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+MXPX • Mary Mary MercyMes Bart Millard

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M XPX тАв Mary Mary
MercyMeтАЩs Bart Millard
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August 2005
Return of the Dynamic Duo
Forget Batman and Robin. TheyтАЩd be hard-pressed to match the
soulful sounds and funky urban flavor of those legendary Campbell
sisters ("Shackles," anyone?). Now catch up with Mary Mary as
they tell us about life as new moms and give us a tour of their new
self-titled project. B Y A N T H O N Y B A R R J E F F R E Y
cover story
in review
The Girl Next Door
In the grand tradition of Amy Grant, Rebecca St. James, Rachael Lampa
and Stacie Orrico, 16-year-old Bethany Dillon wonтАЩt be worrying about
high-school career dayтАФsheтАЩs been in the musical working world for a while.
On the eve of her second major-label release, Imagination, we visit
BethanyтАЩs hometown and discover how family and the simple life shape
who she is both personally and professionally. BY CHRISTA FARRIS
Music: MXPXтАЩs latest punk rock assault, the rave-worthy sounds
of the new Choir CD and more
Books: Margaret Becker on the proper soundtrack for reading
Tour: Michael W. SmithтАЩs "Healing Rain" tour invades Chicago,
plus the scoop on SelahтАЩs new singer
Blessed Assurance
LetтАЩs get one thing straight: Bart Millard is not leaving MercyMe.
With that out of the way, discover why he wanted to pay tribute to his
тАЬMawMawтАЭ with a solo collection of finely crafted hymns.
The Rap Sheet
From the Editor: Are you one?
The Insider: Michael W. Smith reviews his own тАЬmusical
makeover,тАЭ good news for Stryper fans and much more
Think youтАЩve got the Christian rap and hip-hop scene all figured out?
Think again. DA V I D J E N I S O N goes beyond the bling to find plenty of
rhymes worth a listen.
A Personal Perspective by Peter Furler
Listening In
By the Numbers: Relient K
Ready for some intense discussion on the nature of American
Christianity? Or how about poverty and political strife? ItтАЩs all here in this
fascinating conversation between Jars of ClayтАЩs S T E V E M A S O N and
best-selling author J I M W A L L I S .
CCM Hall of Fame: Steve Taylor
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by Jay Swartzendruber
"What worries you the most?"
If weтАЩre honest, few inquiries cut to the chase as much as that one.
Think about it. And can you imagine being asked that question on live
national television? Well, thatтАЩs just what happened to the Rev. Billy
Graham in mid-June as his CNN interview with Larry King neared its
conclusion. And how did the 86-year-old preacherтАФthe worldтАЩs most
respected evangelicalтАФrespond?
"Poverty in the world."
Graham had just finished affirming his pro-life convictions about
abortion and stating his belief that "marriage is for one man and one
woman"тАФtwo passions the general public knows evangelicals care deeply
about. But poverty? As ironic as it may beтАФwith the Bible containing
more than 2,100 verses pertaining to the poorтАФAmerican Christians
havenтАЩt really been known for raising a ruckus on behalf of those living in
povertyтАж that is, until now.
A few years ago Christian artists and missionaries initiated the first
wave of poverty and AIDS activism to ripple through the evangelical
church. And since then, influencers such as Rick Warren, Max Lucado,
Luci Swindoll, Pat Robertson, John Stott and many others have turned
that ripple into a surge. Their rallying cry? The ONE Campaign to make
extreme poverty history.
The ONE Campaign is already a household term to most Christian
music fans, thanks to long-term efforts by Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith,
Out of Eden, Switchfoot, Third Day, Sara Groves, tobyMac, Newsboys
and more than 20 other artists of faith. But for a vast segment of the
church, it was a June 3rd email blast by Rick Warren that put ONE, and
frankly, global poverty, in the spotlight. In his e-letter to more than
150,000 pastors, the author of The Purpose Driven Life wrote, "I deeply
believe that if we as evangelicals remain silent and do not speak up in
defense of the poor, we lose our credibility and our right to witness about
God's love for the worldтАж"
Warren went on to urge church leaders nationwide to sign a ONE
Campaign letter to President Bush, which implores him to slightly adjust
our governmentтАЩs budget on behalf of the worldтАЩs poor and sick. For every
dollar our government spends, it currently commits less than a penny to
fight global poverty and AIDS combined. The ONE Campaign calls for
one penny more per dollar, which would more than double the focus. In
addition, ONE encourages accountability from the worldтАЩs poorest
governments, while seeking debt cancellation on their behalf and insisting
on reformed trade rules so these nations are on a fair playing field with
the rest of the world.
Your Christian Music Magazine Since 1978
volume 28 issue 2
For those whose lives are strengthened through faith-informed music,
CCM Magazine goes behind the scenes to celebrate the artistry of
Christian music.
CCM Magazine is a publication of Salem Publishing,
a division of Salem Communications.
тАвтАвтАвтАв тАвтАвтАвтАвтАвтАвтАв
CCM Magazine
Publisher Jim Cumbee
Associate Publisher & Editor in Chief Roberta Croteau
Editor Jay Swartzendruber
Departments & Creative Ventures Editor Christa Farris
Editorial Assistant Andrea Bailey
6 ccm august 05
Jars of Clay, Bono and Michael W. Smith at last yearтАЩs launch of The ONE Campaign.
President Bush has already done more to fight poverty and sickness in
Africa than any president in history, and ONE intends to show him the
American people support continued strong leadership on behalf of those
who have no voice.
Since the beginning, we at CCM have been compelled to join Relient
K, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, GRITS, Margaret Becker,
Amy Grant, Bill and Gloria Gaither and the many other ONE Campaign
artists lending influence to this vital effort. In light of this magazineтАЩs
commitment, I recently received an invitation to attend the G8 gathering
in Edinburgh, Scotland as a ONE Campaign delegate. Simultaneously,
The ONE Campaign partners organizing the Live 8 concerts honored Jars
of ClayтАЩs artful advocacy by inviting the band to perform at their
Philadelphia eventтАФthe most high profile appearance of JarsтАЩ career.
At press time I was preparing for the flight to Scotland and looking
forward to giving you a behind-the-scenes look at my G8 experience in
next monthтАЩs issue. Now, I wouldnтАЩt be a good ONE delegate if I didnтАЩt
take this opportunity to ask you the fundamental questionтАж Have you
signed The ONE Declaration? If not, what are you waiting forтАФ
electricity? Join your favorite artists in changing millions of lives by going
to and making your voice heard with just a few mouse clicks.
After youтАЩve signed, be sure to turn to page 36 in this issue to
eavesdrop on the compelling "Listening In" conversation between two
popular ONE advocatesтАФJars of ClayтАЩs Steve Mason and author/cable
news favorite Jim Wallis. And the brilliantly talented and delightful young
woman on the cover this month? Yeah, sheтАЩs a ONE artist also. Enjoy!
[email protected]
Designers Jeff Amstutz, Mary Sergent
Production Director Ross E. Cluver
Contributing Editors Andy Argyrakis, Margaret Becker, Michael Card,
Paul Colman, Russ Long, Gregory Rumburg, Chris Well
Contributors Will Banister, Anthony Barr Jeffrey, Lou Carlozo,
Deborah Evans-Price, David Jenison, Dan MacIntosh, David Mackle,
David McCreary, Brian Quincy Newcomb, Michael W. Smith
Web Editor Christa Farris
Circulation Director Buffy Booker
Customer Service Representatives Amy Cassell, Emeka Nnadi
Fulfillment Manager Leesa Smith
Executive Director of Advertising
L. Smitty Wheeler 615/312-4235
Senior Director of Advertising
DeDe Tarrant 805/987-5072
Account Executive Gregory Byerline
Account Executive Phil Davis
Account Executive Lindy Mason
Advertising Coordinator Carol Jones
Marketing Coordinator Shana Bauman
Main Office 104 Woodmont Blvd., Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205
615/386-3011 (ph) тАв 615/386-3380 (business fax) тАв 615/385-4112
(editorial fax) тАв 615/312-4266 (advertising fax)
Subscriptions/Customer Service CCM, 104 Woodmont, Ste 300, Nashville
37205, 800/527-5226 or [email protected] Annual
subscription rates: United States, $19.95/one year, $35.95/ two years,
$53.95/three years; Canada, (U.S. funds) $27.95 per year; all other countries,
(U.S. funds) $33.95 (surface) or $67 (airmail). For address changes or other
inquiries, please include both old and new addresses and mailing label.
Allow four to six weeks for new subscriptions to begin.
Cover photo: Robert Deutchman
Cover design: Jeff Amstutz
Photo: Rick Diamond
One From the Heart
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youтАЩve done for the past 26 years. And
thank you, CCM Magazine, for helping
me remove the plank from my own eye
and restoring a right mindset
regarding one of Christian musicтАЩs
greatest treasuresтАФAmy Grant. Lead
me on!
Jennifer Chester, Seminole, FL
Thank you for the excellent issue
featuring Amy Grant as the cover
artist and guest editor [тАЬThe Amy
Issue,тАЭ June]. I have been a big fan
for many years, but will admit that I
was very troubled over her divorce
and remarriage (not that it was any of
my business). But as I read every
word of this issue and found that she
readily acknowledges this as a failure,
I realized that she was not arrogantly
bailing out on her first marriage (as I
had thought), but she was just a
human being that goofed up like the
rest of us.
This is actually the first time I have
responded to an article in a magazine.
I must tell you though, as I sat down to
read the Personal Perspective [тАЬThe
Arms of God,тАЭ June] that Amy Grant
wrote in CCM, I wept. What a beautiful
and moving story. I have never read a
sweeter conversation. The longing and
the restoration was so powerfully and
simply shared. When I read the last
paragraph where she looked to her
friend and husband, I sobbed. I know
that you lose precious privacy and
open yourself to critiquing from others
when you are in the public eye for a
living. I also know that people are
tough on others when they are
struggling. I have never understood
that, but I know it is a tiring and hard
place to live. I am so moved by AmyтАЩs
humbleness and her continued
willingness to share her struggles and
joys. I am about to send my firstborn
daughter off to college, and I am sure
Amy GrantтАЩs albums through the years
19 77~2 005
b y
G r e g o r y
ith more than 25 million records sold, singer/songwriter
secures a place for herself as one of musicтАЩs all-time
best-selling artists. Christian musicтАЩs pop trailblazer and many of her artist-peers contribute to this close look at each projectтАЩs role
in the journey.
That realization on my part brought
to mind a story Amy told at a concert I
attended over 12 years ago in
Lakeland, Florida. She detailed a time
of intimate conversation with her then
youngest daughter, and while Amy
thought her words of wisdom were
having a profound effect, all her little
girl noticed was AmyтАЩs bad breath.
So forgive me, Amy, for focusing on
the small negative hiccup instead of
remembering all the incredible things
8 ccm august 05
monthly music spot. I love your CD
reviews, and I think that, in general,
you do an excellent job in creating a
worthwhile magazine. However, I have
one major complaint. Amy Grant is in
your magazine too much! Yes, she had
an impact on Christian music, but she
is not a chart-topper anymore. Unless
she or her husband has purchased
your magazine, it is not necessary to
do a feature on her every month! The
June issue of CCM was completely
outrageous. Ms. Grant was an
inspiring force but is not the leader of
Christian music any longer and should
not be allowed to dominate Christian
media based on her past glories. She
has also done several things which do
not merit the wholehearted respect of
the Christian community. I would
appreciate any shift in focus away
from former leaders and toward new
leaders who are doing more for
Christian music and for society as a
whole. I respect Amy GrantтАЩs past
accomplishments and continuing
inspiration, but I think it is time for her,
and her obsessive fans, to move on.
Karrin Randle, Marshfield, MA
R u m b u r g
Amy Grant
Ronnie Martin
june 05 ccm 41
that has made me a bit more
emotional than usual. Whatever the
reason, AmyтАЩs Personal Perspective
was powerful. Please pass on to her
that this mother and wife was moved
and touched by her story.
Cheryl Barber, Co-host, Goodnews! TV,
Atlanta, GA
I would just like to let you know that
IтАЩve been an avid reader of CCM for
quite some time, and I truly enjoy my
These three тАЬAmyтАЭ letters are a mere sampling of
the numerous responses we received. As soon as
тАЬThe Amy IssueтАЭ hit newsstands, your letters
started pouring in. While the vast majority
celebrated Amy along with us, there were indeed
some dissenters in the mix. In follow-up, weтАЩd like
to congratulate Amy on a couple recent
developments. First, for her return to the #1 spot
on the Christian album sales chart with the
release of her new CD, Rock of
AgesтАжHymns & Faith (Word). And
remember that television pilot she filmed this past
spring? Well, beginning this fall she will enjoy
the biggest exposure of her career when millions
tune in every Friday night as she stars in NBCтАЩs
redemptive new reality series, тАЬThree Wishes.тАЭ go, girl!
Thanks a million for the Joy
Electric/Starflyer 59 article [тАЬBands
of Brothers,тАЭ June]. Joy Electric is
really a remarkable band. However,
I think that Ronnie Martin
[founder/frontman] should get more
recognition for his amazing talent. His
music is truly art. Where would the
Christian music industry be without
its own synth-pop band? Maybe you
could do an article for the bandтАЩs
15th anniversary? Also, I wanted to
thank you for including the handy
[Joy Electric/Starflyer 59]
discographies and for also featuring
тАЬJohn ReubenтАЩs 5 Favorite
SandwichesтАЭ [тАЬList-O-RamaтАЭ]тАФIтАЩd
always wondered about that.
Elissa den Hoed, Kitchener,
Ontario, CANADA
I am becoming increasingly
distressed by the tendency of
Christian artists to feel they have to
state their political affiliations, as if
there is a connection between their
belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as King
over all, and what we as people
cause to happen in this secular world
today. Because, I think, no man has
ever stood up to the fearless
searching of GodтАЩs Holy Law, it is
pointless to promote one over the
other. Therefore, these artists getting
behind a certain political party often
shows the opposite of what they
intend, when that party makes a
choice some would deem not having
to do with godliness. My point being,
if Christian artists sing praises to our
Lord, I will keep buying their albums.
When they consider themselves so
important as to influence political
7:49 PM
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your magazine for those who enjoy
this type of music. Thank you so much
for opening that door a little wider for
those of us looking for something just
a little different.
Diona L. Rodgers, via email
choice, they have fallen victim to the
enemyтАЩs tactics, and I will not even
listen to their music.
David Young, Good Hope, IL
As I flipped through the current issue
of CCM, the Spanish Christian music
article [тАЬEscuchas Musica Cristiana En
Espanol?,тАЭ June] caught my eye.
I have been listening to Spanish
Christian music for a little over a year
now. I started off listening to Spanish
CDs that had various artists singing
different styles of Spanish music:
salsa, merengue, bachata, etc.
Though I am not fluent in Spanish,
from what little I do know, I get the
meaning of each song. I look at the
words of the songs inside the CD
cover. Then I translate from there.
I was further impressed by the
seven artists that you published along
with some Web sites to get more
information. I am happy that you didn't
just talk about the music but gave
some good resources and examples. I
believe that if others are willing to give
it a try, they won't be disappointed.
I would hope that in the future you
could feature more of these artists in
We welcome your comments.
Address your letter to Feedback,
CCM Magazine, 104 Woodmont Blvd.,
Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205; fax
615/385-4112, Attn: Feedback; or e-mail
[email protected] Always include
your full name, address and phone number.
Letter may be edited for length and clarity.
Dear CCM,
I noticed that Third Day is endorsed by
Chevrolet. IтАЩm in a band, and I was
wondering how exactly does an artist go
about getting an endorsement deal?
тАФRockinтАЩ in Rhode Island
We went to artist manager Mike Jay
(Casting Crowns) with this very question.
тАЬPossibly the best way for an artist to
pursue an endorsement deal is if thereтАЩs a
product that the artist is already using,
whether microphone or guitars or stringsтАж
and [he takes] the initiative to make a
phone call to the organization,тАЭ Jay says.
If the artist has been using the product,
he/she is probably already familiar with it,
but Jay suggests also checking online to
find out information about the companyтАФ
some will have an endorsement form to
download. The most important thing is
actually placing the call, and companies
usually have an artist liaison who deals
with artist endorsements. тАЬSay тАШIтАЩm so and so, and IтАЩm with this band, and weтАЩre
using your microphones. We really like them. WeтАЩd like to talk about an artist
endorsement,тАЩтАЭ Jay advises. тАЬItтАЩs about staying in touch with those
folksтАжbuilding relationships.тАЭ
If the company doesnтАЩt know who the artist is already, theyтАЩre going to want
to check up on the band to see if itтАЩs legitimate and a worthwhile investment.
The artist should provide the company with a press kit, including a band bio,
and talk about what kind of crowds they play in front of and how many records
theyтАЩre selling. An artist doesnтАЩt necessarily have to be selling a lot of records
to get an endorsement, but the company will want to know who they are and
what theyтАЩre about. тАЬItтАЩs a lot more about the relationship to them than
anything,тАЭ says Jay. тАЬSometimes youтАЩll have a company that might contact you,
but I do think those are pretty rare, and
if thatтАЩs the case, theyтАЩve seen you
somewhere and want to be associated
with you.тАЭ
An optimal endorsement deal will reap
benefits for both parties. Jim Houser,
Creative TrustтАЩs Senior Brand Manager,
says, тАЬWhen Steven Curtis Chapman
partnered with Prison Fellowship, I had
never heard of Angel Tree before that,
and Steven was able to lend a voice to
the really cool thing they were doing and
bring awareness to that organizationтАж
In the win-win, which is the biggest key,
Prison Fellowship lent Steven their little
world that was aware of them and not
necessarily aware of him.тАЭ
When a company makes a decision to
endorse an artist, it will usually send a
one-page contract detailing a one or two
year agreement. The artist may be
required to list the company on album
credits, use the products at every
performance and talk about the relationship. In addition, the company might
ask the band to do a press release or put a company link on its Web site.
Houser has a final word of advice for artists thinking about pursuing an
endorsement relationship. тАЬFor us, itтАЩs always important that it be a product,
cause or mission that you really want to be aligned with. Take, for instance,
Third DayтАЩs work with Habitat For Humanity. That was something the guys
came up with. They bumped into Habitat along the way and were really
impressed with what they did and wanted to be involved and lined up with
that. On the Chevrolet [deal], which is the more commercial side of aligning
yourself with someone, those are nice vehicles. ItтАЩs something theyтАЩre proud
to be associated with.тАЭ ANDREA BAILEY
august 05 ccm 9
4:11 PM
Page 11
StryperтАЩs back with a
vengeance, and your favorite
artists summon the sweet
sounds of Narnia
by Christa Farris
StryperтАЩs Michael Sweet
isnтАЩt the only one surprised
by the recent resurgence of the yellow
and black. But for the band and its faithful fans, the groupтАЩs new opportunities
bring a lot of joy in the process as Stryper forges forward.
Catching up with StryperтАЩs lead singer Michael Sweet
The Sweetest Thing
photo by Stephen Stickler
makes for some pretty sticky scheduling these days.
He and the band have been on an absolute whirlwind
since releasing the greatest hits collection Seven two
years ago, hitting the road hard the following year and
recording 7 Weeks: Live In America 2003. That
momentum led to brand new studio album Reborn
on Big3 Records (Cheap Trick, Rick Derringer), and as
of the day Sweet caught up with CCM, he and the
boys had just returned home from Spain to play a
major mainstream festival with Iron Maiden and
Dream Theater.
тАЬItтАЩs been a pleasant surprise to see God still doing
so much with this band,тАЭ the jet-lagged traveler relates.
тАЬWhen youтАЩre on the go so much and people keep
saying, тАШYouтАЩre great,тАЩ it can be easy to fall into the trap
of having your head swell. But weтАЩre just following
GodтАЩs lead and seeking to stay humble.тАЭ
Indeed, the recent turn of events is somewhat out
of the ordinary for a group whose last official studio
album (Against the Law) bowed in 1990. However,
despite that extreme absence, the overwhelming
fanfare has served as a testament to the bandтАЩs
colorful legacy. In fact, it was the overwhelming
demand from faithful followers that coaxed the guys
into this latest release, which features three of the
four original members (Sweet, lead guitarist Oz Fox
and drummer Robert Sweet, plus the new addition of
bassist Tracy Ferrie, formerly of Whitecross).
тАЬ[Original bassist] Tim [Gaines] wasnтАЩt really happy
with the heavier style the band was going with, so we
all agreed to part ways,тАЭ says Sweet. тАЬTracey was the
perfect replacement because he did two of my solo
tours, plus tours with Rebecca St. James and Plumb.
HeтАЩs a seasoned pro and a very grounded Christian.тАЭ
As for the sound itself, expect the classic to collide
with the current. According to Sweet, Reborn isnтАЩt
merely a retread of retro, but rather an attempt to
reach out to an additional audience without alienating
die-hards. тАЬItтАЩs very tricky for a band from that time
period to make a new record and be taken seriously by
the masses while still having your old fans buy it,тАЭ he
admits. тАЬBut weтАЩve tried very hard to achieve that
balance with harmonies, melodic vocals and some
edgier guitar stuff meeting more modern production
that doesnтАЩt have an тАЩ80s stamp on it. And by the
grace of God, weтАЩve accomplished what we feel like is
the perfect combo of old and new flavors.тАЭ
Holla! Want to Go Behind the Scenes With Kirk Franklin and Hear About His Upcoming Album? Then Check
august 05 ccm 11
4:11 PM
Page 12
The New Lord of the Rings?
In whatтАЩs bound to be the buzzworthy movie of the holiday season, NarniaтАЩs
upcoming soundtracks will feature some of Christian musicтАЩs finest acts.
First off: If you havenтАЩt seen the trailer
for Narnia yet, open a Web browser
and watch one immediately. ItтАЩs
quite possible that Narnia could be
the new Lord of the Rings in terms
of stellar moviemaking from a revered
literary storyline. And since any good
moviemaker knows the power of music, it comes as no
surprise that an impressive line-up of artists was
assembled for one of the accompanying Narnia
soundtracks. For the inspirational disc slated to release
on September 27, Steven Curtis
Chapman leads the way with the
projectтАЩs debut single and video,
тАЬRemembering You,тАЭ which will
release to Christian radio formats
this month. Keeping things diverse,
the discтАЩs other contributors include Jars
of Clay, Jeremy Camp, tobyMac, Nichole Nordeman,
Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Kutless, Bethany
Dillon, Chris Tomlin and David Crowder Band.
Hear it & Weep
You Hear
I Hear
at a Theater Near You?
After a stellar acting debut portraying rockers The Who
on NBCтАЩs now defunct series тАЬAmerican Dreams,тАЭ Hawk
Nelson recently had another opportunity to hone its
chops as a fictional band for the upcoming remake of the
1968 comedy, Yours, Mine and Ours.
During its scene in the movie starring Dennis Quaid
(In Good Company, The Rookie) and Rene Russo (The
Thomas Crown Affair, Tin Cup), Hawk Nelson performs a
new song at a party that they wrote with Nickelodeon star
Drake Bell (тАЬThe Drake and Josh ShowтАЭ). On the
experience, Hawk vocalist Jason Dunn says, тАЬBeing a
part of this film is such an honor in itself. We were literally
not worthy to be in the same room as any of those people
who work so hard to make movies successful! Everyone
was so friendly and so approachable. I would take a
bullet for all of those people!тАЭ
You donтАЩt have to listen to Top-40 radio
for very long to hear some downright
depressing tunes. But who knew that the
CтАЩmon, admit it: ItтАЩs still a little surreal when you hear
saddest song of all belonged to one of
Switchfoot on Top-40 radio or while youтАЩre picking up some
Christian musicтАЩs own?
snacks at your local grocery storeтАФeven if Christian music
Metallica? Check. Evanescence? Sure.
is showing up in more places than ever before. But how
Celine Dion? OK, what single person
about this one? Did you happen to hear the cover of Amy
hasnтАЩt felt a little down after listening to
GrantтАЩs early тАЩ90s chart smash тАЬBaby BabyтАЭ during a key
тАЬAll By MyselfтАЭ?
scene in the summer blockbuster Mr. and Mrs. Smith?
But when thinkWhile most moviegoers were wondering if Mr. Pitt and Ms.
Jolie really are dating, I couldnтАЩt help but wonder why the
saddest songs
song was chosen as the musical reflection for
a dull, suburban life. Baby, baby, thereтАЩs just something
ever recorded,
funny about thatтАФespecially when they opted for a cover
many would be
rather than the real thing. Hmmm...
NewSong at the top of said list. But thatтАЩs exactly what author Tom Reynolds did when he compiled his list of
25 miserable tracks for internationally renowned British Web site, The Guardian (
Naming NewSongтАЩs chart-topper тАЬThe Christmas ShoesтАЭ as something тАЬmore depressing than the CureтАЩs
entire career,тАЭ Reynolds advises readers to тАЬdownload at your own perilтАЭ as he recounts the story of the
disgruntled shopper who encounters a little boy trying to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother.
A Little Something for Everyone: Shaun GrovesтАЩ DVD Picks
1. Napoleon Dynamite. I donтАЩt know if this movie is the worst thing IтАЩve ever seen or the most brilliant. And, gosh, I guess thatтАЩs
why I keep coming backтАФto figure it out. That and I like a leading man who has skills. 2. Spinal Tap. I live this movie and watch it
on every tour just to help me laugh at myself instead of cry. And itтАЩs chock full of timeless wisdom, like тАЬThereтАЩs a fine line between
stupid and clever.тАЭ And great production tips, like тАЬDonтАЩt incorporate a miniature Stonehenge into any live show, especially if there
are dwarves about.тАЭ 3. The Breakfast Club. The тАЩ80s are back, so why not celebrate with some classic John Hughes-created
stereotypical teens locked up in a library with nothing to do but stick bologna to statues, rearrange the card catalog and have the occasional deep
conversation about the evils of cliques? The perfect movie for everyone: the punk, the prep, the jock, the nerd and the outcast in black.
out His Blog and other cyber goodies at тАв CanтАЩt Wait to Hear the Latest From Switchfoot?
12 ccm august 05
>>> >
4:11 PM
Page 13
Made For What?
Find out how hurricanes,
writerтАЩs block and falling
in love led to Big Daddy
WeaveтАЩs third record.
Michael W. Smith Edition
No, Michael W. Smith hasnтАЩt slated a sequel to Healing Rain just yet. But to
satiate fansтАЩ appetites for all things Smitty, his peers have served up a satisfying
selection of covers on Ultimate Music Makeover: Songs of Michael W. Smith.
Find out what Michael thinks of the new renditions as he (gasp!) reviews his own CD.
ItтАЩs a strange, strange world. CCM Magazine has asked me to review this new album that features other artists
covering my own songs, tracks that, for the most part, were first recorded in the 1980sтАФa decade when I tried
a perm and other now-regrettable fashion statements. When the staff at Rocketown, a label I started in 1996,
first mentioned to me they wanted to do an тАЬultimate music makeoverтАЭ of my songs, I wasnтАЩt sure what to think,
but I decided that it could be a fun concept, so I gave my blessing.
IтАЩm really happy I did.
To me, itтАЩs amazing to hear these old songs given surprising new life by artists that IтАЩm listening to today.
ItтАЩs a little embarrassing to find out how young artists like Sarah Kelly and Taylor Sorensen were when they first
heard these songs, but itтАЩs great to see how everyone on the project made the song they cut their own. And
itтАЩs both humbling and exciting to hear music that I wrote so many years ago, with my wife Debbie and friends
like Amy Grant, Wayne Kirkpatrick and others, get another shot at being heard by new audiences.
All Star United signed with Reunion Records, my home label, years ago, so IтАЩve known frontman Ian Eskelin for
quite a while, and his fingerprints are all over this record. In fact, he partnered with Rocketown President Don
Donahue to executive produce, bringing along the flair that only Ian can. All Star opens the disc with тАЬGo West Young
Man,тАЭ a guitar-drenched track that brings the energy of the original to a new millennium. The second track blew me
away the first time I heard it, and I canтАЩt keep it out of my car stereo. Sarah Kelly takes тАЬYou Need a SaviorтАЭ in a
direction I could never have imagined with screaminтАЩ vocals and a тАЬManiacтАЭ-like drum track. In a word, WOW! Of
course, another huge surprise on the record was PlumbтАЩs techno-dance version of тАЬPray for MeтАЭтАФway too much fun.
Two of my crew from Rocketown offer up their versions of my songs as well. Shaun Groves covers the track
that birthed the name of the label and the youth club I started in Nashville. IтАЩd heard that Shaun sometimes
uses this song to soundcheck with his band on tour dates, and I can tell the practice has paid off. Co-producing
the track with Dan Strain, Shaun took the progressive sounds of The Big Picture album and made тАЬRocketownтАЭ
into modern radio rock perfection. And Taylor Sorensen? The kidтАЩs a rock star. I didnтАЩt even recognize the first
20 seconds of his cover of тАЬLamu,тАЭ a song I wrote with Wayne and Amy about a vacation island off the coast
of Kenya. IтАЩm confident TaylorтАЩs voice is one to reach todayтАЩs generation in a fresh new way.
тАЬSecret AmbitionтАЭ was such a special song in my career, and David Crowder Band treats it with great respect
while giving it a unique identity. And Tree63 (тАЬMissing PersonтАЭ) and Todd Agnew (тАЬOn the Other SideтАЭ) each
show their distinctive talents on songs from two different decades. How long have I been doing this again?
But IтАЩve got to be a proud dad and spend a little time telling you about тАЬThe Race Is On.тАЭ My oldest son Ryan
took on that track, recording it in a way that shows heтАЩs making his own unique mark in the world. Borrowing
from the more acoustic/emo-side of things, influenced by artists like Elliot Smith, тАЬThe Race Is OnтАЭ is a definite
highlight, and itтАЩs honestly surreal for me to see the depth and width of RyanтАЩs talents.
As I write this, IтАЩm about to head off on vacation with Debbie to Greece, and thereтАЩs one track thatтАЩs still to
come in for this project: StryperтАЩs version of тАЬFriends.тАЭ IтАЩm sure itтАЩll be another great moment, one none of us
could ever expect. Like I said in the beginning, itтАЩs really bizarre to try to review songs that IтАЩve writtenтАжbut this
project makes it incredibly easy. This Ultimate Music Makeover takes everything I love about these songs and
their timeless message and makes them relevant again. Hope you all enjoy this CD as much as I am.
>> >>>
Lesson #1 : You canтАЩt make a record without
songs. тАЬIтАЩd been talking with Susan Riley, whoтАЩs
the president of [our label] Fervent Records,тАЭ says
Mike Weaver, lead singer and primary songwriter
of Big Daddy Weave. тАЬтАжAnd sheтАЩs talking to me
about [our] new record coming upтАФshe hasnтАЩt
heard a single demo, a single anythingтАФand sheтАЩs
like, тАШWhat about songs?тАЩ and IтАЩm like, тАШMan,
theyтАЩre not doneтАж If you guys want us to record
the record, we just need to find some songs.тАЩтАЭ
Although this scenario would likely give any
label exec a giant headache, after Mike and
Susan had looked through other peopleтАЩs songs
and even received songwriting pitches, she said,
тАЬYou know, I believe the songs are in there. WeтАЩre
just going to wait until they come out.тАЭ The band
was shocked at her willingness to wait until God
brought the songs. And He did, right in the nick
of time.
тАЬIt was really unbelievable. Because of that,
IтАЩm really connected with this batch of songs,тАЭ
Mike says. тАЬYou could go, I wonder whatтАЩs been
going on with Big Daddy Weave, and you look in
[this record] and go, тАШWell, thereтАЩs their last year.тАЩ
Kind of a cross-section into our lives.тАЭ
The events and struggles in the personal lives
of Mike, Joe Shirk (keyboards), Jeremy Redman
(guitar, vocals), Jeff Jones (drums) and Jay
Weaver (bass, vocals) compose the fabric of
What I Was Made For. тАЬThe Lord gave us lots to
write about because it was like, life change for
this record,тАЭ Mike reports. Case in point: In
September, just as the group was supposed to be
finishing the project, Hurricane Ivan destroyed
their office located in MikeтАЩs parentsтАЩ Florida
home, leaving their lives in disarray. Shortly
thereafter, Mike fell in love with a girl at his record
label, moved to Nashville without a car or a place
to live and got engaged in December. In the
meantime, his bandmates were busy becoming
[conтАЩt on pg.14]
Surf Over to For a Sneak Peek At "Stars" тАв In the studio: Project 86 Will Unveil The
august 05 ccm 13
4:11 PM
Page 14
fan fare
Seeking Justice
While worship leader/Floodgate recording artist Rita Springer had a burning
heart for Africa, encouraging others to join her involvement in THE ONE
campaign, she never guessed she would adopt a baby from Zimbabwe! The story
unfolded when the babyтАЩs mother Patience, came to the U.S. from Africa to attend
school, bringing her boyfriend and two-year-old son. When Patience became
pregnant again, her boyfriend bailed and left her with no means to support
herself and the babies. Patience then visited a Christian adoption center, and
upon seeing pictures of Rita visiting Africa and reading her information packet,
she simply said, тАЬShe is to have my baby.тАЭ Rita had the unusual privilege of
meeting the birth mother and being present for babyтАЩs birth. Although they
were both expecting a girl, the
тАЬmomsтАЭ got a real surprise when
Justice Zane Anesu Springer
turned out to be a boy! (Rita
asked Patience to pray for an
African name for the baby, and
Anesu is what she choseтАФit
means тАЬGod with us.тАЭ)
Simply Sarah
Steve Taylor and his wife Debbie are delighted to announce the newest member
of their family: seven-year-old Sarah Namubiru. The Taylors met Sarah in
June of 2004 while visiting the Agape ChildrenтАЩs Village outside of Kampala,
Uganda. (Agape is a home for orphans that is primarily funded by Compassion
International.) On February 23rd, the Ugandan High Court granted them
guardianship (with intent to adopt) of Sarah, and they arrived home in Nashville
on Easter Sunday.
Big Daddy Weave [conтАЩt on pg.14]
01 Mark Harris (4Him)
02 Paul Wright
Brittany Hargest (Jump5)
04 Taylor Sorensen
12 Matt Theissen (Relient K)
13 Gretchen Wolaver
(Annie Moses Band)
17 Andrea Kimmey-Baca
(Out of Eden)
Kevin Max
19 Jeremy Diebler (FFH)
20 Rob Beckley (Pillar)
Brad Avery (Third Day)
21 Michael тАЬKalelтАЭ Wittig (Pillar)
26 Cliff Young (CaedmonтАЩs Call)
27 Megan Garrett (Casting Crowns)
31 Wayne Kirkpatrick
new dads, learning to drive 18-wheelers and coming
up with entrepreneurial ventures.
тАЬThereтАЩs not a lot of things I feel like we could really
take credit for,тАЭ Mike says of the album. тАЬIt happened
in such a way that we felt like we were flying by the seat
of our pants the entire time. This whole record has
been so last minute but so God.тАЭ
And if that wasnтАЩt enough to keep things interesting,
look for a couple of duets to add to the musical mix. Girl
group of the moment, BarlowGirl, joined BDW on
тАЬYouтАЩre Worthy of My Praise,тАЭ the groupтАЩs fastest-rising
single ever. Writer, producer and player Fred Hammond,
one of the bandтАЩs musical heroes, sang with them on a
cut from their indie record called тАЬKilling Me Again,тАЭ
which deals with habitual sin. The result, according to
Mike, is quite possibly the funkiest track theyтАЩve ever
put down.
So how does the finished product stack up to
previous outings?
Mike and Jeremy produced it, first of all. And this
record was easier to make because Christian radio
has embraced a more modern sound than ever before.
тАЬYou can play stuff that is a little rockier now. This is
still a pop record, but thereтАЩs more of a rock element
than thereтАЩs ever been for BDW,тАЭ says Mike.
BDW will head out on the road this fall, performing
its own dates at this point but looking at shared billing
for spring dates. Since all the guys are daddies now,
with the exception of Jeremy, who is currently in high
demand to produce other projects, and Mike, who
recently tied the knot, the band predicts some
restructuring over the next few years to accommodate
family life.
And how are the newlyweds adjusting to married
life? тАЬIn a person embodied is the unconditional love
of ChristтАжand I am overwhelmed by it,тАЭ Mike says of
his bride, Kandice. ANDREA BAILEY
Ronald тАЬRonтАЭ Winans
As part of one of Christian musicтАЩs
most legendary families, The
Winans, Ron couldnтАЩt help but have
music in his blood. Performing
alongside brothers Marvin, Carvin
and Michael, the quartet was discovered by Andra├й
Crouch and released 10 projects during a tenure that
garnered plenty of critical and commercial praise,
not to mention Grammy recognition.
In addition to performing with his family, Ron
also carved out his musical niche with the тАЬFamily
and FriendsтАЭ musical series that included the
Grammy-winning track, тАЬAbundant Life,тАЭ recorded
by his brother BeBe. Earlier this year, WinansтАЩ final
CD/DVD project was recorded live, titled Ron
Winans Family & Friends V: A Celebration.
Sadly, his life came to an end on Friday, June
17 in Detroit when he died after experiencing
pneumonia-related complications at the age
of 48.
After hearing the news of his passing, fellow
artist Kirk Franklin remembers, тАЬWhen my first
album was released, Ron Winans flew to Dallas to
be part of a special event that I had. I had a
chance to see his heart, his talent and his ability
to reach so many people for the glory of God. I am
honored to have had the opportunity to work with
such greatness.тАЭ
The Winans family stated in a recent press
release how much they appreciate the support
people are offering through prayer.
Rest Will Follow on Sept. 27 тАв Mary Mary Goes to Washington: The Campbell Sisters Recently Joined Donnie>>>
14 ccm august 05
7:50 PM
by Andrea Bailey
Page 15
5 questions with Jason Roy of
Building 429 and a spotlight
on Brooklyn Tabernacle
ChoirтАЩs inner city ministry
Songs of Hope
5 Questions
Venice, Italy. I've been all over
America, and I've never seen a
place that was even remotely close
to how romantic Venice "seems"
from a distance.
If you could visit any place
in the world, where would it be?
WhatтАЩs your most embarrassing moment onstage?
Campbell University, Buies Creek, 2002. Back in those days I
was kind of known for what people
called "the Matrix kick.тАЭ That night
the moment came for my
mammoth leap into the air, but I
didn't notice that the landing zone
was a pile of cables, and before I
could even think about it, I had
landed on my back.
As a kid, what did you want
to be when you grew up?
All I ever wanted to do was play
WhatтАЩs one goal you have
as an artist?
To become a mentor to all of the
bands that are following us in the
pursuit of their dreams.
fellowship halls, a youth center, a
computer lab, two libraries and eight
classrooms, opened in late 2003 to
provide the surrounding communityтАФof
which many are immigrants or coming
from lower economic backgrounds with
minimal educationтАФwith tangible
To fight the areaтАЩs problems with
drugs, alcohol, gangs and
homelessness, the Learning Center
conducts five free programs, funded in
part by the total profits from Pastor
CymbalaтАЩs books. In the adult literacy
program, people can learn to read,
obtain a high school equivalency
diploma or improve their ability to speak
English. In the KingтАЩs Kids ministry, the
But aside
from the
what is this
all about?
The answer
is simple:
reaching out to the streets of New York
City through a community service
organization called The Downtown
Learning Center.
"The Downtown Learning Center is
an oasis in the inner city extending
hope and opportunity to people who are
facing lifeтАЩs challenges," says Pastor
Cymbala. "The DLC gives us the ability
to bring healing and to introduce the
love of God."
In 1996, as God began to send
increasing numbers of needy people to
the church, the directors began to
search for a larger Brooklyn facility.
Through congregational offerings, the
church converted the fourth largest
theatrical auditorium in New York City
into a worship center and acquired a
100,000-foot commercial condominium
building, the space that now houses the
DLC. The facility, with four multi-purpose
Social Services Department of New York
City sends the worst emotionally,
physically and sexually abused children
in its system to be nurtured by the
church on a regular basis, including a
week of summer camp. Seniors-InAction helps the elderly to stay active in
ministry, The New Hope Ministry brings
inner-city kids in from homeless
shelters and provides them with a
refuge and wholesome activities, and
"The Summit" reaches out to young
adults through after-school tutoring,
recreational activities and training in
resume writing and job interviews.
But how do the Tabernacle Choir and
the frontline ministry of the DLC work
together? The choir is preparing to
release a new live recording called IтАЩm
Amazed, which spotlights special guest
performances by Donnie McClurkin,
Jason Crabb and Luther Barnes, and all
the royalties from the record will be
used for funding the Learning Center.
A DVD will be released alongside the
project, featuring stories of the impact
the work of the Learning Center has
made in many lives.
As the Gospel Music AssociationтАЩs much-talked about New Artist of the Year,
it would be hard for Building 429 not to notice all the buzz! YouтАЩll recall the
bandтАЩs first single and title track from the Glory Defined EP (Word) was a
multi-format success: "Glory Defined" reached #1 on a combined eight AC
and CHR charts and climbed to the top of Christian Radio WeeklyтАЩs AC chart
faster than any song in the chartтАЩs historyтАФstaying there for 10 consecutive
weeks. Jason Roy (vocals/lead guitar), Scotty Beshears (bass), Michael
Anderson (drums) and Paul Bowden (guitars) also have their widelyacclaimed 2004 full-length debut, Space In Between Us (which has sold more
than 110,000 copies and was nominated as the GMAтАЩs "Rock/Contemporary
Album of the Year"), and a recent tour billing with Jeremy Camp and Todd
Agnew to prove theyтАЩre no Johnny Come Latelys.
Even if you havenтАЩt heard the groupтАЩs
dynamic vocals, youтАЩve probably heard of
the world-renowned, 275-member
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. In its 30-year
tenure, this group has been called
AmericaтАЩs most-loved choir, won multiple
Grammy, Stellar and Dove Awards,
performed at venues such as Madison
Square Garden and Carnegie Hall and
recorded more than 20 albums. You may
also be familiar with its home, the
Brooklyn Tabernacle, a 6,000-member,
ethnically diverse congregation pastored
by Jim Cymbala, author of books such as
Fresh Power and The Life God Blesses.
His wife, Carol, founded the Tabernacle
Choir in 1973 and has served as its
director ever since.
WhatтАЩs one question youтАЩd
like to ask God when you get to
How many times did I make you
McClurkin and Smokie Norful For a Celebration of Black Music Month With President Bush тАв тАЬThank you
15 ccm august 05
7:52 PM
Page 17
paulcolmanтАЩs onestowatch >>
Bobby Bishop
Leaving the тАЩBurbs Behind
Beatmart recording artist Bobby Bishop is a rapper/youth pastor from
inner city Boston who has shared the stage with everyone from KJ-52 to
Sev Static to GRITS. BobbyтАЩs new record, Government Name, is an eclectic
mix of serious and fun songs all delivered with authenticity and passion.
PAUL: Do you think itтАЩs possible for a kid from the streets of the inner
city and a soccer mom to enjoy the same record/artist?
BOBBY: I hope so! My history is both, although my mom was a тАЬbaseballтАЭ
mom and not a soccer mom. I grew up in the suburbs, so IтАЩm familiar
with them, but IтАЩve ministered in the city for 10 years, and I live in the
city, so this is also more than familiar territory. Rap is as diverse a genre
as there is, and its audience reflects that.
PAUL: Tell us the story behind тАЬAmyтАЩs Song,тАЭ one of your CDтАЩs
key tracks.
BOBBY: Amy was one of my favorite youth in our ministry. In 1999, she
approached my wife Jessica and me and disclosed that she had been raped
at school on numerous occasions but hadnтАЩt told this to anyone. We took
several steps to assure she was getting the help she needed. In the process,
I wrote the song, and she helped. Since that time, the song has been my
most unique ministry tool. At each concert I have the opportunity to pray
with the crowd for healing, that we can all embrace the truth that even in
the midst of hardship, God will never leave our side (Hebrews 13:5).
PAUL: What is a lyric on Government Name that you love the most?
BOBBY: My favorite lyrics are in the song тАЬWar Cry.тАЭ It tells tell the story
of a stubborn young man, enamored by his rap dreams. Throughout the
song, his fatherтАЩs asking him to hand over the dream, a request to which
he finally submits after selfishly holding on: тАЬ..then please hand over your rap,
and not just a song, I want it all, do you think you can do that for me, son?тАЭ The
young man is blessed by his father exponentially more after he relents.
His father, of course, is our heavenly Father. This song was inspired by
The Prayer of Jabez and his request for GodтАЩs blessing as His follower.
* subseven
Keeping It Loud
subseven, comprised of drummer Clint McManaman, lead singer Wesley
Fite, guitarist Jake Sullivan, bassist Reed Curbin and guitarist Caleb
Wilkerson, is a seriously hard rocking band from the western plains of
Oklahoma. Its Flicker Records debut, Free to Conquer, is hardcore and edgy
yet contains plenty of catchy and singable melodiesтАФa combination that
earned the band dates on this yearтАЩs тАЬVans Warped Tour.тАЭ ItтАЩs impossible to
miss the sense of hope and yearning for surrender to Christ in subsevenтАЩs
lyrics, and the group thankfully chose to avoid the standard clich├йs.
PAUL: WhatтАЩs behind your name?
CLINT: тАШsubsevenтАЩ comes from two words put together. тАШsubтАЩ is short for
submitted and тАШsevenтАЩ for GodтАЩs number, the number of perfection as stated in
the Bible. Our name means submitted to God, and thatтАЩs the basis of what our
band has done thus far. Everything we do, we hold it committed to God.
PAUL: You have said that itтАЩs the bandтАЩs lyrics even more than the art that
will stick with people. Give us a lyric from Free to Conquer that you hope will
stick with people.
CLINT: тАЬWe Will Prosper.тАЭ During our shows, we encourage people to give
everything over to God. In their doing so, He will prosper them in all kinds
of ways. Most people think weтАЩre just talking financially, but itтАЩs really
everything, every aspect of your life, emotionally, physically, mentally,
PAUL: YouтАЩve been described as edgy and hard to categorize, and most of
the тАШGodтАЩ references on your album are subtle. But in your interviews, you
speak openly and specifically about your faith. Apart from the lyrics, how
do you get your message across in your live shows?
CLINT: We usually segue into an instrumental/worship/jam session during
our set which Wes will sometimes use as a way to share with the audience
what God has given him, or one of us, to say that day.
PAUL: What is your ideal performance space?
CLINT: Small room, tight stage, lots of people, LOUD!
Singer/songwriter/author Paul Colman is the former frontman for Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning act, Paul Colman Trio.
His first solo project in seven years, Let It Go (Inpop), recently released to critical acclaim with its тАЬGloriaтАЭ single going No. 1 at Christian
radio in his home country of Australia for more than 16 weeks. Colman currently tours, speaks and performs internationally. For more
information visit
august 05 ccm 17
7:52 PM
Page 18
by Michael Card
Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out.
Do you think this could be the Messiah?.тАФJOHN 4:29 AS PARAPHRASED IN THE MESSAGE
The Need to be Known
Consider these two related passages from the fourth chapter of John.
тАжJesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.
7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her,
тАЬPlease give me a drink.тАЭ 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had
gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews
refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, тАЬYou are a
Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?...тАЭ
25 The woman said, тАЬI know the Messiah is comingтАФthe one who is called
Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.тАЭ 26 Then Jesus told
her, тАЬI Am the Messiah!тАЭ 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were
shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to
ask, тАЬWhat do you want with her?тАЭ or тАЬWhy are you talking to her?тАЭ 28
The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village,
telling everyone, 29 тАЬCome and see a man who told me everything I ever did!
Could he possibly be the Messiah?тАЭ 30 So the people came streaming from the
village to see him.
18 ccm august 05
It was noon, and we are told that Jesus, exhausted from the long journey
from Judea back to Galilee, had stopped at a well outside the village of
Sychar. His disciples had gone into
town to find something to eat.
She came alone to draw water from
How was it that Jesus could
the same well, knowing none of the
break through the barriers of
other women from the village
would be there in the hottest part
race, gender and woundedof the day. John tells us she was
ness and find His way to the
surprised that Jesus even spoke to
heart of the woman?
her. (Jews did not speak to
Samaritans, and rabbis did not
speak to women in public. When
the disciples return, they will be
surprised as well to find Him engaged in conversation with a female.)
We will never know the womanтАЩs name.
It is hot, and He is thirsty but has no bucket. The tired tone of His
simple request sounds almost childlike: тАЬPlease, give me a drink.тАЭ Jesus is
neither afraid nor ashamed to expose His need.
7:52 PM
Page 19
He asks for so little and gets nothing, yet still
He responds by offering everything. It is simply
who He is.
She only sees a collection of labels: a man, a
Jew, a rabbi, a prophet.
He sees a wounded soul that hungers to be
known. She is so numb to the spiritual by now
that she confuses well water for living water.
She has had five broken marriages, was five
times abandoned by men who had pledged to
care for her. And now she lives with a man who
does not love her enough to even pretend to
make the pledge. Jesus knows every
unspeakable detail, and yet, He speaks to her.
Her painful and embarrassing story is
common knowledge in a small village where
everyone knows everyone elseтАЩs business. The
townspeople of Sychar have judged and
excluded her. But while Jesus knows, there is an
openness about Him that surprises and disarms
her. He seems to know the worst and yet is
fully and lovingly present to her. Six men,
pretending to know, had enslaved and
abandoned her. JesusтАЩ knowing somehow sets
her free.
Questions to Ponder
How was it that Jesus could break through the
barriers of race, gender and woundedness and
find His way to the heart of the woman?
Did the woman even know that she was
thirsty for the тАЬliving waterтАЭ Jesus offered?
In John 4:25 she reveals something of her
Samaritan background. They had a unique name
for the Messiah, тАЬTahav,тАЭ the тАЬrevealer.тАЭ
тАЬI am the Messiah,тАЭ Jesus responds. He has
revealed the shame of her past as well as her
hope for the future, a time when true
worshippers will worship in spirit and truth, a
time when we will fully know each other even
as we are fully known. What was the effect of
JesusтАЩ words on her? How would you describe
the change? Only a few moments ago she had
appeared as a thirsty woman with an empty
bucket. Who is she now? In what way is she a
different person?
Jesus was thirsty. She apparently was thirsty
as well, since she had come to draw from the
well. No one drinks any water, yet by the end
of the story everyone seems satisfied. What
does your imagination tell you has happened?
If, this very moment, you find yourself in a dry
place, recognize that even as Jesus was waiting
at the well for the woman, so too He is already
present in your thirst for Him. He is waiting for
you there.
I can relate to this passage well because IтАЩve
spent a lot of my life trying to hide who I
really am from peopleтАФas I try and fail time
and time again to make myself better. We all
go to the well for water that will satisfy our
pain, never realizing that the pain we feel
doesnтАЩt stem from an injury that heals in
time...but from a disease that we canтАЩt heal
at all. Jesus knows the real you. When I
realized that for the first time, it really
freaked me out because, well, the game was
over, and I was caught red handed...
тАЬSINNERтАЭ might as well have been written
across my forehead for all to see. Then you
look at this passage again and notice that
this woman isnтАЩt freaking out over being
revealed, because everything bad sheтАЩs done
in her entire life has just been eclipsed by
the cure for her disease. Jesus in all His
splendor and glory knows you and loves
you right where you are. I met Jesus at the
well carrying an empty bucket with the
hopes of numbing the pain one more time...
but Jesus healed me. He can do the same for
you.тАФJason Roy (Building 429)
If, this very moment, you feel as if no one
knows who you really are, realize that Jesus
knows you better than you know yourself, and
whatтАЩs more, He loves you more than you love
yourself. He is ready to tell you everything
youтАЩve ever done.
Pray that you might meet Him in your thirst
and never be thirsty again.
Pray that you might be set free by coming
to know the One who knows everything
youтАЩve ever done.
Ask Him to meet you at the point of your
deepest need to be known.
Michael Card is an award-winning scholar, musician and radio broadcaster
who resides in Franklin, Tennessee. His latest book and study guide titled A Sacred
Sorrow deal with the painful circumstances surrounding the lives of Job, David,
Jeremiah and Jesus, circumstances that provoked these men into a unique song of
worship. Visit for more information.
august 05 ccm 19
8:30 PM
Page 20
A conversation
with Flicker
RecordsтАЩ general
manager Troy Vest
by Jay Swartzendruber
around 11 to 12% of the radio market shareтАФTooth & Nail being 20 to 25%.
But it can also be a negative for us because now everybody is getting into the
businessтАФand not just Christian labels. Every major company is starting or has
started its own indie-feel rock label which is in direct competition with us. At the
end of the day, we just have to position ourselves better to the artists and prove
to them that we can do the right thing for them.
Would it be correct to say that Flicker is planning on T-BoneтАЩs new
album, Bone-A-Fide, being your biggest release of 2005?
Definitely. Bone-A-Fide releases August 30. T-Bone is an integral part of who we
areтАФheтАЩs an extremely talented artist. He is probably the most talented rapper
in inspirational hip-hop. That drew us to him. He and Mark Stuart are very
tightтАФ best friends. And we have a very unique relationship with him because
all of his records are not just Flicker Records, theyтАЩre truly joint ventures
between Flicker and T-BoneтАЩs company, Boneyard Records.
What else should we expect from you guys over the next year
тАФany surprises?
Getting Close to the Vest
As Flicker RecordsтАЩ general manager, Troy Vest oversees all sales,
marketing, operations and infrastructure to equip a roster which includes
Pillar, T-Bone, Staple, Mortal Treason, Everyday Sunday, Kids in the Way, The
Swift, Monk and Neagle and subseven. Shortly after taking FlickerтАЩs helm,
Troy launched its childrenтАЩs labelтАФBig House KidsтАФand led the imprint to
instant success. Its first project, The Praise Baby Collection, became the #1
new childrenтАЩs brand at Christian retail in 2004.
For Troy, the 10-year road to becoming FlickerтАЩs general manager started
when Star Song Distribution hired him as a field sales and marketing
representative in 1993. After Star Song merged with what would later
become EMI CMG Distribution, Troy spent most of the next decade
sequentially filling a number of positions for the parent company, including
road rep, marketing for mainstream distribution, marketing director for half
of Sparrow Label Group, director of sales for Sparrow, managing
distributionтАЩs entire field sales and marketing team and, finally, heading
sales for distributionтАЩs major Christian accounts. Exactly 10 years to the day
from when he started with Star Song, he left EMI CMG to join his friends at
Flicker Records, which was formed by three of Audio AdrenalineтАЩs founding
membersтАФMark Stuart, Bob Herdman and Will McGuiness.
How did hard music evolve into being a staple of what you guys do?
Because we had success on the rock side, it attracted artists to us. ThereтАЩs no
doubt if it werenтАЩt for Pillar [whose career sales exceed half a million albums],
we wouldnтАЩt have artists like Kids in the Way or Staple or even on the metal
side, Mortal Treason. And at the end of the day, while itтАЩs not 100% of our
focus, those are the types of artists that we want to be involved with. You know
Audio Adrenaline has been doing this for almost 15 years nowтАФtheir desire from
the beginning with Flicker has been to develop a label that is artist-friendly
that can help mentor other artists to, hopefully, take their place one day.
And the increasing popularity of rock the past two years is really
working in your favor?
Oh sure, and thatтАЩs a good thing and a bad thing. If you look at radio in 2004,
we were the No. 2 Christian rock label out there behind Tooth & Nail/BEC with
>>> Billy
Our goal is to always work with artists that we like, no matter what genre of
music they are. Trent Monk and Michael Neagle (Monk & Neagle) are a perfect
example. We wanted to work with those guys because we love who they are. We
loved their artistry. We loved them as men. We loved their families. Everything
about who we are is aligning ourselves with artists we trust that are making
great music and are following their passions. There are a couple of artists that
weтАЩre in the middle of signing right now that sit in the modern rock/progressive
rock genre. But if the right artist comes along, and itтАЩs a singer/songwriter duo
like Monk & Neagle, then if theyтАЩre interested in us, and we feel like we can do
something for them, weтАЩll go after it.
Looking back over your career so far, what have been your most
fulfilling experiences?
I would say three things. Marrying Amy, who was my bossтАЩ assistant. Working
with Nick Barr├й, EMI CMGтАЩs Vice President of Artist Development, during
DeliriousтАЩ launch back in late тАЩ90'sтАФbeing at the front end of the modern
worship music movement in the U.S. and seeing what Delirious was doing at
the time. Working with Pillar has been a very, very fulfilling part of my career
and very important to itтАФseeing the ins and outs. IтАЩve never been more fulfilled.
A Day Behind the Scenes with Troy
7:30 Arrive at the office and begin
responding to e-mail
9:00 Meet with Hawthorne Heights
and Evergreen TerraceтАЩs former
manager to discuss new artist
10:00 Listen to final mixes of StapleтАЩs
new record, Of Truth and
10:30 Work on a video producer
contract for the third installment
of The Praise Baby Collection.
11:30 Review/Edit new contract
summaries I had written for
each Flicker artist
11:45 Meet with interns
extraordinaireтАФMeghan and
ZachтАФabout work on the new
Flicker Myspace page
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Kids In The Way stop by to hang
and talk shop
1:45 More e-mail
2:00 Meet with AJ, head of radio
promotions, to discuss T-BoneтАЩs
radio single(s) plans, listen to
several Staple songs as
potential radio singles and
video, discuss current singles
by Monk & Neagle, The Swift,
Pillar, Kids In The Way and
Conference call with our video
promoter to discuss progress
with Kids In The WayтАЩs
"Apparitions of Melody" video
Finish reviewing contract
Make and return several calls
Meet with JoAnna, head of
sales and marketing, to discuss
budgets, approve several print
marketing elements and more
More e-mail
Leave the office for some
much-needed family time
Attend Kids In The Way show at
Kids In The Way finally go on
after several delays
Finally make it to bed
GrahamтАЭ: Pat Boone and Bono collaborate on tribute song and video for BooneтАЩs Glory Train album тАв
20 ccm august 05
3:30 PM
Page 20
3:30 PM
Page 21
In just over a yearтАЩs time, Bethany Dillon has managed
to turn quite a few heads with the critical
and commercial success of her self-titled debut and a
maturity far beyond her years. Now with the release
of her stellar sophomore record, Imagination (Sparrow),
an opening slot on Jeremy CampтАЩs next tour and a song
on the upcoming тАЬNarniaтАЭ soundtrack, her momentum
continues to build. So how does an тАЬIt GirlтАЭ stay
grounded in the midst of all these recent
accomplishments? CCMтАЩs Christa Farris travels the
nearly 800 miles from Music City to BethanyтАЩs
hometown of Bellefontaine, Ohio to find out.
august 05 ccm 21
3:30 PM
Page 22
тАЬThe first time I met you/My heart swang out to you/The first time I saw you/My heart did a lullabydo/
my groom/And on our wedding day/I said тАШI doтАЩ/WeтАЩre married now/I wish I hadnтАЩt said it to you.тАЭ
so itтАЩs not exactly the kind of romantic masterpiece
thatтАЩll be covered by someone like Celine Dion and
sung at weddings for years to come. But 16-yearold Bethany Dillon remembers her first stab at
songwriting, in all its puppy-love, made-up word
glory (lullabydo, anyone?) like it was yesterday.тАЭ
тАЬOne day I was in my room, and Mom was
vacuuming. I wanted to write this love song, so I
did. ItтАЩs actually very jazzy,тАЭ Bethany recalls. тАЬI
was six and thought it was very, very cool.тАЭ
Did she really say she was only six?
тАЬOh yeahтАФI was writing purely from experience
at that age,тАЭ she jokes. тАЬActually I was such a drama
queen. I had older siblings, so I felt so immersed in
the adult world already. I just felt like I could write
that song with honesty for some reason.тАЭ
Apparently, this lyrical instinct was
foreshadowingтАФor at least the first signтАФof a
promising future for this burgeoning songwriter.
Even at a young age, Bethany was pretty secure
in her identity. One thing she knew for sure was
that she wasnтАЩt going to be a Britney Spears, popstar prot├йg├й. Anything even remotely artificial just
didnтАЩt fit. And only moments after meeting her at
her parentsтАЩ house in the quiet, corn-lined
countryside of Bellefontaine, Ohio, it becomes
even more apparent why that is. Nearly make-up
free and naturally pretty, sheтАЩs the kind of girl who
prefers flip flops, shorts and a simple t-shirt to
anything fussy. You wonтАЩt see her lugging around
the latest designer bag or sporting extraneous
jewelry, either. Flashy is just not her style, which
is something that also probably had a lot to do
with growing up in a small town with a house full
of brothers (three to be exact), in addition to her
older sister, Kate.
It was also this close-knit kinship with her
brothers that caused Bethany to pick up a guitar
rather than take the requisite piano lessons. тАЬMy
brothers Ben and Matt were my age growing up,
so I loved being the tomboy,тАЭ Bethany says. тАЬThe
only people I knew who played guitar were
boys. So I was like, тАШThatтАЩs the ultimate tomboy
thing to do.тАЩтАЭ
Bethany picked up her first guitar, a gift from
her aunt Deb, when she was 11. It was a bright
blue Yamaha that she affectionately named Esther.
тАЬI remember when I walked in the house and saw
it. IтАЩm a bit of an overreactor, so I threw myself on
the floor in the hall and was just screaming,тАЭ
Bethany recalls. тАЬI ran to my aunt and hugged her.
It was this $20 guitar, but it was just really special
to have as my first.тАЭ
While тАЬEstherтАЭ is now long gone in favor of her
dadтАЩs guitar (which she wasnтАЩt allowed to play
until recently), Bethany says that тАЬshe was the
beginningтАЭ of her journey as a musician. As it
turns out, another important female was also quite
instrumental early on.
тАЬтАЬA friend of mine had a tape of Jennifer KnappтАЩs,
Kansas. I was over at her house spending the night,
and she put it on,тАЭ Bethany remembers. тАЬI was just
floored. I was 10 then, and I was so inspired. It was
definitely a major point in my faithтАФand in my
life. God did a lot through that record in me. And
because Jennifer was this rocker chick with
attitude and a singer/songwriter, I was like, тАШMan, I
need to be cool and play guitar like that.тАЩтАЭ
While hearing JenniferтАЩs work reinforced what
approach Bethany wanted to take as she dabbled
in music, it was seeing JenniferтАЩs live show that
22 ccm august 05
3:30 PM
Page 23
You swept me off my feet/ You could have been my broom/You were so charming/IтАЩd like for you to be
solidified her fandom and desire to actually
pursue music on a more serious level. With a
giddy level of enthusiasmтАФas she chows down
on Chinese food at her favorite downtown lunch
spotтАФBethany tells the story of her first concert
experience at almost breakneck pace. After slow
traffic nearly caused her and her sister to be late
for the show (something Bethany was determined
not to be) following the hour-long trek, she
remembers trying to find her seat and exactly
how happy she was to discover it was in the
center of the second row.
тАЬI stood there the whole time and just belted
out her songs,тАЭ Bethany recalls. тАЬIn the middle of
тАШInto YouтАЩ during the guitar solo, [Jennifer] kept
making eye contact with me throughout the
show, then threw her [guitar] pick out. Then she
leaned over and was like, тАШI like your shirt.тАЩ I had
this Bohemian shirt on, and I was just like, тАШYeah!тАЩ
Every concert after that, I rushed up in front of
the first row and sat on the floor. SheтАЩs just meant
a lot.тАЭ
While she never stuck around to meet Jennifer
following a show, sheтАЩs someone Bethany would
тАЬmost definitelyтАЭ love to meet in the future.
For most people, a concert experience is just
thatтАФan experience, enjoyable, exciting, but
quickly forgotten. But for Bethany, that first
concert changed the course of her lifeтАЩs direction.
тАЬI had been messing around with the guitar, just
learning her stuff and writing silly songs,тАЭ
Bethany says. тАЬBut when I went home that night,
and I know it probably sounds silly because I was
only 11, but God was doing something in my
heart at the time. After I came home, my sister
was telling my mom all about the show.
тАЬтАЬI went back in my room and cried for a couple
of hours because my heart was just aching. It was
unbearable. I prayed about it. I said, тАШGod, I would
do anythingтАФwhatever this longing is in me, if it
could just be satisfied somehow or fulfilled, I would
do anything.тАЩтАЭ
While she wasnтАЩt exactly sure what a music
career would look like for her, whether it would
be in the church where she helped lead worship
for the youth group, or with a more national
platform, she was determined to use her gift for
something. So Bethany continued to sing in area
churches and eventually made an independent
disc in a living room studio in Maryville, Ohio.
тАЬWe got a great offer for recording, so we
recorded that whole year,тАЭ Bethany recalls. тАЬI
recorded 12 songs that I had writtenтАФjust to be able
to remember them. He [Mark, at the recording
studio] knew some people in Nashville who worked
at Gibson Guitars and told them about what we
All in the Family
While the road has become something of a second home after a recent string of tour dates, thereтАЩs
no place like home for Bethany Dillon. And when it comes to hanging with her family, thereтАЩs no need
for elaborate vacations or weekly game nights, as Bethany says they just like to talk to each otherтАФ
and maybe even watch the occasional movie. Now, she tells us more about the people she rarely
goes even five minutes without talking about.
On her dad, Bill: тАЬHe loves people. HeтАЩs in social work, and he cares for people who would never be
able to pay him back or do anything with him. HeтАЩs just a character, too. On FatherтАЩs Day, he was so
mad at us for getting him what we did because he said it was too much. I love that about Dad.тАЭ
On her Mom, Tina: тАЬMy mom is probably my best friend. This morning we sat on our front porch and
just talked. SheтАЩs also really sarcastic, which I love. SheтАЩs just very honest, too.тАЭ
On her older sister, Kate: тАЬIтАЩm missing her
like nobodyтАЩs business right now as she just
got married. So I should probably throw
Shawn [Kate is married to singer/songwriter
Shawn McDonald] in because heтАЩs my
brother now. I love her and really couldnтАЩt
say enough about her. SheтАЩs a good friend.тАЭ
On her older brother, Aaron: тАЬI love him.
HeтАЩs actually going to be on the road with me
this year. ItтАЩs so cool to have been friends
with him since we were little because weтАЩre a
lot alike.тАЭ
On her older brother Matt and her
younger brother Ben, who were adopted
into BethanyтАЩs family 12 years ago:
тАЬTheir character is just amazing. I can
speak for all of us in our family; they are
probably the most tender-hearted people in
our family. At 14 and 17, they have a deep
understanding of what it is to really love
people, to be thankful and to serve. So itтАЩs
awesome. Matt is the clown, and Ben is the
fixer-upper kind of guy. He can do anything
around the house.тАЭ
august 05 ccm 23
3:30 PM
Page 24
were doing. тАЬMy parents actually told him, тАШPlease,
please do not pursue anything like this. SheтАЩs so
young. We donтАЩt want her to get her hopes up.тАЩ
They were really discouraging Mark. But he was
like, тАШLet me send it to them. I just want them to
enjoy it.тАЩ So Mark sent it down. I guess a lady from
Gibson didnтАЩt just listen; she shopped it around,
showed it to labels and stuff.тАЭ
One of those places where the demo ended up
was in the hands of the execs over at Sparrow
Records. But even when a meeting was arranged
with Bethany and her family, no one was really
sure about her chances. тАЬThe whole drive down to
Nashville, the six or seven hours, I was just beside
myself. My parents were like, тАШBeth, donтАЩt get your
hopes up. TheyтАЩll probably just say that youтАЩre a
nice little girl and that you should stick to what
youтАЩre doing.тАЩ Yet, I was so excited that I didnтАЩt
care if IтАЩd be playing for the janitors at Sparrow.тАЭ
And of course, the 13-year-old garnered a whole
lot more than just the janitorsтАЩ attention that day
as Peter York, president of EMI CMG Label
Group, president of publishing for EMI CMG
Eddie DeGarmo, and EMI-CMG Label Group
Vice President of A&R Brad OтАЩDonnell, were all in
Now, more than a year after the release of her
acclaimed self-titled Sparrow debut, which has
sold more than 110,000 copies and landed several
Dove Award nominationsтАФincluding Female
Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year, a
No.1 hit with тАЬAll I Need,тАЭ two top-10 hits
тАЬBeautifulтАЭ (which she wrote at age 13) and her
cover of the Amy Grant classic, тАЬLead Me OnтАЭтАФ
Bethany has once again teamed up with producer
Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Bebo Norman) to record
her sophomore effort.
Ed and Bethany have an easy camaraderie,
something that was quickly discernable when they
recently unveiled several songs from the new
Confessions of a тАЬLord of the RingsтАЭ Geek
One of the first things Bethany told me during our interview was that she was almost 17, and that
sheтАЩs been so busy she hasnтАЩt had time to renew her learnerтАЩs permit. тАЬMy mom thinks itтАЩs the Lord
keeping me from it,тАЭ she jokes. тАЬItтАЩs what she keeps saying.тАЭ So naturally, my follow-up question
was тАЬWhen is your birthday?тАЭ which led to an interesting look into one of BethanyтАЩs self-described
тАЬgeekyтАЭ obsessions.
CCM: When is your birthday?
Bethany: ItтАЩs September 22, the same birthday as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings.
I have the same birthday as them!
CCM: The fictional characters?
Bethany: Yeah, fictional. My brothers think itтАЩs cool, so thatтАЩs why I bring it up.
CCM: Well, thatтАЩs all that matters then.
Bethany: Exactly. When I read the first chapter of the first Lord of the Rings book, thatтАЩs when my
fanhood began. I was just like тАЬOh, this is meant to be.тАЭ
CCM: So youтАЩre a bit of a geek then?
Bethany: Geek, geek, geek.
CCM: So letтАЩs get this straight here: Viggo (who plays Aragon) or Orlando (who plays Legolas)?
Bethany: Oh, Viggo. Orlando, heтАЩs kind of wussy. I mean, heтАЩs cute, but Viggo is just a real man. Yeah.
album for CCMтАЩs editors at EdтАЩs Franklin, Tenn.,
home studio. The two first met during the search
for producers for BethanyтАЩs debut. тАЬSparrow had
never worked with Ed Cash before; all he had
done at the time was work with Bebo [Norman].
So they were like тАШWell, I guess she can meet him,тАЩтАЭ
she recalls. тАЬI remember when we were waiting for
him at the restaurant. I see this guy walking down
the sidewalk with holes in his jeans and stains on
his shirtтАФlike heтАЩd just rolled out of bed. I was like
тАШThatтАЩs him. ThatтАЩs a kindred spirit.тАЩ It was pretty
obvious; God made it really clear.тАЭ
When looking back at the making of
Imagination, which hits stores August 16, one of
the things that stands out most this time for
Bethany is how she was being challenged as a
songwriter. тАЬEd definitely stretches me with that.
IтАЩll bring him a song, and heтАЩll think a certain line
is unclearтАФor he just doesnтАЩt think itтАЩs my best.
And my ego is so bruised by that,тАЭ Bethany says.
тАЬWeтАЩve gotten to the point in our friendship
where I can say, тАШI donтАЩt think so. I love that line.
What are you talking about?тАЩ He just laughsтАФitтАЩs
what I call the mule factor. HeтАЩs like тАШGet over it.
Get over yourself.тАЩ IтАЩm trying to learn how to be
more open. ItтАЩs the only way to grow.тАЭ
Based on the artistic growth evident on
Imagination, it's clear Bethany's commitment to
being open is paying off. Simply put, this second
album is a sophomore jump. From the soulful
depth of Bethany's engaging lyrics to the
addictive musicality of the songs to the very vocal
performance Ed captured on tape, Imagination
reveals Bethany DillonтАФthe young woman.
On working with Bethany, Ed says, тАЬShe is just a
remarkable girl. Her age comes up here and there...
But IтАЩm confident that if she were 35, weтАЩd all still be
in awe of the gift God has given her. I attribute it
to two things: FirstтАФthe favor of God... We saw it
in King David at a young age, and we see it in
Bethany. But she would agree that it would be a
tragedy if we saw it all as her instead of Him. The
A Day in Bellefontaine
With a population of just under 13,000, BethanyтАЩs
hometown of Bellefontaine, Ohio is the kind of
place where everybody knows your name,
something thatтАЩs quickly evident as we made our
interview rounds. But even though sheтАЩs made
quite a name for herself in Christian music circles,
Bethany is simply тАЬBethтАЭ in Bellefontaine,
whether she runs into her youth group friends at
MarieтАЩs Candy (her and her momтАЩs favorite haunt)
or the Chinese buffet downtown where she
caught up with several church friends.
Also worth checking out in Bellefontaine?
Besides the great banana bread at Bob Evans,
there are also some pretty nifty castles on the
outskirts of town where Bethany and I got the
historical rundown of their origins.
other reason I think she is so advanced is because of
the remarkable family [see тАЬAll in the FamilyтАЭ
sidebar] in which she was raised. Bill and Tina are
amazing parents and amazing people. Her siblings
are equally wonderful folks. When you grow as the
recipient of that kind of loveтАФit comes out in
whatever you do, which in BethтАЩs case is through
her music and the way she loves people.тАЭ
And fellow artist Sara Groves canтАЩt help but
agree. тАЬBethany turns everyday observation into
beautiful art, and sings about it with great
sincerity. When I first heard her sing, I was so
moved by her voice and genuine heart. I look
forward to hearing her life put to music.тАЭ ccm
24 ccm august 05
7:58 PM
Page 26
MaryMary тАЩs
26 ccm august 05
7:58 PM
Page 27
TOP 40 SMASH HIT. Check.
Maternal humility aside, it is clear to anyone paying attention that Erica and Tina were blessed with
their motherтАЩs strength, work ethic and ability to stay the course through thick and thin. Tina notes,
тАЬComing into this [recording career], we didnтАЩt fully understand the magnitude of the platform weтАЩd
been given to bring musicтАжto be ambassadors for Christ to the world.тАЭ She continues, тАЬNow that we
understand the responsibility of the ministry, the responsibility to bring great music to the world that
will draw people closer to Christ, we donтАЩt want to let things affect the process of our writing.тАЭ
And although they are focused on their part of the process, these hard-working women point to God
as the One who set their course and kept them safe on their journey. Long before they ever saw an
accolade or award, the Campbell sisters experienced their share of incredibly humbling events that
continue to give them perspective and fodder for their music. On their new self-titled release, Mary
Mary, the ladies open with the thunderously funky тАЬBeliever,тАЭ a song of gratitude that recalls remarkable
personal stories of survival. Erica recalls the life-altering family experience that helped to define their
teen years. тАЬWe had a fireplace, and we always wanted to turn on the fireplace, but we didnтАЩt know what
we were doing. We would turn it on, and it would smoke, and weтАЩd turn it off and leave. This time my
mother had a sense that something wasnтАЩt right.тАЭ
6 GO ON HIATUS. Check.
At this point, some artists might decide theyтАЩve
seen the mountaintop, move to the Bahamas and
call it a successful career; but apparently Mary
Mary isnтАЩt that type of artist. With that said, the
Campbell sisters decided that, instead of starting
their own clothing lines or running their own
record label like so many successful artists,
they would do something truly daunting: Start
families. Erica puts it into perspective, тАЬWeтАЩre still
at the beginning of our careers, and we didnтАЩt want
to wait until we did a million albums before we
started having kidsтАФyou gotta take time
for family.тАЭ
And while they admit to being a bit more
tired, Tina, a country music lover, notes that
other successful female artists such as the
Dixie Chicks have already paved the way for
working artists and mothers. The country
divas may represent a surprising source of
encouragement, but Tina and Erica
ultimately look to their mother, who juggled
nine kids and a position as choir director, as
inspiration for making family work. тАЬBoth of
us have asked my mom several times, тАШHow
did you do it?тАЩ and I am completely convinced
that God donтАЩt make them like he used to,тАЭ
Tina says in absolute awe. тАЬI mean, maybe He
does, but I guess IтАЩm not one of the ones.тАЭ
august 05 ccm 27
7:58 PM
Page 28
At their motherтАЩs urging, the seven girls went to sleep at their auntтАЩs house
that night, only to be phoned by the police to inform them of a terrible
house fire. Erica adds, тАЬI now know that it was the Holy Spirit leading her
to have us stay somewhere else for the night.тАЭ In addition to surviving that
fire, Tina also has a lot to sing about, having walked away from a car accident
that flipped her car over. She now jokes, тАЬThat was my own little personal
experience; God wanted to show me that he could save my life even if my
mother and my sisters werenтАЩt around.тАЭ
8) T RY
Although some songs on their latest release are textbook тАЬMary MaryтАЭ
tracks, complete with ultra-polished urban radio beats and gospel-laced
harmonies, they also prove that motherhood can mean new energy for new
things. Tina is quick to respond to the idea that having a family means losing
your creative spark. тАЬI think the consensus is that you are supposed
to become a lot more conservative, a lot more boring overall when you have
children. A lot of your time is consumed with children, but for the most
part, it seems to me that you are the same person. Maybe your personality
even deepens.тАЭ
Tina may have become even more detailed-oriented than before and Erica
more free spirited, but these two still balance and complement each other
creatively. Ultimately, the tie breaker may have been their long-time
collaborator, super producer and EricaтАЩs husband, Warryn Campbell (Brandy,
Luther Vandross, Sisqo). Suddenly, the ladiesтАЩ smooth sound is injected with
touches of тАШ60s soul, 1930тАЩs big band swing, Andrew Sisters-esque harmonies
and even gritty blues gospel. Although these turns were admittedly a stretch,
EricaтАЩs excitement about their musical growth is obvious. тАЬWhen we first
started writing, it was very important for us to not write what had been
written in the same way that it had been written before. Being unique,
original and not predictable is important to who we are.тАЭ
Regarding their growth as lyricists, Tina explains how they avoided
stagnation and kept their eyes on reaching those unfamiliar with churchy
language. тАЬWe had teams of people not necessarily from the Christian
world, and they would push us....they would question some of the things
we would put into the songs that we initially wrote. They would say, тАШI donтАЩt
really understand what you are talking about, but I guess it sounds good; I
donтАЩt really get it but I like it.тАЩтАЭ She continues, тАЬYou want people to
understand what you are talking about; you want to push people to think
and to paint a picture, not just to make something that sounds good.тАЭ And
lest anyone get the idea that the sisters sit around tweaking their lyrics to
be interesting and clever, Erica is quick to note that sometimes she was
struck with a song while heating a bottle of milk. She says plainly, тАЬItтАЩs not
always such a deep process, but if itтАЩs already been said, itтАЩs like тАШNope, no
clich├йs, sorry, good-bye.тАЩтАЭ
Faves &Raves
Favorite comfort food when on the road?
Erica: тАЬBurgers and friesтАЭ
Tina: тАЬSour yellow apple (Erica thinks itтАЩs pineapple.)
Now & LatersтАЭ
Last good book youтАЩve read?
Erica: тАЬThe BibleтАЭ
Tina: тАЬThe Rising by Tim LaHayeтАЭ
Favorite recipe to have your husband cook you when you get
off the road?
Erica: тАЬMy husband doesnтАЩt cook....but he can make scrambled
eggsтАФthatтАЩs about it.тАЭ
Tina: тАЬMy husband makes a great breakfast, so whatever
breakfast he makes is fine!тАЭ
What do you admire most about each other?
Erica: тАЬSheтАЩs taught me how to really go after what I want in life.тАЭ
Tina: тАЬI love the way Erica never lets anything ruffle her feathers.тАЭ
Best movie youтАЩve seen recently?
Erica: тАЬMonster-in-LawтАЭ
Tina: тАЬMadagascar. I love that guy that sings тАШI like to move it,
move itтАЩ with the accent; that cracks me up every time.тАЭ
Favorite episode of The Cosby Show?
Both start laughing and agree: тАЬ...It was the one where they were
singing the Ray Charles song to their grandparents. That was cool.тАЭ
What are you listening to right now?
Erica: тАЬJ. Moss, the Mississippi Mass Choir, the Soul Seekers
(a quartet with Erica and TinaтАЩs husbands) and Beres
Hammond. HeтАЩs the closest thing youтАЩre going to find to Bob
Marley. His music is pure, itтАЩs positive and you could play it at
any family reunion.тАЭ
Tina: тАЬMercyMe, Rascal Flatts and the Soul SeekersтАЭ
Favorite kids song or artist?
Erica: тАЬProbably the song I sing to my little
girl.тАЭ (Tina chimes in, тАЬOh Lord, please donтАЩt
sing that song. That song just drives
me crazy!тАЭ)
Tina: тАЬтАШIf YouтАЩre Happy and You Know
ItтАЩ by Veggie TalesтАЭ
Ultimately neither public nor family expectation set the bar for their new
release. For Tina and Erica, their existence as Mary Mary seems boiled down
to a mantra-like prayer they recalled throughout this new project: тАЬGod, if
youтАЩre not speaking, we donтАЩt want to pick up the pen and write. If youтАЩre not
a part of this creativity, because weтАЩre just trying to get the job done or meet
the standards of the record company or whoever, would you please make us
aware of that so we can put the pencil down and go home? What we want
to do is your will, and what we want to say is what you would have us say.тАЭ
Hobby or class that youтАЩve
always wanted to take up but
havenтАЩt yet?
Tina: тАЬA vocabulary class. I
hate when I canтАЩt remember
words I want. I hate not being
able to understand people
when they speak.тАЭ
Erica: тАЬMy (current) hobby
is doing hair, and I really
love it, but because I have
so many sisters and they
force me to do it....they
made me not like my
hobby anymore!тАЭ
28 ccm august 05
7:54 PM
Page 30
тАЬMy grandparents started a little bitty church
outside of Greenville, Texas called Ardis Heights
Baptist Church,тАЭ begins Bart Millard, recalling that
extremely difficult and pivotal chapter in his family
history. тАЬMy grandfather was a preacher, and my
grandmother was a treasurer. My mom and her twin
sister were the piano and organ players. My dad
and my uncle were deacons. Back before I was born,
my grandfather left my grandmother for another
woman in the church, took off and kind of turned
his back on faith and everything.тАЭ
What? That was the first domino to fall in the
series of events that would eventually inspire BartтАЩs
solo debut, Hymned?
тАЬMy grandmother stayed in that church up until
the day she died. She had so many reasons to be
bitter, but I never saw her say a mean word. She
always would say that her prodigal would come
home. She really believed that PawPaw would come
home. He never did, unfortunately.тАЭ
Who could have known this manтАЩs tragic life
choices would set the stage for one womanтАЩs
profound legacy of faithтАФa legacy that would leave
its indelible mark on the young boy who would
become one of the Christian communityтАЩs most
prolific and influential singer/songwriters?
Numerous factors fuel an artistтАЩs creativity, with
family relationships often a chief stimulant. Such is
the case with the MercyMe frontman, who was
compelled to record an album of his favorite hymns
as a tribute to his beloved grandmother and as a
sacred heirloom for his children Sam and Gracie.
тАЬSheтАЩs a huge influence on the project,тАЭ Bart
says of his maternal grandmother, Ruby B.
Lindsey, who left this world in December 1999.
тАЬ[In deciding] which hymns I was going to use,
it really came down to the ones that I had the
most vivid memories of her singing. A lot of
the decisions we made were based on if
MawMaw would like it.тАЭ
Hymned features BartтАЩs take on such classics as
тАЬSweetest Name I Know,тАЭ тАЬHave a Little Talk With
Jesus,тАЭ тАЬPower in the Blood,тАЭ тАЬThe Old Rugged
CrossтАЭ and тАЬSoftly and Tenderly.тАЭ тАЬI listened to a lot
of music growing up, country and jazz and blues,тАЭ
says Bart, who made his debut singing in church at
age five. тАЬIt all kind of shows up in the record. ItтАЩs a
very, very organic sound. We wanted it to feel like
we were sitting in a circle playing.тАЭ
Bart has fond memories of his Texas childhood
and the lessons learned from his grandmother. тАЬMy
relationship with Christ, you can pretty much blame
her for it,тАЭ he says with a warm laugh. тАЬShe loved the
Lord with all of her heart, and she just didnтАЩt preach
it, she lived it.тАЭ
His grandmotherтАЩs faith was tested, obviously,
and remained strong. When BartтАЩs grandfather
sions w
A lot of
d on if
made w
d like i
30 ccm august 05
passed away, a cousin went to his grandma to tell
her. тАЬShe told him: тАШThere are only two men IтАЩve
ever loved in my life, the first one is Jesus and the
second one is your PawPaw, and IтАЩm much better off
with the second one leaving me than the first one.тАЩ
And thatтАЩs all she ever said about it. ThatтАЩs when I
realized there was probably not a godlier woman
on earth than Ruby Lindsey. She wasnтАЩt one to
preach. She lived life by example.тАЭ
Though she may have been a godly woman,
Ruby was far from a talented singer. Bart recalls
being next to her on Sunday mornings in the
third pew. тАЬShe couldnтАЩt sing very well, but she
loved making a joyful noise,тАЭ he remembers. тАЬShe
was always the loudest person in the church. I was
too short to see, so I would stand in the pew so I
would be eye level with her. IтАЩd be holding my
hands over both my ears, and she would sing at
the top of her voice. It was unbelievable, but now
looking back, I have to laugh because I canтАЩt
imagine life without it.тАЭ
Bart pays tribute to his grandmother on the first
single from the album, тАЬMawMawтАЩs Song (In the
Sweet By and By).тАЭ тАЬIt seems like every time I
think of her singing in the choir, it was
always тАШSweet By and By,тАЩтАЭ he says. тАЬSo
thatтАЩs where that song came from.тАЭ
According to Bart, the two
biggest тАЬdriving factorsтАЭ in doing
Hymned were his grandmother
and his children. тАЬThese are
the songs I grew up onтАФmy
wife and I,тАЭ Bart says. тАЬWe
both grew up in the same
church, and we have all
these memories of these
old hymns.тАЭ
7:54 PM
Page 31
After their son Sam was born, Bart says he and his
wife were talking about the changes in church music
programs and how hymns were being neglected as
most churches began utilizing modern worship
songs. тАЬThere was a good chance that Sam might
never hear any of these songs growing up because
they arenтАЩt played in the church as much as they
used to be,тАЭ says Bart. тАЬWhen Gracie was born last
November, that settled it. I really wanted to do this.тАЭ
Bart had promised his grandmother he would
record an album of her favorite hymns but
unfortunately never had a chance to do so before
she passed away. Since signing with INO,
MercyMeтАЩs career has rapidly accelerated, its
momentum especially propelled by the multiformat success of hits such as тАЬI Can Only Imagine,тАЭ
тАЬHere With MeтАЭ and тАЬHomesick.тАЭ This year the
only new recorded product from the band will be
an upcoming Christmas album, so Bart felt the time
was right for him to release a solo project.
BartтАЩs MercyMe bandmates have been very
supportive of the effort. тАЬThe band has been really
cool about it,тАЭ he says. тАЬWhen they found out what
the style was, they knew it couldnтАЩt be a MercyMe
record, and they knew how special it was to me.
TheyтАЩve known for years that IтАЩve wanted to do this.тАЭ
There was a risk people might see the solo album as
a sign of an impending break up. тАЬWhen they hear the
record, theyтАЩll know why itтАЩs a solo record, and theyтАЩll
never think IтАЩm leaving the band,тАЭ Bart says of such
speculation. тАЬIтАЩve got the greatest job in the world. I
can do this and MercyMe all in the same day.тАЭ
Bart says initially he didnтАЩt plan to pursue tour
opportunities. тАЬThe original idea was to do the
record and not tour it or anything, just put it out
there, and if it sells, so be it. If it doesnтАЩt, thatтАЩs
fineтАФitтАЩs something IтАЩve always wanted to do,тАЭ he
says, тАЬbut while making the record, a lot of the
studio musicians were like, тАШMan, if you take this on
the road, take me with you.тАЩтАЭ
At press time, tour plans were still uncertain, but Bart
hopes there may be time available to do some concert
dates. HeтАЩd also like to return to his hometown,
Greeneville, and shoot a performance DVD.
In addition to performing songs heтАЩs loved for
years, recording the new album gave Bart a chance
to work with some of his heroes and friends, among
them Russ Taff, Vince Gill, Robert Randolph and
INO labelmate Derek Webb. Gill stopped by the
studio immediately after an appearance on the
Grand Ole Opry. Producer Brown Bannister called
to tell Bart that Vince was there singing on his
record. тАЬI was flipping out,тАЭ says Bart. тАЬI was
ecstatic. I got on the phone with him and told him
how much I appreciated it, and that was a treat.тАЭ
Having Taff join him on тАЬPrecious Lord, Take My
HandтАЭ was a dream come true. тАЬIтАЩve been a huge
Russ Taff fan my whole life,тАЭ says Bart, a trace of awe
creeping into his voice. тАЬHe just epitomized what I
wanted to be in life, his voice, everything. IтАЩm still a
huge, huge Russ Taff fan. We got together at a
[Bill] Gaither event a few years ago and became
friends. I asked him thenтАФif I ever do a hymns
recordтАФwould he sing on it? He said, тАШAbsolutely!тАЩ
тАЬIt was an awesome time. Every once in a while
you meet somebody who is as genuine on the inside
as they are on the outside.тАЭ
With Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Out of Eden,
Ashley Cleveland and other artists releasing hymns
albums this year, Bart admits he thought the label
might think it was a bad time. тАЬI was guilty of
second guessing the label,тАЭ he says, but instead of
nixing the idea, INO president Jeff Moseley felt it
was good timing. тАЬHe said, тАШThereтАЩs nothing greater
for your record and the rest of the hymns records
than to come out the way they are, because
itтАЩs creating awareness for the audience. ItтАЩs
great timing.тАЭ
Bart loves seeing the resurgence of hymns, and
heтАЩs been enjoying the other albums that have been
released. In fact, he didnтАЩt record тАЬIтАЩll Fly AwayтАЭ
because тАЬJars have done such an amazing rendition
of that song, I wouldnтАЩt even touch it with a
10-foot pole.тАЭ
HeтАЩs hoping that more contemporary church
services will once again incorporate hymns into
their repertoire. тАЬTaking hymns out of the worship
service is like kicking the elders out of the church,тАЭ
he says. тАЬItтАЩs like taking all the older people out of
the church that have so much wisdom and
experience and knowledge. [The hymns represent]
a vital part of where we came from, and when we
forget where we come from, Lord knows where we
are heading. ThereтАЩs no question these songs are
vital to the church. They are who we are, who
we will be, and I just hope that people get into
them again.тАЭ
One of the most gratifying things is how much
his relatives are enjoying the record. тАЬThey are
wearing it out,тАЭ he says. тАЬThey think I ought to be a
country singer from now on.тАЭ ccm
тАЩs hy
r t Mill
august 05 ccm 31
8:01 PM
Page 32
32 ccm august 05
8:01 PM
Page 33
to represent and keep their priorities straight.
Says T-Bone, тАЬ[I want] to revolutionize
Christian hip-hop/conscious rap and make my
music so undeniably excellent that the world has
to recognize it and provide a platform for it to be
distributed everywhere.тАЭ
While African-American rappers such as
GRITS and The Cross Movement still lead the
way for the faith-based industry, Caucasian rappers
are finally getting respect as well. Whatever one
might think of his values, Eminem certainly helped
give white emcees credibility, while indie rappers
like Sage Francis and Aesop Rock do the same at a
street level. In the Christian market, no Caucasian
rapper can claim the impact of dc talk's tobyMac.
While his group later moved in a different
direction, Toby has emphasized his hip-hop roots
as a genre-bending solo artist.
oday's mainstream rappers sometimes seem
to think they need a bullet scar on their body
to get a bullet mark on the charts. Still, a few
rotten rappers aren't spoiling the whole bunch.
Hip-hop's skyrocketing growth, which includes
a new wave of socially aware rappers, continues
to knock down racial lines and allow other
cultures to express their talent. For so long,
African-American emcees were the only ones
with street cred. In recent years, however, the
entire music industryтАФChristian and otherwiseтАФ
benefited from individuals of various backgrounds
using rap to express their culture and beliefs.
In 2004, fans even saw the first major label
Asian rapper, Jin. The dividing lines cannot
withstand hip-hop's momentum, which has
truly become overwhelming.
тАЬHip-hop is continually growing in mainstream
exposure,тАЭ says Flynn of L.A. Symphony, a group
that's shared stages with the likes of X-zibit and
Ice Cube. тАЬI read somewhere that hip-hop culture
consumes about 20-25 percent of the marketing
Last year, rap album sales growth outpaced
rock and alternative by nearly two to one, while
rap discs topped the Billboard 200 chart four
times as often. Remarkably, it was just 25 years
ago that Kurtis Blow released the first major label
rap album, yet today it's rap artists setting the
new sales benchmarks. Of course, with some
questionable characters in the game, rap's
image often gets tarnished. Still, one shouldn't
ignore the way in which hip-hop is bringing
people together as more talent emerges from
different cultures.
As most any hip-hop head could attest, Latin
rappers are hotter than ever. From the new record
labels Bad Boy Latin and Wu-Tang Latin to stars
like Fat Joe and reggaeton sensation Daddy
Yankee, the Latin culture is making its voice
known. In Christian circles, the late D-Boy was
an early rap pioneer, while modern artists Urban
D and seminal rap veteran T-Bone continue
тАЬdc talk always had this golden thread of hiphop running through it, but that slowed down
towards the end,тАЭ Toby says. тАЬJesus Freak still felt
that way, then Supernatural felt like it was just
gone. I wanted to start over with the hip-hop
roots, this time letting everything evolve from
that base, and see how it evolves differently as a
solo artist.тАЭ
While tobyMac already claims two big solo
releases, Momentum and Welcome to Diverse City
(Forefront), he certainly isn't the only credible
Caucasian rapper in the game these days. Artists
such as KJ-52, John Reuben, Mars Ill, Benjiman,
Bobby Bishop and the multi-ethnic L.A.
Symphony are now some of the most buzzedabout names in Christian hip-hop. These rappers,
who all take their craft very seriously, continue to
help reverse years of gimmicky white emcees in
both markets.
While different cultures are making a name in
hip-hop once again, Christian hip-hop actually
started with lots of Caucasian and Latin emcees,
like Dave Guzman (JC & the Boyz), members of
JC Crew, D-Boy, MC Ge Gee, the Plain White
Rapper and of course, tobyMac. Even Mark
Salomon of Stavesacre (then with The Crucified)
august 05 ccm 33
8:01 PM
Page 34
released a hip-hop album under the name Native
Son. With due credit to Michael Peace for helping
launch Christian rap, African-American groups
took off a bit later with such pivotal acts as S.F.C.
(a.k.a. Sup the Chemist), P.I.D., the Dynamic
Twins, Freedom of Soul, I.D.O.L. King, D.O.C.
and the Gospel Gangstas. Ironically, Caucasian
artists often had a promotions edge because they
could cross over to other radio formats more
easily, a phenomenon that's not isolated to the
Christian music industry.
Back in the '80s, did LL Cool J or Run DMC
become the first rap act to top the album charts?
Nope, it was the Beastie Boys' License to Ill that
became the fastest-selling debut in Columbia
Records' history, the best-selling rap album of the
decade and, yes, the first rap record ever to go
No. 1. What about the first rap song to top the
pop charts? In 1990, MC Hammer scored an
historic bestseller with his ridiculously titled Please
Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, but it was Vanilla Ice later
that year who became the first rapper to land a
No. 1 single with тАЬIce Ice Baby.тАЭ Run DMC even
L.A. Symphony's Flynn, who also boasts a
pair of solo discs, notes, тАЬI think there still is a
very definite line drawn between the majority of
'white' Christian music and 'black' Christian music.
To me, it's definitely contemporary Christian and
black gospel. There are hip-hop artists that are
generally marketed and applicable to either
market, but it's very seldom that you find an artist
or group that crosses both borders successfully.
That being said, I think that's why there is a
greater number of 'white' hip-hop artists in the
contemporary Christian market and 'black' artists
for the gospel market.тАЭ
Until this barrier breaks completely, artists on
both sides will struggle for a larger market. Adds
KJ-52, тАЬI've gotten label deals, radio play and
tours all because of my skin color, and I've also
not gotten label deals, radio play and tours all
because of my skin color. It goes both ways.тАЭ
Another division that Christian rappers hope
to overcome is one of class and social status.
Across the country, many churches get divided
between middle class suburbia and poor inner
had to collaborate with Aerosmith on тАЬWalk This
WayтАЭ to become the first African-American rap
act truly embraced by the mainstream and MTV.
Why the racial disparity? Among other
things, the number of rap radio stations hadn't
grown to the point where they could make the
necessary national impact on their own. The
Beastie Boys easily crossed over to suburban rock
radio and Vanilla Ice to Top 40 pop, so their
outlets for exposure were more numerous.
Despite countless advances in the Christian
market, a similar disparity still exists today with
the limited amount of Christian hip-hop radio.
тАЬI think the biggest challenge in reaching
success in this industry is breaking through the
invisible barrier the radio industry has placed in
front of us,тАЭ notes Benjiman, an Oregon-based
rapper on Uprok/BEC. тАЬWe can only go as far as
open doors allow us.тАЭ
тАЬIt's probably a big reason why we can't get
past 100-150,000 units sold,тАЭ adds Sunshine State
native KJ-52, also on Uprok/BEC. тАЬLack of
opportunities at radio tends to make things hard
for established artists and harder for new ones.тАЭ
In addition to limited outlets, Christian radio
is still struggling to become more inclusive.
Different cultures are finding more opportunities
for expression, but there are still some lines that
divide artists when it comes to radio, promotions,
touring and the like.
34 ccm august 05
city, and this likewise limits opportunities. Many
of the ethnic rappers come from harder, meaner,
tougher backgrounds that are reflected in their
style and persona, and oftentimes they make the
BMW-driving crowd uncomfortable.
тАЬI think it is easier for a Caucasian artist to get
a deal before an African-American or Latino artist
because they pose no threat to the establishment,тАЭ
says T-Bone, who made his label debut in 1991.
тАЬIt appears the Christian music industry is intimidated
by or scared of artists who come from the street,
which is essentially where rap music was born.тАЭ
тАЬAs far as solving the problem, rapper John
Reuben remarks, тАЬOur community needs to stop
having the same clich├й conversations on this subject.
There is obviously a problem, and we need to figure
out a different way to start looking at it. That doesn't
mean pointing the finger. It's a question of how we
look at ourselves, human nature, and how we
perceive one another and our differences.тАЭ
While the mainstream rap market already made
large strides in breaking down barriers (consider
the recent Linkin Park/Jay-Z collaboration),
Christian rap isn't far behind. Divisions still exist,
but with rising talent and a growing pool of
cultural diversity, the scene can only move forward.
In fact, as socially aware rappers such as Common,
Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West continue to
excel in the mainstream, many see the superficial,
image-centered, bling-bling age coming to an end.
тАЬIn the mainstream it's gotten more and more
decadent, and you never know what's next,тАЭ notes
Manchild of Mars Ill. тАЬI think there are guys doing
it who are really trying to set the bar higher and
take the risks, but it's gotten to feel like glam-rock
before Nirvana. I feel like someone's gonna come
along and knock the glam-rap out, artists like
Common who are really saying something important.
The public wants more than what they're getting.тАЭ
тАЬThe wave of the future in hip-hop is
conscious rap,тАЭ adds T-Bone. тАЬWe are coming out
of a phase in hip-hop where we are not only
recognizing the problems and struggles of the
ghetto and life in general, but we are beginning to
address the solutions as well.тАЭ
In an interview last year, Black Eyed Peas'
Will.I.Am said, тАЬA lady came up to me in Portland
and asked if we were a Christian group. I said,
тАШNo,тАЩ and she said God was speaking through us in
the lyrics. She told me to look up Luke 4:18,
which says that God would speak through
people and use people. It's cool. We're not a
Christian group, but I believe in whatever
stories are in the
Bible. My friend
and I sit down, and
we have building
sessions. We are a
life group. We talk
about things that
happen in life.тАЭ
Should all these
artists be right,
heading in a
direction that will
only open more
doors and break down more barriers for Christian
rappers. Indeed, despite all the work that still needs
to be done, faith-based hip-hop is tapping into
the same market-and-culture-crossing momentum
as the mainstream.
тАЬChristian hip-hop has come very, very far the
last four years in the quality aspect,тАЭ claims Benjiman.
тАЬWhen we were all coming up, the production
was a little shaky, but the heart and intent was
always there. We are really headed in a positive
direction as far as growing the genre of hip-hop
in the Christian market by just relating to the
fans, so I really think we have nowhere to go but
up and forward.тАЭ
тАЬ[Christian hip-hop's] grown in all aspectsтАФ
retail, touring, consumers, quality, distribution,
opportunities, etc.,тАЭ adds KJ-52. тАЬI'm finding
myself getting into areas that I've never been able
to get into, and my sales are at the highest they've
ever been. I'm also seeing the biggest responses
ministry-wise. I think it has to do with the
industry's growth, meaning doors are opening
that haven't been opened before. However, I can
definitely say we aren't totally there yet. I think
the [industry] will continue to mirror the
mainstream industry as far as wider acceptance
and growth, but I think it's going to take a little
while longer to get there.тАЭ ccm
4:02 PM
Page 36
listening in...
Imagine being someone who had to follow Jars of Clay,
Ashley Cleveland and Buddy Miller in a concert lineup.
Intimidated much? Well, thatтАЩs just what headliner Jim Wallis
did recently when these artists of faith performed at
NashvilleтАЩs Belcourt Theater. In doing so, Wallis wisely
didnтАЩt pick up a guitar, attempt to sing, or even perform a
тАЬspoken wordтАЭ piece. He simply talked. Wallis wasnтАЩt just
delivering a speech to the packed audience anxious to
hear the evangelical author discuss his New York Times
best seller, GodтАЩs Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong
and the Left DoesnтАЩt Get It (Harper Collins), he was the
headliner for the special gatheringтАФa call to unity across
political lines.
Having founded the organization called SojournersтАФ
Christians for justice and peaceтАФmore than 30 years ago,
Wallis serves as the editor of Sojourners Magazine, speaks at
more than 200 events a year and writes columns for the New
York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and others.
He has appeared on NBCтАЩs тАЬMeet the PressтАЭ with Tim
Russert, Comedy CentralтАЩs тАЬDaily ShowтАЭ with Jon Stewart
and MSNBCтАЩs тАЬScarborough Country,тАЭ among other
national television programs. Wallis also teaches a course
at Harvard University on тАЬFaith, Politics and Society.тАЭ
Jars of Clay, meanwhile, made what is arguably the most
high-profile performance of the bandтАЩs career. As a
founding supporter of The ONE Campaign to make extreme
poverty history, Jars of Clay was included in the lineup of
July 2тАЩs LIVE 8 concert in PhiladelphiaтАФamong the dayтАЩs
series of performances broadcast live world-wide.
Shortly before the concert, Jars of Clay guitarist Steve
Mason and Jim Wallis reconnected and now graciously
invite you to eavesdrop on their personal discussion about
poverty, revival and loving people well.
Steve: Honestly, the things youтАЩve been talking about go with my own story. I grew
up in the Midwest. I was given the talking pointsтАФabortion and gay rights. ThatтАЩs
essentially what weтАЩre fighting against here in America. We need to support the
rights of the unborn and make sure the family unit stays intact. And I subscribed
to that for quite a long time. It seemed pretty easy to be right about those things
and not have to engage in conversationтАжor a lot of the radical things that Jesus
36 ccm august 05
Jars of ClayтАЩs Steve
Mason & Jim Wallis
said about compassion, loving God, loving others and the huge implications of
such a life. Just to speak really specificallyтАФthe idea that Jesus talked about the
homeless thousands more times than he did about these other issues that people
are consumed with just blew my mind.
Jim: What IтАЩm hearing around the country is that word revival. Revival for justice.
ItтАЩs amazingтАФIтАЩm pro-life too, but so many people see abortion as their only
concern. ItтАЩs like theyтАЩre for unborn lives until theyтАЩre born.
30,000 children die every single day because of a lack of clean drinking water
and lack of food. You guys are doing this thing with Blood:Water Mission in Africa.
In Matthew 25 Jesus says, тАЬI was hungry. I was thirsty. I was naked. I was a
stranger. I was sick. I was in prison.тАЭ They say, тАЬLord, when did we see you hungry,
thirsty, a stranger, sick and in prison?тАЭ They try to sayтАж тАЬTrust usтАФwe would have
formed a social action committee at least, you know.тАЭ He says, тАЬAs youтАЩve done it
to the least of these, youтАЩve done it unto me.тАЭ He didnтАЩt ask them what their
stance was on the virgin birth or gay marriageтАж
The sanctity of life is important to meтАФso is helping families. ThatтАЩs whatтАЩs
changing. I think weтАЩre at the beginning of a revival where people are going to take
JesusтАЩ mission statement in Luke 4тАФhis Nazareth manifestoтАФas their own mission
statement. He said, тАЬThe Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed
me to bring good news to the poor.тАЭ Which means, whatever else our gospel is, if it
isnтАЩt good news to poor people, it certainly isnтАЩt the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Steve: That seems to be the rumbling of people who have gotten onboard with us
and Blood:Water Mission. Seeing thatтАФit was Dan [Haseltine], our lead singer,
who came up with the idea. It was also the outward signs of ChristтАЩs sacrifice
when blood and water flowed. And at the same point, thatтАЩs what is going to
undermine poverty and disease in Africa. People have come to concerts, and Dan
has given them the opportunity, saying, тАЬOne dollar equals clean water for one
4:02 PM
Page 37
African for one year. What about this is not doable for an American that has been
given so much?тАЭ Amazing the opportunities that we have here.
I think the stirring that youтАЩre talking about with these revivalsтАФpeople are no
longer content with the safety of a westernized Christianity. It doesnтАЩt cost
anything radical. By and large, it doesnтАЩt change our hearts. ThatтАЩs what was so
encouraging about your time in Nashville with us and the responses that weтАЩve
been hearing from people that have wrestled through politicsтАФhave wrestled with
what it really means to be someone that discerns the truth through the filter of the
life and death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jim: What you said before struck me. You said, тАЬItтАЩs almost like the Christians who live
in the richest, most powerful nation in history need a kind of Christianity that is mostly
meant to make them feel right and righteous as opposed to needing a gospel that calls
them to be transformed, to be changedтАжour hearts, our lives, our priorities and the
direction of our nation.тАЭ You do Redemption SongsтАФthe new CD. Do we think that we
need redemption in this country, or do we just want to tell the world that weтАЩre right?
Steve: You struck a chord with what weтАЩre about, what weтАЩre being defined byтАФour
identity. Where does it lie? Does it lie in a political party? Does it even lie in being
right? But Jesus is so radical when he calls us to community and to leaning on each
other and joining hands and fighting against injusticeтАж
WeтАЩre past the law, and weтАЩre freed up through grace to do amazing things and
not worry about being right in some peopleтАЩs eyes. Really taking risks and
abandoning ourselves to love people well. My identity for a long time was in being
right. It seems like Jesus was less about that and more about being compassionate
and, as you said, serving the least of these.
Jim: When I was a student, I had been kicked out of my little church over the issue
of race when I was about 14. They said, тАЬChristianity has nothing to do with racism.
ThatтАЩs political. And our faith is personal.тАЭ I left that night because I couldnтАЩt push
down the questions anymore. I came back to look at Jesus after years of organizing
in the student movementтАж Then I began to read the New Testament once again.
IтАЩd never gotten rid of Jesus. I had left the churchтАФor they had kicked me outтАФbut
IтАЩd never gotten rid of Jesus. I got to the Sermon on the Mount. IтАЩd never read
anything more radical in my life than that. Everything was turned upside down. It
changed everything and us with itтАФeverything personal, social, spiritual, economic,
political. Blessed are the poor, the poor in spirit. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.
тАжI think a whole generation of young people want
something that radical. TheyтАЩre tired of the halfway
Christianity, of feeling right all the time and better than
other people. WeтАЩre kind of the blessed nation of God, and
everybody would love to be in America and be a white,
suburban, right-wing Republican. IтАЩm not quite sure thatтАЩs
the position Jesus had in mind. But the liberals are so
lame. My book says, тАЬThe right gets it wrong, and the left
doesnтАЩt get it.тАЭ And they seriously donтАЩt get it. IтАЩve been
attacked by the left, too, because theyтАЩre afraid of
spirituality. TheyтАЩre afraid of a transforming kind of faith.
TheyтАЩre afraid of something that critiques both left and
right, where God is not in anybodyтАЩs pocketтАФany party. So
how do we really talk about a radical vision for a new order
that changes everything, starting with our own lives?
I can ultimately only speak to my own lifeтАФit
began and continues to proceed with repentance. I
think itтАЩs what you spoke to, just the idol of тАЬsafetyтАЭ that
has existed in the United States, to even conceive that
a government can take away our vulnerability and extend our days. ItтАЩs just one
thing of many in my heart that supplants the work of Jesus and says, тАЬJesus,
youтАЩre not quite enough. I need a little more here.тАЭ I need a little more of what I
like to call тАЬSteve righteousness,тАЭ too. I need to be right. I need to do the things
that make me feel like IтАЩm worthy. All those things undermine Jesus.
I think really understandingтАФtaking 10 steps backward and saying тАЬWhat Jesus
did was enoughтАЭтАФthat frees me up. That frees me up in amazing ways. That frees
us up to care about the people of AfricaтАж
Jim: His mission should be ours. His priority should be ours. You know, it was
Charles Finney, the 19th century evangelist, who invented the altar callтАж The
reason why he created the altar call was that he wanted to get the names and
addresses of the converts to sign them up for the anti-slavery campaign. I think
that poverty is going to become the new altar call like in Charles FinneyтАЩs time. ItтАЩs
going to be what brings us together to the altar. We become converted and then
demonstrate that by showing our concern for those Jesus talked about the mostтАж
Steve: Dan speaks to the idea of when Jesus was walking and came upon the
blind man, and his disciples said, тАЬIs this man blind because of his sin or his
fatherтАЩs sin?тАЭ And we do that subtly in our culture, I think. We attribute things to
an acquired sense of justice that certain people are getting things becauseтАФwe do
that with HIV and AIDS. But Jesus again undermines everythingтАФflips everythingтАФ
pulls the rug out and says, тАЬNo, actually heтАЩs blind so you can see him be healed.
Your faith will be shaken, and your life will grow as a result of this.тАЭ
ThatтАЩs the opportunity in Africa, and I think thatтАЩs our opportunity politically to
be involved and to be thinkers and those who wonтАЩt be co-opted by a political party
but will see Jesus in these opportunities to serve and to radically change the
course of our country.
Jim: Gordon Brown, the [United KingdomтАЩs] chancellor, once said to me, тАЬWe now
for the first time in history have the information, the technology, the knowledge
and the resources to end extreme poverty. What we donтАЩt have is the moral and
the political will.тАЭ He then looked across the table and said, тАЬThatтАЩs your job in the
churches. ThatтАЩs your job to create the moral and the political will.тАЭ That was, for
me, a call to action because weтАЩre the ones who have to change the winds, the
climate, the environment in which this conversation takes place.
Steve: We really want to be those that use our opportunities toтАжfight against
injusticeтАж The more I read about Jesus and the more I see about His time on earth,
every moment can matter to the end that we can love people well and change
hearts and even see our hearts changed to be more like His. There is a lot of life to
be found in this freedom.
Jim: I think itтАЩs going to be a new generation thatтАЩs going
to say, тАЬAll your charityтАФall your things you do to help the
needy is fine. But what about justice here? What about
some solutions here? Do we want poor families to spend
their lives shopping in food banks and food pantries and
church basements? Or should people make enough to
be able to feed their families?тАЭ
тАжSo I think the question of justice is finally a religious
one. ItтАЩs a gospel question. The God of the Bible is not
just a God of charity. He is a God of justice. And I think it
may be our kids who, as we get involved in this stuff, are
going to be asking the hard questions.
Steve: The new worship that God talks about is no longer
burning sacrifices. ItтАЩs caring for the widows and the orphans.
As weтАЩre endeavoring a conversation of worshipтАФas we
released the hymn record and as others have been focusing
on what they call тАЬworship musicтАЭтАФthe new worship, first of
all, is life. ItтАЩs living. ItтАЩs a response to God. ItтАЩs caring for the
widows and the orphans as it says in Scripture.
Jim: I see a whole generation converted by all this. So a lot of us, Steve, have had
the light go on. And when the light goes on in our hearts and our heads, thatтАЩs
when things can really change. ccm
More of this Listening In is available at
august 05 ccm 37
8:06 PM
Page 38
19 11
12 9 8
1 235
archedтАЭ musings.
A compendium of arguably useless and тАЬrese
Chris WellтАЩs NEW JACK CCM List
Before They Put The тАЬHIPтАЭ in Hip-Hop
(1) Debates about тАЬemotion vs. logicтАЭ replaced
by anxious discussions about whether dc
Talk will ever do another record.
(2) Circulation department would get a lot of
calls from subscribers on the planet Vulcan
about why every issue seems to take like
20 years to get there.
(3) Ceremonial robes replaced by nifty
Hip-hop has become so ingrained in our pop
culture, itтАЩs hard to remember a time when
it was all тАЬooh, new and different.тАЭ Today,
legitimate rappers are making a stand in
Christian musicтАФbut there was once a time
toe in the waters to try this nu thang for
themselves (with decidedly mixed results).
Here are five historic examples.
1. Steve Taylor, тАЬBad RapтАЭ ( 1 9 8 2 )
CCM Hall-of-Famer Steve Taylor burst onto the Christian rock scene with
his new wave EP I Want To Be A Clone (Sparrow), and was ahead of the
curve in oh-so-many ways. Of course, his tongue-firmly-in-cheek тАЬBad RapтАЭ
sounds dated now, but still contains more satirical jabs per-square-inch
than most Christian songs.
2. Bryan Duncan, тАЬDonтАЩt Ya Wanna Rap?тАЭ ( 1 9 8 9 )
A story song of sorts from Strong Medicine (Myrrh), in which Duncan tries
to connect with a man in an airportтАФresorting to an unsuccessful rap to try
to be тАЬrelevant.тАЭ Dig beneath the surface, though, and itтАЩs actually about
looking past our surface differences to find our common need for Jesus.
Starflyer 59 shirts.
(4) Instead of that weird salute they do with
their fingers, theyтАЩd do that pointing thing
Larry Norman does.
(5) Mr. Spock would understand the logic of
putting Amy Grant on the cover of CCM
after selling 25 million records. And
getting her own prime-time NBC television
show. And since she was the issueтАЩs
guest editor.
1. Pillar (i.e., тАЬof educationтАЭ) 2. Natalie Grant
(i.e., тАЬcashтАЭ) 3. Seventh Day Slumber (i.e.,
тАЬsleepingтАЭ) 4. Staple (i.e., тАЬschool suppliesтАЭ)
5. Mark Hall (i.e., тАЬhallтАЭ)
3. Michael W. Smith, тАЬLove CrusadeтАЭ ( 1 9 9 0 )
Michael W. Smith has written some of the finest classics in the history of
contemporary Christian music, including gems on his crossover pop
smash Go West Young Man (Reunion). And then there was that rap he did
on тАЬLove Crusade.тАЭ Coincidence? You be the judge.
4. Audio Adrenaline, тАЬDC-10тАЭ ( 1 9 9 2 )
This early recording of a, shall we say, тАЬpunkierтАЭ Audio Adrenaline was a
demo included on their more pop-friendly, self-titled debut on ForeFront
Records. (As if one trendy version were not enough, it was re-made for the
swing craze a few years later, for 1999тАЩs Underdog.)
5. Steven Curtis Chapman, тАЬGot 2 B TruтАЭ ( 1 9 9 2 )
This kooky number, from The Great Adventure (Sparrow), finds Mr.
Chapman trading raps with guest tobyMac. ItтАЩs a clever object lesson in
being true to your own self (as Chapman himself explains in his rap), and
not grasping at whatever style happens to be fashionable at the moment.
Chris Well once rapped a karaoke rendition of тАЬJesus FreakтАЭ
in the office, a feat from which his co-workers have yet to
recover. His debut novel, the crime thriller Forgiving Solomon
Long (Harvest House Publishers), is in stores now.
38 ccm august
may 0505
8:08 PM
Page 41
Panic Attack
With its latest offering, MXPX reinvents its initial fury to show that some good things can come back around.
The bandтАЩs older and wiser with punk
attitude still in check.
By design, punk music, in purest form, has
its limits. As it rages against the pop culture
du jour, it does so in its simple form as much
as in its lyrics and posturing. Consequently, a
File under:
Grade: B+
band can only wallow in the form for so long
before it either burns out into a heap of
ashes or grows and matures into something
else (and, some might argue, become the very thing it once raged against).
Somehow, however, punk-pop band MXPX has changed the rules. All of 13
years after the band formed, 11 years after the Tooth & Nail debut Pokinatcha,
seven years after the A&M crossover Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo,
the members of MXPXтАФMike Herrera (vocals, bass), Tom Wisniewski (guitar)
and Yuri Ruley (drums)тАФhave circled back to the youthful energy and
exuberance of their beginnings with Panic, the bandтАЩs first offering from
SideOneDummy Records.
Determined to reinvent themselves as, well, themselves, the guys recruited
producer Gavin MacKillop (Goo Goo Dolls, Toad the Wet Sprocket) and went
into their hometown studio in Bremerton, Wash., taking a mere 22 days to
record the 14-track opus. Granted, these are not the same kids who started
out in high school; musically, the fire is still there, but the perspective is
seasoned with hard-fought wisdom earned from mistakes made and
lessons learned.
In the process, Panic covers a gamut of emotions and tempos. Despite the
occasional awkward rhyme, many of the tracks are worthwhile. The
confessional rocker тАЬThe StoryтАЭ struggles with the big questions of life and
meaning before pleading, тАЬCan I get a new soul?/The one I gotтАЩs been trampled
on/тАжCan I get a new heart?/Cause the one I got works way too hard.тАЭ
тАЬThe Darkest PlacesтАЭ shows a firm resolve to make an impact (тАЬIтАЩm shining
the light on the darkest places/You know and I know we have to face this nowтАЭ).
The sweet and romantic (if employmentally irresponsible) тАЬCall In SickтАЭ finds
the men asking their wives to skip work and join them on tour. The blistering
rave-up тАЬLate Again,тАЭ which almost sounds like a quartet number rebuilt as a
PoMo anthem, declares that they will make it through the Pearly GatesтАФbut
they might be a little behind schedule.
Despite the bandтАЩs beginnings on a faith-based label, one would be hardpressed to label its work as тАЬChristianтАЭ in the narrow market sense. (This is not
a qualitative statement, by the way, but simple statement of fact.) However,
there is a life behind the eyes here and enough positive energy to make Panic a
healthy alternative to what many other popular bands are spouting.
Besides, MXPX proves you can go home again. That they can still rock with
the best of тАШem is all the more rewarding. CHRIS WELL
august 05 ccm 41
8:08 PM
Page 42
File under:
Piano Pop/Rock
Grade: A-
White Flag
The Beatitudes get their
own soundtrack.
In a rock & roll world that is
often swagger over
substance, Shaun Groves
chooses to spotlight a
sermonтАФnuggets from the
BeatitudesтАФon his latest
release White Flag.
The result is ShaunтАЩs best
record to dateтАФsure to plant
a few seeds and spawn a
few hits.
From the get-go, Shaun
comes out swinging with
тАЬWhatтАЩs Wrong With This
World,тАЭ an explosive number
with Jimmy Eat World written
all over itтАФwhich would have
set the tone for the whole
record, were it not for the
second тАЬSad SongтАЭтАФa slower
ditty that sounds like he
took a nap on his piano
(a sequencing mishap).
ThatтАЩs OK, though. тАЬAmenтАЭ
kick-starts the party again
while тАЬWhite FlagтАЭ and
тАЬCraveтАЭ help the record find
its grooveтАФupbeat, up-tempo
guitar-driven songs that are
radio friendly and wellproduced, yet not overly so.
42 ccm august 05
This is ShaunтАЩs first outing
as skipperтАФand it suits him.
The lionтАЩs share of these
songs are goodтАФyet the lyrics
are better, suggesting a gift
for teaching on ShaunтАЩs part.
The liner notes can function
as a crutch for some of these
songs, which are not easily
digested on a first listen.
ThereтАЩs no spoon-feeding
here. And maybe thatтАЩs good.
The record ends on an
acoustic note and adds a
sensitive touch to an
uncompromising message.
In short, White Flag is
more of a debut than a
renaissance. And regardless
of how well it does on the
charts, ShaunтАЩs career as a
Bible teacher seems to be on
the upswing.
effort. Much like his
counterpart Andy Chrisman,
who delivered a dynamic solo
debut late last year, Harris
unveils a respectable, wellproduced set that departs
somewhat from the standard
4Him sonic template.
While Harris doesnтАЩt
cultivate much new
substance musically or
thematically, he does offer
several memorable, radiofriendly cuts. To wit, soaring
ballad тАЬWish You Were HereтАЭ
and string-imbued jewel тАЬFind
Your Wings,тАЭ written for his
children, resonate with
personal vitality and finesse.
File under:
Grade: A
File under:
Pop/Adult Contemporary
Grade: B-
O How the Mighty
Have Fallen
Galaxy Music
A disc youтАЩll fall for
The Line Between the Two
Finding his groove in a new
line of direction
After spending more than 15
years as principal songwriter
and distinctive tenor member
of prominent Christian AC
group 4Him, Mark Harris
steps out with his first solo
ItтАЩs been 20 years since a
band called Youth ChoirтАФlater
known simply as The ChoirтАФ
first landed on Southern
CaliforniaтАЩs Christian music
scene. And without them, itтАЩs
possible there would be no
Switchfoot, no O.C.
SupertonesтАФand beyond
SoCal, no sense of how to
do Christian rock right. For
if Steve Hindalong, Derry
Daugherty and Co. have
taught us anything, itтАЩs
that Christian musicians
need not ape mainstream
trends, but can be
passionate innovators.
What was true in the
1980s is still true today, as O
How The Mighty Have Fallen,
the first new Choir disc in
five years, fiercely
demonstrates. Put this
record on any radio station
playlist, and it wouldnтАЩt be
out of place next to the latest
U2, Coldplay or WallflowersтАФ
though it displays a sound all
its own. From the nitroburning тАЬNobody Gets A
Smooth RideтАЭ to the lovely,
melodic chorus that anchors
тАЬSheтАЩs Alright,тАЭ Fallen is a
record built on simple but
effective pop strengths,
including DaughertyтАЩs
whispery-yet-focused tenor.
Choir mainstays Dan
Michaels (sax, lyricon) and
Tim Chandler (bass) are also
solid, joined by Common
Children guitarist Marc Byrd
(who produces).
So many Christian albums
fail to embrace struggles that
mark authentic faith, and on
this score, Fallen also
succeeds. тАЬMercy Will Prevail,тАЭ
with HindalongтАЩs pulsating
toms (think U2тАЩs тАЬWith Or
Without YouтАЭ) and starry-sky
guitar, delivers this
cold-sweat meditation:
тАЬLove never fails/Mercy will
prevail/I wanna swear itтАЩs true,
but itтАЩs hard to defend it.тАЭ
On its own merits, The
ChoirтАЩs latest is a joy, solid in
its musical, lyrical and
thematic executionтАФthe
album dawns with a plaintive
whistle and electric guitar
and exits in the chill of a
suspended drone. And as
part of this distinguished
groupтАЩs discography, тАЬFallenтАЭ
offers persuasive proof that
not all musical reunions
need be cynical or selfindulgent. Oh, how the Choir
has risenтАФand then some.
8:08 PM
Page 43
File under:
Grade: A
Gotee Records
Get down and boogie!
Even a few years ago, it was
hard to find artisans in the
Christian hip-hop community
who had a voice in the
culture. ItтАЩs not that the
talent wasnтАЩt thereтАФthe
machinery to get the music
to the masses was shaky
and unproven.
But progress has been
made these past few years,
thanks in large part to
people like DJ Maj, who has
made a career not as merely
an artist himself, but as a
facilitator for others to shine.
And with his fourth album, a
hip-hop confection titled
BoogieRoot, we find DJ Maj
still serving as host for a
variety of special guest
rappers and vocalists and
still building bridgesтАФlyrically,
musically and spiritually.
Maj sets the stage nicely
with the lively тАЬRated R,тАЭ
celebrating the growing
influence of rap as an art
form but making a specific
point that itтАЩs all about
Jesus (тАЬthe secret of
the BoogieRoot is the
grave emptyтАЭ).
From there, BoogieRoot
sports a variety of tones and
styles. The funky тАЬuAppealтАЭ
tips the hat to the pioneers of
rap. The guitar rocker
тАЬH.A.N.D.S.тАЭ encourages
listeners to lift their hands to
the Lord. The eerie тАЬCanтАЩt
Take It All AwayтАЭ is a poignant
realization that God is involved
in the world even when we
choose not to see Him. Artists
who make guest appearances
on the project include Michael
Tait, L.A. Symphony, KJ-52
and tobyMac.
The highlight of the album
is the sweet and moody тАЬSoul
Window.тАЭ Joined by the silky
voice of Bermudian gospel
singer Ayiesha Woods and the
smooth MC stylings
of M.O.C. (Mind of Christ),
DJ Maj extols the peace
that comes from having
Christ inside.
In all, BoogieRoot
excellently bridges the gap
between the hip-hop
underground and the rap
stylings co-opted by the pop
culture at large. On whichever
side of the divide you live,
thereтАЩs something tasty for
you here.
august 05 ccm 43
8:08 PM
Page 44
File under:
Hard Rock/Metalcore
Grade: B+
the heavy handed foundation
for a message of moving on
from past mistakes, while
тАЬFor a LifetimeтАЭ bellows with
back and forth screams from
Ryan and harmonies by
Chaulk. Though a less
intense cover of the Goo Goo
Dolls тАЬLong Way DownтАЭ
couldтАЩve been omitted, that
finale doesnтАЩt diminish from
the otherwise heartfelt
huskiness of Haste the Day.
When Everything Falls
Solid State
A hearty, not hasty follow-up
Between the respectable
2004 debut Burning Bridges
and tour time with As I Lay
Dying, Zao and Strung Out,
IndianapolisтАЩ Haste the Day
is a hot shot prospect in the
current metalcore myriad.
Sure, the scene is getting
cluttered, but this band
bends beyond the
predictable rage, thanks to
the dueling vocals of
Brennan Chaulk and James
Ryan, a ruthless rhythm
section and hammering
Several assertive
instances can be traced
throughout the sophomore
CD When Everything Falls,
which is thematically based
upon standing firm in oneтАЩs
beliefs. The title cut perhaps
best embodies this concept,
along with searing and
strident sonic qualities. The
furious instrumental
approach to тАЬWalk OnтАЭ lays
44 ccm august 05
File under:
Folk Rock
Grade: A
The Far Country
This country is definitely
worth exploring.
Fans have always mentioned
Andrew Peterson as the heir
apparent to Rich MullinsтАЩ
musical legacy, and not just
because heтАЩs willing to use a
hammered dulcimer every
once in a while. Go to any of
his concerts, and youтАЩll see
that the guy really just loves
to serve his listeners through
song. His newest album, The
Far Country, exudes a prideswallowing intimacy that
begs you to bend your ear
its way and then pushes you
toward hope.
Death is one of the discтАЩs
obvious plotlines, but so is
heaven. тАЬLay Me DownтАЭ
bridges the inseparable
topics perfectly: тАЬWe are not
alone/We are more than
flesh and bone/What is seen
will pass away/What is not is
going home.тАЭ Also planted in
the middle of the album are
two epic tunes of adventure
(тАЬLittle Boy Heart AliveтАЭ and
тАЬThe HavenтАЩs GreyтАЭ) and the
life that grows out of our
ache for heaven. These two
songs are the pinnacle of
the 10-track project
produced by PetersonтАЩs
genius instrumentalist Ben
Shive (Bethany Dillon, Monk
& Neagle). Musically,
Peterson employs a fullband sound with electric
guitar, drums and bass.
Though somewhat new
territory for him, this new
sound adds plenty of punch
to songs like the
aforementioned тАЬLay Me
Down,тАЭ тАЬMystery of MercyтАЭ
and the Mullins-influenced
title track which sets the
pace for the album
musically and lyrically.
However, Mullins
comparisons aside,
Peterson is writing his own
legacy, and you need to
hear it.
File under:
Grade: A
Street Soul
8:08 PM
The groove-filled tracks on
Street Soul play like a classic
Motown record, with Callins
offering redemptive themes
of hope, love and joy.
Standouts тАЬKeep Hope AliveтАЭ
and тАЬBetter LifeтАЭ resonate
with thumping bass lines,
double-octave riffs and silky
vocalizations reminiscent of
Marvin Gaye and Peabo
Bryson. WhatтАЩs more, Callins
courageously addresses
problems such as
abandonment, spiritual
apathy and suicide. A stellar
first effort.
No shortcomings found here
While his name may suggest
a diminutive stature, Pee
Wee Callins possesses bigtime talent. In fact, after
hearing his debut release
Street Soul, one gets the
feeling that Callins is a
seasoned performer.
Perhaps thatтАЩs because his
musical roots trace back to
age three when he began
playing drums in church.
Since then, Callins grew
up singing gospel tunes and
has shared the stage with
Kirk Franklin and Shirley
Caesar. This time around he
wraps his velvet-smooth
vocals and lyrical diversity in
an R&B package that
includes stylish infusions of
hip-hop, rock, pop, soul and
Page 45
File under:
Grade: B+
Hello Good Friend
The Militia Group
Blasting off with
summertime sounds
The Rocket Summer may
have found mainstream
acceptance through tours
with Something Corporate,
Eogan Heaslip
Robin Mark
Deeper Still
This City, These Streets
Ultimate Kids Collection 1 & 2
Ultimate Music Makeover:
Songs of Michael W. Smith
Bethany Dillon
Robbie Seay Band
Bart Millard
Casting Pearls
Mark Trammell Trio
Marshall Hall
Better Days
Casting Pearls
Spread the Word 2005
Mark Trammell Trio
(Discovery House)
Chris Rice
Casting Crowns
Monday Morning
Audio Adrenaline
Of Truth and Reconciliation
Fools Paradise
Until My Heart Caves In
Renovating Diverse City (remix)
Tales From the Badlands
(Beach Street)
8:09 PM
Page 46
Ash and Copeland, but that
doesnтАЩt mean wunderkind
Bryce Avary squelches his
spiritual foundation. Instead
the 22-year-old singer/
combines worldly wit with
mature faith assessments
across jovial piano pop akin
to a younger, higher-pitched
Ben Folds.
Cuts such as тАЬAround the
ClockтАЭ and тАЬIтАЩm Doing
Everything (For You)тАЭ radiate
with summertime sparks,
while a more meditative glow
permeates тАЬTreasuresтАЭ and
тАЬDestiny.тАЭ Avary gives a
snippet testimony of his
salvation on the jubilant тАЬI
Was So AloneтАЭ and pays
tribute to his new bride on
тАЬChristmas Present,тАЭ
demonstrating depth well
beyond his years.
File under:
Grade: B
Sunrise To Sunset
Around.тАЭ In some places,
such as on тАЬWalk On Water,тАЭ
WrightтАЩs pop and hip-hop
personalities naturally walk
side by side. And for a little
more of an international vibe,
тАЬSpirit MoveтАЭ and
тАЬResurrectionтАЭ give WrightтАЩs
music a distinct reggae
flavor. He tiptoes along a
daring tightrope here, in that
he avoids becoming too
saccharine sweet on his
quieter tunes, yet he never
acts overly tough with his hiphop excursions.
Lyrically, Wright pens a lot
of worshipful songs, even
though this is not strictly a
worship album. Instead,
tracks such as тАЬI Can Feel
Your LoveтАЭ and тАЬFrom
Sunrise To SunsetтАЭ focus on
how God can saturate our
everyday lives, if weтАЩd only
let Him.
The beauty of
contemporary pop music is
how it mixes and matches
seemingly mutually exclusive
styles into oddly compatible
forms. However, Wright
spreads himself too thinly
here and ought to have
concentrated on the
production a little more and
just a few of his favorite
musical styles. Nevertheless,
Sunrise To Sunset is filled
with many fine grooves and is
well suited for both daytime
and nighttime listening.
A surprising, colorful
musical journey
Over 45 Stores
(615) 860-7475
46 ccm august 05
In todayтАЩs constantly
changing musical
environment, it helps to be a
performer with the
chameleon-like ability to flow
and evolve right along with
it. And Paul Wright is just
that kind of an adaptable
artist. His skills are
evidenced by this Sunrise To
Sunset release, which shows
off a wide variety of the
manтАЩs admirable artistic
One moment, Wright
exhibits the comfort level to
fit right into the beach-ready,
acoustic breeziness of тАЬFrom
Sunrise To Sunset,тАЭ before
transforming himself into the
urban-outfitted tour-de-force
of the hip-hop-ish тАЬCome
File under:
Grade: A-
The Boy vs the Cynic
Cynics beware!
John Reuben sounds like he
just doesnтАЩt care anymore.
This is still the John Reuben
fans know and love, but on
his fourth Gotee release heтАЩs
decided to throw some
artistic caution to the wind.
Where he used to spike his
hip-hop with a little alt-rock,
Reuben now pushes the
envelope of hip-hop until it
tears. Songs are dominated
by live alt-rock riffs, acoustic
guitars, electronic flairs and
ReubenтАЩs spoken word/rap
style delivery.
The disc starts out in
somewhat classic Reuben
form, joyfully sloughing off
popular opinion on тАЬOut of
Control.тАЭ He continues to pull
new listeners into his world
with the clap-happy, lite
punk-rock swing of the
тАЬNuisanceтАЭ (featuring Matt
Thiessen of Relient K). Once
they are in, Reuben then hits
listeners with some of the
most unflinching, emotionally
charged, socially incisive
title tracks heard on a
Christian label.
тАЬFollow Your LeaderтАЭ
drops a refreshing verbal
smackdown on both media
wonks who pigeonhole all
Christians as wackos and the
hardline conservatives that
fit the description. The
standout track, тАЬSales Pitch,тАЭ
cuts even further, exposing
the human tendency toward
emotional dishonesty, amidst
Radiohead-like blips and
swirls. In a time when
American Christians are
starting to respond with
conviction to global
geopolitics, Reuben bares his
thoughts and his fangs on
the wake-up call тАЬWhat About
Them?тАЭ And lest he be
dismissed as simply an
adolescent rabble-rouser,
тАЬThereтАЩs Only ForgivenessтАЭ
and тАЬAll I HaveтАЭ display a
level of honesty and a godly
heart that only comes with
experience and maturity.
At times too tame, at
times too тАЬout there,тАЭ The
Boy vs. the Cynic does have
some style and delivery
kinks. Reuben will probably
gain and lose fans on this
one, but he doesnтАЩt seem too
concerned. These are just
the things that happen when
an artist makes one of the
most interesting and
provocative releases of
the year.
8:10 PM
Page 48
by Margaret Becker
I have come to the conclusion that I am filet mignon to most biting
insects. I cannot step out the door in warm weather without being
assaulted by everything from large black flies to the ever-elusive тАЬnosee-ums.тАЭ ItтАЩs the reason I hole up in my house starting in June.
Normally, I sit outside and read every morning to the backdrop of my
favorite (and some not so favorite) sounds like the birds, the wind in
the leaves and the muffled bass thump of a passing Cadillac. Somehow
all these sounds together seem to cancel each other out and create
the perfect environment for concentrating. But come that first mosquito
assault, IтАЩm in the living room, missing the interplay of sub-woofer and
blue jay.
The search for creating the perfect indoor aural backdrop always
leads me back to the same old, time-honed method: my CD collection.
DonтАЩt misunderstand, I donтАЩt put on Bebel Gilberto, Tony Bennett or
even Rita Springer. All of that distracts me. It has words, and by chosen
profession, I am obligated to listen. But rather, I listen to anything that
doesnтАЩt remind me of my
тАЬworkтАЭ life. Some of my
favorites are ambient, like a
double CD I bought last year
called Windham Hill Chill. It is
perfect, non-distracting, great
reading music.
I asked a few friends what
they listen to when reading.
Shaun Groves said this:
тАЬ...If itтАЩs music, itтАЩs classical. I use the classical to
romantic period discs the
most. I love Mozart, Bach,
Schumann, Vivaldi, etc. ItтАЩs
music too complex for my
brain to analyze while reading,
so it gives up and lets the
music easily become furniture,
background. ItтАЩs very soothing
for me, no guitars, nothing like what I write, and it takes me to another
time. Plus, it makes me feel smart and distinguished and, I think, helps
me sound out those big words.тАЭ
And Janna Long of Avalon had this to say:
тАЬReading? With my infant daughter, IтАЩve had hardly time to do anything. The only books I get to read have titles like The Animals at the
Zoo. But when I am able to find the time, I listen to classical musicтАФ
anything in that category.тАЭ
If you need a push indoors for a decadent afternoon of reading, let
me entice you with a few more titles you might enjoy: Aria 2 (Windham
Hill), Mozart for Relaxation (Various Artists: Windham Hill) and my longtime favorite, Surf and Spray (New World Music).
Margaret Becker is an award-winning
author, speaker, producer, songwriter and
recording artist. Her latest work includes
her third book, Bringing the Elements, set
to release this fall, and the recent worship
recording, Faithfully Yours: Psalms. For
more information visit
48 ccm august 05
More Than A Song
Blessed Be Your Name: Worshipping God on the
Road Marked With Suffering
By Matt and Beth Redman (Regal)
Based on RedmanтАЩs Dove Award-winning song тАЬBlessed Be Your
Name,тАЭ this book delivers a message that seems foreign to us as
emotionally driven creatures: Worship is a choice. Just as the Psalms
are songs birthed from DavidтАЩs struggles, we can choose to worship
God in the face of hardship as well as in times of peace because He
is sovereign. This is a difficult act of devotion, but in every season of
life, worshipers will learn to cry, тАЬBlessed be Your name.тАЭ The book is
a companion to RedmanтАЩs CD of the same name on sixstepsrecords.
The MartyrтАЩs Song
By Ted Dekker (WestBow)
Written by best-selling author Dekker (Obsessed, The Circle Trilogy) this
novella tells the story of a teenage outcast named Marci who has a
chance encounter with an old woman. Marci longs to be physically
beautiful, but a strange tale about persecution in 1940s Bosnia helps
her discover a new reality. Song is a unique collaboration with international relief organization World Vision and Todd Agnew, who recorded
an exclusive single also titled тАЬThe MartyrтАЩs SongтАЭ that accompanies
the book. Agnew debuted the song on World VisionтАЩs тАЬIn the Name of
Love TourтАЭ with BarlowGirl and Warren Barfield.
The Gospel Unplugged: Turning Up the Volume on
Songs That Rock Your Soul
By Rich Wagner (Baker)
A great Christian song teaches us truth, expresses who we are or
reveals part of GodтАЩs nature to us, says Wagner, as he unveils a
study of 25 of the most popular songs in contemporary Christian
music. Citing how people are shaped by the lyrics of their favorite
songs, Wagner delves into the meaning behind the words and examines the theological influence of artists such as Switchfoot, Steven
Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Nichole Nordeman and others. This
book helps readers listen to and practically apply the truths found in
their personal soundtracks.
Life and Times
Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life
By Keri Wyatt Kent (Revell)
Life doesnтАЩt stop, and itтАЩs easy to get caught up in finding our value
in what we do, not in who we are. Although this book is geared
toward moms who juggle kids, errands, jobs, relationships and
church activities, anyone in a hurry will eagerly grasp JesusтАЩ message of тАЬCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest.тАЭ Breathe teaches chronic overachievers to slow
down and find rest in their relationship with Christ.
Out of the QuestionтАжInto the Mystery:
Getting Lost in the GodLife Relationship
By Leonard Sweet (Waterbrook)
тАЬI just want to figure it out!тАЭ Instead of treasuring the mysteries of our
faith, we simply want to get the Christian life nailed down. But Sweet
points out that the give-and-take relationship God designed us for is
much different than just studying Him as a doctrine. ItтАЩs following a living Jesus every day and opening our lives to an honest, all-access
relationship that leads to untold mystery and adventure.
Profiles by Andrea Bailey
8:15 PM
Page 49
russlongтАЩs guidetogear >>
Want to know how Skillet fires up its anthemic rock sound? HereтАЩs the lowdown...
I have been impressed with the unique sound of Memphis-based alternative act
Skillet since hearing the bandтАЩs debut album back in 1996. Collide, the rockersтАЩ
current release, features John Cooper on lead vocals and bass, his wife Korey
Cooper on guitar and keys, Ben Kasica on guitar and Lori Peters on drums.
BenтАЩs guitar rig is built around a
couple of GMP Roxy Guitars, one
is tuned to drop D, the other to
Drop B. Known for their
customization options, GMP
guitars are used by everyone
from FuelтАЩs Carl Bell to PillarтАЩs
Noah Henson to PoisonтАЩs CC
Deville (yep, itтАЩs 20 years later,
and these guys still havenтАЩt given
BenтАЩs guitar
up). For amplification Ben uses a
Vox AC30 loaded with Celestion
Blue speakers. The AC30 was
originally made visible by QueenтАЩs
Brian May and The Beatles, and
more recently, by superstars such
as R.E.M., Radiohead, and of
course, U2тАЩs The Edge. Ben also
uses a Mesa Engineering Dual
Rectifier head and a Hughes and
Vox AC30 Amp
Kettner head (both with Mesa
cabinets). BenтАЩs pedal-board is
loaded with a wide variety of audio gems. He has a
Real McCoy Custom Wah, the rock & roll standard
Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Tech 21 XXL, which
incorporates the ultra-cool Warp control that lets you
vary a guitarтАЩs sound from a scooped-out, heavy fuzz
to a mid-rangy overdrive. States Ben, тАЬThe Real
Tech 21 XXL
McCoy is my favorite pedal; there is just something
about it that none of my other pedals can touch.тАЭ
Ben also has a MXR Dynacomp, a VooDoo Lab Sparkle Drive, a Boss SD-2 and
a Line 6 Delay modeler which perfectly reproduces the sound of the classic
delays while remaining road-worthy.
Korey also plays a GMP guitar and uses a Mesa
single rectifier head with a Mesa 4-12 cabinet. To
cover all of the bandтАЩs keyboard parts, she uses a
combination of the Korg Triton Studio, the Korg
Trinity and the E-Mu Proteus Extreme Lead. Korey
does all of her keyboard programming with MOTUтАЩs
Digital Performer.
JohnтАЩs GMP Roxy bass
As the frontman of such a
powerful rock band, I was
surprised when John shared
that, тАЬI guess my first piece of
gear ever was my trombone that
I received when I was in the sixth
grade. I was actually in marching
band back then.тАЭ Besides
singing (and reminiscing of
those wonderful days in
marching band), he plays a five
string GMP Roxy bass with GHS
strings through a Mesa Impulse
bass amp. He also uses a Mesa
V Twin pre amp which is an extremely cool tube preamp/distortion unit.
I think JohnтАЩs vocals sound killer on Collide, so I just had to
chat with studio engineer Skidd Mills (Sister Hazel, Audio
Adrenaline, Spacehog) and see exactly how he went about
capturing the vocal performance. Skidd recorded and mixed
the album along with producer/engineer Paul Ebersold
(Third Day, Sonia Dada, 3 Doors Down). Skidd explained,
тАЬThe primary vocal mic that we used to track JohnтАЩs vocals
was the M249, made by Neumann (ed. note: a successor
Neumann M49 mic
to the classic Neumann M49). I typically donтАЩt hit the
compressor very hard during tracking so I have more flexibility during the mix.тАЭ In
regards to mic preamps, Skidd stated, тАЬThe mic pre we've used on the last three
or four Skillet records was a Pultec that the tech at Ardent made for me from a
Pultec MAVEQ.тАЭ Skidd went on to say that most of the vocal compression was
done with the Valley People 440 compressor. This cool gadget is a single channel
device that provides a peak limiter, a compressor/expander and a de-esser in a
single rack space box. ItтАЩs worth keeping your eyes open for this one since it can
often be found in the $250 ballpark, and it sounds like a million bucks.
KoreyтАЩs GMP guitar
Lori has come a long way since her first kit, which she described as тАЬa blue sparkly
kit that was really two sets put together with a double bass drum, snare and three
toms.тАЭ She now plays a maple five-piece DW drum kit which includes a 22тАЭ kick
drum, a 12тАЭ rack tom, and 16тАЭ
and 18тАЭ floor toms. Her primary
snare drum is a 6.5тАЭ x 14тАЭ
Craviato solid shell maple drum.
She also uses a 5тАЭ x 14тАЭ Pork
Pie maple snare drum and a 6.5тАЭ
x 14тАЭ Ludwig Black Beauty Snare.
She plays Zildjian cymbals, and
her setup includes a 20тАЭ medium
LoriтАЩs DW drum kit
ride, 17тАЭ and 18тАЭ crashes and a
pair of 14тАЭ Quick Beat hi-hats.
Lori also has an electronic setup for triggering sampled sounds. It includes a
Roland PD-7, a Roland trigger brain and a Roland sampler. When we discussed
her favorite piece of gear, Lori explained, тАЬEven with all the drums and cymbals,
my favorite piece of gear is my DW9000 double kick pedal.тАЭ
To check out some of the gear mentioned on this page, visit:,,,,,,,, and
Russ Long is an award winning recording engineer
who has helmed gold and platinum albums by
Sixpence None the Richer and Newsboys as well as
recordings by Relient K, Wilco, Phil Keaggy, Over the
Rhine and others. Russ recently created an educational
DVD on studio engineering tailored for singers, songwriters and home studio enthusiasts. For more
information visit
august 05 ccm 49
3:50 PM
Page 51
by Will Banister
Design by Dustin Ledo
тАЬConfessions of an тАШIndieтАЩ ArtistтАЭ
ike it or notтАФwe like to be liked.
Some of us have to be liked for a living.
It pays our bills. It sells records. It adds
muscle to our message.
WeтАЩre in the business of being liked.
Welcome to the world of the тАЬindieтАЭ artistтАФa
strange limbo between somewhere and nowhere
and maybe getting signed. ItтАЩs a world where
networking is our bread and butter, and тАЬbuzzтАЭ is
our best friend. And itтАЩs all on a shoestring.
Yet thatтАЩs just navel gazing. What about the
larger issues? How do we share Scripture with a
society thatтАЩs been whipped by the Bible Belt?
How do we produce good art without being
overly avant garde ? And how do we make
our music marketable without it becoming
In short, how do we as artists (not to mention the
church) display compassion without compromiseтАФ
confidence without conceit?
Tough questions? Yep. If we didnтАЩt have Jesus, weтАЩd
probably need a shrink.
Luckily, though, we donтАЩt need one at all. ThatтАЩs
because Jesus is the answer. And as silly sheep (even
unsigned sheep), all we have to do is tell people this
truth as best we can. ThatтАЩs all.
Enter two musicians who will help us navigate
through this beautiful messтАФMichael Olson and Ed
Cash. One is a young-buck singer/songwriter who
recently signed with Rocketown, while the other is a
whip-smart producer with a few doves on his shoulder.
I talked with both of these men about stuff du jour and
all things тАЬindie.тАЭ
Better listen up...
Special Advertising Section
august 05 ccm 51
3:50 PM
Page 52
Making Your
Own Music
Michael Olson: Yes, but IтАЩd
say more so by others. On the
Mary/Martha spectrum, IтАЩd be
more on the Martha side of
things, where IтАЩd be busy about
doing the taskтАФespecially in this
process. I found myself being
busy, working at it. And I felt that
the whole experience of my life as
a kidтАФstudying musicтАФall of that
was prayer. All of that was prayer
and preparation. And so, by the
time I stepped into that position, I
felt really prepared, spiritually, to
perform this task.
Michael Olson: Oh yeah. I
think there are many things about
this journey that, ironically, so
many musicians want to be on.
There are so many inconsistencies
about what it means to be a true
follower of Christ. I ask myself at
timesтАФwhy would anybody want
to do this? ItтАЩs difficult, and itтАЩs not
easy to reconcile the two. But IтАЩve
got this thing in me that I know
this is what IтАЩm supposed to do. I
feel called to do this.
тАЬWhat I would encourage
any artist to do is to make
sure you work on the
substance part first. Allow
the Lord to speak to you.тАЭ
graduate of North Central University, Michael Olson is in many
ways the poster boy for тАЬindieтАЭ success. Just three months after
his first тАЬindieтАЭ project, he landed a deal with Rocketown
Records. His debut album, The Long Arm of Love hit stores in July.
Currently on tour with Shaun Groves, I caught up with Michael in
Nashville for a cup of joe and the skinny on his storyтАФas well as some
advice for the тАЬindieтАЭ artist.
CCM: How does one go from being a Lone Ranger with a guitar to
becoming a тАЬstudтАЭ with a record deal?
Michael Olson: What I would encourage any artist to do is to make
sure you work on the substance part first. Allow the Lord to speak to
you. Allow Him to work in your life and really communicate to you the
message that you should be sharing. And hone your craft as best you can.
CCM: How important is prayer in the process? Was this project (and
your ministry) bathed in prayer at all?
CCM: What are the advantages
to being a signed artist?
Michael Olson: National
distribution. Radio promotion.
Marketing team. A team of people
behind you that believe in
what youтАЩre doing and have
connections to see that stuff
gets done. Now what are the
drawbacks? You give up some
controlтАУsome creative control.
CCM: How do you reconcile the
tension between the spotlightтАФ
with the applause and allтАФand
the cross, where people were
spitting upon Jesus? How do you
deal with that paradoxтАФis that
something that you struggle with?
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52 ccm august 05
CCM: Does one have to have
100% pure motives to do Christian
music? Or is there such a thing?
Michael Olson: I canтАЩt
speak for othersтАФbut IтАЩm a
human being. And I question
my motivation all the time. And I
can do that and lock myself up in
a little box and never get
anything done.
CCM: In other words, donтАЩt beat
yourself up?
Michael Olson: Yes. IтАЩve
gotta be doing something. I canтАЩt
sit in my house in a little room
and just question all the time.
IтАЩve gotta put one foot in front of
the other.
3:50 PM
Page 54
Making Your
Own Music
A Conversation
with Ed Cash
pon first glance, Ed Cash comes across as someone you wouldnтАЩt
want to pick a fight with. HeтАЩs tough and unshaven. Yet after
spending some quality time with him, he seems more like a posh
redneck or a sensitive mountain man than anything elseтАФa teddy bear
with a spiritual cause (although youтАЩd still probably be wise not to mess
with him in a brawl).
Ed was kind enough to welcome me into his Franklin home studio,
where we talked about a host of issues relating to music and faith.
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54 ccm august 05
3:50 PM
Page 56
Making Your
Own Music
CCM: We have a lot of readers out there who are interested in what
happens in the studio of a professional producer. When you produce a
projectтАФ"indie" or otherwiseтАФwhat happens?
Ed Cash: First, you write, gather and arrange a balanced album of
amazing songs. Without the songs itтАЩs useless. ThereтАЩs a lot that goes
into an albumтАЩs work of great songs. It must be balanced in that youтАЩve
got hits and artistic journeys that all create a marketable yet creative and
artful listening experience. ItтАЩs a tremendous challenge to bridge the gap
between commerce and art. Without compromising the integrity of the
artist, the label needs to be motivated to back-up an album. It doesnтАЩt
matter how great a record isтАФif a label isnтАЩt willing to support it, then no
one hears it.
Next, you choose skilled musicians. And then you capture believable
vocals that engage the heart of the listener. And finally, you add
overdubs to communicate the heart of the song or artistтАФand then you
mix it well.
тАЬI work with artists with
whom God calls me to work.
I go before the Lord and
pray with my wife about
every record.тАЭ
CCM: What types of artists do you like to work with?
Ed Cash: I work with artists with whom God calls me to work. I go
before the Lord and pray with my wife about every record. It's such a
huge commitment to record that I want to be sure it's God's desire.
It's important to me that the artists with whom I work are relational
because Jesus made us for that. I'm drawn to artists that connect on and
off stage. But, I love great music, so it's equally important that there be
some serious talent in the artists I work with.
CCM: Talk to us about creative tension in the studio. Is it good, bad,
or ugly?
CCM: You mentioned earlier that there are two extreme types of
artistsтАФone is the eccentric who is monstrously creative, and then you
just mentioned the relational type with whom you connect on a personal
level. Are those two тАЬtypesтАЭ mutually exclusive? In other words, do you
ever work with artists who embody both of those extremes?
You've worked with some artists multiple timesтАФBebo Norman comes
to mindтАФand you guys obviously make an amazing team. Does that
familiarity ever squelch creativity? How do you keep your best friend on
his toes?
Ed Cash: The ultimate is when you have both in the same artist.
That's why I love Bethany Dillon and Chris TomlinтАФthey are incredible
songwriters and performers, but what makes them extra special is the
deep, down-to-earth connection they have with people they meet. They
make people whom they've never met feel cared for in a profound way.
Ed Cash: I think it's a great thing . . . Iron sharpens iron. If you just go
for the easy thing, and nothing is ever challenged, then the music
suffers. I can tell when albums have really been sweat overтАФall the
Ed Cash: Again, iron sharpens iron. If "best friend" means being
unable to tell each other the truth no matter what, then I don't want a
best friend. I believe that for instance, Bebo and I could become too
comfortable with certain things. But I choose to believe that the deep
love we have supercedes any negative effects of being friends or
business associates.
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56 ccm august 05
3:50 PM
Page 58
Making Your
Own Music
CCM: How important is it for you to bathe a project in prayer?
Ed Cash: Critical. I have tried to do records on my own strength in
the pastтАФthey go nowhere. For me, Jesus must be the star. If He's
not getting the glory ultimately, then I haven't done my job.
CCM: What advice do you have for the "indie" artist who's
operating on a shoestring budget?
Ed Cash: Songs, songs, songs, and songs. Did I say songs? This
is what separates the wheat from the chaff. If you craft the songs
well, and they have a style that is unique, artistic and marketable,
you will stand above the others. Get opinions of people who really
know songs. How do crowds connect with certain songs? I'd much
rather hear a CD of great songs with a guitar or piano and a vocal
than some weak songs with a half-million dollar production.
CCM: And now for the тАЬhardballтАЭ question: How do you balance
the paradox between the spotlightтАФa yummy place where there are
Dove Awards and applauseтАФand the cross, a not-so-nice place
where Jesus was mocked and spit upon. Do you ever struggle with
that tension?
Ed Cash: If thereтАЩs anything great about me, itтАЩs that I have been
crucified with Christ so that I no longer live, but He lives in me. Any
true power to what I do is not of me. IтАЩve been to the bottom. When
the Lord saved me, I was in the pit. I proved where I would be
without HimтАФso when awards and compliments come, sure my
flesh may be tempted to take credit, but I quickly cast that down
because I know itтАЩs Jesus and nothing of myself.
Praise Hymn
Are you a diamond in the rough? An up-and-coming
'indie' artist? A novice who wants to record?
If so, Praise Hymn Soundtracks wants to help.
They want to dream with you.
That's right. As the bestselling soundtrack company
in the world, Praise Hymn has created a recording
program just for youтАФthe aspiring artist who has a
surplus of talent and a shortage of connections.
With multiple recording packages that run the gamut
from production to manufacturing (not to mention
mixing and mastering), Praise Hymn offers quality studio
time for the singer who is not afraid of dreaming
big dreams.
From inception to fruition, Praise Hymn streamlines
the process of productionтАФthey eliminate the learning
curve as well as the headache of the studio. They give
you the tools to hit the ground running. And they save
you time and are easy on the wallet.
Praise Hymn packages vary from тАЬdemosтАЭ to EPs to
full-fledged CDs. And they do the manufacturing and
packaging as well. All ages and skill levels welcome.
Dream with us, and we'll dream with you. Check out for more information.
We would like to thank the following section sponsors:
Ibanez Guitars has some
exciting stuff on the shelves: new
acoustic guitars made out of
3maple, ash and zebra-exotic
lumber ready to be picked up by
the gigging musician, as well as
the sensitive singer-songwriter.
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University couples child-like
faith with academic rigor and the
result is this: They spawn
passionate, spiritual leaders who
have a colossal impact on the
world, and for Christ.
RAD-360 Audix microphones are the tools of choice
for the laterally mobile. They're
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the Mile High Orchestra. If your
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of tea, then check out these
wireless mics.
Shure Microphones are
quite sure of who they are. Their
top-of-the-line wireless mics and
digital signal processors are
anathema to fuzzy feedback, and
they're used by everyone from the
Crabb Family to Switchfoot.
Aaron Sands of Jars of Clay" uses
Carvin guitarsтАФin part
because of their kiln-dried tone
woods, hand-wire electonics and
custom-wound pickups. And
Special Advertising Section
58 ccm august 05
they're all finished by hand, giving
them an earthy, campfire feel in a
mammoth arena.
soundtracks provides tools for the
aspiring musician by actually
making the process easier. By
using this streamlined service, the
nightmare of studio hassles can
be eliminated. Now thatтАЩs some
good news!
8:16 PM
Page 61
your guide to concerts
All photos by Andy Argyrakis
by Andy Argryakis
L-R Michael W. Smith tickles the ivories, SelahтАЩs new singer Melodie Crittenden belts it out (top), SelahтАЩs Todd Smith (bottom), WatermarkтАЩs Christy Nockels and her husband Nathan
тАЬHealing Rain TourтАЭ
The last two times legendary piano pop-rocker
Michael W. Smith hit the road, he was supporting
specialty projects such as the Worship series and
The Second Decade career retrospective. But on his
current trip around America, heтАЩs debuting songs
from his latest studio release Healing Rain
(Provident), his first effort of all-original material
since 1999тАЩs This Is Your Time. ItтАЩs hard to believe
six years have gone by since this type of
undertaking occurred. And translated to the tour
circuit, Healing Rain offers a somewhat different
set-list approach to what many have experienced
since Smitty entered the new millenium.
When Selah regulars Todd Smith and Allan Hall
first took the stage with brand-new member
Melodie Crittenden, there was some mild
rumbling amongst the faithful. Where was the
beloved Nicol (Smith) Sponberg? Who was this
unfamiliar face and how would she match up to
the previously instated female vocalist? Well, all
of those questions were answered with onstage
conversation and some amazing singing by
Crittenden throughout SelahтАЩs middle billing. And
Nicol? She and her husband Greg are currently
pursuing ministry opportunities related to his
recent Master of Divinity degree from Moody
Bible Institute.
Crittenden, who first made waves in country
music, is a longtime friend and former Belmont
University classmate of Smith and Hall. Fans may
recall CrittendenтАЩs 1998 self-titled Elektra debut
and the follow-up childrenтАЩs collection Dream With
Me Tonight: Lullabies For All Ages. Though her
voice had an ever so slight twang to it, Crittenden
was thunderously accepted by SelahтАЩs audience,
while confidently stepping into already tough
shoes to fill. Considering her background, genuine
faith (as gleaned from a short testimony) and
ability to hit the highest of high notes, Selah
remains intact and as promising as ever.
Unlike the incredibly intimate, mostly solo
acoustic outing behind the тАЬTime Tour,тАЭ Smith
brought a six-piece band, jumbo screens and lights
galore to the Chicago show to further amplify
material from the new disc and a vast array of
classic gems. "Here I Am" was a fitting opener,
mirroring the sequencing of the current album and
entering the live setting to a shimmering triple
threat of piano, violin and rolling percussion. It
provided the perfect segue into the тАЩ80s staple
"Secret Ambition," which took the singer from
behind the ivories to running all around the stage
just like the old days. However, instead of being
driven by what could be considered a dated guitar
solo, a more modern rearrangement kept the focus
on the backbeats.
The remainder continued bridging songs of
yesteryear ("Rocketown," "Friends") with crisply
picked crops ("Hang On," "We CanтАЩt Wait Any
Longer"), further closing up the generation gap
amongst fans. Yet no matter what the ages of the
audience, all could relate to SmithтАЩs staple worship
segment, which featured "I See You," "Breathe,"
"Above All," "Healing Rain" and "How Great Is Our
God." Although not as vertically focused, equally
stirring surprises included the mandolin-slanted
ballad "IтАЩm Waiting For You" (a rarely performed cut
from IтАЩll Lead You Home) and the burly pop of
"Reach Out To Me" (a previously unplayed 1999
track). The combination made SmithтАЩs venture back
to his basics that much more appreciated, while
indicating thereтАЩs still loads of steam left in
his sails.
Claiming the opening spotlight was inspirational
vocal trio Selah, who shone with a series of
reinterpreted hymns and originals. Mainstay
members Allan Hall and Todd Smith were joined by
new addition Melodie Crittenden, who contributed to
the groupтАЩs outstanding harmonies. Takes on the
traditionally-tipped "There Is Power in the Blood"
and тАЬJust a Little Closer Walk With Thee" met the
more contemporary leanings of "You Raise Me Up."
Though the Paul Simon-flavored "Bika Mono Ve"
(translated "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior") seemed
slightly cheesy in presentation, it connected
amazingly well as the crowd comically attempted to
recreate the African flavor.
Also along for the ride was Rocketown recording
act Watermark, whose shorter-than-ideal-but-stillsatisfying 15-minute slot previewed new offering
The Purest Place. The subsequent selections (such
as "Glory of Your Name") showed continued
synthesis, growth and cohesion between husband
and wife duo Nathan and Christy Nockels. Even
more enjoyable was when Nathan left his spot
behind the piano to accompany Christy on acoustic
guitar and background vocals during the coupleтАЩs
celebrated "More Than YouтАЩll Ever Know." Like the
тАЬHealing Rain TourтАЭ as a whole, WatermarkтАЩs
reflections evoked peace, solace, excitement
and praise.
Are you within a dayтАЩs drive?
Here is a concert date you wonтАЩt want to miss!
8/13 Skillet with BarlowGirl
at the тАЬRevelation GenerationтАЭ festival in
Frenchtown, NJ
For the latest concert listings, check out CCMmagazine.comтАЩs
searchable tour database to find out when your favorite artists
will play in a city near you.
august 05 ccm 61
3:35 PM
Page 62
by Peter Furler
When a high-profile artist such as Peter Furler is humbled by a deepening faith, it can change not only how he views
his past, but the very way he communicates about it publicly. This month CCM is pleased to bring you this candid
autobiographic sketch from the NewsboysтАЩ band leader. (Semi-private note to Peter: Mate, if you get the inkling to write
a full-on biography, come see us. This is good stuff!...and CCM publishes the occasional book, you know.)
When I was 10 years old, I ran away from home. It was afternoon recess at
Noarlunga primary school in Southern Australia, and as soon as the bell
rang for all the students to return to class, my aboriginal friend Peter Teller
and I bolted for the nearby foothills to live out our days catching fish and
sleeping under the Southern Cross. Funny enough, though not at the time,
my father knew those foothills like the back of his hand. After his
conversations with my headmaster, the local authorities and leading a very
successful, one-man search party, I got to know the front of his hand.
My father was the pastor of a local church, so I grew up with many of
the тАЬbenefitsтАЭ this entails, like the Sunday morning front-row seat
between those тАШтАЩlawless ribbon tambourineтАЩтАЩ players, or the Thursday night
prayer meetings at our house, bringing in all the folks (with hair coming
out of their nostrils) who chased me around the coffee table trying to lay
hands on me.
About eight years later, I saw what seemed to be a good opportunity
for my next chance of escape. Coincidently enough, the name of the
group was Exodus, a mainstream band that played other peopleтАЩs hits in
any pub or club that would have them; and I guess my father let me go
thinking that with a biblical name like Exodus, they must be good boysтАФ
though he never could figure out the spiritual meaning behind the тАЬLock
Up Your Daughters Tour.тАЭ It wasnтАЩt long before I was back at home in our
garage jamming with some friends who, like me, hoped there would be
more to music than тАШтАЩbeer for nothing and chicks for free.тАЭ
We began sweating it out in the garage, writing our songs with the
amps on stun (loud). In fact, the first time we knew we could affect the
masses was when, out of sheer frustration, one of our neighbors poured
sugar in the gas tank of my dadтАЩs car, ruining its motorтАФit was clear we
were ready to go public. We were тАШтАЩon to something.тАЭ So off we went,
playing our first shows as the тАЬNewsboys.тАЭ (It was easy to spell, and who
knew there would be boy bands in the future?)
We never passed up a chance to playтАФwhile most people were out
looking for a party to crash, we were out looking for a gig to crash. We
would drive around town with our guitars and drumsticks in the trunk of
the car, stopping at all the rock venues to see if the band that was booked
to perform would let us play while it was making the most of the free
beer...and other stuff. We played everywhere from pubs, clubs and
coffeehouses, to тАШтАЩbattles of the bandsтАЩтАЩ (They were rigged!!!), birthday
parties and outreach events.
Meanwhile, we had been going along to a local churchтАФit wasnтАЩt my
fatherтАЩs church, but I think he was just glad we were going somewhere.
(He and my mother were focusing more on mission work in the South
PacificтАФas they still do today.) The church was one of the largest in the
area, full of youth, and had a great music program in which we were
heavily involved. It was the mid тАШ80s, and at that time, there was a lot of
62 ccm august 05
debate about rock music and its place (if any) in the body of Christ.
KidsтАФin what seemed like every youth groupтАФwere being encouraged
to bring all their rock albums (sometimes Christian too) and burn them
on corporate, ceremonial bonfires. This became a very confusing time
for us as a young bandтАФit seemed like people cared more about the
devil and rock music than leading the next generation to
somewhere/something worth following.
As the debates grew, this led to certain church members, including
some of the leaders, starting to question rock music and the role it
played in our lives as the Newsboys. Like I said, we were young and
rough around the edges, and I am sure the straw that broke the camelтАЩs
back was the night we played a pub in the local area in which a lot of
the youth group showed up to support us. The show was going great
until a couple of clowns from the group decided to show everyone how
much they used to be able to drink before they were saved. (One
tequila, two tequila, three tequila...floor.)
I remember having to stand before the youth group (and a few others)
and apologize for what had happened. We were sorry for any grief that
was caused, but I guess some folks took this as a тАШтАЩsignтАЩтАЩ and thought it
best we shouldnтАЩt be involved in either the youth group or the worship
band for a while....a long while if you know what I mean.
I donтАЩt remember us being offended at the decision, just confused, and,
as the saying goes, discipline without relationship breeds rebellionтАФso
off we went.
For the next 15 years or so, we made records and continued to play
anywhere people would listen, and as the band grew more popular, the
pubs turned into arenas and the coffee shops into festivals. By early
2000, we had accomplished far more than we ever dreamed we would
have; but strangely enough, at the same time I began to feel a deep sense
of hopelessness. I didnтАЩt know the cause of it, but it started to affect
every area of my life. Relationships began to suffer, and much damage
was done.
You gain so much when, by the grace of God, you are able to step out
of a wreckage in your life and start to figure out the causes of it, as
opposed to lying upside down blaming the road behind you. I began to
look back on my early years and the situations that had formed my
thoughts and opinions about life and the purpose of Jesus. Remember, it
was the 1980s, and the message from the pulpit was, тАЬRock music is from
the devil, the end times are near, come down to the altar and give your
life to Jesus before itтАЩs too late.тАЭ
Believing Jesus was the way, yet feeling lost, I had questions without
answers. тАЬWhat should life look like after the altar call?тАЭ тАЬDid Jesus die
solely for the purpose of keeping us out of hell?тАЭ тАЬWas I to live with the
mindset of packed bags waiting on the rooftop for Him to come back?тАЭ
3:36 PM
Page 63
тАЬWhy was the majority of the youth group that I grew up in not in
church anymore?тАЭ тАЬWhy is it that after youth group, most move on to
college, checking their faith at the door of the first fraternity party?тАЭ
тАЬWhy were thousands responding to the salvation message in cities, and
yet the cities remained much the same?тАЭ тАЬWith Christian music and
literature exploding and its events filled to capacity, why were we losing
a generation?тАЭ тАЬWhat on earth is the church for?тАЭтАФif I could answer this
last question, I believed it might shed some light on the previous
questions I was challenged with.
Now, I was surrounded by church-goers at concerts and festivals, and I
had even warmed a back-row pew once or twice during those years, but
God was calling me closer so I could know Him and be healed. The only
way I could truly know was to stop running like I had from such an
early age and ask Him to bring men into my life who could show me
what His church looked like. Now God is faithful, and I have found
that when we ask Him for the things that please Him, He delivers.
So, over the last few years, a great hope has replaced my despair,
and I have seen that God has a plan for the earth, and we, the
church, are it!
So what has the church come to mean in my life? These are
just a few thoughts that come to mind in no particular order.
The church is Christians who realize that this is their watch
in history, and they have a charge to keep. They realize that
within their spheres of influence (no matter how great or small)
are the next leaders of the world, and they as the next
generation are looking for lives worth emulating. They are
disciple makers, laying down a solid biblical foundation in the
lives of others, then teaching them to do the same. They are
believers who walk under the covering of leadership, and their
leaders know how to lead because they know what it is to be
ledтАФleaders who have authority because they are under
authority themselves.They are people who have seen the
churchтАЩs flaws and may have even been hurt or offended by it,
but by faith, refuse to give up on it. They are seekers, seeking
an intimate relationship with God daily through His Word,
prayer and worship. They are givers of their time,
talents, resources and finances to the glory of GodтАЩs
Kingdom, because they see it and trust it. They are
Christians who walk in the light and in fellowship
with one another, encouraging one another,
surrounding themselves with the strong. They are
spiritual fathers and mothers, sons and daughters.
They are justice seekers, defending those who canтАЩt
defend themselves, believing that God wants to use his
church to bring restoration. They know that the walls
of racism will only be knocked down by the church.
They are lovers, loving others out of reverence for
ChristтАФregardless. They are doers of His Word, not
just hearers, and they see the earthтАЩs hurts such as
poverty, AIDS and slavery as a mandate to be a
light to the world.
God is building His churchтАФthatтАЩs His
promise. And if this generation wonтАЩt do it,
God is patient; He will wait for the next.
If you believe Jesus, but lack hope, then I
encourage you to see whatтАЩs beyond just a
weekly service and ask God to bring you
into a spiritual family so you can be
occupied by His purpose and find hope.
Peter FurlerтАЩs band, Newsboys, is set to release
its first album for the Inpop label this fall. The
album will be a double-disc set featuring a new
studio-recorded rock CD and a new studiorecorded worship album.
august 05 ccm 63
8:24 PM
Page 62
by Gregory Rumburg
The title of Relient KтАЩs latest recordтАФMMHMMтАФspells n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e to
marketers, but America says the bandтАЩs fourth project is тАЬMmmmm good!тАЭ
After recording the album, the band welcomed new members John Warne, the
former Ace Troubleshooter vocalist/guitarist, and Jon Schneck who played
guitar for Audio Adrenaline. Following up on the breakthrough success of
Two Lefts DonтАЩt Make a RightтАж But Three Do, Relient K ripped through a
spring headlining tour, watched its "Be My Escape" video begin its MTV run
in June, enjoyed major summer Christian festivals and this month wraps the
тАЬVans Warped Tour тАЩ05.тАЭ Set to perform at next monthтАЩs тАЬRock the UniverseтАЭ
at Universal Studios in Orlando, Relient KтАЩs road warrior and frontman Matt
Thiessen reflects here on the numbers from notorietyтАЩs five short years.
30,124 1.5 MILLION
Copies of Two Lefts DonтАЩt Make a RightтАж But Three Do sold during its first week out
in March 2003. It was the first time a Gotee Records artist broke the 30,000 unit
mark in one week. Relient K dwarfed its own record a year and half later when
MMHMM hit storesтАФthe album sold 51,472 copies its first week.
Records sold since Relient K debuted with its 2000 self-titled album.
Informed Gotee was interested in its music, Thiessen recalls, "We were like,
тАШDude, how crazy would it be if we sold like 10,000 records and got to tour
with bands we really like, like Five Iron Frenzy? WouldnтАЩt that be insane?тАЩ"
500,000 80,806
Copies sold of Two Lefts DonтАЩt Make a RightтАж But Three Do, making it Relient KтАЩs
first RIAA gold-certified record. And the fat lady hasnтАЩt sung on that number yet.
Population of Relient KтАЩs birthplace, Canton, OhioтАФhome to the Pro Football
Hall of Fame. Famous Cantonites include pop singer Macy Gray, the late
Yankee catcher Thurman Munson and goth rocker Marilyn Manson.
1 1
12 10
Grammy nomination, received for Two Lefts.
Years of friendship between Thiessen and Relient K guitarist Matt Hoopes. The duo
have known each other since second grade and became close friends as high
school sophomores. "MattтАЩs one of the easiest people in the world to be friends
with," Thiessen says. "HeтАЩs just very mellow, very laid back. Spiritually, heтАЩs way on
target. He keeps me in line a lot."
Inch double-vinyl release of MMHMM, now available at Relient K shows and online.
The collectorтАЩs edition includes one new song, a B-side titled "Apathetic Way to Be."
Records in ThiessenтАЩs own discriminating vinyl collection. "IтАЩve picked my top 15-20
records of all time, and IтАЩm hunting around the country trying to buy
them on vinyl," he explains. The bandтАЩs general market label, Capitol, provided
Thiessen with his No. 1 pick: The Beach BoyтАЩs Pet Sounds. Somewhere
Brian Wilson smiles.
62 ccm august 05
Billboard Music Video Award nomination for "My Girlfriend," from Relient K,
which leveled the metaphorical accusation "Marilyn Manson ate my
Number of tickets sold on the 35-city "Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Tour," the bandтАЩs second headlining road show.
As in Relient KтАЩs June appearance on MTVтАЩs "10 Spot Drop," the pop culture
outletтАЩs effort to introduce new bands to the networkтАЩs audience. Praising
MTVтАЩs support, Thiessen says, "My reaction was that I was really excitedтАж
I was just kinda sitting there smiling going, тАШI canтАЩt believe they did that.тАЩ It
was cool."
8:25 PM
Page 65
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Page 66
Steve Taylor
ver the past two decades, Steve Taylor has been
an extremely influential figure in contemporary
Christian musicтАФfrom his early days as a
pioneering new waver to his long-term tour of duty as
record producer and video director to his relatively
short stint as a groundbreaking label exec. Today, he
is putting the finishing touches on his first major
motion picture.
Studying music and film in college in the late 1970s,
TaylorтАЩs imagination was captured when he discovered
The Clash. Enamored with the passion with which the
band articulated the problems of the world, Taylor felt a
burden to articulate some answers. Consequently, he
began writing a new kind of Christian music, a brash new
wave matched to acerbic lyrics that challenged listeners
to think about their faith and the world in a different way.
Fresh out of college, TaylorтАФa youth pastorтАФtook his
music around to the Christian record labels of the day,
but execs were skittish. Then a key appearance in 1982 at
the famed annual Christian Artists Conference in Estes
Park, ColoradoтАФhis first live set, in factтАФled to a deal
with Sparrow Records.
The label tested the waters with the six-song EP I Want
To Be A Clone. Christian music fans snapped it up, paving
the way for a series of acclaimed full-length albums
chock-full of the irrepressable energy, conviction and
humor that Taylor fans came to expect. (And donтАЩt get us
66 ccm august 05
started about those live
shows, aerobic events that
inevitably led to a broken
ankle at TaylorтАЩs mainstage
performance during the
very first Cornerstone
Festival, leading to the
famous t-shirt slogan,
тАЬDid he jump or was he
While Taylor became
the first Christian modern
rocker to surpass 150,000
copies in sales per album,
his satirical style often
went over the heads of
stuffy legalists.
Following 1987тАЩs I Predict
1990, Taylor temporarily
retired from Christian
music for a brief period
with the band Chagall
Guevara, comprised of Christian music veterans, and
signed to MCA Records. Despite strong reviews and
national college radio airplay, the band fell victim to
modest sales and restructuring at MCA and was
Returning to the Christian music industry, Taylor made
a triumphant comeback with a new solo album, Squint,
which landed his second Grammy nomination. He also
began to apply his talents to the aid of others, working as
producer, songwriter and/or music video director for the
likes of Newsboys, Twila Paris, Rich Mullins, Margaret
Becker and Guardian. As his work became more elaborate
and more creative, inflating his Dove Award collection, it
soon became clear he had bigger aspirations.
In 1997, Taylor launched Squint Entertainment, a new
label under Word Entertainment. He also produced the
first release, Sixpence None The RicherтАЩs self-titled
album; the multi-platinum-seller included the
international No. 1 pop hit, тАЬKiss Me,тАЭ which Taylor had
to convince the band to include on the album. As Squint
spread its creative reach, the label signed such artists as
Chevelle, Burlap to Cashmere and L.A. Symphony.
Alas, Squint was eventually caught up in label politics,
as parent label Word changed hands. The dream that was
Squint Entertainment no longer had a place for Steve
Taylor or his hand-picked staff (which included CCM
editor Jay Swartzendruber).
Taylor took the time on his hands as an opportunity
for a career changeтАФfor years, he had made it clear he
had his eye on working in film. Today, he is on the verge
of his big screen directorial debut. The Second Chance, a
major motion picture starring Michael W. Smith, is slated
for nation-wide theatrical release September 9.
I Want To Be A Clone
Meltdown (1984)
On The Fritz (1985)
Limelight (1986)
I Predict 1990 (1987)
The Best We Could Find
(+3 That Never Escaped)
Squint (1993)
Now The Truth Can Be Told
Liver (1995)
Chagall Guevara (1991)
June 1984
February 1986
January 1988
February 1994
May 2000
For a complete list of past Hall of Fame inductees, visit
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