In the world of Southern gospel, a new release from Mark Lowry is cause for rejoicing.
This time it’s the second part of a DVD taping that last year yielded Unplugged & Unplanned, a relaxed, laid-back, living room-like look at genre superstar Lowry and fellow artist friends including Stan Whitmire, Sisters, Michael Lord, Amber Balltzglier and Beverly “Mama” Lowry. The new disc, Whatcha Need–Live In Nashville, is more of the same, with the addition of Kelly Willard.
“It’s a continuation of Unplugged & Unplanned–me sitting around with the piano with my pianist [Whitmire], though there are some other musicians on this one as well,” says Lowry. “We’re just telling stories and singing songs.”
The songs include the titletrack, “one of the most popular songs I do on the road,” he says.
“People have been asking for it,” Lowry continues. “I’ve had it on CD, but never on DVD.”
He singles out “Willing Heart,” from Contemporary Christian songstress Willard, as another highlight (it was originally the titletrack of her 1981 album). But Lowry fans will no doubt gravitate to “God Doesn’t Know,” which he wrote.
“It kind of goes with ‘Mary, Did You Know?'” notes Lowry, referring to his much-covered classic. “Momma always told me, ‘God know’s everything’–but now I’ve found some things even God doesn’t know, like a sinner he can’t love, or a broken heart he can’t mend, or a place where he can’t be.”
As he’s known as much for his uproarious Christian comedy as his songwriting and singing, Lowry stresses that Whatcha Need is not a comedy program.
“We’re just talking about what’s going on behind the scenes and in our lives,” he says, noting how he himself is dealing with serious matters like his aging parents and all that that entails.
“We go through stuff, too,” he says soberly, “but it’s not totally depressing!”
Then again, for Mark Lowry, how could it be?
“I bought me an RV, and I love it!” he says, switching subjects. “I named it The Holy Roller, and it’s parked right here next to the big-boy buses.”
The Houston resident is now on the road, out with legendary Southern gospel artist/impresario Bill Gaither as part of his Gaither Vocal Band–of which Lowry’s been a longtime member.
“I’m 53,” he says. “I ain’t trying to start a career–I’m trying to end one! But I’ve got my Gaither thing and my solo thing, and I’m trying to find new ways to tell people that God is crazy about them!”
“He gets such a bad rap!” Lowry concludes.
[The Examiner has written liner notes on several Gaither label releases.]
Subscribe to my modenook.com pages and follow me on Twitter!