Jimmy Needham – Unity Main Stage Presented by Country Dairy – 2018

Jimmy Needham

Appearing on Unity Main Stage Presented by Country Dairy – 2018 – Thursday, August 9, 2018

While Needham got a big boost after the songwriter reconnected with Will Hunt, producer of his landmark album, 2008’s Not Without Love, and who’s worked with the likes of Evanescence. Needham credits Hunt with throwing away the recording studio playbook the singer was familiar with and boldly forging new creative paths.

“We said, “OK, let’s break the mold of how I write music,’” Needham says. “It was very much a new process. It was the first time I wrote with a band. I got together with some of my favorite musicians in a room for a week, and we just wrote. It was inspiring and awakened something new in me.”

That fresh musical approach is all over the Vice & Virtue tracks. “All We Need Is Need” — a quite danceable tune with a downright sunny, almost triumphant melody — takes its moniker from theologian John Gerstner. And the reason for joy in the jamming may be Needham’s conviction that “all Christ requires of us is … nothing! And yet it’s one of the hardest things coming to the table with.”

Then there’s “Mr. Nice Guy” — a track that offers full-on disco flavor and rapping by artist KB driving home a quite-serious topic: Nice is a code word, Needham says, for safe. “What are we trying to produce in the church?” he asks. “Family-friendly, comfortable, secure, safe men and women? I’m not convinced those are the attributes Jesus is asking us to exhibit. Does he want us to be kinder? Yes. Moral? Absolutely, yes. But I don’t want to be so safe for my whole family that I avoid all the dangerous things he might be calling me to do.”

“Jekyll & Hyde” is a bluesy departure — added to the album at the eleventh hour yet offering another crucial variation on the Vice & Virtue theme: A story about “a good guy and a bad guy — but it turns out they’re the same guy,” Needham explains. “It really doesn’t matter if you’re Dahmer or Gandhi; we all have the same infection. Every last one of us is pretty much the same.”

“It’s a terrifying thing to be nice,” Needham adds. “We’re blinded to a lot of things that not nice people aren’t blinded to. We can say the same things about ourselves that we say about axe murderers — we all have that monster inside of us. Some of us act on those impulses, but the majority of Americans do it in a suit and tie. So deceptive.”


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