As 2015 began, Jim Brady joined with his wife Melissa and co-singer Tim Parton to form The Jim Brady Trio. Jim sat down with SGN Scoops to talk about the transition from the Booth Brothers to his own group and most of this interview is covered in the January 2015 edition of SGN Scoops. However, because of the length of the interview, we have continued the conversation here. So join us, as we get personal with Jim Brady.
The initiation of the Jim Brady Trio will mean a shift in some of the activities of the Bradys. Jim and his wife Melissa have been putting together marriage counseling seminars and the women’s conference Something Beautiful over the past couple of years. Although the increased tour dates together will cause their schedule to become stretched even more, Jim says they have no intention of putting that part of their ministry aside.
“We’re going to work those in as time will allow. We’ll just do some marriage conferences and some banquets. We do kind of a two-set thing; we do a ‘love song’ set of classic ‘40’s and ‘50’s music that my mom and dad love, and then we have a set where we do original love songs that we’ve written from a Christian perspective. Melissa will also continue her Something Beautiful women’s conference. We will not do it this year due to the starting of the new group but we plan on doing that again in 2016.”
“We’re also going to Norway and Sweden in March.” Brady shakes his head. “It’s crazy when I look at the schedule! I say thank you Lord, I’m thankful that it’s so full but wow, we’re going to be tired. But you know, when we are weak, He is strong. I pray our voices and our bodies hold up. But He’s faithful, He’s there, and we shouldn’t be surprised when He takes care of us because He said He would. I’m really grateful.”
Keeping their own marriage strong is extremely important to Melissa and Jim. “We try to make sure each one is a priority. When we first got married we were together 24 hours a day, we traveled and sang together, everything was together. Then the last 12 and a half – almost 13 – years I’ve been on the road with the Booth Brothers, so I’ve been gone 46 weekends of the year and she’s been home alone. She said, “I really miss you when you’re gone for that long.” I said, “Well, lets start our own group, you’re going to really want to miss me but you won’t be able to,” Jim says, laughing.
Brady says that even when he was home from the road, he was still caught up in the music business as songwriter, engineer and demo singer. “We try to take one day a week and say this is our day for each other. I really tried to make her my priority. I won’t let anything pull me from what’s important and that is ‘us’ and our family and our marriage. She (Melissa) does the same thing for me, even though she works out of our home. She’s a writer for a lot of publications, she also writes songs and sings demos and then does some conferences. What is very cool for us is that she has really organized her time to match my schedule too. So when I’m home she tries to not take on too much, and when I’m gone, she loads up her work schedule.”
How does Jim let Melissa know that she is his priority? “I let her know she is special and it is her day. One of the things I didn’t realize was such a big deal to her: I’m always on my phone, with people calling me or me working on a song I recorded into my iPhone. So awhile back, we’d had dinner and we were going to walk into the mall. She was looking for something and she didn’t have her phone. So she said, ‘let me see your phone,’ and I said, ‘I left it in the car,’ and she said, ‘on purpose?’ and I said, ‘yeah, I was trying to not be (on the phone),’ and she said that was cool.”
“I didn’t realize what a big deal that was to her, for me to say okay, everything’s going to stop for a few minutes. This is so that I’m not distracted while she’s trying to talk to me. I think making sure your spouse knows that what they’re feeling and what they’re saying is important is a really big priority, means a lot to them. I think it makes a difference in the marriage, it makes a difference in the quality of life you have.”
“We go into a restaurant, I look around. The married couple isn’t talking; he’s on his phone or reading the paper. The ones that are dating are connected and talking and actually have a conversation. We try to make sure we’re not one of those couples that have been married so long that they don’t talk or communicate. We’re actually a couple that really still likes to be together and it works well for us, we’re extremely grateful to be together. We feel blessed, we really do.”
One of the ways the Bradys stay connected is through the study of the Word, even when they are not together. “One of the things we do every week when I come home on Monday morning, we will discuss about what she studied at church, what the preacher preached on. A lot of the times I’ll try to get the podcast from our church and hear our pastor’s message. Monday morning we have coffee, we talk about the weekend, and we talk about what the services were on Sunday. So that’s really our time of connecting on the spiritual level. We connect, we pray about what is important to us and what we’re trying to do in our lives. We talk about what God is doing in our life. It’s very important to us. It’s really a great part of our life.”
As Brady talks about the changes happening in the New Year, he mentions his personal goals he has set for 2015. “People ask me if I have a hobby besides music and I really don’t; music and songwriting are my hobbies. I love to work in the studio and I engineer. In fact, this new album I engineered, recorded and did all the editing of our vocals in my home. So I would love to jump in and do a little more studio work and learn more about the workings of that.” In addition, “Time management would be one of my big goals. I don’t do well at it but I’m going to try.”
“I want to read more because as a writer you have to read, there’s so much great information out there. We have some wonderful authors at our fingertips, just vast knowledge. I feel that I’m so busy, I find myself running into a writing session sometimes and I think, ‘man I really haven’t studied as well as I could on this subject.’
“I think as a writer we have to be working on our craft, and we have to be digging deep. It’s no different in my opinion than a preacher or a minister or someone that is a public speaker. For a short speech or a short sermon there’s still hours of preparation that go into that and people don’t realize that songwriters are the same way. We have to really dig.”
“A lot of it you live, you listen to messages, and you try to keep the Word of God in you so it comes out when you write, but really I think people don’t realize the preparation it takes to write.” To aid in the study that it takes to be the type of songwriter that touches hearts, such as Brady, new technology is quite important. “I put a lot of books in my iPhone. I may not have time to sit and read, but when I’m on a plane or I’m running somewhere, or even through an airport, I can have my headphones on and listen.”
Brady has a few favorite authors that he loves to put on his devices and take in when he can. Philip Yancey, Max Lucado, Dr. Charles Stanley and John Eldredge are a few. “Melissa is an avid reader, she can read much quicker and retain much more than I can. She can read while we’re rolling down the road, I can have music playing and she can still read and ‘get’ it. I’m a little different with that; I put books on my iPhone and listen. When I’m in my bunk and it’s kind of dark, it’s easier to lay your head back and listen. I have the entire Bible on my iPhone and I listen to that too.”
Brady says that soaking in the Word this way has been helpful for him. “Being on the road as much as we are and not being able to attend church every week, you have to stay connected and that’s really important. I have my iPad, which has the entire Bible on there as well, so I can read it or listen to it. Either way, getting the Word of God in you is very important because the truth of God’s Word will not return void. Whether you feel like you’re getting something out of it or not, you really are, because it’s alive. If you put the Word of God in you it will help you. When you least expect it, something will come from it, it will help you, and shape the way you make your decisions. It’s vitally important to have that.”
As you read the Word of God, He will help to show you His will for your life. To those reading, Brady says, “God has a plan for your life. I hear these stories about people who feel like they can’t find the place they belong. They can’t find their niche in life. I would say to them that God has a special plan for you that no one else can do. You are the only one who can fulfill that. You have a gift that is special; nobody else can do what you do. Know that God has that plan and find it, because there’s nothing more fulfilling than to find that perfect will of God for your life.”
Brady is thoughtful as he continues, “I think that’s why people live in a lot of stress and a lot of struggles. It is because they really don’t find that place that God has made for them. I’ve experienced this. In the music industry you hear some wonderful singers and think, ‘I wish I could play the piano like Tim Parton,’ or, ‘I wish I could sing like David Phelps.’ I have to realize that is who God wants them to be. He has a place for me and although I don’t do what they do, I have something else that I bring. I think for most people that I talk to, they are just trying to find their place and realize that they are valuable. They’re valuable and they’re special and God has a plan for them. I’ve been trying to stress to people that ‘you’re worth the Son of God dying, that’s how valuable you are.’
“I would just encourage them to have hope and find that place and let God [work]. There’s so much fulfillment in finding God’s perfect will for your life, and a lot of people go their whole life and never find that. I read a quote the other day that said that most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to their grave with their song still in them1. So I would say, to sum this all up and make it a lot shorter, I’d say, ‘Sing your song, live your life, don’t miss this moment!’ When you’re fulfilled you can help someone else.”
Brady continues, “I had someone ask me the other day, ‘do you have any regrets about your life this far?’ I said that I don’t really have any big regrets, but a small regret would be that I didn’t live in the moment. I’m always looking for what’s next, not realizing that this moment is special and God has something for this moment. Some people have asked me ‘what’s your favorite album?’ I have always said ‘the next one’ because the one we’re on, we’ve been working on it and it’s not on the level I want it to be or I’m striving for. At the end of the day, driven is great but not living in the moment, you miss out on a lot.”
Brady is aiming for the perfect balance of striving for excellence without losing life’s precious moments. Being driven can be detrimental to your health. “Stress is a killer. That’s the thing. There’s a verse that says that they that have their mind stayed on Christ, they will have perfect peace. And that’s the opposite of stress. So if our mind is in the right place, I think our stress level will be lowered, I really do.”
Perfect peace and trust can help lower that stress. “He’s the great Creator. He’s the Designer; He knows everything. Growing up I always heard, ‘trust God.’ And I thought ok, you’re telling me to, but tell me how. How do I trust Him. I think many times it’s that surrender… so okay, I want to fix this, but I can’t and that’s okay. God, I’ll leave it in Your hands.”
Jim, Melissa and Tim are stepping onto a new path with The Jim Brady Trio, and Jim is learning to leave everything in the hands of his Creator. “People ask me, are you nervous or anxious about what you’re doing? And I’d say there’s a little bit of the anxiousness of the unknown, but overall really I’m not because He’s already provided. He’s doing what He said He would do, the Lord is blessing, and so I have no doubt. It may not be the way I think it should be or the way people will look on and say okay, this is a success. It may not be any of that. But whatever it is, it will be whatever He had designed for us. Whatever that is, I’ve just got to rest in that.”
Be sure to hear The Jim Brady Trio when they are in your area. For more information, visit http://www.bradyhousemusic.com/jbt/ .
For the Jim Brady Trio cover story in the January 2015 edition of SGN Scoops, visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/2015/01/06/january-2015-sgnscoops-magazine/