By Craig Harris
Ivan Parker looks back on his recording career and finds himself surprised at the fact that he has recorded 17 solo projects.
“I can’t believe I did that much work,” Parker says. “I can’t believe I sang that many songs. Not only did I record, then I took them on the road and performed them every night … no wonder I’m tired.”
Parker exchanged that fatigue for excitement recently as an album release luncheon for the latest of those projects – “Feels Like Home” – was held at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s that anticipation,” Parker points out. “It’s like you have that question in the back of your mind … did I do it right? Did I deliver it properly? Could we have done something a little bit differently on it? I’m sure we could have … but it’s a done deal, so live with it.”
Parker teamed with long-time friend and former Gold City member, Garry Jones, the producer of the project.
“It’s the friendship that dates back to the early 1980s,” Jones explains. “It goes beyond friendship. It’s about understanding and trust, because that was established years ago. When we go to work on a record, there’s a trust factor. It’s trust in each other. It’s trust that you have my back. It’s trust that you’re vested in this journey with me.
“It makes it a little more special than just being work-for-hire. We are creating something together for friends.”
Jones has been the producer on several of Parker’s recent projects.
“It’s fun working with an old friend and knowing his abilities already,” Parker shares. “He knows my voice probably better than anybody does. I know his abilities better than anybody does. It’s really a pretty cool merger in the studio. It’s a really great experience collaborating and arranging.
“Whenever we finished that last song in the studio – “Through It All” – we capped it, and it was done. When we were getting ready to leave, Garry looked at me and said, ‘Thank you for letting me be a part of this. I needed to hear where I came from.’ I like that.”
According to Parker, the creative process remains unchanged.
“It’s always the same process,” Parker notes. “There may be some technicalities that may change. We always get together and go over the songs. We sort of get a general list of the songs we like and could possibly do, and then, we narrow it down. We have our procedure there. Then, Garry starts arranging and writing out the musical charts, and then we go in and start the recording process. It’s pretty much the same. We just do it in different locations.”
In addition to “Through It All,” the project is filled with songs familiar to many Southern gospel music fans, including: “Feeling at Home in the Presence of Jesus,” “Why Me,” “I Just Came to Talk with You Lord,” “Dig a Little Deeper in God’s Love,” “The Holy Hills of Heaven Call Me,” and “I Can’t Even Walk.”
“There’s always a joy in presenting a song that the people know, because if they know it, you’re going to be able to look at their lips and see them singing it back to you,” Parker says. “That’s the effect we wanted. That’s one of the things we wanted to do. I’m looking forward to that in staging and hearing these people respond in a live atmosphere.”
It’s difficult for Parker to select a favorite among the cuts on the project, which was released on Aug. 2.
“I like them all equal,” Parker points out. “It’s like a sleeper … when you get on stage, you don’t know which one is going to bring the most smiles. It could be ‘Why Me Lord.’ That’s the interesting part in producing a new record. Hopefully, we have 11 great songs.”
Jones adds, “There’s always a song or two or three or four that have a unique ability that can speak to you in a unique and new and fresh way. What stands out to me is the overall continuity that creates from song to song. There is a common thread that is somewhat organic in nature that we were able to weave through the entire project that just came together. We did our part to the best of our ability. The rest is just something that happened that we couldn’t expect.”
By Craig Harris
First published in SGNScoops Magazine in September 2019