Called to pursue joy
Tim Neufeld and the Glory Boys take bluegrass to church
For 15 years, Tim Neufeld pursued a music career with Starfield, the Christian rock/worship group he co-founded and co-fronts alongside his brother, Jon. The group travelled the world, writing, recording, leading worship and released seven albums. But since 2012, the award-winning group has been on hiatus.
The hiatus has allowed Tim release a solo record, 2013’s Trees. The album marked a change in musical direction for Neufeld who used the release to experiment with a different, roots-oriented, sound as well as cover popular worship songs by the likes of Matt Redman and Paul Baloche.
Now, Neufeld is back with a new band—Tim Neufeld and the Glory Boys—and a new album, titled The Joy. The album continues Neufeld’s foray into bluegrass/roots music and is his first attempt at writing original music outside of Starfield.
Neufeld says that after Starfield finished promoting its 2012 album, The Kingdom, he and his brother knew it was time to step away and each try something different.
“I don’t ever want to say I was bored with what was going on in Starfield, because I’m extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had with Starfield, and I’m sure will continue to have,” Neufeld says by phone from his home in Abbotsford, B.C.
“It’s just that as a creative person, I’m always looking for something that’s creatively challenging, and what Jon and I and the guys in Starfield were doing stopped being a challenge.”
To help co-write and co-perform the 10 songs that make up The Joy, Neufeld enlisted the help of three friends.
Jon Bryant, an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right, plays guitar, banjo, hammer dulcimer, lap steel and sings; long-time Starfield sound engineer Jon Mushaluk plays the upright bass; and Starfield percussionist Colin Trask plays drums and Dobro guitar.
The group wrote The Joy in response to their experience touring in support of Trees. Neufeld says the group’s brand of upbeat, bluegrass worship music—and the celebratory, party atmosphere they create when playing it—caught some people off guard.
“For a lot of those that came to the shows, they hadn’t experienced that kind of fun in church for as long as they could remember,” Neufeld says. “We wondered: Why is that? How can we help change that?”
Neufeld says that as members of the body of Christ, Christians are called to pursue joy.
“It’s amazing, when you kind of take a step back and take a look at Christian music, to see how few songs there are about joy,” Neufeld observes. “That’s what we were trying to provide with these songs.”
At press time, the album did not have a firm release date, although Neufeld says the band is aiming to release it in mid-September or mid-October. The band also plans to play 70 shows throughout Canada from September until the end of November in support of the album.
Aaron Epp is a writer in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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