Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #288: Jessica Crawford – Honestly

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Jessica was born into a family of deep faith and of rich musical history. Every Sunday morning, this great granddaughter of a fiery Pentecostal minister would watch from the pews as her mother would direct the church choir. In addition to church music, she also grew up inspired by her Granddaddy’s play-by-ear instrumental talents and his Southern Gospel vocals that echoed the sound of her mother’s childhood.  On her father’s side, her paternal grandmother and great-grandmother were classically trained pianists and vocalists.  Despite her family’s encouragement, Jessica struggled to see that the musical legacy from both sides of her family was establishing a future for her in music.  

After a painful relationship left her seeking true purpose, Jessica finally surrendered to what can only be described as a persistent “call” to music. After a year well spent in seminary she stepped out in faith and left the comfort of her small hometown, Bridgewater, VA, in 2011 and hit the road to Nashville.  Her years in Music City were formative for both in ministry and in songwriting.  A new dependence on God, 

involvement with an inner city missions base, and growing favor with songwriters and accomplished producers would all help Jessica find her voice as an artist and worship leader.

In 2017, Jessica would leave Nashville with a 5 song independently released EP under her belt, multiple regional tours and invaluable industry and ministry experiences to become the Worship Arts Director for Fountain of Life Church in Burlington, NJ where she currently lives and serves.

On September 14 Jessica will release “Honestly”, a four song EP she describes as “a collection of vulnerable songs that do not shy away from the reality of my hardest life experiences while celebrating the hope I found in Jesus through it all.”   The “Honestly” EP was written with the group the Brothers McClurg during a writing retreat in early 2017.  It was produced by Chris Hoisington and recorded at Old Bear Studios in Batavia, NY. 

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Rick Lee James



His First New Album In Seven Years Features Amy Grant, David Crowder


Brand New Recording Of “I Still Believe” Releases Oct. 5

Russ Taff Image

Multi-GRAMMY® and Dove Award-winning Russ Taff will release his debut praise and worship album, Believe, Nov. 2 from Sweetwater Studios, a division of Sweetwater Sound, and with global distribution from The Fuel Music. His first new album in over seven years, the full-circle, 12-song project features new recordings of the hits for which Taff is best-loved, including his iconic “I Still Believe” that will be available beginning Friday (Oct. 5) as a single at iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and more digital and streaming outlets everywhere through the link


Produced by Phil Naish and Mark Hornsby, Believe also features Taff singing “Don’t Try So Hard” with multi-platinum, GRAMMY® winner Amy Grant, “I Am” with three-time GRAMMY® nominee David Crowder, “Isn’t The Name” along with strings recorded at the legendary studio, Abbey Road, and his classic hit “We Will Stand.” The album further features Taff’s signature vocals on worship favorites like “Your Love Never Fails,” “No Longer Slaves,” “Be Still My Soul” and “Same Power.”


“There was a day when I didn’t think I’d ever be able to sing or record again,” reveals Taff. “Grace from above, and from my wife Tori and friends coming alongside me, has breathed new life into my spirit. I’m so grateful for this season, and this new recording is my worshipful offering and heart’s cry.”


“This new project will be a heart-stirring reminder of why Russ became the legend he is,” says Mark Hornsby, Vice President of Operations, Sweetwater Studios. “Weathering personal storms, he remains one of the most powerful and endearing voices in music today, while sharing a clear, worshipful message of grace and hope for everyone, for any circumstance.”


The full Believe track listing follows:


1. Your Love Never Fails

2. I Still Believe

3. Don’t Try So Hard (with Amy Grant)

4. Same Power

5. I Am (with David Crowder)

6. Be Still My Soul

7. No Longer Slaves

8. When I Hear Your Name

9. There Is A Fountain

10. There’s A Hallelujah

11. Isn’t The Name

12. We Will Stand


Releasing three days prior to his new album, the feature-length “Russ Taff: I Still Believe” documentary is in theaters nationally for one-night only Oct. 30. The film chronicles his musical journey and behind-the-scenes battle with alcoholism, the childhood trauma he suffered at the hands of an alcoholic father and abusive mother, the undying, 42-year love story with his wife Tori, and his ultimate embrace of God’s healing and restoration.


Featuring such legendary artists and entertainers as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, MercyMe’s Bart Millard, Newsboys’ Michael Tait, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry and Chonda Pierce, theater audiences will also have the opportunity to view a special acoustic performance by Taff and multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning Steven Curtis Chapman immediately following the film.


Tickets for “Russ Taff: I Still Believe” can be purchased at and participating theater box offices.


For more Russ Taff, Believe album and documentary news, go to www.russtaff.comwww.russtaffmovie.comFacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About Russ Taff:

Hailed by Billboard magazine as “the single most electrifying voice in Christian music,” Russ Taff has garnered six GRAMMY® Awards and 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame an unprecedented three times—as a soloist, as well as a member of The Imperials and the Gaither Vocal Band—Taff is also a member of the Christian Music Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Walk of Fame. He has recorded 11 solo albums to date, including industry benchmarks Medals (1985), Russ Taff (1987) and Under Their Influence (1991). From rock giants Kings of Leon to Millard, Tait and many others, Taff’s influence is felt throughout the music world.


About Sweetwater Studios:

Sweetwater Studios is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sweetwater Sound, Inc., the largest online music instrument retailer in the country. With three world-class studios designed by Russ Berger and access to a greater diversity of musical equipment and professional audio gear than any other recording studio in the world, Sweetwater Studios is able to accommodate just about any recording, mixing or mastering project, no matter how simple or complex. With renowned staff producer Mark Hornsby at the helm, who has worked on many Grammy and Dove-award winning albums, Sweetwater Studios also has an exceptional staff of producers, engineers, session musicians and studio technicians. For more information on Sweetwater Studios, please visit


About The Fuel Music:

Established in 2008, The Fuel Music & Management, LLC, is a leading artist management and artist solutions company that independently distributes music internationally. Based in Nashville, TN, the Fuel team brings nearly 70 years of combined music industry experience in record label operations, major label distribution and marketing, and artist management for artists ranging from upstart bands to GRAMMY Award nominated, multi-platinum artists. More information on the company can be found at

Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #287: Guest Francois Clemmons (Officer Clemmons) from Mister Rogers Neighborhood 


On this episode of Voices In My Head we welcome Dr. Francois Clemmons.


Dr. François Scarborough Clemmons is an Afro-American singer, actor, playwright and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances as Officer Clemmons on the PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 to 1993.

In 1968, Clemmons won the Metropolitan Opera auditions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He went on to Cleveland, Ohio, where he won a position in the Metropolitan Opera Studio. He sang there professionally for seven seasons, performing over 70 roles with companies including The New York City Opera, Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, and Washington Civic Opera.

Clemmons sang with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1973, he won a Grammy Award for a recording of Porgy and Bess; he performed the role of “Sportin’ Life” in that musical over 100 times.

For 25 years, Clemmons performed the role of Officer Clemmons, a friendly neighborhood policeman, in the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” on the children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In the neighborhood itself, Clemmons ran a singing and dance studio located in the building diagonally across from Mr. Rogers’ house. As “Officer Clemmons”, he became one of the first African Americans to have a recurring role on a kids’ TV series. 

Clemmons actively writes across genres for a variety of age groups. Currently, he is writing his autobiography entitled DivaMan: My Life in Song, a children’s story entitled ButterCup and the Majic Cane, and a volume of poetry entitled A Place Of My Own. Some of his published works include a volume of spirituals named Songs for Today and a stage musical called My Name Is Hayes based on the life of Roland Hayes. He also commissioned a choral work composed of spirituals entitled Changed My Name, arranged by Linda Twine.

From 1997 until his retirement in 2013, Clemmons was the Alexander Twilight Artist in Residence and director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. He “played the role of professor, choirmaster, resident vocal soloist, advisor, confidant, and community cheerleader”. He is also well known in the Middlebury community for his superb rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”, which he sings at the Middlebury College men’s basketball games.

Clemmons lives and works in Middlebury, Vermont, where he is the Emeritus Artist in Residence of Middlebury College. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music.




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Rick Lee James



Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #286: “The Character of Virtue” with guest Stanley Hauerwas 


On this episode of Voices In My Head we welcome Dr. Stanley Hauerwas.

 Time magazine once called today’s guest America’s best theologian. As a longtime professor at Duke Divinty School, Stanley Hauerwas has authored many books, won numerous awards, and even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His work cuts across disciplinary lines as he is in conversation with systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics.

Today, among other things, we will be discussing his book, “The Character of Virtue: Letters To A Godson”


For more from Stanley Hauerwas, visit these links:


The Character of Virtue:

Amazon Author Page:




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Rick Lee James



Christ Is Lord (Christ Before Me) by Rick Lee James (publisher Lifeway Worship) currently being added to radio stations across the nation via CRW Radio Promotions

Follow the songs progress in the charts at this link.

CRW Charts

Old Bear Records is excited to announce our newest artist signing, Kurtis Parks.  Kurtis has been a longtime friend to the community at Old Bear, and we couldn’t be happier to get to release his new Folk hymn project “Hymn Like” to you in October!

Kurtis has an extensive history as both a songwriter, and worship leader.  His heart for serving the local church is inspiring, and his authentic passion to connect people with Jesus through songs permeates every artistic effort he releases.

When we discovered that Kurtis was working on a project that took an organic sounding approach with creative elements incorporated into traditional and historical Christian hymns – our interest was piqued right away.  Many of us at Old Bear grew up on hymns and value the depth of lyrical content and effectiveness of teaching the timeless truths of the Bible through lyrics and melodies.  Upon hearing what he was working on, we felt Kurtis’ “Hymn Like” project would be a wonderful fit in our growing catalog of new and fresh expressions of faith inspired music that could serve the local church.

Be on the look out for “Hymn Like” releasing on October 19th!  We know people of all ages and church backgrounds are going to love this album as much as we do!

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Official Artist Booking Agreement For Rick Lee James



Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #285: “Shame Off You” with guest Denise Pass 


On this episode of Voices In My Head we welcome Denise Pass.


Denise Pass is an author, an award-winning CCM recording artist, a songwriter, an accomplished blogger, speaker, worship leader, and host of the Black and White Podcast. She is the author of 31 days to Hope Reinvented and today we are discussing her latest book, Shame Off You: From Hiding To Healing which released on August 21st through Abingdon Press.


For more from Denise Pass, visit these links:


Black and White Podcast:

Shame Off You Web Site:





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Rick Lee James



Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #284: David Dault – Producer and Host of Things Not Seen


Dr. David Dault

Host and Executive Producer of 


 David got his start in journalism when he was sixteen years old, writing articles for his hometown newspaper.  He’s been asking folks questions ever since. 

David has a PhD in religion from Vanderbilt, and a masters degree from Columbia Theological Seminary.  When he began Things Not Seen, he was teaching in the religion department of a liberal arts college in Memphis. He moved to Chicago with his family in 2013, and spent five years as the executive director of a nonprofit company producing faith-focused media for television, radio, and the web.

He is currently a Visiting Scholar for theology and media at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

He produces the show from studios in the Hyde Park neighborhood, on Chicago’s south side, where he lives with his family.

Things Not Seen Web Site:






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Rick Lee James



Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #283: Michael G. Long author of Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers


Michael G. Long is an associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College and is the author or editor of several books on civil rights, religion, and politics in mid-century America, including First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson and Billy Graham and the Beloved Community: America’s Evangelist and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. He holds a Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta and resides in Highland Park, Pennsylvania.

Today we are discussing Michael’s Book,  Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers, published by Westminster John Knox Press. 


Buy Peaceful Neighbor on Amazon:





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Rick Lee James



Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #282   : Meet John Tibbs


Our featured uest this week on Voices In My Head is musician John Tibbs.

In 2016, John released his debut full-length, Dead Man Walking, to great critical acclaim. Reviewers said about the album, “with shades of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Creedence Clearwater Revival, the heartland rock Tibbs traffics in is just right for the weightier, darker side of the redemption story.” 

 Following the success of his 2016 debut record which garnered a Top-20 AC (Christian) single and a Dove Award nomination in the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year category, John partnered with ToneTree and Bethel/Heritage Media to release his follow up, Heartland, crowd-funded through his online community via PledgeMusic to continued great critical acclaim. 

“Unabashed Midwesterner John Tibbs has released more authentic, epic and quality tunes in his short run as a professional songwriter than many artists will produce in a lifetime. Heartland brims with the kind of honest rock and roll that the late, great Tom Petty trafficked in, with the ‘heart-on-his-sleeve’ craftsmanship that creates an immediate bond with the listener on the first pass.” — Jesus Freak Hideout

“With the Heartland EP, John Tibbs combines thought-provoking lyrics with his rock roots style. The captivating sonic landscape will keep listeners entertained song after song, indicating good things to come from Tibbs in the future.” — New Release Today


Rick Lee James


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