month MEET A BARNABAS introduces you to Brendan
McCarthy. A hard-working, super talented music man who is living out
his dream, staying true to himself and inspiring others in an industry
where integrity is often an exception to the rule. Read on and be encouraged…One
could say Brendan McCarthy was born for a life on the road. He was born
on a bus after all. Not just any old bus… a converted old school
bus dubbed The Starship. His parents were hippies. Free spirits that always
encouraged their children to be creative.
“I grew up in a house where music wasn’t a suggestion, it was
could be said that Brendan found his passion quite early in life. His
earliest exposure to music can be summed up in two words: Beatles and
Bagpipes. As a child, he was always dragged to practices for his dad’s
Scottish bagpipe band. Although he did not have aspirations to be the
next great bagpipe player, he knew early on that he wanted to make his
own music. He was surrounded by it. In his household there was rarely
a day that a Beatles record wasn’t playing. And it was often paired
with very important words of wisdom from his dad.
“I was the only 3rd grader who could tell you exactly why Yoko
Ono was the real reason they broke up and what the song ‘I Am The
Walrus’ was really all about.”
was always drawn to the songwriters. Some of his early influences were Paul
Simon, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and of course The Beatles among others. His love
for music and performing was ultimately solidified after learning his first
song on guitar -- “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty.
first, Brendan thought of his music as nothing more than a hobby. He had
always been an avid writer, but after picking up the guitar his journal
writing turned into songwriting. In college, he performed at coffee shops
and loved the thrill of connecting with people through his music. He never
considered it something he could pursue professionally until a chance
meeting with a producer from Nashville. Brendan soon found himself signed
to a production deal and heading to Tennessee to work on his first record.
And so the journey began…
How did you feel after releasing your first album?
Just about every song on that album was about an ex-girlfriend that broke
my heart. I was afraid that first album might have been a little TOO personal,
even for me, but when I walked in to the studio for the first time, those
were the songs I had.
Will your next album be very different than your last?
very different! I got married since that last album, so I have a whooooooolllleee
new set of things going on inside. It will be a set of songs coming from
a totally different place.
Did you always know that you were going to make music a career?
not. I always had that scratch, but usually I would just ignore it and
doubt myself as a legitimate singer/songwriter. I always had/have so many
doubts, but I finally got to the place where I was tired of listening
to those fears and doubts, and I stepped out of the boat… I cant
tell if I am sinking or not, but whatever! I am still out of the boat,
What would you like listeners to walk away with when they hear your music?
It is always my favorite thing when someone hears a song and says, “Oh
you feel that too? I thought I was the only one.” Knowing you are
not the only one, I think gives you the courage to live free, not in fear
of who you are or what you have done.
Which of your songs is the most meaningful to you and why?
think that changes from season to season, but right now it is a song that
will be on my upcoming record called, “Almost There.” It talks
about being so close to where you want to be, just needing to push up
that last bit of the mountain to get there.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to get started?
think I always thought it was a very relaxed and glamorous lifestyle,
and that it was always just going to be about the music, but it isn’t.
It is hard work and sometimes has nothing to do with music. Sometimes
it is about business. You really need to wade through the politics and
industry and culture that is telling you how to be a musician to get to
the place where you can finally be one.
Looking back on your career thus far, would you do anything differently?
WHAT IS one of THE BIGGEST LIFE LESSONs YOU would like TO PASS ALONG?
not be afraid. The thing Jesus said most in his short life here on Earth.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to feel things,
don’t be afraid to be who you are supposed to be.
Is there anyone or anything in your life that has inspired you to lead
the kind of life you are leading today?
that is my favorite question so far. I was lucky to have a couple of incredible
guys in my life in some of the most critical parts of figuring out who
I was. If it is names you want, I can think of 6 that would have to be
on the list. Matt Long, Gregg Starr, Phil Murff, Dana Weymouth, Rob Crawford
and Chris Herb. Each of those guys has played a significant role in the
story of Brendan becoming Brendan.
“Meet A Barnabas” features people who are making a change just by
leading a life filled with integrity. what does that mean to you?
along the way told me that “God is most concerned with your character
in your moments of decision.” I think about that all the time. God is
shaping each and every one of us to be someone great and yet we let our lack
of character get in the way of that. And so I try to keep that in the forefront
of my heart and mind, God cares about my decisions!! I guess that is why I
have “Narrow Is The Road” tattooed on my forearm. I need the reminder!
There are a few things in life God really doesn’t want us to compromise
on…and you know, I think integrity is on the top of that list.