I was raised to believe Bruce Springsteen was, indeed, The Boss. Vivid memories remain from my childhood with the windows rolled down in our old Ford LTD and Bruce’s “Glory Days” or “My Hometown” or “Born in the U.S.A.” blaring loudly. As a young adult, I found myself digging into the back catalog while appreciating each new release — from the beauty of “Badlands” to more recent gems like the entire second half of Magic.
The truth is, I’m a sucker for similar artists as well, with a hearty appetite for what you might consider heartland rock or barroom rock. Everyone has their own terms for it; all I know is that I’m just fine if you wanna play Tom Petty or Ryan Adams or Dawes or Jackson Browne or Neil Finn or Van Morrison. These artists are storytellers. They’re also straightforward. There’s a sincerity at work in their compositions, honest men telling honest tales with their hearts always tucked inside their rolled up sleeves.
I bring all of this up because I’ve always been surprised that John Tibbs has never received any real attention around the Rabbit Room. His influences are largely the artists I’ve already mentioned along with bands like The Lone Bellow. His last album was produced by Ben Shive and features Ellie Holcomb as a guest vocalist. He’s toured with Audrey Assad, Crowder and Matt Maher along with CCM heavyweights like Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp and Newsboys. He even just wrapped his 2016 touring calendar with a show with Jason Gray.
In other words, you should be surprised that you’ve never his music (if you haven’t already). But sometimes these things take a proper introduction, so allow me to give you one.
John released his first full-length album, Dead Man Walking, last year on Fair Trade (Phil Wickham, etc.), which was produced by Shive. Here’s the opening track, “Silver in Stone.”
The title track features Ellie Holcomb, so of course you need to hear “Dead Man Walking.”
For a closer look at John’s worshipful side (since he got his start as a worship leader in Indiana), you might enjoy “Everything I Need.”
And if you’re interested in finding out more about John’s music, ministry and upcoming tour calendar, you can find all kinds of details at his website.
Matt Conner is a freelance writer and music journalist. As the founding pastor of The Mercy House, he led a church community for more than six years in intense community development across racial and socio-economic lines. As a writer, he’s interviewed thousands of musicians for multiple print and web-based publications.