A grassroots ministry band from Billericay, ONE MIND are the vehicle for songwriter Joan Bower. She spoke to Giles D Morrison.
One Mind have recently recorded their first CD 'One Heart', reviewed in CR57 and featured on the CR57 cover CD. The lyricist and pianist of the band is Joan Bower. Her introduction to writing came about after a professional musician asked her to put music to some lyrics. She started writing about seven years ago and One Mind was formed three years later as a vehicle for her songs. One Mind comprises Jerry Coulthurst (bass), Faith Hammond (lead vocals), Naomi Boakes (bvs) and John Moody (drums) with Joan providing piano and bvs. Jerry and Joan regularly lead worship at Billericay's local churches and this provides a forum for the band's songs.
I asked Joan what inspires her to write. "The songs reflect the experiences and ups and downs of life that I have been led by God to write about. They are an expression of something God has put inside me, because otherwise it would be a hollow experience. The songs are the best way to communicate with God and playing feels so good." This perception is echoed by the other members of the band, who find One Mind not just a name, but a description of their feelings when praying and worshipping together. The songs are quite laid back and relaxed, with a "soully" feel and strong vocal harmonies. Joan described "Abba My Father'", featured on the CR57 CD, as the song with which most people had related.
"'Abba My Father" is a cry from the heart for a deeper relationship with God. It's recognition of both our total dependence on God as his 'children' and his desire to wrap us round with himself and be the loving Father he is. The song was buried in a pile of others for a couple of years because no more words came to mind, but clearly the message was complete!"
"No Condemnation" was Chris Webb's favourite track in the CR57 review. "This came out of a very clear moment to write. It expresses the freedom and absolute confirmation found in God's touch." Others found the song touched them and their desire for more led to the album being recorded. One Mind's earlier recording, 'Shoulder To Cry On', was issued as a limited edition cassette, but the growing demand encouraged this new recording.
The band made an impression in the recording studio. Though hesitant, they decided to use a local secular studio for convenience, but hoped that their presence might have some impact. The band found themselves "christening" a new studio built by Slade's bass player, self described as "an extension of their mind". He proved to be a good producer, encouraging them to perform without criticism. He found that the songs rumbled round in his head at night and observed that they looked happy, enjoying themselves and getting on well together.
While hoping to play to wider audiences, One Mind are not seeking musical success in its own right, but are prayerfully seeking God's guidance for the future. Jerry described the band's feelings, "If only one person were touched or became a Christian it would all be worthwhile. What happens to the band is secondary."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.