Tommy Faulk has stored a lifetime of ministry, music and a number of artistic pursuits and has channeled it into a heartfelt new worship project, Come What May.
The independent singer out of Louisiana has a story of twists and turns in God's calling on his life, and with the release of the new project, I asked Tommy a handful of questions to get to know him, his background, his community and his heart for creating the art he does.
It's pretty obvious listening to your music that you're an experienced church worship leader. Talk about your background in the church!
I'll be 38 this year and I have spent all but about 4 years of that existence in church. My father is a pastor and his side of the family are all very musical, so church and music have pretty much always been with me. We're a rather large family and the majority of us all came to know Jesus on the same night so we all grew up in the faith as a family. I grew up watching my father learn how to lead people in worship. I started singing when I was around 7 and singing on worship teams when I was around 12--and have pretty much never stopped. My dad went into full-time ministry when I was a sophomore in high school but he'd pretty much been "full-time ministry" since the night he accepted Jesus, and we all came along.
I've had the privilege to serve on several church staffs, one being my dad's, and worship has always played a part in some way. It's been a joy to be a part of making music for Jesus and I've had the absolute honor over the years to lead worship and do music at churches, conferences, and elsewhere, but also grow as a worshiper and learn from some incredible men of God. Several years ago, while I was on staff with my dad, pastoral ministry started becoming part of what I did. This opened the door for me to also have the opportunity to preach more and even youth pastor for a time when God moved us on from my dad's church.
The journey of serving God in different aspects of ministry, both inside and outside the church, has been rewarding, amazing, challenging, maddening, stretching and utterly humbling as I continue to travel this path knowing the God of Heaven would choose to use me for His glory.
What's your life like outside of music? Family, spouse, kids, hobbies?
Outside of music, I have a beautiful wife, Sarah, and three amazing boys; Andrew, Aaron and Asher. My family is crazy and I love them dearly! I love the performing arts. From a young age, I always loved acting in front of a camera and would often spend my Saturday mornings making mini-movies with my dad's old VHS camcorder. In school, I acted competitively and followed that on through to a theatre degree from the University of Louisiana. My other interests in that vein include songwriting, scriptwriting, filmmaking, photography, playing my guitar and graphic design. In other veins, I love backpacking and hiking. I tried mountain biking but decided it would be in my personal best interest to view the great outdoors on foot.
You're in Louisiana. Talk about the faith climate where you are, as well as the Christian music scene there!
Growing up in Louisiana has been an adventure. Our food and music are like no other and those are some of the things that set us apart. It's the Deep South, so everyone growing up was very respectful and had an appetite for great cooking and great music. The spiritual climate of the area is a mixture of Protestant and Catholic faiths--the area where I grew up being more Catholic. The Christian music scene itself can be a little harder to identify at times, but there are wonderful musicians and singers who have come from this area and there are great pockets of churches and music teams expanding their musical reach to those beyond the four walls of the church.
Come What May is the new record. What brought you to create this EP? What were some experiences, some lessons, some inspirations that led to the project?
Making "Come What May" was a return to some long-rooted dreams for me. I started writing songs consistently when I was in college. That's when I started playing guitar and discovered I had a way to create both lyrics and music. Rough acoustic demos would follow and a small indie project a few years later.
When my kids were born and ministry life began to take me down different roads however, the music side of me took a back seat for a long while. But as my kids got older and I kept seeing different friends of mine who were also in worship step out to make new music, it began to rekindle my heart to write and craft new tunes. I would pull out my first indie release on my iPhone, play it and say, "That was fun. I need to do that again." Then it became more like, "I have to do that again."
I knew God was calling me out of my current position and I began to see that making music for Him on a large scale was a dream I always had but really never fully acknowledged or seriously pursued. So, I took the first step of faith towards that dream by investing in a full-scale studio project. I got in my prayer closet and had a couple great songs birthed there and decided to breathe new life into a couple of my older songs that I still felt had something to say.
Regarding the EP's title track, I can say God gave it to me very quickly, in just a few hours. He had been speaking to me and my wife through the account of God calling the children of Israel out of bondage into a new season of freedom, yet there would still be many challenges along the way--challenges they would need to continue to trust and believe in Him for. Their accounts and lessons learned really spoke to us both regarding a continual trust, not just a one-time faith statement, but a day to day declaration that we will trust Him and we will walk Him each day, come what may. Out of those loving but firm reminders from God came the song "Come What May."
Talk about your team, the people behind this record that made it possible.
With this project, I wanted to stretch myself and step outside of what I had done before. So I went completely fresh and I wound up working with Jake Hamilton and his production group, Resurgent Sound. We went to Soundhouse studios in Redding, California, and worked on the project there. They pulled together a great group of people to collaborate and play on this project. We had Seth Thomas on drums who's played with Bethel music, Scott Mills from Colony House on the electric and Dustin Lau, who composes with Musicbed, on the keys. When I returned home from California, I pulled a little from the past and brought in Richard Gaspard, the producer from my first project, to add in bass. The result was a project that creatively stretched me farther than I'd ever been able to go before. It was awesome to have such great people helping bring the music to life.
I loved how when your album released on January 26, you took time to tell people to listen to Cory Asbury's record! What are some other albums you're listening to?
I have such a diverse collection of music on my phone. I've been putting music into my iTunes library for years and have taken over the last couple years to just going into the songs and hitting "random." It has made for some fun listening sessions. But the music I'm currently listening to on purpose is Cory Asbury's newest project, Reckless Love. I've been a big fan of his for a long time and his honesty and passion for God comes out in every track of this new project. Some others include Dustin Smith's "Coming Alive," Mosaic MSC's track "Tremble," some old-school Henry Seeley from the Planetshakers days and Steven Curtis Chapman's 25th Anniversary edition of "The Great Adventure."Steven Curtis will ALWAYS be in my track rotation!
Musically speaking, what excites you?
Things that excite me musically are big builds, electric guitars and crash outs! I love listening to a team build a bridge, slowly ramp it up and then just let it explode. Layered chords in tender times of worship always get me as well. It's a little more difficult on guitar but I love hearing voicings on a chord that are layered--it's just a way for the music to be at one with a group of people who are offering a multi-faceted praise to their King. I don't play keys but simple solo piano playing when you're pouring your heart out to God is a go-getter for me as well.
You've released another project, Valleys in Between. How did you know it was time to release more music?
Valleys in Between was my first ever step into producing music God had given me for people. It was a great experience. I loved writing the songs and creating the tracks and the audience it reached, I believe, was blessed by it. It was a short-lived time, however. Life shifted when my family grew not long after the project's release and other paths in life became the ones I walked down. But as I said before, I traveled those roads for a number of years, and God began to rekindle the drive to write and a desire to return to one of my main passions and that's making music for Him. It was a pull I couldn't, nor did I want to, ignore. Though it's taken a little while, I'm extremely grateful for the process and path I've been on; I'm believing God will use the things learned along the way to continue to add to this new season.
What did you want to say this time around?
With "Come What May," I want us to have a chance to remember, receive and respond to God's faithfulness. It's something I have to remind myself of over and over as the day to day can many times become the main thing we see. No matter what we may encounter down the road, good or bad, God has promised He's with us. Yet it's easy to forget His goodness when the newest problem arises. But come what may, He's been too good to us to think He'd do anything other that what He's promised--and that's to never leave us, to never forget about us. When we take hold of that, of how faithful He is, of how true, strong and steadfast His love is, we won't have any problems walking in faith and giving Him the glory He so rightly deserves. That's the heart of these songs and that's what I hope and pray is conveyed.
Marcus Hathcock is the Executive Editor of NewReleaseToday.com, a husband to Savannah, father of three and a worship leader living in Boise. He has released an EP, Songs For Tomorrow, and occasionally blogs at mheternal.com.
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