by Tracy Darlington
"Worship is important to us because it is more than a song—it’s an attitude." --Jonathan Firey
Steeped in acoustic pop sensibilities, NewFire gleans contemporary vocal arrangements alongside elements of Bluegrass, Folk, and Adult Contemporary music. Topped off by worshipful melodies and poetic lyrics the couple's organic sound is comfortably familiar, like a quiet evening with family or close friends.
Can you give us a little background on how you got started?
Jonathan: I was raised in a musical family—my dad and their uncles sang in a bluegrass gospel group called the Firey Brothers…so I’m stuck with this career! At 18, I went to a Dennis Jernigan concert and felt called into music ministry. Luckily, in about two years, Dennis took me under his wing and I began touring with him. Then, when I was 22, I began to play with FFH (with whom I’m still a member). When FFH took a break in 2006, Allison and I began singing together and formed NewFire.
How did you know God was calling you to pursue a career in music?
My senior year of high school I was playing basketball and being scouted by colleges, and I began to feel my passion for sports die a bit. I started leading worship after our games in a service called “fifth quarter” and I began to feel like God was leading me into music as a career.
Where did you come up with the name NewFire?
Well, our last name is Firey, and since we’re the new generation of Firey’s in the music business with a heart for God, we came up with the name NewFire.
Alison, how did you become involved in theatre?
Allison: I grew up doing theatre—I did my first play when I was 10 years old. I continued to do theatre and graduated with a B.F.A. in musical theatre and dance. After graduation, I toured professionally and it was a show that brought me to Oklahoma where I met Jonathan.
Jonathan, your family owned a music store. How did that come about?
Jonathan: My dad and my uncle started the music store about 35 years ago. My father decided to pursue other things and decided to sell his part of the store. Then 3 years ago, my uncle asked me if I wanted to buy one of the locations back, so that is when my father and I went into business again.
Why is worship important to you?
Worship is important to us because it is more than a song—it’s an attitude. It is people responding to the God’s spirit in their own way. We love leading worship because no matter what denomination you are, we can all come together and worship the same God in our own way.
Tell us about your album Newfire?
This is the most diverse album we’ve ever done. It mixes elements of folk, acoustic pop, and contemporary Christian. The songs give us a chance to share what Allison and I struggle with, and we hope that others will be able to connect with those struggles.
How does it differ from your debut project Almost Home?
Almost Home was a much more “newgrass”-based project and was more laid back. We were also a trio when we first started. This new album was a chance to try different things to find our sound. We were really pleased with what we came up with for the new album, and felt the Lord guiding us every step of the way.
What are some of the goals for you as a group?
Well, our main goal is to encourage and build up the church with a message of hope. Especially in these uncertain economic times, we want to encourage people to remember that the Lord is our source for everything, and that He has made a promise to never leave or forsake us.
How would you describe your sound?
A mix of Acoustic pop and folk.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
We’re pretty satisfied doing what we’re doing now! We are blessed to be able to do what we love to do for a living, and to spread the gospel. We do hope to add a few babies to the Firey family in the future, though!
How did each of you come to know the Lord?
Jonathan: I was raised in church in a family that always loved and served Jesus. I’ve been blessed in that way!
Allison: I was raised Catholic, and it wasn’t until I was just out of college that I really decided that I needed to give my life to Christ in all areas. That was hard because I’m a control freak!
What advice do you have for teenagers who don’t yet know what they want to do with their life?
Our advice would be to keep seeking the Lord… “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” As long as they’re following Him, and seeking His will for their life, He’ll lead them into what they need to be doing!
What’s the coolest prayer God’s ever answered for you?
Both: That the Lord brought us to each other!
Where’s the memorable place you guys have played?
Jonathan: A Billy Graham Crusade in Camden Yard in Baltimore!
Allison: We sang at an album release party for a Wes King Tribute Album with Scott Dente, Derek Webb, Phil Keaggy, etc. It was a pretty amazing thing to be in the company of so many people you admire.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
Jonathan: I’m 6’7” and I lead the state of OK in scoring my senior year of high school in basketball.
Allison: I worked as Cinderella and Barbie for my job in high school, and I never went fishing until I met my husband! City girl!
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Jonathan: I love to be out in the country and to go fishing, hiking, etc.
Allison: I like to watch Top Chef!
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Jonathan: A sausage, egg and cheese biscuit with a diet coke. (cancels out the calories of the biscuit, right?)
Allison: Hershey Kisses!
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Bottled water, cheese, and eggs.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Jonathan: A house coffee with cream and sugar.
Allison: Tall Chai Latte with 2 pumps of vanilla!
What’s left unchecked in your “goals for life” list?
Jonathan: A trip to Ireland
Allison: Having babies!
When was the last time you cried?
Last week—both of us.
Three words that best describe you:
Jonathan: passionate, “firey”, goofy!
Allison: loyal, spunky, and fun!
What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?
Jonathan: A compilation cd of old DC Talk songs. “I don’t want…I don’t want it, want it…”
Allison: Little Big Town and James Taylor
Anything else you’d like to share with TitleTrakk.com readers?
Just to remember that we as believers have a lot of power when we come together and support and encourage one another. No matter how hard life gets, we have each other and a father who will never leave us! That’s so encouraging!
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.