Episode 25 - Rob Mathes Part II, “Living and Breathing Music”

February 26, 2017


Welcome to the Season 2, Episode 3. Today you’ll be listening to Part 2 of a 2 part conversation with composer, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist, Rob Mathes. Rob is a Grammy-nominated, Tony-nominated artist who won an Emmy award for his musical direction of the Kennedy Center Honors.

In Part 2, a few of the topics Rob and I discuss include:

  • How Rob’s song, “Although It Is the Night” was inspired by St. John of The Cross’s poem “Dark Night of the Soul”
  • Listen to the song of the same name played in its entirety.
  • Why great music mixes the sacred and the profane, “the gears grinding and the heavens singing.”
  • How Rob’s train engineer grandfather—a man of deep faith—influenced his life and faith and became the inspiration behind Rob's magnum opus, “Evening Train.”
  • Understand why Rob feels it’s important to “poke holes” at aspects of Christianity that are seemingly crazy.

Follow these links to watch videos of Rob as musical director for the Kennedy Center Honors:

Led Zeppelin – “Stairway To Heaven”

Aretha Franklin – “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)”



Episode 24 - Rob Mathes Part I, “Living and Breathing Music”

February 19, 2017


Rob Mathes is Emmy award-winning, Grammy nominated, Tony nominated music producer, composer, arranger, singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist. The list of names that Rob has worked with is extraordinary--including production and songwriting collaborations with Sting on his last three albums, and serving as musical director on Sting's “The Last Ship: World Tour with the Royal Philharomic". As an arranger Rob has written orchestrations for artists all over the stylistic spectrum—from Jay Z, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Yo Yo Ma, Luciano Pavaorotti, and Panic at the Disco.

In Part One of Michael's interview with Rob, some of the content discussed includes:

  • Why Rob feels closer to God listening to Bach or Mahler than a Sunday morning sermon.
  • How Tony Bennet insisted Rob immediately go out and purchase what he considered to be the greatest record of all time.
  • What it's been like to collaborate with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Yo Yo Ma, and other renowned artists.
  • What lies behind truly great songwriting and musical production.
  • Complete tracks of Rob’s music, including “Christ Came Back and Trashed the Cathedral” and “William the Angel.



Episode 23 - Jill Phillips, “Lead Me Home”

February 12, 2017


Jill Phillips is a Nashville based singer/songwriter whose guitar based folk-rock sound blends deep and penetrating lyrics with an ever fresh take on the joys and sorrows of life.

Jill’s debut album, self titled “Jill Phillips” was released in 1999 and produced by Grammy-winning songwriter, Wayne Kirkpatrick. Jill currently performs and records as an independent artist who just released her tenth album, “Lead Me Home.”  Visit Jill’s website at www.jillphillips.com.

A few of the topics Jill shares in this interview include:

  • The impetus behind her newest album of hymns and traditional gospel songs.
  • The Cvil Rights history and suffering beneath several of the songs on her album.
  • What it means to live awake and alive and how Jill has been impacted by the practice of spiritual direction.
  • Featuring two songs from Jill’s newest album: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" & "Keep Your Eyes On the Prize"