About the artist
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|Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)||How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection|| |
|Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies]||Burning Lights|| |
|How Great Is Our God||How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection|| |
|Our God||How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection|| |
|Jesus Loves Me||Love Ran Red (Deluxe Edition)|| |
|At The Cross (Love Ran Red)||Love Ran Red (Deluxe Edition)|| |
|I Will Rise||How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection|| |
|How Great Is Our God (World Edition)||How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection|| |
|Sing, Sing, Sing||Hello Love|| |
|God's Great Dance Floor||Burning Lights|| |
Since its launch in 2003 the band has garnered 14 GMA Dove Awards, three GRAMMY Awards and an American Music Award. In addition, the band has seen three RIAA Platinum Albums (Casting Crowns, Lifesong, Altar and The Door), two RIAA Platinum DVDs (Live From Atlanta and Lifesong Live), two RIAA Gold Albums (Until the Whole World Hears, Peace on Earth) and two Gold DVDs (Altar and The Door Live and Until The Whole World Hears Live). Casting Crowns has sold more than 8.2 million albums to date (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and has been named Billboard magazine’s top-selling Christian act for the past four years.
The band recently celebrated its first RIAA certified Gold single, “Who Am I,” from its 2003 self-titled debut. The song, selling more than 500,000 copies, is one of only 12 Christian tracks ever to secure Gold status.
Casting Crowns has always worked its tour schedule around church responsibilities and has still managed to touch audiences around the world with its live performances. It’s 2009-2011 “Until The Whole World Hears” world tour placed the band in front nearly 1 million fans in more than 175 cities around the world including performances for U. S. troops in Kuwait and Qatar. The band also performed twice in North Korea in partnership with Global Resource Services.
Produced by rock legend Brendan O’Brien, well known for his work with Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Train and the Killers, Miracle finds the band exploring new sonic territory. “To have something new to say and to say it in a different way is really exciting,” says lead vocalist Mac Powell. “It’s reinvigorated us as
Miracle becomes the latest collection in a long, impressive body of work that has earned Third Day four GRAMMYs (11 total nominations) 24 GMA Dove Awards (42 total nominations) one RIAA Platinum album, seven RIAA Gold albums, two RIAA Gold Longform videos and one RIAA Platinum Longform video. Over the years, the Georgia-based band’s music has provided a vibrant soundtrack in the lives of this generation of believers. “Show Me Your Glory,” “I Believe,” “Cry Out to Jesus,” “Mountain of God,” “Call My Name,” “Born Again” and “Trust in Jesus” are just a handful of the Third Day hits that inspired and uplifted audiences around the world.
In preparing to record Third Day’s new album, Powell, bassist Tai Anderson, drummer David Carr and guitarist Mark Lee knew they wanted to try something a little different and O’Brien was at the top of the list of producers they wanted to take with them on the journey.
“They came to me and said, ‘We’re looking to make music that appeals to our fans and our spiritual side, but we want to break out a little bit and invite everyone in,” O’Brien says. “When I hear this music...it’s very inviting. It brings people in. It’s saying, ‘Come along and hear what we have to say.’ It really moves me. I really appreciate the hard work these guys have done. I think the song ‘You Are My Everything’ might be one of the best songs I have ever worked on. I’m super proud of it.”
That is high praise from the man who has produced some of the most iconic rock albums of all time, and it’s testament to the talent and work ethic that have placed Third Day among the most consistent hitmakers in any genre of music. Years of success, however, have not bred complacency and the band entered the studio with a desire to mix things up. “We wanted to make this something different,” says Anderson. “I feel like over the last five years we appreciate our fans and we appreciate the success we’ve had more than ever and that really becomes a driver at the beginning of a new album. We can’t settle. It doesn’t need to be ‘Part 2’ of any record we’ve ever done.”
O’Brien became a willing conspirator in their sonic exploration. “Brendan really became like a fifth member,” says Powell. “He played a little bit of guitar, a little bit of keyboards, a little bit of this and that, but a lot of background vocals and that sound is different than what we’ve done before. Even though we’ve done background vocals, with him doing it in the way he sings and his melodies it brought a freshness to this record. It still sounds like Third Day, but there are elements that are adding these new layers and textures.”
“We wanted [this record] to have a brightness, a grandness to it and Mac can certainly do that,” O’Brien says, “but we wanted to have a little different sound from the lead voice. I’m a huge fan of 70’s music that has great big background vocals.
I thought this music lent itself, so Mac and I did most of that and it was fun.”
The album’s title track, and first radio single, was inspired by a conversation the band had with a couple in New Jersey after a concert. “Their son was in a really depressed place in life. He drove way into the woods and was going to commit suicide,” Powell recounts. “But he turned on the radio and he heard ‘Cry Out To Jesus.’ It literally changed his heart and gave him encouragement to keep going.”
Powell took the essence of that story and penned the song “I Need a Miracle.”
The album is filled with music that rocks both body and soul. “Kicking and Screaming” is among the many standouts. It boasts a catchy melody, passionate lead vocal from Mac and ingratiating background vocals that immediately make the listener want to sing along. “It’s a song that says ‘I’m going to stand my ground and fight for the things that I care about,’” Anderson says of the empowering lyric.
“Hit Me Like a Bomb” is an edgy rocker with snarling guitars and explosive snares, and Powell’s signature from-the-gut vocal style highlight the compelling lyric about transformation. “That song is about your life drastically being changed, just a totally 180 turned around,” Powell says. “In the chorus I say ‘And I saw it coming.’ It’s like you know there’s got to be a change or you’re going to end up in a bad place. You see it coming and you know there’s this anticipation that it’s going to happen. It’s got to happen, but it’s almost like you’re fighting it. Then boom! All of a sudden it happens from out of nowhere.”
The songs on Miracle cover a rich musical and emotional landscape. “You Are My Everything” is a gorgeous mid tempo love song that spotlights the warmth in Powell’s vocals. “Your Love is Like a River” is a stirring worship anthem that is one of the band’s favorite new songs.
Another highlight on the album is Third Day’s beautiful cover of “Morning Has Broken.” A vintage Methodist hymn that was a pop hit in the ‘70s for Cat Stevens, the song gets a stunning new treatment here, anchored in Lee, Anderson and Carr’s skilled musicianship and Powell’s earthy vocals. Scotty Wilbanks, a longtime member of Third Day’s road band, provides the eloquent keyboard intro.
“The Victory” is a bluesy Southern anthem with a potent lyric. “It’s about pressing on and making a commitment,” says Powell who was inspired by a documentary he saw on evangelist Billy Graham. “He and his best friend went to theology school together and his friend is an atheist now because when he started going to school it was like, ‘Okay I’m learning all these other things I never knew before. I grew up in a little town and now I’m learning these other ways of seeing the world. I realized that wasn’t for me. I’m going to expand my mind.’ When Billy Graham saw himself going there, he went to a place that had this big boulder and prayed. He said, ‘This is what I believe and I’m standing on this truth and I’m not going to allow myself to think otherwise!’ That’s a strong faith right there to say, ‘This is what I believe and I’m not changing from it.’”
“That song is about making a commitment,” says guitarist Mark Lee. “It’s about saying you’re going to see it through ‘til the end and I think that’s a big theme on this record.”
The members of Third Day have been given a platform and it’s a responsibility they take seriously. Of course, the band loves to perform and entertain, but most importantly they want to offer hope and encouragement. “If there is any over arching theme on the record, it’s about pressing on and holding onto faith in the midst of doubt,” says David Carr.
Music can spark a miracle. Listen and believe.
After all, how many groups boast a discography with 16 albums and five gold records? And since the arrival of dc talk alum Michael Tait as lead singer, things have only gotten better: 2010’s "Born Again" spawned three No. 1 radio hits, and 2012's "God’s Not Dead" sold more than 300,000 copies. So yes, fans keep choosing the Newsboys—which makes Restart all the more remarkable, because it dares to put so much of that loyalty to the test.
With all the fervor of rookies seeking their first record deal, Tait and his bandmates—Jody Davis (guitars), Duncan Phillips (drums), and Jeff Frankenstein (keyboards)—combed through reams and reams of demos and song ideas. Their goal? To compile a stellar collection of tracks into an album like no other … not just in the band's history, but in Christian music history itself as well.
In fact, you could sum up the song selection process this way: Many tunes were called, and very few were chosen.
"At the start of this record two years ago, we knew we'd be taking great risks," Tait says. "But people will be excited about this album because we've pushed the music and taken it further than we've ever taken it before—we’ve gone through more songs than ever."
The search, in this case, boiled down to what Tait calls "world-class songs." (Remember, this comes from a guy who sang on quite a few worldwide hits in his dc talk days.) "If you have one or two of those, they'll be there when the Newsboys are dead and gone."
No one's tallied all the numbers just yet, but at least 50 compositions were considered for Restart, putting a team of about a dozen producers and seven mix engineers to the test. Songs were recorded, and recorded again; listening sessions at the Sparrow/Capitol CMG offices turned into regular Tuesday afternoon affairs where Tait and his teammates poured over prospective album tracks as the coffee flowed freely. Imagine the musical equivalent of four-star chefs concocting a tantalizing, secret sauce. "I've never been through such a distilling process," says Tait.
While that might sound extreme, you’d be hard pressed to find another record that so successfully embraces tight pop, modern rock, and worship music, and does it all with such focus. Restart sparkles with intensity, passion, and melodic majesty from start to finish. Pop grooves this incessant and immediate don't surface every day, but from the first listen, tracks such as "Disaster,” “That’s How You Change the World" and “Restart” stay with listeners a mighty long time.
Will they kick out the jams live? Oh, yeah. Tait, who’s logged more that 600 live shows as Newsboys front man, won't settle for anything less than songs that rouse the crowd from the word "go" (or "restart," if you prefer). "'Love Like I Mean It' might be the people's favorite," he says. "The crowd, when they get to the chorus, they scream their heads off: ‘LOVE LIKE I MEAN IT!’" He laughs, and continues: "That's a first for us as performers. We've never had a chorus with just five words."
But if these tracks move your body, they'll move your heart even more. Because when you consider it, what would the Newsboys be without their uplifting message—a constant dating to the band's founding in 1985?
The title cut speaks to the group's ambitious reach for stars, and the humble heart that comes with a second chance: "Oh Lord I'm a different man/You gave me a second chance/ I was lost, I was falling apart/You came along, You hit the restart."
The single "Live With Abandon" proves equally poignant, even as it gallops home with percussive keys and drums that stomp their way up the mountaintop: "I wanna live with abandon/ Give You all that I am/ Every part of my heart Jesus/ I place in Your hands."
Tait chooses his words carefully to avoid overstatement when he compares Restart to one of Christian music's greatest records, one that he played a big role in shaping.
"I have not felt this way about anything I've been involved in musically since 'Jesus Freak,'" he declares.
So if you're a longtime Newsboys fan, forget what you know. If you're new to the group, you can't imagine what's in store. Restart isn't just an album: It's a spirited pop manifesto from a band driven to recast itself almost from scratch. They didn't have to do it this way, but in music, as in the walk of faith itself, a road less traveled makes all the difference.
Other paths called, including a few of least resistance. But this is the one, the only one, they could choose.
Or as Michael Tait sums it up: "The pressure was there to make more of the same. It was there from the start. But why not risk something? Why not restart it?"
History followed in 2005, and West supported the album's release with the first headlining tour of his career. Excessive use of his voice led to severe medical problems, though, forcing West to undergo throat surgery in 2007 to remove multiple polyps. Following a period of vocal rest, he returned in 2008 with Something to Say. The album's lead single, "You Are Everything," became the most-played song on Christian radio in 2008, and West -- now fully healed and singing comfortably -- quickly returned to the studio to record 2010's The Story of Your Life, which also charted well. A holiday album, The Heart of Christmas, arrived in 2011, and was followed by another studio record, Into the Light, in 2012.
Now after nearly a decade in the national spotlight, Building 429 has teamed with Provident Music Group for their fifth album, Listen To The Sound. “It really is the overflow of the life that we’ve lived over the last two or three years, especially this past year,” says lead vocalist Jason Roy. “I’m a worship pastor now and that has been a huge part of the lyrical content of this record. It’s about the lives that I’ve been involved with. This really does come from a much more honest place.”
Drummer Michael Anderson agrees. “Individually we’re all on a different spiritual level than we’ve ever been,” he says. “We have great home churches now that we’re happily involved in. Our family lives at home are better than they’ve ever been and our relationship as a band is light years above what it’s ever been. I think that really shows through with this new music.”
Blessed with one of the most distinctive voices in any genre of music, Jason overcame a turbulent childhood and found solace in the church and in music. He launched Building 429 determined to make a difference in the lives of others needing to hear the truth of the gospel. The band broke through with the powerful hit “Glory Defined,” which was named BMI’s Christian Song of the Year in 2005. That same year Building 429 was named New Artist of the Year at the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards and the band was also nominated in the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year and Song of the Year categories.
In the past few years, Jason, Michael, guitarist Jesse Garcia and bassist Aaron Branch have toured heavily. They’ve hit the road with Casting Crowns, tobyMac and other acts as well as headlining several treks, including Food for the Hungry's SummerFest 2009 and 2010 and Food for the Hungry WinterBlast 2010 and 2011. But even as they were touring the country and pouring into the lives of others, Jason and his wife Cortni found themselves becoming increasingly involved in their home church in Clarksville, TN.
Jason was on tour in New Mexico when he got a call saying their worship pastor was leaving and they needed Jason to fill in. He confesses he’d always been hesitant to lead worship, but didn’t want to say no. “So I went in and I led the Christmas service and it was awesome,” he says. “I had a blast! I was surrounded by people who desired to grow musically and spiritually. I felt like God did something with me there that he hadn’t done with me on the road in a while. I called up the pastor and said, ‘I think God has called me to do this.’”
Simply being obedient to God and serving his home church had a powerful impact on Jason and began shaping this new chapter in Building 429’s career. “I started doing life with people,” Jason says with a smile. “I’ve started plugging back into the church and I started getting fed again. When I became a leader of a worship group that’s 80 plus people, I started seeing that all the things that I learned on the road were actually able to elevate what we were doing at home in the church. What I did with the band fed what I did in church and now when we made this new record with Provident, what I did at the church---the life that I live there and the mentoring and the people that mentored me and the spiritual depth that has come from that---is now feeding the Building thing. I never saw that coming.”
Collectively the songs on Listen To The Sound acknowledge life’s struggles, but point to the hope, grace and love of God. “I think what this record does is it makes you take a look at your life and say ‘I’m connected to it because it’s the truth that I don’t tell anybody else about. This is where I am,’” Jason says, acknowledging that the record is encouraging families struggling in this tough economy, people dealing with depression and other challenges. “This record keeps coming back to the point that this is not what we were made for, that this is not our home. It is hitting people in the midst of a struggle, but it’s doing it in this pop kind of thing that makes you smile while you listen to it.”
Songs like the title track, “War Zone,” “Where I Belong” and “You Save Me” are resonating strongly with people in the midst of trials, including Jason’s own father, who calls daily to tell his son how this new music is ministering to him. “I finished the record and I sent the songs to dad and he literally asked me, ‘did you write these songs about me?’ The answer to that question was ‘no, not intentionally,’” Jason says. “But it also proves to me that all of us struggle in a lot of ways with the same stuff. We really do. It’s how you choose to handle the situation that you are in that defines who you are.”
Splitting production duties between co-producers Jason Ingram and Rusty Varenkamp, and Rob Hawkins, Building 429 has crafted a record that is sonically vibrant and lyrically substantive. Jason wrote or co-wrote nine of the ten tracks. “War Zone” is the only outside cut, but ended up being the song that would pull the album’s theme together. “When I heard ‘War Zone,’ I was like ‘I would say that,’” Jason proclaims. “It did something for me,” he says. “It empowered me to realize, ‘This is a war zone! My hands are tired. My faith is worn, but I run because I need you God.’ This album centers on the idea that nothing is as it seems. This life is not where we belong, or where we are going. So daily, we have to fight for our faith and our families, and ‘War Zone’ says it all.”
Michael Anderson cites “Made for You” as his favorite song on the album “just because of what it says. We were all created to be living in community with our Lord, our savior Jesus Christ. That’s what it’s all about and besides that, it’s just a really fun track to play live. It’s just really cool to get to share that with people.”
“Listen to the Sound” is instantly memorable. “It was different than anything we had before on any other record,” notes Michael. “From my perspective the whole groove of it is totally different than anything we’ve done. When Jason first played me that one, it was probably the one that most surprised me.
Jason enlisted his worship team to sing on the album’s opening track “Made for You” and “Where I Belong.” He also recruited a very special guest to sing the duet “I’ll Be With You.” “I’m a fan,” Jason says of Fireflight’s frontwoman Dawn Michele. “I wrote this song with a second verse designed for a female vocal. I’ve always loved Dawn’s voice, not to mention that she is a natural born rock star. It is a blessing to have her on the song.”
Recording the whole album was an enjoyable experience for the seasoned pop/rock outfit. “We’re just much more comfortable as a band, and it all starts with our spiritual walk,” says Michael. “We’re much more mature now. This was the most relaxed and the most fun we’ve had recording a record. We all played on it and we were all in the studio pretty much the whole time while everybody was recording. It was fun to be there and to be able to encourage each other. This is definitely a record that the band was most involved in every little part of it.”
Experienced, mature, and as dedicated as ever to sharing God’s truth, the members of Building 429 are excited about this new season in the band’s ministry. “This is where God has put me right now and I hate to quote my own song, but it really is about just ‘one foot in front of the other,’” Jason says with a smile, citing the uptempo anthem “One Foot.” “We just have to focus on this moment. It’s time for us to value every second that we have and use it all for the glory of God.”