Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blessing Hearts - Old Paths Concert Recap

"Bless their hearts." I'm sure you all know that phrase. The phrase you say when you want to say something bad about someone to make yourself feel better. Well, I definitely have nothing bad to say about the Old Paths concert I attended last week, but "bless your heart" was definitely a theme for the night!

The Old Paths - Josh Townsend (piano), Jeremy Peace, Tim Rackley,
Doug Roark and Daniel Ashmore
The group started with "Love Them to Jesus." The song is one of their recent #1 songs that features lead singer Tim Rackley. The song has a beautiful message of how we need to love on people to really show them Jesus.

Then the group sang what would be the first of several songs from their latest project Stay. Jeremy Peace was featured on "You Never Cease to Amaze Me." Love this song! Then, bass singer Daniel Ashmore sang "Oh What a Happy Morning," which the crowd really got into! It was easy to see how much this crowd was loving seeing and hearing Old Paths. I've been to several concerts this year, and to me this crowd was one of the best.

They sang "God's Great" another #1 before singing another new one which was “Out of the Grave.” This is definitely a standout on their album and I’m so glad to hear them sing this one live. If you think Jeremy is impressive on the ending on the album, you should hear him live! Wow!

Doug Roark started introducing the group. He would pick on various members of the group saying “bless his heart.” It definitely became the joke of the night. He talked about how Josh Townsend, piano player, had a stroke in the second grade and doctors told him he would never use his left hand. When he let loose on the keyboard, it didn’t take you long to figure out that doctors aren’t always right. It’s also easy to forget that he’s only 17 with his talent! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him! Daniel then pulled out his saxophone and played “Where Could I Go.” Then he and Josh did an instrumental duet of “Are You Washed in the Blood” with the congregation joining in singing a bit.

Daniel then was featured on “Closer to My God.” Love hearing him on this older song! After more introductions, Doug sang “Just Can’t Get Over.” Great hearing him sing this one live. I think it speaks so much to the strength of a project when groups stage so many songs from it soon after its release!

Doug said that he was so grateful for the blood of Jesus. He was raised in church and knew about Jesus, but he didn't know Jesus. If you haven't heard Doug's testimony, make sure you go to the next Old Paths concert in your area! Doug's mother raised all eight of her children in church. His father was an alcoholic but later saved. Doug found a hero to look up to in one of his older brothers who looked like Robert Plant with Led Zeppelin (at this point one of the ladies in the audience piped up "Bless his heart!") His brother turned him on to drugs. "Sin always has an impact in our lives no matter how small it may seem," he said. He talked about the path he went down and where sin had him after years of drugs. Thankfully years later he met an old preacher who knew how to love on sinners. He shared that the song "Love Them to Jesus" was written about him. The preacher formed a relationship with Doug and invited him to church where Doug was saved. He said it was all because an ordinary person allowed God to do something extraordinary in his life.

This set up the song "Ordinary People" perfectly. Another new one that Tim sings. Tim is definitely one of the most underrated lead singers in the industry. They closed the first half with “We Are Those Children” and “Oh What a Savior.”

During intermission after the offering, the pastor of the church was talking about what a great first half it had been. He joked about how he would really be able to get up and preach for a while right then. Someone from the congregation shouted out, “Bless his heart!” The church erupted in laughter.

The pastor also mentioned that the church’s next concert would be Tribute Quartet on June 5. Doug came back into the sanctuary and said a few words to the congregation about coming back to support Tribute and gospel music. He talked about what a great group they were and how the church does a great job of putting on concerts and encouraged everyone to be back and invite someone! I thought that was a classy move from Doug and really showed the heart of the group. It’s not about being in competition with other groups but promoting gospel music and sharing Jesus with people.

They kicked off the second half with “Ever Since That Wonderful Day” and then “I’m Signed, I’m Sealed, I’m Saved.” They sang a few more favorites during the second half including “I of the Storm,” “God’s Gonna Do the Same” and “Echoes From the Burning Bush.”

Doug spoke just before the invitation about how we’ve all gone through or are going through storms in our lives. He talked about some of the rough things that happened for the Old Paths within the last year from illnesses to stolen equipment. (He did talk about a lady who volunteered to buy stage clothes for the group after their trailer was stolen last year. That comment definitely got a few "Bless her heart" remarks!) He said that He’s not God because He speaks calm in the midst of our storms, but He’s God because He’s in control of them.

“Faith is not believing that God will do what we ask Him to do, but faith is believing that He’s God whether He does it or not,” Doug said. He always answers prayers whether He answers how we want or not. He gave an invitation with the guys singing “He’s All I Need.”

They thought they ended the night with “I Passed Over Into Canaanland.” However, the pastor requested that they sing one more, which was “John the Revelator.” The group sang it at the Harmony Honors on Tuesday and had been getting the song ready for that event, so they got to try it out on a live audience before singing it then.

The running joke that night was "Bless Their Heart," but that's exactly what the group did. From the first note that was sung, you could tell we were all in for a great night. It was a night of uplighting songs and testimonies that blessed the hearts of the congregation but more importantly lifted up the name of Jesus!

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