The ever-changing seasons of life have helped keep Steven Curtis Chapman breaking new ground in the Christian music industry and his career. After publishing his memoir last year, Chapman finds himself again approaching his performances in a new way.
The Grammy-award winning musician will be at the Carlisle Theatre Sunday for a stop in his solo tour. It will be Chapman at his basics—his voice, an acoustic guitar and an audience of fans who have listened to him for 31 years.
It’s a departure for Chapman and anyone who has been to one of his previous concerts with big bands and bright lights.
“I love both (types of performances) very much,” he said. “There’s nothing like playing with a rock ‘n’ roll band. But I love playing the guitar.”
Like most budding musicians, Chapman played acoustic at “anywhere and everywhere that would have him” at the start of his career, but this year’s solo tour will be the first time he’ll be playing acoustic on a regular, touring basis.
“It’s like a reader’s digest musical version of my life story. It’s almost a little like ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’” Chapman said. “It’s a lot of music, obviously, but I go all the way back to the beginning.”
Like his book, “Between Heaven & The Real World,” Chapman said the theme is remembering, in this case remembering his own journey. While he’ll be playing plenty of songs over his career, he’ll also play a new song he wrote for the tour, “Remember to Remember.”
With a solo setup, Chapman said he can take the story where the music leads him, even though he usually likes to begin where he started in life, practicing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
“It’s the first song I played on the guitar,” he said.
Chapman added that he was more of a guitar player growing up than he was a singer—his brother had the voice, and Chapman was the accompanist. It wasn’t until his brother went to college that Chapman found himself as a one-man band and had to sing his own songs.
“That’s really how I found my own voice,” he said.
Chapman has since largely left the musical performances to the bands with whom he’s worked, but the solo tour gives him a chance to share a piece of his history and talent that may have otherwise gone unnoticed by fans.
“I don’t know when I’ve been more excited to go out on stage and be with my family and fans of my music,” he said.
The tour, he said, has also “musically re-energized” him, considering the preparation that went into reworking his previous songs into acoustic versions. Overall, it’s been a process he’s excited to continue.
And at this “season of his life,” Chapman is more than happy to focus on the now instead of the next song or next album.
“I’m really trying to stay in this season right now,” he said. “I’m resisting that dive into ‘whatever happens next.’”
The only plans Chapman has for the music future is continuing the tour, which he will bring back this fall and possibly next spring.
Chapman will be on stage at the Carlisle Theatre at 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information and tickets, go to www.carlisletheatre.org.