Owensboro native enjoying success on several fronts
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
It’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying life more than Steve Bridgmon these days.
Not just any country music artist. Not just any Christian music artist. Not just anyone in Nashville, from Kentucky or any other designation.
Just anyone. It’s hard to imagine anyone having more reason to smile of late than Bridgmon, the Owensboro native who has built a successful career as a soloist in Inspirational Country music, sometimes called “Christian country.”
“Just had three more stations add ‘God Must Be Laughing’ to rotation yesterday! So blessed,” Bridgmon said in a text message on Sept. 20. “So blessed.”
Indeed he is.
He’s already established as one of the top artists in inspirational country music and he’s been nominated for two Josie Music Awards in the independent music community.
We caught up with Steve back on Sept. 10 when he was in Wilmore for this year’s edition of the Ichthus music festival. Just his placement in the lineup had been a major blessing for Bridgmon.
“This is my second year at Ichthus,” he said soon after delivering an electrifying 30-minute set. “Last year, I was on the back stage. They invited me this year to be on the main stage. I was excited and ecstatic.”
Performing with some of the best Christian rockers along with contemporary and country Christian artists, Bridgmon delivered some of his standards such as “Living in Black and White” and “Jesus Still Loves Me” along with his new single.
And he did so with a relatively new twist: A full band.
Bridgmon, who has largely sung with tracks ever since embarking on his solo career in 2015, put together some outstanding musicians with the help of his longtime friend, Jamie Lawrence, a music professor at Campbellsville University who usually plays the keyboards when Bridgmon’s old Southern Gospel group, Firm Foundation, gets together for what is becoming an annual reunion weekend.
“I was so happy to have a full band with me,” he said. “They sound amazing.”
And they did so almost on the fly.
“We rehearsed one time. It’s a little difficult but at the same time, they are professionals. They are great to work with,” said Lawrence, who was joined by his daughter, Kaylee, on the bass guitar. Lead guitarist Greg Keyes, who also plays for the country duo Thompson Square, and drummer E.J. Ford.
Bridgmon says the live accompaniment will become more common. “Just recently, I started working with a new outfit called Steeple Country. It’s a label over at Star Struck, Reba McEntire’s old entertainment complex. The deal I sort of made was when I do churches, I can use my tracks because live bands don’t really work that well,” he said. “But when I do outdoor events or festivals, I would use either acoustics or a live band. So you will see a lot more of that.”
And Bridgmon hopes you will be hearing a lot more of him as inspirational country stations continue playing “God Must Be Laughing.” The single is currently No. 7 on the Christian Country Countdown with Steve Roberson.
It’s a Christian theme different from what most might be accustomed to, but it’s one to which most can relate. “The song is a definite approach that God surely must be chuckling at some of the outlandish things we’ve done throughout life, particularly some of us as young men,” Bridgmon said in a text.
The instrumentation sounds a bit more traditional than the pop-influenced country that Bridgmon has been known for but the lyrics could be considered a bit edgy. Yet they are effective.
And while “God Must Be Laughing” sounds different from anything Bridgmon had previously released, it follows his ability to speak to the common man. Lawrence, who had known Bridgmon for nearly 20 years, noted that characteristic of his friend’s music.
“I feel like southern gospel and country gospel is the music of the people,” Lawrence said. “They are people that have been working hard every day. They are working hard for a living. It’s just the average everyday person. Steve speaks to that person. His songs speak to the person who is going through hard times in life and gives them encouragement”.
Bridgmon originally rejected “God Must Be Laughing” as it was pitched with a beat he considered too slow but he said he would consider something more upbeat.
“They said OK. I said I am going to raise it up a key and make it a little faster,” Bridgmon said. “So it kind of took on a life of its own because it is a step over from what I have always done. So yes, it’s cutting edge. The country radio goes, ‘That’s country.’ Christian radio goes, ‘That’s Christian.’ So we can get both of them (to play the song).”
Currently the song is only available on streaming but Bridgmon says a new album is in the works for early 2023. “I think I am going to call it ‘God Must Be Laughing.’ It will probably be in the spring,” he said.
And when the new album does release, Bridgmon says his fans can expect 10 high quality songs. “I don’t do ‘filler songs,’ he explained. “I want every song to be the song radio will play. It’s just important to me. I don’t want people spending their money on four good songs and six filler songs.”
With that philosophy, no one is laughing at Steve Bridgmon.
Life is good!
Bridgmon releases first book
Steve Bridgmon has also written his first book, “Three Things I Need From You.”
The memoir was inspired by his sister, Dr. Shannon Bridgmon Rinaldo, who fought aggressive brain cancer before succumbing on July 27, 2020. Four days later, Steve’s father passed away, a victim of COVID-19.
The book chronicles Steve’s life journey and how his faith had directed his path.
The ebook was released on Kindle on September 23.
**See our earlier interview with Steve Bridgmon from July 2021.