John Michael TalbotView in iTunes
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At the peak of his success, John Michael Talbot was the best-selling male performer in the history of Christian music. Born in Oklahoma City in 1954, he began playing piano and drums at the age of six, and later moved on to banjo, guitar and dobro. In 1963, the family moved to Indianapolis; there, Talbot soon made his professional debut as a member of his brother Terry's teen pop band, the Quinchords. The Talbot brothers later co-founded the country-rock band Mason Proffit, which earned a cult following prior to its 1972 breakup; the siblings continued working together, however, with their increasing spirituality pushing them towards contemporary Christian pop. After recording an eponymous 1974 LP as the Talbot Brothers, both went their separate ways; John Michael soon signed to Sparrow, his sound mellowing to combine with his tenor vocals and classical guitar playing. Talbot's first solo LP, a self-titled effort, appeared in 1975; after 1977's The New Earth, he withdrew from performing to study Catholicism, with these new beliefs informing 1978's The Lord's Supper and its follow-up, Come to the Quiet. In the years to follow, Talbot's albums arrived fast and furious, and soon he was the best-selling artist in the history of Sparrow Records. In 1992, he founded his own label, Troubadour for the Lord. ~ Jason Ankeny