John Whitcomb Review - ChristianMusic.com

SOUL CHECK CD - John Whitcomb

John Whitcomb's Mission statement: "God is real. Christ is alive!!! I will face my grave for Him for I know it is He who awaits in eternity for me!! Without a doubt!! Its why I can go on mission trips around the other side of the world and fear not. Its why I can speak to my kids and tell them of the mistakes I made without God by my side and how He continued to pursue me. Its how I can tell my 'not on fire' family members that I am at peace with my eternity. Knowing God's gift of music is simply awesome and I love to repay God for that gift."

john_whitcomb

SOUL CHECK CD - John Whitcomb

Whitcomb's Purpose for Selling his Music: "I have a very precise goal for promoting my music and that is to support Burmese orphanages. I have twice traveled to Myanmar (Burma) to bring financial relief as well as encouragement to the Burmese people and some of the orphanages there. It is an incredibly humbling and inspiring part of my life. I thank God for the awesome privilege of doing so."

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John Whitcomb - SOUL CHECK CD

John Whitcomb is a talented Christian music artist, whose faith and love for Christ shines through his creative, unique songs which encompass many styles of music, featuring his remarkable guitar work, his unique styles of singing, all of which have been developed throughout his long involvement in both secular and Christian music. John explains, "I would say I write in a stylist format. I have no allegiance to any one type of sound."

This reviewer would heartily agree with his analysis of his compositions, which uniquely reflect his background in Rock, Country, Honky Tonk, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and Classical music, creating songs which not only inspire one's Christian walk, but also are musically unique to any other Christian artist. His music carries not only a strong Christian message, but also is really interesting and enjoyable, as it breaks out of the contemporary Christian music format.

His many years in performing in a variety of musical groups, from rock to classical, his informal and formal training and the inspiration and calling he received from the Lord, have all come to influence his current Christian music ministry, creating a unique Christian Music CD, SOUL CHECK. This entertaining group of songs, John tells us, "describe my love affair with Christ."

Whitcomb's love of music was fostered in his childhood, youth, and young adulthood by various influences, which helped his natural talent in music to grow and develop. John told us, "Being a '60's kid and having four older sisters I was exposed to all types of music. My dad was a trumpet player in college and loved big band and musicals. I fell in love with entertaining when 'The Monkees' came along. I fell in love with the guitar when I saw Johnny Mcglaughlin and the Mahivishnu Orchestra on Don Kirschners 'Rock Concert'."

In his teenage years, he was attracted to both pop music and quirky instrumentalists alike. He played in various secular rock bands, as he developed his guitar and other string instrument skills. He also became a Christian in his youth, but kept his faith and music separate at this time in his life, though the Lord had other plans for his talents. His other musical influences include Jeff Beck, Johnny McGlaughlin and Edgar Winters, whose first albums were "very hip jazz fusion things."

John Whitcomb further explains about his influences."My slide playing was most influenced by Tommy Bolin and Johnny Winter. I then got into Dave Grisman and his 'Dawg Music' a crazy mix of jazz blues and swing on the mandolin. I play mandolin too but its not featured on this project. As I fell in love with Christ I fell in love with Christian music. I still don't have a huge collection of Christian artists in my CD case but I find I am very selective to what I hear. I listen for sincerity and passion in a performance. Knowing Gods gift of music is simply awesome and I love to repay God for that gift."

After graduating from high school, John had the opportunity to expand his musical skills and abilities when he joined a country band. John comments, "After hard rock bands in high school I went on the road in a country band on the 'Honky Tonk' circuit. We played every hoot n holler from Canada to Mississippi. Talk about an education!"

After touring for awhile, John Whitcomb decided to get a formal musical education and enrolled in a California music school, the Musicians Institute in Hollywood CA., known as GIT, founded by a Christian, Pat Roberts. During this time, he began to hear a very strong calling from the Lord, as well as receive valuable musical training in not only technique but also in performance.

When asked by ChristianMusic.com, "What was most valuable to you in attending GIT?" John Whitcomb answered: "What did I learn at GIT? How to play horribly in front of fabulous teachers and other students and show my face at school again the next day! GIT is a boot camp for musicians stressing survival skills such as sight reading, ear training, chordal harmony, and basic life skills. It was there I got my musical hind end kicked and I began to listen to God a bit more. I had been a believer since in my teens but I was then on the road to really listening to Him."

While attending GIT, Whitcomb had more opportunities to practice what he was learning by playing in groups in nearby Borrego Springs, CA. "I gigged on the weekends in Borrego Springs CA. which is an incredible place," John explains.

After getting a formal musical education, Whitcomb went on to experience two other types of music genres, in Nashville, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana. In Nashville Tennessee, John Whitcomb worked in a Rhythm and Blues band while working for an audio and lighting company. Then, a move back to Indianapolis landed John in a pit orchestra at the American Cabaret Theater, where he did a little bit of everything. John further explains: "For five years I was exposed to the genius of Gershwin, Porter, Leosser, and Carmichael. I did a little bit of everything. I played bass, percussion, mandolin, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars. I sang and even did a cameo or two from time to time. Probably the highlight for me was playing barefoot on-stage 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps' on a late 60's Gibson Flying 'V'."

However, it was finding the love of his life, his wife Terri, that propelled John fully into the world of Christian music, which was where the Lord had in mind for John's gifts and talents; to serve the Lord through promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. John explains, "Getting married in '95 was the beginning of my love affair with Christian music. Finding out that Christian music was suddenly very cool (to me any way) was great! I first attended a Vineyard Church in Indy. It was very cool and the first time I had heard a really happening praise band. That was about '95. Ever since I have been in some type of praise band or Christian rock band."

John Whitcomb's fine guitar work can be heard in such bands as Curtis Moore's group. John was the lead guitarist on Moore's CD, ONE OF THESE MORNINGS. "I am so privileged to play with the people I do and so humbled to be chosen by God to do it. Knowing Gods gift of music is simply awesome and I love to repay God for that gift."

While currently not involved in a regular praise band, because he is devoting time to children's ministries at his church, and composing new songs, John Whitcomb does sit in once a month with "a very happening bunch of players at a church on the south side of Indy."

On the songs found his new CD, SOUL CHECK, John Whitcomb had help from his talented friends; musicians who helped to bring his music to life, and an experienced production staff.

John Whitcomb's back up Musicians and Friends: (Adding their talents to Whitcomb's songs on this CD) - As introduced by John Whitcomb:

Soul Check CD Production Staff - "It was recorded at Aireborn Studios in Indianapolis. Mike Wilson and John Bolt own the place and they are two great guys with tons of experience and spirit. Ben Vawter was the engineer par excellence. He really made it sound grrreat!"

Vocals: "The back up harmonies on the CD were myself and a friend from Indy by the name of Chris Stone. She did a great job and even did her own arranging (which is cool)!"

Bass Guitar: "Her husband Jeff played bass on some of the tracks."

Percussion: 1) "Larry Sauer played drums. He is simply so tasteful in his chops its crazy. 2) "Kevin Burkett from Bloomington IN played drums on 'Shout it Out Loud' and 'Pray for the Preacher'."

Keyboards: "Keyboards were played by Darren Vincent."

SOUL CHECK CD - Samples of the SONGS

The nine, soul and faith inspiring, uniquely different songs offered on this CD promote the love and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus, and the joy and support we find in Him, as we walk with Him in a relationship, when He becomes our Lord and Savior.

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD - by J Whitcomb 02 (John 14:6, John 8:12, Romans 15:5)

A Rock - Style Praise song, with a strong electrical guitar intro solo, with the driving rhythm being established with acoustical guitars and drums. The song begins with John Whitcomb singing the Chorus, as a vocal only intro, before the band joins him with their musical introduction. The song brings home the importance of Christians sharing their faith, joy, and life in Jesus Christ.

"SHOUT IT OUT LOUD was written while attending the national 'Acquire the Fire' conference in Indy two years ago. The speaker was talking about Intl.;. missions and the words just appeared on the notebook in front of me." - John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

Chorus: Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud. Take Jesus to the nations across the sea and through the clouds Shout it shout it shout it loud and clear. Live it with a passion abandon all your fears.

1) Take it to the cities; take to the hills, See that every valley the Holy Spirit fills. The hearts of men are empty just waitin' for the day. The truth is spoken to them and that truth will light their way.

Chorus

2) If darkness falls on a nation. And there's no one there to see. Will the sound of desperation, Bring a people to their knees. Only Christ the Savior. Will move a nation's heart. To leave behind the chains of sin. And peace to them impart. So some of us can travel. And some of us can pray. Only God can heal the nations in a supernatural way. Jesus gives the vision His love will be the guide. We'll take it to the nation. On loves eternal tide.

Chorus Abandon all your fears.....yeah.

* Title Song: SOUL CHECK - By J Whitcomb 99 (John 3:16, John 11:25, Romans 5:6-8)

A song that really cooks with a syncopated, rhythm and blues funky style with soulful vocals, rock drums, and sharp guitar counter syncopated rhythmic melody. Intro features nice rhythmic solo of bass guitar, with drums establishes the beat and feel of the song. Electric guitar joins with rhythmic counter melody. The vocals skillfully intersect with the rhythm of the piece, and bring the song to life, much to the enjoyment of the listener.

"SOUL CHECK is about the many ways that words and attitudes are misused. Soul , of course, is God given and the word has been humanized into something else." - John Whitcomb.

Lyrical Samples:

1) Lets do the soul check, I don't mean your rhythm and blues. Lets do the soul check, I don't mean your blue, blue, blue, blue suede shoes. Talkin' bout your soul.....talking bout your soul.

2) Get ready for the soul check. I don't mean your vegematic... kitchen device. Lets do the soul check. Yeah, I don't mean your sloppy, sloppy, floppy device. No! Chicken livers tasty only when its fried. Where's your soul goin' Once your body's died? Get ready for the....

Bridge: Jesus loves me this I know, cause the Bible tells me so.....He is strong.....Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that save a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.... Yeah yeah yeah Yeah Yeah.

3) Lets do the soul check. I don't mean your red white and blue. No! Lets do the the soul check. I don't mean the good, good, good, good, things you do. When your face down on the treadmill, And both your hands are tied. Won't you be wishin' that Christ was by your side? by your side? by your side?

* SPEAKING OF GOD - John Whitcomb C '99 (John 14:1, John 15:18-20, Philippians 3)

A favorite of this reviewer. Composed in a minor key, with a solid acoustical support, steady drums and features the unique sound of slide guitars, in the introduction, played by Whitcomb on his "trusty G and L SC3", which "looks like a tank but chimes like a bell," John tells ChristianMusic.com.

John Whitcomb's comments on SPEAKING OF GOD: "I guess what I want to say about 'Speaking of God; is that the more you pursue God the easier it is to die to yourself. I would have never in a million years thought I would have been a devout Christian let alone spends tons of time and energy writing music that describes my love affair with Christ. I was afraid that when I began to write Christian music that there would not be enough subject material to write about! Ha! God is real. Christ is alive!!! I will face my grave for Him for I know it is He who awaits in eternity for me!! Without a doubt!! . How can one not 'speak of God?"

Lyrical Samples:

1) Well it happened, Just like He said it would. To my friends and family, I am now misunderstood. And it's heavy. This cross I chose to bear. But my life has changed, And I no longer care. And speaking of God, Is what got me here. Down on my knees, Between a laugh and a tear. And speaking of God I know He's with me, Every step of the way. And I no longer fear.

Chorus 1: Speaking of God, Speaking of God, Speaking of God, Speaking of God...........

2) Well I'm learning, The world will turn on you, Leave you long and lonely, Like a kid lost at the zoo. All is not peachy, On this side of town But I can be a fighter Or I can be a clown.

Chorus 2: While speaking of God, While speaking of God, speaking of God, speaking of God YEAH, Speaking of God, Speaking of God, Speaking of God, yeah!

SONG FOR TERRI - Latin samba feeling, easy Latin drum beat. A song written about the strong bond of marital love between a husband and a wife. Song uses dynamics nicely, building to the chorus.

"SONG FOR TERRI is dedicated to my wife. She simply loves me as I am and I am the luckiest man on earth!" - John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

1) Every twilight, as I'm on my way home, I pull into the drive, I see your silhouetted form. And I thank Jesus, for the love within my life and I thank Him for you, and I thank him for the time.

Chorus 1: Then you take me in your arms, and you look me in the eye, and hold me.

2) But every now and then, as is some of that ain't heard and when I see that pain in your eyes, my heart only yearns, make everything that's wrong (everything wrong), into every thing that's right, (everything right), so baby, baby, baby, I'm a man in love and I treasure every time...

Chorus 2: Then you take me in your arms, and you look me in the eyes, And hold me, you hold me, Hold me, you hold me, Hold me, you hold me.

3) Only time will tell, if our love is to survive, BUT Knowing what I know, our hearts will surely thrive, if you take me in your arms, and you look me in the eye, And hold me, why don't you hold me, come on and hold me in your arms, in your arms, Arms, in your arms.

* THE STONE -By John Whitcomb (Matt. 28:1-5, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-9)

Another favorite song of this reviewer, which reflects the exuberant joy of victory over death through Jesus; Jesus has risen, He has risen indeed! A joyous, energetic, Praise Song, celebrating what Jesus is to us, our Lord and Savior, who takes away our sin, when we believe in Him.

Song is done southern style with plenty of blue grass energy, and perhaps a touch of Honky Tonk and Blues. Introduction and first verse done in a bluesy, slow, soulful genre, which transforms to pure, energized joy when the Chorus jumps into a fast two beat measure pattern, which drives on through the rest of the song. Impressive Guitar work, doing bluegrass style rifts. Harmonica adds a lot to the introduction, as it plays with an acoustical guitar, which offer fine support to the vocals, which catch the spirit and moods of the song and get the message across to the listener. Nice two part vocal harmony.

"THE STONE is just a good ole' time knee slappin', Bluegrass thing depicting the day the stone is found to be rolled away and Christ is raised!" - John Whitcomb.

Lyrical Samples:

1) 'Early one mornin' I rose up to my feet. I was going down to my masters grave there I planned to weep. But oh Lord when I got there 'stead heard the joyful cries that said " the masters' resurrected and he did rise.

Chorus 1: Now that stone's been rolled away, rolled away, rolled away, that stone's been rolled away today. Oh Lord, I pray my soul, the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's been rolled away.

2) Now all my life I've lived in misery and sin, darkness has shrouded my dreams, I heard the words of Jesus, sought Him night and day, and my own stone has been rolled away.

Chorus 2: Now my stone has been rolled away, rolled away, rolled away, my stone has been rolled away today, Oh Lord I pray my soul the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's been rolled away. ROLL ON!!

3) Now if you got the blues, and don't know what to do. Take the time to listen to this song, sweet song. Trust in the Lord, in every single way, now you know the stone's been rolled away.

Chorus 3: Now your stone will roll away, roll away, roll away, your stone will roll away today. Oh Lord, I pray my soul, the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's been rolled away. Ever since that stone's been rolled away.

HOLD ME, HEAL ME - (Psalm 102:1-2, Psalm 91, Phil. 4:6-7, Ephesians 6:18)

An Acoustical Rock song, with some nice keyboards, interesting sound effects instruments, inspiring guitar work, written in a minor key. A song sure to encourage those having a discouraging day, and / or facing hard trials. The Lord is a source of empowerment, of comfort, and love, who will surely see us through anything life throws at us.

"Hold Me, Heal Me" - "This song shows my '80's influence in a big way. It's a pouring out of ones heart after a tough day at the office." - John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

1) Today God, everything is hard and I can't crack a smile. It seems that I have taken my dreams to a funeral pyre. My tools are broken, my dreams revoked and heaven is the only for sure. But the grave is not my goal and possession not the only cure.

2) So what do I do now besides pray to you God? Why can't I part a sea, cause an earthquake or two? Please forgive me for I am like Job crying to the 'Great I Am, but when I'm down and broken hearted, it's hard not to make this demand.

Chorus: You/ve got to... hold me (You got to), heal me (You got to), touch me (You got to), boldly. Hold me, heal me, touch me, boldly. You've got let me know, whom I am.... what I am.

* TRUE - A contemporary Praise and Worship Song, that has drive and energy, with a great melody, strong beat and a heart-felt message. A lively violin nicely introduces melody with vigorous guitar rhythmic back-up in the introduction, and between the Chorus and the verses. Violin and is part of the pretty, swirling ensemble of floating, euphoric sound, right before the driving ending of the song.

"True" - "Plain and simple. Just the giddy excitement of knowing who I am in Christ. A breakdown with violin sets the mood for some good worship." - John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

1) I heard you whisper my name, You gave my life eternal flame, that day, that awesome day... I bow my knee before your throne, its there the seeds of faith are sown into your loving soil.

Chorus: I know Your promises are true, In Your name there is nothing You won't do....

I drink from God's eternal spring......I need to fill on what He brings to my table now..... With the Spirit in my life, I speak the truth in perfect time, in God's amazing time.......

PRAY FOR THE PREACHER - (2 Cor. 1:10, 11 - Phil.1:19, Col. 4:3-4)

Another interesting Latin-flavored, Jazz- inspired song, with Latin rhythms that really cook, enjoyable acoustical guitar solos, all put together as only Whitcomb can do! Great dynamics in vocals and music. Nice harmony in the Chorus.

"Pray for the Preacher" - "I have a couple of friends who travel a lot as evangelists. This song is for them and all those who have to be separated from their families preaching the word."- John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

1) In the cool, of the evening....under the big tent, the preacher is preachin'. The village people, they come from miles around, hoping salvation will be found.

2) The preacher, he travels the countryside, looking for sinners who no longer want to hide, The Holy Spirit drives them to the crossroads, they raise up their hands and give up their lives.

Chorus: So pray for the traveling preacher, as he prays for us for life. So many people will pray for the traveling preacher, as he prays for us, yes, as he prays for us.

* GUILTLESS - (Hebrews 10:22, Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:15, Romans 7:14-25) -

Another favorite of this reviewer. A catchy, funky, syncopated song with elements of Jazz, Blues, and a few other styles, all blended into an interesting combination. Song starts with a crisp, syncopated intro by bass & electric guitars. Keyboards in a minor key (to add a sense of urgency) and the cooking rhythm section (drums, guitars), join in. Vocals skillfully sing the melody in the syncopated rhythm established by the music. Great electrical guitar solos with Jazz - Soul -R&B overtones.

Having Salvation through Jesus Christ not only takes away our sin, but our guilt as well, as Jesus Christ was our perfect sin offering. (John 3:16)

"Guiltless" - "One of the best parts of salvation I think. Knowing God loved me from the very beginning and will love me till the day we meet and forever!!" - John Whitcomb

Lyrical Samples:

1) I know what your thinkin'..just another pop tune about nothin', a rhythm and a rhythm and a rhyme and rhyme just wastin' your precious time. Now listen up to me, 'cause what I got to say you need to hear.

2) You say your down and bummin', like a slug you just be slummin', creepin' in the shadows dancin out of time doin' up now your little crimes, you say you want to change your tune? Brother, have I got a song for you.

Chorus 1: Cause I'm free and clean, do you know what I mean? I'm Guiltless!

3) There is a better way to do the things that you do, is it going to be your death, is it going to be your doom, when the rubber meets the road, are you going to be the toad that lets the tire tread squash you? Let the Savior of the world wash you clean. Come over here and see what I mean...

Bridge: Cause I ain't dyn', and I ain't cryn', don't you know, God is going to pay, and all you got to do is say.

Chorus 2: Lord, I'm free and clean, now I know what you mean, I'm Guiltless!

If you are interested in e-mailing John Whitcomb directly to inquire how to
receive a two song sample of this marvelous CD, e-mail him at jdwhitcomb@hotmail.com

Julie Carr - Reviewer for ChrsitianMusic.com


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