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By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Resonating a common purpose to help change lives

 

September 5, 2019

Photo provided

Christian singer/songwriter Jason Gray will be giving a benefit concert for Sparrow's Vine's annual fundraiser in Seeley Lake Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Mission Bible Fellowship.

SEELEY LAKE – Ever since Jason Gray's childhood, music has been a vehicle for inner healing, storytelling and conveying what really matters. Now a nationally acclaimed Christian singer and songwriter, Gray hopes that his songs will help someone be transformed and reengage with whatever life happens to be throwing at them. He will bring this message to the Sparrow's Vine Pregnancy Resource Center's 11th Annual Benefit Concert/Silent Auction, Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Mission Bible Fellowship. Tickets go on sale Sept. 5.

Gray was born and raised in Southwestern Minnesota. He grew up on the road with his mother's bar band in an old converted school bus. By the third grade he had a sense that he was made to play music.

Gray was not raised in the church. The first time he became aware of "a benevolent being," was listening to his favorite group Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." It spoke directly to the chaos in his life at the time.

"I remember hearing that song and something in my heart was going, 'Hey, I just want you to remember this is how I feel about you. When you are weary, when you are feeling small. When tears are in your eyes I will dry them all. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down for you,'" said Gray.

Gray never entered the Christian music scene with an agenda to proselytize or evangelize. Instead it was a natural vehicle for his heart for inner healing, confession, an authentic voice and story telling.

"I want to write songs that are very truthful about the human condition and the human heart, why we do what we do," said Gray. "Faith-based music was a natural place to explore those themes."

Gray spent six years in youth ministry before going into full-time music ministry in 1999 as an independent artist. He released four independent records before signing with Centricity Music in 2006. Centricity released his first major label record, "All the Lovely Losers" in 2007.

During his music career, Gray toured with notable Christian artists including Jeremy Camp, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sanctus Real, downhere and Big Daddy Weave. He has won two ASCAP Performance Awards for "More Like Falling In Love" in 2011 and "Good to Be Alive" in 2012. His first No. 1 single "Nothing Is Wasted" reached the top spot on the Soft AC Chart in May 2013 and remained there for nine weeks.

On March 4, 2014 Centricity released Gray's album "Love Will Have the Final Word" with the lead single, "With Every Act of Love." Gray's song marked the most successful launch in radio in Centricity Music history and was a No. 1 radio hit.

Gray has released 12 total albums and EPs with Centricity Music. He released his latest project "Order, Disorder, Reorder" this year that reflects a journey he has been on since his divorce was finalized four years ago.

Gray said in the past when he went through something painful, he would assume one of three things: he did something wrong and that is why God is angry as him; God doesn't care about his life; or God doesn't exist.

"Until I got this new language, until I heard these words that I'm being transformed when I'm moving along the spectrum from order into disorder into reorder - that just kind of changed everything for me," said Gray.

Gray compiled phrases from his life that helped change him and brought clarity and wrote songs about them.

"I thought I knew how the world worked. I thought I knew my place in the world. Then the bottom dropped out and everything fell apart," said Gray. "[My divorce] was painful enough that it broke me open enough that something new could get in and I could learn something new. I've been on the journey of reorder through all of that. It has been transformational."

Gray explained that the transformation has taken him from the victim mentality, full of fear and self-pity, to realizing that the storm is the perfect place to learn something new and engage with whatever was going on in his life.

"If my songs can maybe do that for somebody else that would be really meaningful," said Gray. "I needed those songs so maybe somebody else needs my songs to do the same thing."

When Seeley Lake residents Bill and Colleen Robinson contacted him, Gray agreed to partner with Sparrow's Vine for their annual fall fundraising event. The Robinsons met Gray in 2008 when he was touring with downhere, their son-in-law's band. Colleen is vice chairman of Sparrow's Vine's board of directors and loved his music and ministry.

Gray feels his desire to help people in a tough spot is aligned with Sparrow's Vine mission and he hopes they can resonate with each other. He looks forward to being a part of the Center's fundraising efforts and connecting people to a sense of meaning and purpose that they are supporting.

Gray said, "I hope my presence there and singing songs can be a part of helping all of us in the room make contact with that desire for purpose and changing people's lives."

Tickets go on sale for Gray's Benefit Concert Sept. 5. They are $25 per person.

Prior to the concert, Sparrow's Vine will host a VIP Meet and Greet dinner with Gray at the Grey Wolf Ranch at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and include admission to the concert.

Tickets are limited. Call 677-1900 or stop in at Sparrow's Vine in the Bison and Bear Center to purchase.

 

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