From Nashville to Nazareth

Artist: Paul Colman
Published: 2005-08-04

The Australian band Jet seems to be getting all the attention right now but fellow Aussie Paul Colman has been turning the radio charts upside down this past year with monster hits like "Gloria: All God's Children" which spent almost three months firmly ensconced in the number one spot on the Australian charts. With his workman like earthy approach to his onstage presentation Colman reminds you of Bruce Springsteen in his prime.

Colman's in your face candor, Aussie charm and scintillating guitar riffs stop you in your tracks as you grapple with lyrics such as; I gave my eyes to the media / I gave my heart to the fame / Walked into church like a pop star / I murdered Able I'm the Cain / I gave my word then I broke it / Thought I was 10 ft 10 / Quoted the Bible then revoked it / Then I did it all again / (from Nothing Without You on the Let It Go album) Colman however always comes back with encouraging words about what life can be as the next verse talks about God's enduring love; Then you took me in / And taught me how to love /. The song is one Colman likens to Jesus of Nazareth meets Lenny Kravitz.

Songs like "As Long as You Come Home to Me" is a reflection of the angst he experienced as he watched the marriage of a close friend crumble. "Relationships are everything. That's your lens to everything you go through. I've had twenty friends get divorced and I am only thirty-seven. I've had nine friends commit suicide", he says deeply troubled.

Colman's ability to avoid stereotype labels is one of the reasons why he can so effectively bridge gaps like the conversation he had on a plane earlier this year with a Jewish lesbian. When she discovered that he is a musician and is now living in Nashville, Colman side stepped her question, 'Country or Christian?' and instead evolved the conversation into one of mutual respect that portrayed his faith as being based in love.

"I said to her if I say the word Christian we're going to have the Wailing Wall between us. I don't want that wall between you and me. Will you just accept the fact that I love God and I love you? I write songs about that. She said okay. I told her I am a passionate follower of Jesus of Nazareth and I know that creates issues between you and me but he was a Jew and I cannot feel anything but it is such a privilege to be here with you because you are a descendant of his and that puts you on a pedestal in my mind. I don't want to patronize you but I honor you."

"I just find words are very powerful. James talks about the power of the tongue," he says.

It is Colman's ability to avoid being stereotyped that has endeared his music and person to so many people. "When I have to think of myself as a Christian I have to concern myself with what a Christian guy eats, drinks, wears, thinks and doesn't think. We need to concern ourselves more with getting back to Jesus and following him as opposed to worrying about being Christians," he says.

Actions are also very powerful and those who have met and spent time around Paul Colman are the first to attest to him living the words that he eschews. Jan O of the legendary music venue Cup O' Joy says, "In the end the music was stellar. A solo performance with a guitar and a guy who sang his heart out--gave his all--held nothing back and then spoke with every person who wanted to meet him."

Colman says, "My life is my witness. When I walk in the door I am witnessing. My experience is that the minute I said I have decided to follow Jesus my life became a mission." He wants you to know that you do not have to go to another country or the inner city to be on a mission from GodóGod bless you if you do embark on a more traditional mission but let's not leave out all those other people who have a ministry at their jobs, social circles and neighborhoods.

After racking up several memorable hits, winning a 2003 Dove Award (New Artist) and being nominated for a Grammy Award the brief life of the Paul Colman Trio came to an amiable end in 2004 so he could spend more time with his wife Rebecca and their two young daughters as well as gaining more creative control over his career.

Creating the song "Gloria: All God's Children" was birthed from that new found creative freedom. He collaborated with fellow Aussie mates Reuben Morgan (Hillsongs and Rocketown Records) and Peter Furler, the frontman for Newsboys.

He is also nonchalant when you remind him the song was a huge success, "I guess it was", says the man who has five number one hits to his credit. He believes "Gloria" is a song God placed in his heart and it just happened to coincide with the fashionable trend in Christian radio. "Someone decided this is the flavor of the day and this is what people will listen to." He also wants you to know, "Gloria is successful because it is a hit song but I couldn't make it a hit song on my own."

As I am writing Colman's song "One Thing" is ranked number three on the Australian TRAA charts, and is projected to climb much higher than its current position at number 23 on North America's Radio and Records listings.

Do yourself a favor and take in a Paul Colman concert because when he leaves the stage he leaves it all on the stage and with his fans.

Visit to listen to the music and read more about Paul.

Writer: Joe Montague

Photo:Joe Montague

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