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michael card: then & now

Michael Card, born April 11, 1957, is an American Christian singer-songwriter, musician, author, and radio host from Franklin, Tennessee.  He is best known for his contributions in contemporary Christian music, which couple folk-style melodies and instrumentation with lyrics that stem from intensive study of the Bible. Since his debut in 1981, he has sold more than 4 million albums, and has written 19 No. 1 singles.  He has also authored several books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner A Sacred Sorrow.


"Michael Card is best known for his contributions in contemporary Christian music, which couple folk-style melodies and instrumentation with lyrics that stem from intensive study of the Bible. Since his debut in 1981, he has sold more than 4 million albums"

Card was born in Madison, Tennessee as the son of a doctor and grandson of a Baptist minister.  He received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biblical Studies from Western Kentucky University, and was awarded the university's "Distinguished Alumni Award" in 1997.  His studies in physics and astronomy allowed him to support himself while a student by working for six years at a planetarium.

Card never intended to be a professional musician.  He got his start when his professor and mentor, William L. Lane, asked Card to write some music to accompany weekly sermons at their church.  His friend, musician Randy Scruggs, then asked him to record a demo tape so Scruggs could get a job as a producer.  The record label agreed to hire Scruggs as long as his first project was to produce an album featuring Card.  Since then Card has released nineteen original albums and at least six compilation albums.  Another album, Starkindler, is composed of Card's interpretations of traditional Celtic hymns.  The compilations often include one or two new songs along with previously released material.  With the exception of Starkindler, Card writes the vast majority of the music he records (although sometimes with collaborators).  Many of Card's albums are structured around a unifying theme.  For example, the songs from The Beginning are all based on the Pentateuch.  The individual songs have subjects such as Genesis, Leviticus, Abraham, Isaac and Moses. Card is particularly adept at relating difficult or obscure concepts from the Old Testament to more understandable themes from the New Testament.  For example, the song "Jubilee" talks about the period of rest and the release from debts and slavery commanded in the Jubilee year as described in Leviticus 25, but also reveals how the idea culminated in the rest and freedom from condemnation offered through Jesus.  Card's most famous song is "El Shaddai", which was recorded by Amy Grant as well as by Card himself.  Grant's recording was named No. 326 on the RIAA's list of 365 Songs of the Century in 2001.  Other popular Card songs include "Immanuel", "Joy in the Journey", and "Heal Our Land". "Heal Our Land" was commissioned as the 1993 National Day of Prayer's theme song.  Despite his success in music, Card has always maintained that his music career is secondary to his calling as a Bible teacher.  He has at times distanced himself from the CCM industry by criticizing the promotion of personalities over musical content, and the shifting emphasis away from God in order to sell more albums.  One current music project is his writing and mentoring of musicians under the ByFor.org Project.

Michael Card is the author or co-author of nineteen books.  He originally started writing as a way to share the knowledge he accumulated while researching his songs.  His studies were so in-depth that he couldn't condense everything he had learned into one short song.  The books that resulted from album research bear the same titles as the albums.  He then branched out to other subjects not specifically based on his music, such as the Gospel of John, homeschooling, and Christian discipleship and mentoring.  As of 2005, he has joined with NavPress to pursue his interest in writing Christian fiction.

In addition to touring and writing, Card also hosted a weekly radio program.  In the Studio with Michael Card was carried by stations in 48 states, Canada, and the Caribbean.  It was also available via internet streaming audio and as a podcast.  The show was an amalgam of talk, musical performances and Bible study.  The show ceased production in March, 2009.

Wrings and Albums Include: First Light (1981) Legacy (1983) Known By The Scars (1984) Scandalon (1985) The Final Word (1987) Present Reality (1988) Sleep Sound in Jesus: Gentle Lullabies (1989) The Beginning (1989) The Way of Wisdom (1990) The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth (1991) The Word: Recapturing the Imagination (1992) Come to the Cradle (1993) Poiema (1994) Brother to Brother (with John Michael Talbot) (1996) Close Your Eyes So You Can See (1996) Unveiled Hope (1997) Starkindler: A Celtic Conversation Across Time (1998) Concert Talks Volume 1 (1998) Soul Anchor (2000) Scribbling in the Sand (2002) A Fragile Stone (2003) reissued in 2006. "The Rabbi's Heartbeat" (2003) CD single available only with Brennan Manning's The Rabbi's Heartbeat book. The Life of Simon Peter (eight-disc teaching series) (2003) The Hidden Face of God (2006) A Fragile Stone (Reissue) (2006) Comes with DVD of a four-part program Michael Card did with Day of Discovery on Simon Peter. Hymns (2008) Luke: A World Turned upside Down (2011) Mark: The Beginning of the Gospel (2012) A Violent Grace (2013)

Compilations Include: Legacy and First Light (1988) both albums reissued on a single disc. The Life (1988) contains The Final Word, Scandalon and Known by the Scars in a boxed-set (except "Crown Him (Reprise)") The Early Works (1991) The Ancient Faith (1993) contains The Beginning, The Way of Wisdom and The Word: Recapturing the Imagination in a boxed-set (plus "Heal Our Land" song for the National Day of Prayer & "Ancient Faith Overture") Joy in the Journey (1994) contains "Chorus selections from The Life trilogy Signature Songs (1999) contains selections from Legacy and First Light The Ultimate Collection (2006)

Other works featuring Michael Card Include: Christmas (1988) Michael Card sings "What Child Is This?". Not available elsewhere. Coram Deo (1992) Michael Card sings two duets with Charlie Peacock: "Amen! Praise and Glory!" and "Lord of Love". Steve Green People Need the Lord (1994) Duet on "Embrace the Cross". Promise Keepers- A Life That Shows (1994) Song "Bearers of the Light", later available on Poiema, debuts here. Wedding album (1995) Michael Card's "Earthly Perfect Harmony" and "Lord of Love", a duet with Charlie Peacock appear. Wes King A Room Full of Stories (1997) Wrote "Who But God?" Songs 4 Life: Feel the Power (1998) "Love Crucified Arose" Songs 4 life: Renew your heart! (1998) "Joy In The Journey" John Michael Talbot "Cave Of The Heart" (1999) Backing vocals. 30 Years of Award-Winning Music (1999) "El Shaddai" Songs From The Book (1999) "The Book" appears. Michael Card also plays acoustic guitar on "El Shaddai" sung by Winans Phase 2 & Amy Grant. John Michael Talbot Wisdom (2001) Backing vocals. I Will Be Here: 10 Contemporary Wedding Songs includes "The Wedding" Giving You the Rest of My Life: 13 Contemporary Classics for Memorable Weddings Michael Card & Charlie Peacock's "Amen! Praise and Glory" is included, but Charlie Peacock isn't credited as singing. Let Us Pray: The National Day of Prayer Album "Heal Our Land" "My Cry Ascends: New Parish Psalms" (2010) (various artists, Gregory Wilbur, composer)

Awards Include: 1983 GMA Dove Awards Songwriter of the Year Song of the Year: "El Shaddai"1988 GMA Dove Award Praise & Worship Album of the Year: The Final Word1994 GMA Dove Award Children's Music Album of the Year: Come to the Cradle1994 RIAA Certified Gold Recording Sleep Sound in Jesus1997 Western Kentucky University Distinguished Alumnus [11]1998 National Religious Broadcasters Chairman's Award2001 RIAA 365 Songs of the Century No. 26 "El Shaddai", as recorded by Amy Grant2002 Publishers Weekly Award Best Religion Book: Scribbling in the Sand2002 Chicago Book Clinic Award of Excellence Best General Trade Book in the Self-Help Category: Scribbling in the Sand2006 ECPA Christian Book Awards Winner in the Christian Life Category: A Sacred Sorrow

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