Exclusive: Josh Blakesley Shares Heart Behind New Single “Come To The Banquet”

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From the heart of Houston, Texas, Christian singer/songwriter Josh Blakesley recently released his latest single “Come to the Banquet”, available now across all streaming platforms. The song is the first of a series of songs to be released throughout the year with OCP (Oregon Catholic Press). Written and produced by Blakesley, the contemporary track expounds on the beauty of God’s love. This single is the follow up to Blakesley’s Mass of Restoration (2017) album. Also, Blakesley recently launched a new, on-demand video worship series, The Way with speaker and author Paul George. The Way is a unique series of 10 worship night-style videos promoting introspection, thoughtful prayer, and a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. In this TCB Exclusive, Josh talks about the heart behind his latest single and what he’s learned during the making of his new worship series.

Congratulations on the recent release of “Come To The Banquet!” Why is the message of this track so important to you personally?
I’m a music director for a church in North Houston. After the pandemic and as people started to try to return to some sense of normalcy, as a church, something we were talking a lot about is how do we invite people back. How do we re-extend the invitation? There’s an image in my mind of people coming out of the woods after a terrible storm, slowly walking into the daylight. We want to make people feel welcome again. Even me, personally, church is about the body of Christ and community and experiencing Jesus through the people around us. So that whole idea was just resonating with me. I kept thinking about the word ‘banquet.’ I was hyper-focused on the idea of a banquet – gathering with your loved ones, coming together with a meal, and you are joyful and happy to be together. All of those things put together were rolling around in my mind and manifested into the song as an invitation, particularly at my own church, to come back to the Lord, the table. And let’s experience the joy again together.

How did the recording experience most surprise you, perhaps even exceeding your expectations?
I brought the idea first to a friend of mine, Tom Booth, who ended up being a cowriter on this song. The more we talked about it, the more it was resonating with him as well. We also realized that Tom and I have known each other for years and years and never had written together. It was just this strange opportunity right in front of us. So it was fun to write with him for the first time, and then have this song just form with such great ease. To take all of that and sit down in front of a microphone and an acoustic guitar to start to shape it and turn it into something was a beautiful experience. The recording experience in itself is its own form of community because you get together musicians. This particular song I recorded with the guys I travel with a lot. We got to get into the studio together and put pieces of ourselves into the track.

Is there a recurring lyric or theme you have noted from the listener responses you’ve received?
A lot of what I’m hearing is a response of ‘this is the invitation.’ It’s strange because there is such division with so many things, with politics and different faiths and different beliefs within our faith. It’s interesting to me that it’s so hard for Christians even to come together and agree. So people have found some common ground with it, which is what I’m really trying to shoot for with the music I write. I want it to be inclusive – not for just one particular faith or one particular idea, but really Christians coming together that Jesus is the Lord and He is worthy of our deepest praise and honor. I hope that this song has that kind of resonance with people.

How does this preview your upcoming music?
I’m excited – music has changed so much over the last five years, but really the last decade or two – the way that people consume music, the way people listen to it, talk about it, take it in; all of that has changed. This is the first song I’m doing that speaks to the streamed music culture. I really wanted to try to take it in bite-sized pieces. “Come To The Banquet” is the first under the title ‘Outpoured.’ We’ll release a few videos and then we’ll change our discussion through social media and other outlets to our next song, “Jesus I Trust In You” and how that song has resonated with us. And we’ll do that with each song. It’s fun because it changes the game a little bit. We used to get the whole album at once and there were a couple of songs that resonated, but this allows us to talk about each song individually. 

Who, or what is currently providing inspiration for your musical sound?
As I mentioned, I’m leading worship at a church right now. I like to write for specifically where I am. I try to identify with what’s resonating with people in the church – what is this community dealing with, what is standing out with the burdens, trials, joys, and excitement. That’s the inspiration behind the music that I’m writing right now.

In addition to your music release, you also recently launched a worship series titled The Way. Can you share what you’ve learned from the experience so far?
A friend of mine, Paul George, who is an author and speaker and a leader in his faith, always has insightful things to talk about. So we got together and decided to put together this video series where people could pray in their own homes. It’s short (10-15 minute) videos with music where I’m inviting people to sing along with some of the refrains and choruses and spend some time in prayer. There’s a short talk on a particular topic; each video has its own topic, and the songs all relate to the topic. It’s an opportunity for nightly prayer with family or youth groups. It’s something new and different, so I’m excited about it.

What are you most expectant for in 2022?
I’m expectant and hopeful. The Lord is always doing something new and His mercies are new every morning. I know that this is a different chapter in life for my wife and kids and I, so I’m hopeful for what is coming. I have a daughter who is a junior in high school, so she’s got college things coming, and a son who is about to get a driver’s license. From a musical stand point, I’m excited to see how this music will affect the community I’m in right now and how this community will affect the music I’m going to write and produce over the next several years.

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