For gospel star Charlie Hall, with age comes clarity
WANT TO GO?
WHERE: Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
TICKET: $12 (All proceeds go to purchasing goods for the West Side Food Pantry)
INFO: 304-382-4975 CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Getting older doesn't have to be such a terrible thing. It isn't for Dove Award-winning gospel singer Charlie Hall.
Hall, who performs Friday at the Capitol Center Theater said, "When I was younger, I saw things through my chirpy, church life. Now, as I'm older, I feel like the church is a hospital for the broken, the addicted and the angry. I look at it as a place where I want to receive my healing and mercy from God, so I can keep passing it on to people.
"I think age has helped me see clearer." He laughed. "Not that I'm old by any means."
Still, the 39-year-old Oklahoman has been part of praise and worship music for a long time --- more than 20 years -- and that's been time enough to figure out a lot of things.
Hall said, "In the beginning, during the first 10 years, it was living under people's expectations, whether that was denominational expectations or musical expectations -- how you say things, how you do things. Going place-to-place, dealing with new expectations everywhere I went, really used to mess with me.
"Now I don't live under other people's expectations."
His expectations now are just about delivering his message of healing and comfort and doing it in a way that speaks to as many people as will listen. He's not really there to entertain or to preach. Hall doesn't think of himself as a performer.
He said, "When [my band and I] use the word 'performance,' we're saying we're going to give our best to God and to the people. Performance, as in the concept of pretending to be something for a group of people, that's something we don't do."
Hall's music has a modern rock feel to it but is filled with faith and deep Christian convictions, which include compassion for the poor, the sick and the outcast -- people Hall calls "heartbroken."
Over the years, Hall has met a lot of people who'd fit in that category, including himself, sometimes.
"I've got a lot of friends who've lost to addictions, and I've had my own personal losses," Hall said. "I've lost quite a few people over the last decade."
His last record, 2010's "The Rising," is a collection of songs that explores the sense of loss and redemption.
"It was written psalm-like, where you can reflect on the beauty and the pains of life as you move toward God," he said. "It's a sense of being super connected to very broken-hearted people, learning compassion and feeling what it feels like to go through crazy stuff, whether you brought it on yourself by decisions you made or not."
Everyone, Hall believed, has the capacity to reach compassion. We all have our moments where we feel hurt.
He said, "You spend one minute yelling up at God, saying, 'Where are you?' Then you spend the next minute receiving his life and love."
The important thing is to remember you're not alone, Hall said. "God walks us through everything, not just the great stuff, but the hard stuff, too."
For Hall, the hardest part of what he does now isn't what people expect when he comes to play for them. After more than 20 years, they should know by now what they're getting. No, the hard part for him has become the travel.
"You get an hour and half in front people, and that's beautiful," he said. "But the 10 hours you spend to get there is usually kind of grind."
But it's worth it.
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.