MCALESTER — Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West has a special connection to McAlester through the Ryan McAfee family.
McAfee, 19, was killed in an auto accident in 2009. His family found the words to West's song “Motions” on the young man's Facebook page and played the song at his funeral. West sang “Motions” for about 4,000 people at the first Ryan McAfee Memorial Concert in 2009 in McAlester. He reunited with McAfee's family again last year when he brought his concert tour to McAlester's Southeast Expo Center.
Thursday, West returns again to the venue, now renamed in Ryan McAfee's honor.
West is bringing his “Into the Light” tour, with special guests Jason Castro and Sidewalk Prophets.
“It's always a special time for their family as well as for us,” West said of visiting McAlester.
In a telephone interview, West discussed his album “Into the Light,” which has been reissued in a deluxe edition package featuring the Grammy-nominated music and a DVD featuring live concert footage and interviews with people whose stories have inspired the songs.
Q: What is the premise of “Into the Light”?
A: Well, I've been on this journey of collecting people's true stories and giving them an opportunity and platform for them to tell me their stories. That journey has really changed my life, not just my creative process. It's those people's true stories that have really served now as inspiration for two CDs of songs. I've written 25 songs, but I've received 25,000, so it's just absolutely mind-blowing how many stories continue to come in each day.
Obviously, I get up on stage each night and talk about people's stories, and people go home and they write their stories and send them to me, so that's where the inspiration of “Into the Light”" comes from, that image of people telling the story of their life and by doing so, bringing their story into the light so that the world could see how they have lived their life. The world can see their story and hopefully they can help somebody else.
Q: You did not get to hole yourself off to write songs for this album like you did for one of your previous albums?
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