Nov 10, 2009

“How Christian are you?”

by Cat Hewett

College for a Weekend visitors and Liberty students enjoyed the eclectic sounds of Dave Barnes and special guest Chris Sligh on Friday during a concert in the Schilling Center.Season six American Idol contestant Sligh began his act by performing “Naïve.”

“It is awesome to be here at Liberty,” Sligh said. “I am actually a big Dave Barnes fan, so it’s cool to be doing a show with him.”
Sligh also sang “Only You Can Save,” “Let You Know” and “Somewhere” before speaking about what it was like to be on American Idol and the opportunities it brought.

“Before (American Idol), I was toiling in obscurity,” Sligh said. “It opened a door.”

Sligh told the audience about the many record offers he received after the show, but was unsure of where God wanted him to go. While attending a concert with the president of a recording label, the president asked Sligh about his faith.

“He asked, ‘How Christian are you?’ and I was like, ‘Maybe like a six out of 10, because you know I still sin everyday, but I don’t want to,’” Sligh told the audience. “He was like, ‘Well, you know, if you make a record, we don’t want you talking about your faith.’ I said, ‘You know that’s cool, because my wife makes out with me more when I write love songs.’ Notice I said my wife y’all, I know the rules here at Liberty.”

Sligh said that he eventually felt God leading him in a different direction and he signed a record deal with a Christian recording label. He and a friend wrote the song “Empty Me,” his last performance of the evening.

“No matter where you are in life, whether you are a dog-walker, a cheerleader, a basketball player, the President of the United States, or some chubby guy that went on American Idol, it’s a simple prayer to be emptied of ourselves so that we can be filled with Christ,” Sligh said.

Barnes took the stage next, beginning his performance with “Crazyboutya” and “Butterflies.” Barnes then taught the audience the chorus of “Little Lies,” after which Barnes asked them a question.

“Is anybody here in love?” Barnes asked. Many audience members raised their hands and cheered. “I love asking this question. I ask that question and it never fails, there will be a couple, and they are always kind of close where I can see them, and it never fails that one of them raises their hand and the other one doesn’t. Let me tell you: You think you came to a show, the show has just begun up here.”

Barnes performed “Greyhound,” “God Gave Me You” and “Nothing Fancy” and gave his band a small break while he had what he called “Story time with Dave.” He told the audience several stories and sang three songs, including “On a Night Like This.”

Barnes describes his music as “acoustic soul pop rock,” and he also does some stand-up comedy.

“I just booked another (comedy show) in December,” Barnes said. “I’m terrified, yet excited.”

Barnes gave the audience a taste of his comedic talents throughout his performance with one-liners and funny anecdotes, including a story about how he once managed to plan his own surprise party.

Barnes also encouraged the audience to join the Mocha Club, which helps provide clean water to people living in Africa. The Mocha Club costs seven dollars a month, or roughly the cost of two mochas.

“I got involved because my best bud started it, and after getting it off the ground invited me to go to Africa with him to see what they were doing over there,” Barnes said. “Once I went, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in.”

Barnes closed out his show with “Sticks and Stones,” “Looks so Easy,” “Grace’s Amazing Hands” and “Everybody but You.” He was then cheered back on stage to play an encore song, “Until You.”

“I loved it,” junior Sarah Austin said. “I thought he was just as good in person as he was on CD, which is something you don’t always get.”

“Hopefully (my music will) become the soundtrack to people’s lives in every way, no matter what they are doing,” Barnes said.

Contact Cat Hewett at

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