Greg McDougal often introduces himself as a “recovering musician.” He came to Nashville in pursuit of a record contract and soon landed a songwriting deal with a prominent Nashville publisher. Then he hooked up with some of the biggest names in the business—from Tim Dubois at Arista to the multi-platinum recording group BlackHawk.
He soon learned, however, that God had another plan, one much different than what Greg had ‘so carefully laid out.’
How did you get your start in the music business?
Henry Paul of Arista Record’s BlackHawk invited me to town. I bought a Gibson Everly Brothers model guitar from him down in Tampa and got to play a few songs for him. Once we got to Nashville, I went out on the road with BlackHawk as a guitar tech/merchandise guy. They then helped me sign a publishing deal with Stroudavarious Music…exciting times for a young couple who moved to Nashville. Then I had a song recorded by John Michael Montgomery.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
We moved into a house in Mt. Juliet and almost immediately our neighbors began bugging us to go to church with them. We couldn’t even talk about God with each other at the time and there we were facing the ‘uncomfortable’ situation of going to church with our neighbors…just to get them off our backs!
We got to church, began hearing the truth in God’s Word and then one night I found Ricky Skaggs on TV telling about his faith in Jesus Christ and sharing of his faith onstage with his secular country music audiences. That was the night that I surrendered my life to Christ! And not a minute too soon. A year or so later is when my first son was born with a hole in his intestinal tract and then later diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Six months later I suddenly left the music business with no warning and started my own business as a home repair carpenter…even though I had no real experience as a home repair carpenter. I did NOTHING with music for the next seven years!
We now have three of our four children diagnosed with CF and it has been more than difficult at times. But God has shown us how He takes the years that the locust have eaten and makes them new. And how He redeems all things. And how He takes what the enemy meant for evil and makes it for good. And how those that put their trust in Him, He will deliver them out of their trouble.
We have experienced absolute miracles. By His stripes we are healed! It is Him at work in our lives, both to do and to will according to His good purpose! We are now in full time music ministry simply going and telling of His grace and mercy in the lives of a couple who used to pay Him no attention at all. Our four children are singing now and blessing lives everywhere we go! I am about to be ordained in music ministry by The International Cowboy Church Alliance Network. Wow…ME…an ordained minister. But God has shown me so many things that He says about each of us…and that is what matters. We have been in over 400 ministry events in the last three years, and God has given us favor everywhere that we’ve been, having the time of our lives!
How does your faith play into your work?
I think it’s the other way around. How does the work that I get to do best reflect my faith? Lord, help me live out this faith…walk the walk…not just talk it. This ministry thing is just what the Lord has given me to do. I suspect that part of the reason why is because He knows that I am about the only knucklehead that I’ll listen to, and so He has sent me out to tell some things that I need to hear! He will meet each of us right where we are…
We are meeting sooo many folks who are hungry to see that this God thing is real on Tuesday mornings…not just Sunday mornings. And what is most real is that we cannot get it right all the time, and so He sent His Son Jesus to even out the odds. To one day step up and speak up for us in spite of our failings, like a good friend: ‘I know…I know all about that sin stuff…but I paid the bill. It’s okay…he’s with me.’
Let’s talk about your new song, While I Still Can. How did the song come about?
Our son Sean fell asleep in our King size bed one night, and when I picked him up to take him to his bed I was amazed at how big he was in just a week or so since the last time I picked him up. By the time I got him down the hall and back to my room I was in tears and grabbed my guitar and sang most of the song. My wife Diane and my friend David Speegle helped finish it up later…and it has been a song that I have to sing everywhere we go so that I continue to be reminded of this God given perspective.
Please tell us about the forthcoming McDougal Kids project.
The little smart alecks…they won the talent contest for The Christian Country Music Association last year at The Inspirational Country Music Awards Convention week. They won a three-song recording session and a release to radio with one of the songs. They have agreed to let their dear old Dad and even their sweet Mum sing a song or two on the project. I am so joking about this…
When they won, we were so struck by how good it was for them to experience working hard toward excellence and then winning! We had had a hospital stay just two months before with three children being admitted at the same time. It was so good for them to taste that winner’s circle that night! They are truly gifted. We get to see God use our testimony and their singing to really till up some hard ground and sow in seeds for His glory. The project coming soon is called It’s a Family Thing, and we have a little bit to finish up on it and then will make it available at www.ahouseformykids.com and www.gregmcdougal.com.
A few fun questions…
What is your favorite comfort food and why?
Oh good grief, I have to really battle with myself to keep check on the whole comfort food tendency. I have been so susceptible to reaching for whatever food is closest to medicate and comfort…probably not what you were looking for in my answer. But, as my wife and I have firmly entered our forties, and we have these four children, ages twelve and under, and we don’t have the energy we used to have…hee hee…it is so easy to sometimes want to unplug for a few hours…break out the bon-bons and a good movie. But then we meet a family at Vanderbilt with a real 25-hour a day struggle and these babies of ours are growing up before our eyes, and so we then step away from the bon-bons, biscuits and gravy, or whatever, and thank God for how tired we are and the reasons why…we used to stay up for a lot lesser reasons.
This website features literary, as well as musical, guests. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
It has been too long since I’ve stopped to read a good book, but I have read a dozen books about Lincoln since I was a kid. One about Buddy Ebsen. I have read Frank Peretti’s books This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness several times. They inspired the writing of one of my songs Serpent in the Garden. I also read a book called Lead or Get Off the Pot (I forget the author’s name), but that book inspired me to write out on paper the initial plan for ahouseformykids.com. I also loved All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and I also love to read Max Lucado. Books that inspire!
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Let nothing corrupt proceed from your mouth but in all things let it edify that it may administer grace to the hearers. Eph. 4:29
Gather some wood and some strings…build a modest guitar…and then hope that when you play it out on the front porch that at the end of the song it’s worth something to those that gathered to hear it. I just hope to be that kind of song.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
The simplest and most common of major chords on the guitar… G, C and D. Beginners chords that only when put in the Master’s Hands can be used by Him for the simplest and sweetest of songs.
In the story that is your life, are you the tall, dark stranger; the romantic lead; the mythical warrior; the mad scientist; or the child in an adult’s body?
Ask my wife! I am her fifth child! She sometimes has to try to keep things moving along over the noise of chaos and laughter with me as the chief comedian! And sometimes she has a spoiled brat that she can’t chasten and so she has to be extra gracious and wait for God to deal with me!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets or a favorite pet as a child.
Cassie and Sally were our dogs before the children came along…they slept in our bed. They were God’s way of training us for children! They were the best dogs ever!
Thank you, Greg! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour. May God continue to bless your work.
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You can download While I Still Can at http://www.reverbnation.com/gregmcdougal or