It can take some time for a man to come to terms with where he’s from. Musically speaking, John Tibbs has done the work, settling comfortably into a rare niche that pays homage to his heartland roots and a childhood soundtrack that included the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and more.
What makes Tibbs’ musical space so rare is that he’s also a worship leader at heart, in addition to being a recording artist. Yet rather than penning repetitive, emotional anthems, he’s spinning grounded rock melodies with a decidedly Midwestern flair.
Heartland (buy) is Tibbs’ aptly titled new EP, a personal album that honors his family and geography. Read on for our interview with John, where he tells us about the new record and his commitment to being as open and genuine as possible with his fans—a group he actually considers friends first.
CCM Magazine: Heartland is certainly descriptive of your sound and your writing style. What made you decide to give that name to this batch of songs?
John Tibbs: Heartland, to me, is the longing for heaven on earth. I was born in Kentucky the son of a preacher and teacher. I grew up in a coal-mining town in rural Pennsylvania before moving to central Indiana where I’d fall in love and get married. The peace and space that the Midwest brings is my home. In the same breath, the Midwest is the backdrop to so many great voices, and [Bruce] Springsteen and [John] Mellencamp were the soundtrack of my youth. I’ve really come to learn these last few years of just how much I was impacted by my early surroundings.