The comfy sofas and armchairs at The Corner Perk in Bluffton make it a popular spot for locals to gather for conversation over coffee, and singer Tim Malchak is hoping to spark some discussion when he performs a concert there Saturday.
"I'd like to see the audience really feel God's presence," he said, "a kind of 'spiritual dialogue' that speaks to the heart."
Malchak, a resident of Bluffton, will perform songs off his latest album, "Jesus Every Day," produced in conjunction with Tate Music Group. The album features several up-tempo tracks with a more driving beat than Malchak has performed in the past. The title tract has Malchak rocking out a powerful chorus that contemporary church bands will no doubt be picking up on.
But fans of his signature ballad style won't be disappointed. Two love songs appear on the album, and Malchak's voice rings true as he sings them from the heart -- no surprise, given that he recently became engaged.
Malchak's dynamic voice has a purity that is easily recognizable. So too are his accomplished musical skills, particularly on the acoustic guitar. While he credits Scripture for much of his inspiration, Malchak names artists such as Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin and James Taylor as major influences in his musical style. One local musician, Kathleen Edwards, likened his voice to Jim Croce. "He has a clear sound and effortless delivery that is really beautiful."
He is widely known throughout the Lowcountry for his many church performances and benefit concerts. While these public charitable appearances have garnered him much praise, it is his behind-the-scenes work at the Ridgeland Correctional Institute that really moves him.
"Some nights I go in just dragging, but by the time I leave, I'm three feet off the ground," he said.
Surprisingly, Malchak's career didn't begin with Christian music. In the 1980s, he recorded a string of Top 40 country hits, including "Colorado Moon," "Restless Angel" and "It Goes Without Saying." His success, however, came at a price. A dangerous drug addition nearly ended his life.
"I was your average, hard-working musician but I was obsessed with finding fame and fortune. I had a successful career in the music business. I was winning awards, I had notoriety, money, but I was living for myself."
It took hitting rock bottom to turn his life around.
That experience and the life-changing faith it sparked is the basis for his music ministry. It is also the inspiration for the song, "There's No High Like the Most High," which he will perform this weekend. In it, he tells how God stripped away the wasted years and gave him a new lease on life. It is a story he shares often with those struggling to overcome their own addictions.
In 2001, he founded Tim Malchak Ministries, to win the lost to Christ by the sharing of his faith, through music, witness and testimony. He has released six worship CDs to date.
To read more about Malchak's personal story and to hear samples of his music, go to www.malchak.com.