Kenny & Claire, a husband and wife duo, is committed to write doctrinally rich worship hymns for the church. They have just released their brand new 5-song EP Are You Weary. Produced, by Evan Redwine, the EP also finds the Arcadian Wild, Ella Mine, Chris Renzema, J Lind & many others contributing to it. You can now purchase or stream the record here.
We are honored to catch up with Kenny & Claire for this exclusive interview.
Q: Kenny and Claire, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourselves: tell is who are Kenny and Claire.
A: Hi! We're Kenny and Claire Hilliard. We're a folk/americana worship duo based in Nashville, TN. We write worship songs & rewrite hymns to encourage the church with truth from God's Word. We've been playing music and leading worship together for over 16 years now. We're married, have 3 kids and two cats named Turkey & Rye.
Q: I believe Kenny had a brain tumor some time ago. What happened there? Is Kenny okay now?
A: We found out that Kenny had a brain tumor on New Year's Eve 2015. We weren't expecting the news as Kenny hadn't shown any symptoms. The MRI that found the tumor was done because of his autoimmune disease and was not looking for a tumor. From the look and location of the tumor, it was originally thought to be malignant and inoperable. However, when he had surgery to remove it in January 2016 we found out that it was not malignant, had not spread and as far as we know was completely removed. It has been five years since his surgery and as far as we know nothing has returned. He still deals with an ongoing autoimmune disease.
Q: What did this time of suffering teach you about God and faith?
A: That he holds us and holds our faith. When our faith was frail and wavering he reminded us to believe and trust Him. He often sent that encouragement through His Word and His church. We felt His love through the literal hands and feet of his body, the church, who cared for us, listened to us, let us cry and grieved with us, stayed with us, brought us food and childcare and gave so generously to us to remind us that we weren't alone and were loved. That season was so hard and at the same time is a monument to our family to remember the Lord's love and care.
Q: How has this time influenced you in terms of your perspective of music?
A: During that time, it was so helpful to listen to music that was either directly from God's Word or based richly on the Word of God. We needed reminders of what was true to hold onto and those words encouraged us to press on in the faith. We want the music that we make to do the same for others.
Q: You have a heart for hymns with great theological depth. Why is this important for the church and for yourself?
A: Because we need these reminders. Every generation has blind spots. We need the words of Believers from previous generations to speak into the blindspots of our generation. God's Word and His Truth doesn't change throughout the ages. Just like we need words of encouragement from our local church community, we also need encouragement from the larger community of the church historic.
Q: How then did this vision give birth to your new EP?
A: These hymns spoke uniquely into our current struggles. We wanted to bring these songs back in such a way so that the modern church might use them again.
Q: What were some of the highlights in the making of the "Are You Weary?" EP?
A: Community. We first set out to make this EP on our own but quickly realized that we could steward these songs so much better if we invited other people into the process. We're so glad that we did. Our producer, Evan Redwine, was phenomenal and we're so grateful for the guest musicians, Paul Eckberg (drums), Erik Coveney (Bass), and Andy Ellison (steel guitar) who added so much beauty to the arrangements. Our friend, Shelly Eve, blew our minds with photography, styling, and graphic design. We are still completely overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our Kickstarter backers who contributed over $18,000 to make this EP a reality.
Q: Where can our listeners find out more about you and maybe even catch you playing live?
A: We'd love to connect with you! Be sure to check out our website and links to our social media at www.kennyandclaire.com. Our concerts are listed at www.kennyandclaire.com/concerts. If you'd like us to come to your area, reach out to us at [email protected]. We'd love to see you!