Knoxville’s Adam Whipple is a multitalented songwriter and artist.
Tickets are $5.
Whipple is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a knack for finding the soul in almost everything.
He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his music, grace and how photography fuels his passion for music. He also offered some book suggestions.
Adam, we have not met, but your music speaks of a man both at peace and troubled with the world. Is that a fair assessment, or am I way off?
The London Times once asked authors to write in and answer the rather loaded question, "What's wrong with the world today?" G.K. Chesterton famously wrote back two words: "I am." Not to appropriate Chesterton's brilliance as my own, but I think that's a pretty fair assessment. The essential way I find peace in the world is by finding the retelling of the gospel in it. That's not necessarily hard to do, but I think it depends on me more than my circumstances and surroundings. The other side of it is divine discontent—the sort of passion that finds Jesus himself wielding a whip and clearing the temple. Most of the time, peace and trouble are bound up together, simply because engaging with that which is peaceful draws me toward my own sins and misgivings.
The video for "If Not for Grace" is wonderful. The lyrics list a lot of things that you would do "if not for grace." Explain what "grace" means to you, specifically.
So glad you liked it. We had a blast making it. There's a Hebrew word, "chesed," that is sometimes translated "lovingkindness." It basically means getting everything from the one that, by rights, owes you nothing. That is grace—the giving heart that not only puts me in my circumstances but also does the hard work of healing me when I wreck them.
You’re not that far away from us most of the time. What do you think of the scene here in Chattanooga? Specifically, I'm referring to The Camp House, a sort of church/coffee/venue hybrid. Similar or different from Knoxville?
The church being in the venue business can be a strange and unruly animal, and that's when it's done well. However, I am always glad to see the church encouraging creativity and craftsmanship in many forms. The Camp House has had a lot of great songwriters come in and has purposefully crafted a multiuse space. This is encouraging to folks like myself, whose work leans on the engagement of listeners. Plus, by reusing old buildings, we accept part of the burden of our history, our time and place. This is a good thing. Knoxville and Chattanooga are certainly similar, but the former is more a mountain town and the latter more a river town.
Aside from a musician, you are also a photographer and cinematographer. What are your goals in regard to each? Are they the same?
Ooh, I can't claim to be a cinematographer, not beyond knowing what I want to tell camera people and editors when making a video. I do like the work of certain directors, Andrei Tarkovsky and George Clooney and others. As far as photography goes, it has snuck up on me now and again as a semi-professional hobby. I would have to get into the bones of it to make it a career, but for a skilled pastime, it has served my music and my writing well as a method of inspiration and promotion. I am more ready to lean into writing and music as career moves.
I know you’ve got some book recommendations up your sleeve. What have you been reading?
Oh, dear. That's a wellspring of information. Recent reads are Stephen Lawhead's "The Song of Albion" trilogy, Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air," N.D. Wilson's "100 Cupboards" series, T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" and Kathleen Norris' "Amazing Grace." Also, I'll recommend John Steinbeck, Wendell Berry, George MacDonald, Frederick Buechner, Charles Dickens, Annie Dillard, Paul Collins and Bill Bryson. Plus, I'm kind of a J.R.R. Tolkien geek. No, I don't know Elvish, but I do have a recipe for lembas/waybread.
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