Christian singer-songwriter Cynthia Clawson and her composer husband Ragan Courtney know Waco from many performances here, work with Word Music and plenty of friends made through the years.
Still, it was a special vibe felt when they were eating at Mission Waco’s World Cup Cafe some time ago that leads to her Saturday night concert with accompanist Bruce Greer at First Baptist Church of Waco.
“We were surrounded by people we had known before or who knew our work. I felt God in that place,” she explained in a recent call from their home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “I’m very much into magic and love mystery and all that God is . . . Ragan felt it, too.”
When the opportunity came to do something for Mission Waco/Mission World — namely, Saturday’s concert benefiting the nonprofit organization and its Church Under The Bridge — Clawson jumped at the chance and added Waco to their current two-week tour swing through Texas.
She and Greer will perform Saturday night at First Baptist Church of Waco, with Columbus Avenue Baptist Church one of the familiar concert settings for Clawson over a career that started in the 1970s with Word Music.
Like many of her concerts, it will combine hymns, Christian songs, secular songs and, given the season and multiple Clawson-Greer collaborations, Christmas music, all connected by her sense of God, love, acceptance and mystery.
“We’ll make music and love (one another) and let God talk to us some more,” she said. “Some people don’t have joy and we need to make it for them.”
Clawson, 70, has a shelf filled with awards for her singing and writing, including 15 Dove Awards and a Grammy Award. Although the church environments in which she sang earlier in her career have changed due to large-scale adoption of praise-driven worship music and, for some churches, increasing politicization, Clawson finds her faith deeper and broader than when she started.
“God is so much richer in my life now,” she said.
Saturday’s concert reunites her with long-time collaborator Bruce Greer, a composer, accompanist and Baylor University graduate. “It’s like we were in the womb together,” she laughed.
Greer, contacted at his Dallas home, remembers that the two first performed together in concert without a prior rehearsal and pulled it off. “It’s like dancing with someone who really connects with you,” he said.
Greer, currently involved in writing a musical based on the John Grisham short story “Skipping Christmas,” returns to the church where he served as pianist from 1985 to 1988 during his years at Baylor.