Church Roots & Country Strong: The Bellamy Brothers & Zach Seabaugh
We begin a special series focusing on country music and faith as we count down to the Country Music Association’s CMA Fest, held in Nashville from June 7-10. Our guests today are the legendary duo The Bellamy Brothers and emerging country music artist, Zach Seabaugh.
The Bellamy Brothers broke onto the scene with a smash hit on both the pop and country charts with the classic song “Let Your Love Flow,” and continue to tour all over the world. They share a little about their roots growing up in the church, about a new reality show that gives a glimpse into their family’s life in Florida, and their new autobiography, Let Your Love Flow: Life and Times of the Bellamy Brothers.
Zach Seabaugh is an up-and-coming country artist who competed on Season 9 of the NBC show, The Voice when he was just 16 years old; he placed fifth in the overall competition. Zach discusses what it’s like to be thrust into the spotlight at such an early age and what motivates him to share his faith journey with his fans.
Church Roots & Country Strong: The Bellamy Brothers & Zach Seabaugh – Jesus Calling Episode #95
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling podcast. This week, we begin a special series focusing on country music and faith as we count down to the Country Music Association’s CMA Fest, held in Nashville from June 7-10.
Our guests today are the legendary duo The Bellamy Brothers and emerging country music artist, Zach Seabaugh.
The Bellamy Brothers broke onto the scene with a smash hit on both the pop and country charts with the classic song “Let Your Love Flow.” Since then, they have continued to perform across the globe and were recently inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. They share a little about their roots growing up in the church, about a new reality show that gives a glimpse into their family’s life in Florida, and their new autobiography, Let Your Love Flow: Life and Times of the Bellamy Brothers.
Growing Up Singing on a Cattle Ranch in Florida
Howard: I’m Howard…
Both: And we’re the Bellamy Brothers, and we are a country music group.
David: We grew up in central Florida on a cattle ranch, and we truly learned to sing in the church. That’s where we first grew up singing. Of course, our mother thought we should sing in front of every visitor that came to our house…“Boys, sing!” Our father was a musician — not professionally — he was a rancher professionally, but we always had music in our house.
It was wild Florida in those days. Hopefully, we don’t look as old as we are.
David: Too late for that.
Howard: Yeah. But yeah, it was quite the adventure growing up in central Florida.
It was quite a childhood.
David: We grew up in a very rural setting. We had a little wooden church with a tin roof.
Howard: The Amelia Baptist Church.
David: Amelia Baptist. Had little shutters on the windows and more Sundays than not, a horse or a cow would put their head in the window where the preacher was preaching.
I remember standing on those old wooden benches at church and singing gospel songs. We grew up singing gospel songs, and our dad would play Old Jimmie Rodgers songs. Those are the first things we heard.
We had a good family — a really good family. At the time, you don’t always realize it.
Our house looked like a pawn shop, feed store, music store — you know, anything. If it was an old instrument, or if anybody was selling it cheaper, giving it away, we took it, you know. So, our house was pretty eclectic.
Anyway, that’s what we did; we raised calves, played music and that was our entertainment.
We wanted to try our hand at writing gospel music because we feel like we are students, of a sort, of the old gospel music. We wanted to bring that in and see if we could write things, and so we came up with a few things I think that were pretty interesting. We did a few traditional things, as well. We do a reggae version of “I’ll Fly Away” that, I think, is really uplifting. It’s really up and really nice.
Asking Mermaids for Advice
Narrator: David and Howard have embarked on a new show about their lives called, Honky Tonk Ranch, on the Cowboy Channel. They talk about their busy lives in music, ranching and now television — and how they work to stay grounded in their faith, despite their demanding schedules.
David: It’s certainly not a reality show in the vein of one of the ones everybody argues. And we have drama, but it’s usually just funny.
Howard: Actually, the first episode is … part of it is spent trying to decide — discussing with family — should we even do this?
So, we live down next to — you know, in central Florida — and there’s a lot of nature in our area related to the nature coast. Real close to us we have a beautiful Weeki Wachee Springs, and they have mermaids that do shows there. Growing up, you know, it was always a fascinating thing to go to that spring. You see the manatee swimming around and just full of beautiful nature. So it was always a thing in a family, that if you have a decision you can’t make, go ask the mermaids because of the wisdom of the mermaid. So, we go over in this episode and ask them — should we do this?
They thought so.
So, there’s a lot of humor in this show, and some of it’s very realistic. We get a little — not too serious — but it shows you the things families go through. But in general, it’s pretty up.
Keeping Prayer a Priority With Jesus Calling
Narrator: David and Howard keep their prayer life on track, even while the demands of road life take their toll. David reads a passage from Jesus Calling that is meaningful to them.
“Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release it into my care and go on about the day’s duty. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life.” – David Bellamy reading from Jesus Calling
David: You know it’s more of a challenge. I think there’s more — it’s not I think, I know there’s more. There’s always been corruption and evil, but it seems to be everywhere and every aspect of life around the world. We’ve toured in 72 countries, and you see good people everywhere. I don’t care what country you go to; there’s really good people and they’re all concerned about their families and the same things.
When you see people come and enjoy and leave with a big smile and lightened hearts, you know that you know you’ve done your job.
Narrator: To find out more about the Bellamy Brothers’ reality show, Honky Tonk Ranch, and their new book, Let Your Love Flow, please visit BellamyBrothers.com.
And if you are in Nashville for CMA Fest, be sure to stop by the Jesus Calling booth #109 at Fan Fair X and visit with the Bellamy Brothers on June 7th at 3:00 pm. For more information about Jesus Calling at CMA Fest, visit JesusCalling.com.
Narrator: We’ll be right back for the second half of our show after this message about a free offer from Jesus Calling.
Want a daily reminder that we can have hope, peace and joy each day in Jesus? Now it’s as easy as opening an email. The Jesus Calling Daily Email brings you a thought from the Jesus Calling family of devotionals every day. Brighten up your inbox with this little reminder and take a minute to connect with God during your day. To sign up to get your free, daily thought from Jesus Calling, please visit Jesus Calling.com/daily-email.
Meet New Country Artist Zach Seabaugh
Narrator: Next up on the show, we visit with emerging new country artist Zach Seabaugh. Originally from Georgia, Zach appeared on Season 9 of the NBC show, The Voice when he was just 16 years old, where he placed fifth in the overall competition, as part of Team Blake. Zach discusses what it’s like to be thrust into the spotlight at such an early age and what motivates him to share his faith journey with his fans.
Zach: I’m Zach Seabaugh, and I’m 19 years old. I’m originally from Marietta, Georgia, and moved to Nashville last August. I’ve been here ever since, attending Middle Tennessee State University studying music business. Also, I’ve been working as a songwriter and just continuing the development of my music career, after being on The Voice, which was about two years ago.
I grew up in the church. I went to First Methodist Church in Marietta. At that time — mainly for everybody there, the kids my age — we’d go to church on Sundays with Bible study right before church. They had a youth group at night for the middle school through high schoolers, but the big thing was the choir. Everybody sang in the choir — all my friends.
That kept me in the church two times a week, sometimes three. On Wednesday nights we’d have Wednesday night supper, and before that we would go to choir practice. That started when I was three.
Singing Along to Elvis and Johnny on His Grandpa’s Jukebox
The biggest influence on me was my grandpa. He lived just a couple of miles down the road. Growing up, my mom would drop us off, and we’d go hang out with him.
He was really smart. He was a really smart man. The most that I remember about him was what my dad told me, because he passed away in 2009. I was 10 or 11 at the time, and music was — that’s kind of how we connected — and expressly, the memories I made with him. It was really all surrounded by music. He wasn’t a musician by any means. He was a big mathematician guy who designed airplanes and stuff. I don’t even know what his degree was.
My grandpa had a World’s Fair jukebox out on the screened porch, and it’s still there to this day in the same spot. Before he passed away in 2009, we would go out there, and he had everything from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash to Bruce Springsteen. I mean, you name it; The Temptations — and you know at 6-7 years old, I was dancing and singing along to the songs.
That really inspired me. He kind of introduced me to the guitar, especially with Johnny Cash.
When he passed away, on his cell phone, his ringtone was me singing, and it was Johnny Cash. So, when he passed away, we picked up his phone and found that.
His funeral was really the first time I ever performed in front of anybody, and before the that, I wasn’t like — I never titled myself as some kind of artist — I didn’t even know really what that was. But, I performed “Amazing Grace” at his funeral. There were probably 300 people there, and it was in a church. So, for the first place for me to stand out and sing a song, for it to be one — in the church and two — for it to be my grandpa…
Taking Time With His New Songwriting Career
Zach: So, when I started coming to Nashville two years ago after The Voice and started singing, and developing, and kind of honing in on my craft as a solo artist, and not so much a cover artist like I was on The Voice, you know, I remembered that. I remembered Johnny Cash and all that stuff and tried to incorporate that into my music while also being commercially acceptable, you know, which today is all over the place, right?
The biggest thing for me and the reason why I’m taking my time with my songwriting process is one — I want to be able to sing and record songs that I write. Especially with all the time I’m taking doing it. I’m trying to figure out who I am and trying to figure out how to be honest with myself when thousands of people are out there watching me. ”
“I’m trying to figure out who I am and trying to figure out how to be honest with myself when thousands of people are out there watching me.” – Zach Seabaugh
Auditioning for NBC’s The Voice
Zach: Outside of singing in the church, I started to get into musical theater and theater at my school. It started in elementary school when I was in fourth grade, or so, and all the way through high school was taken out because of The Voice.
It wasn’t a cool thing to do. You know, it was two different stereotypes and cliques going on. And so I finally decided one day because I was battling with myself, I decided, I was like, you know, I want to go all in on theater. You know, maybe go to a musical theater school and try to be on Broadway. So when I quit football, that was kind of my mindset there.
It was a couple of months afterward in February, and I was in math class, and this girl that was in the theater department with me she was talking about The Voice auditions — some TV show. I really don’t know too much about it. I knew about American Idol and stuff, and we watched it when I was growing up. People were always — my family was like, “You should go on, you know, you play guitar and stuff.” So, this girl was talking about it and was really talking it up. She was like, “I made it this far last time. I think I can go farther.” So, I sit behind her, and I was like all, “Surely if you can do it, I can take a shot at it.” I text my mom. I was like “The Voice audition is in Atlanta tomorrow. I have to get out of class.”
We printed off a thing for me to go to the audition, and the next morning I got in line, and that’s where it all started. I auditioned six hours after standing in line.
Fighting Anxiety to Make It on The Voice
Zach: I think you have like 30 seconds to sing. It’s like a verse and a chorus or something. I didn’t know. I was trying to think of songs I knew on the guitar that I could sing. I had “Folsom Prison.” I had “Jack Johnson.” I had all kinds of music, and they didn’t go together whatsoever.
She’s like, “What kind of artist are you?” I was like, “What does that mean?” And I was thinking, like, “OK, there’s genres on iTunes like country; there’s pop,” and I was like, “I don’t know. I’m not an artist; I do theater.” She’s like, “Well, come back to the next audition, so I know kind of what you want to do — if you want to do country or whatever.” So, I came back, and I decided I wanted to do country music and became a country artist on The Voice.
I was taking it all in, but it was going so fast through my head and just being so young at the same time — everything kind of flew by. I developed just this gut feeling in me where all the other artists on the show — they’re kind of freaking out like, “Oh, am I going to make it? Am I not?” Which I was, too. I had all kinds of anxiety and stress going on, but I got out there. And for some reason, I was like, “You know, I think I got this. I think something’s going to come out of this. Why else would I be out here?”
Faith in God Kept Him Going
Zach: So, I went through the entire process of the show where I look back, and I’m like, “Wow.” It wasn’t just me and my mindset. It was actually God, and my faith, and being able to trust myself, and trust something greater than myself.
“It was actually God, and my faith, and being able to trust myself, and trust something greater than myself.” – Zach Seabaugh
Faith has been a huge, huge part of this process.
No matter how much success I had, I was still missing something, and what it was was God. You know, I was in L.A.; I was constantly doing stuff. I was so tired, my time was so consumed with interviews, and radio stuff, and I was still missing something.
Spending Every Morning With Jesus Calling
Jesus Calling came after The Voice. It was a time right when I released my E.P. So, I was doing tons of shows — tons of interviews and press. It was before all the songwriting stuff, but my time was just consumed, and I was just all over the place. I knew that there was just an empty spot in my heart, and somebody had recommended that to me. I need some kind of devotional book because I can’t even go to church on Sundays because people want me to sign their Bibles. It just became a daily thing for me. I’d wake up in the morning and read it.
You know, there were times I was feeling down, and then even times where I was feeling good. Right before I would go on stage I’d, just make a point to read it and just make sure — “OK, this is why I’m going on stage. This is why I have the ability to go onstage — because of this and the way that I can connect with it on a daily basis.”
I make it a point to go to church every Sunday, no matter what kind of week I have. If that’s the only thing that I do is go to church on Sunday, I’m going to walk away with some kind of message that’s going to prepare me to just keep going forward and keep fighting through the struggles I’m going through every day. Just like everybody else — I want my fans to be able to grow with me too.
I’m writing almost every day. I drive to Nashville three times a week to write with people and just working for the next record. I’m working for the sound that I want people to hear next. Now, I just know that with the time I’m taking on it, that it’s really going to be something special. When that time comes, you know, it’s off to the races.
Narrator: To find out more about Zach Seabaugh, please visit his website at zachseabaugh.com, or visit JesusCalling.com/podcast for a full transcript of this show with links to information about Zach and about the Bellamy Brothers.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling podcast, we visit with Chelsea Crockett, the author of Your Own Beautiful, a guide to faith and life for young women and the big issues they face — from self-confidence to following your dreams.
Chelsea Crockett: I’m really excited for the people to just get the message of so many different topics, and so many different things that we’re curious about, and how to overcome, and the fact that we can’t do it ourselves. We have to let Jesus intervene in the midst to overcome those issues because He already did at the cross.
Other Country Artist featured on Jesus Calling podcast: