Some Thoughts Prompted by the Passing of CCM Artist Carman

This is not the kind of stuff I normally post on this blog, but I don't have any other place to post about this and I figured it's my site so I can post it here if I want to. :) 

Carman at a concert in Lake Havasu City, AZ in 2013

Just a short time ago, my phone started buzzing with texts from no less than half a dozen friends with the news that Christian recording artist, Carman had just died at the age of 65. I was shocked and so saddened by the news and immediately my mind began to drift back over the years. His music was an integral part of my life for decades; ever since I was a small child.

My first introduction to CCM music was as a little kindergartener when Eric, one of the cool older kids, played the Revival in the Land cassette in the downstairs of the church building for a bunch of us while the parents were working upstairs during a church cleaning night. I loved it from the first listen. I sat there mesmerized by "A Witch's Invitation."

The first CCM album I ever got as a gift was Radically Saved, which I received for Christmas just a short time after that. Yes, Mom and Dad, I never told you that that wasn't the correct album. I wanted Revival in the Land, but you bought the wrong one. After listening to it though, I didn't mind at all. This one was great too! The trip around the world on the "God of All Nations" medley quickly became one of my favorite things to listen to and imagine I was going to all those locations around the globe.

I eventually got Revival and had every song memorized in short order. 

Years later, the first CD I bought with my own money from doing odd jobs was R.I.O.T.  

My first concert was the Raising the Standard tour in Portland, Oregon as a preteen. I stood in line all day in front of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum with my cousin to get good seats. It's an experience I'll never forget.

Carman at a concert in Phoenix, AZ in 2014

Over the years, I have had the great pleasure of introducing other people to this talented musician's music. When Nathan and Brian came over to stay the night one summer and found out that I had The Standard album they didn't want to do anything but sit and listen to it in its entirety before doing anything else. After school one afternoon I bought the Mission 3:16 record at K-Mart with money earned from my paper route and Jarod and I went directly home and listened to the full thing straight through. When my buddy Dallas injured his leg in a snowboarding accident and was stuck in the hospital with nothing to do, I bought him the Passion For Praise record and took it to him so he'd have something to listen to while recovering in a town hours from his home. Much later, I remember sitting in the studio and playing "The Champion" and "Lazarus Come Forth" for Roy the first time.

I have sung "I Feel Jesus" and "Serve The Lord" and "No Way, We Are Not Ashamed" in church services across the country. I've jammed out to "Slam," "Our Turn Now," "God's Got an Army," "Prepare to Die," and "Sunday School Rock" as I drove in my car alone. I have been brought to tears as I absorbed the words of, and was ministered to by, songs like "Hunger for Holiness," "Shine Through Me," and "His Mercy Endures Forever." 

I'll never forget the day when a family in our church told me about the Yo Kidz audio stories from Carman. I was already a young teen by that time and out of the target demo of those albums, but I was such a Carman fan I had to listen to them anyway. As I sit here typing this I have CD copies of all of them on the shelf in my studio.

Today, I have every record he ever released. A few have been purchased more than once as I upgraded my music from cassettes and records to CDs. Yep, I had a few on vinyl before it was the cool thing to do.

Not too many years ago, I was able to interview Carman right after his first bout with cancer. He was having a rough day and we didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked, but I will ever be grateful for that opportunity.

Carman, thanks for all the great music for so many years. Your records will always be spinning in my house. 

Do you have any thoughts? Were you a Carman fan too? Share them in the comments below.


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