BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Phil Driscoll: Playing by the Holy Spirit
By Jennifer E. Jones
Nashville, TN. – As legendary trumpeter Phil Driscoll sits before me in the Renaissance Hotel overlooking the Nashville skyline, he strikes me as a man who has no doubt in his mind about the call on his life to spread the gospel. After all, if you had recorded over 30 albums in your lifetime, you too would feel a sense of confidence in the Lord.
However, there’s always something new to be discovered and that’s what Driscoll learned while making his latest work, Drops of Praise.
“Whenever you record, it does challenge you,” he tells CBNmusic. “It unveils a certain part of your soul that has not been released and you’re under a microscope.”
Driscoll had his work cut out for him. Five years lied in between this project and his previous work Plugged In. He admits that the lapse in recording time is “abnormal” since he was his own music-making machine over the last few decades, at times spinning out multiple albums in one year.
However, Driscoll believes Drops of Praise will be well worth the wait.
“I think it might be the best because I put more of my life in it. I worked on this one ten times as much as I’ve worked on [others],” he says.
The effort is evident. Drops of Praise pairs Driscoll's gritty vocals with his trumpet to produce a sound that ranges from jazz to blues to gospel.
“It’s praise and worship but it’s also music that communicates Jesus,” Driscoll says. “It’s in the kind of style that I am and I like. I think it allows me to play.”
And play he does. In Drops of Praise, Driscoll was free to not intentionally make a “commercial” CD (i.e., a pop/easy listening album). “I came into it to believe that God would use it to influence people and to bring people to Jesus Christ,” he says.
Driscoll is particularly fond of some of the albums special moments – one of which Driscoll plays with his father, his son, and his grandson. “Four generations…. There are some very spectacular moments.”
What’s even more spectacular is hearing Driscoll live in concert. With a catalog of songs that spans several decades, I wondered how a man of such music diversity chooses his set list. Driscoll let me in on the secret.
“I don’t ever know what I’m going to play before I go on,” he says. “There’s a human side of what we do. Sometimes we miss it but I have this theory that if you let God be God, He reads the audience. He’ll tell me what to play and when. ‘Cause it’s not about how great my music is. It’s how great God is.”
Driscoll admits that it sounds crazy but he considers it an honor to serve God in this way. And when he is on stage before his audience and his Lord, Driscoll has but one message to deliver. It comes from the song “Beautiful” where he sings, “Where would I be had You not found me, Jesus? What would I become?”
He continues, “How can we think about it and not realize the magnitude of our salvation? It cannot be computed. The longer you serve him the more valuable it becomes. As people you love go on to be with Him, the greater the pull is on the other side.”
Drops of Praise ( 2006)
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