John Whitcomb is a talented Christian music artist,
whose faith and love for Christ shines through his creative, unique
songs which encompass many styles of music, featuring his remarkable
guitar work, his unique styles of singing, all of which have been
developed throughout his long involvement in both secular and
Christian music. John explains, "I would say I write in a stylist
format. I have no allegiance to any one type of sound."
This reviewer would heartily agree with his analysis
of his compositions, which uniquely reflect his background in
Rock, Country, Honky Tonk, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and Classical
music, creating songs which not only inspire one's Christian walk,
but also are musically unique to any other Christian artist. His
music carries not only a strong Christian message, but also is
really interesting and enjoyable, as it breaks out of the contemporary
Christian music format.
His many years in performing in a variety of musical
groups, from rock to classical, his informal and formal training
and the inspiration and calling he received from the Lord, have
all come to influence his current Christian music ministry, creating
a unique Christian Music CD, SOUL CHECK. This entertaining group
of songs, John tells us, "describe my love affair with Christ."
Whitcomb's love of music was fostered in his childhood,
youth, and young adulthood by various influences, which helped
his natural talent in music to grow and develop. John told us,
"Being a '60's kid and having four older sisters I was exposed
to all types of music. My dad was a trumpet player in college
and loved big band and musicals. I fell in love with entertaining
when 'The Monkees' came along. I fell in love with the guitar
when I saw Johnny Mcglaughlin and the Mahivishnu Orchestra on
Don Kirschners 'Rock Concert'."
In his teenage years, he was attracted to both pop
music and quirky instrumentalists alike. He played in various
secular rock bands, as he developed his guitar and other string
instrument skills. He also became a Christian in his youth, but
kept his faith and music separate at this time in his life, though
the Lord had other plans for his talents. His other musical influences
include Jeff Beck, Johnny McGlaughlin and Edgar Winters, whose
first albums were "very hip jazz fusion things."
John Whitcomb further explains about his influences."My
slide playing was most influenced by Tommy Bolin and Johnny Winter.
I then got into Dave Grisman and his 'Dawg Music' a crazy mix
of jazz blues and swing on the mandolin. I play mandolin too but
its not featured on this project. As I fell in love with Christ
I fell in love with Christian music. I still don't have a huge
collection of Christian artists in my CD case but I find I am
very selective to what I hear. I listen for sincerity and passion
in a performance. Knowing Gods gift of music is simply awesome
and I love to repay God for that gift."
After graduating from high school, John had the
opportunity to expand his musical skills and abilities when he
joined a country band. John comments, "After hard rock bands in
high school I went on the road in a country band on the 'Honky
Tonk' circuit. We played every hoot n holler from Canada to Mississippi.
Talk about an education!"
After touring for awhile, John Whitcomb decided
to get a formal musical education and enrolled in a California
music school, the Musicians Institute in Hollywood CA., known
as GIT, founded by a Christian, Pat Roberts. During this time,
he began to hear a very strong calling from the Lord, as well
as receive valuable musical training in not only technique but
also in performance.
When asked by ChristianMusic.com, "What was most
valuable to you in attending GIT?" John Whitcomb answered: "What
did I learn at GIT? How to play horribly in front of fabulous
teachers and other students and show my face at school again the
next day! GIT is a boot camp for musicians stressing survival
skills such as sight reading, ear training, chordal harmony, and
basic life skills. It was there I got my musical hind end kicked
and I began to listen to God a bit more. I had been a believer
since in my teens but I was then on the road to really listening
While attending GIT, Whitcomb had more opportunities
to practice what he was learning by playing in groups in nearby
Borrego Springs, CA. "I gigged on the weekends in Borrego Springs
CA. which is an incredible place," John explains.
After getting a formal musical education, Whitcomb
went on to experience two other types of music genres, in Nashville,
Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana. In Nashville Tennessee, John
Whitcomb worked in a Rhythm and Blues band while working for an
audio and lighting company. Then, a move back to Indianapolis
landed John in a pit orchestra at the American Cabaret Theater,
where he did a little bit of everything. John further explains:
"For five years I was exposed to the genius of Gershwin, Porter,
Leosser, and Carmichael. I did a little bit of everything. I played
bass, percussion, mandolin, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars.
I sang and even did a cameo or two from time to time. Probably
the highlight for me was playing barefoot on-stage 'While my Guitar
Gently Weeps' on a late 60's Gibson Flying 'V'."
However, it was finding the love of his life, his
wife Terri, that propelled John fully into the world of Christian
music, which was where the Lord had in mind for John's gifts and
talents; to serve the Lord through promoting the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. John explains, "Getting married in '95 was the beginning
of my love affair with Christian music. Finding out that Christian
music was suddenly very cool (to me any way) was great! I first
attended a Vineyard Church in Indy. It was very cool and the first
time I had heard a really happening praise band. That was about
'95. Ever since I have been in some type of praise band or Christian
John Whitcomb's fine guitar work can be heard in
such bands as Curtis Moore's group. John was the lead guitarist
on Moore's CD, ONE OF THESE MORNINGS. "I am so privileged to play
with the people I do and so humbled to be chosen by God to do
it. Knowing Gods gift of music is simply awesome and I love to
repay God for that gift."
While currently not involved in a regular praise
band, because he is devoting time to children's ministries at
his church, and composing new songs, John Whitcomb does sit in
once a month with "a very happening bunch of players at a church
on the south side of Indy."
On the songs found his new CD, SOUL CHECK, John
Whitcomb had help from his talented friends; musicians who helped
to bring his music to life, and an experienced production staff.
John Whitcomb's back up Musicians and Friends: (Adding
their talents to Whitcomb's songs on this CD) - As introduced
by John Whitcomb:
Soul Check CD Production Staff - "It was recorded
at Aireborn Studios in Indianapolis. Mike Wilson and John Bolt
own the place and they are two great guys with tons of experience
and spirit. Ben Vawter was the engineer par excellence. He really
made it sound grrreat!"
Vocals: "The back up harmonies on the CD were myself
and a friend from Indy by the name of Chris Stone. She did a great
job and even did her own arranging (which is cool)!"
Bass Guitar: "Her husband Jeff played bass on some
of the tracks."
Percussion: 1) "Larry Sauer played drums. He is
simply so tasteful in his chops its crazy. 2) "Kevin Burkett from
Bloomington IN played drums on 'Shout it Out Loud' and 'Pray for
Keyboards: "Keyboards were played by Darren Vincent."
SOUL CHECK CD - Samples of the SONGS
The nine, soul and faith inspiring, uniquely different
songs offered on this CD promote the love and faithfulness of
our Lord Jesus, and the joy and support we find in Him, as we
walk with Him in a relationship, when He becomes our Lord and
SHOUT IT OUT LOUD - by J Whitcomb 02 (John 14:6,
John 8:12, Romans 15:5)
A Rock - Style Praise song, with a strong electrical
guitar intro solo, with the driving rhythm being established with
acoustical guitars and drums. The song begins with John Whitcomb
singing the Chorus, as a vocal only intro, before the band joins
him with their musical introduction. The song brings home the
importance of Christians sharing their faith, joy, and life in
"SHOUT IT OUT LOUD was written while attending
the national 'Acquire the Fire' conference in Indy two years ago.
The speaker was talking about Intl.;. missions and the words just
appeared on the notebook in front of me." - John Whitcomb
Chorus: Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud. Take
Jesus to the nations across the sea and through the clouds Shout
it shout it shout it loud and clear. Live it with a passion abandon
all your fears.
1) Take it to the cities; take to the hills, See
that every valley the Holy Spirit fills. The hearts of men are
empty just waitin' for the day. The truth is spoken to them and
that truth will light their way.
2) If darkness falls on a nation. And there's no
one there to see. Will the sound of desperation, Bring a people
to their knees. Only Christ the Savior. Will move a nation's heart.
To leave behind the chains of sin. And peace to them impart. So
some of us can travel. And some of us can pray. Only God can heal
the nations in a supernatural way. Jesus gives the vision His
love will be the guide. We'll take it to the nation. On loves
Chorus Abandon all your fears.....yeah.
* Title Song: SOUL CHECK - By J Whitcomb 99 (John
3:16, John 11:25, Romans 5:6-8)
A song that really cooks with a syncopated, rhythm
and blues funky style with soulful vocals, rock drums, and sharp
guitar counter syncopated rhythmic melody. Intro features nice
rhythmic solo of bass guitar, with drums establishes the beat
and feel of the song. Electric guitar joins with rhythmic counter
melody. The vocals skillfully intersect with the rhythm of the
piece, and bring the song to life, much to the enjoyment of the
"SOUL CHECK is about the many ways that words
and attitudes are misused. Soul , of course, is God given and
the word has been humanized into something else." - John
1) Lets do the soul check, I don't mean your rhythm
and blues. Lets do the soul check, I don't mean your blue, blue,
blue, blue suede shoes. Talkin' bout your soul.....talking bout
2) Get ready for the soul check. I don't mean your
vegematic... kitchen device. Lets do the soul check. Yeah, I don't
mean your sloppy, sloppy, floppy device. No! Chicken livers tasty
only when its fried. Where's your soul goin' Once your body's
died? Get ready for the....
Bridge: Jesus loves me this I know, cause the Bible
tells me so.....He is strong.....Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
that save a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found,
was blind but now I see.... Yeah yeah yeah Yeah Yeah.
3) Lets do the soul check. I don't mean your red
white and blue. No! Lets do the the soul check. I don't mean the
good, good, good, good, things you do. When your face down on
the treadmill, And both your hands are tied. Won't you be wishin'
that Christ was by your side? by your side? by your side?
* SPEAKING OF GOD - John Whitcomb C '99 (John 14:1,
John 15:18-20, Philippians 3)
A favorite of this reviewer. Composed in a minor
key, with a solid acoustical support, steady drums and features
the unique sound of slide guitars, in the introduction, played
by Whitcomb on his "trusty G and L SC3", which "looks
like a tank but chimes like a bell," John tells ChristianMusic.com.
John Whitcomb's comments on SPEAKING OF GOD: "I
guess what I want to say about 'Speaking of God; is that the
more you pursue God the easier it is to die to yourself. I
would have never in a million years thought I would have been
a devout Christian let alone spends tons of time and energy writing
music that describes my love affair with Christ. I was afraid
that when I began to write Christian music that there would not
be enough subject material to write about! Ha! God is real. Christ
is alive!!! I will face my grave for Him for I know it is He who
awaits in eternity for me!! Without a doubt!! . How can one not
'speak of God?"
1) Well it happened, Just like He said it would.
To my friends and family, I am now misunderstood. And it's heavy.
This cross I chose to bear. But my life has changed, And I no
longer care. And speaking of God, Is what got me here. Down on
my knees, Between a laugh and a tear. And speaking of God I know
He's with me, Every step of the way. And I no longer fear.
Chorus 1: Speaking of God, Speaking of God, Speaking
of God, Speaking of God...........
2) Well I'm learning, The world will turn on you,
Leave you long and lonely, Like a kid lost at the zoo. All is
not peachy, On this side of town But I can be a fighter Or I can
be a clown.
Chorus 2: While speaking of God, While speaking
of God, speaking of God, speaking of God YEAH, Speaking of God,
Speaking of God, Speaking of God, yeah!
SONG FOR TERRI - Latin samba feeling, easy Latin
drum beat. A song written about the strong bond of marital love
between a husband and a wife. Song uses dynamics nicely, building
to the chorus.
"SONG FOR TERRI is dedicated to my wife. She simply
loves me as I am and I am the luckiest man on earth!" - John Whitcomb
1) Every twilight, as I'm on my way home, I pull
into the drive, I see your silhouetted form. And I thank Jesus,
for the love within my life and I thank Him for you, and I thank
him for the time.
Chorus 1: Then you take me in your arms, and you
look me in the eye, and hold me.
2) But every now and then, as is some of that ain't
heard and when I see that pain in your eyes, my heart only yearns,
make everything that's wrong (everything wrong), into every thing
that's right, (everything right), so baby, baby, baby, I'm a man
in love and I treasure every time...
Chorus 2: Then you take me in your arms, and you
look me in the eyes, And hold me, you hold me, Hold me, you hold
me, Hold me, you hold me.
3) Only time will tell, if our love is to survive,
BUT Knowing what I know, our hearts will surely thrive, if you
take me in your arms, and you look me in the eye, And hold me,
why don't you hold me, come on and hold me in your arms, in your
arms, Arms, in your arms.
* THE STONE -By John Whitcomb (Matt. 28:1-5, Mark
16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-9)
Another favorite song of this reviewer, which reflects
the exuberant joy of victory over death through Jesus; Jesus has
risen, He has risen indeed! A joyous, energetic, Praise Song,
celebrating what Jesus is to us, our Lord and Savior, who takes
away our sin, when we believe in Him.
Song is done southern style with plenty of blue
grass energy, and perhaps a touch of Honky Tonk and Blues. Introduction
and first verse done in a bluesy, slow, soulful genre, which transforms
to pure, energized joy when the Chorus jumps into a fast two beat
measure pattern, which drives on through the rest of the song.
Impressive Guitar work, doing bluegrass style rifts. Harmonica
adds a lot to the introduction, as it plays with an acoustical
guitar, which offer fine support to the vocals, which catch the
spirit and moods of the song and get the message across to the
listener. Nice two part vocal harmony.
"THE STONE is just a good ole' time knee slappin',
Bluegrass thing depicting the day the stone is found to be rolled
away and Christ is raised!" - John Whitcomb.
1) 'Early one mornin' I rose up to my feet. I was
going down to my masters grave there I planned to weep. But oh
Lord when I got there 'stead heard the joyful cries that said
" the masters' resurrected and he did rise.
Chorus 1: Now that stone's been rolled away, rolled
away, rolled away, that stone's been rolled away today. Oh Lord,
I pray my soul, the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's
been rolled away.
2) Now all my life I've lived in misery and sin,
darkness has shrouded my dreams, I heard the words of Jesus, sought
Him night and day, and my own stone has been rolled away.
Chorus 2: Now my stone has been rolled away, rolled
away, rolled away, my stone has been rolled away today, Oh Lord
I pray my soul the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's
been rolled away. ROLL ON!!
3) Now if you got the blues, and don't know what
to do. Take the time to listen to this song, sweet song. Trust
in the Lord, in every single way, now you know the stone's been
Chorus 3: Now your stone will roll away, roll away,
roll away, your stone will roll away today. Oh Lord, I pray my
soul, the Holy Ghost I feel, ever since that stone's been rolled
away. Ever since that stone's been rolled away.
HOLD ME, HEAL ME - (Psalm 102:1-2, Psalm 91, Phil.
4:6-7, Ephesians 6:18)
An Acoustical Rock song, with some nice keyboards,
interesting sound effects instruments, inspiring guitar work,
written in a minor key. A song sure to encourage those having
a discouraging day, and / or facing hard trials. The Lord is a
source of empowerment, of comfort, and love, who will surely see
us through anything life throws at us.
"Hold Me, Heal Me" - "This song shows
my '80's influence in a big way. It's a pouring out of ones heart
after a tough day at the office." - John Whitcomb
1) Today God, everything is hard and I can't crack
a smile. It seems that I have taken my dreams to a funeral pyre.
My tools are broken, my dreams revoked and heaven is the only
for sure. But the grave is not my goal and possession not the
2) So what do I do now besides pray to you God?
Why can't I part a sea, cause an earthquake or two? Please forgive
me for I am like Job crying to the 'Great I Am, but when I'm down
and broken hearted, it's hard not to make this demand.
Chorus: You/ve got to... hold me (You got to), heal
me (You got to), touch me (You got to), boldly. Hold me, heal
me, touch me, boldly. You've got let me know, whom I am.... what
* TRUE - A contemporary Praise and Worship Song,
that has drive and energy, with a great melody, strong beat and
a heart-felt message. A lively violin nicely introduces melody
with vigorous guitar rhythmic back-up in the introduction, and
between the Chorus and the verses. Violin and is part of the pretty,
swirling ensemble of floating, euphoric sound, right before the
driving ending of the song.
"True" - "Plain and simple. Just the giddy
excitement of knowing who I am in Christ. A breakdown with violin
sets the mood for some good worship." - John Whitcomb
1) I heard you whisper my name, You gave my life
eternal flame, that day, that awesome day... I bow my knee before
your throne, its there the seeds of faith are sown into your loving
Chorus: I know Your promises are true, In Your name
there is nothing You won't do....
I drink from God's eternal spring......I need to
fill on what He brings to my table now..... With the Spirit in
my life, I speak the truth in perfect time, in God's amazing time.......
PRAY FOR THE PREACHER - (2 Cor. 1:10, 11 - Phil.1:19,
Another interesting Latin-flavored, Jazz- inspired
song, with Latin rhythms that really cook, enjoyable acoustical
guitar solos, all put together as only Whitcomb can do! Great
dynamics in vocals and music. Nice harmony in the Chorus.
"Pray for the Preacher" - "I have a couple of friends
who travel a lot as evangelists. This song is for them and all
those who have to be separated from their families preaching the
word."- John Whitcomb
1) In the cool, of the evening....under the big
tent, the preacher is preachin'. The village people, they come
from miles around, hoping salvation will be found.
2) The preacher, he travels the countryside, looking
for sinners who no longer want to hide, The Holy Spirit drives
them to the crossroads, they raise up their hands and give up
Chorus: So pray for the traveling preacher, as he
prays for us for life. So many people will pray for the traveling
preacher, as he prays for us, yes, as he prays for us.
* GUILTLESS - (Hebrews 10:22, Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy
1:15, Romans 7:14-25) -
Another favorite of this reviewer. A catchy, funky,
syncopated song with elements of Jazz, Blues, and a few other styles,
all blended into an interesting combination. Song starts with
a crisp, syncopated intro by bass & electric guitars. Keyboards
in a minor key (to add a sense of urgency) and the cooking rhythm
section (drums, guitars), join in. Vocals skillfully sing the
melody in the syncopated rhythm established by the music. Great
electrical guitar solos with Jazz - Soul -R&B overtones.
Having Salvation through Jesus Christ not only takes
away our sin, but our guilt as well, as Jesus Christ was our perfect
sin offering. (John 3:16)
"Guiltless" - "One of the best parts of salvation
I think. Knowing God loved me from the very beginning and will
love me till the day we meet and forever!!" - John Whitcomb
1) I know what your thinkin'..just another pop tune
about nothin', a rhythm and a rhythm and a rhyme and rhyme just
wastin' your precious time. Now listen up to me, 'cause what I
got to say you need to hear.
2) You say your down and bummin', like a slug you
just be slummin', creepin' in the shadows dancin out of time doin'
up now your little crimes, you say you want to change your tune?
Brother, have I got a song for you.
Chorus 1: Cause I'm free and clean, do you know what
I mean? I'm Guiltless!
3) There is a better way to do the things that you
do, is it going to be your death, is it going to be your doom,
when the rubber meets the road, are you going to be the toad that
lets the tire tread squash you? Let the Savior of the world wash
you clean. Come over here and see what I mean...
Bridge: Cause I ain't dyn', and I ain't cryn', don't
you know, God is going to pay, and all you got to do is say.
Chorus 2: Lord, I'm free and clean, now I know what
you mean, I'm Guiltless!
If you are interested in e-mailing
John Whitcomb directly to inquire how to
receive a two song sample of this marvelous CD, e-mail him at
Julie Carr - Reviewer for ChrsitianMusic.com