With songs that inspire, encourage and challenge people to step out of their comfort zones and do greater things for God’s Kingdom, it’s easy to see why Brandon Heath is one of the most beloved storytellers in Christian music.

His fourth studio project, “Blue Mountain,” takes listeners on a musical journey of hope, love and redemption. We recently caught up with Brandon, and he shared the heart behind this project.

How did you come up with the theme for this album?

Blue Mountain came out a conversation that I had with my friend, Al Andrews. He was talking about how he read one time in a C.S. Lewis book called “Letters to an American Lady,” about how some people are like blue mountains. That’s kind of a funny thing, but if you look at mountains in the distance, they are kind of blue and hazy. He said some people are like that, because you’re always from a distance to them. But if you get up close to them, you’ll see they’re just like everyone else. I love that thought. I had this idea for a place called “blue mountain.” I ended up writing about characters that live on blue mountain. It’s a fictional place, but I figured the best way to describe the place was to tell about the people. So that’s what all the songs do on the record.

What do you hope people take away from this album?

I hope that people see that even as an artist, I’m transparent. As I’m talking about other characters, I’m really talking about myself. All these characters have attributes that I know and understand.

Share some stories about the new songs.

“Jesus in Disguise” is the first single. I thought about an old, blind man living on blue mountain. A young guy comes up to him one day and says, “Hey, I don’t believe in Jesus because I’ve never seen him or heard him. Why should I believe?” The old man tells him, “You see Jesus in ways you don’t expect, so you’ve got to keep your eyes open.”

There’s a song about a coal miner called “Diamond.” I just envisioned a coal miner walking to work one day and having a conversation with God early one morning. He just wants to say, “God, if there’s something more for me, then tell me.”

In a song called “The Harvester,” there’s a farmer. I wanted to share his story. It’s not just about working the field — it’s about people. Souls are the harvest. I liked going from this angle and talking about priorities in life.

There’s a song about a guy on death row called “Dyin’ Day,” and this guy understands forgiveness.  He’s about to die but he’s explaining, “I know that I’m forgiven.” Those are some of the characters on this album.

What’s typically your inspiration for songwriting?

It usually comes out of a conversation that I’m having with somebody or a title. A good title does a lot for me — it can be a window into an idea.

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

I really love hearing stories of unlikely people — whether it’s a non-believer or someone who wouldn’t normally listen to Christian music. When they tell you, “I don’t really like this kind of music, but you did something for me.” I love that. Because it’s the unpredictability of the whole thing and it’s rewarding to know that you’re making an impact on people.

** For more info about Brandon Heath and his upcoming schedule, check out: www.brandonheath.net.  Also, keep up with the latest news by following @brandonheath on twitter!