By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Sitting on a tour bus a week ago, singer-songwriter Brandon Heath looked through a stack of photographs featuring his late grandfather.
The photos would be featured in a music video he was preparing for a song from his new “Blue Mountain” disc. The song, “Paul Brown Petty,” named for his grandfather, proudly professes the influence the man had on a young Heath.
“He kind of had this grin about him. He was warm to everybody and everybody trusted him and relied on him,” said Heath. “I was always so proud whenever I would walk around with him.”
His grandfather lived in Waverly, Tenn., about 75 minutes from Heath’s hometown of Nashville.
Looking through the photos, Heath found a photo of himself walking behind his grandfather’s home.
“He built me this little railing that went down by his creek behind his house so I wouldn’t fall in when I was fishing. He wanted me to learn to fish but he didn’t trust me,” Heath said, laughing.
The story fits the musical theme throughout “Blue Mountain,” in which Heath explores American roots music.
“Blue Mountain,” which came out Oct. 9, is the fourth studio album for the Christian artist.
He is set to bring his Blue Mountain Tour to Northview Church, 12900 Hazeldell Parkway, Carmel, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15. Tickets begin at $15 if bought before Nov. 14; day-of-show tickets begin at $20.
Singer Matt Maher is special guest.
In 2009, Heath won the GMA Dove Award for Song of the Year with “Give Me Your Eyes.”
He said, “It gave me a shot in the arm as far as confidence, for sure, among my peers knowing they respect and liked what I’m doing. ... That song did so much for me on radio and iTunes, it was a big boost for me.”
That song was perhaps more in a Christian hip-hop realm but its success allowed him to explore his song writing.
“That’s really the only way to stay current and relevant,” he told The Herald Bulletin. “Honestly, it’s the only way to stay good in my opinion. It’s just smart to reinvent yourself and look at who you were before you started doing music.”
He added, “I’d been doing pop for so long that I thought it’s time to reinvent.”
Besides a faith element, many songs on “Blue Mountain” center around humble characters.
“Dyin’ Day” tells of a man on death row seeking redemption.
“Diamond” tells of a farmer in the fields who is proud of his life but asks God if there’s more to be done.
Some of those stories came from an area in Tennessee he saw as a youth when visiting relatives.
“We would go out to Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains,” he said. “Those trips were inspiring. They actually inspired a lot of this record. I love the lore of that area. It feels like they’re stories waiting to be told.”