Singer/songwriter Curt Collins isn’t one of those guys who entered music industry ranks just to puff up with fame, stroke his own ego or amass the riches that a hit single can cultivate. Rather he’s cut from an incredibly sincere cloth steeped in wanting to serve others, share with them touching stories from his life, be a listening ear for the broken and a source of hope for the hurting. While that might seem like the general protocol for any contemporary Christian artist, Collins’ passion overflows in an undeniably unique manner, making it impossible to ignore and perhaps more potent than any relative newcomer in recent memory.
“It’s always been my goal to touch one person at a time even though people always ask ‘don’t you want to do more than that?’” considers Collins as he gears up for a 2006 self-titled CD release. “I think my music has no boundaries and is for the church and unchurched. I also have a heart for kids in children’s homes, the ones who were abandoned and forgotten, and all the parents out there.”
The fibers of Collins’ testimony actually date back to his adoption from youth and parents who unconditionally stood by his side personally, musically and spiritually. Though they’ve both since passed away, the troubadour looks to their relationship with fondness and anchors much of his expressions as a tribute to them, as well as directed towards his wife and children.
“When I was in eighth grade, I’d sit with my guitar at the fireplace and on winter nights I’d play for my parents,” he recalls of that youthful artistic growth spurt. “When I got done, usually with something by John Denver, I’d notice my mother crying, though she’d always try to hide it. I’ve realized it’s okay to cry and now the tears are mine now that my parents are gone, but I take every opportunity to let my family know how much I care about that and that we’re all in this together.”
In fact those bonds are so tight that the family re-routed its course from a life in Little Rock, Arkansas to a recent move towards Nashville given Collins’ recording commitments and desire to be located in the heart of Music City. Though homesickness is a part of every move and loved ones were left behind, many new doors have been opened and its only brought Curt, his wife Bettinna and sons Aaron and Colin that much closer together.
“Any move is tough, but through a lot of prayer and consideration, this decision really sat right on our hearts,” Collins explains, continuing with unabashed honesty. “There have already been times when it’s been tough and we’ve missed our old home, but there have been several signs already that God has called us here. How can we question His will when His son died on the cross for us?”
Amongst those several signs is a pairing with producer/songwriter Jamie Slocum (and chart topping Curb Records artist) for the self-titled project’s sessions. The duo’s partnership came after a web of mutual musical friends put the two in touch and their time together ranged from songwriting to studio time to touring to a genuine friendship outside of professional pretenses.
“When I first met Jamie, we just got together and started writing, which is one of the many things he’s tremendous at doing,” Collins offers. “We were both waiting on the Lord about a lot of things and asked God to show us the way. The message that kept coming to us through that time together was God telling us ‘hey, don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of you and everything’s set.’”
Indeed it was, as those creative consultations not only soothed both men’s spirits, but the outcome also resonated with the public at large, shooting the album’s lead single “Waiting On You” up the charts on five major reporting radio stations across the country in a matter of weeks! Of course Collins is no stranger to the airwaves, already racking up a top ten hit with “Backyard Hero” (from his independent album Don’t Look Back Now) and the bi-lingual smash “Pray For the World,” though that type of response is remarkable considering this album’s forthcoming status!
But that track is merely one of the many standouts on the endeavor, including “Love Unconditional,” a powerful pop ballad soaked in tender strings, reminding all of Christ’s care for His children and a father’s love for his family in earthly contexts as well. A nod to the old school Rich Mullins’ “Growing Young” is a tear-jerking Prodigal Son type tale, sure to resonate with fans of “Backyard Hero” and already a concert favorite. The mighty “Shadow and Light” returns to finding hope amongst the darkness and trusting in God’s ultimate plan, while a riveting nod to Harry Chapin’s “Cats In the Cradle” again covers the father/son dynamic.
“Children grow up so fast and you better show them you love them because they’ll be all grown up and on their own one day,” observes Collins. “I was ministering at a prison in Forrest City, Arkansas and a resident came up to me after the concert thanking me for performing and told me he had a son who was a teenager. I’ll never forget him telling me with a tear in his eye ‘make sure to hug your child at night and tell him you love him because I can’t’ and that’s an incredibly poignant message I hope to pass on to others through this record.”
But even to that prisoner who won’t likely see the light of day until his son is completely grown, Collins is quick to recall Christ’s awe inspiring power and ability to heal the wounds of brokenness, distance and despair whether separation points are across the country, with physical bars in the way or through towering emotional walls.
“I just hope that I could touch all age groups and have a son hug his dad and mother hug her daughter no matter what they may be going through,” Collins concludes. “And for those with circumstances beyond their control, know that there’s always hope out there. I always tell people that there’s much more to life than just getting through the day, but that you can experience true happiness and healing through a relationship with Christ.”
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