Monk & Neagle: On Falling in Love and Dancing with Angels
By Jennifer E. Jones
Somewhere in middle America, two Texans are strumming acoustic guitars on a tour bus, making melodies and missing their sweethearts. To the world they are known as recording artist Monk & Neagle, but to Rachel Neagle and Micah Monk, they're just Trent and Michael.
Jennifer: Tell me about your favorite experience on tour.
Michael Neagle: The song that’s on the radio now, "Dancing with the Angels" – we’ve been really blessed by the Lord to see that song do what it’s done. Out on the road, we get to see people’s responses, and it gives us an opportunity to minister. That’s been the most rewarding thing.
Jennifer: What are some of the testimonies you’ve heard?
Trent Monk: They’re countless. For example, one night in Houston, a guy went up to Michael. Michael’s dad passed away a couple years ago, and a lot of the song is about that. And this guy came up, put his arms around him, and said, ‘I buried my dad today. I thought, why am I even going to this thing. But now I know.’ It ministered to him that his dad is in a better place. It’s things like that… We could have never imagined being used in such a way. It’s amazing.
Jennifer: Let’s talk about the album. It’s got a little rock, jazz, and a touch of bluegrass. What do you listen to on your own that influenced this sound?
Michael: We’re a hodge-podge of influences. The first tape I ever got as a kid was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We always say we don’t stand by what these people live for but musically there’s a lot to be learned. He had an influence on our sound. Trent grew up listening to Harry Connick, Jr. We both love Norah Jones, John Mayer, and Jason Mraz. We call what we do soulful acoustic pop because it’s a little bit of those genres of music.
Jennifer: Another thing I noticed. You’ve got, not one, but three love songs on this album.
Trent: Michael and I are both married to incredible women for the last six years. That’s an enormous part of our ministry. There’s so much divorce. It’s worse in the church than in the world. That’s sad. I think it’s brushed under the rug and forgotten about. We think it’s important to talk about it. Marriage is a picture of the church, and it should be treated as such and cherished. We can’t help but to write songs like that.
Jennifer: How did each of you meet your wives?
Michael: It happened for me during a time when I wasn’t looking. [When] I moved back to Amarillo [Texas], I met my wife that Sunday at church. It was nothing right away. I just thought she was kinda cute and wanted to get to know her better. We went to a Bible study together. One of my best friends was engaged to my wife’s younger sister. The family thought, ‘You guys are gonna get married.’ We both laughed about it and secretly wanted it to be true but also knew that it was a long shot. As time went on, I asked her out , and it was just right. We had a short engagement, and we got married within a year. I don’t encourage that for everybody but some times that’s just the path that God has. It’s been great. She is everything that I desired and needed.
Trent: My wife and I met several years before there were ever any sparks. We met at our home church. She went off to college at Texas A&M, which is nine hours from where we live. A friend of mine and I planned a ski trip, and we invited her. I just fell head over heels. I thought she was pretty awesome. That’s when I started pursuing. I started driving down to College Station almost every other weekend to go see her. She was up to her eyeballs in schoolwork, almost uninterested. I had to pursue pretty hard. We finally got to spend some good time together. I won her over during that summer. We fell in love, and it was only a matter of months that we were engaged. Six months later we were married.
Jennifer: On tour, you’re playing, running from city to city. How do you keep the romance alive on the road?
Michael: I’d be lying if I said we figured it out. It’s very hard. Our wives are both troopers. They grew up on farms and ranches. They’re tough by nature but they’re very tender. That was always a challenge to find time alone. If we had an extra night, we’d get a hotel room, and take them out to dinner. We all learned last year you have to make time for it. We need to protect our marriages first. My wife is priority one – not the concert.
Jennifer: Next to that, what’s the most important lesson you could give newlyweds?
Trent: Be best friends. You grow spiritually together. That’s hard for a lot of men to learn but that takes your marriage to a whole new level. If you start at the beginning, it will happen that much faster. I’m still learning how to be a spiritual leader for my family.
Michael: I know my wife’s no. 1 need is security. That could be anything from financial to me being home, sitting on the couch and putting my arm around her. She just needs to know that I love and cherish her. And vice versa. Men get mistaken a lot of times for having their no. 1 need be physical. It’s really not. We thrive on being the leader of the household, even if we struggle with that concept. We need to be honored in some way and know that we are taking care of our wives. They are two needs that compete against each other spiritually. Only time with the Lord can set those things in order and make your marriage great.
Purchase Monk & Neagle's duet album.
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