Roman Catholic singer, songwriter and guitarist John Michael Talbot will bring his "Worship and Bow Down" tour to Defiance for three nights of inspirational music beginning Sunday.
Talbot, former guitarist for the 60s and 70s country folk rock band Mason Proffit, has embarked on a spiritual journey that led him through Native American religion and Buddhism to Christianity.
He will perform at St. John Catholic Church at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
"We were told that all three shows would be different, although we're not sure how much," said Sandy Diehl of the host church. "They just told us he would perform each night as he was moved by the Holy Spirit."
Admission for all three concerts are free, although a free-will offering will be collected. He is likely to perform several songs from his newest CD, "Worship and Bow Down."
"We called and talked to his office several months ago, but this is the first opportunity we could get him here," said Diehl. "We invite and welcome all area residents and clergy to attend any night or all three nights."
Talbot, 57, is a native of Oklahoma who learned the guitar at an early age. He quit school at 15 and joined Mason Proffit, one of the forerunners of country rock. The group shared the stage with some of the biggest acts of the day, including The Byrds, Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead.
On one particular evening they opened for the queen of rock herself, Janis Joplin. Talbot watched her backstage as she downed bottles of Southern Comfort like it was soda pop. The sight seized him deeply, and when the concert was over he walked back onto the empty stage. Looking out over the arena floor, he was shocked to see, lying before him a sea of bottles, beer cans and drug paraphernalia littered as far as he could see.
"Suddenly," he recalled, "the rock star life seemed empty and sad. It wasn't at all what I wanted my life to stand for."
It was a prophetic experience for the youngster that caused him to question his whole lifestyle as he began to ask, "Isn't there something more?"
That something more was Jesus Christ.
"Jesus has been good to me. He's offered me salvation and a way to help others. In fact, the more I live this life, the more I see our job as a community is to simply be faithful to what God has given us. In that way, we will be living, nothing more or less, than the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Talbot became a Roman Catholic in the late 1970s after reading about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and studying at a Franciscan center in Indianapolis. He founded his own community, the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, at Little Portion Hermitage in Eureka Springs, Ark., as an "integrated monastic community" with celibate brothers and sisters, singles, and families. He married in 1989, with the church's permission.
He has produced more than 40 recordings over the years with sales around four million albums. His songs were the first by a Catholic artist to cross well-defined boundaries and gain acceptance by Protestant listeners. Due to his expansive popularity, he was the recipient of several prestigious awards including "Light Eternal," which won the Dove Award for "Album of the Year" in 1982. Six years later, he was named the No. 1 Christian Artist by Billboard magazine.
For more information about Talbot, visit www.johnmichaeltalbot.com or www.facebook.com/johnmichaeltalbot.