The veteran inspirational artist was in Grand Haven just last August, closing out the popular summertime Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) series. And now he returns to the area for a solo concert Sun. Nov. 11 in Hudsonville at Fairhaven Church.
He brings with him a new album ("Follow"), several new stories, and a forthcoming Christmas release.
These are watershed days for Schultz. As the father of three young children (ages 6, 4 and 2), the artist finds his career as a songwriter and recording-performing artist impacted by marriage and family life. "Yes, there's a lot less of all of those things," he laughed of his creative energy. "Follow," his album of new songs with a sprinkling of old favorites, is his first complete studio project in six years.
"Actually, what we did with this latest (album) was write songs and then do them in concerts to see how people reacted," offered Shultz, 48. "Usually you write a bunch of new songs, record them, and then get out there and see which ones people like."
That's why several of the songs on "Follow" have already been "road tested" in front of audiences. One of the examples is the ballad "Handed Down."
"I started our trying to write a 'country' song so I went out to my garage and worked on a song about a hammer that my Grandpa gave me," he explained. "It started out as a hokey idea, but when my wife heard it she said it wasn't just a country song but a song everyone needs to hear."
Schultz used the tool example to point to the truth that the things that mean the most to us in life are those things that have been handed down from generations before.
Another song fans may have already heard live is "Before You Call Me Home," inspired following the death of the artist's father-in-law. In the tune the songwriter expresses his desire that his own children would see him as the loving, godly servant exemplified by their grandfather. (See the touching video-story for the song at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHeYFt7ZeNM)
The album also contains favorite songs from the past such as "Walking Her Home," "God of Glory" and "I Am."
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE HOLIDAYS
Schultz's new Christmas release is the first-ever for the artist. "This one is 18 years in the making," laughed the artist whose self-titled debut album came in 2000.
It features a mixture of traditional carols ("Silent Night," "The First Noel") and mainstream favorites ("I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"). But a Schultz original is "Different Kind of Christmas," once again a song that loyal fans have already heard.
"I wrote it with my wife (Kate) the first Christmas after her dad passed away," Schultz recalled. "She came to me with tears streaming down and said, 'It's just a different kind of Christmas this year.'" The song connects with listeners who themselves are feeling the recent loss of loved ones during the holidays.
COMING AROUND AGAIN
Schultz was adopted by a family in Kansas when he was just two weeks old. "Those first two weeks were my toughest.....all that paperwork," he often jokes to audiences.
A longtime advocate for adoption and orphan care, Schultz and his wife adopted a girl from China, Maia Mae, now 2 years old.
"Every night I would hold her and put her to bed and think, 'Here's a girl from China,'" Schultz said. "Then one night she put her arms around my neck and head to my chest and said, 'Da-da,' and I thought – 'She's more than just a girl from China...she's my daughter.' Ever since that moment she's had me wrapped around her finger."
Now, the next step. Schultz himself was adopted via an agency called Kansas Childrens' Service League. As a tip of the hat to them and to what God has done in his own life, the Schultz family will soon be adopting a yet-to-be born infant girl through the same organization.
"My wife reminded me that we only get about 80 spins (years) in this life, and we don't have as many left as we used to," he mused. "And we want to continue to do great things.
"And we're about to have a really full house."
6pm Sun. Nov. 11
Fairhaven Church, 2900 Baldwin St. Hudsonville
Tickets: $15 general admission, $25 gold circle, $35 VIP (includes early meet & greet with artist).
Order online: https://www.itickets.com/events/406604.html or 800-965-9324.