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  • Third Day "Miracle" Tour Review

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Todd Headen


    It is fascinating having multi-generations involved on-stage. Not only is there a variety of song styles, but there is a sense of community that can happen on-stage and in the audience that typically does not happen in a single genre setting. This very aspect was called out by Mac Powell during the concert when he stated a fact: Third Day is in their 20th year of making music and Colton Dixon is 21-years-old – just one year difference in them beginning a career and him beginning life. Throw in the guitar and lyrics of Josh Wilson to open (and close) the evening and the outcome is a fun-filled evening of community and worship.

    The family is the beginning of community, and I saw it sitting right in front of me. The teenage son was obviously a Colton Dixon fan – the Messenger t-shirt he wore was a clue, but his actions were the exclamation point. Encouraged by his mother, he ran to the stage to take pictures while Colton energized the room – and mom moved to the music (she obviously listened to what her son listened to – you cannot fake lip-syncing). And he returned the favor for mom, going to the stage multiple times while Third Day filled the air, taking pictures of one of her generation’s enduring music groups. She is obviously a fan, singing not just to the new songs but to the classics as well – raising her hand and enjoying a few moments of worship. And then it happened, the moment that showed what true community was occurring. As Mac Powell hit the chorus “Well, no matter who you are, and no matter what you’ve done…”, mom began to cry and the son put his arm around her and held on. It was obvious that somewhere in their story, God had brought a miracle in their time of need, and they were a stronger community by it.

    Did I get involved in community? Well, I had gotten tickets for my small group and we filled most of our row. I learned just how much they liked Third Day (some of those middle-agers can scream!); I enjoyed finding out how much one guy loved Colton Dixon; and it was fun seeing them pour over the lyrics of Josh Wilson, debating whether to get one or both of the CD’s available. And we were all still there for the post-concert/songfest with Josh out by the flag pole. A community event we will be remembering for a long time to come.

    Highlights from this evening of communal joy and worship:
    • Getting to shake hands and picture-take with Mac, Tai, David, and Mark before the concert; and realizing it had been a decade+ since I had last seen them live. I guess I am truly a part of that generation.
    • Seeing and hearing Josh Wilson live in concert. I had discovered his music a few years ago and had been hooked with his twist of phrase and remarkable guitar licks. For the Josh Wilson fans who go back farther than “Pushing Back The Dark” and “Carry Me”, his rendition of “Amazing Grace” was even better in person than on the album; and I am still kicking myself for not getting “Dear Money” out fast enough when he called for requests at the flagpole.
    • Beyond just hearing and seeing Colton Dixon (in the words of some of the small group: “Billy Idol!”), it was great to see him and sister Schyler perform “You Are.” They both have amazing voices.
    • Third Day started and hit me like a bomb. Yes, I tweeted that!
    • It was definitely a great playlist by Third Day, covering the multiple years and albums from “I’ve Always Loved You” to “Kicking and Screaming”. My wife was a little upset until they finally came out for the encore and did her favorite on the Miracle album: “Your Love Is Like A River.”


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Third Day, Tour, Josh Wilson, Colton Dixon

  • Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by John van der Veen


    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper

    John Cooper

    (lead singer) to talk through what was behind Rise. As you will see, while reading this, John is a passionate man. He is passionate about his music. His wife. His family. About Christ.

    John: I’m wondering if you could share a little bit with us about the new record, Rise. What’s the story behind this?

    John C.: It’s a story about a typical, American teenage kid coming into adulthood and being faced with how brutal the world is. There are shocking things in the outside world, like school shootings, war and all the things you see on the news everyday.

    This album is about how those things affect the life of a teenager. And it’s not just about the big problems from outside, but also about problems from within. That is, living in a single family house with an abusive dad, fighting at home, school bullying, just not being happy with who you are as a person and about trying to find faith. The whole record is about finding faith in a dark world. Rising up out of your circumstances. It all leads to a climax of the character realizing he is never going to be good enough. He is never going to do enough, and is born to let himself down. Even if the outside world doesn’t let him down. Even if his friends don’t let him down. He is going to let himself down because he needs to be redeemed. He reaches out to God and basically just says, “I need to be saved. I need something bigger than myself. I want a change and I want to be new.” That is the climax of the album during the song “Salvation,” in which he cried out for Salvation. All of the sudden, he is safe and able to rise up out of his circumstance.

    John: John, throughout your discography, you guys have always had one or two songs that have dealt with that person who is being pressured by the elements of this world, by the things of this world. You’ve really kind of encouraged people to rise above it and move past that. This certainly has been part of your call as an artist and as a songwriter through the years. Is this a personal story in a sense, John C.? Do you know this person?

    John C.: Right, well there certainly are aspects of me in this person. It’s not a mural. It’s not every little thing that happens. But, yes, absolutely. In fact, I dare say, there are elements of all of us in this person. I think that’s why this record is coming off well.

    So far, people are experiencing it personally. I think it’s because most of us can relate to that feeling of worthlessness, or maybe we let ourselves down and we just realize that it’s amazing that someone else would love us, especially God. A holy God, for that matter! That He would like us is real shocking. There are personal things in my life, of course, that contributed to this, certainly.

    My mom died when I was young. I was 14. My dad and I didn’t get along for a long time. There were times growing up that I felt afraid and wondered if God was there. When I cried out to Him to help me through those hard times. My story is embedded within this record, definitely.

    Good to be Alive
    Written by John L. Cooper, Zach Malloy, Tom Douglas

    Verse 1
    When all you've got are broken dreams
    Just need a second chance
    And everything you want to be
    Gets taken from your hands

    We hold on to each other
    All we have is all we need
    Cause one way or another
    We always make it, you and me

    This life can almost kill you
    When you're trying to survive
    It's good to be here with you

    CHORUS
    It's good to be alive
    It’s good to be alive
    I was lost and I was gone
    I was almost dead inside
    You and me against the world
    It’s a beautiful night
    It’s good to be alive

    Verse 2
    Driving down this highway
    Soaking up the sun
    Got miles to go before we get home
    And the journey's just begun

    We hold on to each other
    You are everything I need
    You feel like forever
    You're a second chance for me

    Bridge
    It's a beautiful night
    Yeah, it's alright
    It's good to be alive

    John: Your last three records have allowed you guys to walk into various ideologies or arenas of thought where you've been able to speak a very significant message. What has that been like? How has that experience been for maybe you, your wife and for you guys as a band over the last couple of years?

    John C.: It has been thrilling, because evangelism has always been kind of what my life is about. Ever since I became a Christian when I was five, it was a natural gifting and leaning towards sharing my faith with people. That longing and zeal has never changed for me. The only thing I think that has changed is the way I do it and the way that we go about it.

    To answer that question, yeah, I think Skillet has begun to write songs, as you said, songs we could all relate to, not just Christian people. I kind of look at it like the way that Jesus told his parables. That is—and I’m just going to be honest here, but I hope nobody takes it bad—I’ve been a Christian since I was five, and still when I read Jesus’ words I still sometimes go, “Man, I just wonder why he wasn’t more clear about what he was talking about.” It’s a little elliptical you know? You have to dig in and watch it rise and see what he was pointing at. The only answer I have come up with is that the Bible said if you seek God, you will find Him. I started thinking, you know what? That’s how I’m going to write my songs. I’m going to leave them open to interpretation of things that we can all relate to, and then when people go to the website or they come to the show and they hear me doing an interview, they will begin to hear what the songs are about. I hope to point them toward Jesus in that way. The songs are kind of grouped by a message that people can relate to. That is kind of how Skillet has written our songs.

    To answer your other question, it has been thrilling because I love evangelism. They tell of people that have gotten saved from music. Could be the unreachable type, the unreachables of the world and that is where I feel I have a lot to share.

    When our last record came out, there was a guy who basically sent me an email saying he heard our song on NFL. “Hero” was playing and he liked it. He said he went to their website and found out who the band was, and bought the song. He said he loved the song and came to a show. One thing led to another, and basically this guy and his wife were both in the pornography industry. They both were filmmakers. The guy got saved and ended up leading his wife to it too. So they were saved now and got out of that industry and have gotten into church. And it was all from hearing our song on NFL. Stories like that are amazing! It’s something only God can do. And we are so honored He is using our music to do it.

    What I Believe
    Written by John L. Cooper and Korey Cooper

    Verse 1
    The world around me
    Is lost in misery
    The only good I've got in my life is you
    No meaning, no other reason
    When everything feels wrong I feel right with you
    So madly, desperate, deeply, obsessed your love is better than life to me
    Can I have this moment forever?
    Take me to the beginning

    CHORUS
    You are what I believe
    I'll live and die for you
    This is all that I need
    When nothing is real you are my truth
    In the darkness you shine
    Can you keep me safe tonight?
    When I’m down on my knees
    You are what I believe

    Verse 2
    When we started, wholehearted
    I never needed anything or anyone else
    I was broken, you made me whole again
    The only one I trusted more than myself

    So madly, desperate, deeply, I will live for you completely
    Can I have this moment forever?
    Take me to the beginning

    Bridge:
    Believe in your love
    Believe in your life
    Believe that you can put me back together on the inside
    Chase all the fear away
    Every time I speak your name

    Take me
    You are what I believe

    CHORUS
    You are what I believe
    I'll live and die for you
    This is all that I need
    When nothing is real you are my truth
    In the darkness you shine
    Can you keep me safe tonight?
    When I'm down on my knees
    You are what I believe

    John: That is absolutely amazing, John. And I appreciate you sharing that.

    Let’s shift gears now and talk a little bit about the new record. How does a concept record get played live? What is the live show going to look like for Rise?

    John C.: Well, at the moment, we are just going to keep showing our shows as we do them. The really cool thing about this record is that I think the songs live on their own outside of the concept period. It’s really cool because with concept records, sometimes individual songs aren’t as strong on their own outside of the full story. We wrote these songs not intending to make it a concept album. The songs themselves do live on their own, and yet the story seems quite clear per song.

    That’s why I think this record is kind of unique. It’s a concept record full of songs that stand alone with impact, we hope. At the moment, we are going to keep playing the songs as-is, but in the back of our minds, we hope this album garners enough excitement, respect and sales that we could go out and do a tour. The whole show is basically like theater, not a theater performance, but more like cinema rock. Like a movie all the way through. That would be really great. You can’t really plan on that kind of success. You have to hope for it and wait and see what happens.

    John: It’s all about cinema rock, isn’t it? Is there still going to be fire?

    John C.: I sure hope so. I love that. Again, going back to Skillet, in the past a lot of people have told me, “When I’m listening to your music or I see the show, it kind of feels like I’m watching a movie.” People have said that quite a lot. I like the theater aspects and the fire. We were adding some stuff this summer that we’ve never done before. I won’t give it away right now, but we’re beginning to add other effects to our show that I think are bringing even more to that sort of theater/movie experience. We’re going to keep adding surprise elements. I hope that fire is always one of them for the rest of my life.

    John: I do too, man. I keep voting for fire.

    John C.: I agree. It was my birthday [a while ago] and I got these new shoes that I’m really excited about. I put them on and I said to my son, “So, what do you think? Do you like my new shoes?” He said, “Yeah, but I think they would be cooler if there was a skeleton on the side and his skull was on fire.”

    John: I love it.

    John C., with that in mind, either in a live setting or even on your records, we will hear hints of 80s glam rock.

    John C.: Right.

    John: I know you were born in the mid 70s. Are you in love with 80s glam rock as much as I am?

    John C.: Absolutely. You definitely can hear it. In fact, it’s funny because some people ask in interviews, “Who is your biggest influence?” This is awful to say, but I think that in Skillet’s music you hear decades of influence. You definitely have that 80s glam thing. You see it in the show with the fire and the guitar solos. Everything is a little bit over the top.

    Also, I am a really big fan of 70s rock, like the stuff Journey, Kansas, Yes and Fleetwood Mac put out. You can really hear that in the music, too. Even some Meatloaf. It’s got this kind of Queen opera rock thing to it that feels a little dramatic. I think with the strings, it feels a little romantic as well. You can definitely hear all of those. But my voice, I don’t sing like an 80s guy. I sing more like a 90s guy. That is, when I started really singing in rock bands, it was 1992–93, and you had Nirvana, Pearl Jam and all those kinds of bands on the scene. So we definitely have a variety of decades of influence and skill with our music and sound.

    John: Cinema rock.

    John C.: Yeah.

    John: So you are a husband, a father, a songwriter, singer and follower of Jesus. Help the ordinary man—whether in high school, college or married—who has followed your career for the last few years. As someone who is reading this blog who struggles to follow Christ on a daily basis, how do you work that up? How do you follow Jesus on a daily basis and how could you encourage others in their walk?

    John C.: That is a great question. The problem is there is not a great answer, like click your heels together twice and take this pill. I wish there were because it would be easier. I think especially what I’m seeing with young people, young people’s attention spans are just so short these days because of the amount of information available. It is constant bombardment with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. There is so much stuff happening that I think we get drawn into fads. We go, “Man, I’m all about this new TV show, or twit picks. Or the new iPhone.” It’s constant bombardment. Within all of those things, there may be a time for a lot of Christians that they are all about Jesus but then they move onto something else because it’s just constantly moving.

    I tell people, “You have to make a decision in your life now, what your entire life is going to be about.” It’s kind of like when I chose to marry my wife. I made a decision and I knew for the rest of my life until I died or she dies, we are going to be married and that is just the way it is. Nothing is going to change that. I have a kid. Nothing is going to change it. You are going to be a father. Nothing in the world can stop that anymore. Even more importantly, that is what it means to follow Jesus. I am making the decision today that my whole life is going to be about Him, and I will do what He says and I just won’t falter from that. I think a lot of it just comes down to making a decision and sticking to it rather than jumping on and off fads.

    For me, I made that decision years ago and I surrounded myself with other people who made that decision. My pastor, my friends, and my wife. We all have made that decision together and then when things are hard and the new fad comes in, and I go, “Man, maybe I want to give working out more time than I give Jesus,” I have my wife and pastor and friends chime in, and we all pursue Him together.

    I think a lot of Christians don’t make that decision. I always tell people it’s not going to be easier to live for Jesus but you have to make the decision and it can be done. It becomes easier to live for Jesus once you have just made that commitment because that is what your life is about. Instead of finding things that seem more fun, find the most fulfilling thing and that is living for God. Knowing His love, speaking to Him every day and talking to Him. It’s absolutely more fulfilling to your soul than all of these other “fun things.” Anyway, that is what I do. Of course, I read my Bible and I pray, but a lot of it comes down to what our lives are going to be about, and it is Him.

    MY RELIGION

    Music and words: John L. Cooper and Korey Cooper

    Verse 1
    Who's gonna save my soul
    Nothing and nobody but you
    Who's gonna make me whole
    Nothing and nobody but you

    Can't change me, sway me
    Don't know what to make of me
    You've got my devotion fanatical though it may be
    I love you mind, heart, body and soul
    You're the only sanctuary that i know

    CHORUS
    I don't need to stare at stained glass and a steeple
    I don't need to dress to impress all of the people
    Don't need no priest
    Don't need no pew
    You are my religion my religion is you

    I don't need no other purpose
    You give me a reason
    Ain’t their business what I wanna believe in
    You are my priest
    You are my truth
    You are my religion, my religion is you

    Verse 2
    Who's gonna heal my pain
    Nothing makes me feel like you do
    Who can drive my demons away
    Nothing makes me heal like you do
    I love you mind, heart, body and soul
    You're the only sanctuary that I know

    CHORUS
    I don't need to stare at stained glass and a steeple
    I don't need to dress to impress all of the people
    Don't need no priest
    Don't need no pew
    You are my religion my religion is you

    I don't need no other purpose
    You give me a reason
    It ain’t their business what I wanna believe in
    You are my priest
    You are my truth
    You are my religion, my religion is you

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me

    Bridge
    Mind, heart, soul and strength
    Belong to you, belong to me
    Got my devotion I will follow where you lead
    I won't be told what to feel and how to show
    My love can't be stopped
    Love you any way I want

    John: I love it John, and I really appreciate your honestly there. That is really good to hear. One last question before we leave?

    John C.: Hit me.

    John: Red Bull, Mountain Dew or coffee.

    John C.: Oh gosh, you know what? I’m not in love with any of them to tell you the truth. These days I drink coffee, not a lot, but I do drink coffee. I haven’t been drinking sugar or caffeinated drinks. I got off that. I am over six months Dr. Pepper-free. Dr. Pepper was my drug of choice.

    John: That’s right, I forgot about that. I’m sorry I should not have offended you by saying Mountain Dew. I should have said Dr. Pepper, Red Bull or coffee.

    John C.: It would be Dr. Pepper but I am recovering.

    John: You are recovering.

    John C.: That is one of those things that I could never touch it again because I’m like a Dr. Pepper-a-holic. I haven’t told anybody that in interviews. You are the first person to hear me say that I’m six months Dr. Pepper-free.

    John: Can I ask why you gave it up?

    John C.: It was just bad for me. Diabetes runs in my family. I’m like, you know what? I love this drink too much and it’s not good for me so I quit it. I think even more important than that, is they refused to promote Skillet and put anything behind it. So they haven’t put me in a Dr. Pepper commercial. If they did, then I wouldn’t mind drinking it (laughs). I would give them my Dr. Pepper anonymous card, and I would take it up again if they would put me in a commercial.

    John: There you go. All right, Dr. Pepper, it’s on the line. It’s all up to them now.

    John C.: Yes.

    John: John, thank you, Man. You’ve made me laugh. You encouraged me in my walk with Christ today. I appreciate you. I appreciate your band and your ministry and your art. I’m excited about this new record.

    John C.: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. It was good to talk to you.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Forgiveness, Marriage, Skillet, NFL

  • Matt Redman’s Receives ASCAP’s Award

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Family Christian


    The reasons to celebrate continue to add up for sixstepsrecords’ acclaimed worship leader Matt Redman. This year alone, Redman’s powerful single “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” has been certified Digital Gold by the RIAA, earned two GRAMMY® awards and is nominated for K-LOVE Fan Awards’ “Song of The Year.” The song is also up for “Top Christian Song” at the Billboard Music Awards, one of two nods for Redman for the award show. Adding to the worship anthem’s impressive honors came earlier this week when it was named ASCAP’s Christian Music Song of the Year at Monday night’s ASCAP Christian Awards at the Franklin Theatre.

    "I love watching the journey a song can go on," says Redman. "We wrote '10,000 Reasons' in a tiny little chapel in the English village I live in, and it's been a big blessing to see if fly around so many churches and radio - and then to receive an encouragement like this. Huge thanks to ASCAP for the award."

    Momentum continues for Redman as he is set to record a brand new worship album at Passion City Church’s ‘LIFT: A Worship Leader Collective’ in Atlanta, GA from May 31 – June. 1. Hosted by Louie Giglio and GRAMMY® winner Chris Tomlin, the event will bring together worship leaders from across the country. Redman's forthcoming project will be a live recording from the event, following suit with 10,000 Reasons, which was recorded at the LIFT gathering in 2011. The new album will release on Sept. 24.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Louie Giglio

  • SHINE BRIGHT BABY Debuts Dreamers

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Family Christian


    BEC Recordings is set to release the first recording from the band Shine Bright Baby. The national debut disc from the worshipful electronic rockers, titled Dreamers, is set to release July 23.

    The foursome comprising Shine Bright Baby - Emily Irene on vocals, guitarist Nathan Fertig, Joshua Fink on keys, guitars and vocals, and Karl Wendel on drums - each hail from Orrville, Ohio. Their unique band name comes from Philippians 2, which, shares Joshua, “Talks about shining brightly for the Lord, but we wanted to take what that verse said and apply it to the band’s mission and what we stood for. Emily wanted it to be more fun and playful, so she tacked ‘Baby’ on the end and it just stuck.”

    None of the members of Shine Bright Baby had the lifelong mission to be part of a band, yet when local reception grew so strong that major festivals and record labels were showing interest, they had no choice but to notice God’s plan for the band. “We all come from church backgrounds, all leading worship at church at various points of life,” says Karl. “Anytime we’re on that stage, our goal is to glorify God and worship through our instruments and voices, and hopefully in turn, help others be able to draw closer to God.”

    Emily and Nathan, who founded the band in 2007, started performing in the local scene in both mainstream club settings and amongst Christian circles, performing their inventive mixture of pop, rock, electronic and modern worship. During the time, most of the bands in town steered towards metal and Shine Bright Baby stood out from the pack, then adding Joshua and Karl to their lineup.

    Shine Bright Baby soon found themselves headlining shows as well as opening for acts like The Classic Crime, Ivoryline and Manic Drive, then quickly graduating to playing the major festivals with very little promotion. Soon after, they signed with BEC Recordings.

    “After we signed with BEC Recordings, we went into a really serious songwriting mode, coming up with 70 or 80 songs,” Emily shares. “We needed to find what we wanted and what felt right, and throughout that process, we experienced a lot of growth.” To create Dreamers, they worked with producer and songwriting collaborator Matt Arcaini, creative partners Mike “X” O’Conner and Tofer Brown, plus executive producer Pete Kipley.

    One of the band’s personal favorites from Dreamers is “Made To Glow,” a song about letting God’s love shine in everyone’s daily actions, while the piano/acoustic ballad “Love Restores” was written in the wake of a highly publicized school shooting near the band’s hometown. The group also shows its more aggressive side on “The Brave Ones,” a guitar-charged anthem centered on living a bold life of faith with a little help from Disciple front man Kevin Young.

    The first radio single from Dreamers is the redemptive tune “Beautiful Love.” After just three weeks since hitting the radio airwaves, the song is currently at No. 21 on Hot AC/CHR.

    Shine Bright Baby is on an extensive tour in support of Dreamers. They just wrapped an Acquire The Fire Tour and will soon embark on the Air1’s Club Awesome Tour, as well as numerous festival dates throughout the summer and fall.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Shine Bright Baby, The Classic Crime, Ivoryline, Manic Drive, Disciple

  • Matthew West Takes Home ASCAP’s Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year Award

    Posted on May 10, 2013 by Family Christian

     

    Matthew West wins the Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year award at the 35th annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards at the Franklin Theatre. Photo Credit: Ed Rode

    “Hello, My Name Is” continues to impact and inspire radio at No. 2 on the charts

    Announces headlining tour "The Into The Light Tour" for this fall

    Matthew West, a four-time GRAMMY® nominee heralded by the New York Times as a “vivid and compelling songwriter,” celebrates the distinguished honor of being named ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year at this past Monday night’s ASCAP Christian Music Awards. As a veteran recipient of ASCAP’s Christian Music Song of the Year, West’s career highlights boast four No. 1 hits along with songwriter credits including cuts by Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio and more.

    The award comes off the heels of West’s nomination in the first ever K-LOVE Fan Awards. West is up for “Male Artist of the Year” and is scheduled to perform at the event on June 1.

    Adding to his recent award successes, West’s second single “Hello, My Name Is,” off his powerful project Into the Light, continues to gain momentum on charts claiming the No. 2 spot on the National Audience Chart, No. 5 at Christian AC Monitored and No. 3 at AC Indicator this week. The singled garnered over 8.5 million audience impressions this week. After a successful run pre-headlining Winter Jam, the No. 1 tour in the country, the acclaimed artist will hit the road this fall on a headlining tour with guests Sidewalk Prophets and Jason Castro as part of “The Into The Light Tour.” Cities and dates will be announced soon at www.MatthewWest.com.

    From L to R: Paul Williams (ASCAP President and Chairman), LeAnn Phelan (ASCAP), Matthew West, Michael Martin (ASCAP) and John LoFrumento (ASCAP CEO)




    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Matthew West, Jason Castro, Winter Jam, Rascal Flatts, ASCAP, Billy Ray Cyrus, K-Love, Sidewalk Prophets

  • It's Festival Time

    Posted on May 8, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Some of my fondest memories with my family is packing everyone one of us in our mini-van and driving to a music festival.  Being surrounded by other believers that have the same appreciation for art is always a great thing to do.  It was a picture of the Church - or what it will be some day.

    There always seemed to be something for our whole family to do.  Whether it was checking out the artist's booths, various ministries that were present on the festival, catching a great speaker, listening to music or finding the rock climbing wall. We always had a blast.

    One year, on the first day of the festival, a huge rainstorm came rolling in. It basically turned out to be a Christian "mud-fest." Nobody minded though. All of us were muddy and none of us cared.

    I thought that I would offer a "play-list" of sorts to help you get ready for your journey to your nearest Christian music festival.  Check out these artists today and prepare for some amazing, God-honoring shows when you see them this summer.

    Check out the sounds of American Idol contestant, Colton Dixon.

    Curious how art mixes with worship? Be sure to see Matt Maher and David Crowder.

    Need some "pyro" in your show? One band comes to mind. Skillet.

    The kings of the comeback - Audio Adrenaline.

    See the whole play list here.

    What festival do you hope to go to this year?
    Lifelight - Missouri
    Lifelight - South Dakota
    Unity - Michigan
    Atlanta Fest - Georgia
    Alive - Ohio
    Big Ticket - Michigan
    Lifest - Wisconsin
    Spirit Song - Ohio
    The Heart Fest - Missouri
    Rock the Park - North Carolina
    Wonder Jam - Ontario
    Creation Fest - Washington
    Creation Fest - Pennsylvania
    Sonshine Festival - Minnesota
    Hills Alive - South Dakota
    The Soul Fest - New Hampshire
    Rock the Desert - Texas
    Spirit West Coast - California
    Fandana Festival - Indiana
    Kingdom Bound - New York
    Uprise Festival - Pennsylvania

     

     


    This post was posted in Music, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, David Crowder, Audio Adrenaline, Matt Maher, Skillet, Colton Dixon, Music Festivals

  • Q&A with We As Human

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by John van der Veen



    The journey of hard rockers We As Human from one of northern Idaho’s most beloved, bone-crunching indie acts to ink a deal with Atlantic Records is nothing short of extraordinary. After touring throughout the region alongside a soundtrack slot in a national commercial for Xbox 360’s “Section 8” video game, the guys scored an unexpected networking opportunity of a lifetime.

    “Our road manager at the time was working a Skillet show as a runner and a couple of the band members ended up in our touring van,” recalls frontman Justin Cordle. “As they were driving around, he said ‘Hey, I know you get CDs all the time, but this one from We As Human is way more awesome than all the others.’ It wound up making its way to the band’s frontman John Cooper, kind of as a joke at first because they really do get demos pitched to them all the time, but he put it in, absolutely loved it and said we were one of the best bands he’s heard in quite a few years.”

    The new album from We As Human streets on 6/25. Read below for our recent Q&A with Justin Cordle.

    1 - What is your background? Where did you guys grow up? What made you interested in music?

    A: We started our band in Sandpoint, ID, if you don’t know where that is, don’t feel bad, nobody else does either! We all come from different places though, Adam & I grew up together in Sandpoint and meet each other when we were kids attending the same church. Forshaw hails from Western Washington, Dave from Eastern Washington and Jake was reared in the lands of Austin, TX & New Mexico.

    Music was a passion in each of us from a very young age and as we grew, it became more and more obvious that we were of the musician kind. God gives everyone a very distinct desire and passion to produce something in this world, ours has always been music. From the first time I stepped on stage with my guitar at 8 years old and sang a Don Francisco song -out of key probably-, I was hooked.

    My desire to pursue music went into hyper-drive when I was 13, my parents and I were coming back from a conference in our 1989 wood-panel-sided Caravan, and I fell asleep and had the only dream I’ve had in my entire life that I knew was from Christ. In that dream I was standing on a stage singing and playing my guitar, I heard “This is what I have for you”, then I woke up. That was it, but, it was so profound, it altered the entire direction of my life to this very day.

    2 - What are your biggest influencers? Musically and spiritually?

    Our spiritual influencers are a ton of people you have probably never heard of, they are our friends, fans and family who keep us encouraged and accountable. When we’re on the road we often listen to guys like Ray Ortlund (My amazing pastor), Timothy Keller, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll and other dudes who love Jesus.

    Musically, well, that’s where it gets weird! A few artists that have shaped us into the musicians we are would be : Alterbridge, Skillet, Steve Via, John Meyer, Extol, .S.R.V., Alice In Chains. Garth Brooks, Darrell Evans, Hillsong & Keith Urban, just to name a few.

    3 - What does your live show look like?

    We love playing live, and I think our love for music and our fans comes through in our performances. I don’t know how to explain our show, but I can say, we leave it ALL on the stage every night. We have walked off the stage on more than a few occasions bleeding. There is an excessive amount of guitar-head dodging, accidentally running into each other and guitar shredding on our stage every night to be sure. It’s the epitome of our musical passion and it’s where we feel the most comfortable and alive.

    4 - Coffee or Mountain Dew?

    This one is easy, Coffee, but not just any coffee, we like coffee served by a spider monkey who is wearing sandals, lemon-yellow-pleated shorts, and a T-shirt that says, “I’m here for the party!”.

    For more on We As Human, and to listen to snippets of the latest EP, click here.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Hillsong, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Keller, Skillet, We As Human, Ray Ortlund, R.C. Sproul, Matt Chandler, Extol, Darrell Evans

  • Sanctus Real's Song "Pray" Featured with National Day of Prayer

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by Family Christian



    It has been announced that GRAMMY-nominated and Dove award-winning band Sanctus Real is featured in this year's National Day of Prayer campaign with their single "Pray," a song from their latest project Run (Sparrow Records). The song is currently being used to further promote The 2013 National Day of Prayer, which is this Thursday, May 2nd.

    Explaining the message behind "Pray," Sanctus Real's Matt Hammitt recently shared, "We wrote the song 'Pray' because these are anxious times and the awareness that we’re just one thumb tap away from another shocking headline can be stressful. Sometimes it’s not world news that leaves me anxious, but parts of my own little world that seem to be falling apart. The pressure of holding it all together is daunting when I get to thinking it’s on my own shoulders. Sometimes I find myself tossing my hands up in the air and asking in an exasperated tone, 'What in the world is going on?'"

    Hammitt continues, "Every public headline and personal challenge is a reminder, as well as a call, not to lift our hands in despair but rather to continue lifting our hands and voices in prayer. We are longing to see a move of God in our nation, amongst its people and leaders, and we are excited to partner with National Day of Prayer in an effort to urge and inspire people to pray. Will you answer the call?"

    A list of videos from the members of Sanctus Real promoting the National Day of Prayer is now available. There is a video already posted of the band sharing about the importance of prayer and in the days to follow, a video from each of the four band members talking about prayer will post.

    Sanctus Real - Importance of Prayer

    Sanctus Real (Matt) - Importance of Prayer

    Sanctus Real (Mark) - Importance of Prayer

    Sanctus Real (Pete) - Importance of Prayer

    Sanctus Real (Chris) - Importance of Prayer

    Sanctus Real - Pray (lyric video)

    “PRAY”
    I bow my head to pray, I don’t know what to say
    I’m not sure how to fix the things I’m dealing with
    I’m in a desperate place, I need to share the weight
    But I just don’t know how to let it all pour out
    And though I’m silent, my heart is crying ‘cause I was made to come to You

    SO I PRAY GOD, I NEED YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY
    RIGHT HERE IN THIS MOMENT YOU KNOW MY HEART
    YOU KNOW MY NEED YOU KNOW EVERY PART OF ME
    SO EVEN IF IT’S JUST TO SPEAK YOUR NAME I’M GONNA PRAY

    I’ve failed to find the time, but You’ve been calling out
    I let the days go by as if I could live without
    But it’s gotta be here and now I won’t be pulled away ‘cause it’s just You and I
    So let the world around us fade
    Father, will You meet me here right now
    Father, I surrender, lay it down
    Father, and every time I close my eyes
    I know that I was made to lift my hands and pray
    I lift my hands and pray You know my heart
    You know my need You know every single part of me
    More than words You want my life
    Take it as an offering

    Written by Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, and Christopher Stevens
    © 2013 Birdwing Music / Toledo Tomorrow Music / 1012 Rosedale Music (ASCAP) / Meaux Mercy / Chriscendo Music (BMI) (Admin. at EMICMGPublishing.com)


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Sanctus Real, Prayer, National Day of Prayer

  • Hezekiah Walker Presents Azusa The Next Generation

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by Family Christian


    Hezekiah Walker has experienced some major developments since the release of his last album nearly 5 years ago.  For one, he became Bishop of the Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ Fellowship, providing leadership to more than 30 churches around the country in addition to the Kunjalo Diocese in Cape Town, South Africa that he oversees – all while remaining Senior Pastor of his thriving Love Fellowship Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York and Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  Secondly, Walker has become a mainstay on New York radio where he hosts a popular mid-day show for WLIB and a Sunday morning show for WBLS.  Most recently, he created the Azusa Next Generation conference that brings together the nation’s most prominent pastors, speakers and worship leaders, ultimately revitalizing a defining moment in the Christian faith.  The next conference will be held May 19 at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York.

    With each of these developments, Walker is motivated by his commitment to Kingdom relevancy.  “One must continue to evolve so that the Kingdom can stay fresh, exciting and most of all relevant,” says Walker.  He pours this passion for Kingdom relevancy into his upcoming album AZUSA THE NEXT GENERATION, being released June 11 on RCA Inspiration.

    “This project honors the legacy of hand clapping, foot stomping Gospel music and also provides a next generation swag that creates a foundation for where Gospel music can go,” says Walker.  “It has a variety of styles, and the collaborations really make it stand out.  It is a next level project for me and, I think, for Gospel music.”

    Azusa is cited as the catalyst for the charismatic movement in the United States, and had two significant phases.  It began in 1906 with an unprecedented, powerful revival held on Azusa Street in Southern California then, in the 80s, was introduced as a conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that featured dynamic preaching and a who’s who of Gospel artists.  The artists would record together at the conference and, with AZUSA THE NEXT GENERATION, Hezekiah Walker revisits that spirit of collective worship.  The album features guest appearances by Timiney Figueroa; Deitrick Haddon; John P. Kee; Donnie McClurkin and Brian Courtney Wilson.  Walker’s robust Love Fellowship Choir is also featured prominently, and is expanded here to comprise the 500 voice Azusa Mass Choir.

    “With the collaborations, I wanted to let people know there are artists out there who love choir sounding songs and who don’t mind singing choir songs,” says Walker.  “Part of my musical mission is reminding people that choir music is not going out of style, ever.  When you have vocalists like these who love choir music, it will always thrive.”

    The first single EVERY PRAISE is currently a favorite at Gospel radio.  The song debuted on the Yolanda Adams Morning Show, and Adams said:  “Bishop Hez has done it again!” “’Every Praise’ is the epitome of worship and its proper direction!”

    Hezekiah Walker says the song is likely to catch on quickly because it is relatable across genres, nationalities and denominations.  “Whether they go to church or not, people have a praise in them that is reserved for God,” says Walker.  “This song connects with a feeling of thanksgiving and honor that everyone has at some point.  I hope that choirs and praise teams will gravitate to it, and that it crosses boundaries to people outside of the church as well.”

    Joel Osteen, one of the nation’s most influential pastors, heard “Every Praise” on the radio in Houston and simply fell in love with it and immediately invited Walker to minister the song at Lakewood, which he did on April 14.  “It was my honor to welcome Hezekiah Walker to our church,” says Osteen.  “We here at Lakewood love him and were excited that he performed ‘Every Praise’ with our church choir,” says Osteen.

    “That was just an incredible experience that I will never forget,” Walker adds.  “I did all three services, and there were at least 16,000 members in each one!  The church loved the song. I was amazed to see thousands leaving worship singing ‘Every Praise.’  It was an honor to worship with the Lakewood family, and I thank Pastor Joel Osteen for the warm welcome.”

    AZUSA THE NEXT GENERATION was co-produced by Hezekiah Walker and produced by Donald Lawrence, who also produced Walker’s last release - SOULED OUT.  The two have a winning combination that balances the contemporary and the traditional while amplifying Walker’s straight-to-the-heart worship style.

    “The project is about unity, and I feel really good about it,” says Walker.  “This is the first time in the history of my career that I’ve done collaborations with so many artists. This is monumental for me. That’s what it’s all about in this season, us coming together and letting the world know that it is possible for us to stand together as one.”

    The new album will be in stores June 11. Click here for further information.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Hezekiah Walker, Donald Lawrence, Deitrick Haddon, John P. Kee, Donnie McClurkin, Brian Courtney Wilson, Yolanda Adams, Joel Osteen

  • Q&A with Citizen Way

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by John van der Veen


    Citizen Way was formed in 2004, when two sets of siblings - Josh and Ben Calhoun and David and Ben Blascoe - crossed paths while in college. Their camaraderie made for a foundation that went beyond their biological connection and combined their vision for ministry with their passion for music. The result is Love is the Evidence, an infectious pop-rock project with sensibility.

    The music on this album has a driving momentum that will connect to your core as a soundtrack for life. In the end, the guys of Citizen Way really just want to have a conversation with people, sharing stories that reflect Scripture, reveal the heart of God and speak to honest, human struggle. If they can accomplish that while inspiring people to walk with Jesus and find joy in the journey, then the brothers of Citizen Way will have done their job.

    1 - What is your background? Where did you guys grow up? What made you interested in music?

    We all grew up in Southern Wisconsin. The Blascoe boys are from Racine and the Calhoun boys are from Milton.

    Growing up, music was always around the Calhoun family. Our mother, Lannette Calhoun, is an accomplished concert pianist and she paved the way for Josh, our sister Sarah and I to have easy access to all kinds of great music. Our dad is a pastor and we learned how to lead worship and serve at our church.

    The Blascoe boys grew up in church and served on the worship teams as well. David started playing drums after watching “That Thing You Do” (our official band movie) and received his first drum set at age 12. Ben Blascoe was inspired to play bass during their first visit to their home church when he was 13 years old.

    We all played and sang in the school bands and choirs and we all made lots of noise in church basements with all of our bands growing up. We all love to hang out in the recording studio; it's like a kitchen for band geeks! We formed Citizen Way in college at Judson University, and we still practice at the studio I helped build on campus and are music ambassadors for the school: www.judsonu.edu/citizenway

    2 - What are your biggest influencers? Musically and spiritually?

    We are so thankful for our youth pastors and parents for leading us to the Lord when we were younger. Each of us came to know Jesus early on and as we grew up, music was how we most naturally connected with the Lord. We want to encourage young artists to walk with Jesus, allowing him to do a work in their hearts as only He, the author of art, can do.

    As a band, we will sometimes listen to the great jazz music of Dave Brubeck in the dressing room before a show on Ben B.’s portable record player. As individuals, Davd’s favorite band is P.O.D., Josh is a big Coldplay fan, one of Ben Blascoe’s favorite bands is North Mississippi All-Stars and my favorite band of all time is PfR.

    We all grew up on Christian music; it is foundational in who we are. One of our most memorable moments was opening for Audio Adrenaline, and now we're label mates--It's a dream come true!

    3 - What does your live show look like?
    The lights go up. The drums get loud. We definitely have a lot of fun out there –
    sharing our music and the stories behind the songs. We always love meeting everyone who attended the show and making new friends in each city we go to!

    4 - Coffee or Mountain Dew?
    We all like Starbucks!!!! Gift cards are welcome! ;)


    This post was posted in Music, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Audio Adrenaline, Citizen Way, P.O.D., PFR

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