Luke Spehar is the kind of Catholic Gentleman that makes you feel instantly at home. When I first met him he was unloading music gear out of the back of his family van, wearing weathered blue jeans and looking like he had just spent a day working with reclaimed lumber. I half expected sawdust to fall out of his pockets. From changing diapers to touring with Ben Harper, from hammering out songs of hope on his acoustic guitar to touring the U.S.A with little more than a rosary and gas money, Luke Spehar is a musician both Catholic and, well, gentlemanly.
1) What kind of beer is in your fridge?
When I can get it, I like to have the Franciscana Dunkleweisen, which I discovered in Germany during my college years. Otherwise, some sort of Porter or Stout from a microbrewery will do. And of course, Coors or Michgolden always serve as a suitable post workout drink.
2) What’s Your Battle Cry?
“I do it for you.” – Nicholas Spehar
3) What made you pick up the guitar?
When people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would answer them, “a Country music singer or a Chiropractor.” It was a family tradition to watch the CMA’s when I was younger, and when country music had a very different sound. Watching those musicians always inspired me, and seeing that I liked the sound of guitar strings playing more then neck bones cracking, I steered toward music.
4) Word on the street is you thought you were called to be a priest?
Indeed! I felt the tug to explore the possibility of the priesthood in High School. Anyone who has felt that same tug might agree it can be rather scary. I think the harder decision for me, however, was whether or not I wanted to follow Jesus. The call to the seminary embodied the call to follow Christ for me, and I can say following my heart and going to seminary was one of the best choices I have ever made. As an encouragement to anyone considering that path, my experiences from seminary continue to unravel in many wonderful ways and I think that my wife would agree that a time of self discovery and spiritual growth has been a blessing to our marriage.
5) When did you know you were called to holy marriage?
The short answer is, when I met my wife, Elizabeth! I might be alone in this opinion, but I think it’s impossible to know if you are called to marriage unless you meet someone you actually want to marry! But I don’t want to digress. For a while I felt like music was my “V”ocation in life. In a way, I already felt like I was married. But God revealed to me that as wonderful as music is, still more wonderful are the seven sacraments, and holy marriage is one of them. So, when I met Elizabeth, after I finished recording my third album, All Is Gift, I felt the freedom to consider marriage seriously and let my music move away from my main life focus. I have found a lot of life in the sacraments, and living as a married man is no exception.
6) How are you doing with this whole Catholic Dadness thing?
I can honestly say that being a father is the best surprise of my life! For me, getting engaged was accepting all that a wife could add to my life, including children. As I said before, for a long time family life and being an independent solo musician seemed to be at odds with each other, both for logistical reasons, and also for competing loves. But I think most artists can relate to the joy of being a part of a new creation. To use a theme from some new music I am working on, after my daughter was born “I felt like I helped write the most beautiful song I had ever heard, with all its expectation, excitement, fear and wonder.” Of course there have been a number of challenges and we constantly navigate uncharted grounds as we pursue a music career with a family, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I love my little girl and how that love, or any love for that matter, has changed me for the better.
7) What’s been the highlight of your music career?
I would say the greatest highlight of my music career has been opening for Ben Harper’s first solo acoustic tour. Ben invited me personally as a friend and given the fact that he was one of my earliest influences, being able to share the stage with him will always be a treasured memory.
8) How would you describe your music?
I think my music is honest.
9) What’s one of your favorite books?
East Of Eden by John Steinbeck is one of my favorite books. I enjoy almost anything by him. Also, and I know you only asked for one, but my prayer life really opened up after reading, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.
10) How can we Catholic gents get your music into our playlists?
You can find my music on Spotify, Amazon, Youtube, CDbaby, iTunes and almost any big digital distributer. Also, you can get my music and follow along with our journey at my website www.lukespehar.com.
Tyler Blanski is praying for a holy renaissance. He is the author of When Donkeys Talk: Rediscovering the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity (Zondervan, 2012) and Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred (Upper Room Books, 2010). You can find Tyler at HolyRenaissance.com.This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at The Catholic Gentleman.