Interview: Greg LaFollette

May 25 2020

Greg LaFollette is an artist and spiritual director in Nashville,TN. He has been involved in more than one hundred records in his career; working with Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad, Sara Groves, Leslie Jordan of All Sons and Daughters, Robbie Seay Band and many others. Now he has released an album called 'I'll Wait for You, My Love' and Louder Than The Music decided to find out more about it from the man himself.

For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?

Sure. I’m an artist and spiritual director from Nashville, TN. I’ve worked in the music business since 2005, and I’ve been focused on making music expressly for the Church since 2017. For the majority of my career I worked in recording studios making albums for other artists, and I still do a fair amount of that, but for the last few years I’ve dedicated myself to providing resources to churches.

Tell us about your new album 'I'll Wait For You, My Love' and what the inspiration behind it was?

It’s a collection of eleven hymns that have been modernized, rearranged, and retuned. Some of the texts are widely known (such as Doxology, Softly And Tenderly, and Blessed Be The Name), but many are obscure.

As I dug into these timeworn songs, I was surprised to find how relevant the words are to us today. I want to interject fresh vitality into these still viable lyrics, and give people an opportunity to create new experiences with the familiar texts.

Which is your favorite track on the album and why?

I love how Softly And Tenderly turned out. Alisa Turner’s duet vocal adds so much earnest, trustworthy emotion to the song. The lyric reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son, and I love expressing the voice of the Father calling his children home to forgiveness and rest.

What message would you like people to take from your music?

I want to offer the Church permission to be utterly honest with God, and hope to inspire that kind of communication. I want people to feel welcome to approach God in worship as they are. I believe that this is the starting point for intimate relationship.

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

I’ve mostly been involved with smaller churches in my life, so I’m drawn to making music that is conducive to that kind of setting. Foremost, I want the songs to be played and sung in congregations, so I keep this on my mind as I make decisions about the complexity of melody and production. I strive to write songs that are singable enough to learn quickly, and also beautiful and interesting enough to have staying power and continually impel us.

So many influences: Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Brian Wilson, Death Cab For Cutie, The Beatles…

If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?

James Taylor. His music has been so enduringly winsome and substantive; something to which we all can aspire.

How would you define success in your career as an artist?

For me, I’m acutely concerned with the spiritual formation of the Church. Success looks like providing resources that equip and encourage people toward deeper intimacy with God.

What is your favorite album of all time?

August & Everything After by The Counting Crows. I love every song. “Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white.” The whole record is darkly somber but it seems lighthearted. Records that are effectively both/and impress and inspire me.

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?

Blonde On Blonde by Nada Surf. It’s not a cover from the Dylan album, but rather a song about it. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, so I know it wouldn’t be wasted. It also gets stuck in my head without getting annoying. Could be strategic for the island?

What does the next year hold for you?

Of course, because of the current pandemic, your guess is as good as mine! That being said, I still have a large pile of songs that I look forward to recording, plans for a songwriting retreat in the Fall, and a handful of church partnerships to invest in.

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