Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 4, 2013

Lovins uses music to spread the gospel

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Jason Lovins loves nearly every aspect of his job as a Christian musician, traveling the country with the Jason Lovins Band and providing the right melodies for whatever type of worship service comes their way.

“Being a worship band requires a lot of styles,” said Lovins, whose band is made up of some of the most recognized music students to roam the campus at Morehead State University. “We have to be ready to play anything from an old country “I’ll Fly Away,” to ... if we’re at a youth conference in front of a thousand kids, then we’re going to rock and roll.”

Lovins, 31, was born in Kenova and introduced to praise music as part of The Gospel Witness with his grandmother, Mary Jo Lovins. Sports took priority over music during his high school years, although that would change when he enrolled at MSU and began making music with friends.

“Before we knew it, it was like, ‘We’re a band!’” he said, recalling the group was dubbed The 4 O’Clock Band by a secretary who noticed members always showed up for rehearsals at the same time in the afternoon. The band soon had offers to play for pay in other states, and Lovins said he gladly traded hours in the classroom for time on the road.

“I was a terrible student anyway,” he said with a chuckle, explaining the band did well until it came time for other members to graduate and get “real” jobs.

“That was when it just kind of hit me, if I’m going to do this then it is on me. That’s when the Jason Lovins Band happened,” he said, explaining the band has since had several members and is now made up of himself on guitar and vocals, along with pianist Rodney Mora, drummer Chasen “Chase” Little and bassist Jose Mendoza, who travel and play with the support of sound engineer/road manager Greg Withrow. The band enjoys a diversity of musical influences, Lovins said, and everyone seems to enjoy frequent travels to other states for concerts and worship services.

“We love it. And, you have to love it ... it’s not for everybody. I say if my wife, Jana, wasn’t home I would never go back,” he said of time on the road, usually traveling by van. “Actually, we’re home more than most people I know that have normal jobs.”

The band enjoys an excellent reputation based primarily on its live performances, Lovins said, and appreciates comments it doesn’t sound like other contemporary gospel groups. The band’s latest recording, “Promises,” has just been released and is available at jasonlovins.com.

“I just want them (audiences) to have a connection — not with us, but with the Lord. The bottom line for me is to go out there and connect with the audience. Our heart is just to connect.”

The musician said he is also getting increased attention for the testimony he gives about his own life during the band’s shows.

“Obviously, my story is a big deal and I’ve been telling it a lot lately,” said Lovins, who explained he was a child of rape, and is only alive today because of his grandmother “and her 15-year-old daughter” prayed about the situation and realized God intended for him to be born. “As I got older I realized, ‘Wow! This has an impact on people.’

“It’s not awkward for me. I’m 31. I’ve come this far,” Lovins said, acknowledging the topic is not always easy to talk about. He said he hopes his story serves a purpose, although he does not want it to be confused with any kind of politics.

“I’m not out in front of the White House with a picket sign,” he said. “Sometimes people will ask if I’m bitter or angry. I’m over all of that. I could not do what I do if I was walking around bitter and angry.”

Lovins said God has given him an understanding of the circumstances resulting in his birth, and he has made peace with the unknown man who is his biological father.

“In the Lord’s eyes my sins are no bigger than his,” Lovins said, explaining his belief his life is a testament to God’s grace. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.”

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.