When Aaron Shust appeared on the Christian music scene in 2006, he was the new kid on the block--a relatively unknown songwriter with a gift for personal and memorable lyrics. Roughly a year later, that was no longer the case.
Shust may not be a household name yet, but he certainly made himself known within Christian music circles. He took home three Dove Awards (the Christian music industry's equivalent to the Grammy) in 2007, including the honors for "New Artist of the Year."
Even so, Shust is taking it all in stride.
"It's kind of cool, but I don't really see it as being successful overnight," he told me recently. "I'm just trying to follow in the steps God has put before me. Will I be doing this five years from now, 10 or 15 years from now? I don't know.
"It's really just a matter of perspective. God has me in a certain place right now," he said.
A former worship pastor at a church in Atlanta, Shust said, "Somewhere in the back of my mind, I might have thought, 'It would be cool if more people heard these songs,' but I was writing for my congregation at the time. Sometimes it might be Sunday morning worship or a small group of men on Monday night or a Wednesday night with 25 college students.
"Now that I'm not on staff, I still try to write with that audience in mind," said Shust. "And I also try to remember the radio audience as well--the mom driving through California or the teenager in Indiana.
"To me, writing is not as formulaic as some people think. It's very nebulous," he explained. "Sometimes, you think something is good, but people may not respond to it. Other songs you may not think much of, but people really connect with them."
Such is the case with "Give Me Words," off of Shust's latest CD, Whispered and Shouted.
"I didn't even want to record that one," Shust said, "but some friends listened to it and said, 'No, you've got to record it!' I recorded it kind of half-heartedly and then it ended up the first single."
Coincidentally, "Give Me Words" also ended up being another Top 10 single on the Christian music charts, proving Shust's previous point. In turn, his career has continued to take off, seeing him featured three times in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as gracing the cover of CCM Magazine in January 2007 and spotlighted on CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and ESPN's Outside the Lines when performing at the Atlanta Braves first "Faith Day."
Following two years of touring as an opening act for the likes of Mercy Me, Bebo Norman, Shane and Shane, and Nichole Nordeman, Shust is now heading out on his first headlining tour, which stops in the Tulsa area this Friday, April 4. The "Whispered and Shouted Tour" also features Brandon Heath, whom Shust met while touring with Bebo Norman and new artist Merideth Andrews.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, with the concert beginning at 7:30pm at First Assembly of Broken Arrow (E.101st and S 145th in Broken Arrow). Anyone interested in the rising stars of the contemporary Christian music scene will want to be at this show to check out Shust and his friend Brandon Heath, both of whom promise to make themselves staple songwriters in the modern worship and CCM genres.
Every Night of the Week
I don't know where it's gone, but somehow another week has escaped us, and this weekend is shaping up to be another big one. If you're not sure what to do, here UTW's weekly tips to get you headed out the door.
It's the first Thursday of the month and you know what that means don't you? Yep, it's a good night to stop in at Arnie's and celebrate your inner Irishman with Cairde na Gael and a pint (or three) of Guiness.
If you're not feeling so international, you can skip across the tracks for The Alice Rose and Lunar City Effects at Soundpony or move on down the sidewalk to Bob's (Cain's second stage) for an even bigger show with Dropping Daylight, Saving Abel and The Voice Of. Tickets for the April 3 show at Bob's are only $13 at the door.
Friday night, April 4, looks to be the busiest night this weekend. Besides the aforementioned Aaron Shust concert in Broken Arrow, the south side also has a few more shows to keep you buzzing, with Three 6 Mafia at The Otherside and Extrinsic, Hollow Dissension, Treachery and Payzner at Crush Lounge.
Moving back towards downtown, Mercury Lounge features a show by The Wranglers and Plan B gets to rocking with the return of Gooding's killer guitar licks in his latest band incarnation, Angel/Devil. The rock keeps with Ganem at exit 6C, but the real show of the weekend for open minded Tulsa music fans has to be the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey CD release party for Lil Tae Rides Again (see page 45) at the Blank Slate at 8pm. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the show.
Saturday night, April 5, sees the Blank Slate busy again with Callupsie's CD release party (see Josh Kline's update on page 38). These guys have been the de-facto standard bearers for Tulsa's indie-rock scene over the past two years and continue to raise the bar on everyone else. I'm sure the latest disc, which they recorded at Armstrong Studios with Stephen Egerton, will be no different.
The other big show on Saturday night is Eisley at the Cain's Ballroom with The Myriad, Vedera and The Envy Corps. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 at the door, with the show starting at 8pm.
Elsewhere around town on Saturday night, Thunderbird Blues plays Exit 6C, Monolith plays home to State Bird, The Non (you've got to hear these boys from OKC), Here is There and No Ghost, Wanda Watson Band brings the blues to Lori's Par-T Lounge and Brandon Clark Band rattles the rafters at Elm Street Pub in Jenks.
Sunday is always a good evening to chill out, but you might want to bring your dancing shoes this week. The Jazz Hall of Fame's Spring Concert series continues on April 6 at 5pm with Salsa Rhythm Project. Afterwards, if you're in a bluesy mood, you can stop in at The Lifers' weekly gig at Exit 6C.
Monday evening has a show for almost all types of rockers out there. The hard and heavy crowd can get its fill at The Monolith with Hit the Switch, A Slut, The Dirty Mugz and Awkward Sex while indie rockers will enjoy Saddletramps, Randy Rich and Poor Boys at the Continental and pop lovers can chill out with an infrequent acoustic show by The Effects at Plan B.
The best way to round out the week is to stop in and check out some of the weekly standing gigs and this week I'd recommend a stop at Matt Fisher's Songwriter's Night at The Colony on Tuesday with guest Hannah Wolff and a Wednesday night guitar fix (and dinner) with Bruner and Crook at Ti Amo.
Share this article: