Christian singer and songwriter Josh Blakesley has just released his latest single "Come to the Banquet," which is available now across all streaming platforms. Written and produced by Blakesley, the contemporary track expounds on the beauty of God's love. This single is the follow up to Blakesley's Mass of Restoration (2017) album where he collaborated with guitar player Grae McCullough to write new music for use in Mass that pays homage to the hymns of the past and the culture of modern worship.
Additionally, Blakesley has released several independent projects, including his debut solo album Immersed, which included "The Lord Is My Shepherd" and the popular anthem "Our God Is Good." Immersed was followed by Waiting then Free. You Are the Light was released to iTunes in March of 2012, debuting at #16 on the Christian and Gospel charts. Blakesley and his band's last album, Even in This, features songs co-written by Michael Farren, Mia Fieldes, Marc Byrd and Sarah Hart.
Q: Josh, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself. I believe you are the music coordinator of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Tell us more about your ministry there.
So, about two-and-a-half years ago, my family and I moved from our small town in Louisiana to Houston, TX to be a part of the St. Anthony community. It was not a far jump geographically, which was part of the appeal for us, but it was a major jump in terms of the pace of life. "Everything's bigger in Texas" is not just a wives' tale - it's for real! It took a minute to adjust, but we have loved every second of it. The church community has welcomed us, and we've made some lifelong friends here. I spend a lot of time organizing songs, charts, and musicians and once in a while I even get to play music.
Q: Besides your church ministry, you have also released your own music. How did that begin?
Several years ago, when my wife and I were newlyweds, we were praying for direction regarding how we could start building our life together. We knew that God was calling us, and wanted to respond in a way that would allow us to use our gifts to honor him. I had been playing music and leading worship for several years, but we felt strongly that we should do something with this collection of songs that I had written. We pursued that wholeheartedly and created my first album, Immersed. The completion of that project was such a testament to God's faithfulness and a huge affirmation that we had taken the right road. I still remember sitting at a restaurant with Heather when OCP called to say they liked it. It was years ago but still seems like yesterday.
Q: Recently you have released a brand-new single "Come to the Banquet." What is the song about?
"Come to the Banquet" is an invitation. After a long time of being away from the church, or people, or maybe even the Lord, it can be difficult to return to faith and community. "Come to the Banquet" was really written for my own church people, just a call to return and experience the lavish abundance of God's love for His people.
Q: How did the song come about?
In thinking about the church as one community or one family, the word "banquet" kept rolling around in my mind. I was remembering sports banquets when I was a teen... how everyone came together to celebrate one another's successes and achievements. Then I thought about weddings...how family and friends gather, how much joy and goodness and love and FOOD there is. It made me want to write about how God offers that to us all the time. I brought the idea to my friend and mentor, Tom Booth, and we set out to turn it into something folks could sing with us.
Q: I believe you have a few singles lined up to be released this year. Can you give us a preview of what's to come?
The collection of songs, Outpoured, is really a snapshot of where I've been and what I've been doing over the last few years. We're releasing them sporadically over the course of the year in the interest of really allowing listeners to sit, pray, and spend some time with each one. For people who are music directors like myself, I know it takes time for me to hear a song in the way that my assembly might hear it, or in the way that we might pray it as a community. There are some new interpretations of familiar songs and some brand new ones. I'm hoping that as each song is released, music lovers will be able to hear the inspiration, love, mystery, and invitation to prayer in each piece.
Q: Tell us more about your new on-demand video worship series, The Way.
The Way is such an amazing concept! It's a 10-part series that allows viewers to bring a short worship night into their own space. I partnered with my long-time friend, author and speaker, Paul George to put together 15-minute segments of music and message. So, you can watch alone, with your family, youth group, music ministry, whatever. It's like a super convenient resource for daily prayer AND a great way to make yourself feel better about bingeing Netflix for the next 6 hours.
Q: How do you hope these new songs will impact the lives of your listeners?
Honestly, I want to be the guy who gets out of the way so Jesus can move in the lives of His people. If I can just lead people to the throne room and then let God take it from there, then I feel like I'm doing what He's asking me to do. Music is powerful in that it reaches into emotional spaces that conversation or even relationships can't always reach. Sometimes God uses music to reach into the heart of those willing to listen. If I create music that is a medium for God to move, then I become the instrument of The Creator. I think that's all He really asks from any of us: serving The Master in the way He made us to serve.
For more information on Josh Blakesley, please visit ww.joshblakesleymusic.com.