When it comes to contemporary Christian music pioneers who date back to the Jesus movement, Randy Stonehill is one of the elite few who not only has influenced several generations of musicians, but has remained prolific and profound in his songwriting efforts. On his eighteenth recording, Edge of the World, Stonehill recalls several elements that have allowed his compositions to stand the test of time, even reuniting the troubadour with peers from the 1970s. Whether teaming up with Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy, Barry McGuire, Annie Herring (from Second Chapter of Acts), or Sara Groves, Stonehill has been able to delicately balance bittersweet nostalgia with a refreshingly relevant edge. Here's more about the latest from this generation-spanning poet:
How has the Christian music business changed since you first began?
Stonehill:It's changed enormously, and those changes bring both positive and negative things to the table. It started out as a grassroots movement, which I believe was propelled by the Spirit of God. Over 34 years it's evolved into a multi-million-dollar industry.
On the one hand, we've learned how to make great sounding records, and stylistically there's something for everyone, so that's a good thing. On the other hand, it's become far too commerce driven, and I believe generally there's less focus on, and passion for "Who" we started singing about in the first place. That's sad to me, and it endangers the power and longevity of the genre.
How does it feel to be referred to as a pioneer within the industry?
Stonehill: It feels amazing! I mean, that's a rare position within the panorama of music history that I never could have dreamed up for myself. I think it's a gift from God. I just felt compelled to share the stunning ...1