“I know this is not anything like you thought the story of your life was gonna be…but there’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold.” Few people know the pain and the promise in that statement better than Steven Curtis Chapman. The past few years have been an incredible journey that Chapman wouldn’t have chosen, yet has taught him so very much. Those lessons permeate every song on Chapman’s new album The Glorious Unfolding.
Lyrically the album is teeming with the substantive lyrics that have made Chapman the most awarded artist in Christian music with 57 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five GRAMMYs, 47 No. 1 singles and approaching 11 million albums sold. Musically there’s a sense of adventure that reflects Chapman’s ongoing willingness to experiment and leap out of his comfort zone. He’s never taken the gift of music for granted and approaches each new project both excited and humbled by the possibilities.
One of the many highlights from the album is “Together,” a beautiful song that Chapman wrote for his wife Mary Beth. “In October, we celebrate our 29th anniversary,” he says, acknowledging that the past five years, since their youngest daughter (Maria Sue) was killed in a tragic accident, have been especially trying. “Statistics show that 90% of marriages don’t survive the loss of a child. The fact that we are together celebrating 29 years of marriage is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and God’s grace.”
Whether encouraging those he’s closest to in this world to see themselves as God sees them or inviting an arena full of fans to sing along in celebration of God’s faithfulness, Chapman has spent his life creating music that makes a difference. The Glorious Unfolding continues that impressive legacy. In listening to the project, it feels like a landmark album, being musically inventive, yet bursting with truth, integrity and emotional gravitas in much the same way as The Great Adventure did when that ground-breaking album released in 1992.
The latest album installment is his second record since signing with Provident Music Group in 2012. His label debut, JOY, served up holiday classics alongside his engaging original tunes. It became the latest entry in the Paducah, Kentucky native’s beloved Christmas catalog and provided Chapman and co-producer Brent Milligan a chance to explore different sounds in the studio. On The Glorious Unfolding, Chapman and Milligan reveled in the chance to experiment further to provide a fresh framework for these new songs, utilizing different textures and techniques to expand on Chapman’s signature sound.
Recorded at Chapman’s home studio, he enlisted son Will Franklin to play drums on six tracks on the album and also engaged other musical pals such as Delirious? alum Stu G on guitar and acclaimed fiddler Andy Leftwich, a member of Ricky Skaggs’ band, Kentucky Thunder, and a key creative force in the making of Chapman’s Cracker Barrel release, Deep Roots. On “Sound of Your Voice,” Chapman recruited surprise guests, wife Mary Beth, daughters Emily and Stevey Joy and daughters-in-law Julia Chapman and Jillian Edwards Chapman to sing background vocals.
Most recently, Steven Curtis Chapmen reenergized the concert series "Sam's Place" at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Joined by fellow CCM artists such as Amy Grant, Third Day, Michael W. Smith and more, “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” takes its name from charismatic evangelist Samuel Porter Jones (1847-1906), who gained fame in the region for his energetic sermons filled of fire and brimstone during the mid-1880s.