Lit­tle Rock mu­si­cian en­joys op­por­tu­nity to play ‘at home’

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - RELIGION - FRANCISCA JONES

Ja­son Truby, one­time gui­tarist for the award-win­ning rock band Payable On Death (known as P.O.D.), will weave per­for­mances of his gui­tar and vo­cal songs into Park Hill Pres­by­te­rian Church’s 11 a.m. Sun­day wor­ship ser­vice.

The 44-year-old Lit­tle Rock na­tive, who wrote the songs “Sleep­ing Awake” for the Ma­trix Reloaded sound­track and “Truly Amaz­ing” for an al­bum in­spired by the Mel Gib­son-di­rected 2004 movie Pas­sion of the Christ, sees play­ing at Sun­day’s ser­vice in North Lit­tle Rock as an op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce parish­ioners to tracks from his 2016 al­bum Hymns: Gui­tar Ar­range­ments for Peace and Heal­ing, and to play mu­sic “back at home.”

Carol Clark, pas­tor at Park Hill, in­vited Truby to be part of the ser­vice af­ter a con­gre­gant who takes gui­tar lessons from the mu­si­cian told her about Truby’s mu­sic.

The se­lec­tions Truby will play from his al­bum cor­re­spond well with the church’s cur­rent theme, “An­cient Words,” with a fo­cus on the word “heal­ing.” A time for prayer and anoint­ing will take place while Truby is play­ing.

Clark’s hope, she said, is that the ser­vice pro­vides space for peo­ple to con­nect with God, al­lows for a spir­i­tual form of heal­ing and an op­por­tu­nity to “rest in beau­ti­ful mu­sic.”

Hymns is Truby’s fifth in­stru­men­tal al­bum, a work of fin­ger-style gui­tar tracks in­clud­ing “Amaz­ing Grace,” “Be Thou My Vi­sion” — the old­est hymn on the al­bum, which dates to sixth-cen­tury Ire­land — and other clas­sics.

“[With] ev­ery al­bum, I hope I have a cen­tral thread that makes me who I am,” Truby said.

The thread that runs through Truby’s work has seen a clear path but has also come with a few snags over the years, one of which was his iden­tity and vi­sion as a mu­si­cian.

“[In P.O.D.] we made it pretty clear that we were a band cre­at­ing mu­sic ar­tis­ti­cally and we hap­pened to be be­liev­ers, and that’s go­ing to come out in our art form, one way or the other. … [Some­times] you feel like you wrote this for one peo­ple group only, and in my ca­reer, I’ve never [done that].”

For Truby, his time in P.O.D. had highs and lows, he said, and there were dif­fer­ent sides to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“[When] the pub­lic puts your iden­tity in what you cre­ate, I think that’s re­ally dan­ger­ous,” Truby said. “But what is neat is that, ‘Hey, this is big­ger than any­body,’ in that we’re har­ness­ing [mu­sic] and en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple.”

And although P.O.D. is com­monly re­ferred to as Chris­tian rock or Chris­tian metal , Truby said he con­sid­ers the term “Chris­tian mu­sic” to be a mis­nomer.

“You have all these gen­res of mu­sic … and they’re all cat­e­go­rized, and here’s hip-hop, and here’s rock, and here’s jazz, and then you have Gospel — and then you have P.O.D. right next to Amy Grant right next to Jars of Clay,” said Truby, who said his mu­sic is in­tended for ev­ery­one.

De­spite ac­co­lades and the band’s wide­spread suc­cess — P.O.D.’s 2001 al­bum Satel­lite went triple plat­inum — the con­stant trav­el­ing that had be­come “un­healthy” and Truby’s grow­ing fam­ily were what drew him to leave the band and re­turn to Lit­tle Rock at the end of 2006.

Since then, Truby has been work­ing from his home stu­dio, writ­ing and record­ing mu­sic and help­ing other artists. It’s where he spends time with his wife, Au­dra, and four chil­dren, all of whom Truby said were brought by the Lord through adop­tion. It’s also where he teaches mu­sic to about 50 stu­dents be­tween the ages of 6 and 65.

Mu­sic, Truby has found, can cre­ate a segue to dis­cus­sions about faith with his stu­dents — reli­gious or not.

The ma­jor­ity of stu­dents who come to Truby to learn gui­tar, mu­sic the­ory, song­writ­ing, bass, piano or per­cus­sion are be­tween the ages of 12 and 25, he said, and “if you sing about [faith], like I do, then you’re go­ing to have peo­ple come up who are ques­tion­ing it, and you’re go­ing to have con­ver­sa­tions if you’re open and hon­est about it.”

Truby said he has found that men­tor­ship also hap­pens through in­struc­tion. A ques­tion about the ori­gin of a mi­nor chord, for ex­am­ple,

can lead to a ques­tion about the ori­gin of an el­e­ment of faith or of an idea, or an is­sue a stu­dent raises for dis­cus­sion.

“What I think is re­ally neat about mu­sic is that it’s a scalpel into the places that the truth wants to get to. And mu­sic is a metaphor [for that] … and in some cases they say, ‘I don’t be­lieve in God, I don’t want to talk about it,’ and I’ll say, ‘That’s OK, I ac­cept you right where

you are.’ And they stay, and they keep com­ing back. … And I’m not try­ing to see how elo­quently I can word some­thing to con­vert them. Or have them like me. I gave up on that a long time ago.”

In ad­di­tion to teach­ing, Truby has also been at work on sev­eral projects, in­clud­ing Broth­ers and Friends, an al­bum cre­ated by friend and fel­low mu­si­cian Phil Keaggy af­ter the death of their friend Tom Shin­ness, also a mu­si­cian, in Fe­bru­ary. Pro­ceeds from the al­bum ben­e­fited Shin­ness’ three daugh­ters, who he had been

rais­ing by him­self.

One of the tracks, “Beau­ti­ful Col­lapse,” is a song Truby wrote and recorded in 2006, and on which Shin­ness had later added his cello and zither as backup. Truby said Shin­ness’ daugh­ter Jas­mine heard the song for the first time af­ter her fa­ther’s death, loved it, and chose to sing vo­cals on the track for the ben­e­fit al­bum.

Later in the year, Truby plans to re­lease an in­stru­men­tal gui­tar Christ­mas al­bum. He has also been ready, he said, to cre­ate a vo­cal al­bum that’s “more edgy,”

and that will be a throw­back to some of his ear­lier mu­sic. Still un­ti­tled, the vo­cal al­bum will be re­leased next sum­mer.

As for Hymns, Truby said the al­bum was in­tended for peo­ple who might be suf­fer­ing phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally, or have lost a loved one, “but it’s turned out to be this broad stroke be­cause it takes a lot of peo­ple back to their child­hood.”

Clark said hymns have a pow­er­ful abil­ity to evoke mem­ory and emo­tion that tran­scends lyrics and faith.

“The hymns that we grew

up singing be­side Mama and Daddy, or aunt or un­cle, in a con­gre­ga­tion gets so deeply into our brains and minds,” Clark said, “be­cause sud­denly we’re trans­ported back to when Daddy was teach­ing us to turn pages in a hym­nal. … There are some [hymns] that when we be­gin to sing

them, peo­ple be­gin to cry.”

“I have been with peo­ple in nurs­ing homes later in their lives who can’t talk to you … but you put them in a chapel and you start singing ‘Je­sus Loves Me’ and they start singing,” Clark said. “It’s buried so deeply within us.”

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette/BARB RANEY

Ja­son Truby, a for­mer mem­ber of the rock band Payable On Death who teaches mu­sic from his Lit­tle Rock home, will play in­stru­men­tal gui­tar hymns and vo­cal songs dur­ing the Sun­day wor­ship ser­vice at Park Hill Pres­by­te­rian Church in North Lit­tle Rock.

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