Inspired by the bold, evangelistic approach of the late Keith Green, singer/songwriter Jimmy Needham has always believed that Christian music should either cause people to repent—or worship.
"When I listen to Keith it's cool because I feel the Lord has given us the same spirit in what we're singing about,” Jimmy shares. “If music—especially Christian music—doesn't either cause me to repent or worship, then I don't know why I'm listening to it. And I think that's why I like Keith Green so much. He didn't sugarcoat things." Many of Jimmy's early songs like “Fence Riders” and “For Freedom“ were birthed out of his fervent desire for believers to walk the talk.
“Many of the songs on my first album (Speak) were birthed out my frustration with friends who claimed to love the Lord but were going out and getting hammered every weekend,” Jimmy explains. “I had other friends who were all about the holiness of God and the fear of the Lord, but they passed on some legalistic tendencies and judgmental attitudes that robbed me of joy. I was zealous, but there was no freedom in my zeal. I was living in a legalistic nightmare.”
Ultimately learning the value of speaking the truth in love, something his wife Kelly has gently encouraged him in, Jimmy released the album Not Without Love in 2008. Featuring compelling, convicting tracks like “Hurricane” and “Come Around,” the project still has the courage of Jimmy’s convictions but with love at the center of it.
Now taking his rootsy pop/rock approach up a notch with a more musically adventurous spirit, Jimmy’s latest album Nightlights aptly showcases the Texas native’s growth as an artist and evangelist. With a solid theological foundation and memorable turns of phrase, Jimmy’s songs are only getting better with time—something that would’ve probably made Keith proud, too.