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Songwriter back home in Indiana

Garrels shines spotlight on faith in new music

Mackenzie Joefreda

Mackenzie Joefreda

Whatzup Features Writer

Published August 29, 2019

Following the release of his newest album, Chrysaline, singer/songwriter Josh Garrels returns to his home state of Indiana to perform a free concert at Grace College on Sept. 6.

This event is open to the public and welcome to all ages. The concert will be held on the lawn in front of Indy Hall on Grace College’s campus. Garrels has only four other shows scheduled for this calendar year, so each concert is sure to be one to remember.

Adding to a Foundation of folk

After three years of not publishing any new music, Chrysaline was released on Aug. 9. On this album, Garrels shares 15 new tracks with his fans. Listeners can find the new album on all streaming platforms.

Garrels has been creating clean-cut music for over a decade. Known for hit songs including “Farther Along” and “Born Again,” Garrels keeps all of his music faith-based.

“Over the years, I’ve wanted all my music to revolve around the story of the Kingdom, and often I think I’ll tell things in parabolic form,” Garrels shared with The Liberty Champion. “I’ve seen how that can reach out to those who do not like Him and do not know Him.”

Faith wasn’t present in Garrels’ life until his early 20s. Prior to that, he had been playing in punk bands, selling drugs, and getting swept into the world of East Coast rap.

Upon becoming a Christian, Garrels began adding more orchestral elements into his folk-based sound, which sometimes included rapping or singing complex but welcoming songs.

“More of my music, I would say, is trying to peel back layers and find out where is God in the midst of this city that I live in, and this marriage I’m in, and these things that are going wrong and these things that are going right,” Garrels said in an interview with NPR.

Garrels’ style of music ranges from pastoral indie folk to hip-hop. Though not solely worship music, Christian faith has played a major role in Garrels’ musical journey.

According to singer/songwriter Timothy Monger, Garrels’ music explores themes of compassion, hope, longing, and liberation while celebrating the mystery of faith with authenticity and heart. Using his rich, soulful voice, Garrels ensures that his lyrics are genuine, personal, and thoughtful.

2002’s Stonetree was Garrels’ first self-produced and home-recorded album. He followed that album a year later with Underquiet, and another in 2006, Over Oceans.

Small Voice Records is Garrels’ record label he co-founded, and started releasing his albums with his 2008 Jacaranda. Following the release of this album, Garrels toured extensively. After living in Portland, Ore., for a season, Garrels now resides in the Midwest with his family in Muncie, Indiana.

Finding a wider audience

In 2010, a collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Mason Jar Music led to performing an orchestrated version of his song “Words Remain” at an historic Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

A year later, Garrels’ double album Love & War & the Sea in Between was released. Tracks on this record showed influences of his new home of Portland, Ore., and the Pacific Northwest. This particular album was recognized as a milestone in his career by both Christian and secular media.

After that, Garrels went back and partnered with Mason Jar Music for a second time, this time to film the music documentary The Sea in Between. Garrels provided the soundtrack for this documentary, along with other shows.

Over the years, his songs have shown up on TV shows such as CBS’ The Ghost Whisperer and ESPN’s Outside the Lines, along with several small films. Garrels has created other music as well, including a holiday-themed album, The Light Came Down.

Being Generous with new music

Eleven albums into his career, Garrels started giving away free copies of his newly released album, Home, through the website Noisetrade. His latest, Chrysaline, was no different — the record was available for a free download for about a week.

Throughout his music career, Garrels has remained loosely tied to the Christian music community. In all of his previous songs and albums, he tried not to make himself exclusively a Christian or secular artist, and instead, just let his lyrics tell his life story.

The latest album, however, shows more Christian influence.

“These were the songs my soul needed to sing,” Garrels wrote in a Facebook post. “Many were written slowly over many sabbath days, with no audience in mind — just to remind myself of the goodness and faithfulness of God.”

Garrels felt that the next step in his faith was to publicly share these lyrics he’d written in private in hopes that they can help others depend on God during troubling times.


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