Music News & Reviews

Celebrating 30th year in Christian music, Chapman leads ‘Roadshow’ to town

Steven Curtis Chapman
Steven Curtis Chapman Courtesy photo

It really wasn’t intentional, Steven Curtis Chapman says, to have his memoirs released during this, his 30th year in Christian music.

“It’s a lot of journey, a lot of stories, a lot of memories,” Chapman said from his home in Franklin, Tenn. “It just felt like a good opportunity to celebrate that with friends and audiences around the country.”

Not only does his book, “Between Heaven & the Real World: My Story,” come out on March 7, Chapman also is on tour as part of “The Rock & Worship Roadshow,” which starts this weekend and lands at the Hartman Arena in Park City on March 2.

He’s on a bill with Rend Collective, an Irish band whose 2014 album, “The Art of Celebration,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian charts; Francesca Battistelli, a jazz-inspired singer-songwriter who has sold more than 1.7 million albums; Passion, a trio with praise music hits including “One Thing Remains” and “Even So Come”; Family Force 5, an Atlanta-based hip-hop band; and Jordan Feliz, whose song “The River” was No. 1 for 10 weeks on Billboard’s Christian singles chart.

The evening also includes a preshow party featuring Urban Rescue and Derek Minor, as well as speaker Tony Wolf and host Carlos Whittaker.

Chapman said he’ll do about a 40-minute set, not the two-hour gig he’d do if it was a solo performance.

“I just love the community, the camaraderie of a lot of artists,” Chapman said. “Usually it’s just me and one or two others, and I’m shouldering the weight of that tour. It’s truly refreshing to just lock arms with a bunch of artists who are like-minded, and it’s a great opportunity to deepen friendships.”

Chapman said he’s written with Rend Collective and written and performed occasionally with Battistelli, but welcomes being exposed to new performers and new music.

“This is such a perfect time for me to do something like this,” he said. “Plus, it feels like a really cool opportunity.”

Widely considered as one of the pioneering artists in contemporary Christian music, the 54-year-old shrugs off any notions of being the elder statesman on the tour.

“I stay away from ‘father of’ and ‘grandpa of,’ but maybe the big brother to some of these artists,” Chapman said. “Several of these artists have gone out of their way to say how my music has influenced them, even before they started doing music – in college or high school.

“I get these great, honoring stories about how my music was part of their faith journey and their creative journey,” he said.

The winner of five Grammy Awards and 58 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, Chapman said he feels humbled by the adulation from his fellow performers.

“It’s been such a cool experience for me,” he said. “I want to embrace that for sure and soak that in, because it’s such a cool and honoring thing.”

Chapman first entered the Christian music scene three decades ago with the song “Weak Days” from his debut album, “First Hand.”

Forty-eight No. 1 Christian songs have followed in the past 30 years, but Chapman said his set for the “Rock & Worship Roadshow” won’t be a nostalgia trip.

“I feel like my music is still relevant to where people are right now, and I certainly don’t want the message in my music to be, ‘Let’s take a stroll down memory lane,’ ” he said. “I want to show people where I’m going rather than just bringing back the memories.”

There will likely be some new music as part of his set, Chapman said, but it should still satisfy those who have followed his career.

“I’m not sitting on a stool and strumming the ballads,” he said. “We will saddle up our horses and dive in and do the things people know me to do with my music. It’s a part of a lot of people’s musical lives and memories.

“I plan to keep it very fresh and fun as well,” he said.

Chapman said it made sense to put out his autobiography now. He recounts his youth in Kentucky and his rise in the Christian music world – as well as the tragic 2008 death of his 5-year-old daughter, Maria, accidentally struck and killed by a car driven by one of his older children.

“It’s a good point to pause and reflect and remember and tell you my story – not just 20, 30 and 40 years ago, but the journey of my family in the past eight years, our journey from grief and losing our little girl and getting a chance to share from the perspective I have now that I wouldn’t have two or three years ago,” Chapman said.

“It was really about perspective,” he added. “There have been plenty of times through the years that I’ve entertained the idea of writing my story, but it always felt a little premature, like there wasn’t the right point in the journey to step aside and sort of reflect and remember. This felt like the right time.”

Chapman said he was encouraged by “Choosing to See,” a 2010 book written by his wife, Mary Beth, about their family before and after the accident.

“It really was an encouragement to me and inspired me to do this myself,” Chapman said. “I’ve heard so many people say how grateful they were that she didn’t try to sugar-coat or put a bow around things. That’s hard for me to end a song without trying to wrap up the loose ends.”

Rock & Worship Roadshow Tour

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2

Where: Hartman Arena, 8151 N. Hartman Arena Drive, Park City

What: A night of Christian music from Steven Curtis Chapman, Francesca Battistelli, Rend Collective, Passion, Family Force 5 and Jordan Feliz, among others

Tickets: $10 at the door, with $50 and $95 VIP tickets available online at