Preachers preach. Builders build. Plumbers plumb. They use the tools they've got to do the work at hand. For some, it's a living; for others, it's a way of life. Those who do not preach or build or plumb don't always see the simple beauty of the work. But it is there nonetheless.
Songwriters write songs in much the same way. They do what they do because it's the work at hand. Life compels them. Words are their tools.
For Gary Chapman, whose career spans more than 20 years and includes eight Dove Awards, four #1 songs on multiple charts, three GRAMMY Award nominations, and a successful run of three years as host of TNN's Prime Time Country, writing songs has always been his favorite tool, most enjoyed when songs come together simply because the words have come to life and must be shared.
An old Shaker hymn sums it up nicely: "'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free..."
The simplicity and truth of the work is the sole motivation behind Circles and Seasons, Chapman's first truly solo project, one in which he single-handedly recorded, produced, and engineered, along with writing all the songs, playing all the instruments and singing all the vocals.
What began as a simple test drive - Chapman had been given a new Yamaha processor board for hosting at a music technology convention - took flight as a whole new musical adventure. The process of diving into the manual and getting his hands around the machine lit a fuse of creativity and became an album, fueled solely by his passion for the music and for the message.
"I have always had the good sense to hire people more gifted than I was, but when you record in the studio, with hired engineers, producers and players, you always wind up with their version of what you heard in your head. When they're better than you and they just played something great, it's hard to say...'no that's not it'." Gary says of the recording process. "I've never done a record like this before, but from the moment I started, I knew I had stumbled onto something I probably should have done long ago. I think because I'm not some virtuoso musician, the simplicity allowed the songs to speak."
But make no mistake, simplicity need not imply 'less than.' In fact, Gary says, less can be much more.
"There were a lot of things I did that, had I been in the studio with the clock ticking, I never would've taken the time to do. It was so much fun just to get lost in the process with no one else there and just let the song take you where it wanted you to go. Most of the time the players drive the song. In this case, the song drove the player."