Acclaimed Christian singer in town

-A A +A

Award winner has shared stage with the Byrds, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead.

By Kirsten Laskey

John Michael Talbot sang rock-n-roll, founded a Franciscan monastery and became a Christian musician and author.  
Talbot is performing songs, motivational teachings and meditations through Thursday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. The performances are free but donations or “love offerings” are appreciated.
Talbot began in the music business at age 18 with the band, Mason Proffit, according to his website www.johnmichaeltalbot.com. Although the band got to share the stage with The Byrds, Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead, Talbot saw the alcohol and drug use that came with stardom and said he felt that the life of a rock star was empty and sad.  
This discovery led Talbot to take a spiritual journey. Eventually, he converted to Catholicism and entered the Christian music scene.
Talbot has recorded 40 albums and sold about 4 million records. His work earned him a Dove Award for Album of the Year in 1982. Talbot is one of nine artists to receive the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Billboard magazine named him the No. 1 Christian Artist in 1988.
In addition to being a recording artist, Talbot founded a house of prayer called “Little Portion,” in Eureka, Ark. The Franciscan monastery has about 40 members living at the monastery and about 500 members who live in their own homes.
In regard to his music, Talbot said there is no strict science behind it.
“All I do is pray and play,” he said. “Whatever comes out; comes out.”
When Talbot founded the hermitage in Eureka, Ark., he expected to give up music. But after buying a classical guitar, the music appeared, Talbot said.
“If you let art be, it’s (more) free, better,” he said adding, “the music can be used more freely by God.”
Looking at his varied experiences, Talbot said the message people young and old can learn is if people just focus on the external realities – the sensual, the emotional or intellectual, they end up incomplete and unhappy.
To young people, Talbot said, “give your gifts and talents to God and … essentially, you’ll find yourself happier in the long run.”
This is the first time Talbot has performed in Los Alamos.
“What a gorgeous part of the world – I love New Mexico,” he said. “There is a lot of bad news in the world – whether it is in the media, politics or the Catholic Church and people are ready for some good news.”
Often times people arrive at the performances feeling downcast but leave smiling and energized to do good in the world, he said.