6:20 PM
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10:00 PM
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Photograph by Lee Webb
July 2004
cover story
Band on Fire
Ask, and you shall receive. After selecting this band as the “Artist You’d
Most Like to See on the Cover (But Haven’t Yet)” in this year’s annual
CCM Readers’ Awards, Pillar takes center stage this summer with a
rockin’ new CD, a renewed perspective and plenty of shows sure to hit
a venue near you. B Y L U C A S H E N D R I C K S O N
CCM List-O-Rama
C H R I S W E L L keeps things entertaining with his breakdown on
artists who used to go by another name, Jason Crabb’s favorite
cartoons and more.
in review
Music: It’s all about diversity: GRITS, Selah and Bethany Dillon
The Hard Truth
Books: The best fiction just in time for summer reading
Now here’s a primer everyone can enjoy as D O U G VA N P E LT provides
insight into the hard rock scene.
Tour: Third Day, tobyMac and Warren Barfield on the “Third Day
The Real Thing
Sanctus Real may have U2 to thank for its first No. 1 hit, but the band
doesn’t plan on stopping there as it prepares to “fight the tide.”
Live” tour
From the Editor: The last band standing
Youth Group
The Insider:
otherwise—with its high-octane brand of pop. But what’s next on the
agenda? D E B O RA H E VA N S P R I C E investigates.
The Reel: An interview with The Notebook’s creator and more
Listening In… Michael Card and Brennan Manning
Ones to Watch: Falling Up, Something Like Silas
Eavesdrop on this meeting of the minds as the musician and the
ragamuffin talk about spiritual matters.
16 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About: Joy Williams
Child’s Play
Everything That’s On My Mind with Charlie Peacock
When it comes to CDs, videos and lullabies for the younger set, we’ve
come a long way, baby. B Y M I R I A M D R E N N A N
CCM Hall of Fame: Phil Keaggy
Jump5 continues to win over young audiences—mainstream and
The lowdown on Lifehouse, Diana DeGarmo’s
Christian music connection and more
9:38 PM
Page 4
Children 18:3
3 Degrees of Separation
I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. Thirty minutes prior I had simply been a judge for this year’s
regional music tournament at Minneapolis’ faith-based Club 3 Degrees (nationally renowned, thanks to recent
coverage by Newsweek, Rolling Stone and MSNBC). Now, as the event neared its conclusion, I felt privy to
something so secretly special that the Christian music gatekeepers of rock weren’t even dialed in. That would
soon change.
I’d flown in from Nashville to join a panel of 10 judges. More than 60 bands had registered for this year’s
tournament, and the eight-month elimination process had narrowed the field down to the 14 we were there
to critíque. For two evenings we’d been treated to some of the Christian community’s more promising pop,
rock, urban and worship artists. And as we reached the point where only two acts had yet to perform, we felt
good. It’d definitely been worth the trip, and we had some ideas about who the winners might be.
Shame on me. After more than 10 years in this business, I should know better. With many things in life,
even “small” things, God often saves the best for last. Enter hard rock band Passing Thru (
In a word, “Wow.” These guys rocked H-A-R-D, created a thick wall of sound, knew the power of melody and
had a terrific stage presence. They also had a new fan. After their set, as our panel of judges enjoyed a brief
intermission, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who “knew” we’d just seen the winner. It was in the bag.
Goodnight, everybody!
Um… remember that thing about God and last-minute surprises? I and a few of my esteemed colleagues
apparently thought “intermission” meant “post-show party.” Wrongo, tiny ones.
Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude our festivities, please welcome hard rock trio, Children 18:3
( Where do I begin? From my vantage point I was witnessing the best unsigned band I’d
seen since 1998. That spring Steve Taylor had taken his Squint staff (which included yours truly) down to
Your Christian Music Magazine Since 1978
volume 27 issue 1
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.
•••• •••••••
CCM Magazine
Publisher James R. Cumbee
Associate Publisher & Editor in Chief Roberta Croteau
Managing Editor Jay Swartzendruber
Associate Managing Editor Stephanie Ottosen
Contributing & Reviews Editor Christa Farris
4 ccm july 04
Art Director Lee Steffen
Associate Art Director Ben De Rienzo
Production Director Ross E. Cluver
Contributing Editors Andy Argyrakis, Joan Brasher, Michael Ciani,
Nancy Guthrie, Kent Morris, Michael Nolan, Charlie Peacock,
Chris Well
Contributors Louis R. Carlozo, Lizza Connor, Anthony DeBarros,
Miriam Drennan, Andrew Greer, Marcus Hathcock, Lucas
Hendrickson, David Jenison, Max Lucado, Dan MacIntosh, David
McCreary, Ginny Owens, Deborah Evans Price, Doug Van Pelt,
Rick Weber
Web Editor Christa Farris
Editorial Assistant Kelly O’Neil
Circulation Director Buffy Booker
Customer Service Representatives DeAnn Bishop, Leesa Smith
Executive Director of Advertising L. Smitty Wheeler
Senior Director of Advertising DeDe Tarrant
Account Executive Gregory Byerline
Account Executive Laurice Jackson
Birmingham, Ala., to catch the Insyderz tour and
check out the opening band—a young trio of brothers
who called themselves “Chevelle.” No, your eyes
aren’t failing you; I’m comparing Children 18:3 with
one of the premier hard bands in the world. At one
point during Children 18:3’s epic rocker “Pray for the
Persecuted Church,” I looked down the row of judges
to HM Magazine’s Doug Van Pelt and mouthed my
utter amazement.
Upon the band’s conclusion, the judges once again
took a short break—this time to confirm final results
before announcing the winners. And, once again,
many of us had been caught offguard. Constructive
debating ensued. The contest’s two best acts had just
polished everything off in back-to-back fashion. And
they were two of only four hard bands in the contest,
no less. Incredible.
As fate (and the majority of the judges) would have
it, Passing Thru managed to barely edge Children
18:3 for the first-place prize. I wasn’t that surprised. I
mean, how much shock can a panelist take in one
night? Besides, Passing Thru merits winning such a
contest and the increased profile (performance slots
at multiple summer festivals) this will bring them. And
Children 18:3? It’s only a matter of time. (Though a
name change wouldn’t hurt.)
This year’s event at Club 3 Degrees may actually be
indicative of a much bigger picture. While rock & roll
has become Christian music fandom’s genre of
choice, the increasing popularity of record labels such
as Solid State, Facedown and Flicker shows us this
trend stretches well into the rugged terrain of hard
rock. And just as Children 18:3 and Passing Thru
emerged from the Minneapolis pack, much of the
church’s most astonishing and untapped talent is
beginning its ascent within the hard music
Stop. Look. Listen. And, for best results, play loud.
Jay Swartzendruber
[email protected]
Account Executive Phil Davis
Marketing Coordinator Michael Tenbrink
Advertising Coordinator Carol Jones
Sales/Marketing Associate Craig Felker
Main Office 104 Woodmont Blvd., Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205
615/386-3011 (ph) • 615/386-3380 (business fax) • 615/385-4112
(editorial fax) • 615/312-4266 (advertising fax)
Subscriptions/Customer Service CCM, 104 Woodmont, Ste 300, Nashville
37205, 800/333-9643 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 by Lee Webb
11:01 AM
Page 6
Thank you so much for having
MercyMe on the cover of the May
issue [“A Severe Mercy”]. It was so
cool to be able to hear how my
favorite songs came about and the
real-life struggles this band goes
through. I have grown to appreciate
its music even more now. The band is
a great example of true witnesses
and worship leaders. Its music is truly
worship, not beating around the bush
with wasteful or suggestive lyrics but
getting straight to worshiping our
Creator and celebrating His love.
Keep it up, MercyMe!
-—Mac Merchant, via e-mail
I was an attendee at the MercyMe
concert in Charleston, W.V., this year.
I was there when Bart [Millard] broke
down and admitted that all he felt
was bitterness [over the death of his
uncle]. I expected nothing from the
band except its honest feelings and
praise to God, and that’s what I got
and more. The Lord promised a
comforter in the form of the Holy
Spirit. He was never more needed
than that night. Without fail, He [the
Holy Spirit] showed up and, in doing
so, His presence was felt over the
entire auditorium. I’ve been to many
Christian concerts and enjoyed them
all, but the MercyMe concert holds a
special place in my heart, memory
and spirit. The band’s willingness to
be real opened the door for the Lord
to move.
—Kathy Boyd, Chesapeake, VA
In last month’s issue, you wrote that
MercyMe recorded its music first and
then wrote the lyrics to the songs.
You also said this was the first time.
This is actually the second. MercyMe
used the same process to record and
write Spoken For.
—Daniel Crowe, via e-mail
We checked, and you’re right. Chet, the CCM
fact-checker says: “Yes, Daniel, you’re absolutely
right. Thanks a lot. Thanks a whole lot.” Care to
work for CCM, Daniel?
I hadn’t picked up CCM in quite a
while but recently picked up a copy of
the May issue to read the article on
MercyMe and the producers article
[“Meet the Producers”]. I was very
impressed with what I saw—many
6 ccm july 04
changes and improvements! However,
I was quite surprised to see the
Target ad on the inside of the front
cover. Big hooray for a company like
Target to advertise in CCM, but
shame on Target for accompanying
the ad with the very attractive female
model, obviously posed and dressed
to draw attention. I almost thought I
had picked up the wrong magazine
once I got home and noticed it.
Perhaps, if possible, more editorial
discernment could be given to
future ads of this type and their
graphics. Just what is being sold
and marketed here?
—John Carlson, McKinney, TX
girlfriend. I guess for some people
record sales are more important than
bringing people to Christ.
—James Hill, via e-mail
Nothing against Clay, God bless him,
but in my opinion he’s been upstaged
by another of the “American Idol”
contestants. R.J. Helton’s Real Life
gives a voice to the prayer in my
heart. I think God will be using his
talent in a big way because R.J. is
very upfront about the place of
God in his life. If Justin Timberlake
found Jesus, the music might
sound something like the songs
on Real Life.
—David Young, Good Hope, IL
It bothered me to read the
conversation between R.J. Helton and
Kelly Clarkson [“Listening In,” May]
when they were both agreeing that
they didn’t want their music to be
“churchy” so they could reach the
people who wouldn’t listen to it if it
were. How are people going to know
they are singing about God if they
don’t use His name?
I have been in many arguments
with non-believers about artists like
Lifehouse and Stacie Orrico, trying to
explain to them that they are
Christian artists. People who don’t
know aren’t going to be able to tell
whether an artist is Christian or not
by the lyrics if they don’t proclaim the
name of God. If the lyrics say, “you
are my life,” a Christian may know
that they are singing about Jesus; but
everyone else will think they’re just
singing about their boyfriend or
I was so excited when I saw that
tobyMac was in “19 Things You
Probably Didn’t Know About tobyMac”
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Page 7
[May] because he is the coolest
artist. I love his music so much.
Immediately after reading that page,
I ripped it out and hung it on my wall.
I loved finding more out about him,
[but] I’m still wondering if his wife is
from Jamaica? One of his songs
states “I’ve played in Kingston,
Jamaica where my Mandy was made”
(“Wonder’n Why,” Momentum).
—Kayla Nienaber, Ham Lake, MN
You got it, Kayla.
I am writing in reply to Christopher
Stone’s letter in the May 2004 issue
[“Feedback”]. He said: “[Bono]
promotes attention to the AIDS in
Africa problem; yet, with the same
mouth, he proclaims profanities. Am I
the only one who sees a problem with
this?” Yet, by working to help those
suffering in Africa, Bono is, in fact,
being more Christ-like than many
Christians who profess to keep their
language clean!
—Andrew Murray, Arvada, CO
With regard to Christopher Stone’s
letter about Bono: Why do we, as
Christians, get so caught up in the
minutia of people’s outward lives,
when the Bible tells us over and over
that it’s their hearts that interest
God? We only need to read Amos
(particularly chapter 5), or look at the
person of King David (He did a couple
of other notable things that the
mainstream church would frown on
today; yet he was still called a man
after God’s own heart.). Hasn’t
history presented us, time and time
again, with examples of those who
were outwardly “saintly” but inwardly
stinking? And don’t we know from
examining our own selves that none
of us is capable of living a pure and
blameless life? We all exist in a state
of grace. I do not pretend to believe
that Bono is a saint. I also do not
disagree that the church should have
responded to the crisis in Africa long
before. But whether it was a foulmouthed, Guiness-drinking rock star
from Dublin or a be-suited, sweetlyspoken, conservative Baptist from
Ohio, the fact is that the church (or
certainly the Christian music industry)
is now acting in a visual way. And
that can only be a good thing.
—Jude Adam, London, England
We hear you. Mr. Stone’s letter caused quite a
stir. Imagine our surprise when Christian music
and U2 fan sites recently posted links to an article
titled “We Know Bono’s Christian By His Love.”
Published in one of Kentucky’s more prominent
newspapers, the Lexington Herald-Leader,
the 900-word editorial outlined Stone’s letter to
CCM and then offered a thoughtful and
challenging response. Interested in knowing more
about it? Go to and click on
What’s your favorite Christian music legend or supposedly tall tale? Is it too good to be
true? Are you sure? What about that nagging question you have concerning your favorite
artist that, apparently, no one’s been able to answer? Perhaps you’ve simply been asking
the wrong people. That’s where we come in. Simply put, we double-dog dare you to stump
us! Check here each month as CCM Magazine distinguishes truth from fiction.
I have heard that rock legend Jimi
Hendrix once referred to Phil Keaggy
as the greatest guitarist alive (or
something like that), but I haven’t
been able to find anything official
about this. Do you know the scoop?
—Phil Fan in Farmington
Dear Phil Fan,
This is one of the most endearing
and enduring stories/rumors/urban
legends that Christian music has
ever seen. And of course, it couldn’t
happen to a more deserving artist.
(See this month’s “Hall of Fame”
feature on page 82.) Depending on
who you talk to, Jimi Hendrix (or Paul
McCartney or Eric Clapton) once said
in Guitar Player magazine (or on
“The Dick Cavett show” or on “Good
Morning America”) that Phil Keaggy
was the greatest guitar player in
the world.
coming guitarist in the world” or
(humorously, of course) that at 5’4”
he was the “shortest guitarist in
the world.”
Keaggy, himself, has said that he
believes this is all an “unverified
rumor” that has “turned into
something outlandish” over the
decades and says he won’t believe it
unless it is proven true. He believes it
is unlikely that Hendrix or Clapton
would have even known who he was;
and, though he spoke with an
encouraging McCartney after playing
at a mutual friend’s wedding some
years back, there was no “You are the
greatest guitarist in the world” type of
compliment from him.
Well, Phil, maybe not to Paul but
certainly to us!
For more information, visit or
Great review of Michael W. Smith’s
DVD Live in Concert—A 20 Year
Celebration in your May issue! I just
have one question: What was wrong
with it? You gave it a “B”! Yet you
said nothing negative or down-sizing
about the DVD in your review! Come
on, now! Live Smitty, artist cameos,
music video extras—it’s packed full!
“A++” all the way!
—Gabriel Peter, via e-mail
We liked the Kung-Fu fights OK, but to get an
“A++” from us, you’ve got to have a really boss
car chase, too. And robots.
However, as great an accolade as
that would be, there appears to be
little verifiable to this story. According
to Keaggy’s management company,
Blanton, Harrell, Cooke & Corzine, the
story is likely “folklore” that “may
have been said at one point but to
our knowledge was not documented.”
Several Keaggy fansites have
speculated over the years that,
perhaps, what was actually said
is that Phil was the “best up-and-
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.
july 04 ccm 7
11:50 PM
Page 9
Diana DeGarmo’s
Christian music
by Christa Farris
Fathers That Rock!
DeGarmo, center, with the Idols
Destined to Win
Fantasia may have recently been crowned the new “American Idol,” but runner-up Diana
DeGarmo’s Uncle Eddie tells CCM that big things are in store for his niece.
OK, so no one has covered anything by Michael W.
Smith or Steven Curtis Chapman on primetime just
yet; but believe it or not, Fox’s television goldmine
“American Idol” has more Christian music industry
connections than you may realize.
Of course you already know that first season alum
R.J. Helton recently released his debut, Real Life on
B-Rite. Then there’s the first “American Idol,” Kelly
Clarkson, and second-year darling Clay Aiken, who
are big fans of Christian artists such as Avalon and
Jaci Velasquez. Now that the third season has just
wrapped, did you know there’s only one degree of
separation between A.I.Z runner-up Diana DeGarmo
and Christian rock legends DeGarmo & Key? Yep, it’s
true. Eddie DeGarmo, who provided half the musical
energy for D&K for almost two decades and now
serves as the President of EMI-CMG Publishing in
Nashville, is Diana’s uncle.
“I’m very proud of her,” says Eddie. “She’s
obviously very passionate about [singing] and driven
towards excellence.” Diana, the perky blonde from
Snellville, Ga., was the youngest contestant on the
show. “You know, she just turned 16,” Eddie
comments. “She’s just now starting to find her place.”
Even though she placed second behind Fantasia
Barrino, Diana will most likely sign a record deal in
the near future. Eddie assumes that she is going to
be signing a mainstream pop deal, but nothing has
been confirmed at press time.
And now the question remains: Is there potential
for her to follow in Aiken’s footsteps and possibly
even outshine the contest’s winner?
“She definitely has a very wide appeal,” her uncle
says, “She’s just so heartland American girl that it
would surprise me if she doesn’t do extremely well.”
According to A.I.’s official Web site, Diana claimed
that her definition of an American Idol is “someone
who is a great singer, great entertainer and great
human being.”
Speaking of people who aren’t always described
with the words “great human being,” Eddie thinks
that Simon Cowell, the notorious “American Idol”
judge, gave a fair assessment of Diana’s
competition. “As far as his ability to perceive talent,
Simon’s pretty spot on,” Eddie comments. “He’s
pretty crass in his presentation, but that’s part of
the shtick.”
Of all the ways for young talent to be discovered, is
“American Idol” a good thing? Eddie thinks it
certainly helped his niece out. “I don’t think you can
not know about the show and live on this planet,” he
observed. “There’s so much media frenzy around it.”
Ironically, at one point, he had no idea that his young
niece was even on the show. “I didn’t know that
Diana was on it until the rest of world knew at the
same time,” he said, “It was pretty cool when I first
figured that out.”
And does the former half of D&K think his musical
abilities had any impact on his niece’s talent?
“Diana’s been singing her whole life,” he asserts. “I
can’t really take credit for giving her any pointers. She
would sing Patsy Cline songs around the house when
she was 3!” C H R I S TA FA R R I S and K E L LY O ’ N E I L
Bet They’ll Hear “Layla” on a Nightly Basis: Robert Randolph and the Family Band Are Opening Shows For
july 04 ccm 9
11:51 PM
Page 10
Casting Crowns
Ever wonder how your favorite Christian songs come to fruition? Dan
MacIntosh recently tracked down the inspiration behind two songs from two
bands in the spotlight, Caedmon’s Call, who’s currently working on a brand
new disc with a world music flare and Casting Crowns, who’s been this past
year’s biggest new artist success story.
Casting Crowns’
“If We Are the Body”
Casting Crowns’ frontman Mark Hall, a youth pastor, originally intended the song
“If We Are the Body” to be a teaching tool to help his youth group better
understand what it means to behave like the body of Christ. “They’d forgotten
what the body of Christ looked like,” he recalls. “The world is well aware of what
the church is against, but they aren’t always aware of what it’s for. Everybody in
the body of Christ is given gifts to minister with; and when Christians aren’t using
these gifts, the body suffers.”
Hall’s scriptural inspiration for the song came from the second chapter of
James, where the writer admonished readers to steer clear of giving preferential
treatment to any one particular group over another, such as favoring the rich over
the poor. The song’s chorus asks hard questions about why the body doesn’t
always minister impartially.
When it comes to getting God’s messages across in song, Hall believes you’ve
got to shoot straight. He especially remembers one pivotal moment where that
thinking paid off with tangible benefits.
“We were on a week-long radio tour,” Hall recounts, “and we went into this mall
in Texas, where we set up to perform in the food court. There were all these chairs
lined up near the stage, but there were also people sitting at tables just eating
their lunches. And when it came time to perform this song—and when the folks
who came to see us began to sing along with it—I could see the looks on the faces
of our fans as they realized that they were truly in the world while singing these
challenging words.” As Dr. J. Vernon McGee always used to say, this was a
moment where the rubber met the road.
Caedmon’s Call
Caedmon’s Call’s
“Hands of the Potter”
Caedmon’s Call is well known for its rootsy performances and expert songcraft,
but the single “Hands of the Potter,” which appears on its Chronicles: 1992-2004
collection, was actually written by a friend of the band, Randall Goodgame, who
was specifically commissioned to write this particular song.
“We knew Randall was a great writer and asked him to think about writing
something for us,” says drummer Todd Bragg. “After touring for a few months as
the opener for Caedmon’s,” Goodgame adds, “Cliff Young (Caedmon’s Call
vocalist/guitarist) asked me to consider writing songs for them. I was very
surprised, honored and excited all at the same time. I already knew Caedmon’s
Call as a wonderful family of God-fearing people, and I was thrilled to have the
opportunity to join their legacy of mingling great art with ministry.”
After receiving the lyrics to the track, Caedmon’s Call applied its own musical
potter’s hands, so to speak, to the task of refashioning the finished product. “I
remember playing it for Cliff, who told me then that he was hearing it in his head
as driven by percussion,” Goodgame notes.
This track is one that offers a message about how God changes hearts.
“Lyrically, it speaks of God’s sovereignty and celebrates God molding us into His
image and using us, despite our good and bad hearts,” Bragg explains.
“Rhythmically, it is very energetic and festive. This makes for an exciting
experience live.”
Guitar Legend Eric Clapton • Co-Founder of Multi-Platinum Pop Act Blessid Union of Souls, Eddie Hedges,
10 ccm july 04
11:52 PM
Page 11
>> pop/rock
What Are You
Listening To?
Matthew West reveals what CDs
are rocking his summer.
Jonny Lang
Patty Griffin
Long Time Coming
Impossible Dream
Relient K
Studio Buzz:
Relient K
Matchbox 20
Third Day
More Than You
Think You Are
Recent Dove winner for Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right, But Three Do (Gotee), Relient K is
logging a lot of hours in the studio these days as the band prepares for its fourth full-length
studio release, expected to bow later this year.
Few actual details are being revealed about what direction the band is taking musically,
but in his usual tongue-in-cheek fashion vocalist Matt Thiessen says, “We’re really excited.
It’s going to sound a lot like if Tom Arnold and Nicole Kidman had a baby and then gave it
up for adoption. But not really.” Sound intriguing? You be the judge.
Nate Sallie’s
Sweet Endorsement
With a deal that would’ve made cereal lover Jerry Seinfeld
green with envy in his sitcom heyday, Nate Sallie has recently
racked up a “Summer Jam 2004” promotion with cereal giant
Post alongside the likes of Sugar Ray. No word yet on whether
Sallie will get a lifetime supply of Cocoa Pebbles, but the
endorsement deal will allow fans to hear his music online
with exclusive safe downloads available at
>>> >>> Unveils
was recently named as official spokesmen for
“Redeem the Vote,” a non-profit, non-partisan organization that
encourages Christians to register to vote. The band was also
selected to write and record the initiative’s official theme song, titled
“Silence Never Speaks.” Look for more information about this
partnership at The band is also in the beginning
stages of recording the follow-up to its self-titled Ardent debut. Early
word on the disc from frontman Vince Lichlyter suggests the band may “tame things down
just a notch to make sure we get our point across live.” Lichlyter says emphatically. “We
always want fans to get their faces rocked off live, but we also want to make sure they get
ministered to as well.”
Seventh Day Slumber
The band hasn’t enjoyed much in the way of slumber these days as
it began recording for a sophomore disc, Once Upon a Shattered
Life (Crowne Music Group), late last month. The album, which
releases in November, “tackles a lot of the tough issues that people
don’t want to talk about,” frontman Joseph Rojas says. “We meet a
lot of hurting people everywhere we go, and we want to write about
these things that help address what really matters.”
Christian Solo Debut Next Month • ZOEgirl Set to Participate in First Christian Music Festival
july 04 ccm 11
11:52 PM
Page 12
>> pop
by a
In the face of
break-up rumors,
isn’t for good.
It still may be a little early to do a VH-1 “Where Are
They Now?” segment on Lifehouse, as it’s only
been a year since its last studio release, Stanley
Climbfall. And the band’s two big singles,
“Hanging by a Moment” and “Spin” can still be
frequently heard on the radio.
However, during 2004, Lifehouse has all but
vanished from the public eye. The group’s official
Web site hasn’t been updated since last October.
They’re no longer touring and, apparently, are no
longer signed with DreamWorks Records.
This void of information has filled Internet message
boards with rumors, attempting to explain the band’s
disappearance. Some fans are convinced that
Lifehouse has broken up. Others think they’re just
“on a break.” All of this gossip has been unconfirmed
information—until now.
Is Lifehouse still alive? “Absolutely,” says the
band’s manager, Jude Cole. However, he says the
group is adjusting to many changes. “Right now we’re
just trying to put everything together.”
It seems what they need to put together is a new
band. Many of the Internet rumors have suggested
that bassist Sergio Andrade and guitarist Sean
Woolstenhulme are no longer in the band. Those
rumors, says Cole, are true.
“There’s no bad blood; they left on really great
terms,” Cole said. What made them leave, he said,
was evolving musical passions.
Woolstenhulme had been with Lifehouse less than
a year, only contributing as part of the 2003 “Stanley
Climbfall” tour. He’s kept busy playing for up-andcomers Radford and Abandoned Pools.
The departure of founding member Andrade
comes as more of a shock to fans. He and Jason
Wade started the band Blyss as teenagers in
suburban L.A. In five short years, Blyss morphed from
a local praise band into Lifehouse, a multi-platinum,
chart-topping sensation.
Andrade, apparently, missed the more blatantly
Christian approach his band once had. Cole says he
left Lifehouse to pursue a “full-on” Christian band.
“Serge’s heart is really in Christian music, and that’s
where he felt he was headed,” says Cole.
Now, Wade and the new Lifehouse musicians are
recording the band’s third album on new label
Interscope/Geffen. When asked if Lifehouse’s
trademark sound will change, Cole replies, “No, not
really. Jason’s still the one writing the songs.” He
says the untitled album should be completed by the
end of the summer. “Right now we’re just trying to
focus,” says Cole. “This will be the best album yet.”
in Quito, Ecuador For Missions Effort This Month • Jaci Velasquez Recently Garnered Second Billboard
12 ccm july 04
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Page 14
Sneak Peak:
Chris Tomlin gives us the
exclusive lowdown on
his upcoming disc.
When Chris Tomlin approached his A&R guy, Brad O’Donnell, about the next
worship record he wanted to make, he had a specific, stripped-down organic
sound in mind. And when O’Donnell suggested that Tomlin should listen to a CD
by indie artist, Matt Wertz, he knew he had to work with Wertz’s producer, Ed Cash
(Caedmon’s Call, Bebo Norman) after only one listen. “That’s exactly the sound I
wanted to have,” Tomlin comments.
And even though Tomlin says Cash was initially a little reluctant at their first
meeting about working on praise material because he believes the songs are
often “subpar,” Tomlin eventually won him over. “It’s been the best experience I’ve
ever had making a record,” he says. “He [Cash] has such a great, strong heart and
a deep belief in God. I feel like I’ve known him all my life.”
Describing the project as “probably the most corporate songs I’ve ever written
in terms of accessibility for the church,” Tomlin’s disc is tentatively titled Arriving
and will be available in a store near you in September.
David Crowder Band:
Ready for the Big Leagues
While contemplating how in the world David Crowder doesn’t get annoyed with grooming his long,
unusual beard, we also covered more newsworthy fare in a recent interview—namely one rather large
touring gig dubbed “The One Nation Tour” with Michael W. Smith and MercyMe.
Recently announced as the opening act for the tour, Crowder still seems surprised as he tells CCM
about this huge opportunity. “We are excited and thrilled to be a part of such an amazing tour. It’s an
honor to share the stage with two influential artists such as Michael W. Smith and MercyMe.”
And if that wasn’t enough to keep Crowder happy for a while, he tells us he’s also a new homeowner.
But this isn’t just any Texas home. “When I found out this was the place that Dr. Pepper was invented, I
found myself just saying, ‘Yes,’ without much thought. I had to have that house.” Now all moved into the
soda lover’s retreat, Crowder admits he and his wife still haven’t found the secret recipe telling how the
beverage was created. We’ll keep you posted if that changes anytime soon.
Latin Music Award For Her Fourth Spanish-Language Disc, Milagro • Hip-Hop Goes “WoW” With New Gotee
14 ccm july 04
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Page 15
What’s New at
this Month!
Festival Report: Look for online exclusives
(pictures too) from “Creation East”
and “Creation West.”
Don’t Miss Our Artist Chats! Pose as a journalist for a moment and
ask the questions you’ve always wanted answers to in our online chat
events. This month we have Taylor Sorensen on July 1, Sanctus Real
on July 8 and Ginny Owens on July 22.
Baylor University Center for
Christian Music Studies
The 2004 Hearn Symposium on Christian Music
Mission Trip: Malawian Style
New worship act Something Like Silas embarks on a divine invitation
of its own.
It may be signed to a label now, but Something Like Silas hasn’t abandoned its
original mission. In fact, the band that still leads worship at its home church in
San Diego recently returned from a mission trip to Malawi, Africa.
Entertaining the crowd at half-time during soccer matches, the band performed
in stadiums in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Zomba and Chichiri, and at one indoor event at
the University of Malawi.
“Putting on stadium events across the country, traveling between cities on a
little shuttle-bus that you knew it was only a matter of time before it broke down
and playing for over 100,000 Malawians is only the logistic and boring report of it
all,” says Eric M. Owyoung, the band’s leader, songwriter and vocalist/guitarist.
“Interwoven within the events are experiences that can never leave you the same,
experiences that leave you confused on how to respond—‘Should I laugh with joy
or should I weep with compassion?’”
While in Malawi, the band also visited two ministries for orphans run by
Children of the Nations, each with a feeding program. The orphanage visited in
Chitipi houses and feeds some 75 orphan children.
>>> >>>
Compilation, Hip Hope, That’ll Hit Shelves Next
july 04 ccm 15
October 4-6, 2004 | Baylor University | Waco, Texas
Chris Seay
Sally Morgenthaler
Louie Giglio
John Michael Talbot
Thomas Troeger
Marva Dawn
Chuck Fromm
…with Billy Ray Hearn, Julie Pennington-Russell, Peter York, Bill Hearn, Hulitt Gloer, Vicky
Beeching, Randall Bradley, Ralph Carmichael, Rex Miller, David Music, Kurt Kaiser, Terry
York, Worship Together Band, Gary Rhodes, Don Cason and Gordon Borror
To register or request information, contact:
Hearn Symposium on Christian Music
Baylor School of Music
One Bear Place #97408 • Waco, TX 76798
Phone: 254.710.2360 • Fax: 254.710.1191
Conference fee:
$149 through Sept. 1, $179 after Sept. 1
11:55 PM g Page 16
A Walk to Remember
Gospel legend and CCM Hall of Famer Andraé
Crouch was recently honored with a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Roll out the red carpet: Andraé Crouch has his own star
now—namely the 2,256th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Known for songs including “My Tribute” and “Just Like He
Said He Would” and for performances with the likes of Elton
John, Diana Ross, Quincy Jones and more, the contemporary
gospel legend is the third gospel artist to have a star adorn
the celebrity walkway.
At press time, Crouch is almost finished with a new
inspirational/choir CD, a fall/winter release titled Mighty
Wind, which will include special guest appearances by Fred
Hammond, Marvin Winans and more.
And the Winner Is…
Cross Movement, Lisa McClendon and Lil IROCC lead the pack of nominees in this month’s
Urban Gospel Alliance Awards ceremony.
Apparently the people have spoken. Instead of a committee decision, a select group of diehard music fans
helped play a crucial part in determining who’d appear on the ballot for this month’s Urban Gospel
Alliance Awards. For the past four months, urban gospel fans cast their votes via the Web to help fashion
the nominees list.
As part of the Urban Gospel Industry (UGI) Awards & Conference in Riverside, Calif., from July 14-17,
awards will be handed out in a variety of urban music categories to draw attention to the cream of the crop
in every genre from hip-hop to contemporary gospel to neo-soul, reggae and gospel jazz.
Final voting, which will determine the UGA Award winners, however, will be decided on by voting members
of the UGA. For more information on the Alliance and the complete list of nominees, visit
War & Remembrance
On Spiritual Songs of the Soul, a slew of talented artists
memorialize the significance of the old-time spirituals
from Civil War days.
In a recent interview with CCM, Larnelle Harris confessed that he
continues to stay busy these days as a relatively new grandparent
who loves to spoil his granddaughter, a fervent student of the Bible
(he even has an audio copy on his iPod) and with his recent
contribution to the Spiritual Songs of the Soul (Discovery House)
Harris, along with Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., Wintley
Phipps and a 54-piece symphony worked on the project to acquaint
listeners with songs like “Wade in the Water,” “Nobody Knows the
Trouble I’ve Seen” and “Motherless Child,” tracks that reflected the
struggle and spiritual faith demonstrated during the Civil War era.
Released in remembrance of the Civil War surrender that took
place in April of 1865, the album was produced by Grammy winner,
Scott V. Smith (Andraé Crouch, The Winans).
“It was a pleasure to work on this project with such wonderful
songs grounded in a rich heritage,” Harris said. “It was a project
done with great care and dignity.”
Month • G’Day Mate: Paul Colman Inks Solo Deal With Inpop • Mark
16 ccm july 04
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Audio Adrenaline’s
new mission and
5 questions with
Bebo Norman
by Stephanie Ottosen
Haitian orphans
This Georgia born-and-bred singer/songwriter has been
entertaining fans for years with his poignant (and occasionally
very long) stories, heartfelt lyrics and Southern charm.
Heading out this fall on a headlining tour featuring Bethany
Dillon and Jason Morant, Norman plans to sing tunes from his
latest, Try (Provident Label Group), releasing Aug. 24.
If you could trade responsibilities with someone for a day,
who would that person be, what would the job be, and why would
you choose to do it?
Probably my dog, Otis. His job is just to lie around all day, eat and sleep.
Somebody else feeds him, bathes him and pets him; and he still whines
and cries. But everyone just thinks it’s cute.
When was the first moment you realized you wanted to
pursue music for a living?
It was about two months before I graduated from college while I was
studying for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). With the
encouragement of friends, I had been praying about the music thing
because I was so torn between music and medical school. It became
completely obvious to me one night, while I was forcing myself to study,
that my passion for medical school had faded.
Describe your most unforgettable date.
What are you obsessive compulsive about?
The most unforgettable romantic date would have to be the evening I
asked my wife to marry me. We were on a little island just off the coast of
South Carolina. After dinner this particular evening, we sat out on the
terrace of the beach house and watched a beautiful thunderstorm out
over the water. Almost like clockwork, the sky started to break just in time
to see maybe the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. I read little pieces
from my journal that sort of chronicled the process of falling in love with
her, and then I asked her to marry me.
Just one thing? Probably driving. I always have to be the driver. I hate
being a passenger... it scares me.
What characteristic of God has surprised you the most
these days?
His peace. I have truly realized that it has nothing to do with circumstances.
Love the Little Children
Some might call it an opportunity, a massive undertaking, perhaps even a burden,
but lead singer Mark Stuart calls Audio Adrenaline’s plans to build a Haitian
village for orphans a “dream come true.”
The dream is certainly a personal one, as Stuart actually lived in Haiti with his
missionary parents before leaving to attend a Bible college in Kentucky. Shortly
after, Stuart’s younger sister was diagnosed with leukemia, and his parents were
forced to move to Memphis for their daughter’s treatment. Now, 12 years later,
Stuart’s parents are going to live their dream: They plan to move permanently to
Haiti this month to oversee the construction and development of this effort,
tentatively named “The Hands and Feet Project.” (Stuart’s sister is in remission
from her cancer and now works as a registered nurse. She plans to visit regularly
to do medical checkups.)
“It’s really fun and exciting, and we can’t believe how God aligned it all,” Stuart
tells CCM. “It was like one morning we [AA] all woke up and were thinking the
same thing, including my parents and a local missionary, who was like, ‘The need
here is this; here’s the land available.’” According to Stuart, Audio Adrenaline has
already put a down payment on land for the village site, located south of the
capital of Port-au-Prince.
Stuart says there are two focuses for the project: to “raise up a generation of
believers” in these orphans and to care for them by providing housing and
Christian “parents,” six kids to a home, and also for AA to bring youth from
America to “see how the rest of the world lives.” Stuart comments, “I think that’s
[missions] one great tool to change American kids’ hearts, lives and minds and get
them out of their comfort zones and on the mission field. When we’ve done that,
we’ve seen that God works just as much in the hearts of the kids going as the
ones they’re serving.”
But there’s still much work to do. Stuart says the band plans to auction off a
concert as well as some musical instruments on eBay. The funds made from the
auction will be used to purchase the
Stuart in Haiti
land. Also, AA hopes to raise
awareness and funds on its tours and
to encourage youth groups to raise
money to build the homes. Says Stuart,
“People want to serve and want to help;
they just need to know where to serve
and how to help.” ccm
Schultz Teams Up With U.S. Army For Educational Endeavor • Wanna Cruise Like a Rock Star?: K-Love Network
18 ccm july 04
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Page 20
Newborns, weddings,
birthdays and more.
The State of Waiting
by Stephanie Ottosen
by Ginny
From the
Congratulations to Avalonians Greg and
Janna Long on the birth of their first baby,
Lillian Flowers Long. Their daughter was born
May 17 at 5:29 p.m., weighing 7lbs 4oz and
measuring 20 inches long.
A new boy has made his appearance in
Newboys’ Phil Joel’s life. Joel’s wife,
Heather, recently gave birth to their second
child, Philip Eden.
Insyderz vocalist Joe Yerke and his wife,
Leslie, also had a baby. The couple
welcomed Ella Grace on April 16 at 6:15 p.m.
Lillian Long
Active waiting
“They Do.”
September’s lead singer Tony
Chavez married his long-time
sweetheart, Alicia, in Broken
Arrow, Oklahoma. The remaining
band members—Dave, Zach and
Josh—served as groomsmen.
The band’s new album even got a
plug at the ceremony when the
happy couple marched out to
“April Dreams,” a song from the
album that Tony wrote to
commemorate the day.
If I could be granted just one wish, I’d wish that
we’d all be born with a perfect sense of purpose. If
we knew exactly where we should live, what our
career paths should be and whether we should be
single or get married, we could spend our lives
being who we’re supposed to be instead of
continually seeking to “find ourselves.”
Needless to say, my wish isn’t going to come
true, which is probably for the best. If this sort of
awareness came so easily, we’d have little need to
grow in wisdom or develop character. And if we
knew all there was to know about ourselves, we
wouldn’t need to know the One who created us.
Paul Meany (Mutemath)
Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay)
Sandi Patty
Carrie Theobald (Alathea)
Margaret Becker
Art Gonzales (Salvador)
Rebecca St. James
Scott Denté (Out of the Grey)
I’ve always thought of the word “wait” as a passive
verb. When I consider my singleness, I realize that
sitting around dreaming of being married and
imagining how wonderful that would be is probably
not the best way to wait.
David talks much in the Psalms about waiting on
the Lord. In Psalm 37:7, he says, “Be still before the
Lord and wait patiently for Him.” However, David
surrounds his statement about waiting with many
calls to action. “Trust,” “do,” “delight,” “enjoy” and
“commit” are just some of the action words he uses
to describe how he will interact with his Lord.
“Waiting” is more of an action we are to carry out on
a daily basis than a state we’re stuck in.
Waiting with Confidence
Tell CCM
The song that has probably made more of
an impact on my life than any other song
out there is Nichole Nordeman’s beautifully
written “Why.” The first time I heard it was
in December 2000. I had just met my now
husband and recommitted my life to Christ
two months before. I was never really into
Christian music, other than praise &
worship stuff I sang at church. A friend said,
“You have to hear this song!” So I sat down,
and he played it for me. By the end of the
song my heart was pounding, and I was
crying so hard I couldn’t see. For the first
time I could put myself in the story of the
crucifixion, and it hit me then and there that
Christ died for me!
—Amanda Eiland, Columbus, GA
How have CCM Magazine, the artists and their stories changed your life? We'd love to know! Please e-mail us at
[email protected] or write to 104 Woodmont Blvd, Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205.
“I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of
the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be
strong and take heart. And wait for the Lord” (Ps.
27:14). In spite of the darkness going on in David’s
life during this Psalm, he is holding on to the hope
that God will rescue him and continue to take care of
him. He’s acting by praying, petitioning and praising.
He’s also believing in God’s ultimate plan.
Waiting with Patience
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do
not fret when men succeed in their ways; when they
carry out their wicked schemes” (Ps.37:7). One thing
is clear when studying David’s writings. He continues
to struggle with the same challenges and frustrations
day in and day out. But you will never find one place
where David says, “OK, God, I’m done. I can’t wait on
You any longer.” Instead, David continuously
approaches His Father’s throne. Shouldn’t we do the
same… even in our darkest hour of loneliness? Even
in our most frustrating moments of singleness?
For more information visit
Announces Its Annual Friends & Family Music Cruise With Newsboys, Mark Schultz, Big Daddy Weave and More;
20 ccm july 04
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Page 22
A conversation with
Keith Harrold and the
latest industry buzz
by Jay Swartzendruber
What does your actual job entail?
My job primarily consists of learning about Word’s new releases—CDs, DVDs
and printed music—then, on a monthly basis, presenting those releases to
about 180 Christian stores throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, southern
Ohio, western New York and some of New England. I also work with radio,
television, festivals and concert tours as they relate to my territory. I really
love my job most days. It’s hard to believe I get paid for doing it. The travel
is fun; but, just like an artist, sometimes it’s really hard to be away from home.
What would be some of your favorite career highlights so far?
I once ate worms (imported pre-packaged snacks) with Steve Taylor. I got to
meet one of my drum heroes, Chester Thompson (Genesis, Frank Zappa) and
then play his drums at the Wildhorse in Nashville with a whole bunch of great
musicians such as Phil Keaggy, Dave Perkins, Phil Madeira, Dan Posthuma
and Heather Floyd (Point of Grace). I attended a “Loft” event at Amy Grant’s
barn. I was in a small hotel ballroom with maybe 60 others when Rich Mullins
played “Awesome God” for probably his first time at an industry event. I get
to work very closely with both the “Creation” festival and the “Kingdom
Bound” festival. And, of course, touring and recording with the Apologetix.
How do you see downloading trends making an impact on retailers?
Even when a consumer legally buys an iTune or other service of a song, the
retailers are just cut right out of that dollar. When you think about it, you need
a Christian store for a lot of reasons; and they need to sell best-selling music
and books so they have things like communion cups at 9:30 on Saturday night.
Kickin’ Back
with Keith
Keith Harrold, a field sales representative, carries a badge (i.e. a
backstage pass). For the past 21 years Keith has excelled in his role
with the company we know now as Word Entertainment. He’s served
under six owners, landed Word’s national and regional ‘Salesman of the
Year’ awards 11 times, has been presented with 55 gold or platinum
album awards and, passing on several opportunities to relocate to
Nashville, has elected to remain in Greensburg, Pa. (near Pittsburgh),
where he spent his childhood. Over the years he’s worked with dozens
of Christian music’s most prominent artists, including Amy Grant,
Michael W. Smith, MercyMe, Petra, P.O.D., Ron Kenoly, Randy Travis,
Sixpence None the Richer, Point of Grace, Leslie Phillips and the late
Mark Heard.
How did you get into the music business?
After getting a college degree in retailing, my first job in the music industry
was as a manager for the National Record Mart chain. I began listening to
pop music really early and started playing drums in 1965, then
professionally in 1969. I’ve played in polka, country, progressive rock and
Christian bands, including Apologetix on and off since 1992. I’ve also been
playing drums on church worship teams since 1978 and recently completed
a book about drumming in church, The Worshipping Drummer.
I understand you’re one of CCM’s earliest subscribers. When did you start
reading our magazine?
I bought my first CCM in September 1979. Seawind was on the cover—I really
loved that band—and it was a large, newsprint style magazine. Amy Grant’s
My Father’s Eyes was the No. 1-selling contemporary Christian album in that
issue, and the Imperial’s Heed the Call was the No. 1 southern gospel
release. I still have every one of them.
And the beat goes on...
Thanks to Bono’s DATA organization,
you can sneak a peak at Michael W.
Smith’s next album (due early next
year). Visit and click on the
“ONE Campaign Launch” button. There
you can check out a clip of Michael’s
special live performance of “Healing
Rain,” which he dedicated to Africa’s
AIDS orphans during the recent ONE
event in Philadelphia. You can also join
Michael, Jars of Clay and thousands of
others in signing the ONE petition.
According to airplay charts at Billboard and Radio & Records, Christian
market-supported artists recently accounted for an unprecedented six
mainstream hits during the same week. While Switchfoot remained planted
on the Alternative chart (“Dare You to Move”) and the CHR/Pop chart
(“Meant to Live”), MercyMe logged its second AC hit with “Here With Me.”
Jars of Clay's Who We Are Instead entered the top 30 of the Triple A album
airplay chart, while Skillet (“Savior”) and Thousand Foot Krutch (“Rawkfist”)
took up residence on the Active Rock chart.
Log on for More Details • Kevin Max Set to Break a Leg in Stage Production
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Page 24
An interview with The
Notebook’s Nicholas
Sparks and more
by Joan Brasher
“My parents are holocaust survivors,
and they came to this country with
nothing,” he said. “But they overcame
amazing adversity and still had joy in
their hearts. That’s what inspired me. I
was drawn to other people who have
overcome adversity yet have hope and
inspiration in their lives. That’s what this
movie is about.”
With a background in nature
cinematography, Schwartzberg has
created a visually captivating and emotionally stirring piece of work quite
unlike anything else out there. Rock legend John Mellencamp agrees. After
seeing the film, he volunteered to contribute an original song. The soundtrack
also features music from Smash Mouth and John Hiatt. Look for
America’s Heart and Soul in theaters now, and prepare to be inspired.
That’s all she wrote, folks. Stay cool, and keep it reel.
Faith-Informed Film
Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks is a committed Catholic who prefers to
keep his stories on the more wholesome side. But that hasn’t hurt his book
sales or his movie offers. The highly successful feature films A Walk to
Remember and Message in a Bottle were both based on his novels. As
we mentioned last month, The Notebook, which is inspired on another of
his books, released to theaters nationwide June 25. We recently connected
with Sparks to see how his faith intersects with his work.
“My faith informs my writing, and it is a part of all of my characters,” Sparks
said. “Throughout all of my novels there are always elements of faith woven
throughout. In The Wedding, one of the characters is an atheist; and his wife
introduces him to prayer and the Scripture and attending [church]. Three
Weeks With My Brother is based on my brother’s struggle with faith. It
opens with a proverb, and we quote from Corinthians 10.”
Sparks said that because of his convictions, there are certain topics he
simply won’t write about. “I’ve written love stories, but I can’t write about
adultery,” he said. “I just can’t do it. Usually if you have a book about a couple
who is having problems, 99 percent of the time, one of them goes off and has
an affair; and they make it this beautiful, romantic thing. I despise that.”
See CCM’s June issue of “The Reel” for our actual preview of The Notebook.
Favorite DVD From
Your Favorite Artists:
Sweet Home
Director Louis Schwartzberg spent
more than two years shooting
America’s Heart and Soul, an
emotional trip across America,
profiling the extraordinary people who
make up the fabric of our great land.
The film is a composite of fascinating
stories profiling a cowboy, a coalminer,
a blind mountain climber, a bicycle
messenger and a farmer, to name just a few. What each has in common is a
passion to follow his or her dreams. Shot before 9/11 and the war in Iraq, the
film wasn’t originally intended to uplift a wounded nation; but its July 2 release
seems particularly timely. Schwartzberg’s first feature film, it was inspired by
some remarkable people close to home: his mom and dad.
This month The Insyderz’s frontman, Joe Yerke,
joins new buzz artist Bethany Dillon in strongly
recommending the Mel Gibson blockbuster Braveheart. “Braveheart is
amazing,” says Yerke. “To think someone can stretch themselves so far and
have the courage to do so much over something like political and personal
freedom… If we, as Christians, could harness that same strength to ‘free’
people from their chains as well, this would be a much better place.”
And Dillon? She pretty much thinks it’s the end all, be all. “Braveheart is
my favorite movie of all time!” she states, hiding none of her enthusiasm.
“Without fail, every time I watch it, I am completely ruined. With the bagpipes
playing in the background, the epic battles, the deep-rooted friendship and
the powerful theme of reckless love—it’s unbelievably beautiful. I’ll never
forget how I felt when I first heard William Wallace shout, ‘Freedom!’”
of “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” • Pax217 Currently at Work on Exclusive EP For Sale Online
24 ccm july 04
10:02 PM
Page 26
onestowatch >>
It’s All Fun and Games...
This Oregon-bred sextet has been touring the country over the past few
months on Kutless’ “Sea of Faces” tour, introducing crowds to the catchy,
“pash” rock tracks from its debut album, Crashings (BEC). Proving that a
little help from friends doesn’t hurt (especially if they happen to be in
Kutless), Falling Up’s opening slot on the tour helped the band gain new
fans and may have even stolen a bit of its tourmates’ thunder.
CCM: How do you and Kutless know each other?
JESSY: We all went to high school together. Josh, our drummer, and James
Mead from Kutless were in another band. They quit; and James moved up
to Portland, and Josh came to our band. Then we made a demo right after
senior year, and they [Kutless] got a hold of it and gave it to a couple
record companies. Tooth & Nail [BEC’s parent company] was one of them.
CCM: Have any shows been particularly memorable?
JESSY: A show that was really funny was the last show of the tour. We were
playing, and Kutless came out; and they started messing with our
equipment. They started taking Josh’s drums off the stage while we were
playing. Then they came out, and they had baby powder or something;
they were putting it all over the guys—spraying it in their faces.
Diversity Rules!
Somewhat of an eclectic group, this San Diego-based band is comprised of
five members—Eric Owyoung (vocals, guitar), John Luzzi (bass), Nick
Maybury (guitar), Malina Owyoung (keyboards, vocals) and Lenny Beh
(drums). Describing its music as “dynamic” with a range of influences,
Something Like Silas released its label debut, Divine Invitation (Sparrow),
June 15.
CCM: What’s the fascination with the Viewmaster on your Web site?
JOHN: Our last [independent] album was called Glimpses. It’s about moments
with God that we have—whether it’s in nature or when meeting with each
other. So we call those “glimpses.”
CCM: With a lot of influences in your music, is it a problem getting everyone to agree?
ERIC: We’ll have songs that are rocking really hard and then some that are
really ambient and have all this space. In the beginning, it was like, “What
are we going to do with all these styles?” But we found our identity is these
varying textures, this huge dynamic.
CCM: What are your tour plans?
MALINA: We have a home church we’re a part of in San Diego. That’s what
our heart vision is—being a part of shaping the church and bringing songs
to the church. We’re there two-thirds of the year, so a lot of our touring is
regional because we want to get back for Sunday.
ERIC: Flood is a church service we started over three years ago. There was
a huge need in San Diego for the younger people who were there. We now
have about 2,500 people coming, and the church service is geared toward
people who think with a post-modern mindset. The church has been
probably the life blood of what we do.
26 ccm july 04
CCM: Your music is a mix of sounds. Does that reflect your personal preferences?
JESSY: Each person in our band is really opinionated with his music, so we
never agree on what everybody likes. My favorite band is Switchfoot. I
know some of the guys are really into hardcore. Joe is really into Demon
Hunter—super hardcore stuff. It’s kind of weird because Tom and I, the
other guitar player, we’re more into softer acoustic kind of chill stuff. And
it’s weird that it’s what we like; yet we play heavier stuff, and we don’t listen
to that stuff normally.
11:04 AM
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by Christa Farris
“But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin to tell
you what to do and have discovered the delight of listening to
God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together
life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard
for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is
real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
The Freedom in Holiness
How can a holy God co-exist with sinful humans? How do we follow the
call in 1 Peter 1:16 to “be holy because I am holy” in the choices we make
in our daily lives?
The holiness of God is something that’s really hard to wrap your mind
around; it leads to an abundance of puzzling questions. Holiness is
something we can certainly aspire to yet something we’ll never fully attain
or even comprehend. After all, only God has the ability to be holy—to be
completely set apart from what’s sinful and evil.
Before Jesus’ time, Moses’s brother Aaron had to “present the Levites
before the Lord… so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord”
(Numbers 8:11). In the customs of their day, people had to be purified
before they could approach God; and they were expected to demonstrate
God’s holiness by their actions. From what they ate to their attire (Let’s just
say that jeans were probably not allowed.), the need for holiness and purity
permeated everything they did. Contrary to the lives of many modern
Christians, these early Israelites were intentional about being separate from
the rest of society. They emphasized the need for constant reflection about
their sin and were always careful in approaching God.
In our society where we can usually wear whatever we’d like and are free
to approach God as a friend because of a personal relationship with Jesus,
28 ccm july 04
the need for holiness can sometimes get lost. How can we have a life of
holiness without succumbing to legalism? How do we live a life of holiness
in a society where having moral values is considered taboo?
Think of an example of an individual who sets out to lead a “holy” life,
and a certain stereotypical kind of person generally pops into most people’s
minds. Maybe it’s a monk who lives in a monastery and dedicates his entire
life to prayer, fasting, solitude and studying the Word. Or it’s a pastor who
seems so heavenly minded that he causes you to feel like you could never
measure up. Or perhaps it’s a missionary who sacrificed a comfortable and
familiar life to plod about a
distant land in order to share
the gospel with the locals.
While all these examples “Surprisingly, people still succeed
certainly are noble callings on a certain level even when they
that God specifically places choose to ignore His plan, but
upon a person’s heart, second-best is a long way from
holiness doesn’t require God’s best.”
automatic isolation from the
rest of the world. When you
begin to grasp what God’s
11:05 AM
Page 29
holiness means, you can’t help but respond with
a sense of wonder and awe. When you consider
that God, who has no connection with sin or evil
of any kind, is willing to give “eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23), you can’t
help but revel in the freedom that brings. God
doesn’t call us to embrace holiness because He
wants us to obey a certain set of rules. Rather, it’s
because complete surrender to Him allows us to
experience the fullness of life and the blessings that
God has for us.
Surprisingly, people often succeed on a certain
level even when they choose to ignore His plan,
but second-best is a long way from God’s best. In
Genesis, God told Abraham that he would be
“the father of many nations.” However, when
Abraham didn’t see immediate results, he took
matters into his own hands with Hagar because
of his wife’s apparent inability to conceive. God
still allowed Abraham to be blessed with the
birth of Ishmael, but Ishmael wasn’t the
fulfillment of the ultimate blessing God initially
promised. After all, God had told him Sarah
would bear the son of promise, not Hagar.
But, in His grace and love, God made another
covenant with Abraham and promised that he
and Sarah would still have a son—even in their
old age. God proved, once again, that nothing
is impossible with Him. Abraham’s obedience led
to the blessing of a son, Isaac. This example can
always cause us to wonder what we may be
missing out on because of a lack of patience
or respect for God’s plan. Ultimately, His plan
is always better than anything we dream up
for ourselves.
“A.W. Tozer has an amazing book that I
read when I was in college. And that
book spun my head around about who
God is and His attributes. I think in
today’s day and age we have this view
that we want to put everything in some
sort of cage where it’s understandable
and convenient. But the holiness of God
is something you can never put in a box
or fully understand. The mystery of who
He is certainly is beyond me, and I think
it’s good to remember that it’s a gift to
be able to approach who He is. Yet we
will always be continually going deeper
and deeper into that mystery.
—Jon Foreman (Switchfoot)
Questions to Ponder:
1. How do you define holiness? Is your definition based on preconceived
ideas or a list of rules?
2. How do you reconcile the tension between serving a holy God while
remaining a sinful man/woman?
3. In what instances have you realized that God’s plans are better than
ours because you dreamed up your own plan? How can you learn from
these experiences to trust Him more?
This month’s “Living The Message” is an excerpt from the CCM/Integrity
Publishing Hungry: An Ultra Vertical Devotional Adventure by Christa Farris.
30 ccm july 04
10:28 PM
Page 30
6:28 PM
Page 31
Lucas Hendrickson
Photos by Lee Webb
Following its debut in 2000, Pillar
took less than three years to become
one of the Christian community’s
most unusual breakout artists.
Imagine a modern hard rock band
that easily sells more albums than
most of the artists in heavy rotation
on Christian pop radio. And despite
mainstream label mishaps and mixed
messages from fans, Pillar continues
to push ahead with more conviction
and sense of purpose than the title
of its new album, Where Do We Go
From Here (Flicker), might suggest.
L-R: Noah Henson, Lester Estelle, Rob Beckley, Kalel
july 04 ccm 31
1:15 AM
Page 32
On the Way to the Top
You know the feeling. You gaze at your own reflection for a split second too
long, and the image starts to become unnervingly unfamiliar. You notice
details of your physical appearance you had never seen before, and the
questions start: “Who am I? How did I get here? Why am I here at all?”
Rob Beckley has asked those questions. He’s had those moments when he
wondered where his life, his relationships and his career were going. And
out of those moments, he mustered his talents, creativity and calling and
redirected those questions into song.
“Anytime I say the word ‘you’ in a song, it’s basically me talking to me,”
says the lead singer and lyricist for Pillar. “Some people might take it as me
talking to people, telling them they need to look at themselves in the
mirror. But the song ‘Staring Back’ is actually me staring in the mirror, seeing
a different person than who I really am.”
Another question in the life of Pillar—which also includes guitarist Noah
Henson, bassist Michael “Kalel” Wittig and drummer Lester Estelle—comes
in the form of the title of its latest project, Where Do We Go From Here. It’s a
valid question in the minds of the band and its fans, considering the
extreme ups and downs the group has faced during the past couple years.
That rollercoaster ride began with the 2002 release of the band’s
landmark record, Fireproof, and the hit single by the same name. Fireproof was
the Kansas-born, now Oklahoma-based hard
rock outfit’s second effort for Flicker Records.
When both the album and single started gaining
momentum, the mainstream rock world took
notice; and, truth be told, the band felt ready for
that to happen.
“We did everything we possibly could to
prepare for that album coming out,” says Kalel,
whose nickname rings in honor of Superman’s
Kryptonian birth name. “We had a good feeling
about it, and we knew ‘Fireproof’ was a strong
song. Our drummer at the time, Brad Noone,
said, ‘If this song isn’t a hit, there’s nothing more
we can do.’ We felt really confident about it.”
“We wrote ‘Fireproof’ on Sept. 11 [2001] in
Green Bay, Wis., in a youth room in some church
with the TVs going all morning long,” Rob
remembers. “I already had the lyrics done, so it
wasn’t an influence; that was just the day we
happened to write the music. When we finished
it, we knew the song was going to be awesome;
and with that, it sort of eased some of the tension in writing the rest of
the album.”
Fireproof sold more than 100,000 copies by the time mainstream label
MCA got involved with the project, licensing the record from Flicker and
re-releasing it in the fall of 2003 with a remix of the single and a cobbledtogether bonus DVD of live performance footage. The single made it to
No. 39 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and the album reached
No. 6 on the publication’s Heatseekers retail chart. Fittingly, the band
picked up some publicity in magazines, including Rolling Stone and Hit Parader
and found themselves opening for some of modern rock’s heaviest hitters.
“We got to do some cool shows with Korn, with Sevendust, another one
with Trapt and some mainstream festivals,” Kalel says. “We got just enough
mainstream exposure to stick our foot in and see what it was like. But we’ve
never talked like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go mainstream and do this or that.’ We
just kind of did what we do—go play our shows and go through the doors
that opened up.”
But even after tacking another 100,000 units or so onto the sales total for
Fireproof, Pillar fell victim to the realities of today’s music business when
MCA was dissolved into parent company Universal Music Group. The
band was shuffled onto the roster of Geffen Records, where Pillar was
virtually anonymous. Kalel cuts to the chase, “When we got to Geffen,
there was nobody there who knew what Pillar was or even cared.”
The now-veteran band, having been together in some form since 1998,
32 ccm july 04
took back the reins of its career from the disinterested mainstream label,
and set out to forge ahead with the next step… but not without breaking
some things down first.
What’s Next?
In the midst of what seemed to be dark days, Pillar was able to turn for
direction on what its next step could be to another group: the fans.
“When we were doing the release week with MCA, we did four in-stores
in two days: Tulsa, Wichita [Kan.], Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio,” Rob
says. “At a couple of those shows, they wanted us to play; and we couldn’t
do a rock set because they wanted us to play indoors. So we had to do
acoustic sets, and somehow we pulled it off. We taped it with a cheesy
home video camera; and I did this little video clip, put it on our Web site,
and our fans just loved it. They told us we should record an acoustic album.
“We started brainstorming because we knew we weren’t going to be able
to even get into a recording mode until December or January,” he
continues. “So in September, we made the decision to pull out the stops;
and when we were going in to record ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ [for In the
Name of Love: Artists United for Africa, the benefit/U2 tribute album], we also
decided to do an acoustic track of ‘Further From Myself’ and see how it
turned out. We did that and a track of [the new album’s first single] ‘Bring
Me Down,’ thinking we’d put one new song on
And in Pillar’s typical, let’s-get-it-done
fashion, the band took it one step further.
Setting up a live show in its adopted hometown
of Tulsa, Okla., and personally taking care of the
details—from set design, to lights, to
production—they recorded and filmed the
performance for what would become Broken Down:
The EP. “We’ve got a real hard-working band and
crew,” Kalel says. “Everybody’s very involved in
all aspects of it, and it’s not like our manager just
calls us up and says, ‘Here’s where you need to be
and when.’ Our hands are in every cookie jar that
has to do with Pillar.”
So even while the volatile nature of the music
biz was roiling around them, the men of Pillar
were able to not only fashion something
satisfying to themselves and their fans, they set
the next creative season of their career into
motion. “We’ll make the best glass of lemonade in the world out of a sour,
rotten lemon,” says Rob.
However, the fact remained that there were still questions. Many asked
why Pillar would align itself alongside mainstream bands with less-thansparkling reputations or play in venues such as clubs or bars, where a
Christian audience is not altogether comfortable or sometimes welcome. It’s
a conundrum every artist who has ventured beyond the standard confines
of Christian music has faced, and Pillar, more so than most, because of the
aggressive nature of the music it plays.
But the men who make up Pillar, through much prayer and discussion
amongst themselves, their families and the people who hold them
accountable, have come to believe that this is their calling.
“We just want to write music that, if it can encourage the choir, cool; and
if it can go beyond the walls of the church, even better,” Rob says. “One
aspect of the Christian life is that we are to hold each other accountable. If
you honestly feel in your heart that God wants you to ask us about
something, dude, come and ask,” Kalel continues. “If you’re a Christian
brother, we want to hear that. But, and this is not just with us but with
anything going on in your life, really think and pray about it first before you
try to judge and come down on people.”
“We played the Whisky A Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard in L.A., and we
got an e-mail from a guy; and he ripped me apart, basically,” Rob says. “I emailed him back and asked, ‘What is it you’re so mad about? Are you mad
because you don’t have the guts to go out on Sunset (continued on pg.34)
1:17 AM
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july 04 ccm 33
11:46 AM
Page 34
(continued from pg.32) Boulevard, stand up on a stage in front of
people and sing songs about a God who has done things you don’t
even comprehend? Are you so insecure about yourself that you
have to get mad at me for doing what I’m called to do?’
“He e-mailed back, and it was almost like you could feel the
tears rolling out over the computer screen. I could just feel that I’d
struck a nail into his heart, and he said I was right,” Rob continues.
“The only expectations we need to live up to are the ones God
expects from us.”
A New Sound
One thing Rob and company vowed not to let tear them apart was
the creation of the new record, Where Do We Go From Here. Buoyed
by a new recording agreement with Flicker, the band went into
the studio in the waning months of 2003, ready to craft its next
step, replete with new ideas garnered from its fall headlining tour
and excited to finally record with new drummer Estelle.
“Everybody was asking us if we were nervous because Fireproof
was so good and did what it did,” Rob says. “I really wasn’t nervous
about the music because I knew it was going to come together.
Noah was writing some really good stuff, Mike had some really
cool bass lines, and Lester just brings a whole new groove to
the band.
“They all had some great things, but I was a little stressed. How
am I going to write? I was dreading it because I was a little nervous
about trying to come up with ideas to finish songs,” says the
often-nonchalant frontman. “But we got in the studio and, in
thinking about all the things we had been through, they’d just
appear. I’d come up with a melody or an idea for the lyrics, and
they’d just fit.”
“One thing I think really helped is that we had ‘Bring Me Down’
bagged,” Kalel says. “We were trying to do something new, rather
than just copy what we were trying in the past. It had been two
years since we recorded, so it proved to us we could still do this.”
The result moves Pillar away from the rap-metal pack it’d been
running with and more toward a full-featured rock & roll band.
The heavy guitar sound is still there but with more emphasis on
hooks and melodies to go along with the riffs, and Estelle’s
rhythm work clearly adds an element that was missing in previous
Pillar projects. “I’ve become a lot better player and still have to
improve because [Lester’s] so good,” says Kalel. “His rhythm is so
amazing, and he’s opened my ears to so many more things I can
play. I think the way the guitars and bass work together really
shine on a few songs, like ‘Bring Me Down’ and ‘Simply,’ where
we’re playing complex, completely different parts; and they work
together—really weave in and out of each other.”
Those complex parts sometimes made the recording process a
tad contentious, as Noah’s guitar parts would give way to Rob’s
needing to find a thread he could sing to within the framework of
the riff. “Noah and I are always going at it,” says the vocalist with
a smile. “I say, ‘I can’t sing over that; there are too many changes
in that riff.’ And he says, ‘Well, I don’t want to play a simple riff
like everybody else.’
“We duel each other to try and get something better out of each
other. His riffs aren’t just simple, open, strummy 1-4-5 chord
progressions. Some of the stuff is very intricate, and I have to sit
down and think about what notes, what mode, what scale, what
transitions will fit over his riffs.”
As far as themes running through Where Do We Go From Here go,
again much of it is drawn from Rob’s introspective nature. “I think
a lot of it was just me dealing with me and questioning my faith,
questioning why people question me,” he says. “’Let It Out’ is me
questioning everything, and the verses are asking things; and in
the chorus I’m just letting everything out and crying out to God.
“’Simply’ is kinda the same thing. Even though we do the
34 ccm july 04
1:16 AM
Page 35
A Pillar of the
Online Community
dumbest things, God simply loves us. When I first wrote it, I thought it was so
cheesy. But when I recorded it, it was so profound to me; and now I don’t care if
anybody thinks it’s cheesy.
“It broke my heart to realize how simple God’s love is, and we make it so
complex,” he says. “We make it a legalistic love, like God doesn’t love you
because [of something you did]. It doesn’t matter; God will love you.”
Open Doors
Having wrapped up its run on this year’s “See Spot Rock” tour and awaiting what
Where Do We Go From Here will do, the guys in Pillar sense new doors opening all
around them. But for potential fans unfamiliar with the band and what sets the
guys apart from their hard-music peers, both Christian and general market, what
would Pillar say to get them to try their music out?
“The funny, arrogant answer is that I can actually sing,” Rob says, setting off
laughter from others in the room. “Seriously, if somebody were to see us live and
try to explain to their friend why he or she needed to go see us, we’ll put it this
way: There are a lot of bands out there with great music. There are a lot of bands
out there with great live shows. My opinion of our band and the guys I get to be
onstage with is that they’re great musicians; they all rock—great stage presence,
great performances—and they own their instruments and the music. I’ll take the
heat over sounding like some other vocalist, but don’t mess with my band.”
And for those folks who feel they have an issue with some aspect of the band,
be it their look or the places they play or the bands they share a bill with, Rob
replies: “You can buy the record, and you can support us that way. You can not buy
the record; but pray for us and support us that way. You can come out to the show
and support us that way. You can talk to somebody about us, support us that way.
If you’re not comfortable coming to where we’re playing, by all means, don’t
come and put yourself in a jeopardizing situation. If you’re a recovering alcoholic,
and you come to a show at a bar; and you stand there, and you’re twitching
because you want a drink, by all means, don’t come to the show. Catch us next
time at a different venue.
“But if you want to come out and be a light in a dark place, by all means, come
to the show, cheer for Pillar and leave when we’re done,” he says. “Or hang out
with us afterward or before or whatever. But don’t bash us for what we’re trying
to do. We really are trying to do this with integrity, to do it to the level we know
we’re called to do.”
It’s the best way Rob Beckley, and all the men of Pillar, knows how to look at
himself in the mirror every morning. ccm
How many controversial Web sites can claim to be the inspiration for
songs by top-selling Christian artists? In the case of,
one need look no further than Pillar’s two most recent albums. And
with a tagline such as “#1 Christian porn site,” it should come as no
surprise that has received a lot of hits by Web surfers—
but 80 million of them?!
When you land on the site and take a look around, you realize the
organization’s spin on “truth in advertising.” is a site
about pornography and the issues it creates in not only the church but
also the world at large, and founders Mike Foster and Craig Gross
(who’ve been featured on the “Every Young Man’s Battle” video series
with Steve Arterburn and James Dobson) certainly understand the
uneasiness that causes with some people.
“It came about because Mike and I saw so many people caught up
in this problem, but nobody doing anything about it,” Gross says. “We
thought, ‘Let’s just put something together that will present this
message in a way where people might be intrigued to find out about it,
rather than just run from it.’”
Foster and Gross, both ordained ministers, have been taking their
message to distinctly different communities in several, sometimes
controversial, ways; and the mainstream media has taken notice. The
pair has been profiled in GQ Magazine, Newsweek, the Los Angeles
Times and on “CNN Headline News” and “The Daily Show with Jon
Stewart,” primarily for their decision to have adult filmmaker James
DiGiorgio direct and shoot a kid-friendly public service announcement
that was born out of a mutual belief that children should be protected
from pornography.
It’s’s intersection with the adult industry, including
setting up booths within trade shows such as Erotica L.A., that gets it
in hot water with some members of the mainline Christian media.
Responds Gross, “We know there’s some stuff that’s controversial, but
when you get down to the heart of what we’re trying to do, I don’t think
there are many places you can argue with.”
Once you get past the site’s name and dig deep into the resources
available for a wide variety of audiences, including teens and their
parents, adults, pastors and churches, you see the group takes their
work seriously, if slightly tongue-in-cheek.
That devotion to the cause led Pillar’s Rob Beckley to pen two
different songs, “Behind Closed Doors” on Fireproof and “Dirty Little
Secret” on Where Do We Go From Here related to the group’s work and
led Flicker Records to create a compilation disc, Flicker Rocks Harder,
that helps spread the group’s message, as well as its free, innovative
accountability software, X3Watch.
“We knew we were going to do some sort of low-priced, multi-track,
multi-artist CD about a year ago,” says Flicker general manager Troy
Vest. “We looked at three or four different options, and we had a few
bands, Pillar specifically, as well as Subseven, Mortal Treason and
Staple, all talking about XXXChurch. We saw a lot of the things they
were doing to reach both the porn industry and communicate their
message in a loving way to that industry, as opposed to standing
outside a porn show and picketing it.
Flicker artists will appear on XXXChurch-sponsored stages at several
festivals this summer, alongside speakers from the group. Vest says
the necessity of the group’s work overshadows the image issues
others might have.
“We have to be careful about how we work with them, sure, but at
the end of the day, I think they’re a really good organization and very,
very needed,” he says. “They’re a company that’s doing the right thing
with a topic that’s a huge issue, not just in the Judeo-Christian world
but overall.” L . H .
july 04 ccm 35
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Design by Asterik Studio
What’s the deal with Christian hard music?
Pillar’s previous album, Fireproof, has sold more
than 200,000 copies; and to find precedents that
surpass those numbers, you have to look to
historical behemoths such as Stryper and P.O.D.
Meanwhile, labels such as Solid State, Facedown
and now Flicker continue to expand the genre’s
realm of influence. With the increasing popularity
of rock (including its more aggressive forms), we
believe it’s time to offer an authoritative crashcourse on the Christian community’s hard music
scene. To do so, we turned to our friend, former
CCM Magazine contributing editor Doug Van
Pelt, who founded HM Magazine. When it
comes to the heavier side of music, Doug’s an
encyclopedia on two legs. For almost 20 years,
thousands of hard music fans have benefited from
his knowledge, relationships and conviction. via
the magazine (
36 ccm july 04
When the crowd sways and parts to form a circle, you know to back up.
You participate, taking your turn to gyrate and flail your arms as if
attempting to create a breeze for those around you, spinning and kicking
fast enough to qualify for a Kung-Fu exhibition. Or you watch—from a
safe distance. “We just call that ‘dancing,’” notes Underoath guitarist Tim
McTague. This is the new mosh pit, the new tradition for those attending
and fully throwing themselves into a rock concert flying under the loose
banner of “hard music.”
Though descriptive by its very name, hard music is inclusive of hard
rock and various strains of metal and its close cousins—hardcore and
punk rock. In one form or another, hard music has been with us since the
late ’60s when artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin
and Black Sabbath took the instrument of choice—electric guitar—and
tortured it beyond previously known limits. Blues-based hard rock begot
heavy metal, which begot punk rock, which begot hardcore, which begot
a myriad of hybrids, such as industrial, grunge, rap-rock, death metal,
black metal, doom metal and stoner rock. And some would say even ska
has a place in hard music history. The common denominator is the guitar.
The rhythm section
of drums, bass and
guitar are rarely ever
missing from the
equation (with a few
exceptions, such as
The White Stripes);
and melody is present
in one form or
another (along a
wide-ranging scale
from screaming or
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Page 37
growling intensity to radio-friendly crooning a la Kutless, Staind and
Gospel music, as many know, can actually boast of being the
grandfather of all this musical mayhem, as the spirituals of old begot rock
& roll (and the blues). Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and
Elvis Presley, in particular, are often credited with taking the rockin’
spirituals, “secularizing” them and introducing them to middle class white
America in the ‘50s. In contemporary Christian terms, the roots in the
hard music family tree trace back to Larry Norman. Petra and
Resurrection Band (a.k.a. Rez Band) followed, making live performance
the main event of their repertoire. Others quickly popped up: Sweden’s
Jerusalem, Canada’s Daniel Band, Rick Cua and the Darrell
Mansfield Band, to name a few.
By the mid ’80s, when more and more people were getting used to the
idea of Christians rocking out in the name of ministry, the first major
evolutionary jump in this specialty genre was about to take place by
rockers who wanted it louder and heavier—Stryper. “We wanted to give
people hope and encouragement,” explains vocalist Michael Sweet, “and,
at the same time, give God the
honor and the recognition that
He deserved through the
music and the abilities He had
given to us. I wrote the style of
music that we played because
that is the style I was
influenced by at that time.
Hopefully, we also added our
own flavor as well.” Stryper
did add its own flavor, which is
one reason why its music was
accepted by metal fans around
the world. It was good metal, plain and simple. The members still faced
occasional bias against them because of their faith, but they broke down
many more walls than were erected. “I still can’t believe what God did
with Stryper,” continues Sweet. “There were doors that were opened;
and, for whatever reason, we were used to open those doors and walk
through them.”
A movement quickly followed, with bands such as Barren Cross,
Bloodgood, Saint and Messiah Prophet using massive decibels to
deliver the gospel or sing praise. Early dabbling in punk occurred on the
West Coast with Undercover and The Altar Boys breaking new ground
for thousands of believers. Metal has an innate tendency to go to the
extreme, so its progression to heavier forms of music that were happening
at the time—thrash and speed metal—was only natural. Vengeance
Rising, Deliverance, Believer and Tourniquet spearheaded this new
genre. “We had no idea what kind of impact we were having at the time,”
explains Vengeance Rising guitarist Larry Farkas (whose pioneering band
is currently planning a summer reunion show in SoCal). “We were just
instruments for that situation.” Punk rock was developing in a heavier
form in the late ’80s as well, with The Crucified (two members of which
later went on to form Stavesacre), The Lead, One Bad Pig and
Scaterd Few all releasing albums and becoming frequent players at the
annual progressive Cornerstone Festival in Illinois.
The early ’90s saw hybrid forms of metal emerge, like the industrial
sounds of Circle of Dust, rap-rock pioneering acts such as Jet Circus
and heavy-funk experimentalists like Dig
Hay Zoose. And the extreme forms of
thrash/speed metal went even heavier
with the advent of death metal.
Mortification was the first Christian act
to champion this style. Even though the
band was later rewarded with mainstream
licensing through Nuclear Blast Records
worldwide, like most death metal acts, it
was extremely anti-commercial and very
underground. These trends
could all be seen as early
warning signs that another big
change was just around the
corner: Heavy metal had gone
mainstream, with pretty-boy
and big-hair acts such as
Poison, Ratt and Motley
Crüe ruling the airwaves.
Even Stryper was enjoying
multi-platinum success. If one
used MTV’s playlist as a
barometer, style seemed to
outweigh substance. Metal
had become a parody of itself
(Ever wonder why The
Darkness had to wait until
2004 to make a splash?). Something had to give.
Heavy metal, as an art form, died a commercial death rather quickly
during that time period, and a new radio format soon emerged—stations
with an “X” in their name started popping up in every major market. MTV
spit out commercials about a “music revolution,” and “alternative” was the
hot (although confusing) format. It’s interesting to note that, perhaps for
the first time ever, the Christian music industry led the way in shifting its
focus. Perhaps because of its relatively small size, leaders at the Christian
record labels were able to suddenly stop signing or pushing any metal
product; while their mainstream counterparts (Epic, Columbia, Atlantic,
etc.) still had metal departments, and secular record chains still had metal
sections to house the dwindling but still-selling genre. Even the young
progressive label known as Tooth & Nail was avoiding metal, signing
grunge acts such as Wish For Eden and Sometime Sunday, hardcore
bands like Focused or pop punk groups such as MxPx.
After metal, as a whole, went underground in the early ’90s, it
commingled with hardcore, offering metallic guitar riffage with punk
abandonment. Living Sacrifice lost its lead singer and bassist after three
Slayer-like metal albums; but, instead of recruiting a replacement,
guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh moved over and took on the growling duties,
debuting this new style with the ground-breaking Reborn album. A band
loosely based in Ohio and West Virginia called Zao staked its own claim
in this new brand of hard music. Sporting a singer with hardcore leanings
(Shawn Jonas), its sound was quite extreme and fast. Its third release,
Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest, sported a new lineup that included Brett Detar
(who later formed emo rockers The Juliana Theory), crazed guitar
performer Russ Cogdell and new vocalist Daniel Weyandt. This shift in
sound married an even more insane vocal style that borrowed from the
shrill shrieking sounds of Scandinavia’s black metal. It was around this
time that Tooth & Nail branched a new division for this hardest music—
Solid State Records.
“At the time we were
putting out hard records on
Tooth & Nail,” explains label
founder Brandon Ebel, “and
some of the bands kept
getting harder and harder—
Overcome, Strongarm,
july 04 ccm 37
9:40 PM
Page 38
etc. At the time we were also signing Living Sacrifice.
I decided to start Solid State to build a brand and a
community. We wanted kids to know that if it said
‘Solid State’ it was heavy, and it was quality.” The label licensed a
Norweigen metal band called Extol, and “metal” became a buzzword
again. (To get a rough definition of what hard music is, the uninitiated
need only pick up a copy of a This Is Solid State compilation.)
Meanwhile, P.O.D. emerged from the pack to become Christian hard
music’s top dog. Today, the band’s rap-rock roots are fading, giving way
to more melodic rock and highlighting its love of reggae. Interestingly
enough, the members replaced departed guitarist Marcos Curiel with exLiving Sacrifice member Jason Truby. In the spirit of punk rock D.I.Y.
(do-it-yourself), P.O.D. didn’t ignore its audience or peers in its rise to the
top. When given its first big chance to tour, the band brought along
friends like Project 86 and Blindside.
Other bands enjoying mainstream success include: Epic recording
artists Chevelle (who started out on Steve Taylor’s Squint label in ’99 and
now sells more than 95 percent of its albums in the general market,
despite having Christian distribution), The Juliana Theory and, on a
smaller scale, Narcissus (Abacus Records). No Innocent Victim, which
started out on P.O.D.’s indie Rescue Records label, flamed out after a brief
stint (and two albums) on the respectable hardcore label Victory Records.
N.I.V.’s drummer, Jason Dunn, started Facedown Records, easily the
second most prominent label
in Christian hard music (on
the heels of Solid State),
judging by street cred and a
growing roster of buzz bands.
Flicker Records, meanwhile,
is headed in that direction,
with the recent signings of
Mortal Treason, Staple and
Troy Vest, general manager
of Flicker, explains that his
label’s increased emphasis on
the hard music scene is a
natural outgrowth of wanting
to work with the forementioned bands, as well as
with the success of Pillar. “We
looked at the current musical
landscape and saw that,
overall, hard music continues
to be a growing and viable
genre; and everyone here at
Flicker is a big fan of
aggressive music.”
They’re not the only ones,
as evidenced by the respect
earned by many of these hard
music bands. Demon Hunter
has had its “Infected” video on
MTV and a cut on the networks’ Headbangers Ball compilation. Comeback
Kid, which started as a side project of hardcore vets Figure Four, is
currently riding a live circuit that’s taken the band to Europe and across
the States several times, generating widespread respect. Last year’s
“Hellfest,” held in New Jersey, saw about a dozen Christian bands on its
“who’s who” lineup of 105 hardcore/metalcore/emo artists. Alongside
monsters Dillinger Escape Plan, Thursday, Biohazard and Lamb of God
were Christ-oriented acts such as Further Seems Forever, Stretch Arm
Strong, Underoath, Norma Jean, xDisciplex AD, Sinai Beach, Dead
Poetic, Figure Four, Anberlin, Beloved and Comeback Kid.
“The future will be great,” says Blindside’s Simon Grenehed. “Look at
bands such as Norma Jean. So many of the hardcore bands are doing
something original, and it’s well respected outside of the Christian scene.
The hardcore kid on the street knows who these bands are.”
Underoath’s McTague agrees. “Bands playing in clubs and bars all the
time have a lot of opportunities to minister to a lot of people who would
never really go into a church. I’ve definitely seen God really using that
lately in our lives and a lot of other people’s, so it’s been awesome.”
But he also adds a word of caution, “I’m all about breaking down walls,
but I think a lot of Christian bands have taken that too far—to the point
where they kind of water down their message. I know that’s something
we’re trying to remedy and be really upfront and vocal
about through our music. I think the biggest thing
Christian hard music needs is support from Christians.
I think a lot of instances where bands have shied away
from the Christian scene [is], in part, due to Christians
themselves always talking and kind of going on their
judgment trips. I think if the church and people in
general could love everyone, that would definitely
encourage a lot of Christian bands to stand up for what
they believe.” ccm
Doug Van Pelt recently authored the book Rock Stars on God
(Relevant), which released in May.
Siblings Ryan and Don Clark work together and then rock
together. Best known as the lead singer (Ryan) and guitarist
(Don) of popular Solid State Records hardcore band Demon
Hunter, this talented pair insists on keeping their day jobs.
Four years ago Ryan and Don partnered with their friend Demetre Arges to form Asterik, an
independent Seattle-based graphic design company. Born out of “an equal passion for both music and
graphic design,” Asterik specializes in CD packaging, poster art, Web design,
merchandise design and “everything in-between.” You have, no doubt,
seen the work they have done for The White Stripes, dc talk, Liz Phair,
Jeremy Camp, Good Charlotte, Newsboys, Jimmy Eat World, P.O.D.,
The Strokes, Blindside, New Found Glory and now, CCM Magazine.
38 ccm july 04
4:42 PM
Page 40
lbu om t ew
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40 ccm july 04
L-R: Chris Rohman, Matt Hammitt,
Mark Graalman, Steve Goodrum
9:42 PM
Page 41
“As soon as I found out ‘Beautiful Day’ was going to be a radio single, I
prayed that it wouldn’t go No. 1,” laughs Sanctus Real singer Matt Hammitt,
referring to his band’s contribution to the benefit/U2 tribute album In the
Name of Love: Artists United for Africa (Sparrow). “Our song ‘Say It Loud’ made
it to No. 2, but we’d never had a No. 1; and I knew I’d be bummed if a song
that wasn’t ours got to No. 1 first.”
Not only did it reach No. 1, “Beautiful Day” stayed on top of Radio &
Records’ Christian rock chart for five consecutive weeks and landed a 2004
GMA Awards Dove nomination for “Modern Rock Song of the Year.” Still,
the band’s lament over its cover song success is truly halfhearted,
considering how much the guys believe in the cause.
“Changing lives is all we care about, and anything else is secondary,” says
Hammitt, noting that the album helped raised money to fight the AIDS
epidemic. “There’s a crisis in Africa; and if our song helped give support,
that’s all that matters.”
Charities aside, Sanctus Real might not be waiting long before one of its
own tunes cracks the coveted top spot. While its Sparrow Records debut,
Say It Loud, was critically acclaimed and sold more than 30,000 copies, the
group’s latest, Fight the Tide, shows that these Buckeye State rockers clearly
raised the bar. Working with producer Tedd T (Delirious, Rebecca St.
James), the band—Hammitt, guitarist Eric Rohman, drummer Mark
Graalman and four-stringer Steve Goodrum—worked and reworked songs
until they crafted an album that represented its very best. In fact, the disc’s
lead single, “Everything About You,” radiates an energetic spark that could
very well make the song a No. 1 lock. Still, the musical vision for Fight the
Tide, as the title implies, transcends the radio dial and any other marketing
Hammitt, mentioning the many radio formats in Christian music, notes,
“There’s pressure for Christian artists to make albums with songs that fit
into this or that format. There is some spoken, and more unspoken, pressure
to fit into certain molds, and sometimes it’s as simple as looking too closely
at what’s popular at the time.”
The title Fight the Tide is about resisting such forbidden artistic fruit. “I
don’t want to say we’re control freaks, but it’s very important that what
comes out of this band is us,” continues the singer. “We want to make sure
we’re making music that’s honest to who we are. We must be passionate
about the music because it addresses what we go through in our lives.”
Sanctus Real clearly found a meaninful album title to reflect the songs
within, but the group toyed with a different title that’s also, umm, relevant.
“When people see our band name for the first time and try to say it,” laughs
Hammitt, “our name always gets butchered. You’ll hear stuff like ‘Sanctual
Rio’ or ‘Sanctious Real.’ Since the first record was called Say It Loud, we
thought about calling this album Say It Right!”
Though a fairly new band on the national level, Sanctus Real has already
made its presence known in quite a veteran manner. Case in point, the
group’s three Dove Award nominations this year came from involvement in
three different albums: its debut disc, the U2 tribute and the !Hero the Rock
Opera project (for which Hammitt contributed vocals). Sanctus Real also
participated in several major rock tours, including two “Festival con Dios”
outings and the “See Spot Rock” and “We Are Tomorrow” tours. The
Christian music market embraced these rookie rockers, which fittingly
corresponds to an early choice the band had to make.
Hammitt explains, “When we were trying to get a deal, we sent packages
to mainstream and Christian record companies; and we got a really good
response from both. At that point, we really had to do some soul searching
and figure out where it was we were supposed to be.”
The band mulled over their options; but, in the end, the answer came in
simply realizing who they are. “Ultimately, we knew we could relate to kids
in the church,” says Hammitt, who grew up in the church himself, as did
Rohman and Goodrum. “We are passionate about our faith, and we knew we
could encourage Christian kids to keep their faith growing and, likewise,
reach kids who never before heard the message. From our personal
experience, we felt this was the place we were supposed to be.”
Turning back the pages to a small Christian high school in Toledo, Ohio,
Sanctus Real found its initial spark when Hammitt and Rohman began
playing together in their chapel band. During their sophomore year, the
two friends started making their own music outside the school, which led to
recruiting Graalman on drums and later Goodrum on bass. They played
their first show during the 1996 holiday season.
“My dad owns a photography studio that’s in a warehouse, and we did our
first concert out of the back of the warehouse,” recalls Rohman. “We
practiced and practiced, maybe had six songs and played for a handful of
our friends from school. We have the show on video somewhere, which is
pretty scary.”
After getting through its inaugural performance, the group recorded a
six-song demo tape and later a six-song EP titled All This Talk of Aliens. In
1998, the group dropped its full-length debut, Message for the Masses, which
was recorded in a garage. For its final independent self-release, the band
members wanted to “go all out;” but they first needed to make some money.
For Hammitt and Goodrum, it meant taking not-so-glamorous jobs.
“We did telemarketing for a few months, and it had to be the most
dreadful job ever,” says Hammitt, who hawked auto glass over the
telephone. “You have to call people at the most inconvenient times. We got
death threats over the phone. One guy said he was going to come through
the phone and strangle me.” The worst ones, of course, happened when a
person’s car windshield had gotten cracked or chipped that same week.
Hammitt continues, “It was like, ‘That’s funny, my windshield gets chipped
yesterday; and you’re calling me today!’ Those were the types who really
wanted to come after us.”
With dues paid, Sanctus Real used its money to record three songs down
in Memphis with producer Skidd Mills (Skillet, Jonah 33). As fate would
have it, the band entered one of the songs into a local radio contest and
won, so they decided to save more money and record a full album with
Mills. The disc was finished in 2000; and, not knowing exactly what to do
with it, Graalman and Hammitt decided to make a trip to Nashville for
Gospel Music Week.
“It was rough,” laughs Hammitt. “Mark and I stood outside the main
convention center and passed out CDs. We aren’t very outgoing, so it was
very awkward. It was definitely out of our comfort zone. I remember a few
times when some people really blew us off. We didn’t know if it would do
any good, but somehow one of the discs got into the hands of someone at
Sparrow Records.”
With its days of telemarketing and sidewalk peddling in the past, Sanctus
Real made its national bow with Say It Loud and garnered substantial support
from fans, including CCM readers, who named the band as their “Favorite
New Artist” in the magazine’s 2004 readers poll.
“It was completely unexpected, and we’re incredibly grateful,” says
Hammitt of the poll. “As a young band, we still need that assurance that
we’re reaching people and that they’re catching on to what we’re doing.
This type of honor is such a great encouragement.” ccm
july 04 ccm 41
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Page 42
the last four years
Sparrow Recording act
Jump5 has surprised the
Christian music community by
laying claim to prime real estate
on mainstream television, radio,
DVDs and motion picture soundtracks while reaping huge album
sales. The young group recently
said farewell to one of its beloved
members and entered the
studio to record its next
album. By Deborah
Evans Price
42 ccm july 04
Clockwise (L-R):
Lesley Moore, Chris Fedun,
Libby Hodges, Brittany Hargest,
Brandon Hargest
9:44 PM
Page 43
It’s a story Nick Barré tells with understandable emotion in his voice. Any
executive working for a Christian record label will tell you he or she hopes
lives are being changed by the music being taken to the public. But for this
EMI-CMG Label Group director of artist development, it couldn’t get any
more personal. It was after a Jump5 show that his young son, Nicholas,
accepted Christ.
“We pray with our children every night. We read Bible stories. We go to
church and Sunday school,” Barré says of his family life, “But this past
December, after a Jump5 concert, where one of the members really
encouraged kids to have a personal relationship with Christ, my 6-year-old
said, ‘Dad, I want to ask Jesus into my heart.’”
Jump5 may not be the most progressive modern rock outfit in Christian
music or the most experienced worship leaders, but few acts in the
Christian community are having the impact on the younger generation in
mainstream culture or in the church that these five teens have had during
the past few years.
Since emerging onto the scene four years ago, Jump5—featuring siblings
Brittany and Brandon Hargest, Chris Fedun, Lesley Moore and the recently
departed Libby Hodges—has amassed album sales in excess of 800,000
copies via five albums, including a Christmas project and a collection of
remixes. And 2002’s All the Time in the World has sold more than 320,000
copies alone, according to SoundScan.
It’s the combination of ministry and high-energy entertainment that fuels
Jump5’s success. And it’s that high-energy entertainment that has made
Jump5 a staple on Radio Disney, having already landed an astounding eight
songs in rotation on the network. The group has performed on several
“Radio Disney Live!” tours alongside popular teen acts, including Aaron
Carter and has received exposure on The Disney Channel, as well as ABC
Family television and Nickelodeon. Jump5 has also been featured on the
soundtracks of The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Kim Possible, recently recorded a
song to be used in the upcoming Disney flick Sleep Over and has been
showcased on the DVDs for Lilo & Stitch and Beauty & the Beast. As if that
weren’t enough, Jump5 has performed at the White House and the 2003
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Jump5’s formation was set in motion when several young friends began
performing for local church functions. “At the beginning we called
ourselves Fresh Start. That name kind of reminds me of kitty litter,” says
Brandon with a laugh. “We started out doing Sunday school songs for other
kids and Bible study things whenever they needed it.”
When Libby’s mother realized the potential for the kids to really reach
other youngsters with the gospel, auditions were held; and the lineup of
Chris, Brandon, Brittany, Lesley and Libby became Jump5. Libby recently
announced her departure from Jump5 to return to high school. Though
already working on its next album, the group is deciding whether to enlist
a replacement for Libby or simply continue on as a four-piece act.
With Libby leaving to assume the life of a regular high school student,
did any other Jump5 members consider jumping ship? “We didn’t want to
quit,” says Brandon. “We still wanted to go on and make records and sing
for people. It didn’t enter my mind.”
Lesley says she doesn’t want to quit but can empathize with Libby’s
decision. “It wasn’t a bad breakup or anything like that,” explains the 17year-old. “We just want her to be happy. We didn’t want her to keep going
if she wasn’t going to be happy with it. She wanted to go back to high
school. Not that she wasn’t happy, but she missed school so much. I think
we all miss school. I went to public school, and I miss it. When I come back
home, I’m with my friends and family 24/7.”
Chris, 18, recently graduated but wasn’t able to walk with his class to
receive his diploma. However, he has no regrets. He’s just happy school is
over. “When we were on the road, we’d have to wake up really early in the
morning to start school. Then we’d do soundcheck and meet & greets. Then
we’d have a show, and we usually don’t get done with the shows until really,
really late because we sign autographs until everyone is gone.”
Brandon admits it’s not always been an easy road. “Yeah, there are some
sacrifices you have to make—like spending time with friends. You are going
to miss that, but we get so much more. We get to see people looking up to
us and learning about the Lord. It’s great to know you made a change in
people’s lives while you are still a kid. I can’t believe we get to do this at this
early age. I thank the Lord every day that He’s given us this opportunity,
and I would not change it for anything.”
While the members are certainly having an impact on their fans, Barré
says the label has never tried to make Jump5 something it wasn’t—
spiritually speaking. “One of the things I’m most proud of about the way we
have introduced Jump5 and presented them is that it’s been age
appropriate,” he says. “We’ve not pretended they are spiritual giants, and
they have all the spiritual answers. They are real kids and have relationships
with the Lord; but at the same time, they are growing and developing. So
we knew that, early on, to present a 12-year-old child as a spiritual
authority would be completely inaccurate.
“It’s honest and true to who they are. I think the temptation is always to
say that this artist has everything figured out; but you remember when you
were 14 or 15, it was just getting a handle on what’s really important.” The
label’s goal for them is simply to let them be themselves, make the best
music they can and share what God is doing in their lives.
“There was a letter by a girl younger than me,” recalls Chris. “She wanted
to thank us because she was on the verge of committing suicide. She said,
‘I listened to your music, and I came to your concert; and you guys showed
so much hope and have so much faith. I didn’t know what that was.’”
Audience reaction fuels many memories for the group; one in particular
will always be special to Chris. “It was in Murfreesboro [Tenn.]. It was when
Libby was still with us,” he says. “She was giving her testimony and, all of a
sudden, these little kids started shouting out ‘We love Jesus!’ It was Libby’s
last time to talk in front of [an audience] because she knew she was going
to leave the group. It was such an amazing ending.”
One thing about young acts is that they grow up, and that transition is
usually difficult as the group begins outgrowing its audience. “All of our
music tastes have evolved over the past four years,” says Brandon. “We’ve all
grown up in our tastes, and our music in Jump5 is also changing. It’s not
drastically changing because we don’t want to leave the fans out; but as our
fans are changing, our music needs to grow up with them, too. We want to
keep our old fans and get new fans in the process.”
The members of Jump5 are hoping their new album, due out Sept. 21,
will showcase them as songwriters. Brandon has written on a previous
album; but, for the most part, the group has relied on outside material.
“We’ve had a little more input on everything,” Lesley says of the new album,
tentatively titled Dreaming in Color. “We’re still in the process of choosing
songs, but everybody has written a song or two for the album. It’s been a
cool experience. We all wrote one together, and then we did our separate
Though some things have changed, one thing has not—the group’s
mission. “Our taste in music has changed a lot, but we know why we are
making this music,” says Chris. “We are making it for our fans.” ccm
july 04 ccm 43
9:53 PM
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listening in...
Michael Card
& Brennan
Edited by Stephanie Ottosen
We hardly felt the need to “introduce” these
thinkers/teachers to you. Considering their exhaustive
work in the Christian community—from Brennan’s
regular speaking engagements and 14 books, including
the famed Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba’s Child, to
Michael’s 27 albums, recent writing on lament literature
and “In the Studio with Michael Card” radio program—
there are hardly words to describe the impact these two
have made on those who’ve encountered them or their
work throughout their decades of ministry. Now we’re
honored these two friends of 20 years set aside time to
converse exclusively for CCM readers.
Michael: A long time ago we first met through your book, Lion and Lamb: the
Tenderness of Jesus. And the key theme, for me, was healing our image of God
and God our Abba. What does it mean that God is our Father?
Brennan: American child psychologists tell us that children learn to speak
between the ages of 14 and 18 months. Regardless of the sex of the child,
the first word normally spoken at that age level is “Da Da Daddy.” A little
Jewish child, speaking Aramaic in first century Palestine at the time of the
historic Jesus, at the same age would say “Ab Ab Abba.” I really think we
caught the revolutionary revelation of Jesus’ teaching on God the Father
because He’s daring us to address the infinite, transcendent, almighty God
in the same colloquial form of address our own children used that morning,
which is Abba, literally meaning “Daddy.”
Without hesitation, the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life in Jesus
is the Abba experience. I could only stutter and stammer about the lifechanging power of the Abba encounter; and, by that, I mean freedom from
the fear of life, freedom from the fear that I’m going to betray Jesus with my
own malice and freedom from the fear of death.
44 ccm july 04
(L-R): Card and Manning
In the years of the Abba desert, which began in the Zaragoza Desert in
Spain in the late 1960s, things I’ve come to see about Abba is, one: His love
is intimate. If you’ve got skeletons in the closet from your past life,
something so shameful, so embarrassing, so utterly self-centered that your
palms start sweating when you start thinking about it, the intimate love of
Abba reaches into that dark experience. Reconciliation in the Scriptures is
not primarily making peace with someone else; it’s first of all making peace
with that part of yourself where peace couldn’t be found before—such is
the intimate love of Abba.
Second, His love is unique, meaning Abba loves me not as you think I
am, not as I am supposed be, but as I really am. And the real Brennan
9:53 PM
Page 45
Manning is a bundle of contradictions. I believe in Abba with all my heart;
but on a given day when I see a 9-year-old girl raped and murdered by a sex
maniac or a 4-year-old boy slaughtered by a drunken driver, I wonder to
believe a loving Father exists.
The God of my experience is: I love, and I hate. I feel bad about feeling
good. I feel guilty if I don’t feel guilty. I’m wide open and locked in. I’m
trusting and suspicious. I’m honest and still play games.
The fourth thing I’ve learned is Abba’s love is reliable. He loves me if I’m
in a state of grace or disgrace. And I’m sure, Mike, if you and I had the
chance to share our lives’ stories, we’d discover a striking similarity that both
of our lives have been a celebration of God’s faithfulness in good times and
in bad.
Ironically, it was April Fool’s Day 1965 that I woke up at 6:30 in the
morning in a doorway on a commercial boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
I woke up in an alcoholic fog, smelling vomit all over my sweater, staring
down at my bare feet. And coming along a sidewalk was a woman, maybe
25, blonde hair, attractive lady. She had a 4-year-old son on her hand. The
boy broke loose from his mother’s grip right at the doorway and stared at
me. The mother came up quickly behind him, cupped her hand to cover his
eyes and said, “Don’t look at that filth. All that is, is pure filth.” And 29 years
ago, that filth was Brennan Manning. The
Abba I’ve come to know through
experience, the Abba I’ve come to know
by faith loves me as much if I’m born in
the state of grace as He does this “born
again” state of grace. For His love is never,
never, never based on our performance,
never conditioned by our moods of
manipulation or oppression. It knows no
shadow of alteration or change. The love
of Abba in Christ Jesus is reliable.
The love of Abba is tender. Tenderness
is what happens when you discover you’re
liked by somebody. If you communicate to
me that you like me—not just love me as a
brother in Christ, but really like me, then
you open up to me the possibility of liking
myself, accepting myself, loving myself.
The look in your eyes banishes my fears
and my defense mechanisms like sarcasm, ridicule, name dropping, giving
you the appearance I’ve got it all together.
My friend Ed Farrel up in Detroit goes on his two-week summer vacation
to Ireland. The reason is his favorite uncle is celebrating his 80th birthday.
On the morning of the great day, Ed and his uncle get up before dawn, get
dressed in silence and go for a walk around the shores of Lake Kilarney. Just
as the sun is about to rise, his uncle turns to the rising sun. Ed didn’t know
what to do. So he’s standing beside his uncle, shoulder to shoulder for 20 full
minutes, not a word exchanged. Then his 80-year-old uncle goes running,
skipping down the road; and he’s radiating, beaming with joy. Ed catches up
to him and says, “Uncle Seamus, you look really happy.” He says, “I am, lad.”
Then Ed says, “You want to tell me why?” And the old man says, “Yes, you
see, “ and then the tears wash down his face, “my Abba is very fond of me.”
If I asked the reader right now: Do you believe Abba likes you—not loves
you because, theologically, Abba has to love you. Abba loves you by the
necessity of His nature. If I asked if you really believe He likes you and with
gut-level honestly, you could reply, “Oh yes, Abba is very fond of me,” there
would come a relaxedness, a serenity, a compassionate attitude toward
yourself and your brokenness.
Michael: You have that prayer as a “breathing in, breathing out” exercise.
Could you describe that to us?
Brennan: Yes, it’s a prayer I had asked an old nun to pray, who had been
sexually abused by her father when she was 5 years old. Then at 9 years
old, her virginity was taken. At 12 she knew of every kind of sexual
perversion she had read about in a dirty book. She said to me: “Do you
have any idea of how filthy I feel? I’m filled with so much hatred of my
father, hatred of myself.”
I prayed with her for several minutes for healing. Then I asked her,
“Sister, would you be willing, for the next month, to go to a quiet place
every morning, sit down in a chair, close your eyes and pray this prayer
over and over: ‘Abba, I belong to you’? At the outset, you say it with your
lips; but then your mind becomes conscious of the meaning and then, most
importantly, in a figurative sense, you push your head down into your heart
so that now, “Abba, I belong to you,” becomes what the French call a crie de
couer, a heartfelt cry to the depth of your being, establishing at the
beginning of each day who you are, why you’re here, where you’re going.
It’s a prayer you can pray walking across the street, driving your car,
watching television, eating a meal, sitting in church. When you do this,
literally dozens and dozens of times a
day, you can, as Jesus says in Luke 18,
“Pray all day long and never lose heart.”
Well, I asked the nun if she would try,
and she said, “Yes.” And two weeks later, I
received the most moving and poetic
letter I’ve ever gotten in ministry. This
old woman described the inner healing of
her heart, the complete forgiveness of her
father and inner peace she had never
known before. And she ended her letter
this way: “A year ago, I would have
signed this letter with my real name in
religious life, Sister Mary Genevieve. But
from now on, I’m just Daddy’s little girl.”
Michael: Her image of God as her father
had been healed. We all come into this,
trying to relate to God bound up with the
relationships we had with our earthly fathers. That’s got to involve healing.
Obviously, this woman is an extreme example, but my father was a
doctor—a wonderful Christian man, a gentle man but very busy and very
performance-oriented. Like so many others, when I tried to relate to God,
I thought, “Well, God is a person who’s probably too busy for me. God is
a person who probably would only accept a straight-A report card from
me.” I think that’s why, when I read Lion and Lamb, that business of healing
the image of my father completely changed my life. That’s the process that
happened to this nun. And that’s a process that most powerfully happened
to you.
Brennan: Yes, I can really relate to what you’re saying, Michael. My own
father, God bless him—with an eighth-grade education because he had to
go out and support his own family because his father was alcoholic—was
only available to speak an abusive word or tell me to go to my room and
drop my pants and beat me over the back and buttocks with his leather
belt. My image of God the Father, my image of any father, was one who
was abusive, demanding, correcting, scolding, criticizing and a constant
monologue to me of impatience and chastisement with my behavior.
There was a fascinating study done in 1976 that said those who have had
a negative experience with their human father and those who’ve had a very
july 04 ccm 45
9:54 PM
Page 46
positive experience can have the same, intimate Abba experience because
let’s not underestimate the power and wisdom of Jesus Christ crucified, who
leads us into the Abba experience.
Michael: Didn’t you just have a birthday?
Brennan: I just had my 70 birthday, and one of the things you notice
about your 70 birthday that you don’t notice at your 50th or 60th or 65th is
how difficult it is getting out of a car [laughs]! There are certain parts of
your body you’re aware of that you used to take for granted.
What I did [for my birthday] was go to a restaurant in the French
Quarter [in New Orleans] owned by two friends. I invited 10 friends from
around the country who’ve stood with me in the bad weather of life. It
wasn’t so much to celebrate my birthday as to celebrate their friendship. So
I hosted the dinner, and I gave them all a couple of nice presents; and I
wanted to thank them all for being so good to me. But before we began the
dinner, I wanted to have a little prayer service. Since we were having a
dinner party, I went to this passage in chapter 14 of John. After the reading,
I gave a little homily. The homily was actually a poem from one of my
heroes in my life [Daniel Berrigan], who is one of our great American poets
and also a peace activist.
The question has come: How does one sustain one’s life in Christ after
one has had the saved experience? One, a disciplined life of prayer is
absolutely indispensable. By that, I mean showing up and shutting up 20
minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, with a notable
exception for young parents, who certainly are so preoccupied by their
children (but who can do spontaneous prayers during the day).
The second way to grow in faith is in the inspired words of Father
Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov. An elderly woman comes to him, this
reknowned spiritual guru; and she says, “I’m losing my faith.” He says, “Why
do you say that?” She says, “I’ve lost any sense of the presence of God.” He
says, “Go out and love three people every day.” Because of the inextricable
connection between faith, hope and love, every act of love increases our
faith. There is so much going on in the Christian world about growing in
faith, and it means memorizing Scripture; it means going to concerts; it
means going to lectures; it means hearing all these gifted speakers. I wonder
think when I see 50,000 people at a Christian rock concert, if anyone had
gone that day to visit a shut-in to get their own spiritual inspiration.
When Jesus was asked by the lawyer, “You’ve been teaching for three
years. You’ve told all kinds of parables; you’ve given all kinds of sermons.
Your sermon on the mount was unforgettable. Could you just condense,
boil down into a simple sentence the essence of your message?” Jesus says,
“Yes, it’s all about loving God. That means by giving Him time every day
and loving your neighbor.” That’s the real Jesus of the Gospels. That’s the
Christ we’re called to follow. Let’s set aside a lot of this “hoorah” and pay
attention. Christianity is all about loving, and you can take it or leave it. It’s
not about worship or morality. Those are expressions of the love that causes
them both. So let’s get back to the heart of Jesus, who said, “Love God with
all your heart.” It can be the elderly. It can be your own family. It can be
your children. It can be a colleague down the street. There is no substitute
for growing in faith by spending time with God and loving your brothers
and sisters.
Michael: I’ve been going through the literature and trying to understand
what this defining characteristic of God is in the Old Testament. The more
I boil it down, it’s enemy love. Jesus defines loving, ultimately, in terms of
the ability to love your enemy. Most people call it covenantal love. God
loved us when we were still enemies. When you talk about going to find
people to love—and this is where God is taking me right now eventually,
46 ccm july 04
that means we’ve got to love our enemies, identify who they are, admit we
have enemies in the first place because most of us (myself included) are in
denial that we have enemies. The fulfillment of the commandment to love,
if you push it to extreme in Jesus’ teaching, is this idea of loving our
enemies. But He did that for us. We’re the ones who nailed him to the cross.
Brennan: I’m just wondering if those who saw The Passion of The Christ really
identified themselves as the enemy—that it was our sins who put Christ on
the cross. In my own room I have a very jagged crucifix made by a man in
Kingston, Jamaica. When I look at that crucifix [I know that] I am the
forgiven enemy of God, that Jesus knows my whole life story, every
skeleton in my closet, every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty. Right now,
He knows my shallow faith, my feeble prayer life, my inconsistent
discipleship. He loves me and accepts me just as I am. When I’m in touch
with my own heart as a forgiven enemy of God, that has to become the
source, the basis for reaching out and accepting the brokenness, the
weaknesses of others. ccm
For more information visit and
11:19 PM
Page 47
If your idea of children’s
music conjures up memories of vinyls featuring
off-key children’s voices
and an equally out-of-tune,
t oy piano (or synthesizer,
if you grew up after 1980)
or some guitar-playing
adult trying to sing like a
5-year-old, be assured
that children’s music has
finally caught up with
other genres in terms of
quality production. Now
artists making kids music
respect their audience,
their art and (oddly
enough) their roots, while
connecting with children.
I Can Only Imagine: Lullabies
for a Peaceful Rest
Simpleville Music
The title cut is a lullaby version of
2003’s massive crossover hit, with
more fluid, relaxing
less assertive vocals.
“Three of us have
kids,” says MercyMe’s
Nathan Cochran, “so
we thought this sounded like a
good idea. Ever since ‘Imagine’ has
been around, parents of 1 and 2year-olds have told us that their
kids, who could barely talk, were
already singing along to it. So we
thought we’d take their advice, but
it definitely needed to be reworked
for a lullaby album.”
Two Fish Records
The Go Fish
Statema, Andy Selness,
released six other albums
before releasing Splash, its
first album speci-fically
for children. “Our focus
was junior high, highschool
Statema, founder and
frontman. “What we
noticed early on [how-ever]
was that entire families
would attend our concerts—
grandparents to little kids.
Stylistically, the loops
make what we do current
enough to where the kids
really like it; but, at the
same time, there’s no guitar
or drums out there to freak
out grandma and grandpa.”
Splash bears witness to the trio’s
seamless harmony yet connects
with the human intricacies of
“Our goal was to make a kid’s
CD that wouldn’t drive everyone
else bonkers because once kids
latch onto something, they want to
hear it over and over again.
The Adventures of Sir Bernard
the Good Knight
Scheduled to release in
October, Steve Green’s
latest project, The
Adventures of Sir Bernard
the Good Knight, an
action-packed musical
adven-ture designed to
teach children 12 moral
truths, features the work of
veterans from The Lion King, Veggie
Tales, Broadway theater and even
“The Simpsons.”
Narrated by Green, Sir Bernard is
a musical journey taken by the
heroic knight (a St. Bernard) and
Little Dog, an orphan pup who
longs to be a knight. Through
Little Dog’s mistakes, children can
see that even if you don’t get things
right the first time, don’t give up
Says Green, “With [the creative
team’s] deep wells of experience as
fathers to their own children, as
well as history in developing these
sorts of products, they helped
create a rip-roaring, action-packed,
delightful adventure.”
The Sir Bernard package includes
an audio CD, CD-ROM of
activities and a fully illustrated,
read-along booklet that coincides
with the last track on the CD.
The Lenny & Sid Series
Toonacious Family Entertainment
Simply put, Lenny and Sid’s
adventures are a combination of
the multi-tiered humor of Jay
Ward (“Underdog,” “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” “Fractured Fairy-tales”),
47 ccm july 04
the slap-stick action of “Animaniacs” and the personification of
“Arthur.” Says Toonacious cocreator Tony Bancroft, who has
worked on Beauty and the Beast, The
Emperor’s New Groove, The Lion King
and Mulan, which
he co-directed: “I
felt like God had
given me opportunities that I didn’t
even feel worthy
of. What I felt God was saying to
me was ‘I’ve given you these
experiences so that you can use
them to My glory.’”
Bonus content, including a
music video with Nicole C.
Mullen and a personal
interview hosted by actress
Hunter Tylo (“The Bold and the
Beautiful”), is also nestled in
among several other DVD goodies.
A third release (following Love Thy
Neighbor and ’Tis the Reason), Jealous
Fellas, debuted earlier this year.
The Praise Baby Collection:
Music for Baby’s Spirit & Mind
Flicker Records
Like Baby Einstein and other
“edutainment” lines that target
infants and toddlers with their own
electronic media, “The
Praise Baby Collection” is a colorful
marriage of imagery,
special effects and
music. Unlike most
other lines, however, it uses praise & worship music
that has been calmed down to
engage its young audience.
Available in CD, VHS and DVD
formats, Praises and Smiles, the first
release in “The Praise Baby
Collection,” is full of songs that are
straightforward and familiar.
Whether you pop this in to
stimulate language development,
bring comfort or simply sing along
with your child, Praises and Smiles
will also stimulate the spiritual
development of listeners. ccm
july 04 ccm 47
9:47 PM
Page 48
25 4 9 7 1
8 18
arched” musings.
A compendium of arguably useless and “rese
Chris We
0 14
1 3
5 Artists Who Used to be 1
university, they soon hit the road as Say So. By the
time Word Records came calling, they discovered the
name Say So was already taken by a high-profile
indie act. The four went with the nom de group Point
of Grace and saw its first national release in 1993.
3. DC TALK (a.k.a.
DC Talk and the One
Way Crew)
As any self-respecting fan of
dc talk knows, the three
young men got together in the
late ’80s at Jerry Falwell’s
Liberty University in Lynchburg,
Virginia. What you don’t often
hear is that, for a brief moment in time, the name
was reportedly DC Talk and the One Way Crew. In
January 1989, Michael Tait, Toby McKeehan (a.k.a.,
tobyMac) and Kevin Smith (a.k.a. Kevin Max, a.k.a.
K-Max) signed a deal with ForeFront Records and
moved to Nashville (a.k.a. Music City).
SWITCHFOOT (a.k.a. Chin Up, a.k.a. 4. THE
Shiner, a.k.a. Switchfoot Genius)
(a.k.a. Crime
Oh, where do we
even start? In
members of altrock
Daniel Amos hit
the studio to create demos for a band called Crime
Horse. (Three of those demos later resurfaced on
the 1992 anthology Shirley Goodness & Misery).
The label asked for something lighter, and The
Swirling Eddies was born! For bonus points, the
band members also played under assumed names.
SANDI PATTY (a.k.a. Sandi Patti)
During the 1970s, she recorded an indie album, For
My Friends; but a printer’s mistake changed her
last name from “Patty” to “Patti,” and the name
stuck! It was several
years before she finally
returned to the original
spelling (between LeVoyage
in ’93 and Find It On the
Wings in ’94, to be exact).
1. Miller
2. Pillage
3. Stapler
4. Village
5. P.O.D.
POINT OF GRACE (a.k.a. Say So)
When four young ladies met in 1991 at an Arkansas
48 ccm july 04
Perhaps you know the legend of Morgan Cryar’s backup band (or, as we call
them now, King’s X) or how classic hard rockers Resurrection Band became
Rez Band and then Rez. Maybe you know that Rebecca St. James signs her
checks “Rebecca Smallbone” or that Charlie Peacock was born one “Charles
Ashworth.” (Don’t even get us started on the name KJ-52.) These examples in
mind, we present this month’s list.
In late 1996, Charlie Peacock discovered a San
Diego rock band called Chin Up (named in honor of
friend Willis Chin). Signing the lads to his re:think
label, he asked they change the band’s name. When
Peacock also nixed Shiner, the boys, inspired by the
surfing term “switchfoot,” asked about Switchfoot
Genius. Unfortunately, there was already a group
named Red Footed Genius. This name game went on
for months; in fact, it forced re:think to delay the
band’s debut, The Legend of Chin.
Called Something
1. “Grape Ape”
2. “Tom and Jerry”
3. “Bugs Bunny”
4. “Rocky & Bullwinkle”
5. “Garfield the Cat”
1. That one where the guy
got the tent peg stuck
through his head
2. That one where the lady
was eaten by dogs
3. That one where the gang of
boys was attacked and killed by
the grizzly bear
4. That one where the guy was
killed by worms
5. That one where the kid had
the amazing Technicolor
11:27 AM
Page 51
A Compelling Conundrum
On Dichotomy A, GRITS proves once again hip-hop with a Christian worldview isn’t second rate.
Dichotomy A
Hey Ya! This disc is good to the last rhyme.
Too often hip-hop celebrates profanity,
violence, misogyny, braggadocio and “bling
bling”—not exactly the kind of approach
Christian musicians embrace. And yet,
positive paragons have achieved mainstream
File under:
Grade: B+
success, from Grandmaster Flash to Arrested
Development to Common. Though not part of
For fans of... legitimate beats that even
your parents could love.
the Christian industry, they reinforce a truth
that applies to every Christian hip-hop act present and future: To win respect in
the land of Slim Shady and Jay Z, you have to be artistically innovative and
intriguing, first and foremost. And that often poses a problem in Christian music,
where too many power brokers still tally Jesus mentions per song ahead of
everything else.
The mentality with GRITS has always been different—and the new effort,
Dichotomy A, does not suffer for lack of ambition. (A second volume, Dichotomy
B, is slated for November release.) Yet when such ambitious projects surface, the
musical question arises: Is it all killer and no filler?
On Dichotomy A, the chips fall mostly in favor of Stacy “Coffee” Jones and Teron
“Bonafide” Carter. Aided by dc talk band alum Otto Price (tobyMac, Out of Eden),
they’ve presented an album defined by supple, confident rapping and a nice
spectrum of R&B stylings-—-from the Marvin Gaye-flavored soul of “Hittin’ Curves”
to the gospel-meets-blues confection “Mind Blowin’,” spiked with Hammond
organ and wah-wah guitar.
Diving into Dichotomy will only reveal more riches, as it boasts dense (but not
daunting) melodic layers and lyrics that broach subjects from gangbanging
(“Gutter Boy”) to staking a claim for rap respect in Christ (“Bobbin’ Bouncin”).
There are moments of sonic fun, too: “Gutter Boy” suggests a spaghetti western
dished up in dark Gotham City, with a side-dish of reggae, while “High” features
synthesized gurgles and what sounds like a creepy Gregorian chant by androids.
That said, Dichotomy has moments of monotony, particularly in the
backstretch. It would’ve been nice to hear GRITS forego some repetition within
songs—which, while part of establishing groove, tends to prod the listener into
tune-out mode. Also, in the intro to the second track, “Anybody,” things get overly
“preachy.” On it, a female voice berates a friend who’s made bad relationship
choices; it’s two minutes of smug finger wagging. When she self-righteously
declares, “You just can’t see because your vision is twisted,” you can almost hear
the biblically correct reply: “Yo! Yank the plank out of your own eye, sister!” GRITS
should have considered cutting this intro and salvaging an otherwise decent track
about alienation: “Seems my little light been getting’ a little blurred.”
Thankfully, Dichotomy avoids the sin of “more is more.” Its 45-plus minutes are
just enough, suggesting that maybe the best things come in split packages.
july 04 ccm 51
11:28 AM
Page 52
The epitomy of tight. The
team consistently creates a
rhythmic foundation that
makes Hammitt’s and
Rohman’s jobs that much
While one gets the
impression that Sanctus
Real is still discovering itself,
with Fight the Tide the
foursome takes a significant
step toward becoming a
great band. The more you
hear, the brighter its future
File under:
Grade: B+
For fans of... faith-infused, guitar-driven
modern rock.
Fight the Tide
Sanctus Real puts up a good
Impressively produced and
mixed by Tedd T (Delirous,
Stacie Orrico), Fight the Tide
is a noticeable improvement
in practically every way over
Sanctus Real’s 2002 debut.
Though Say It Loud
connected with more than
30,000 fans, the album
portrayed a group that was
very much “up-and-coming,”
from the promising
songwriting to its members’
52 ccm july 04
often unimaginative, rougharound-the-edges studio
work. And with the exception
of one acoustic-based track,
every song presented was a
standard rock number. That
was then.
Simply put, each song on
Fight the Tide is better than
the best of Say It Loud. Lead
rock single (and opening
track), “Everything About
You,” serves notice that this
is a whole new ball game.
From the start, Fight boasts
the same stylistic foundation
as the debut, but here the
band embraces more
prevalent European rock
elements and makes
capable forays into reggaerock (“The Show”), pop-punk
(“Message”) and vulnerable
serenading (“Change Me,”
“Say Goodbye”). Now, the
Toledo, Ohio, act sounds
more like a band that did,
indeed, form eight years ago
and has been regularly
playing live ever since.
Lead singer Matt Hammitt
and guitarist Chris Rohman
once again tackle the
majority of Sanctus Real’s
songwriting duties. But this
time around the duo shows a
consistent knack for crafting
extremely melodic hooks.
Lyrically, poetically clear
expressions of faith abound.
Hammitt’s vocals—the
band’s most distinct quality—
are significantly more
authoritative, versatile and
emotive, whether he’s
brooding or kicking into a
beautiful falsetto. In the third
track, “Alone,” Hammitt even
unveils his first (but not last)
power-rasp delivery, singing,
“You are not alone/Know that
I would fight the tides to be
together”—a vocal feat that
could no doubt earn a
complimentary wink from
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
Rohman, meanwhile, plays
lead in the truest sense of
the word, whether driving the
songs with muscular, thick
riffs or scaling tonal walls
with apparent ease.
Drummer Mark Graalman
and bassist Steve Goodrum?
File under:
Grade: A
Alternative worship/rock
For fans of... rock pushing artistic
Divine Invitation
R.S.V.P. to this invitation
Count me as one of those
people who deeply
appreciates almost anything
produced and engineered by
Steve Hindalong and Derri
Daugherty, the musical brain
trust behind alternative rock
legends The Choir. From The
Prayer Chain to Common
Children and, more recently,
GlassByrd and the “City on a
Hill” series, one or the other
(or both) have shepherded
some hauntingly beautiful
albums. And now, the majorlabel debut by Something
Like Silas can be added to
that list.
On the surface, Divine
Invitation could be labeled a
postmodern worship album,
but that would sell it short.
It’s more like a fine painting,
reflecting the pleas of the
psalmists using shades of
light and dark.
This disc is the product of
five San Diego musicians
who are the resident artists
at Flood, a church the group
helped found. With four prior
independent releases, the
members arrive sounding
mature and relaxed. It takes
a confident band, for
example, to segue from a
pulsing, distorted-guitar
opening cut (“Creation’s
Call”) into a mellow,
meditative second track
(“Words That You Say”). For a
moment, the move catches
11:29 AM
Page 53
What Does
you offguard—it’s so unformulaic. Then it becomes
apparent: This isn’t formula;
it’s art.
Guitarist/singer Eric
Owyoung has a strong,
distinctive voice; and his
wife, Malina, adds
harmonies and keyboard
textures from strings to
electric piano. Drummer
Lenny Beh and bassist John
Luzzi creatively avoid clichés,
especially on the driving “In
the Burning.” Meanwhile,
Hindalong and Daugherty
layer the guitars of Eric
Owyoung and Nick Maybury,
floating sounds in and out of
a mix that comes near
perfection. Divine, indeed.
File under:
Grade: B+
For fans of... a good dose of guitarsoaked introspective renderings.
Trevor’s ready for his
While fresh-faced singer,
songwriter and guitarist
Trevor Morgan may not be
well-known to most Christian
music fans, he’s certainly no
newbie to the Nashville
music scene. Not to be
confused with the actor of
the same name, the Alabama
native has written songs for
Geoff Moore and Phillips,
Craig & Dean. His music has
also been featured in a
Nautica TV ad campaign.
What’s more, he has played
bass alongside mainstream
guitarist Will Owsley (Shania
Twain, Ben Folds) and Ginny
On Wonderlight, Morgan
unveils a solid solo debut
and worthwhile first release
for fledgling BHT Records.
Stout vocals (think Jeremy
Camp arm wrestling with
Bebo Norman) blend well
with the acoustic and electric
guitar-driven compositions
offered here. But, as the
cliché goes, the proof of the
pudding is in the tasting.
The most flavorful
selections include rollicking
cuts “Skin and Bones” and
“All About Me.” These songs
and others reveal the heart
of one who sometimes
struggles with imperfection,
unworthiness and sorrow.
Softer tunes such as “Fall
Down” and “Oh Hallelujah”
tilt toward surrendering to
God, although occasionally
timeworn phrases like “only
you can satisfy” get in the
On the whole, Morgan
seems to possess the talent
needed to propel his career
well beyond the backdrop.
eflecting on Jesus’ first miracle,
singer-songwriter Kelly Minter eloquently
and powerfully conveys that Jesus is
still breathing the miraculous into the
mundane—and is able to turn your own
seemingly mundane struggles, disappointments, and gifts into miracles that reveal
his presence.
Foreword by Margaret Becker.
Now in bookstores and from online retailers.
Read a chapter excerpt at
11:29 AM
Page 54
File under:
Grade: B+
Pop/Adult Contemporary
For fans of... excellent voices on music
that’s inspirational in sound and
Hiding Place
Musical solace for weary
File under:
Grade: A
For fans of... aggressive music with an
affirming message.
Where Do We Go From
Next step: world domination,
Huge sales numbers, a
trophy case of Doves and the
conquest of rock radio should
have made Pillar a cheerful
bunch; but these Sooner
State rockers snap back with
enough fiery wrath to leave
2002's Fireproof in a heap of
ashes. Sure, it helped launch
the band onto a grander
platform, but the group’s
latest album, Where Do We
Go From Here, ups the ante
with songs profoundly richer
in attitude and ambition. It
would appear the positive
response to Fireproof was all
54 ccm july 04
Pillar needed to reach for the
creative jackpot.
A fundamental change on
the new disc comes in the
vocals of singer Rob Beckley.
Previously tapping into his
emcee influences, Beckley's
new approach involves
straight melodic singing that
offers a more immediate
appeal, despite the music’s
aggressive drive. The band—
whose other members
include guitarist Noah
Henson, drummer Lester
Estelle and bassist Kalel—
best epitomizes its growth
with “Bring Me Down,” a
tempo-twisting new song with
a hook ready to rule the FM
dial. In the same way,
“Underneath It All” reflects a
new creative confidence that
comes through in the
confrontational lyrics and
crunchy guitars, while “Let It
Out” starts mid-tempo on its
way to an explosive, gritty
chorus. Though songs like
“Simply” and “Rewind”
showcase the band’s
mellower side, the lyrics
themselves pour out
emotions of wholehearted
regret and sorrow.
Produced by Pillar
alongside Travis Wyrick
(Disciple, Andrew Carlton),
the new album emanates an
against-the-grain lyrical
narrative that tells of people
trying to force the band into
various molds. Resisting
such pressures, Pillar
funneled this frustration into
a spirited rebellion against
all man-made temptations
while similarly offering a
more human look at the
band’s fears and
frustrations. From instilling
fans with an energetic
spiritual boost to soothing
one’s soul with transparent
real-life reflections, Where Do
We Go From Here offers a full
spectrum of inspiration
cultivated by the band's
current creative surge.
The new album boasts an
aggressive edge that is
matched only by the songs’
resolute attitude. As Pillar
breaks through to greater
plateaus, the band surely
shows that not all attitude is
necessarily bad attitude.
Inspirational music seemed
to almost be a genre of
Christian music’s past until
Selah’s sound gracefully
placed it back on the charts.
Finding mass appeal through
the almost accidental
success of its 1999 debut,
Be Still My Soul, the trio
successfully toured the
country, accepted a handful
of Dove Awards, garnered No.
1 radio singles and released
a definitive sophomore
release in a relatively short
amount of time.
Continuing in its tradition
of hymns, African spirituals
and worship classics, the
group’s fourth studio
recording, which recently
debuted at the top of the
Christian charts by selling
more than 19,000 units its
first week out, firmly
establishes it as an industry
mainstay. From the Irishtinged opening cut, “You
Raise Me Up,” to the
stunning closer “Before the
Throne of God,” simple, yet
effective production defines
the unmistakable sound fans
have come to know as
distinctly Selah.
Siblings Todd Smith and
Nicol Sponberg effuse
uncompromising vocals
throughout the recording,
floating over such church
standards and album
highlights as “I Need Thee
Every Hour” and “Through It
All.” Joining with a band for a
few cuts does little to
enhance the group creatively,
further emphasizing the
irresistible pleasure of
Selah’s piano/vocal
Despite the occasional
trite arrangement, one
cannot refute the group’s
powerful interpretation of
such compelling lyrics:
“Because the sinless Savior
died/My sinful soul is
counted free/For God the
just is satisfied/To look on
Him and pardon me.” And
that begs to be played again
and again.
File under:
Grade: C+
For fans of... catchy songs that suggest
street-wise sensibilities.
Even More
Stepping into the spotlight
Anthony Evans has journeyed
with a few larger-than-life
personalities, since his
father just happens to be Dr.
Tony Evans (pastor of Oak
Cliff Bible Fellowship in
Dallas, Texas, and president
of The Urban Alternative),
and also because he
currently sings backup on
Kirk Franklin’s concert tours.
Now with his debut, Even
More, he himself will receive
focused attention.
The biggest roadblock to
Evans’ potential solo success
may involve what seems to
be a lack of blatant
enthusiasm. Evans vocalizes
in a sweetly soulful manner,
but he doesn’t often capture
and command the listener’s
That said, a few of these
13 songs do show Evans’
charismatic potential. “Be
Still” allows him to offer a
psalm-like peaceful
admonition, and “Unity (We
Stand),” features the vocal
presence of Kirk Franklin
and the always outstanding
Crystal Lewis. The opener,
“You Know My Name,” also
stands out for its insistent
percussion and Dan
Muckala’s (Aaron Neville,
Mandy Moore) production
The continuing incorporation of hip-hop into
mainstream R&B has made
urban sounds a vital part of
today’s musical climate.
Anthony Evans’ debut
features a sprinkling of these
spicy elements, and one
hopes they will further define
his future work.
11:30 AM
Page 55
[email protected] ting
Here’s the book you’ve
been waiting for!
File under:
Grade: B
For fans of... congregational worship with
a musical twist.
Once Again
Fusebox has found its niche.
Originally assembled as
Rebecca St. James’ live
band, Fusebox began writing
its own music and opening
for St. James on several
tours. But with the release of
the band’s second album,
Once Again, this group is
proving worthy of
What Fusebox offers is
congregational worship
nestled in a bed of drum
loops and electric guitars.
The aim may be for
alternative rock; but take
away a couple of guitar
filters, and you’re basically
left with a pop album.
Lyrically, as with most
modern congregational
worship music, simplicity
reigns supreme. On the title
track, lead singer Billy
Buchanan sings about the
waltz of the Christian life—
repent, believe, fight—and his
“thank you for the cross”
outburst at the song’s end is
an emotional, cathartic listen.
It’s his raw, urban vocal
energy that throttles the
majority of the album. Let’s
face it—worship albums are as
popular nowadays as the lowcarb diet, so Fusebox isn’t the
only band in this alterna-pop
niche of the worship sector.
But it is original enough to
survive and certainly good
enough to shed the title of
“backup band.”
File under:
Grade: B+
For fans of... a great new female voice.
Bethany Dillon
The heir to Amy Grant’s
New Sparrow Records artist
Bethany Dillon has all the
potential of a Christian music
success story. She’s got the
pipes to rival Joy Williams,
“Cheryl Green has packed a mountain
of wisdom in her World Wide Search—a
manual to guide Christians in their
online dating. Any single person can
benefit enormously from reading this
book. It is brief and to the point, full
of illustrations, and makes its points
rapidly and thoroughly. I recommend it.”
—Neil Clark Warren, psychologist,
author, and founder of
More than two million Christian singles date online. Play
it safe and date smart. Get World Wide Search today!
Available in bookstores and from online retailers.
Read a chapter excerpt at
11:30 AM
Page 56
she holds her own on a sixstring like Jennifer Knapp,
and she writes Christcentered, message-driven
tunes with a maturity beyond
her years like Amy Grant on
her way up.
Produced by Ed Cash
(Bebo Norman, Kathy Mattea)
and Caedmon’s Call member
Joshua Moore (Caedmon’s
Call, Silars Bald), the disc is
full of upbeat pop/rock
numbers written or co-written
by Dillon. The strength lies in
Dillon’s lyrics. She addresses
subjects that should resonate
with a young adult audience,
having clearly wrestled with
the issues enough to paint an
accurate picture of the
“Revolutionaries” points to
the difficulties of nonconformity, namely the
struggle of a Christian in the
current culture. “Many have
traveled this road before/I
see their tracks in the
dirt/But maybe I don’t
agree/With where they are
leading,” she sings.
“Beautiful,” a poppy,
piano/strings arrangement
that most Christian radio
fans have already heard in
heavy rotation, shows a
young woman battling
self-esteem issues and
“fighting to make the mirror
happy,” as the song goes.
“All I Need” covers the
universal issue of loneliness
and dependence upon one’s
Heavenly Father to fulfill the
empty spaces; and the
album’s closer, “A Voice
Calling Out,” serves as an
optimistic anthem to
encourage the body of Christ,
especially Dillon’s
generation, to put its faith
into action and have an
impact on the world.
Dillon articulates each
tune with convincing
conviction, and the
arrangements are fine
backdrops for her wellcrafted songs. The only
problem with this disc is that
it takes a few spins to
command your attention.
Though each song has
enough rhythm to get one’s
toe tapping and is well sung
and nicely produced, there’s
no particularly memorable,
overtly catchy number in the
stable, except for her hit
single. Dillon’s cover of Amy
Grant’s “Lead Me On” may
perk listeners ears just
because of its familiar
history, but her target,
youthful audience may be
unfamiliar with the late ’80s
tune. However, Dillon is
surely on the right track.
Hold You High
File under:
Grade: C
For fans of... By the Tree with a
decidedly worship emphasis.
Wish there was more fresh
fruit on this tree.
By the Tree, originally
formed as a worship band in
1997, has elected to get
back to its praise roots with
a modern worship album as
a follow-up to the pop/rock
bonanza of Root.
Unfortunately, it’s about
three years too late, entering
a crowded marketplace with
a project that does not do
nearly enough to distinguish
“God of Wonders” is one
of the truly great worship
songs ever recorded, but do
we really need another
version? Other covers—“It Is
Well,” “Lord, Let Your Glory
Fall,” “Throne of Grace,”
“Your Beloved” and
“Beautiful One”—are
passable but not particularly
Of the 11 songs on the
album, only four were
written by current members
of the band—leaving worship
leaders without much new
material to latch onto. And
one of those, “Reveal,” is a
remake of the hit off the
group’s Fervent debut. “Only
to You” is a radio-friendly
offering in the Sonicflood
mold, but the best of the
bunch may be “Jesus
Washed,” an evocative,
contemplative song that
provides a new, reflective
spin on praise.
It’s a goosebump-inducing
ending, but it can’t save a
project that will be savored
primarily by its hardcore BTT
Songs to Burn Your
File under:
Grade: B+
Hardcore/heavy rock
For fans of... aggressive guitar slashes,
roaring vocals and pensive lyricism.
Bridges By
Tooth & Nail
The bridges between
hardcore and literary
expression keep building.
In an era when one-time
multi-million dollar record
labels are consolidating and
personnel seem to be
disappearing faster than the
speed of light, it’s extremely
challenging for a new band
to break past all the red
tape. Orange County’s
11:31 AM
Page 57
Project 86 learned this
lesson the hard way after
attracting the attention of
Atlantic Records to license
its Drawing Black Lines CD to
the general market. Though
that record initially earned
some kudos via tour dates
with P.O.D., its follow-up,
Truthless Heroes, was
recorded during a time of
uncertainty and transition.
Unfortunately, that disc
got lost in the Atlantic
shuffle, which, given all the
buyouts and restructuring,
left Project 86 dropped by
the wayside.
Thankfully though, the
gang returned home to Tooth
& Nail (the label which first
landed them a national
audience), and the direction
of the subsequent Songs to
Burn Your Bridges By picks
up right where Drawing Black
Lines left off. Avoiding the
conceptual nature and
cynicism of Truthless Heroes,
the new project brims over
with hopefulness, renewal
and recommitment to
balancing progressive art
with serious spirituality.
Songs such as the
thrashing “Oblivion,” the gutwrenching “Say Goodnight to
the Bad Guy…” and the
cacophonic “A Fruitless End
Ever” not only point to a
more positive outlook on life,
but they’re tightened up with
instrumental intensity. Aside
from melodic girth, frontman
Andrew Schwab also lends
his literary writing style to
the poetically charged “A
Shadow On Me.” Such an
approach may seem like a
study in contrasts when
melded against the band’s
scorching wall of sound; but,
in fact, the union breeds 14
cuts of intelligence and
by Christa Farris
Like Amy Grant, Stacie Orrico and now,
Bethany Dillon, powerhouse vocalist
Rachael Lampa also got her musical start
at a young age. Now on her third, self-titled
Word disc, releasing July 27, Lampa is taking
some serious ownership in her songs as she
co-wrote on each of the album’s 11 tracks.
Produced by the legendary Tommy Sims
(Eric Clapton, CeCe Winans), the CD
spans the gamut genre-wise with a mix of pop,
rock, funk and modern adult contemporary
sounds. Seem intriguing? Look for an
exclusive preview of the record at
Mixing things up a little, retro rockers The
Swift also have a new project that bows on
July 24 called Today (Inpop). This time around
the guys teamed up with Jason Burkham
(Audio Adrenaline, Stereo Motion) and
Nathan Dantzler (Audio Adrenaline,
Tree63) for what’s a great take on current
spiritual issues with a modern sonic flare.
And because we didn’t have a release date
for this one until after we went to press last
month, we thought we’d also mention the
Supertones’ latest offering, Revenge of the
Supertones (BEC) that hit stores June 15. With
a sound that hearkens back to the band’s first
three efforts, Mark Townsend (Relient K)
helped the band production-wise with the
setlist of 12 new songs that have a cohesive
theme of eternal matters.
Booking Info:
Blue Horizons Artist Agency 870-818-9323
[email protected] •
Mission House Music Group inc.
1300 Division St • Nashville,TN 37203
10:52 AM
by Nancy Guthrie
Page 58
I’m grateful I discovered the joy of
escaping into the pages of a good
book—especially when trying to get
through a long, cross-country flight.
With summer upon us and a desire
to find something good to read by
the pool or on the plane, I asked
publishers to send me their
favorites of the fiction titles they’ve
released this year.
name for a handsome hero, I must
say) is an FBI agent too busy with
solving murders to settle down with
fifth-grade teacher Caroline Lane.
But when people he and Caroline
care about are kidnapped, they are
drawn together. There’s no mystery
in the romance department, as it is
fired up from the very first page; but
an intriguing mystery follows.
I opened the cover of True Courage
by Dee Henderson (Zondervan) as a
Henderson novice, with the
knowledge that her books pepper
the romance fiction bestseller lists.
This book is as much crime and
mystery as romance, which provides
a broad appeal. Luke Falcon (great
The Called by Samuel Whitestone is
the first fiction book released by
Pathway Press. What a great read!
It’s much like a John Grisham story
that includes a gruesome murder,
a seductive client and an international assassin. A mysterious
murder grips a small Tennessee
town with horror and embroils a
young lawyer in a dangerous
struggle for his career, marriage, life
the contrived characters and
conversations often found in
Christian fiction, these people and
the choices they make ring true with
few exceptions. The bio says
pseudonym for an early retired, topranked national criminal trial lawyer,
who lives with his wife in Florida and
devotes his time to Christian writing.
I hope he keeps it up!
Dee Henderson
58 ccm july 04
I must admit that a lead character
who says things like, “Fellers, have a
afternoon—no huge impact but a
nice way to spend the time.
Patricia Hickman
listen!” and also reads Blaise Pascal
feels like a bit of a strech. Yet that’s
what you find in Nazareth’s Song by
Patricia Hickman (Warner Faith), a
sweet story of a preacher with a
past set in the depression-era
South. Jeb Nubey has become a
foster father to three kids and is
about to take over the pulpit of the
local church. While trying to win a
woman who has rebuffed him and
avoid the whiles of a beauty who
desires him, the preacher seeks to
make peace between the town’s
prosperous banker and its hungry,
desperate citizens. In some ways
this story reminded me of a western
Halfway through The Dead Don’t
Dance by Charles Martin (Westbow)
I was questioning some of the
endorsement quotes of “brilliant.”
Dylan Styles has buried his stillborn
child, his wife is in a coma and his
crops are dying along with his
professional and personal dreams.
And, for much of the first part of the
book, I wondered if he was ignoring
the issues that would be swirling
around someone in his situation as
the book began to focus on his new
teaching career and the struggling
students he encountered inside and
outside of class. But as I continued,
I grew to appreciate the author’s
subtle development of the
bittersweet love story, which moves
the reader gently, leaving a sweet
continued on pg. 60
Charles Martin
10:52 AM
Page 60
continued from pg. 60
smile of satisfaction at the last turn of the page. The “preachy” factor is practically non-existent, but a
couple of the characters of faith seem a little too good to be true. I wondered all the way through how
the central crisis of his wife’s life hanging in the balance of a coma would resolve. But you don’t think
I’m going to tell and ruin it for you, do you?
Although I correctly guessed the big twist in Brandilyn Collins’ Brink of Death (Zondervan), the first
book in her new “Hidden Faces” series, that didn’t keep me from enjoying the ride along the way in
this suspense crime novel set in modern-day California. No overbearing believers or tidy conversions
here, but I found an abundance of real-life faith as well as real-life fear, betrayal and evil. This one kept
me gripped from beginning to end.
Don’t forget to go by your favorite Christian bookstore before you hit the beach or board the plane.
You’ll find some great reading that won’t make you blush but may make you think, laugh or even weep.
Andrew Peterson
Singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson (Love and
Thunder, Essential) was asked to be the reader
on the audiobook of Ray Blackston’s very
successful debut, Flabbergasted, and his
newest release, A Delirious Summer. The book
tells the story of Neil, a seven-months dateless
Spanish language teacher to missionaries in
Ecuador, who is looking for romance during his
furlough, only to discover that the churchhopping girls of Greenville, S.C., are “more
elusive than a snowflake in the Ecuadorian
CCM: How did you get connected with
Ray Blackston?
Andrew: Someone at Essential [Records] was
friends with someone at Revell, and they came
up with the idea to have me record the
audiobook. They know I love to tell stories and
have fun. And the repertoire of character voices
I’ve developed over the years came in handy to
recreate some of the quirky characters in these
novels. I’ve always been comfortable in a
studio, but usually I’ve been singing rather than
talking; so it was a challenge—especially since
these books are not like what I typically read.
CCM: What do you typically read?
Andrew: I like fiction—from Wendall Berry (That
Distant Land: Collected Stories) to Annie Dillard
(Traveling Mercies) to [J.R.R.] Tolkien (The Lord
of the Rings trilogy)—generally not the type of
book you pick up in an airport and read in three
60 ccm july 04
Ray Blackston
or four hours. I am usually reading deep-thought
stuff to balance out my goofy side.
CCM: So what drew you to Blackston’s writing?
Andrew: Ray is a smart, funny kind of guy. He
tells a beautiful story about what God can do
with someone but doesn’t take himself too
seriously. His characters felt like people I know,
and sometimes the main character thought like
I think. It felt like Ray was very true to the story,
not pushing a message. He developed a
character and threw him into situations, and his
readers get to go along for the ride and have a
good time.
Ray is funny in a way that tells you he’s been
there before—especially in the church singles
scene. I’m so glad I got married young enough
not to be afraid. At age 20, I just did it. But in
this book, just like in reality, you see singles
who are afraid to take the jump.
CCM: What is going on in your recording
career and ministry?
Andrew: Right now I am in the studio working
on a new concept album that tells the story of
Jesus. For the last few years, I’ve invited friends
such as Alison Krauss and Phil Keaggy to come
and sing at a Christmas show that tells the
story of the coming of Jesus. Derek Webb, Jill
Phillips, Steve Hindalong and Phil Madeira are
helping me put it all on a record (It will release
this fall.) to be called Behold the Lamb of God:
A Lyrical Retelling of the Story of Christ.
7:00 PM
Page 62
tanding in line at the airport, you may notice the person in front of you
has a guitar slung across his/her back. Curious, you look for clues
about who they are or what style of music he/she
performs. Past the obligatory bleached locks and
rock-star attire, you spy a purposefully random
display of instrument logos and stickers on the
case. You may recognize most of the names, but a few
may still be clouded in mystery. Who are these
companies, and why do serious musicians pledge their
loyalty to one brand over another?
While musical instrument companies provide the means
for a concert experience, a select few are devoted to the
specific art and craft of the contemporary Christian
genre. The companies featured in the next few pages
choose to align themselves with Christian artists
of all styles. From installation firms, to
microphone manufacturers, to apparel
companies, they all share a desire to enrich
the Christian music experience. Musicians
love particular brands of instruments and
aren’t afraid to endorse products.
Now read a little more about why certain
artists choose the gear they do in our
informative look at the world of musical
6:36 PM
Page 64
Roland vs-2000cD
Ultimate Support
When is a mic stand a
doorstop? When it fails to hold
up on the road and becomes
just another useless piece of
metal. For owners of Ultimate
Support stands, however, the
fear of breakage is assuaged by
the company’s Peace of Mind
(POM) warranty that grants the
user a lifetime of
Bands such as Third Day,
Delirious and MercyMe rely
on the solidity and resilience
of Ultimate’s mic, speaker,
guitar, keyboard and amp
stands every day. For
c o mp a ny ’ s
Genesis GS-200
guitar stand folds into a
compact, portable size perfect
for traveling and then opens up
to a full height capable of
supporting almost any guitar.
With additional features
such as guitar pick storage
slots and cushioned padding at
points of contact, the Genesis
stand meets the needs of
guitar slingers like Mike
Scheuchzer of MercyMe and
Brad Avery from Third Day,
while its respective bandmates
rely on Ultimate Support’s
Flash Base mic stands for
micing everything from guitar
amps to vocals. This series
showcases Ultimate Support’s
ability to develop an innovative
technology and then “trickle
down” its core elements to
more mainstream product. As
an example, Ultimate Support
originally created the one-handmic-stand adjuster for its top of
the line MC-77 model used by
artists such as Crystal Lewis
but brought the single grip
height adjustment to the mass
market without compromising
combined with even newer
innovations like the umbrellafolding tripod base, makes the
Flash Base fast, flexible
inexpensive enough for
almost any band to afford.
At the heart of Ultimate
Support’s innovation lies a
ministry-driven leadership
intent on creating an
familial atmosphere where
ideas flow from security
and new concepts are
rewarded on a team basis.
Computers are wonderful
devices for creating documents,
works of art and even music.
But the Achilles heel is a
computer’s vulnerability to
crash. Hard disc recorders, on
the other hand, are robust,
stable, and, unfortunately,
limited by their design to a
current functionality.
Leave it to the minds at
Roland, however, to find a way to
combine the best of both worlds
into a single, affordable unit.
The new VS-2000CD is an
amazing aggregate of recording,
mixing, processing, mastering
and expanding abilities brought
together into a cohesive whole
that is as easy to understand
as it is powerful to deliver a
completed label project.
From the moment you turn it
on, you know a new threshold
has been reached in the quest
for quality sound on disc. With
20 recording tracks, eight XLRbased mic inputs, an automated
mixer, integrated 40 gig hard
USB 2.0 port and
the ability to
support both a
mouse and VGA
monitor, the VS2000CD pulls
it all together
w i t h o u t
breaking your
wallet. Once
acclimated to
familiar VS
work environment,
making tunes is simply a matter
of laying it down and mixing it
together. After the basics are
mastered, new features can
be imported, thanks to two
expansion board slots designed
to house the optional VS8F-3
effects cards. Now, with
software plug-ins at the ready,
you can always be on the cutting
edge of music evolution.
Third-party vendors for the
cards includes Antares and its
industry standard auto-tuners,
IK Multimedia, Massenburg’s
dynamics control; and McDSP.
Even without the expansion
boards, though, the VS2000CD
is a powerful tool, enabling
anyone with something to say
musically to have the means to
say it. And all without taking out
a second mortgage or spending more time learning how
to record than how to play
and sing.
6:53 PM
Page 66
McPherson Guitars
“Brand new, the guitar sounds 20 years
For newbies, Martin Smith’s (Delirious)
comment is a high compliment to the
craftsmanship that McPherson Guitars
imbues into each of its creations. An
acoustic guitar should sound old, with an
acoustic patina rich in complex overtones
and vocal authority.
McPherson, based in Sparta, Wis., has
been innovating the staid world of high-end
acoustic guitars for the past few years and
continues to gather converts from the halls
of accomplished players at an amazing rate.
Within the dual guitar team of Martin
Smith and Stu G, Delirious boasts a double
header of McPherson loyalists. Stu G
converted to the McPherson team first, and
his guitar’s warm tone enticed Smith to join
the corps.
While recording the World Service
project, Martin found that the excellent
playability of the McPherson, coupled with
its innately “big” tone were too much to
resist; so he ordered one for himself. The
guitar arrived in time for that year’s
“Creation” festival, where it wowed the
crowd and the technicians in the booth. As
Smith says, “Just stick a mic in front of it,
and it’s brilliant, requiring no tweaking or
His recording engineering background
caused Martin some concern over the
instrument’s ability to maintain its tone in
varying situations, but the McPherson soon
proved those fears unfounded. He notes, “I
just hand it over to the airlines and open up
at the gig. It holds up perfectly on every trip
and in any weather.”
The guitars’ designers can point to their
instrument’s unique bracing that supports
the structure without compromising its tone
and the cantilevered neck built to remain
apart from the face of the guitar while
maintaining immense rigidity.
The McPherson’s most obvious physical
distinction is the offset soundhole,
positioned near the upper edge of the waist.
More than just a cosmetic effect, the
adjustment of the port gives a larger flexible
surface area to the guitar, enhancing its
sound dramatically. As Martin says, “The
McPherson guitar has to be heard to be
believed. It has made my music richer, both
for me and my bandmates as well as
everyone who listens to our songs.”
mcpherson guitar
has to be heard to be
believed. it has made my
music richer...
-Martin smith of delirious
all pro sound
If you’ve seen any Christian publications,
you’ve likely seen its ads. All Pro Sound
products are dedicated to delivering the
best possible audio, video, and lighting
systems to churches and ministries of all
sizes and backgrounds. From simple box
mixers in portable classrooms to large
format digital consoles in mega-churches,
All Pro’s team of experts can recommend
the most appropriate solutions for the
tasks at hand.
Based in Pensacola, Fla., All Pro has a
fleet of service vehicles and attendant
crews ready to roll anywhere they are
needed. As industry veterans, the
management has the experience
necessary to separate the wheat from the
chaff in selecting the best products in
each category—from lighting instruments
to video screens. Quick to provide an
educated answer, the sales staff is backed
by an extensive service network and
bolstered by the company’s detailed
catalog that is available free of charge to
any ministry. All Pro’s “passion for
perfection” is evident in the tidy work its
crews deliver behind the racks and under
the booth as well as the timely and
efficient way invoices are handled and
issues are resolved. If they are brought into
a project at its inception, All Pro’s
designers can control expenses while
maximizing media results by working with
the architects to make the media systems
an integral part of the facility, not an
unattractive add-on.
Exacting drawings and the ability to
work around potential trouble spots
separates All Pro’s design team from a
local contractor. With technical expertise
and a willingness to go the extra mile for
its clients, All Pro is the natural choice for
any church project, large or small.
6:55 PM
Page 68
shure equipment
How do you keep an 80-year-old company
current in the rapidly fluctuating market?
One answer is to hire dedicated Christian
managers like Doug Gould and let them
do what they do best. Doug’s expertise
with microphones and personal monitors
has proven beneficial for dozens of
Christian artists, including MercyMe.
The Dallas/Nashville-based quintet
has seen its star rise with astonishing
speed, yet the band remains as
accessible and ministry-focused as when
the guys were a regional act trying to
make ends meet.
Assessing the impact of the band’s
signature song, “I Can Only Imagine,”
on the general public, keyboardist
Jim Bryson suggests, “Since
9/11, people, whether they
believe in God or not, have a
reason to question whether
or not there’s something out
there. Everyone has lost
someone that [he or she]
loves, and I think that’s
why ‘I Can Only Imagine’
has been so attractive
to folks. Even to this
day, we hear stories
of how that song led
people to believe
in God or helped
them through the loss of a loved one.”
Jim’s understanding of the band’s
influence transcends accolades such as
Dove Awards for “Group of the Year’”
“Artist of the Year” and “Song of the Year“
into a ministry designed to outlast
fleeting flame. The band relies on Shure
for microphones. For drums, the choice is
a premium Beta 91 on the kick, industry
standard Sm57s on the top and bottom
of the snare, small Beta 98s on the toms
and classic SM81s on the overheads.
Vocals are covered by SM87s and the
newer SM86s, while the guitar amps are
miked with inimitable SM57s. Personal
monitoring is accomplished with six
PSM700 series wireless systems routed
through Shure’s antenna combining
6:38 PM
Page 70
Audio Technica AE3300
You see it, but it escapes your notice.
Michael W. Smith is onstage. He and the
piano are obvious, but what about his
microphone? It’s an Audio Technica
AE3300 and in Michael’s words, “The
quality of what I do in the studio and live
is extremely important to me, and the AT microphones deliver. Through the
years, I’ve tried a lot of gear. To me,
nothing compares to Audio Technica. It’s
the best.”
Without his AE3300 and the band’s AT mics, the sound of his classic songs
would be poorer for the listening.
According to house engineer, Rob Burrell,
“The new AE2500 [dual element—both
condenser and dynamic] kick drum mic
is outstanding. 4051’s [small diaphragm
condensers] are a crucial part of my
workday. The only drawback is that I only
have two! 4047’s [large diaphragm
studio mics] fall into the same ‘never
enough of them’ category. And the
AE5400’s give me studio quality vocals in
a live setting.”
Audio Technica has always been about
more than sheer performance. Its value
expectations. In Burrell’s words, “In both
studio and live recordings, A-T mics
always deliver premium sound that rivals
microphones many times the price. They
deliver the kind of quality and reliability
that is a key part of my work everyday.”
nothing compares to
it’s the best.
-Michael w. smith ”
6:56 PM
Page 72
carvin instruments
Long before it became fashionable to “direct connect,” San Diegobased Carvin was directly supplying musicians across the country
with its handcrafted instru-ments and sound systems. Beginning in
1946, Carvin’s direct-to-consumer approach eliminated the
middleman and the accompanying markup for thousands of loyal
customers who have discovered the value and workmanship Carvin
brings to each product.
Whether the item is a large format-mixing console or an acoustic
guitar, the quality is stunning. As Pro Audio Review noted, “The
Carvin Concert 44 [mixing console] series is an absolute knockout
in its functionality and performance.” While guitar trends come and
go, Carvin’s commitment to tone and playability remains constant,
regardless of the body style.
The company’s Rapid Play Neck design incorporates twin
graphite reinforcement rods and a newly profiled neck contour that grants swift and accurate
fingerings along the entire length of the neck. Niche products, such as acoustic basses, are
a Carvin specialty. Both Traa Daniels from P.O.D. and Jars of Clay’s Aaron Sands use Carvin’s
AC Series basses—Traa on an AC50 and Aaron on an AC40. As a semi-hollow body acoustic,
the AC40 and AC50 lend an unplugged tone to songs that fits in perfectly with each band’s
signature “quiet moments” during a concert. Carvin’s fully operational Custom Shop can
wield any guitarist’s dream into reality. From unique finishes to elaborate pickup switching
systems, the Custom Shop has the expertise to make it happen and at factory direct prices that
are less than half the price of retail custom facilities.
faith based apparel
"Not just another put on" is more than a catchphrase at Faith
Based Apparel. This California clothing company has more to
offer than rebadged secular slogans. What sets it apart
are its innovative styles, non-shirt materials and
aggressive yet not “over the top” designs. Additionally, the
same-name Web site is fast and friendly, with a listing of the top
selling products and images. President Steve Houston also notes the
company’s ability to embroider for its customers, a rarity among suppliers.
Finally, FBA’s willingness to warehouse and ship the products at no charge to the client
defines the company as a unique entity in the world of Christian clothing. The clothing is
first quality with an emphasis on long-term wear to keep end users coming back for more.
“Subtle witnessing” is the term Steve uses to convey the company’s purpose, and he notes
a full 10 percent of all revenue is tithed to churches and the mission field. As he says,
“Just because we are Christians should not mean we have to settle for less than top quality
or blatant messages. We should expect a style that is cool
and gets attention that we are proud to wear.”
(615) 860-7475
6:39 PM
Page 74
ibanez Guitars
“When we stopped limiting God
and realized that anything is
possible, music flowed from our
hearts into song.” Tina Conroy,
from the band En Theos, plays a
regular gig at the Treehouse
Coffee Shop in Collingswood, New
Jersey. Her quote explains the
band’s recent flood of lyrics, all
brought to musical life through
her Ibanez acoustic guitar.
Ibanez, a purveyor of guitars to
the stars (Steve Vai, George
Benson) is also a guitar for the
songwriter in all of us, an
instrument to be played before a
home-group audience as much as
an arena audience. From the
dozen varieties of body styles to a
seemingly endless supply of
colors and finishes, Ibanez builds
an instrument for everyone. The
PF15CE, for example, is a class
leader, with its visually striking
seven ply binding, aurally pleasing
Fishman pickup and AEQ-SS
Shape Shifter EQ section, all
at a remarkably
price point.
c a mp a i g n
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aptly entitled, “Find
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players such as Tina, whose fame
may be regional, but her
flame burns for the world
at large.
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w w w. u l t i m a t e s u p p o r t . c o m
10:05 PM
Page 77
For the latest concert listings, check out’s searchable tour
database to find out when your favorite
artists will play in a city near you.
your guide to concerts
by Andy Argyrakis
Ever wonder what touring guidelines
govern your favorite artists? Here’s a
view from the “Third Day Live” tour
with opening
act Warren
counts!: “Every
night we usually
leave a venue by
2 a.m., give or
take and then
All photos by Andy Argyrakis
drive straight
through the
morning to the
next city.”
Early morning
endeavors: “Often
Clockwise from top left: Third Day’s Mac Powell, tobyMac, Third Day’s Tai Anderson, Warren Barfield
Featuring Third Day, tobyMac and Warren Barfield
Indeed, Third Day knows what it’s like to work hard on
the road, consistently refining itself, adapting with the
times and updating its agenda from the span of 1996’s
self-titled debut through this year’s Wire. Those career
landmarks, along with a little bit of everything in
between, made for a very comprehensive evening of
Third Day music, which was best when resorting to its
southern rock & roll resurgence.
Lead singer Mac Powell offered up a string of gritty
oldies, including the encompassing guitars of
“Consuming Fire,” the gravely soul of “Blackbird” and
the hand-clapping sunshine of “My Hope Is You.” New
cuts such as “Wire” and “Come On Back to Me” marked
the return to the group’s rollicking past (most notably
the Conspiracy No. 5 period), though “Till the Day I Die”
didn’t come across as clearly, given Powell’s stumbling
over several words. The normally fearless frontman
admitted his error, citing it “was a brand new addition in
the set list”—a forgivable error that was later balanced
out with the much more fluid jam “Sing a Song” and a
triple threat duet with a pair of enthusiastic audience
members during “Come Together.”
Still, it was material from the Offerings series and
other miscellaneous worship renditions that truly lit
everyone’s fire. Rich Mullins’ “Creed” took on an
alternative strut, City on a Hill’s “God of Wonders” was
fleshed out electrically, and “Love Song” featured tenor
accompaniment by opener Warren Barfield. Having
such a mixture of moods and catalog eras ensured no
one was left disappointed, and the show also
foreshadowed a healthy shelf life for the Paul Ebersoldproduced (3 Doors Down, Sister Hazel), Brendan
O’Brien-mixed (Soundgarden, Rage Against the
Machine) Wire.
Before the main attraction, tobyMac turned in a solo
set accompanied by DJ Maj, plus a plethora of
background singers and break-dancers. His momentum
continues to mount, thanks to a mixture of slammin’
hip-hop, razor-like rap rhymes and acrobatic athleticism.
Versions of originals such as “Extreme Days,” “Irene”
and “Love Is In the House” straddled between scratchheavy rap/rock, smooth grooves and R&B dreaminess.
And covers like Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching,” the
SugarHill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Chic’s “Good
Times” resurrected his old-school appreciation. Solo
acoustic guitarist Barfield may not have been
surrounded by as much action, but his clever pop songs
(especially “Pictures of the Past” and “Soak It Up”) were
charming and relatable.
times I’ll be met
sometime between 6
and 7a.m. by a runner,
who will take me to a
radio interview or two.”
Spiritual stability: “I admit it’s really
hard, especially when people are pulling on
Perhaps in light of recent “farewell” tours by
their Tooth & Nail labelmates Bleach,
Calibretto 13 is threatening to call it quits
with “The Last Laugh?” tour. According to
the guys: “This summer will be Calibretto's
last tour ever. Or maybe it won't. You see,
we can do that because we're the band.”
july 04 ccm 77
9:37 PM
Page 78
conversation with talk of business. It’s a balance we are continuing to
learn everyday.”
Joy doesn’t necessarily recommend planning a wedding while pursuing a
very active music career. She says it’s a real challenge to plan the “most
important day of my life” while being on tour, recording an album and
nailing down the details from Nashville when the wedding is in California.
You won’t find any of Joy’s music slipping into the wedding ceremony,
although she teases that Nate will be performing an accordion solo.
Instead, she divulges that a string quartet will play Vivaldi, and there will
be “a nod to a Shane & Shane song later in the ceremony.” (Wouldn’t you
think Nate would’ve requested Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”?)
“I’ve always admired Michael W. [Smith] for his continuously humble
spirit,” offers Joy. “I’ve always looked up to Amy [Grant] for her vulnerability
and honesty. Rich Mullins as well. His unconventional life and creativity
brought so many people closer to Christ, and I can’t say enough how much
I admire that.”
“When I’m in town, I like to get away at my friends’, Ellie and Rachael’s
apartment in Franklin,” she offers.
Joy keeps up with the latest developments on “American Idol,” although
she admits, “I know I’m a sucker.” Her take on the show: “It’s like high
school choir tryouts on steroids.”
Joy gives her parents full-credit for her dazzling smile. “I’m grateful they
invested in years of orthodontics for me because if I’d kept the buck teeth
I’d had earlier on, life would’ve been… well, unfortunate. Just imagine
being able to stick two quarters between your two front teeth, and you’d
have a pretty accurate picture of me in 5th grade. Hooray for spacers, a
headgear and braces! They, and my parents, paid off!”
By the time you read this, Reunion Records artist Joy Williams will have
become Mrs. Nate Yetton. Following both her mother’s and
grandmother’s lead, she chose to tie the knot on June 12. Knowing that
brides-to-be and touring artists have very little to do (yeah, right), we
subjected her to a shower of questions. And as expected, she tossed us
a bouquet of intriguing answers.
Joy describes her relationship with Nate as “marrying my best friend.” But
what do friends do? “We just love being together. Whether it’s working out
together, sitting next to each other at church, hanging with friends or going
to a movie, Nate’s the kind of guy who is simply easy and comfortable to be
Among their favorite activities: “We like to take walks around the
neighborhood, stroll to Starbucks in Franklin, Tenn., and read to each other
in the park. We also love babysitting together.”
No, not the gems—they love baseball. “Go Red Sox and Giants!” she cheers,
then adds a footnote: “Luckily, the NL [National League] and the AL
[American League] save us from a conflict of interest… unless they meet in
the World Series. Then it’s war!”
Since Nate is the director of promotions for Inpop Records (co-owned by
Newsboys’ Peter Furler), that makes for a lot of music business under one
roof. Is that a plus or a minus? “One of the great things about being in a
similar vocation is that we’re able to understand each other’s challenges but
from different perspectives. Since Nate is often on the phones with radio
stations, he’s normally ready to leave the business lingo behind once the
office doors shut. But we make sure we neither avoid nor saturate our
78 ccm july 04
Unlike many of her female peers in pop music, Joy doesn’t consider
headline-grabbing controversy attractive. “From a marketing standpoint, I
think it’s just a desire for shock value. From a heart standpoint, I think it’s
a forgotten understanding of how precious they truly are and Who they
truly belong to.”
“Like it or not, being in the public eye undoubtedly ensures that people will
be watching you,” she observes. “I think it’s a responsibility that should
humble and incite those being watched to choose carefully and wisely how
they live their lives, understanding also that perfection is impossible. And
those who are watching need to remember that no person should be the
ultimate role model. We have Christ for that.”
In the mail she receives and during conversations after concerts, Joy has
noticed “a lot of perfection issues, which have led to eating disorders, self
mutilation and suicidal tendencies because of this unreachable goal that
we see everywhere in media and try in vain to translate into our lives.
There has been a loss of innocence at earlier and earlier ages as well, it
seems. Heightened sexuality around us has led more girls to become
desensitized to the biblical concept of sexual abstinence (of all kinds!),
when He created these standards to protect us.”
The big question: When? “I’m in process. I’ve been writing for some time
and have hopes of the album coming out by late fall or early next year.”
That’s how she describes her writing process. “There are days when the
creativity flows and other days when I feel dry. I love to write on my laptop
in the afternoon. I have a tendency to start a song on my own and then go
to other writer friends to finish it. I enjoy collaboration.”
“The next album will have a bit more rock to it, which is fun for me in
hoping it will appeal to a broader audience. The sound has grown like my
life has and will highlight the life lessons I’m continually being taught by
Christ every day.”
10:02 PM
Page 80
Everything That’s On My Mind
4. Sleep outside under the stars with friends/family. Watch for a shooting
star. Stay up really late talking. Play “remember that time” and “someday I’m
going to.” When you wake in the morning, cook yourself some bacon and
eggs in an old black skillet.
5. Go fishing. You can do the more serious fly-fishing track or just use bait
from the bowels of the earth—worms that is. Either way, walk along some
water, sit a while, listen to the wildlife. Listen to your thoughts and to God—
pray, fish.
6. Discover some new music and make it the soundtrack for your summer.
My summer music is Late Tuesday, The Decemberists, The Shins, Erin
McKeown, Rosie Thomas, Al Green and The Staple Singers. I feel some
middle-aged dancing coming on. (Children, turn your heads.)
7. Play baseball. Go hiking. Surf. Get outside. Leave the air-conditioned
enclave for the Earth where people played and worked for centuries. It’s a
fascinating place!
8. Go to a county or state fair. Watch a beauty pageant. Get a smile on your
face. Visit the livestock. Smell a pig. Eat a corn dog and some cotton candy.
Ride The Scrambler or the Tilt-A-Whirl. Win a goldfish. Get out alive!
9. Sit outside on a warm summer night and talk with your family and friends.
Tell stories and have stories told to you. Don’t be in a hurry—just be.
10. Read a life-changing book—a book that stirs you to be more human,
not less. This might be a “Hardy Boys” novel or The Challenge of Jesus by N.T.
Wright. You choose. Either way, read something that will inspire you to be one
kind of person on the planet and not another.
I hope you are having a great summer. I mean it. Go ahead! Have yourself an
unusually great summer. It doesn’t have to be one like the good old days. It can
be a summer from the future—one filled with new good, not just old. Still, it’s
difficult not to long for the dramatic shift from spring to summer, for the
anticipation of what three simple months might mean in your life. I do miss
that kind of excitement, but I’ve got a plan. It’s not too late to get in on it.
Personally, I think it does involve going back a bit to recapture some good
stories and bring them forward again. This shouldn’t be a problem for people
who profess to follow Jesus. Bringing stories forward into the present and
future is what we do. Right? So let’s do it. When I closed my eyes and revisited
the past, this is what I remember; this is what I think makes up a great summer:
a word on worship
Illustration by Jimmy A.
The Great
Summer of Love
While you’re having a great summer, remember the story that the prophet
Jeremiah told: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
(Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). Hang tight with this. And don’t forget: “Whatever you
do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). You’re free to have
a great summer. Do it.
1. Get wet often. Swim; let the H2O get on you by getting right in it. Splash,
jump, make funny sounds and squirt water at your swimming partners using
the clasped hand, suction technique. Do a cannonball and belly-flop. If you
don’t know what those are, no worries—make your own thing up. Jump in the
water in some crazy fashion and give it a name. Be astonished at the simplicity
of water and yet the pure joy of splashing around in it.
2. Ride a bike. Chill at an easy tempo. Then ride with the wind. Stand up and
pedal like you’re racing your best friend. Pop a wheelie if possible. Wake your
body up and say hello. At first it’ll be cranky; later it will love you with gratitude.
3. Speaking of love: Fall in love, be in love, stay in love. Oh, there’s really
nothing like summer love. Get an ache in your heart that can’t be satisfied
unless you are with the person you fancy. Are you married, yet the thrill is
gone? No worries. Make this the summer of love—get busy dreaming for each
other. Imagine each other dressed up with the rightness of God. Be sweet,
tender, forgiving. Pray for help.
80 ccm july 04
The Art House is involved in awakening the church to issues of justice and mercy.
Micah 6:8 says, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love
mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” As followers of Jesus, we are to seek out
justice and present mercy to people everywhere and in everything.
An example of this love in action is the work of International Justice Mission. IJM
is a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation,
slavery and oppression across the world. From freeing child sex slaves in Cambodia
to bonded slaves in Southern India, IJM is committed to intervention, relief and the
continual care of God’s creativity—people! For more information, please visit
Perhaps a really great summer is coming to understand just a little bit more of
God’s purpose for you in His kingdom. As always, seek justice.
For more information about our ministry write to: P.O. Box 218307, Nashville, TN 37221 or
e-mail: [email protected]
Charlie Peacock is an artist, producer, author and teacher. Both his album, Full Circle: A Celebration of Songs
and Friends (Sparrow), and his book, New Way to be Human (Waterbrook), released in March.
6:16 PM
Page 81
Manufacturing offers top-quality CD
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Subscription/Customer Service Information: Write CCM, P.O. Box 706, Mt.
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$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.
CCM [ISSN 1524–7848] is published monthly by Salem Publishing.
Copyright: CCM © 2004 by Salem Publishing, 104 Woodmont Blvd.,
Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205. Contents may not be reproduced in any
manner, either whole or in part, without prior written permission of the
publisher. Editorial: The editor cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited
manuscripts and will return only those accompanied by a stamped,
self–addressed envelope. Writers’ guidelines available upon request.
Advertising: Neither the advertisers nor the contents of advertisements
appearing in this publication are necessarily endorsed by Salem Publishing.
We cannot accept liability for any products, services, etc., offered in
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advertisers. Periodicals postage paid at Nashville, TN and additional offices.
Postmaster: Send address changes to 104 Woodmont Blvd., Suite 300,
Nashville, TN 37205. Printed in the U.S.A.
To place a classified ad, send a check (payable to CCM
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with your ad copy by the 15th of the month—two months in advance of
the issue in which you want the ad. (For example, by June 15 for the
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Cost: $3.00 a word with a minimum of $50 per month.
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Please contact [email protected] for further
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Page 82
September 1980
October 1982
January 1989
March 1993
Not shown: July 1995
has, unfortunately, had to fight a reputation
over the years of often being derivative of
and inferior to its mainstream counterparts.
Perhaps no one single handedly stands as a brighter
rebuttal to that stereotype than Phil Keaggy. An
accomplished writer, an acclaimed vocalist and a
renowned guitarist the world over, Keaggy, 53, has
released nearly 40 albums over the past three-plus
decades. He is a highly sought-after session player as
well, having appeared on hundreds of albums for
everyone from Amy Grant and Andraé Crouch to
Clannad’s Maire “Moya” Brennan and P.O.D.
Born the ninth of 10 children in Youngstown, Ohio,
Keaggy began playing guitar at age 10, despite losing
his right middle finger in an accident when he was 4.
After playing in several local bands in high school,
Keaggy formed a progressive rock trio called Glass
Harp. He lived the fast life for a time, but a sobering
incident soon brought that part of his life to an end. On
Feb. 14, 1970, while he was recovering in a hotel from
an LSD trip, his parents were in an auto accident that,
days later, resulted in his mother’s death. The crisis
dramatically changed Keaggy; and, soon after, he
became a Christian. He stayed in Glass Harp for a time,
releasing three well-received albums and even playing
at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall before sensing a
tension between his newfound Christian faith and his
band’s rock & roll lifestyle. He left the group in 1972 to
embark on a solo career that he felt would better allow
him to express his faith.
Keaggy’s truly remarkable body of work has been
split fairly evenly between instrumental and vocal
82 ccm july 04
releases and between groundbreaking acoustic and
electric guitar work. He excels at all of these, which
leaves the door wide open for him to pursue whatever
creative fancy strikes him. His distinctive tenor voice is
reminiscent of Paul McCartney, and his often Beatlesesque melodies draw nearly unanimous praise from fans
and critics alike. At times wildly prolific, Keaggy
typically has several albums in the pipeline at any given
time. Phil, his wife of 31 years, Bernadette, and their
children Alicia, Olivia and Ian moved from California to
Nashville 15 years ago. A longtime vocal supporter of
Compassion International, he and his family have
sponsored multiple children around the world over the
years. Still in high demand as a live performer (He has
shows booked through the end of 2005.), Keaggy
continues to do primarily solo acoustic concerts,
although in the past few years he has occasionally
reunited with Glass Harp.
Keaggy recently signed with powerhouse
management company Blanton, Harrell, Cooke &
Corzine (home to Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith)
and is now “in the infancy stages” of working on a new
vocal album, which he plans to release later this year on
a “label that is yet to be determined.” Says Keaggy,
“Thank you very much, CCM, for this honor. I am
grateful to have been able to contribute to this world
that which God has blessed and enabled me with—my
instruments of guitar and voice. I have given my best
and hope I have brought some joy to those who have
listened to my work. Thanks for all your support.”
For more information, visit
Love Broke Thru* (New Song, 1976)
The Master and the Musician** (New
Song, 1979)
Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child (Myrrh,
Beyond Nature (Myrrh, 1991)
Crimson and Blue* (Myrrh, 1993)
Time: 1970-1995 (Myrrh, 1994)
Time 2: 1970-1995 (Myrrh, 1995)
*Included in CCM Presents The 100 Greatest Albums in
Christian Music (2001)
**Included in CCM’s Top 100 Albums, Critics’ Picks (1998)
“Ain’t Got No”
“County Down”
“Full Circle”
“Play Thru Me”
“I Always Do”
“Love Divine”
“Your Love
Broke Through”
“Everything Is
• Voted “#1 Favorite Guitar Player”
five consecutive years in CCM
Readers’ Awards
• Guitar Player called him
“impeccable” and its readers voted
him one of the “greatest fingerstyle
guitarists” three years in a row
• Musician Magazine named him to
the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the
20th Century”
• Seven Dove Awards
• Two Grammy nominations
• Endorsement deals with 13 guitar
and gear manufacturers
For a complete list of past Hall of Fame inductees, visit

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