Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • Devlin Donaldson
  • 1998 1 Dec
What you have done others will do / bigger and better, and faster than you / but you cant look back, no you gotta keep pressing through / theres a wilderness pathway and its calling you.

So sings Nancy Honeytree in the song Pioneer which she wrote and recorded on the occasion of her 20th anniversary as a Christian recording artist, which occurred in 1993. And in those few words she articulated her view of her past as well as her view of the future.

Her past as a pioneer started back in 1971 when young Nancy Henningbaum became a Christian. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa and finished high school in Iowa City, Honeytree recalls. My sister was in college in Ft. Wayne and she invited me to come visit her. During that visit I met some Christians, Jesus People,(as they were called then) and that is when I accepted Jesus into my life.

It was at the Adams Apple (a coffeehouse / youth outreach ministry) in Ft. Wayne, Indiana that Honeytrees own ministry began and then flourished. And a lot of people who were later on the Jesus music circuit played the Adams Apple. For example, Jeoffrey Benward (of {{Aaron Jeoffrey}} started there and {{Petra}} started there, Honeytree recalls. In the fall of 1970 when I went to live in Ft. Wayne, I was already a musician. I was into folk music and played guitar. I just learned to lead singing. We sang choruses that were led by guitar. That was how we opened up the concerts and Bible studies. When I was by myself I started writing my own songs and occasionally I would throw one in during the worship time. That was the very beginning.

Through various contacts made at the Adams Apple, Honeytree came to the attention of Word Records who signed her to a recording contract. At the same time, another artist began to record her songs. Most notable was {{Evie}} (Tournquist Karlsson) who recorded the Honeytree song Clean Before My Lord. I think that was about the same time that I recorded my own version of it, says Honeytree. But hers, of course, was far more heard since she was already an international phenomena at that time. She was like the {{Amy Grant}} of her day.

As a Word artist, Honeytree recorded six albums in 6 years, among them were well known titles like Evergreen, Me & My Old Guitar and Maranatha Marathon. As was the procedure of the day, she had to come up with a new albums worth of material about every nine months in the beginning. In those days to wait eighteen months for a record seemed like a long time to them (the record companies). So the albums came fast and furious at first.

After leaving Word in 1980, Honeytree recorded eight albums starting in 1981 with Merry Christmas, Love Honeytree in 1981, through Pioneer in 1993. I focused on singles ministry from 1985 until I got married in 1990, continuing really until maybe somewhere in 1992, Honeytree says. I met J.R. (Miller) in 1988 and married him in 1990. Just when I was becoming completely satisfied with my singleness, He (the Lord) brought along my husband.

I still do a lot of singles ministry even though I am married, Honeytree continues. I have recorded a Spanish album called Dios Ha Abierto La Puerta (God Has Opened The Door) that contains almost all the singles material I have. So I have been ministering to the Latin culture about singles issues over the last few years.

Honeytree recently participated in a project entitled ==First Love==, which brought together many of the early participants of contemporary Christian music. To me that time seems very brief. It seems hard to believe that 27 years has gone by, says Honeytree with a wisp of nostalgia. Its all still very vivid to me. The thing that tends to happen is that we forget just how powerful the Jesus movement was. The 100% dedication to Christ that came to us and how that was expressed in the music. You get that roomful of people together and you just sense it all over again.

Today Honeytree is the mother of a two-year-old son, Will. She continues to live in Ft. Wayne with her husband and son and is still involved with the fellowship that sponsored the Adams Apple those twenty six years ago. I am extremely grateful that God has allowed me to be fruitful for Him, Honeytree enthuses. To do so through music, which is such a pleasure, is such a privilege. I still feel that I am called to minister all my life. I am looking forward to finding out what form that will take.