Christian performer’s new single inspired by chaplain work at local hospitals

Hospitals may not be the most obvious inspiration for upbeat songs. In the mind of Christian music singer/songwriter Rick Lee James, his experiences in Dayton-area medical centers resulted in his latest song, “As I Walk These Halls” that releases today.

James, who recently began a summer intensive program toward getting his master’s degree in medical chaplaincy for Kettering Health’s Clinical Pastoral Education program, found the work of the ministry in hospitals can be challenging, but filled with hope and resulted in the song as a testimony, driven by an electric guitar.

“This is the inverse of what I’ve been doing – listening to what people find meaning in,” he said.

Instead of being tired and ready to rest after the end of one particular night shift, James found his creative juices flowing. In July after two weeks of work nightly in his home studio with only the help of a drummer, “As I Walk These Halls” became his first single in a year.

“It was seared into my brain, like a craving,” he said.

With the pandemic creating more need for medical care, health care professionals found themselves often overworked and some patients who had no one or limited visitors, were grateful for chaplain visits and this fueled his creative juices.

James said this resonated with hospital colleagues, who could see God in their patients during divine moments. He shared the song with a few, finding validation.

“I had a nurse say ‘that’s exactly how I feel’ and it was neat to get that affirmation,” James said.

On visits to patients, James often carries his guitar and besides talking, sometimes he plays and sings, finding that music can touch people in a way words cannot. He’s played the piano in the lobby at one hospital and received feedback his playing helped colleagues prepare for their day.

James has also been invited to perform “As I Walk These Halls” at a graduation event at one of the hospitals this week. Being able to combine two of his favorite things is a blessing.

“If it can make even a small difference in a person’s life, that’s what I want. It’s almost like a confirmation of the work I’m doing,” he said.

James last LP, “Thunder”, came out in 2019, and for now with his work load and the current music climate, he’s satisfied with just doing singles. He can imagine finding further inspiration in this work that can be turned into music.

“It all feels like grace,” he said.

“As I Walk These Halls” is available on all streaming platforms. For more information on James or links to his music, go to rickleejames.com.

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