Aaron Gillespie never imagined he’d be 31 and still touring full-time as a professional
musician. “I thought I’d be a worship pastor somewhere.”
In fact, that nearly became reality a little more than a year ago with Gillespie accepted
a job offer at a church and prepared to move with his wife and then 2-year-old son.
“We had our house packed, and we were moving,” he said.
The plan was to travel lightly, lead worship and continue making music in the vein of
his first solo album, Anthem Song, which released in 2011. But, “it just wasn’t in the
cards, and here we are touring full-time again.”
In the year since, he’s traveled the world with Platinum-selling band Paramore. What
was initially a temporary gig remains ongoing. “I didn’t expect to have the privilege of
playing with Paramore this long,” he said. “It was supposed to be a quick thing, and it
just sort of evolved. So I actually made this record while on the road with the band
during my downtime.”
The album, Grace Through the Wandering, is appropriately titled for someone who’s
following God’s path, unsure of where it leads.
Gillespie’s musical path began at age 14 when he co-founded Christian metalcore
band Underoath then continued with the alt-rock band The Almost 13 years later. But
leading worship has been a mainstay since age 15.
While co-writing a few years ago with Paul Baloche, a worship leader whom Gillespie
describes as a “hero," he had an epiphany about his role as a songwriter and worship
leader. “He said it’s so important when you’re leading worship because you’re helping
people with their vocabulary—with their communication—with God. I saw that as such
a responsibility, a massive one.”
When he began leading worship again, his intention was to help others come to God
with the faith (and vocabulary) of a child. “I just wanted people to show up and be able
to express their thanks, regrets, fears, sorrow and all of that verbally to Christ without
feeling condemned,” he said. “I believe that’s the way God designed it. I think we’re
supposed to know Christ and make Him known, but there’s not a long list of things you
have to do before that can happen.”
“Give Us Your Heart” captures that sentiment, which weaves throughout the 11 tracks.
“It’s more of a song for the Church,” he said. “It’s a prayer asking that we would be
given the heart of Christ for the lost, for people.”
Beyond sentiment, Gillespie’s aware it is a harsh reality. “We pray that, but then God
gives us His heart, and we realize we’re going into places that we are socially
uncomfortable. But that’s my prayer for me and for my family–my wife and 3-year-old
child–that we will be willing to go to the dark places and do the work as opposed to
staying inside of our community. Being in church is important, but I think it’s more
Primal Static, Carney, Blue October, God or Julie, Pianos Become The Teeth, Ride, Paper Rival, Owl Stretching, This Providence, Just Visiting, Sad Robot, The Art of Sleeping, Oslo, Soles of Men, Black Box Revelation, Big Head Todd And The Monsters, Mother Mother, Chris Cornell, Pheroze, School of Seven Bells, The Meddling Kids, Nitengale, Renovaudio, Them Crooked Vultures, Jimmies Chicken Shack