Steven Curtis Chapman was born on November 21, 1962 in Paducah, Kentucky. His songs have been recorded by the likes of Glen Campbell, Sandi Patty, and Roger Whittaker. REAL LIFE CONVERSATIONS (1988, Sparrow Records) was Steven’s second album and was produced by Phil Naish.
The album opens with ‘Faithful Too’, a country rock song co-written with Geoff Moore, who also provides guest vocals. It is a spiritual check-up of sorts: “The true test of my love will be/Did I follow You consistently?/Through the good and bad/I want to be faithful too.../So if tragedy calls/Or if everything goes my way/I want to be found/Faithful to You everyday”. On the country pop song ‘Tuesday’s Child’ Steven expresses his heart: “When Jesus gave His life away/It was once and for all/So with more of His grace filling me/I more than ever want to be/Growing up in purity/With the faith of a child”.
These words from ‘For Who He Really Is’ tell a vivid story: “He slips into church and he puts up his guard/They look so happy, but his life’s been so hard/He keeps his distance so they won’t see the scars/It’s just religion that’s all dressed up in white/And God is love as long as you’re living right/But does he know that Jesus also has scars/And His love can reach him no matter how far?” ‘Consider it Done’ is a bouncy pop song that includes these lyrics that have the feel of a loving Father offering his son advice: “It’s by His grace we’re saved/Not by the things we do/So we’ve got to serve Him with a thankful attitude/And let Him know where He leads we’ll go/From this day on our hope’s in Jesus and His work’s complete/From this day on/He makes His experience our history”.
‘His Eyes’ is a co-write with James Isaac Elliot. It was a No 1 hit for Steven and won him a Dove for Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year. The song reflects on God’s nature: “Sometimes His voice comes calling like rolling thunder or like driving rain/And sometimes His voice is quiet/And we start to wonder if He knows our pain/But He who spoke peace to the water/Cares more for our hearts than the waves/And the voice that once said ‘You’re forgiven’/Still says ‘You’re forgiven’ today”. ‘The Human Race’ draws on a biblical principle for its chorus: “We are running in a human race/Where nobody wants to settle for second place/But we’ve got to run it at a different pace/Cause the first will be last and the last will be first/At the end of the human race”.
‘Wait’ is a co-write with Margaret Becker. This tender song features Carl Gorodetzsky and the Nashville String Machine. It encourages us to be a patient folk: “Answers come slowly to your cries of desperation/But time is His tool, teaching the greatest lessons learned/So let Him do His work in you/And watch the miracles come true as you/Wait, oh wait, wait on the Lord/You will understand in time/Why you must wait/Wait, wait, wait on the Lord/Yes He hears you”. ‘Truth or Consequences’ is a melodic song that reminds us of the importance of our actions and choices in life: “As sure as God made the sun to shine/He made the rules we must all live by/He loved us too much to leave us alone to our own devices/It’s either truth or consequences/There’s no other way/Push truth aside, the other takes its place”.
‘My Turn Now’ is quite a catchy tune and is one of my favorite Steven Curtis Chapman songs. These lyrics make it clear that the Christian walk is one of sacrifice: “I close the book and I shake my head/Sometimes I can’t believe the things I’ve read/I don’t deserve what He did for me/He gave His love and His life away/And now He’s asking me to do the same/So I’m gonna give Him all I am/And all I ever hope to be/Cause it’s my turn now/Well, it’s my turn now/My turn to give my life away”. A volunteer choir is featured on the lovely ballad ‘His Strength is Perfect’. The chorus offers us these wonderful words of encouragement: “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone/He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on/Raised in His power, the weak become strong/His strength is perfect (2X)”.
REAL LIFE CONVERSATIONS is an album that will leave you not only believing that God is indeed alive, but will confirm to you emotionally that He indeed wants to be an active, living, driving force in your life if you will let Him. Steven’s vocals are terrific on this album. Fans of the earlier works of the adult contemporary and pop sounds of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith should buy this album. I’m rating it 95%. For more info visit: www.stevencurtischapman.com.