JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT HONORED AT NASHVILLE SURPRISE EVENT
Christian Artist Releases 50th Recording, “Living Water”
NASHVILLE – John Michael Talbot, best-selling Christian music artist whose
50th album, “Living Water,” was just released, was “grateful, stunned and
surprised” recently at a Richland Country Club banquet in his honor. The
gala event was co-hosted by veteran music industry Executive Producer Billy
Ray Hearn and Co-Producer and Orchestrator Phil Perkins.
Talbot had no idea that 55 excited celebrants had been planning this event
for months, flying in from all over the country to await his arrival.
Surprising John along with his wife Viola, daughter Amy Stalling, and other
family members were: EMI CMG Label executives Peter York, Greg Bays and Rick
Horne; John W. Styll, President of the Gospel Music Association; Oregon
Catholic Press Director of Artist Relations Tom Tomaszek with staff members
Tom Booth and Robert Feduccia; Susan Stein, Director of Catholic Distributor
Heartbeat Records; Mark Funderburg, President of Word Distribution; and
Dusty Wells, Sr. Director, Field and Telesales for Word Distribution, whose
work with Talbot’s music goes back to its earliest days. The Catholic
Association of Musicians (founded by Talbot) was represented by Lynn Geyer
and Jim Cosgrove, who is also JMT’s Troubadour for the Lord Operations
Manager. A singer, songwriter and musician in his own right, Jim was on hand
with his wife Paula Cosgrove, also a Troubadour staffer. Several monastic
members of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity traveled from Little Portion
Hermitage near Eureka Springs, Arkansas to congratulate John on behalf of
the community he founded there almost 25 years ago.
Rounding out the surprise party ensemble were sound engineers Bob Clark,
Brent King and John Cotton, along with musical arranger Kristin Wilkinson.
Traveling from Houston were JMT friends Mark and Becky Lanier, as well as
videographer Richard Hoggatt, President of Stage Directions.
It was obvious by John Michael’s stunned silence that he was deeply moved
while viewing a documentary filmed for the occasion. The video, “Behind the
Man, the Music and the Ministry,” paid tribute to Talbot’s three decades of
what musician Michael Card described as “selfless service to God and
profound influence on both Christian music, and Church music.” Billy Ray
Hearn, longtime producer of contemporary Christian music via labels like
Word and Sparrow, weaved Talbot’s video story together with memories and
vignettes. Among those congratulating Talbot and thanking him for his role
in their lives were Christian musicians including Phil Keaggy, Michael Card,
Tom Booth, Joe Hand, and Al Perkins. John’s brother, Terry Talbot, currently
touring with Barry McGuire, sent video greetings, reminding audience members
that John Michael had been quite the baseball player. “He was scouted by the
Chicago cubs when he was only 12 years old,” Terry confided. Both Terry and
Al Perkins were band members with John Michael in the popular country-rock
group Mason Proffit during its heyday in the 1970s.
Mercy Corps co-founder Dan O’Neill (author of Talbot’s biography,
“Troubadour for the Lord”), appeared in the video, thanking John for
donating over nine million dollars of money raised from his concerts to the
worldwide relief, aid and development programs of Mercy Corps.
Talbot, still speechless, was then presented with three awards. The first,
from the EMI CMG Music Label group, was a plaque featuring four platinum
albums recorded by Talbot between the years 1976-2007 commemorating “the
milestone event in Christian music of releasing 50 albums.” A specially
commissioned piece of art depicting the humble act of service through
foot-washing, was presented by executives representing Word Distribution.
The last award, actually more of a spectacular gift, was a guitar presented
to JMT by Phil Perkins on behalf of all the event attendees– one of only 30
guitars crafted that are exact replicas of the instrument played by Segovia.
With the presentation of the guitar, John Michael’s stunned surprise finally
turned to grateful thanks as he finally took his turn before his guests at
the event’s podium.
“Only our Lord Jesus Christ is deserving of such admiration,” Talbot said,
“and so I thank Him first. The word “saved” can sometimes be overused by us
Christians, so I’ll say instead that I am thankful that He has “salvaged”
me.” John Michael then surveyed those in the room slowly, and after some
silence and a deep exhale, spoke again: “I look around and realize that I
could spend several hours with each one of you, sharing about God in our
lives, about things that have been and are happening. Fifty albums don’t
happen without the work, prayers and cooperation of many, many people. I
could not have done this alone. I could never have done it without you, so I
am grateful to each one of you.” Following his words, the standing ovation
that had greeted him upon his arrival was exuberantly repeated.
Talbot then admitted that he had coveted that particular guitar for months.
“I finally quit lusting after it, and gave my wanting over to the Lord. And
now, here you all are, giving it back to me in His name,” he said.
“Living Water,” John Michael’s 50th release, marks the reunion of Talbot
with Executive Producer Billy Ray Hearn and Co-Producer/Orchestrator Phil
Perkins. Following 49 albums reflecting a diversity of musical genres
including everything from folk and chant to rock and roll and music for a
ballet, Talbot’s latest unit showcases his return to his “signature” style
of reflective neo-classical songs. “It’s a return to what his fans have
always loved most, while giving them some surprises and a few new things to
think about,” said Billy Ray.
For more information about Talbot and his three-decade musical career, go to
Water” can be purchased now at your favorite Christian bookstore or musical
outlet. To order his new release online, go to his monastery’s home site at