The majority of live music that Pat Barrett has heard in his life has been in a church setting.
It’s been his baseline. Ever since he was 15 and playing in garage bands with friends; ever since he decided to take on his parents’ faith as his own and began writing songs as a way to connect with God.
“I feel like I am doing the same thing I was doing at 15,” says Barrett, a songwriter with the worship collective Housefires and the opening act on Chris Tomlin’s Holy Roar tour. The tour kicked off in Washington last week and stops at the Save Mart Center on Thursday.
In a way, he is. Only now, his songs are helping others connect with their spirituality.
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Much of that is thanks to Tomlin, who was an encouraging voice in Barrett’s life, even before he met the man. Barrett remembers as a teenager leading worship with Tomlin’s early records. It was a gift then, when years later Tomlin recorded Barrett’s song “Good Good Father.” It was a hit and spawned its own children’s book.
Tomlin also signed Barrett to his record label, Bowyer and Bow.
And it is a gift to share those songs on tour, though Barrett doesn’t want the crowds to get too caught up in the trappings of these kinds of worship nights.
“When they hear the word worship, I do not want their image to be a big arena with giant sounds and mics,” he says.
“Most of life doesn’t happen in arenas,” he says.
So, while there is a certain sense of explosive joy that happens when that many people come together to share the message of hope and love, it’s how that experience might transform people that matters to Barrett.
“I hope the most important part of that night,” he says, “is the next morning.”