EDITOR’S NOTE: David Redford is the lead singer of the Christian folk band, Gray Havens.
1. Are there authors or artists who have influenced the style you and your wife have developed?
Listening to sermons expositing Scripture and lectures taught me what to say, and stories — like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia — taught me how to say it. So, there’s content, but you have to say the content in a way that’s hearable. A backdoor way to the heart is narrative. We fell in love with these stories and that informs the way we write — storytelling songwriters like Paul Simon, James Taylor, Cat Stevens.
2. The Grey Havens in the Lord of the Rings was the seaport where the characters moved on to their eschatological home, so the title evokes feelings of nostalgia and longing. How do your name and your style of music relate to each other?
We jumped in at the right moment, because all this pop-folk stuff started happening, and we have in the past called our genre narrative pop-folk. The best songs and stories and movies are transportive. I’m a very critical and analytical person, and I feel like the song is “winning” when it’s not filtering through the analytical. I’ve just been transported and I’m living in this place now. That’s what we’re trying to do with each of our songs.
3. What’s your favorite Lord of the Rings movie and book?
The best movie is the Two Towers. It’s perfect. I love The Return of the King as a book, and I think it has something to do with the tension. The longing to accomplish the mission is just so high at that point, and everybody is at the end of their rope, beaten up, and hopeless. They’re tested under those circumstances and yet good triumphs over evil.