Taylor Swift and Mirand Lambert and many others. That was kind of neat. At last check, Sacred Gift has been played in more than 50 countries around the world and more than 200 stations across the U.S. Also, we were invited to The Herman and Sharron Show for a live performance of the song on National TV. One can find the show in it’s entirety at the following link

I think doing what we do as a Music Evangelist is definitely call from the Lord. I believe that Sacred Gift was the beginning stages of the Lord calling me into full time ministry of music.
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What is your personal favorite out of all the songs you have recorded?

Man, that’s hard to say. I have had so much fun recording in many great studios. I guess my favorite is Hurricane and Love Without Strings. It was really fun laying down acoustic guitar parts on these songs.

What’s your current single on the air waves that we might hear?
Love Without Strings! It’s #39 pm the Power Source Radio Charts. Keep playing it please D.J.’s! Lol.

Do you have any new projects in the making?

Yes, I have several new songs I’m working on. One of them I really like is called In Jesus. I think it will be an fun uplifting song with great message of encouragement.
If you could share three things to those out there that are hurting and wanting to give up what would those be?
I think I would encourage them to look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Don’t be so hard on yourself, if Christ (Savior of the World) is willing to die for you and forgive you, then who am I to say I don’t deserve this love. And lastly, probably I would say learn to laugh more! Laughter is truly like a medicine and I too need to do it more.

I really love your ministry called Love With No Strings. What inspired this part of your ministry?

I was walking down the streets of Nashville. And the Lord awakened me to all the musicians who were playing and not really being listened to. We passed by several bars as we walked up the street and noticed No One was really listening to them. Then I saw some street musicians that were literally ran over by tourist. It really broke my heart for them. And I thought as I prayed, Father, no on is even listening to them. And He impressed on my heart these words, “I’m always listening.”

I went back to the Hotel and couldn’t sleep. I felt like the Lord was telling me, I want you to do something about this. I tried talk the Lord out of this, played the Moses card saying I wasn’t capable, but you know, you just don’t win these kind of arguments with our Lord.
So finally, I agreed, but I said Lord you have to give a plan. We feel like he gave us a simple and effective plan to reach out to the musicians of Nashville. We call it LOVE WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Here’s what we do. We approach street musicians and listen to them play. And many times I will ask them what was that chord progress you just played. Or I will say something like show me that cool riff you just played. Usually they realize I am guitar player and sometimes they hand me the guitar and I play something for them. But really I am just waiting for the Lord to give the right moment to reach in bag, pull out a package of guitar strings, place them in their hands and tell them, “Brother the Lord wants you to know that He loves you with no strings attached. From there we have prayed with many of the musicians. Sometimes, they pray for us. It is an incredible ministry.
I understand that out of this ministry you have planted a church in TN called Guitar Church. Can you share a little bit about this new church with us?
Yes, we are so excited about Guitar Church. We moved to the Nashville area from Texas for this reason. Currently we are meeting in Gallatin, TN. We have great vision for this church. We want first and foremost our Lord to be high and lifted up. We know the scripture says except the Lord build the house it’s laborers labor in vain. Essentially we felt it was vital to be here close to Nashville, so that street musicians would not only hear the gospel on the streets through the ministry but that they would have a place to call their home church and grow and be nurtured in Christ. We want to be an encouragement to Music Ministries that travel too. Really there is too much to share, I would encourage those that are interested to visit www.theguitarchurch.com or www.facebook.com/theguitarchurch to see our progress.
Check out these links to learn more about Mo Howard and his music.
Be sure to watch Mo’s singleWe Will Overcome that has aired on Cheyenne Country in more than 120 Million Homes

I would also like to mention that Mo Howard is nominated in two categories for the 2015 ICM Awards. He is nominated as New Artist of the Year and Musical Evangelist
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Thank You Mo Howard for this interview.
Blessings on you and your ministry.
Dream Catcher 3:20
Cassie G

Kickn It Java Style with Cassie 7/18/15

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KICKN IT JAVA STYLE WITH CASSIE

  1. Jump in The River~Dwayne Williams
  2. Music  of My Heart~Carol
  3. I Love You~Wyatt Nations
  4. No Wound Too Deep~Mary James
  5. Lend a Hand~Isaac Cole
  6. If You Never Tell Me Why~Rodney Morss
  7. Look Up~Chloe Goss
  8. A Song and A Prayer~Chris Hayle

This weeks KIJS With Cassie’s Featured Artist 

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Click Her to Enter Chris Halye Music

 

If you are an artist and would like to have your songs on KIJS programing please contact me at dreamcatcher320@outlook.com

Dream Catcher 3:20

Cassie G

Kickn It Java Style with Cassie 7/11/15

KICKN IT JAVA STYLE WITH CASSIE

 

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This weeks line up has some songs that deal with some tough issues such as our rights and freedom in this country and abortion.  I am so thankful that Because He Loves Me and You that He has given us some great music to speak to us as we are on our Potters Wheel.  He Guides us with His Light and Covers us with His Blood.  Please take some time today and listen to the line up today that speaks to our hearts about these very thing.

  1. Because You Love Me~Carol Hogner
  2. I’ll Stand Up and Say So~ Chuck Day
  3. Get Up~Kevin Rowe
  4. Let Me Live~Joy Roberts
  5. We All Came Through The Blood~Danny Ray Harris
  6. The Potters Wheel~Brian Mace
  7. A Rainy Day~Carla Jones
  8. Guiding Light~Wyatt Nations

KICKN IT JAVA STYLE WITH CASSIE 7/11/15

 

THIS WEEKS FEATURED ARTIST

BRIAN MACE

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THIS WEEKS PROGRAM WAS SPONSORED BY WYATT NATIONS

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THANK YOU ALL FOR LISTENING TO KICKN IT JAVA STYLE WITH CASSIE

 

Dream Catcher 3:20

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