“There is a deep connection between contemporary worship music and folk music and my songs seem to be equally at home in both places,” says George Lower (his last name rhymes with power) about his latest CD-START A FIRE. This most recent release is his third album in four years (Hold My Hand & Sunshine State of Mind are the other two) and a return to George’s roots as a worship leader. George continues, “Both folk music and worship music are based in story telling. That is to say that the songs convey a message. However, there is a lot of overlap because a lot of the stories in both genres tend to draw us toward the big ideas of purpose, meaning and the brotherhood of mankind. Both genres allow us to process sufferings, desires and dreams in a way that calls us beyond our own limited perspective and into the spiritual realm where life’s big questions can be answered. And, both genres are intentionally designed to be experienced in a setting where the artist’s role is to inspire and promote the talents of the community rather than the artist being the focus.”
What makes START A FIRE different from other worship CDs? “Well, obviously, everyone thinks their music is unique but I think my niche is an acoustic sound that allows the melody and the lyrics to be prominent. The listener can enter in to the essence of the song without distracting elements. Is the ‘less is more’ approach better? I don’t know…listen to it and decide for yourself,” George says with a sly grin.
George is certainly well known in Catholic Music circles and is recognized by his peers for his ability to lead communal worship. “George is an excellent worship leader in a Catholic setting. In fact, the finest I know,” states Dr. Allen Hunt, speaker, best-selling author and senior advisor at the Dynamic Catholic Institute. George’s ability to create musical moments that draw others into worship led Dr. Hunt to select George to be his musical partner for an ongoing series of nationwide inspirational events sponsored by the Dynamic Catholic Institute.
While these events have provided an opportunity for George to perform at the national level he says, “I consider the opportunity to work with the Dynamic Catholic Institute a profound responsibility; and, I don’t take it lightly. The goal of the events team is to inspire and re-energize the Catholic Church in America. It is a ambitious task; but, it has inspired me to dig deep in my own life to uncover the best version of myself. Along the way, I have rediscovered the beauty and genius of the Catholic faith and have clung more tightly to the timeless truths and Sacraments of the Church in my quest to become personally holy. So, I feel that I have received far more than I have given.”
George’s accomplishments do not stop with worship leading. He is also a published author of sacred music with International Liturgy Publications based in Nashville, TN. His sacred songs have received multiple awards from TopCatholicSongs.com. “Writing music for the church at prayer is a special privilege,” says George. “I especially like setting the texts of the Psalms to music.”
In addition, George is an accomplished folk songwriter and performer. “I decided early in 2014 to write about my experiences of growing up in rural Florida. When most people think of Florida they think of beaches, palm trees or Disney World; but, for me the Sunshine State has a rich history and a fragile ecosystem that is fast disappearing. Wanting to do something to preserve the history of the state I love was the inspiration for the original songs on the CD Sunshine State of Mind.”
Working with producer, Nick Coetzee of Rain Music, Inc., George took his catalogue of orginal Florida songs and recorded them at the prestigious Watershed Recording Studios in Nashville, TN. The release of Sunshine State of Mind was met with critical acclaim with the song “Florida” receiving Top Ten recognition from the Will McLean Festival’s Best New Florida Song Contest in 2017. In addition, George worked with filmmaker Michael Eldon Lobsinger to produce the music video “Sunshine State of Mind” which received the Best New Song Video award from the L-Dub Film Festival in 2016.
“While being in the studio is fun and challenging in its own way, I really love a being in a venue and in a live performance,” quips George. “I just love the stage.” This passion for live performance certainly seems to show as Jeffry Zagaria, President of Zagaria Vocal Academy Music Studio can testify. “I first met George Lower through a mutual friend, Bari, at ‘the world famous’ Amp Shop and Music Parlor in West Palm Beach, FL.,” says Jeffry. “George came into my recording studio and played live on a local radio program I host every week on WPBV 98.3FM. George knocked the ball out of the park with his great vocals, eloquent guitar work, and insightful stories,” Zagaria continues, “Sunshine State of Mind is an album I listen to while driving across Alligator Alley, up South Florida’s A1A on a Sunday morning drive with a first good morning coffee, or when I’m stuck in traffic in LA and am missing home.”
So whether it is leading worship or playing original folk songs expect to find George happiest when he is inspiring the gifts of music in others. “The art of communal singing is sadly disappearing in a world where most people are spectators watching others perform,” George opines. “If anybody remembers me a hundred years from now I hope they say, ‘He helped us remember that music is for everyone!’”