Jim Drew: The New York-based singer/songwriter

Sunday 1st February 1998

Not one to take things lying down, New York-based singer/songwriter JIM DREW tackles life full on. Alex Figgis writes.

Jim Drew
Jim Drew

On the inlay card of his Spirit Music distributed album 'Toys In The River' lies a clue about this thoughtful multi-gifted musician - "Jim, the 'wandering Drew'", it says. "I tend to go in wild directions once in a while," he explains. The results are songs that are clever and witty observations of life with challenging lyrics bent on avoiding pious platitudes and pat answers.

Much of Jim's work has two sides: on the one hand, the songs reveal Jim's own heartfelt struggles with issues of faith and life in general, whilst simultaneously pointing the way to absolute truth. "The goal," states Jim, "is for each song to pull out the emotions and thoughts and the reality of what we deal with in life every> day and lead people to a place where they can focus on the God who puts it all back together for us."

Taking in influences from the now defunct US rock group America and early Jesus music, Jim's acoustic-based rock sound expresses his heart. Says Jim, "For me the music is a natural extension of my faith. One of the things that I have really struggled with, that I really wanted to see on this album, were my emotions."

When asked about the album's title, Jim points to his son Daniel for its origins. A keen family man, Jim endeavours to take one of his three children with him whenever he travels. It was on one such trip as they crossed over a river that son Daniel suddenly exclaimed. "Toys in the river!" Mulling over the phrase, Jim observed that there is so much in our lives that threatens to distract us away from our focus on God, that there is a need to metaphorically "throw" our lives into the river of God's Holy Spirit and see what lasts and what is washed away.

A man of integrity, Jim comments upon being tired of singing "nice and pretty and playing well." His prayer? "Lord I want the emotion that I have between you and I when we write...to show up on stage 'cos I want folk to hear and see everything that you and I went through to get this song... I want them to experience the relationship that you and I have been having."

Like Jacob wrestling with God, Jim's ministry has been born out of a heart that continually wrestles with life. Not content with merely rattling off 'Christian' terms in response to people's questions, Jim regularly comes before God seeking understanding for himself his desire being to be able to share with others from an empathetic heart. As a result, Jim has also written a short booklet, aimed at both Christians and non-Christians alike, who struggle with "Christianise": a language he wishes to dissect to reveal the profoundly simple truth of Christ in a way that speaks directly into people's hearts. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Alex Figgis
Alex Figgis is a heavy music enthusiast who at one time worked for United Christian Broadcasters in Stoke.


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