About the artist
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|Fill My Cup Lord||Fill My Cup Lord|| |
|Going Up Yonder||Going Up Yonder|| |
|I"ll Fly Away||I,LL Fly Away|| |
|Where Could I Go [Instrumental]||Where Could I Go [Instrumental]|| |
|His Eyes are on the Sparrow||His Eye Is on The Sparrow|| |
|This Little Light Of Mine||This Little Light Of Mine/Piano Instrumental|| |
|Higher Ground||The Early Years|| |
|He Washed My Eyes With Tears/The Chorus||He Washed My Eyes With Tears/The Chorus|| |
|Its My Party||Its My Party|| |
|Losing My Mind||Losing My Mind|| |
The latest CD—Blues and Beyond—from guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, Chris Stevens cooks a simmering stew of acoustic music: one pound of CLASSIC BLUES, eight ounces of POP song sensibility, blended with a huge helping of TODAY.
Chris has performed on the primary festival stages in central Illinois including: Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival, Miller Lite Illinois Blues Festival, Budweiser Grand Nationals, Summer Camp, Taste of Peoria, Frost Yer Buns and a stint as the guitar player for the touring cast of Hairspray at the Peoria Civic Center.
“…a background of musical expertise, talent and credentials that will impress even the difficult to please.”
Jubilee Advocate, Toulon, Illinois
Chris co-founded the successful Blues-Rock trio, LIAR’S DICE. He co-wrote, played the guitars and sang on the self-titled album. The album contained the song “Don’t Change the Answer” which climbed to #2 on KSYM-FM in San Antonio, Texas. The song also reached #4 on WWVU-FM in Charleston, West Virginia. Two other songs on the album, a cover of the Ides of March “Vehicle” and another original song “Like-A-Roller” both climbed to #5 on WERG-FM in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Years of playing ‘cover songs’ and learning the signature licks of Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Carlos Santana, Duane Allman, Buddy Guy and many others help Chris bring a passionate, improvisational style of lead guitar and vocals to the studio and live performance stage.
When you want to enjoy a show in the heavens reach for some new stars, the unknown players and 'no-name' bands who have honed their skills on a thousand late night gigs, in hundreds of different clubs, concerts and anywhere else they let us play.
It all started with a dream, or maybe it was the lack of sleep driving home from a great gig. Actually it was while listening to the Allman Brothers band Chris "Stinger" Stevens decided once and for all to play the music he wants to play.
Chris also appears as a solo acoustic artist and performs a wide variety of material ranging from traditional blues to original pop. Chris also coordinates and conducts the popular and successful Blues Workshops at the annual Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival...
Chris co-founded the successful Blues-Rock trio Liar's Dice. He co-wrote, played the guitars and sang on the self-titled album, which contained the song "Don't Change the Answer". which climbed to #2 at KSYM-FM in San Antonio, Texas. The same song also reached #4 at WWVU-FM in Charleston, West Virginia. Two other songs on the album, a cover of the Ides of March "Vehicle" and another original song "Like-A-Roller" both climbed to #5 on WERG-FM in Erie, Pennsylvania.
I am a young dream chaser born in Florence, SC. I have always had the dream of being rich (who hasn't). But I have also seen myself as different from everyone else with similar dreams. Not saying im better, but I work harder. I am MIKE. M-make I-it K-known E-everywhere....Thats what I do everywhere I go I make myself known, I stand out. That is my dream, to be the most successful standout in the world. Making music is only one of my talents, and only the beginning. FOLLOW ME to the top as I live my dreams. Want to know more just FOLLOW ME on TWITTER @Mikemakehits -im always on there ..LETS GOOO
Perhaps the outside patters were what lulled their inside ears into inspiration. Perhaps the echoes against the plaster walls of an empty room made the music from their violin and piano sound all the more beautiful. Maybe it was the careless nature of an unintentional collaboration with no rules --in that particular moment-- that allowed two friends to create what has now become an unrivaled brand of orchestral indie pop music.
Or, perhaps Feather & Belle was born that day in 2010 simply because two friends wanted to create their favorite kind of art. And so they decided to spread their wings.
With respective roots in Minnesota and North Carolina, best friend duo Kelsey Kopecky and Laura Musten both followed their heartbeat to Nashville and landed at Belmont University where they first met. Their friendship was marked by laughter, ice cream for any meal, and a deep love for creating music, and the two were quickly inseparable.
Now, their compelling musical collaboration is not only rooted in deep friendship, but is also characterized by their diverse experiences in the music industry. Before becoming Feather & Belle, Kelsey toured the country singing and playing keys in indie-rock band, Kopecky Family Band, and continues to write and tour with her musical band of brothers. Kopecky Family Band has frequented the stages of CMJ Festival, Bonaroo, and South by Southwest, and has been a featured band on NPR. In addition to her musical contributions, Kelsey’s homemade art and graphic design is featured as both the band’s album artwork and merchandise design.
Laura, on the other hand, quickly emerged as a recognizable studio and performing violinist in Nashville, playing for artists like Brooke Waggoner, Chris Tomlin, Elenowen, Paper Route, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Most notably, she has toured extensively for 2 years with global electronic act, Owl City, and has recorded for many artists including Relient K, Owl City, Deas Vail and Breanne Duren. Her recent string arrangements and recordings are proudly featured on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack with indie band, Sleeping at Last.
Together, Kelsey and Laura as Feather & Belle are an unstoppable pair drawing from a rich well of musical history. After writing songs drenched in lessons from classical music studies that musically agree with the pop sensibilities of Fiest, Andrew Bird, Regina Spektor, or Grizzly Bear, Feather & Belle is now making their debut with an 11 song album in hand, Pockets Run Deep.
This album is in equal parts lovely and haunting, cinematic and thought-provoking, colorful and timeless. Tuning wine glasses to hover over their haunting ballad for jackals, “Zombie”, Feather & Belle present a battle between good and evil told in a 3 movement orchestral composition laced with whispers and wind-chimes. Whether it is the retro handclaps in their Motown influenced tune, “Tennessee Baby”, or lush string orchestration in songs like “Dress”, Pockets Run Deep is truly a visual narrative that showcases the grand nature of these multi-instrumentalist songwriters who have composed songs made to simply make you feel alive.
And so the story of best friends turned band begins. Sunlight is beaming through their windows, and Feather & Belle now have a song to sing to the world. After all, birds of a feather will find a way to flock together.
Produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Chris August) and Matt Bronleewe (Natalie Imbruglia, Josh Wilson), Where I Find You, which includes Kari’s new hit radio single “We Are,” is an engaging departure from her previous effort—both sonically and thematically speaking.
Rather than simply emphasizing the beauty found in God’s presence, Where I Find You is a clarion call for listeners to experience His presence to the fullest. And not
surprisingly, the accompanying soundtrack is just as bold with a buoyant mix of fresh musical textures and timbres.
“After singing about the importance of making time for intimate worship on my first album, I wanted to take the next step on Where I Find You,” Kari shares. “These songs come from such an honest place of praising God for what He’s done—and what He’s continuing to do in our lives—because of His grace and goodness.
“Ultimately, it’s about declaring who He is and enjoying the simplicity of knowing the Lord is near,” she continues. “He’s for us, He loves us, and sometimes, we need to just stop, enjoy His presence and take that in.”
While recording the album, Kari says she was often reminded of that very truth—a theme that resonates through the lyrics of “Here,” a reminder to press pause, even when our culture insists we constantly keep moving.
“There were many instances when we had to stop whatever we were working on because I needed to go outside, take a walk and have my own time with God for a few minutes,” Kari remembers. “Again and again, I was so overtaken by how present He was while we were recording, and it’s my hope and desire that people really feel the strength and intercession that was taking place while I worked on the album.”
Another decidedly counter-cultural idea that resonates in these new songs is how God never lets believers, including worship leaders, get too comfortable in their faith or permanently reside on the proverbial spiritual mountaintop.
“This past year has been the season of being completely uncomfortable and going through things I didn’t understand that were really hard,” Kari shares. “I was literally having to hold on in my heart and trust He had everything in control. You can even hear that a little in my vocals, especially on songs like ‘Love Came Down,’ ‘Run To You,’ and ‘What Love Is This.’ It was a season that stretched me.”
Even through all the growing pains, however, Kari says she was continually reminded of God’s faithfulness.
“I think there are times as believers when we feel entitled and that life shouldn’t be hard. We live in this culture of convenience that says we can do everything ourselves and find all the answers on Google,” Kari says. “But if we can learn to fall more in love with the Lord and trust Him in the middle of every storm, we build our endurance to keep running the race.”
Naturally, these declarations of God’s faithfulness couldn’t help but make their way onto her album.
“‘We Are’ is a song of commission for us as believers,” says Kari, “to be reminded of what we’ve been called to; and that is to impact people’s lives in everything we do.”
In the track “One Desire,” which she co-wrote with Jason Ingram, Kari uses simple, heartfelt language that reminds her of one of her favorite worship anthems when she was young.
“During our writing session, Jason and I were talking about the simplicity of worship; how it doesn’t always have to be so ornate,” she explains. “When I was a kid, I remember how much I loved singing the song ‘I Love You, Lord’ because it was this sweet, simple song straight from Scripture.”
In stark contrast to the straightforward worship of “One Desire,” another key track, the aforementioned “What Love is This,” features powerful imagery of the Centurion soldier’s reaction to discovering that Jesus was the Son of God after He’d been crucified.
“I often think about what it would’ve been like to experience that and to say ‘Truly, you are the son of God,’” Kari shares. “You realize you were part of His death, you were the one of the people who’d nailed Him to a cross. He must have felt so incredibly broken—to believe the lie and then experience the truth. I really think that’s like all of us. We’ve got to have the perspective that without the Lord’s presence, we’re all in darkness, and ‘What Love Is This’ is my love song to the Lord for His love song for my life.”
Also serving as a grounding force for Kari when life gets complicated is her tight-knit Texas family. Although she turned 30 this past year, she still considers being a daughter one of “life’s greatest blessings.”
What’s also been a blessing is a new dimension to her ministry. In addition to ministering in churches, arenas, theaters, festivals and conferences across the globe, Kari has also found another outlet for sharing God’s love by partnering with the A21 Campaign, an organization dedicated to abolishing human trafficking in the 21st century.
“I’ve become really invested in that ministry and strongly believe that we all have to play a role and do our part to fight against the modern form of slavery that affects 27 million people and growing,” Kari says. “It’s so incredibly dark, and I feel a responsibility to do what I can. Most of these victims are girls like me, and I can’t imagine what life would be like to be stuck in that place.”
Along with her sister, Kris, Kari has created an exclusive line of jewelry and t-shirts where all the proceeds go to the cause of bringing an end to human trafficking and injustice.
“Whether I’m participating in an effort like this or leading worship, it’s all about making a difference,” Kari concludes. “That’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing at this specific moment—to see God’s name lifted high, to encourage the hurt and the broken and to remind everyone to draw close to Him because He really, truly does care about each and every one of His children.”
And that’s ultimately the message behind Where I Find You, enjoying the beauty of God’s presence, praising him with your whole heart and letting your light shine in a world that needs to experience the true grace and hope found only in Jesus.
A featured worship leader on Gateway Worship projects, Living for You and Wake Up the World, Kari released her self-titled debut album through Gateway Create Publishing and Integrity Music on February 10, 2009. Produced by Ed Cash, the album contains a collection of worship pop/folk songs written by Kari Jobe as well as co-writes with worship leaders/songwriters Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Mia Fieldes, Ed Cash and Klaus Kuehn.
The album, Kari Jobe, features new versions of “Revelation Song,” “No Sweeter Name” and “My Beloved,” in addition to new songs of worship taken from Kari’s life and journals. She explains one of her favorites, the deeply personal “You Are for Me,” saying, “This song is gut-wrenching for me. There are times you are so broken that all you can do is sing over yourself with words like, ‘God is for me.’ But I believe it is one song that people can use to remember that God is for us, so who can be against us.” Songs of intimate musings are balanced by songs of joy and praise. The buoyant “Everyone Needs a Little” emanates with expressions of love, joy and hope, while “I’m Singing” conveys a simple happiness of heart in vocal praise to God.
“I’m in a new place and I want to proclaim some things to my listeners and one of them is that they are overcomers,” says Mandisa. ”Whether or not you feel it, it’s a fact. It’s what God says in His word. In John 16:33 Jesus said that He overcame the world. By
His Holy Spirit, Jesus lives inside of all who have asked Him to be their Lord and Savior.
Because His spirit lives inside of you, 1 John 5:4-5 says that you are born of God and overcome the world by faith. That is what makes you an overcomer.”
Overcomer brings a lump to Mandisa’s throat as she speaks of her friend Kisha fighting breast cancer during her recent pregnancy and surviving. It reminds her of Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, whose journey encouraged Mandisa in hers. Mandisa herself is an overcomer. It’s only natural that she sings about the experience. Since finishing in the top ten of American Idol’s fifth season, Mandisa has forged a successful recording career and has lost over 100 lbs, inspiring women everywhere to strive for a healthy lifestyle and to reach for their dreams.
Penned by Ben Glover, Chris Stevens, and David Garcia the album’s title track –
“Overcomer” – anchors Mandisa’s fourth studio album, a stunning collection of songs that celebrate God’s faithfulness and enthusiastically share the perpetual love and awe
Mandisa feels for her Heavenly Father. “I came in really knowing exactly what I wanted to say,” she states. “The difference with this album is just where I am with the Lord. I’ve never been better. I feel like I’m definitely walking in a new level of freedom, deliverance and intimacy with the Lord. I’m walking with more authority and because all of my albums reflect what He’s doing in my life, that is reflected in this album.”
Mandisa’s newfound confidence in her relationship with God manifested itself in her songwriting, and she penned seven of the 12 songs on the Overcomer iTunes Deluxe album. “I feel like I’m in a new place,” she says. “There are several songs that are just about rejoicing and worshipping the Lord just for who He is, not asking Him for things. A lot of my songs in the past were like ‘Lord help me. I need you. I can’t do this without you’ and a lot of the songs on this album are like ‘God you’re great! I trust you. I believe you. I’m walking out my faith just because you’re good’ so I have three songs that are just purely worship songs, all about just wanting to love the Lord because of how He loves me---‘Back To You,’ ‘At All Times’ and ‘Joy Unspeakable.’ Those songs are purely worship just because of who He is.”
Overcomer is the latest in a string of impressive albums from the native Californian. A graduate of Nashville’s Fisk University, she performed as part of the legendary Fisk
Jubilee Singers, but gained national acclaim when she placed ninth on the fifth season of American Idol. She signed a deal with Sparrow Records and released her debut, True
Beauty in 2007, which earned her the first of three GRAMMY® nominations. She followed with a stellar sophomore effort, 2009’s Freedom. This year The Hollywood
Reporter listed Mandisa in the Top 5 of Idol finalists with the most Billboard No. 1s.
In 2011, Mandisa released What If We Were Real, an engaging collection of tunes that included the effervescent “Good Morning,” which she performed with tobyMac on Good Morning America. This third studio album saw a breakthrough in Mandisa’s career, leading her to unprecedented record sales, radio spins and tour audiences. What If We Were Real also produced the hit single “Stronger,” which topped the charts for five weeks and was the song Mandisa sang on Good Morning America the day Robin Roberts returned to the show after being on medical leave.
With a strong, supple voice that is equally commanding on an up tempo anthem or a tender ballad, Mandisa has earned a devoted legion of fans who appreciate not only her vocal gift but the heart that fuels her ministry.
On Overcomer, Mandisa again serves up a musically inventive, lyrically potent collection of songs that are all drawn from a deep emotional well. “Press On” is among the most personal tunes. “I’m proclaiming I’m going to press on no matter what comes my way,” she says with a smile. “For me, in that song specifically I’m speaking about my weight loss journey. I’ve come a long way. I’ve lost over 100 lbs. but I still have some work to do. I’m going to press on through this. I’m going to make it and I’m going to get to the finish line. I love ‘Press On’ because it’s a great work out song. On the remix version, which will be on the deluxe edition on iTunes®, I formatted that to be perfect for my runners, the people who jog and run. We put the beat to it and we looped certain phrases over and over again that will inspire them in their run. That’s the song that I put on when I’m on my treadmill to help me keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
The funky, upbeat “Face to Face” is another powerful moment on Mandisa’s new album. “I like to refer to that song as ‘Only The World part II,’” she says referencing her previous hit, “because ‘Only The World’ is all about heaven and so is ‘Face To Face.’ It’s all about the fact that one day we’ll see Jesus face to face. I dedicate that song to my grandma who went to be with the Lord in January. I imagine her worshipping God face to face and I cannot wait to be up there with her worshipping Him together. For now, I know that God has called me to be here, so that song is just proclaiming that we’re all going to see Him face to face if we have asked Him to be our Lord and Savior. It’s going to be so great. I want the body of Christ to know that it’s real and it’s something to look forward to so that’s why ‘Face To Face’ is a real special song to me.”
Produced primarily by Chris Stevens and David Garcia, Overcomer is a vibrant album that finds Mandisa collaborating with some of her beloved peers. “‘At All Times’ is a worship song that I wrote with Israel Houghton and he’s one of my favorite worship leaders. The fact that I got to write that with him was such an honor and such a joy,”
Mandisa says of the track, which was co-produced by her keyboard player Ronald Rawls and Chuck Butler. ”’At All Times’ is a congregational worship song because it’s a call and response; I sing a part and the choir sings in response. Everybody in the choir was part of my band or from my church. I love that I got to worship with them. That song is really important to me because I’ve learned the importance of worship.”
Mandisa wrote “The Distance” with Stevens and Matthew West. “I wrote on Facebook on Sept. 26th that when I sin I just feel so far away from the Lord. I don’t want to pray. I just feel so ashamed and I pull away from Him,” she says. “When I sin, I just feel so distant from the Lord and it’s not that he’s pulling away from me, it’s my sin that causes me to pull away from Him. I told that to Matthew when we got together to write and his heart just linked up with that so we wrote it together with one of my producers, Chris Stevens. It’s an important lesson for the body of Christ to remember that God is never drawing away from us. We are covered in His blood. He is always pursuing us, even in our sin.”
Each song on the album is intensely personal to Mandisa. “Praying for You” is a song she co-wrote with Chris August that is directed to her future husband. “It’s a song proclaiming, ‘I know you’re out there. I’m praying for you and in the meantime, I’m trying to honor you by living purely,” she shares. “Dear John” is a song she co-wrote with Plumb and Sam Tinnesz that is directed to someone very close to her, her brother. “If I were to write a letter to John about my desire for him to live the abundant life that Jesus died for him to have, and then put that letter to music, the result would be ‘Dear John’.”
Talented and transparent, loving and bold, Mandisa is the kind of person everyone wants in their life and her music has taken root in the hearts of people around the world. As she shares this new collection of songs, she’s grateful for the platform God has given her and aware of the responsibility it brings. “What I have learned after so many albums is to just keep seeking the Lord and keep letting Him mold me into who He wants me to be,” Mandisa says. “I’m going to keep seeking Him because if my music is just entertaining and not inspiring, giving hope, convicting and speaking life, then that’s just not good enough for me. I need it to do all of those things and the only way that can happen is by the Holy Spirit. That’s why my relationship with Him is more than important than anything. Any time my public exuberance for the Lord outweighs my private devotion to the Lord, I’ll know that I’ve gone in the wrong direction. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to always tend to my relationship with Jesus.”
It’s that attitude that has made Mandisa an overcomer and she revels in the opportunity to remind others that they are overcomers too.
As for their music? You’ve heard it. Fort Lean write big, anthemic rock songs, and they play the hell out of them. Stakes are high. Fort Lean don’t want people to “kinda like” them. They want to be a girl’s first crush. They want college kids to make bad life decisions based on misinterpretations of their lyrics. They want to write the song you dance to with your second wife on the night of your wedding to your first wife. When your son moves to whatever the new Bushwick is in twenty years, and when he calls you, crying, to report he just got shook down by a bunch of punk kids, Fort Lean want you to smile to yourself and think of that line from “Sunsick”: “Get-tin’ mugged by chil-drennn!!”
You would think this is every band’s wish–to be The Biggest Band In The World. But it turns out that’s a lot of work! It turns 99.9% of bands just don’t have the chops or the songbook. Fort Lean somehow have both–which is why they stuck out like a sore thumb this past CMJ. They’re writing choruses you wish you had written, and playing tighter than your band ever could. They’re only going to get better too. Mark my words: the world will get at least five great albums from this band before the singer cracks and decides he wants to be a doctor after all.
I could write thousands of words about keyboardist Will Runge’s impeccable style (great face, great denim). I could rap on drummer Sam Ubl’s tasty hi-hat work, or bassist Jake Aron’s smart use of space. I could tell you about the first time I heard Keenan’s voice–an oaky, siren-like tenor that proves once and for all that nature does in fact trump nurture. Or how about this: Zach Fried routinely wears tight red pants, plays a Telecaster, and insists on using an enormous eighty-pound pedalboard even though he only has like two pedals–and somehow gets away with it all! There’s just so much to like about this band in the particular. But right now, the thing I like most about Fort Lean is quite simple. They pay their rent on time. They chip in when equipment gets broken. They let me use their Twin Reverb, and the Peavy Bandit (great for leads). I didn’t have to tell them twice about not leaving bikes in the hallway. It’s hard to find bands like this. I will miss them when they’re gone.
Her new EP entitled “Shannon Labrie,” has five songs that are goose bump worthy. Her lyrical content hints at artists such as Bob Dylan and James Morrison. If that weren’t enough already, her voice sings with a Lauren Hill type of R&B. Her songs will make you want to hang with the gospel choir while smoking a long cigarette. Her soulfulness, deep emotion and honesty will invite you into a place where you can be yourself, ask questions, and hope for something more.
In the past two years Shannon has had her music placed on several TV shows and continues to have her songs on hold for charting artists. There is no doubt that Shannon Labrie’s career is just getting started and her new EP is an incredible window into what she is capable of.