The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
It has been 20 years since Steven Curtis Chapman’s breakthrough hit, The Great Adventure, was released.
If that makes you feel a little old, if your perspective on the rousing rocker has changed over two decades, Chapman is with you.
“When it came out, oh, what, 20 years ago-ish, which is pretty crazy, it was as rockin’ as anything they played at Christian radio,” Chapman, 49, recalls. “And that song represents a moment in time. There’s an element of it that was every summer camp song — hey, let’s saddle up our horses, and everybody made up dances to it in Christian youth groups and things, and it becomes almost a novelty of sorts.
“But for me, I know where that song came from originally. It was far from a ‘rah-rah, let’s go have fun’ song. It was really rooted in some hard things I was wrestling with coming into this understanding of God loves me, God has this plan for my life that is like an adventure, not a prison. Grace is something that makes our lives everything they were meant to be.
“I really wanted to recapture that.”
So, he rerecorded the song and a number of other hits, including Heaven in the Real World and More to This Life, for his latest album, re:creation.
As it starts to play, it sounds like it might be a mellow, unplugged Great Adventure on the new album. But then it builds, strings come in, and the adventure becomes Spielbergian, life as a great adventure with a cinematic swath.
And Chapman can claim that kind of life, becoming a chart-topping recording artist, traveling the world to perform and gather his family as an adoptive parent, suffering the communal tragedy of the school shootings at his alma mater, Paducah’s Heath High School, and the personal tragedy of the death of one of his children.
“There’s a lot of life crammed into 31/2 minutes of a song,” Chapman says. “Sometimes there’s years and years of life and story that went into that song, and I love knowing it and I love sharing it.”
To tour the latest album, Chapman decided to take a different approach than just putting together a band and hitting the road.
For the Songs & Stories Tour, which stops at Southland Christian Church in Jessamine County on Tuesday night, Chapman has brought along fellow Christian artists Andrew Peterson and Josh Wilson for a sort of Nashville-style singer-songwriter night.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich