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Right Here, Right Now
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January 2005
Rock This Town
Salvador’s secret weapon has always
been its salsa-splashed live shows at a
venue near you. Now get to know the
band’s slightly shy frontman Nic
Gonzales a little better as he talks
about the group’s “family” dynamic, why
video games are so passé and how the
church should be comfortable taking in
Salvador and Fred Hammond during
any given week. B Y C H R I S TA FA R R I S
Photograph by Thomas Petillo
cover story
in review
Son of a Preacher Man
Despite a year filled with loads of unexpected professional and personal
accolades, Jeremy Camp remains humbled that he is essentially
following in his father’s pastoral footsteps and sharing the gospel with
the masses—albeit with a rockin’ soundtrack as a backdrop. Now catch
up with Jeremy as T H O M G RA N G E R tracks him down.
U2’s latest is reviewed and more.
Tour: Bebo Norman, Bethany Dillon and Jason Morant invade
Chi-town on the “Try” Tour.
Deep Wells
Who knew that simply enjoying the sound of Indian-inspired drums
could literally change the course of your career and ministry?
Caedmon’s Call certainly didn’t at the time, but this life-changing
discovery has provided the band and its fans with some much-needed
perspective on a well-kept secret. B Y JAY S W A R T Z E N D RU B E R
Newsboys: Worshipful and Not Ashamed
When it comes to performing, Newsboys has always been Christian
music’s cream of the crop with catchy ditties and charisma galore. But
lately the band has had deeper issues on its mind than whether or not
“breakfast will be served in hell.” Now L I Z Z A C O N N O R gets to the
bottom of why Peter Furler & Co. have a yearning to write songs
specifically for the church.
Music: CCM’s critics reveal their favorite records of 2004. Plus,
Your inside track on this month’s relationship-oriented
reading and artists’ current reading list
From the Editor: They’ll know we’re Christians by our love.
The Insider: Exclusives with Kendall Payne, Ruben Studdard
and artists’ New Year’s resolutions.
The Reel: Previews of Racing Stripes and Are We There Yet?
Ones to Watch: Mat Kearney, Charity Von
15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About: Paul Coleman
CCM Hall of Fame: Dallas Holm
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Page 4
by Jay Swartzendruber
Love Is the Movement
When I think about the broadening influence of faith-based artists over the
past year or two, there are two specific trends that bring me great joy. One,
of course, is the dramatic increase of Christian market artists who are moving
beyond the confines of our community into the world at large. Just this past
year alone we saw new hits from MercyMe, Switchfoot, Thousand Foot
Krutch, Natalie Grant, Pillar, Skillet and others invade the mainstream
airplay charts.
But as much as that pleases me, it’s the other trend, I must confess, that is
my favorite. Like never before, Christian artists are using their platforms to
put love profoundly into action. When it comes to the poor, the orphaned,
the sick, the unborn, the imprisoned and the persecuted, artists of faith are
speaking louder and louder for those who have no voice. Through their
songs, what they say from stage, during interviews and even in the liner
notes of their CDs, our favorite artists are educating us and then motivating
us to take action.
Sure, for many years some artists such as Randy Stonehill, Amy Grant and
Michael W. Smith have partnered with relief organizations and
demonstrated leadership by calling us to love Jesus by doing so “unto the
least of these.” And let’s not forget the mid-’80s when dozens of
Christian artists briefly came together to record historic songs such as “Do
Something Now” for African famine victims and “Fight the Fight,” a
protective cry for unborn children. But, while there were such highlights, it’s
safe to say Christian artists weren’t “defined” by championing issues of justice
and mercy.
Your Christian Music Magazine Since 1978
volume 27 issue 7
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
Editor Jay Swartzendruber
Managing Editor Stephanie Ottosen
Contributing & Reviews Editor Christa Farris
4 ccm january 05
That was then. During the last two or three years the tide has shifted
dramatically. In fact, so many Christian artists have started proactively
influencing social issues that the minority who don’t speak up for the poor,
the unborn and the sick may actually risk their credibility.
For the past 27 years CCM Magazine has been honored to play a key role
in helping artists motivate fans to love generously. And while many CCM
staff members personally sponsor children born into poverty or work with
Christian relief organizations in other ways, we’ve decided to take tangible
steps to both focus and reinforce our public commitment as a magazine.
First, CCM Magazine has decided to sponsor two children through a couple
terrific Christian organizations—World Vision and Compassion
International. This month we are honored to introduce you to Sadia, who
lives in Africa and Ambika whose home is in India (see “Get Real” on page
14). Periodically, we will update you on how each is doing. Of course, it’s our
hope that as you start to get to know each child, you’ll be moved to sponsor
a girl or boy of your own—with just $30 a month or less you can literally
change a life!
Like us, if you sponsor a child, you can choose a boy or girl from the
region of the world you’re most interested in helping. You might have
noticed we chose Africa and India—there’s a reason for that. Of course,
thanks in large part to the long-term efforts of Christian artists, our staff is
well aware of the HIV/AIDS and poverty emergency in Africa. And India?
Well, India’s got a very dark, destructive secret—one we actually didn’t know
about until we heard Caedmon’s Call’s new album, Share the Well. To learn
more, I recently spent a day on the road with the band. And I invite you to
check out the article I wrote in response on page 34.
While CCM will continue to highlight important causes your favorite
artists are bringing to light, we will place an intentional emphasis during the
next year or two on the situations in Africa and India. As always, we look
forward to keeping your finger on the pulse of Christian music—inviting you
behind the scenes and bringing the heart of the artist to your front door.
Speaking of such, have you heard about the efforts of Christian artists
endorsing the One Campaign petition to fight global AIDS and poverty?
Many of today’s most influential artists are helping lead the way in getting
signatures on the petition before it’s presented to President Bush and
Congress. Will you join Michael W. Smith, Third Day, tobyMac, Jars of
Clay, Switchfoot, Kirk Whalum, Newsboys, Relient K and others in signing
the One Campaign petition? Thanks to the internet, it will only take you
about two minutes to do so. Just go to and be a part of
love in action.
[email protected]
Art Director Lee Steffen
Associate Art Director Ben De Rienzo
Production Director Ross E.Cluver
Contributing Editors Andy Argyrakis, Michael Card, Michael Ciani,
Kent Morris, Chris Well
Contributors Sydney Alexander, Phil Baquie, Anthony Barr-Jeffrey,
Anthony DeBarros, Thom Granger, David Jenison, Dan MacIntosh,
David McCreary, Anneka Morgan, Jessica Robin, Gregory Rumburg
Web Editor Christa Farris
Editorial Assistant Kelly O’Neil
Editorial Intern Caroline Mitchell
Circulation Director Buffy Booker
Customer Service Representatives Amy Cassell, Leesa Smith
Executive Director of Advertising L. Smitty Wheeler
Senior Director of Advertising DeDe Tarrant
Account Executive Gregory Byerline
Account Executive Laurice Jackson
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 Allen Clark
7:05 PM
Page 6
appreciated the article about Chris
[“Here to Stay”], but the article lists
Not to Us as “Tomlin’s first
release.” I have that CD along with
his new CD Arriving, but I also own
his first real solo release, The
Noise We Make. It was on sixsteps
records as well and includes the
song “Forever.”
—Greg Loucks, Phoenix, AZ
We stand corrected.
Thank you for further introducing
me to Michael W. Smith [“Ready for
His Close-up”]. I enjoyed the timely
angle with addressing his
presidential encounters.
Someone’s reported numbers of
awards and No. 1 songs, however,
were not quite as timely. The
“Michael By the Numbers” box
reported 40 Dove awards, three
Grammy awards and 28 No. 1
songs, while two pages later, the
Audio-Technica ad reported 34, two
and 26, respectively. Cross-check
that ads and data are current.
—Ambria Hammel, Sun City, AZ
Actually, Ambria, the ads that come in are designed
and approved by the companies sending them. So,
unfortunately, we don’t have the opportunity to
correct them.
I just received November’s issue of
CCM. I’m a big Chris Tomlin fan,
along with many other artists. I
6 ccm january 05
Jump5’s Lesley Moore was
misquoted in the new CCM
Magazine [“Insider,” November]
when talking about her favorite
thing to do at Walt Disney World. (“I
think we all really enjoy riding all
the rides. We also have to get Dole
Whips, which has hot apple juice
and ice cream together. Very
Good!”) Of course, Dole is
synonymous with pineapple and
not hot apple juice! Say it quickly
with a southern drawl, and
pineapple juice must’ve sounded
like hot apple juice).
—Anonymous, via e-mail
Well, alllrighty then!
Just wanted to e-mail you and let
you all know that I love your
magazine. All the coverage you do
is awesome, but when is Scott
Krippayne going to make a cover of
CCM? I mean, I know that while a
lot of people don’t recognize his
name, they do know his songs that
have been recorded by other major
artists. Not that you aren’t creative;
but, come on—tobyMac on the
cover again? At least do an
interview or something.
—A devoted fan, via e-mail
We love your devotion. Hope you’ve picked up
Mr. Krippayne’s new CD—we really like it. He’s
not on the cover this month, but be sure to check
out his album review in “In Review Music.”
Randy’s songs are straight from the
heart, insightful and wise. I look up
to him, and I pray I can attend
another concert of his. Thank you
so much for adding him to your
“Hall of Fame.” He deserves to be
—Cara Dennis, Calgary, AB, Canada
I want to thank you from the
bottom of my heart for featuring
Randy Stonehill in “Hall of Fame”
[November]. Randy is my hero and
one of the best Christian artists
who has ever lived. I have waited
so long for you to feature him, and
I’m so incredibly glad you did.
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.
What’s your favorite Christian music legend or supposedly tall tale? What
about that nagging question concerning your favorite artist that, apparently,
no one’s been able to answer? That’s where we come in. Check here each
month as CCM Magazine distinguishes truth from fiction and e-mail your
questions to [email protected]
Dear CCM,
I have been a fan of Susan Ashton’s
for quite a while and can’t find any
information about where she’s at or
what she’s doing. I pray for her
whenever I hear a song of hers on
the radio.
—Barb Peterson
When we caught up with her, Ashton had
just returned from England, where she was
at work on a new record with two other
former Sparrow artists, Michelle Tumes and
Christine Denté.
She confirmed the rumor that after a few
years as a full-fledged country artist, she left
her label, Capitol Nashville, early last year.
The aforementioned album with Tumes
and Denté was recorded for Kingsway
Records, a U.K. worship label perhaps best
known in the States for recent work it’s
released featuring Margaret Becker (another
former Sparrow artist!). Helmed by British
producer John Hartley (Phil & John, Sheila
Walsh), the as-yet-untitled project was
initially slated to be released only in
Europe, but Sparrow has recently come on
board as the U.S. distributor for release
sometime in the first half of 2005.
Ashton has also just begun working with
Hartley on a solo album for Kingsway,
which Sparrow is also planning to release.
She is currently writing for the project and
says she hopes to include a few “old hymns”
on the record as well. She has no plans at
this time for touring, but she says she is
“pleasantly surprised by the progression of
things” because the opportunities with
Kingsway have already blossomed into
more than she originally envisioned. “This
is what God has put in front of me right
now, and I’m excited about it!”
7:10 PM
Page 9
MercyMe at the
AMAs, catching
up with Ruben
Studdard and
by Christa Farris
After an extended stint
of “normal” living,
Kendall Payne fuses a
new appreciation for
the “typical” with a
renewed sense of why
she had to write her
latest album.
n a line of work where success and
perception are often inter-connected,
Kendall Payne considers herself more of a
“truth speaker” than her own P.R. person when it
comes to her departure from Capitol Records, the
mainstream label that released her debut, Jordan’s
Sister (also distributed by Sparrow Records).
“When I say I got ‘let go’ from Capitol, everyone
says, ‘Let’s just say you parted ways,’ and I’m like,
‘Why?’ Kendall asks as she shrugs her shoulders.
“Basically, a new president came in, and he decided
that he just didn’t have the same vision that I did.”
Not abandoning her musical ambitions, however,
Kendall went back to the studio to record some
demos and pursue another record deal. But after
nothing came of those efforts, she pursued
something she hadn’t in a while: “normal” living.
“I woke up in the same bed, in the same city, and
at first it was frightening,” Kendall recalls. “You spend
a couple years waking up in a new city every morning;
then, all of the sudden, it’s the same people, the
same trees, the same car, and you’re like, ‘What is
this? I don’t know how to function.’”
In the meantime Kendall reconnected with a
church, something she describes as “long overdue”
and signed up for classes at a local community
college in the field of psychology, something she also
hopes to pursue further in the future.
But, despite being satisfied with this consistent
kind of life, she simply couldn’t shake her need to
write. “Rainer Maria Rilke talks about writing out of
necessity in the book Letters to a Young Poet,”
Kendall elaborates. “It says, ‘Ask yourself in the
stillest hour of your night, “Must I write?” And, if at
the end of it all, you arrive at a strong and simple “I
must,” then write and don’t care who affirms it.’”
So that’s exactly what she did. And it wasn’t long
after that before she was given the opportunity to
make the album she “knows inside my heart that I
needed to make.”
“In January of this past year, a buddy of mine
came to me and said, ‘I want your album. Go and
make it because I’m ready to listen to it,’” Kendall
recalls. “So he gave me some funds and said, ‘Have
at it.’ That doesn’t happen very often; he’s an
incredible guy.”
Utilizing more of an organic approach, Kendall
says the album is “chock-full of songs that came
without me trying to make them what they were.”
Currently available at her official Web site,, she recently recorded a couple
additional, more radio-friendly songs to make the
project officially complete for a Spring 2005 rerelease. One of those songs, “Stand,” is a worshiporiented track she wrote with her friend Jason Wade
from Lifehouse while leading worship in their youth
group more than 10 years ago.
As for whether she’ll eventually team up with a
label again for her release in the future, Kendall is
keeping her options open. “I keep on telling
everyone: ‘Life is far too short to waste time on
bitterness. I’m grateful for every label experience I’ve
had,’” she muses. “I value all the friendships and the
life lessons. Most of the time we learn a lot more
through the failures and hardships than we do
through the successes. So when you take that
posture, I think you look back and say, ‘How can I
not be grateful?’ So I look forward to any possible
label relationships as lessons to learn. And if it’s
not successful, then I’ll learn a new dimension of my
own heart.”
Surf’s Up: Hawaii’s Own Pop Punk Act Olivia the Band Signs With Essential Records • Parental Guidance—
january 05 ccm 9
7:11 PM
Page 10
The many faces of
Ruben will actually be going to the camp himself
for the two-week span and hopes to bring people
onboard such as the legendary musician Wynford
Marsalis to help reinforce that “the end result of
being part of a musical program is positive,” he says.
“We’re trying to get him to come and speak to the
kids because he’s serious about preserving the art
form of jazz. And that’s something—especially in the
African American community—that people are
starting to lose touch with.”
Speaking of all that jazz, Studdard says he’s also
going to get back in the studio “as soon as possible”
to begin work on his next album. “I really want to do
an album of jazz standards. I’m a lover of music, so I
never want to pigeonhole myself into one genre. I’m
really looking forward to trying to broaden my
horizons, my art, my craft.
Quotable Quotes
from Ruben’s World
When it comes to interviews, Ruben’s
really a man of few words, but this softspoken singer gets vocal on a variety of
subjects below.
On being outspoken about his faith in
mainstream music:
“Nobody made me be a Christian. It was
something I chose to be. And if people want to ask
me about it, I’m going to talk about it.”
Ruben isn’t content with simply being known as the “Velvet Teddy Bear” or “that guy who
beat Clay Aiken for the second ‘American Idol’ title.” And with a slew of new professional
possibilities on the horizon, he’s bound to keep fans guessing what’s next.
It’s something that doesn’t happen very often when
interviewing an artist. Instead of checking in
fashionably late because of an insanely busy
schedule, Ruben Studdard actually phones in an
hour early to stay ahead of schedule.
Turns out he’s in Los Angeles wrapping up a photo
shoot this particular afternoon for his recently
released hymns project, I Need an Angel, the followup to his multi-platinum debut, Soulful. Growing up in
a church where hymns were an integral part of his
spiritual journey, the Birmingham, Ala., native was
committed not to “deviate too much from the
originals” on renditions such as “I Surrender All,”
“There’s Not a Friend” and “Amazing Grace.”
“I wanted people to be able to sing along with
them,” Ruben says. “So we added a little twist at the
end to make them ‘Ruben,’ but they are basically the
same; and I’m pleased with how they turned out.”
But music isn’t all that’s on his mind lately. “I think
the most fulfilling thing that I started this past year
was The Ruben Studdard Foundation For the
Advancement of Children in the Music Arts,” he adds.
“We get a chance to give back to kids. I gave two
scholarships to kids going to the University of
Tennessee for music majors. And I’ve got a big music
camp coming up in the summer of 2005 that I’m
looking forward to. I’ve been wanting to do that my
whole life, and I’m so thankful that God has blessed
me with the financial means to do something I’ve
always wanted to do for children.”
On whether he keeps in touch with his fellow
“American Idol” peeps:
“Clay [Aiken] is actually working really hard right
now and going back on tour, so I haven’t talked to
him in, like, a month. But I’ve been keeping in
touch with Fantasia; she’s doing really well. It’s
not like we’re shoveling snow or something hard.
We’re all getting a chance to live out our dreams,
and we’re real happy.”
On his favorite Christian artists:
“I’m a big fan of Darlene Zschech and Michael W.
Smith. Fred Hammond is my all-time favorite
artist. I was a little bit starstruck when I worked
with him because I grew up wanting to be like him.
So now he’s my mentor, and we talk a lot and
argue about video games. Now he thinks he’s the
king of Madden 2005, so we’ll see about that.”
On staying spiritually focused in the busy times:
“I pray a lot. I try to keep my personal relationship
with God going because I can’t always get to
church. The Bible talks about not forsaking the
assembly and, for what I do, sometimes, it’s hard
not to.”
Sara Groves Pens New Songs About the Trials and Tribulations of Parenthood For an Exclusive Release;
10 ccm january 05
>>> >>
7:15 PM
Page 11
Out With the Old…
Apparently giving up sugar is so “last year” as there wasn’t one mention of those dreaded
carbs when we checked in with a few of your favorite artists on what they hope to
accomplish in 2005. Now find out what’s priority this year…
Overflow’s Matthew Hayes:
“I resolve to always remember my toothpaste whenever I go out of town. Just kidding
(although I would like to make sure I do that). Seriously, my New Year’s resolution is,
in traveling more and being gone for longer periods of time, to keep in better contact
with old friends and to spend more time with them whenever possible.
Sarah Kelly:
“On my touring ‘off days,’ I want to be getting into colleges in both Christian and
public formats and inspiring students to write and find their songs.”
Bonnie Keen:
“Emily Dickinson wrote in Live in Possibility that every new year brings a season of
possibility. I’d like to embrace that idea more in 2005. I’d like to live in the
possibilities of slowing down, laughing more, worrying less, loving more deeply and
hopefully keeping more roses alive in my garden.”
George Rowe:
“I’ll be recording a new record, and I hope to get through the pile of mail that
accumulated in 2004 while I was on the road.”
Mat Kearney:
“I’m working on all kinds of different projects for my record, like maybe an acoustic
version. I don’t know; I’m just excited to be able to dive into music and try to make
some cool art this next year and really get in front of some people.”
Charity Von:
“First and foremost, I just want to keep growing in my walk with God. That’s always
important. And secondly, probably just really learn how to play an instrument well—
either piano or guitar.”
Matt Redman:
“My family and I are currently involved in the early stages of a Church of England
church plant here near Brighton in the south of England. Right now, we’re putting the
foundations down—exploring vision and values and building a core team. But early
next year sometime (at a guess), we’ll be taking it ‘public’. So, my dream for the new
year is that we’ll see the favor of God upon this church plant and find powerful ways
of reaching out into the community.”
GRITS’ Bonafide:
“I not only want to move into the next level of business as industry executive but also
in the Spirit as a man of God (husband, father and brother), an asset to the Kingdom
of heaven and earth.”
Avalon’s Melissa Greene:
“My husband and I resolve to be good stewards. Stewardship does not only mean
our money, but we need to learn to be good stewards with everything that God has
given us—our ministry, our jobs, our time, our house, our cars, etc. The bottom line
for us is that everything we have comes from God, and we should take good care of
it all and use it all wisely.”
> >>>
Check Out For More Information • Speaking of Moms…
9:02 PM
Page 12
America Has Spoken!
MercyMe is Christian music’s big winner at the recent American Music Awards
They mingled with Brian McKnight and William Shatner, conducted countless red carpet interviews
and handed Sheryl Crow a statue for “Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist.” So what else did
MercyMe’s Bart Millard & Co. need to have a great time at the American Music Awards in Los
Angeles? How about its first award for “Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist”? Done.
While facing some pretty steep competition from fellow Christian music compadres Steven Curtis
Chapman and Third Day, the band got a little more than it imagined when its name was called.
“It’s an honor to be nominated for an AMA with guys like Third Day and Steven Curtis Chapman
and even more of an honor to win, knowing it’s the music-buying public voting,” says MercyMe’s
Mike Scheuchzer. “Ultimately, what it means is that we’re reaching more people than we ever have
with a message of hope.”
(Clockwise L-R): MercyMe with
their AMA, chatting with Brian
McKnight, posing with William
Shatner and the boys of
Switchfoot, who were also
presenters for the awards
What’s New at this Month!
At, we resolve to provide you with the most up-to-date and
comprehensive Christian music information you’ll find on the Web. We promise
we’ll give it our all in 2005 and beyond…
Here are a few treats to look for this month:
More New Year’s Resolutions: Since we couldn’t fit ‘em all in the magazine because of that pesky
space issue, we’ve got more of your favorite artists’ comments online.
Making a Difference: Want to find out more about Caedmon’s Call’s initiative to help the people of
India? Find out more on how you can get involved at
Blogs: List-O-Rama columnist Chris Well weighs in with his helpful tips on writing (and some humor, too!).
CCMWebEditor waxes philosophical, and look for some guest artists blogs as well!
Nichole Nordeman is Busy at Work on Her 4th CD • Casting Crowns
7:15 PM
Page 14
>> worship
Passion 05
A Generation United For His Renown
This isn’t going to be your ordinary church service from the
sounds of it. And in what’s sure to be a great way to start the
new year for all those in attendance, the Passion movement
returns to its roots with its first four-day gathering since 1999.
With the continued success of the OneDay events, “The
Passion Experience” tour and numerous CDs, it was these
four-day gatherings with more than 18,000 students in
attendance that sparked the idea for the events that followed.
With a goal of uniting students to make a difference for the
cause of Christ, the conference will focus on what it means to
“live your life for the glory of God.”
This year’s event will be held at Gaylord Entertainment
Center in Nashville Jan. 2-5 and will feature speakers Louis
Giglio and Beth Moore along with worship leaders/artists
Matt Redman, Shane & Shane, David Crowder Band and
Chris Tomlin.
Be sure to check out next month’s issue of CCM for a full
report on Passion 05 and exclusive interviews with some of
the artists who participated.
Goes Platinum With Release of New Live CD/DVD Combo, Live From
7:16 PM
Page 16
CCM’s way of “making
a difference” and 5
Questions with
Bethany Dillon
by Stephanie Ottosen
Love the Little Children...
We’ve written about the causes, passions and ministries of artists for years;
but now CCM is taking a tangible step toward making a personal
difference… and we’re so excited about it! CCM Magazine is sponsoring two
children: a little girl from India with World Vision and a little girl from Burkina
Faso, Africa with Compassion International. Throughout the year, we’ll
continue to bring you updates on the girls as we get letters and additional
photos. Read below to find out more about “our children” and how you, too,
can be a part of the spiritual, mental and physical growth of a child.
5 Questions
She’s only 16 years old, but you’d never guess, based on
her mature songwriting and impressive accolades so far.
But one thing that’s clear is that this young woman
definitely has talent and appeal, as evidenced by her debut
single, “Beautiful,” hitting the Top 5 on Christian pop radio
and the recent single, “All I Need,” topping the chart at No.
1. And if that wasn’t enough, Ms. Dillon currently has the
Christian community’s top-selling female solo debut.
Ambika, Age 6
If you could visit any place in the world, where would it
be and why?
I would visit Ireland only because I have wanted to since I can
remember! I guess I secretly hope the accent would rub off on me.
The Ohio accent just isn’t as cool.
What’s your most embarrassing moment onstage?
One of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had onstage was
during a tour I did with Shawn McDonald and Monk & Neagle this
past summer. I was in the middle of singing “Lead Me On” and
completely forgot how the second verse went!
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As crazy as it sounds, I have always wanted to be an artist. I
remember going to Jennifer Knapp concerts and leaning over to
Mom and saying, “I would love to do that someday!”
What’s one goal you have as an artist?
When all is said and done, I just want to have honored God.
What’s one question you’d like to ask God when you get
to heaven?
The question that burns within me: “Why do You love me?”
Ilboudo Sadia, Age 7
Sadia lives on the plains of Wayalghin in
Burkina, Faso with her mother and three
siblings. She’s old enough to have
responsibilities; so, to help her mother,
she washes clothes, helps in the kitchen
and runs errands. But it seems Sadia
enjoys being around people, too, as she
loves playing with dolls and participating
in group games.
Sadia attends school at the Baptist
Wayalghin Child Development Center,
where, for $28 per month, we’re providing
the funds for Sadia’s Bible teaching,
recreational actitivies, medical exams,
heath and hygiene education, social
events, literacy training and field trips. The
center also offers meetings, Bible
teaching and educational workshops for
Sadia’s mother as well.
Ambika lives in a poor, rural community in
India, where typical homes are made with
walls of stone or straw and roofs of tin or
plastic sheets. She lives with her relatives
and one brother and is helpful to her
family by running errands. But Ambika is a
bright and seemingly mischievous little
girl, too, as she likes to play hide and seek.
She also does well in grammar at her
primary school.
Ambika is in good health, and with $30
per month, we’re hoping to keep her that
way. Through World Vision, our monthly
contribution will be joined with other
contributions to provide Ambika’s
community with access to clean water,
regular health check-ups, eye and dental
exams, education and tutoring for
struggling students. But beyond the basic
needs, the funds will also be used to
provide irrigation training for parents to
help provide food and raise the standard
of living of entire families. Most
importantly, Ambika will learn about God’s
To find out more or to sponsor a child,
check out or
Atlanta • Jeremy Camp and MercyMe Team Up for 2005’s Leg of “The Undone Tour”: • Pillar’s Song ”Bring
16 ccm january 05
7:18 PM
Page 18
Newborns, birthdays
and more
by Stephanie Ottosen
Mercy me, it’s a boy… and a girl!
One-Way Ticket to Love
By SHELTERecords artist Phil Baquie
racie Ryan Millard was welcomed into MercyMe
frontman Bart’s and Shannon’s arms on Nov. 4
(above). She weighed 5 lbs, 11 oz and joins the family
along with her big brother, Sam.
And MercyMe guitarist Mike Scheuchzer (top
right) recently became a dad. His wife, Abby, gave birth
to 8lbs. 2 oz. Benjamin Michael on Oct. 22.
A future baseball player?
wife Jessica named their firstborn Boston Graham
(bottom right). Boston made his appearance Oct. 28.
Toby Welcomes No. 4
Amanda, Toby McKeehan’s (a.k.a “tobyMac”) wife,
gave birth on Nov. 2 to Leo Tobias. Leo weighed 5 lbs,
6oz and measured 18.5 inches long. Leo is child
number four for the McKeehan family behind siblings
Truett and twins Marlee and Moses.
Could Jesse Katina of The Katinas be a fan of the
World Series champs, the Red Sox? Possibly. He and
Justin McRoberts
Nicole C. Mullen
Charles Billingsley
Helen Baylor
12 Dan Haseltine
(Jars of Clay)
17 Eddie Carswell
24 George Rowe
25 Matt Odmark
(Jars of Clay)
26 Kirk Franklin
27 Nathan Barlowe
(Luna Halo)
Tell CCM
On my way to work, I was praying and asking God to forgive me for some sins in my
life. I have struggled with these particular things because I always feel like God’s
not there—until after I’ve sinned, and then I realize He was watching me the whole
time; and I feel awful. I was asking Him why I can’t overcome this and why I don’t
feel the joy anymore. I ended my prayer with “I need your help, God. I just feel like
You’re not there.” Then I put in my new BarlowGirl CD. When “Never Alone” came
on, I really listened this time. I had heard the song on the radio before, but it didn’t
affect me then. This time it did! God was speaking to me through these words: “I
cry out with no reply and/I can’t feel you by my side so/I’ll hold tight to what I
know/You’re here... and I’m never alone. I suddenly realized that whether or not I
feel Him, He’s there. —Rachael Lanning
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.
It was 1996 when I first saw her. I was too shy to
introduce myself, thinking, “Why would a pretty girl
from America want to talk with this musician/youth
ministry guy from Australia?” She was gone as
quickly as she came, leaving me feeling sorry for
myself for not grabbing the opportunity for an
In 1998 this mysterious girl from California came
back to this Bible school as a student. I was helping
with the Bible school’s youth ministry program and
couldn’t let opportunity slip by again. On the twelfth
of March 1998, I asked Roxann out for coffee. She
agreed, and one cup turned into many. Not only was
she incredibly beautiful, but she was an incredible
person, too. I fell madly in love with her, and she
somehow found me intriguing. Rox was in Australia
for one year; and we spent much of it together.
In January 1999 Rox headed back to America. It
felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.
That day, I was scheduled to begin recording my
second album. I called it Sooner than Later as that
was the last thing she said walking though security at
Sydney’s Airport. After a few months apart, I couldn’t
take it any longer. I called Rox on the twelfth of March
1999 (exactly one year from our first “date”) and
asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes”! I got my
hands on a one-way ticket to the U.S. the following
month and found myself in the arms of the love of my
life at LAX. So here I was in America—no job, no
money, just a bag with a few clothes, a guitar and a
heart full of love with the girl of my dreams! We had
some ups and downs, but after a year we were
married on—you guessed it—the twelfth of March
2000 (which, ironically, was the very day my visa
expired!). We are approaching five years of marriage,
and I thank the Lord for Rox. She is an incredible
woman! Now we live in Nashville. I’m a Christian
recording artist on SHELTERecords, and Rox is an
entertainment attorney and my manager. God’s plans
are so much better than ours. I could not have
dreamed of this back in 1996 when I first saw this
pretty girl from America!
For more information, visit
Me Down” Will be Featured in the New THQ Video Game MX VS. ATV Unleashed For Playstation, Xbox and More
18 ccm january 05
7:21 PM
Page 20
A conversation
with Mark Joseph
by Jay Swartzendruber
could work on her song right there in the theater because she was so moved. She
is a preacher. Once I got a straight-shot, 30-minute sermon from her over the
phone. She told me that our problem was that we were more interested in the
praises of men than the praise of God. I invited Scott Stapp (Creed) out to L.A. to
see it. And, of course, P.O.D. and MxPx were excited to be a part of it. I’ll never
forget Kirk Franklin’s reaction when I told him about our rather limited budget. He
said: “I’d do it for a ham sandwich!” That was the kind of artist we were looking
for. If we got a whiff of “attitude,” we said, “Thanks but no thanks.” We just
wanted people who really wanted to be on the record. Getting Steven Curtis
Chapman, MercyMe and Third Day on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” [for that]
was a highlight.
While a lot of people have made a case for the growing popularity of
Christian music as a genre in recent years, books and articles you’ve
penned seem to state the real story has to do with Christians in the
mainstream. Correct?
On the Mark
with Joseph
I’ve written extensively about what I think of the practice of reporting sales of
records like O Brother Where Art Thou and Mannheim Steamroller as sales of
“gospel music.” I don’t think it’s accurate at all. The problem with those sales
numbers is that people make real life decisions based upon them. Gospel music
channels, for instance, are funded, and millions of dollars are spent because of
those numbers. But I’m hopeful that we will see reform because there is a new
regime in place at the GMA [Gospel Music Association], and I can’t imagine them
continuing the practice. I think a more accurate way to tabulate sales of “gospel
music,” if they must be tabulated, would be to count all sales by artists signed
directly to [Christian market] labels and only the records sold in [Christian retail]
stores by artists who are believers but signed to mainstream labels.
But why settle for those numbers when there is a much bigger story—the
explosion of people of faith into the mainstream culture in a manner that can’t
possibly be counted. This trend of Christians and Christian ideas in rock and pop
music is so massive that there’s no way to categorize it or put a percentage on it.
It’s way too big. God must have a great sense of humor to allow His messages to
be delivered sometimes from the lips of people who don’t even believe in Him.
What are some of the special projects you’ll be working on in 2005?
The Scripps Howard News Service once called Mark Joseph “a multimedia free radical.” A renaissance man of sorts, Joseph is not only a
published author but has served extensively as both producer and
talent in music, television, film and radio. The son of missionaries,
Joseph was born in Tokyo, Japan. Moving to the United States to
attend college, he graduated from Southern California’s Biola
University in 1990. Since then he’s distributed 70-plus albums by
Christian artists into the mainstream market in Japan via his MJM
label and has hosted and produced television programs for CNN and
other networks. Most recently he worked closely with Mel Gibson as
producer of The Passion of The Christ: Songs compilation. For the
past four years, Joseph has been a consultant for Walden Media (the
entertainment company behind family-friendly motion pictures such
as Joshua, Holes and Around the World in 80 Days) and was involved
in pre-production on the forthcoming Chronicles of Narnia film. As an
author he’s penned 1999’s The Rock & Roll Rebellion and 2003’s
Faith, God and Rock & Roll.
How did you guys decide which artists to invite for The Passion of The
Christ: Songs album?
We invited hundreds of artists, and many didn’t even want to come in to see the
film. Others were into it. I reached out to Lauryn Hill, and she asked for a private
screening. I thought she was being a diva, but she wanted to see it alone so she
I have several books coming out in ‘05. I’m finishing up the final book in the trilogy
on God and rock, tentatively titled Rock Gets Religion. I have another book on the
controversy that surrounded The Passion that should be coming out soon. I’m
developing an imprint that will be part of a larger book publishing company to
publish books that I’m interested in developing—the first book, by journalist Terry
Mattingly, will be called Pop Goes Religion. And we’ll have some artist
autobiographies that I can’t mention yet as well. My Passion producing partner
Tim Cook [longtime manager of P.O.D.] and I hope to develop a small, boutique
label as well for a very select group of artists who we really believe in. I’m
developing a speaker’s bureau called that has a great lineup of
speakers for conferences or graduations. But my most important projects are my
three girls—twin 4-year olds and a five-month-old.
We understand you’re a long-time CCM Magazine reader.
How long?
I got my first subscription to CCM in 1979 and have been a loyal reader ever since.
It definitely shaped my understanding of all of these issues [how Christianity
interfaces with the arts and commerce], and for that I will always be grateful to
John Styll [former CCM publisher—now president of the GMA], who always
encouraged open dialogue about these issues. He published an article I
wrote that grew into my first book. I’ve never forgotten that or his graciousness
and integrity.
• In Other Gaming News: Jump5’s “Walking on Sunshine” Will Be Featured in Upcoming Danced-Themed Video
20 ccm january 05
7:22 PM
Page 22
Two family films and
artists talking about
their favorite DVDs
by Sydney Alexander
happy ending won’t came easy. For Nick, it leads to the commute of
a century with a cross-country journey to reunite Suzanne with her
kids after she’s stuck working late over the holidays. But these kids
aren’t of the quiet, well-behaved variety, mind you. They don’t like
anyone their mom dates, so, naturally, hilarity ensues on what’s
bound to be a bumpy ride.
Favorite DVDs From
Your Favorite Artists:
Kicking off 2005 in fine cinematic fashion, Racing Stripes will definitely fill the
void for those of you who’ve already loved the progressive “animation” of The
Incredibles and already watched Shrek2 and Shark Tale on DVD more times than
you’d care to count.
While the title might say NASCAR to you, it’s actually the story of an
abandoned zebra with a bit of an identity crisis. To cut to the chase, this zebra,
named Stripes, thinks he’s a racehorse. And, of course, he’s not; but Stripes
maintains that he will race with the other thoroughbreds someday. And with a
little help from his barnyard friends, this may just be possible. You’ll have to
check out the film, which also features voiceovers from Michael Clarke Duncan
(The Green Mile, Daredevil), Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act, Rat Race) and Dustin
Hoffman (I Heart Huckabees, Rainman), to find out the fate of Stripes.
“Are We There Yet?”
It’s the question of the ages posed to parents on those long, tedious roadtrips
when the car games of “I Spy” have grown boring and you’ve run out of goldfish
crackers and M&M’s for the kids to snack on. And it’s the question that Ice
Cube desperately wishes he had an answer for in this month’s release of the
comedy aptly titled, well, Are We There Yet?
Now, wait a minute. Is this the same Ice Cube of rapper fame in a familyfriendly flick? Yep, that’s him. Turns out Mr. Cube is a bit of a family man himself
these days, which makes this film a fitting career transition.
Also starring Nia Long (Alfie, Big Momma’s House) and Jay Mohr (Jerry Maguire,
“Last Comic Standing”), Are We There Yet? is about the lengths a man will go to
impress a woman, namely how Nick wants to impress Suzanne—someone he’d
love to ring in the New Year with. But like any good love story, the potential for a
>>> Game,
Taylor Sorenson:
The Shawshank Redemption is always my first pick. It will always
be relevant for the fact alone that salvation will forever be relevant
and hope exists. Also four words: Tim Burton is genius. I love The
Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands.
George Rowe:
One of the best films ever made came out in theaters approximately
11 years ago—Schindler’s List. It’s a difficult movie to watch but,
nonetheless, an important one. It tells the story of the atrocities
committed in some of the Nazi death camps. I learned about World
War II history in high school like everyone else
did, but the movie powerfully shows things that
can’t be gleaned from a textbook.
I usually go to movies solely to be
entertained, but when I leave a movie feeling as
though I’ve learned something and that I’ve
been emotionally moved (or temporarily
emotionally paralyzed)—the movie has been
well-done. Such is the case with Schindler’s List.
MC Groovz Dance Crazy, For Nintendo GameCube • Russ Lee Launches New Label, Vertical Vibe Records •
22 ccm january 05
7:02 PM
Page 24
onestowatch >>
B Y K E L LY O ’ N E I L
A little something for everyone
Have you ever noticed an artist’s voice that doesn’t “match” the body? Such
is the case with Charity Von. Most would never expect such a powerful,
soulful voice to come from a bubbly, red-headed 19-year-old. But while her
voice clearly showcases the influences of Janis Joplin and Lauryn Hill, as far
as her message goes, Charity says Keith Green is her biggest role model—
not only as a great musician but as a great Christian. Now, this traveling
preacher’s kid from Kansas City, Kan., is excited to be the first artist on
Spring Hill’s new rock imprint label, Slanted Records.
CCM: How many songs did you write on your disc?
CHARITY: I wrote all the songs except for “Shine” [originally performed by
Collective Soul] and “In Your Presence”—it’s a more “worshipy” tune on the
record. My mom actually wrote that. She is an amazing singer/songwriter,
awesome pianist, and I’ve always looked up to her so much. We’ve been
singing that song in our church for a while.
CCM: Do you have any secret remedies for protecting your voice?
CHARITY: [Laughs] I wish I did! That’s so funny because literally two
Discovering “Graceland”
It was during his college years at California’s Chico State University that
Mat Kearney placed his faith in God. Around the same time, Kearney, an
avid music lover, took his prose and discovered chords on the guitar to
complement it. After deciding that music was the career for him, Kearney
and his friend, and later producer, Robert Marvin (tobyMac, Stacie Orrico)
made the trek across the country to Nashville to pursue their collective
dreams. Kearney’s inpop debut, Bullet, was released in October and features
the single “Undeniable,” which broke the record for the most Christian
stations (18) to add a debut artist track to rotation the first week out.
CCM: Did you grow up listening to Christian music?
MAT: Even though we had Amy Grant CDs, as a little kid I thought Paul
Simon was a Christian artist. I didn’t know. I grew up with no Christian
music market around, so I was forced to make my faith fit within the world
of people who didn’t agree with me. That’s still a perception I try to hold
onto—to really try to express in normal terms the truth and the love and
the grace that I found everyday.
CCM: Is it hard to reread your handwriting of lyrics after a burst of creative energy?
MAT: I write extremely phonetically; so, yes, it is hard. I’ll know how to
spell a word; but if you’re in the moment of writing a song, I’ll write it out
phonetically. So “believe” will be “beleev,” and you’re like, “What the heck?”
And you end up with little hotel scraps of paper everywhere—if you can
hold on to all of them. Like right now I just opened my pocket, and I had
a verse idea on a little piece of paper for a new song I’m writing. I’m like,
“What is that doing in here? Oh, it’s a hit song!” [laughs]
CCM: Have there been any particularly difficult shows?
MAT: One time I opened for Living Sacrifice. They were a hardcore band,
and I had just an acoustic guitar; and the fans were mad. They were like,
“Who’s this Dave Matthews guy up here?” [laughs]
24 ccm january 05
seconds ago I had a bowl of cereal and milk, and I’m singing this morning.
While I was eating the cereal, I thought, “This is going to hurt my voice
while I’m singing; the milk is going to get clogged in my throat, and I know
I’m going to regret this.” But I ate it anyway because it was good, and that’s
pretty much my approach to life with my singing. I really don’t do any
“warm ups.” I don’t do anything, but I’m working on it. Recently I
approached my manager about getting someone to coach me on breathing
exercises and things that I could do just to maintain because I want to be
able to sing 30 years from now.
CCM: What three things would you want if you were stuck on a deserted island?
CHARITY: My Bible, my iPod and my stiletto heels! I have every color under
the sun. I have orange, pink… And I have everything under the sun in my
iPod. Everything from heavy rock to old school rock to R&B—just
everything. I’m very eclectic.
6:51 PM
Page 26
by Michael Card
Taken aback,
aback, Jesus
Jesus addressed
addressed the
accompanying crowd:
crowd; “I’ve
“I’ve yet
yet to
to come
across this
this kind
kind of
of simple
simple trust
trust anywhere
in Israel,
Israel, the
the very
very people
people who
who are
supposed to
to know
know about
about God
God and
and how
how he
UKE 7:9
7:9 AS
works.” LLUKE
How to Amaze Jesus
The story of the healing of the centurion’s slave occurs at the end of a
collection of stories that reveals the paradoxical and unorthodox nature of
Jesus’ ministry. The series begins in Luke 5:26 with the words, “We have seen
amazing things (paradoxa) today.” What follows is a staggering series of Jesus
doing, what seem to be, paradoxical things:
*He calls that most unorthodox disciple Matthew (the tax collector) to
follow Him.
*His disciples don’t seem to be fasting and praying enough.
*He breaks the Sabbath by allowing His disciples to harvest grain.
Finally, after an all-night session of prayer, Jesus introduces the world to
the full extent of His paradoxical plan for the Kingdom. The poor, He
claims, will be blessed, while the rich are cursed. The climax comes in the
impossible command to love, do good to, pray for and bless our enemies.
Jesus concludes this theme with the most unorthodox of all His
statements about His Father “…for He is kind to the unthankful and to those who
are wicked.”
Now that He has made the impossible command to love our enemies,
He shows them in Luke 7 what this kind of new, unorthodox love looks
like. He proceeds to show kindness to a “wicked” Roman soldier, a
member of the group who will shortly nail Jesus to the cross.
2 Now the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3 When the
officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish leaders to ask him to come and
heal his slave. 4 So they earnestly begged Jesus to come with them and help the man. “If
anyone deserves your help, it is he,” they said, 5, 6 So Jesus went with them. But just
26 ccm january 05
before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble
yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even
worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant
will be healed... 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd, he said,
“I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!” (NLT)
This nameless soldier had, obviously, heard about the healings Jesus had
done in his hometown of Capernaum. In chapter four, Luke tells of Jesus’
healing Peter’s mother-in-law as well as a multitude of others there. Now
one of the centurion’s slaves is gravely ill, and the soldier cares enough to
send for Jesus.
It is important to see the difference between the appeals of the Jews
versus the Romans. According to the Jews, this man loves them and has
even donated a synagogue.
The basis of their appeal is
that the centurion deserves
it. What a remarkable
Finally, after an all-night session
person! He loves the Jews,
of prayer, Jesus introduces the
which the culture says he
world to the full extent of his
should hate. He cares for a
paradoxical plan for the
lowly slave. He is genuinely
considerate and humble,
though he represents the
power of Rome. But these
6:56 PM
Page 27
do not represent what is most remarkable about
the centurion!
After the Jews were sent on their mission to
fetch Jesus, the soldier reconsiders and sends
some of his own friends with another message.
He has concluded that it was too much to ask
that Jesus, the Jew, should come under his
Gentile roof. His second message countermands
the first: “I don’t deserve the honor of having
you come to my house.” So should Jesus
respond because the man deserves it or in spite
of the fact that he does not?
His second message reveals the mind of a
soldier whose simple understanding of authority
was shaped by primitive warfare. Knowing that
he, himself, possessed authority, the soldier
extends to Jesus a remarkable tribute. “Just say the
word…” he says. It is as simple as that. It is not a
matter of deserving or not but that a task
requiring kindness and authority needs to be
I refer to Luke as the “Gospel of Amazement.”
So far in the story, a number of people have
been described as being “amazed” (Zechariah’s
neighbors, those who heard the shepherds,
Joseph and Mary, those who heard the 12-yearold Jesus in the Temple, those who heard the
grown-up Jesus in both the synogogues at
Nazareth and Capernaum, Peter and his fishing
partners and finally those who witnessed the
healing of the paralytic). But this is the first and
only time Jesus is pictured this way. It is a
powerful moment.
What was it that amazed Jesus?
Was it the fact that the Gentile soldier, who
wasn’t even one of His followers, had begun to
live out Jesus’ unorthodox command to love his
enemies? Was it that this powerful man
recognized in Jesus a greater power and
authority? Or was Jesus amazed that the Gentile
soldier possessed a faith that did not exist
anywhere in Israel? The soldier asked for what
he knew he didn’t deserve and faithfully
expected to get it!
“I shared this Scripture on the night of
the Dove Awards from a letter to the
Ephesians where it says that He does
exceedingly abundantly above what we
can ask or even imagine. This is
honestly the way I feel about the past
couple years. Where I came from in my
life, the hardships that I’ve been
through, to look at the faithfulness of
God and see that there is hope at the
end of these sufferings... it’s Christ and
His love.”
—Jeremy Camp
(from “On the Road Again”; see
page 28)
What About You?
Have you ever amazed Jesus? Have I ever
amazed Jesus? Have we really embraced the
unorthodox belief that He desires to show us
kindness, especially because we do not deserve
it? Go ahead, amaze Jesus today!
Michael Card is an award-winning author, musician and radio broadcaster
who resides in Franklin, Tennessee. His latest effort, A Fragile Stone, deals with
the emotional life of the apostle Simon Peter. Visit for
more information.
7:24 PM
Page 28
28 ccm january 05
7:25 PM
Page 29
an 's
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Jeremy Camp has been a busy man.
Touring almost
constantly for the past couple years, initially to support the phenomenally successful
(six No. 1 singles) debut recording Stay, then out last spring with the
Newsboys/Rebecca St. James “Adoration” tour to follow the release of his Carried Me:
The Worship Project, Camp somehow found the time to have a personal life.
This would be an accomplishment for any artist in the rush of a career blooming as
quickly as this one; but for Jeremy Camp, finding new love, marrying and starting a
family is downright astonishing, considering the restoration needed to recover from a
tragedy that occurred not so very long ago. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
The first question is: Is this guy driven or what?
Camp laughs at the question, which is further enhanced by the fact that, after
flights to meet up couldn’t be arranged, the only way possible to do this interview was
by cell phone as he rolled down the road in a car driven by his wife, Adrienne
(formerly of The Benjamin Gate), and accompanied by their weeks-old daughter
Isabella Rose, toward the next stop on his fall tour.
“You know, I remember back in the Spring of 2003: We had 12 shows in a row, and
we were traveling in a van then. I had to go straight into the studio after that, and I
thought, ‘Is this all worth it?’ And earlier this year my dad, who has been a great
january 05 ccm 29
7:26 PM
Page 30
mentor in my life, said, ‘This is a time in your life when you’re not tied
down with a child and when your wife is able and willing to travel with
you. If you feel led and are able to dig deep these first couple years,
then, by all means, do it.’
“The fact is, it has felt right and though I’ve been crazy busy, I’ve been
at peace with what seemed to be just getting everything out that
was inside me. I look back about two and a half years ago when I
went on my first tour (“Festival Con Dios”) and [think about] what my
goals and desires were then, compared to my realities now. I never
thought my ministry would be thriving as much as it is, let alone have
a wife and child.
“My dad came up for the show last night, and we had breakfast
together this morning. He said, ‘God is really blessing you. Be
grateful for what He’s giving you and enjoy it… but don’t ever take it
for granted.’ Believe me, I don’t. Yes, I’ve worked hard; but, ultimately,
it’s God putting His hand of blessing on my life and ministry, and it’s
very humbling.”
Blessings, indeed. Besides the six-pack of No. 1 songs from Stay, the
album sold remarkably well (almost 325,000 copies); and last year’s
Dove Awards saw Camp walk away with both “New Artist of the Year”
and “Male Vocalist of the Year” accolades. Not bad for a guy who
thought he was going to be a professional football player a decade or
so ago.
But time and life have a way of changing plans. And most of Camp’s
fans know the story by now—of how Jeremy lost his first wife, Melissa,
to cancer in early 2001, the test of his faith that followed and the songs
that document that struggle, most of which appear on Stay.
And one can’t help but think there’s nothing more Jeremy would like
to do right now but stay… home, that is, after an all-too brief month off
the tour to see his first child born and help Adrienne. But it’s back on
the road all too soon, as Camp explains.
“I took a full month off of the tour, and it was amazing. But it was
really hard to leave my wife and child and go back out again. I’m with
them right now for a couple days, and I can’t believe how much she’s
already grown! But I’m very lucky to have a wife who really understands,
and when she says, ‘I know that this is what God called you to do,’ I
know she means it. Adrienne has lived this lifestyle and even toured
with me when she was first pregnant and even though she misses it, she
encourages me to do what I feel God calling me to do right now. I’m
very grateful for that.
“I shared this Scripture on the night of the Dove Awards from the
letter to the Ephesians, where it says that He does exceedingly
abundantly above what we can ask or even imagine. That is honestly
the way I feel about the past couple years. Where I came from in my
life, the hardships that I’ve been through, to look at the faithfulness of
God and see that there is hope at the end of these sufferings… it’s
Christ and His love. That’s what I can share with other hurting people.
The radio success, the album sales, the good reviews, the touring—
those are amazing blessings. But what I am most honored by is God
giving me this ministry. When I look at all these extra blessings, it just
blows me away.”
In discussing how he feels, knowing the platform he has now exceeds
not only that of his pastor/father but of what most pastors will reach in
their lifetimes, Camp replies thoughtfully, “Yeah, I know. My dad’s
church started with about 30 people and stayed that way for years,
then grew to about 100 and stayed that way for years and is now at
almost 200. But you’re right, for the most part, the ministry is very
thankless work. Our church is full of ex-cons, druggies trying to stay
clean, real street-level folks. This is why I say I’m humbled because I
know where I came from. I remember times when we didn’t know where
our next meal was coming from, and there would be a bag of groceries
on our steps.
“That’s why, for me, it’s so important when I go to minister that I walk
in with a mindset of, ‘How can I serve these people? What can we do
for you?’ I ask those questions because it’s important to me, and I have
that standard for the guys who work for me—that they have the
mindset of a servant.”
As the discussion continues, it’s becoming clear that Jeremy takes his
music ministry seriously—and calls it as such quite purposefully and
without apology.
“I hear the comments that people in music ministry lack
professionalism and leave the art behind, but all I can say is this: I work
hard on my recordings to make them as good or better than anything
out there on the radio. But I know that, ultimately, it’s secondary to the
ministry God has given me because if I just do music and don’t live the
message behind it, somebody please slap me around and tell me to stop!
If you’re going to represent Christ, you are going to have that platform,
and you need to be that example.”
From hits to hooks to… hits
So how does a guy go from jock to rock? It’s not exactly your everyday garage band story, that’s for sure. And where did Camp learn to
write songs? As Jeremy explains it, in the beginning, there was…
Christian rock.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I remember being taken to concerts, and
there were Christian bands like Whiteheart, Mylon (LeFevre) & Broken
Heart, Rez Band, Undercover, Altar Boys. We’d go to the “Ichthus
Festival” every year, and I loved it. It wasn’t until later, in high school,
that I started listening to secular stuff. And then my dad played guitar
and wrote songs, so I was around that; and he taught me a few chords
on the guitar. He was into sports, too, and sports became a huge part of
my life for a long time. But by the time I was 16, I had strayed pretty far
from the Lord, and this one day I just sat down and wrote my first song
called ‘Set Me Free.’ It wasn’t much, but it came from my heart because
30 ccm january 05
7:27 PM
Page 31
I wanted God to set me free from my own sin that was making me
miserable. I played it for my dad (though I said I wrote it for my sister),
and he encouraged me to write more. Other than that, all I can say is I
knew what I liked and knew what I heard in my head and tried to make
it happen on my guitar.”
Just sat down and wrote? Uh… OK. There must be something the
rest of us hacks are missing.
But regardless of how naturally songwriting seems to have come to
Camp, there is something almost supernatural about the way his first
album and the songs on it connected so quickly and powerfully with
Christian music enthusiasts. How does he explain it?
“You know, everyone knows that music is a powerful tool that reaches
down into the human soul. When I wrote the songs on Stay, I was going
through the hardest place in my life, and I wrote about it pretty
personally. I just wrote from my heart because it was a way for me to
express my feelings. The book of Corinthians speaks of… comforting
others the way we have been comforted, and I knew that it would
connect in that way because everyone has hardships and struggles.
“I know I’m not the best songwriter or the most artful lyricist who has
these deep, introspective lyrics or the greatest singer, for that matter. I
mean, trust me, to take the stage at the Dove Awards to sing ‘Take My
Life’ after Smokie Norful just slammed it out of the ballpark makes you
go, ‘Why me, Lord?’ But I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that
when I do what I do, I’m doing what God has called me to do. Not
everyone is going to like my songs or my voice or my hair—or
whatever—but I believe there is a certain set of people God has led me
to minister to, and I’m trying to be faithful to do that.
“To be honest with you, what I think is maybe the coolest thing
about the success of Stay and my music, in general, is that to look at the
facts on paper, you could say this shouldn’t have happened. I’m not a
trained musician, I’m not on a major label, and many of the songs on
Stay were ‘harder’ musically than most Christian radio stations play. But
what happened, happened, and I believe that it was plainly and simply
the hand of God. It’s ironic, but we seem to forget that in this industry
we need to get back to the simplicity of our walk with the Lord, the
simplicity of the ministry where God called us, the simplicity of serving
Him and, from that, watching what God wants to do.”
OK. So what about the hundreds of other Christian musicians who
are equally devoted, humble and servant-like, whose albums tank or
those who never get to record at all?
“Right. I have friends in another band who’ve done OK, but I don’t
know why they haven’t done better. I know their hearts, and they have
true hearts. I certainly don’t think I’m more spiritual than them. I know
all the stupid mistakes I’ve made more than anyone… except God. I
guess it’s just something that God has chosen to do for His purposes.
That’s all I know to say. That’s why I say it’s humbling.”
Restored... really?
Somehow, amidst everything else, Camp found time to write and
record a new album of songs called Restored, which was released in
November. Judging by his initial comments, Camp seems pleased with
the recording.
“We put a lot of effort into it. I found some amazing players, and we
had incredible engineers and mixers work on it, including Chris LordAlge (Madonna, Prince, Tim McGraw), who mixed half the record. I
worked with Aaron Sprinkle (Thousand Foot Krutch, Joy Electric,
Kutless), who’s an indie legend in the Northwest and, of course, Adam
Watts (Avalon, PAX 217) and Andy Dodd (Avalon, Rick Muchow), who
are two of the most talented people I’ve ever met. I think we’ve made a
total step ‘up’ in production quality this time around. The sound is real
big, all of the strings are real, and I’m real happy with it.”
january 05 ccm 31
7:27 PM
Page 32
The album’s title song, “Restored,” seems both a declarative anthem
of healing (“You have restored me/From my feeble and broken soul”) and an
introspective paradox (“All this time I’ve wandered around/Searching for the
things I’ll never know”). For Camp to make the claim of restoration and
healing so soon after his Melissa’s death seems unrealistic, especially in
light of how busy he has been the last few years with ministry, music,
new marriage and family?
For the first time in the interview, the up-until-now fast-talking Camp
pauses and takes a breath. “That’s a really cool question, actually,” he
says before answering.
“That song was birthed as a result of me taking time out and letting
God deal with my heart, and I can honestly tell you that God has
healed my heart. It’s hard to explain to people who think, ‘It’s going to
take three years or five years to heal.’ It’s between God and me dealing
with my heart, and I know what He’s done and given me beyond what
I could have ever imagined.
“And I have not suppressed my emotions—believe me. I have many
people in my life, who I love and respect, who keep me accountable.
They know my heart because I have shared it with them, and I can
confidently say that God has restored my life.
“Now, having said that, of course there are going to be times when
certain situations will remind me of the pain that I went through during
that time; but it’s not an overwhelming thing now where I question God
about His love for me—which I did during the worst of it. But I see the
hand of God restoring my life today and bringing me new love and life
through my wife and new child, and it’s amazing.”
Restoring? That’s not the same as restored. And at the risk of
seeming trivial over the usage of the word, one wonders if the same
broken-hearted people who resonated with the sentiments of the
songs from Stay will relate as well to an album that begins with such a
sure statement.
Camp takes another breath and explains further. “I can say, ‘You have
restored me from my feeble and broken soul’ because that hopeless feeling is
gone, and I have been restored from that. I’m not saying, ‘Everything’s
fine.’ There will always be challenges in my life.
“And, believe me, I remember when I was down in the depths with
my first wife dying and people saying to me, ‘If you just had faith’ and
me telling them to get out of my face. I had plenty of faith to believe
God could heal Melissa, and so did plenty of others who were praying
for her. For some reason, God chose not to heal her, and that’s all I can
say about that. So, yes, God has brought me up from those depths and
restored me… but the memory of that pain will always be there.”
The three “Es” and more
When asked both what he thinks his fans are looking for at a Camp
concert and what he hopes to bring to them, it’s obvious that this is a
subject that Jeremy has given plenty of thought.
“I think they are looking for someone to be personal,” he begins.
“Someone to talk to them, not at them, both onstage and offstage. I love
people, and I hope and pray that comes across.
“On my end, I want my band to be 100 percent top notch, that our
production is done well and that we give people their money’s worth
from an entertainment standpoint. That goes without saying, I guess;
but I really feel strongly about that. Then I want people to come
expecting to be touched spiritually, and my goal is to do that and point
them to Christ. I have what I call the ‘three Es,’ meaning I want to
encourage and comfort those who are going through hard times, I want
to exhort those who need to be slapped out of their lethargy and
selfishness and then, of course, to evangelize, to bring the good news of
the gospel. I think I’m called to minister in all those ways, though not
necessarily all at the same time.”
Jeremy Camp is a busy young man, to be sure. But he’s also realistic
about the nature of both the music business and the business of
32 ccm january 05
ministry. He’s been around both long enough to get the reality checks
and knows he won’t be on top of the charts forever. In thinking about
long-term goals, his thoughts bring him back to his own roots—not
unlike his recent move back to his hometown in Indiana, where he
attends the church his father pastors.
“The future? You know, I love the church; and my wife is the same
way. Adrienne’s started doing Bible studies with some of the women in
the church and working with the youth. I feel like down the road I’m
going to be more involved with a local church, either as a youth pastor
or working with my dad in some capacity. We just both have a desire to
reach out beyond just touring and recording music.
“I want to try and do more for kids than the church typically does. I
don’t think I’ve got the magic formula to make ‘em love God or
something, but I just think the ongoing challenge to the church for
adolescents is to try—with every new generation—to find a way to
meet them where they’re at. People always try and change them or tell
them where they think they should be, and it never works. How you do
that and not compromise the standards Jesus taught will always be a
challenge, but I don’t think it’s impossible. I think it starts with just
loving them, being there for them and just listening to them and sharing
the Word of God with them when they’re ready. The gospel has stayed
relevant for 2000 years and thousands of generations. It’s our job to
share it, and it’s God’s work from there.” ccm
8:47 PM
Page 33
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Page 34
As if creating the most
ambitious album of a
distinguished 12-year career
wasn’t enough, Caedmon’s Call
has unveiled Share the Well—the
world music CD and subsequent
tour—as a profound outlet to
shed redemptive light on one of
the world’s darkest secrets.
34 ccm january 05
7:30 PM
Page 35
From left: Josh Moore, Danielle Young, Cliff Young,
Andrew Osenga, Garett Buell, Todd Bragg, Jeff Miller
f you were to take a quick glance at Caedmon’s Call’s
impressive track record since the group’s inception 12 years ago, you might
assume this talent-filled band had discovered some formula for success. After
all, even before signing its first major label deal in 1997, the popular
independent band had sales in excess of 40,000 albums. Then Caedmon’s first label
release sold more copies its first week out than any Christian market debut prior. And
while going on to log 1.5 million albums in career sales, the band—which includes
Cliff Young (vocals, guitar), Danielle Young (vocals), Andrew Osenga (vocals,
acoustic/electric guitar), Josh Moore (keys, B3, accordian, harmonica), Jeff Miller
(bass), Todd Bragg (drums) and Garett Buell (percussion)—has landed 14 top five
Christian radio hits (half of which went No. 1) and taken home multiple Dove awards.
The group’s secret? “Caedmon’s is unique in that if there were ever any normal way
to do things, Caedmon’s always did it the other way. We did everything backward.
That wasn’t necessarily intentional; that was just the way we worked,” says Bragg.
Take the band’s songwriting history, for instance. Songs that have made the final cut
and appeared on Caedmon’s Call albums often started with relationships first and then
passed creative muster. Most notably, founding member Aaron Tate quit performing
with Caedmon’s years before the group signed its first record deal, yet he remained one
of the band’s principal songwriters over the course of several releases. Even on
Caedmon’s new album, Share the Well (Essential), the group’s 14th release, independent
artist Randall Goodgame was welcomed as a writer or co-writer of seven songs,
including the title track.
january 05 ccm 35
9:04 PM
Page 36
“We always put the songs on the albums that we felt were the
strongest—whoever wrote them,” says Bragg. “And so there was never
a formula or a calculated quota that we had to meet.
“Randall’s an incredible writer,” he continues. “He’s one of the only
writers I know who can really take a song and write it for somebody
else. And that’s really hard to do with Caedmon’s because it’s its own
monster. For him to do that—and it to work so well with what we do—
has just been an amazing thing to stumble across. And he actually
traveled with us to work on this album.”
Traveled? Do we mean this Texan seven-piece band simply packed up
and flew to Nashville for two or three months of studio time or set up
shop in Los Angeles or New York to record?
Well, what do you know about “world music”?
World music is one of the only styles of music that’s actually
described literally by its given name. (Think about it: What do “rock,”
“pop,” “country” and “classical” actually mean?) World music is, indeed,
music that spans the globe—music with rhythms, instruments and vocal
stylings that are distinctly native to a specific region of the world.
While Christian artists such as Andraé Crouch and Paul Q-Pek (of
One Bad Pig fame) have occasionally tested the waters of world music,
Caedmon’s Call is the first Christian artist to take the whole-hearted
plunge, recording Share the Well with Christian musicians in India,
Ecuador, Brazil and Stateside on the band’s home turf. The result? In
addition to being the Christian community’s first real world music
album, Share the Well, which released in October, may just be the most
incredible Christian market release of 2004. Certainly, it’s hands-down
the most ambitious.
“The reason we wanted to do a world record originally was
because of the music,” explains Cliff. “We loved the Indian influence—
the tablas (drums) and all that kind of stuff—and the Brazilian
music, the percussion; and [we wanted to] incorporate those things into
our songs.”
“We’ve had a vision for a world album for years,” affirms Bragg.
“We’ve always just liked different kinds of music, and Garett [Buell]
would always have all these random artists—different world
musicians—he would let us hear and turn us onto.”
But creating the culturally vibrant album wouldn’t be the half of it.
36 ccm january 05
Caedmon’s Call was about to encounter an international dilemma—an
ancient curse that, to this day, remains one powerful government’s
guarded secret.
“I think it was Todd, three or four years ago, who suggested that
we could incorporate Compassion International and some of the needs
of these countries into this record,” recalls Cliff. “And everyone was
like, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’ That was before we really knew
about India.”
Knew about India?
“There’s a progression that happens,” explains Cliff, peering out from
under this week’s resident ball cap. “First, you hear [a culture’s] music,
and you get into the music. You like the way it sounds, and then you
see it in concert and are like, ‘Oh, wow… That’s what he’s playing—
that’s interesting.’ And then you kind of start getting into the culture,
where it came from, why they play that instrument, who plays it. And
then, inevitably, as you’re getting deeper, you start getting into the
needs and the issues in those countries. And that’s how it progressed for
us. So, for India, it started because we love the tablas and the way they
sound. Then when we started hearing about the needs there, we would
talk about India and play tablas in the show.
“After hearing us do that during a concert in North Carolina, this guy
came up to us and was like, ‘My name’s Timothy. I’m from India, and I’m
a Dalit.’ I was like, ‘What’s that?’”
For Cliff and the rest of Caedmon’s Call, class was now in session.
Timothy went on to explain that openly discussing the true plight of
Dalits with people from other countries is considered extremely taboo
in Indian culture—especially by those in power. To examine the
background and current lifestyle of Dalits is to open the door for
troubling insight into India’s Hindu religion.
India’s social system is set up in four castes with the “untouchables”
(Dalits)—25 to 35 percent of India’s population—considered as
beneath any caste. Says Cliff, “There are more than 250 million Dalits
in India—in other words, about as many of them as there are people in
the United States. This has been going on for 3,500 years. Dalits are
treated like animals. They have no access to temples. And in schools
(when they are allowed to attend), Dalit kids sit on the floor in their
dirty clothes, while the upper caste kids are sitting in front of them at
7:33 PM
Page 38
desks in coats and ties. Dalits have no access to wells—they are not
allowed to dip their own buckets in and draw water themselves because
they’ll ‘pollute’ the well. They have to wait indefinitely, hoping for
someone to come along who’s willing to draw water for them.”
Even in today’s “modern” and “advanced” Indian culture, Dalit men
and women are sometimes spontaneously beaten to death for daring to
sneak water themselves. (A true story of this occurance is the
inspiration behind the album’s title.) It’s hard to fathom this taking place
in a country that’s one of the world’s “nuclear powers.”
Since the word Dalit literally means “oppressed,” most Indians who
are privileged enough to be born into the caste system refuse to call the
untouchables “Dalits.” Because of what their Hindu faith teaches, they
believe the untouchables are not oppressed. Rather, they are convinced
that the staggeringly difficult lives of the Dalits are actually deserved.
Remember: A core belief of the Hindu religion is reincarnation. Hindus
in India believe if you were born into a Dalit family, then, obviously, in
your previous life, you were not a good person and are now getting
exactly what you deserve. Sadly, millions upon millions of Dalits who
are practicing Hindus also believe this lie about themselves.
Says Cliff, “You hear all this stuff, and you’re going, ‘Man, this is
awful—I can’t believe this.’ But then to realize how many people there
are, to realize that there’s finally an opening for [another] religion of
any sort… It’s a total social movement. To them it’s like black and
white—there’s Hindu, there’s Islam, there’s Buddhism, there’s
Christianity [to choose from]. They had Muammar al-Gaddafi from
Libya fly Dalit leaders over from India to try and convince them that
Islam is the way to go. Then you have Buddhist people coming over
saying, ‘This is the way to go.’ In Christianity, you have people saying,
‘This is the way to go.’ The Dalits literally sit there and go, ‘We have a
choice—it’ll be Buddhist’ or whatever. It’s just totally different from us.
“When we were in India, we went to a meeting called ‘Meeting with
the King’ outside of Lucknow (city in the north central region of the
country), and there were 10,000 Dalits there. They had been literally
told, ‘Come meet with the one true God. Come meet with Him. Come
and hear.’ That’s it, and 10,000 people showed up outside in 110 degree
heat. I got to speak to them—preach to them, and we got to play music
for them.
“The reason Operation Mobilization and the Dalit Freedom
Network are getting involved in these things is because Dalits are
deciding to come to Christianity by 2,000 people a day. And these
(ministries) are then going to them personally and really sharing the
gospel and connecting them with churches.”
“The bottom line is, the gospel is the only answer. I mean, Jesus and
the woman at the well… What Jesus did was give her water to drink, to
an ‘unclean person,’ to someone a Jewish person is not supposed to talk
to—a Samaritan. And then the living water. So, we’re called to meet an
immediate need first—live the gospel first—and then preach the
gospel—living water. But, ultimately, the gospel is the only answer.
We’re involved in building a lot of wells now with an organization
called Living Water.”
“The answer to their social problems is the gospel,” affirms co-lead
vocalist Danielle, whose gentle, easy-going tone is a contrast to her
husband Cliff’s energetic, sometimes rapid speaking.
“It’s very popular for Christians not to think that today,” says Cliff,
“because Christians have preached the gospel without living the gospel
for so long.”
During last year’s one month trip to India, Ecuador and Brazil,
Caedmon’s Call members traveled with portable recording equipment,
writing songs as they went. In some cases the musicians they worked
with traveled from as far away as a three-day journey by train, standing
the duration of the trip, to record with Caedmon’s. A third of the way
through the stunning result, Caedmon’s Share the Well album, listeners
encounter the stirringly beautiful lament “Mother India.” The song was
co-written by Osenga, who became a member of the band two years ago
after serving as the frontman of former Forefront rock act The Normals.
38 ccm january 05
7:34 PM
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“What a statement that would be to all of India
for Americans—Christians, in particular—to
say, ‘We care about these people. They are
worth our time, money, effort, everything.” —
Danielle Young
“Father, forgive me, for I have not believed/Like Mother India, I have groaned and
grieved/Father, forgive me, I forgot your grace/Your Spirit falls on India and captured
me in your embrace.”
“That chorus is very much reflective of me going to India and going,
‘OK, this country doesn’t believe in You. And when I look at it and I
look at my life, a lot of times, neither do I,’” reveals Osenga, who had a
hand in writing six of the album’s tracks. “Through the experience of me
seeing what was going on in India, watching God just really move
there, reinvigorating the church... because of just seeing it, there was a
renewal in my own life.”
The second verse of “Mother India” contains the haunting lyric: “The
serpent spoke and the world believed its venom/Now we’re ten to a room or compared
to magazines.”
“Because [mankind has] believed the lies,” says Osenga, “we have 10
people living in a room [in India]. And then on the other side of the
world, we’re just comparing ourselves to magazines. [Both cultures] are
completely alienated, and they are both miserable.
“To me that’s kind of one thought because I’ve believed those lies.
And so has the government of India. And however the lie takes shape,
it’s the same lie—that we’re putting our hope in something other than
the truth of Christ.”
The power of this lie in India has been slowly undermined over the
years. Marcus Chacko, one of three world musicians performing with
Caedmon’s on the band’s current tour, is a Dalit. He explains how he
came to be born into a Christian home. “My grandparents actually used
to worship the sun, moon, the nature,” says Chacko. “They had their
own gods, but my clan belonged to the magician clan. They used to live
in the hills and just enjoy the nature, worked there and tilled the ground
and made flutes and other things from the forest. That is how they used
to live. Anglican missionaries came to India, and they did a lot of
charitable social service for the poor people who were working the land
as laborers. Our people were obliged to the charity of these
missionaries. That is how they were first attracted to the gospel. When
these missionaries preached the gospel, my grandparents were attracted
to that.”
40 ccm january 05
So if this tragedy is happening to so many millions and has been
perpetuated for so long, one can’t help but wonder: What about the
United States government—what’s its role in all this?
Recalls Danielle, “When Emmanuel (Singh), our tabla player, was
having trouble getting his work visa to come over from India, we ended
up having somebody we knew, a congressman, write a letter to their
government trying to encourage the process along. One of the
responses from one of their government leaders was, ‘Why would a U.S.
Senator care about this guy—an untouchable?’ What a statement that
would be to all of India for Americans—Christians, in particular—to
say, ‘We care about these people. They are worth our time, money,
effort, everything.’”
“Most [of our government leaders] don’t know this is happening,”
adds Cliff. “They don’t believe it. I mean, the second largest foreign
lobbyist group in Washington, D.C., as far as the amount of money, are
the upper caste Indians. They’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars
coming out. Like when National Geographic—about a year ago—did a
cover story all about the Dalits. It was the cover of National Geographic,
and it was just pushed aside. They told people in D.C. who confronted
them about it, ‘Oh no, no, no… It’s not true—it’s not happening.’ And
the leaders in India told their own people that National Geographic was a
missionary magazine—’Christian propaganda.’”
A few hours after this interview, Caedmon’s Call takes the stage
before a capacity crowd of 1,200-plus. Strategically located a half hour’s
drive from three different colleges, the First Baptist Church of London,
Ky., proves to be an ideal setting for a Caedmon’s concert. This stop,
part of the group’s 30-city “Share the Well” tour, reveals a seasoned
band that has not only retained the vitality of its youth but managed to
actually increase its sheer intensity of performance along with the
skillful artistry nurtured by years of experience.
“In India you have almost 300 million people who have been kicked
aside and stepped on; and, yet, it’s the worst-kept secret in the world,”
Cliff says from stage as he starts to bring the audience’s first night of
Dalit awareness to a close. “They’re desperate. What are we going to do
as the church?”
Reminding the crowd again of the Bible’s commands to care for the
poor, he says, “We’re not just called to preach the gospel; we’re called
to live the gospel.”
On their way into the venue, audience members had passed an
impressive set-up in the main lobby. In explaining how they could
respond, Cliff tells the band’s fans about each opportunity. First, there’s
the booth for the Dalit Freedom Network ( This
Indian Christian organization builds schools for Dalit children,
improves medical assistance and economic development for Dalits and
champions their human rights. The second booth features
internationally made pillows, handbags, quilts and jewelry sold by the
Bajalia Trading Company ( with all proceeds going towards
“earthquake rehabilitation and economic development for third world
artisans.” The third table highlights Caedmon’s longtime partners
Compassion International (, the Christian relief
organization that helps more than 600,000 children in more than 20
countries through individual sponsorships. The final section is, of
course, the place were fans can purchase Caedmon’s Call’s merchandise.
Cliff gives his audience tangible ways they can respond by
connecting with one or more of these organizations. “You can
commit to praying for the Dalits,” he says. “You can commit to giving
money to help out. You can commit to starting awareness groups in
your area—raise awareness about the Dalits. You can even take a
missions trip over there.”
And in a move that’s not as common as it should be for Christian
artists in a concert setting, Cliff instructs—more like orders—his band’s
fans, “Before you go to the tables with our CDs and T-shirts, go and
check the other tables. If you’re not involved in this in one way or
another, you need to get involved.” ccm
7:35 PM
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7:36 PM
Page 43
Peter Furler’s story today unfolds like any Bob Dylan song—long
and meandering, colorful and weighty, slightly unbelievable,
nevertheless, vulnerable and honest. From the Franklin, Tenn.based psychiatric hospital-turned-recording-studio, the Newsboys
frontman relays his own epic of upheaval, downward spiral and,
now, ascent.
This conflict between man and himself is a universal theme that
makes for Pulitzer prize-winning literature and world-renowned
art. For Furler, it’s the stuff of inspired melody and lyrics. His band’s
latest album, Devotion, released in November. Furler cites the followup to the Dove-award winning worship CD, Adoration, as a natural
outgrowth of recent events in his life.
But the new CD release doesn’t compare to the spiritual renewal
he’s experiencing, and it is, he says, “far more exciting than music.”
About four years ago, the Aussie-born singer/songwriter and his
band, the Newsboys, comprised of Furler (lead vocals), Jeff
Frankenstein (keyboards), Phil Joel (bass), Duncan Phillips (drums)
and Bryan Olesen (guitars), were enjoying success beyond what
they could have imagined—gold records, sold-out tours, the
adoration of audiences and media alike. But things couldn’t have
been more broken under the surface. “Everything in my life was
falling apart,” Furler says.
His marriage was strained, and his faith had lapsed. Growing up
a pastor’s kid, Furler says, had a strange, lasting effect on him.
Instead of attending youth group and Sunday services in his youth,
he developed a bit of a rebellious spirit. Over the years, he’d moved
away from reading Scripture with regularity.
“I couldn’t judge my thoughts and attitudes or other people’s
opinion because I had nothing to judge them against,” Furler says.
“I didn’t know where the truth was, and I was led all the wrong
And though he had the knowledge of biblical truth planted in
him from earlier years, Furler says it wasn’t evident in his life. “I
knew Jesus was the way, but I was lost. I knew He was the truth, but
there wasn’t much truth in me. I knew He was the life, but my life
didn’t look any different than anyone else’s,” he says.
Furler plunged into a decent he calls a “crash in slow motion.”
“Sometimes when you get floored, that’s the place where God likes
to find you,” Furler explains. He took to heart the famous 20thcentury theologian Thomas Merton’s words that “even the desire to
desire God comes from Him.” And although, Furler, a voracious
reader, had acquired great knowledge of Merton, Chesterton and
Augustine’s work over the years, he hadn’t returned to the source.
Thus, he began petitioning God for a hunger for His Word.
Furler began building a new faith-based perspective as he
devoured the Scriptures. God’s voice became apparent in his life as
he used the Bible as a gauge for others’ opinions and circumstances.
A new sense of peace settled on him, and his marriage was on the
mend; yet something was still lacking.
As he searched the Word for the missing link, Furler says what
struck him most was the value of community and the lack thereof
in his own life.
“It’s not good for man to be alone,” he says, citing Genesis and
the creation of man. “I had nothing against church; I just had no
spiritual family.”
Furler says his idea of church was riding around in his car on
Sunday morning listening to audiotapes of Nashville-based Rev.
Ray McCullum.
As he gained an understanding of the scriptural principle of
community, Furler says God blessed him with friends “worth
following,” including the Rev. Rice Brooks, pastor of Furler’s current
church home.
“Accountability,” once a term he’d associated with gossipy small
groups and self-help circles, became a source of comfort once he
began developing relationships with other godly men.
“You can explain the word ‘accountability’ to someone, and it just
sounds like networking,” Furler acknowledges. “But I’ve found that
it just means living in fellowship with one another. Now when I go
to church, I don’t go for the music, the décor, the atmosphere. I go
because it’s people walking together in the light.”
What Furler is finding these days is that “rock & roll is boring
in comparison to the true church.” This artist, who once viewed
his purpose as entertaining audiences, is not the same person now,
he says.
“In these last few years, I’ve lived my life, thinking, ‘I’ve got to
seek first the Kingdom and love my wife as unto the Lord. That’s
all I can do right now,” he says. “I know who I am in Christ, and all
the other stuff is going to burn away in a beautiful way.”
“Newsboys was my ‘food’ for many years,” acknowledges Furler,
“but I was starving.” What sustains him now is God’s purpose. “I
don’t care about what people think or how our record [sells]
because that’s not my food anymore. It’s about seeking God’s
Kingdom and having someone in my life who’s gone before me,
who’ll stand by my side.”
He recalls an influential, impromptu Bible study several years
ago at the studio with Rev. McCullum. The whole band was present
and had recognized the crisis brewing, Furler says. McCullum
spoke truth that served as a healing salve for the band.
McCullum talked about the church, what it meant to live in
community and how to use one’s influence in one’s respective peer
After that, something changed in the group’s dynamic. Each
member gradually locked into his respective church. The
Newsboys members re-examined their relationships with each
other. “Because of our pastors, [the relationships] are being
restored,” Furler says.
Newsboys keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein confirms the change.
“Within the band, we’ve always been ‘guy’s guys,’ who didn’t
encourage or compliment each other. But we are seeing the Lord do
His work.”
Furthermore, Frankenstein says Furler’s personal testimony has
inspired and reshaped the band. “The leader of any group sets the
tone, and Peter isn’t the same guy I met 11 years ago. He’s opened
up, and his personality has changed.”
Frankenstein adds that the Newsboys have also realized what an
example they can be to people and also mourns the fact that “we’ve
neglected that.
january 05 ccm 43
7:40 PM
Page 44
(L-R): Jeff Frankenstein, Duncan Phillips, Peter Furler, Bryan Olesen, Phil Joel
“We didn’t realize how much we were missing and how much
more there was. I know there are people out there who are like
us. I know there are fathers out in the audience struggling to
keep their families together, and there are kids who are
skeptical of the church. For us, as a band, [our goal now is]
encouraging the church and other believers.”
The dramatic change in Furler’s relationships with his wife, his
bandmates and his Creator continues to humble and amaze
him, he says. To maintain perspective, he measures his actions
against one standard:
“The greatest question I can ask myself now is, ‘Am I worth
following?’” Furler says. But he’s quick to point out he doesn’t
need a multitude.
“Jesus told us to go into all the nations and make disciples. He
didn’t tell us to go sell records. The only way I can make
disciples is if I am a disciple. That’s how we are going to make
a difference.”
Furler says the most important thing he’s learned from the
experience is the importance of knowing Scripture and the
value of memorizing it. “When the storms of life blew in, I was
always blown over because I lacked that foundation,” he admits.
“What you put in front of your eyes and in your ears will
shape you,” says Furler, “and we need to be shaped by God’s
Word. It’s pure, it’s living and active.”
These days, Furler and his band are pointing audiences
toward the devotional they use, The Purple Book, co-written by
Furler’s pastor, Rice Brooks. The Purple Book, slated to be in stores
next year, outlines basic biblical doctrines.
Furler says he’d like to see the book, now free at Newsboys
concerts, in the hands of a million people over the next year.
“If we are going to spend our time out on the road and leave
our families, we want to encourage people to be a part of the
church Jesus is building,” he says. “Our music will be forgotten
at some point, but the Word won’t.” ccm
44 ccm january 05
The band’s latest release, Devotion, follows up the extremely popular
worship record, Adoration, and some question whether these rock & rollers
are going in a new direction. Its 10 songs are upbeat and vertical in nature,
and Furler employs some of the worship circle’s best tunesmiths to co-write,
including Tim Hughes and Steve Taylor.
But, according to Furler, there’s no grand ideological shift that’s taken
place here. Rather, these songs are just conduits for relaying his recent
experience. “Since I’ve been so excited about the church recently, there was
definitely more of a corporate feel on Devotion. But I just made this record.
I didn’t try to make a ‘worship record,’” he says.
He does, however, cite one particular experience a few years back that
changed his approach to writing songs. As he was sitting in his living room
banging out tunes on his guitar, he felt a stirring in his heart.
“God was saying to me, ‘Tomorrow night you’re going to be in an arena
filled with people. How will you lead them to worship Me?’”
“And I couldn’t do it. I felt so convicted,” he says. “That’s when I wrote ‘It
Is You.’” Furler says from then on he approached his craft with an eternal
perspective, and his songwriting hasn’t been the same since.
He eschews the question of whether the Newsboys are jumping on some
kind of worship bandwagon. “If you’re writing a worship song for the wrong
motives or to sell records, then… people can sniff that out. They know a
phony. There are more worship records out there that don’t sell than worship
records that do sell.”
As for the Newsboys’ next release?
“I don’t know what it will sound like yet,” says Furler.
But he does offer one hint about the content. “I feel like it will be about
restoration,” he explains. “You adore something, often from a distance. To be
devoted to it, you have to come a little bit closer. When you finally touch it, if
it’s something good, it will start to restore you. And that’s what this process
has been like for me. I’ve started to adore the things of God, now I’ve
become more devoted to them, and they’ve begun to restore me.” —L . C .
7:41 PM
Page 46
46 ccm january 05
7:42 PM
Page 47
Speaking of future plans, Nic still isn’t quite sure how the band will
proceed with its tour in support of So Natural just yet. At press time, the 27to rev up crowds night after night from stage and the kind of
year-old says that what ends up happening is contingent on the success of
magnetic, movie-star smile that probably leads to a few
the project. But what he does know for certain is that the past few years on
school-girl crushes as a result, Salvador’s Nic Gonzales doesn’t
the road have brought about a lot in the way of maturity, something he
seem to have the usual, commanding frontman persona down. When it
sounds as if he wasn’t necessarily expecting.
comes to his demeanor, he’s definitely no Jack White or Mick Jagger.
“I think the thing that has affected me most is actually living out on the
Instead, he’s a little more reserved, even a little shy at times—especially
road together, growing up and trying to do my best to be a responsible
when talking about his contributions to the band’s long-standing reputation
man—not a responsible boy or a young man. When we started, obviously,
as one of Christian music’s most electrifying live acts.
our responsibilities were far less,” he asserts. “As we got older they get to
“You know it’s one of those things where you do the best that you know
becoming a little more and more. But I don’t think any of us are feeling the
how to do and hope that people still keep believing in you,” Gonzales says.
pressures of being old yet. We might be getting there in a couple years; but,
“The guys make it really easy. It’s one of those true privileges in life to be
at the same time, I’m not tired. I’m not exhausted. I’m not worn out. I’d like
able to have such a great band. I am still honored to be able to do what I
to think there’s enough rest for the weary.”
do. I am a little more comfortable than I used to be; but at the same time,
This more grown-up outlook has even translated to what occupies the
I’m still humbled by it all.”
band’s time on the bus. “We used to play a lot of video games, but now we’re
Now more than two-and-a-half years after Salvador’s self-titled majormore into reading and watching music DVDs,” Nic says.
label debut, the road warriors, who’ve logged thousands of miles by tour
So what’s his favorite literary find of late? “I’m reading a book called When
bus from coast to coast, have released four albums (with combined sales of
I Lay My Isaac Down right now,” he comments. “It’s a pretty interesting book
more than 240,000 units), including two studio efforts, a Spanish-language
about a lady and her son, who just murdered someone. It’s the unthinkable
album (Con Poder, for which the band won a 2004 Dove Award for “Spanish
as a Christian family. And she’s just talking about how, when you think
Language Album of the Year”) and a live disc. And with this newest release,
everything is so perfect and something freakish happens in your family, you
So Natural, the band—which includes Gonzales, his cousin Josh on bass,
are forced to be able to lean on God again. It’s pretty amazing.”
keyboardist Chris Bevins, trumpeter Pablo Gabaldon, guitarist Joel
When talking about his reading,
Cavazos, trombonist Jared Solis,
Nic’s laidback tone picks up a little.
percussionist Estaban “Chamo” Lopez
But a new, more fiery side of the
and drummer Robert Acuna—set out
frontman is finally revealed toward
to do something rather ambitious.
the end of the interview when he’s
Instead of keeping the music spiffed up
asked what he’d especially want
with lots of studio polish, the band
people to know about his band. In
hoped to capture the same frenetic
fact, it’s almost like talking to a
energy of a Salvador live show on
different person, someone with an
songs that addressed more everyday
outspoken posture like tobyMac.
life issues than the more straight“I think, right now, our biggest
forward praise & worship leanings of
deal is that we don’t necessarily
albums past.
want to be everybody’s favorite
“When I started writing songs for
band in the whole world. However,
this record, I wanted to actually bring
I think that the body of Christ
things to mind concerning the
needs to see that there are other
simplicity of living everyday life and
genres of music out there. For
how complicated that can be,” Nic
instance, how many Latin bands
says. “I love praise & worship music,
have there been in Christian music
and I hope that everything I do will be
since you or I’ve been around?
viewed as praise & worship. But there
Virtually none. Jaci Velasquez was
are a couple songs we sing that we felt
close, but she didn’t start singing
like were talking to individuals who
Latin-style music until after her
may be ‘down and out’ or not feeling
first couple records,” Nic says. “It’s almost disappointing to me to see that
loved. I think that we just wanted to talk to the body of Christ a little more
the body of Christ is not versatile enough to have more Hispanic bands and
this time.”
more gospel bands as part of the Christian music world. As much as I would
And not only does the CD have more of that live sound the band
like to say it’s all peachy and perfect, there are great musicians out there,
intended this time around, but there’s also more of a distinctive blues and
and nobody will ever know because they’re Latin or gospel or whatever.
modern rock feel throughout that adds extra layers of flavor to its
“I want to encourage people to open their minds up a little bit and
traditional Latin sound. That brand of musical accessibility particularly
remember that the body of Christ is versatile. We can all mix and match,
shines on Salvador’s cover of the Top-40 smash “Heaven” by fellow Texans
but the reality is that we’re not mixed and matched. I hope we can somehow
Los Lonely Boys. “It’s such a great song, and the guys who wrote it are just
build some bridges along with other people. If we come through town
kind of everything that we love about music,” Nic says. “Obviously, with
and there was, say, a Fred Hammond concert two nights before, I can
them being Hispanic, they play some Texas guitar swing and blues. And I
almost guarantee you that no one from the Fred Hammond concert would
think we were also drawn to cover it because they wrote a song that I
come to ours and vice versa. And it’s like, ‘What is that?’ How in the world
believe touched the nation. We started talking about it, and we said, ‘Man,
is that going to work out? I know everyone wishes that their churches were
we gotta sing that!’”
multi-racial and things like that, but I think that’s part of our new thing with
Now that the song has a home on So Natural, has Los Lonely Boys had an
trying to lift the body up. We want to play all styles because we want
opportunity to hear it Salvador-style? “Yeah, they have actually,” Nic
people to come that like all styles of music. That would be the thing I’d
nonchalantly offers. “They were actually in Australia when we e-mailed the
really love to talk about.”
MP3. Apparently, they got a really big kick out of it—thought it was the
And it looks like he’s already off to a great start…ccm
ultimate flattery, I guess. They’re just cool guys; if you’ve ever watched
them being interviewed, they’re super nice people. Hopefully we can do
something together in the future.”
january 05 ccm 47
7:31 PM
Page 48
12 9 8
7 10 14 13
19 11 16
* At Me!:
1 235
arched” musings.
A compendium of arguably useless and “rese
Chris Wel
Buy My Book!
5 proofs of the secret connection
Christian music and novelists
It’s not like there hasn’t been a longstanding connection between “Christian
music” and “books.” After all, there have been several biographies and
autobiographies detailing the lives and testimonies of the likes of Keith
Green, Bill Gaither and even Bob Dylan. (You know, during those three weeks
when he did “Christian music.”) And, of course, there are scores of
devotional books either written by or including contributions from your
favorite Christian music artists. But today we choose to explore that more
narrow space, that intersection of Christian music and the world of fiction.
Rich Mullins
The longtime record
producer for the late Rich
Mullins, Reed Arvin first put
himself on the literary map in
1994 with The Wind in the
Wheat (Nelson), a novel infused
with his knowledge of the inner
workings of the Christian music biz. Arvin has since
gone on to write best-selling mainstream thrillers.
His latest is The Last Goodbye (HarperCollins).
Jonathan Pierce
Wife of recording artist Jonathan Pierce, Denise
Hildreth was a successful songwriter before she
wrote her first novel, Savannah from Savannah
(Westbow Press), the story of one woman’s
attempts to make a place for herself in the
charming Georgia town. The next book in the series
will be released in 2005.
1. MercyMe never once played with Frank Sinatra.
2. Of the five songs in the book about the second
coming, only Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been
Ready” was also a protest of the policy implications
of global economic inequity—or something.
3. The Audio Adrenaline classic “Big House” was
almost used as the theme for a prison drama until
the producers realized it was about something else.
4. Plans for a major tour with Payable on Death (P.O.D.)
and Point of Grace (P.O.G.) fell apart when nobody
bothered to contact either group.
5. Apparently, this “Christian music” thing has been
around longer than Jars of Clay. (Who knew?)
Jagged Doctrine
The suspense writer with the most buzz
in the Christian market right now is easily
Ted Dekker, who recently wrapped up his
ambitious trilogy, Black, Red and White
(Westbow Press). Indie band Jagged Edge
was so inspired, they created a
soundtrack—Black, Red, White: The Circle
Trilogy Soundtrack.
Cindy Morgan
Husband of Cindy
Morgan, Sigmund
Brouwer is one of the
real workhorses in
Christian publishing,
with science fiction,
thrillers and historical
fiction, not to mention
children’s books and
apologetics, to his credit. His latest novel, The Last
Disciple (Tyndale House), a collaboration with “Bible
Answer Man” Hank Haneegraff, is a thriller set
during the first-century.
48 ccm january 05
I write this page. I wrote a book. You do the math.
Forgiving Solomon Long (Harvest House), which
hits shelves this month, is a crime thriller
populated with thugs who argue about Broadway
musicals and ’70s sitcoms, a mob boss who pulls a
King Lear, a germophobic hit man and a detective
more worried about getting the bad guys than in
saving his own marriage. Oh, and one of the
characters listens to P.O.D.
[Congratulations to Chris on landing a favorable
book review in a recent issue of Publisher’s
Weekly, the mainstream industry’s leading trade
journal. —Editor]
1. Ice Cream
2. Avocados
3. Science Diet
Chicken Jerky
4. Wheat Bread
5. Science Diet Liver Jerky
Watch for Benji’s latest
movie, Off the Leash,
coming soon to DVD.
7:33 PM
Page 51
CCM Critics’ Picks
Our choices for the best Christian market
albums of 2004.
Christa Farris—
Contributing & Reviews
1. Delirious, World Service—And
I thought King of Fools was
2. Relient K, Mmhmm—
Growing up never sounded so
3. MuteMath, Reset EP—The
next best thing to a Police
4. Kendall Payne, Grown—
Totally worth the wait.
5. tobyMac, Welcome to
Diverse City—2004’s most
adventurous tour-de-genres.
6. Starflyer59, I Am the
Portuguese Blues—A great
diversion into gritty garage rock.
7. Shawn McDonald, Simply
Nothing—His sincerity makes
him stand out.
8. Derek Webb, I See Things
Upside Down—Compelling and
convicting commentary on
9. Mat Kearney, Bullet—
Hip-hop — bling bling + spiritual
consciousness = good listening.
10. Jason Morant, Abandon—
Poised to be one of worship
music’s next big artists.
Chris Well—
Contributing Editor
Stephanie Ottosen—
Managing Editor
Michael Ciani—
Contributing Editor
Jay Swartzendruber—
1. Tonex & The Peculiar
People, Out the Box—This
gospel rave-up is the most
ambitious—and brilliant—set
this year.
2. Mutemath, Reset EP—
Exquisite modern pop.
3. Lost Dogs, Mutt—Bold, new
acoustic arrangements of classic
4. Denison Marrs, Denison
Marrs—Dreamy, punchy, guitar
5. Mountain Heart, Force of
Nature—Bluegrass-infused pop
with surprising left turns.
6. Pillar, Where Do We Go
From Here—Big, melodic rock
is back!
7. Scott Krippayne, Gentle
Revolution—Piano-based songs
infused with wit, sadness and
8. tobyMac, Welcome to
Diverse City—Grooves and rocks
with thrilling and unexpected
9. Sixpence None the
Richer, The Best of Sixpence
None the Richer—Imperfectly
titled retrospective brings
together many great songs.
10. Seven & Seven Is, Fun
With Sound—Haunting set from
77s vets Michael Roe and Mark
Harmon is at times bittersweet
but always beautiful.
1. Caedmon’s Call, Share the
Well—No other album made me
1. Rachael Lampa, Rachael
Lampa—The most unjustly
overlooked album of the year.
Why haven’t you bought this
record yet?!
2. MuteMath, Reset EP—I
was converted 30 seconds into
their first song; they are that
3. Sarah Kelly, Take Me
Away—Confident, gutsy and out
of the box.
4. Smokie Norful, Nothing
Without You—When Smokie
sings “God Is Able,” I know that
He is.
5. Sandi Patty, Hymns of
Faith...Songs of Inspiration—A
class act continues her fine
legacy of dignity and grace.
6. Amy Grant, Greatest Hits
1988-2004—I appreciate the
songs from 1997’s Behind the
Eyes more with every year that
7. Bethany Dillon, Bethany
Dillon—I hope I’m this mature
when I grow up.
8. Selah, Hiding Place—Here’s
how much I love Selah: It’s my
least favorite of their albums, but
it still makes my Top 10 list.
9. Mat Kearney, Bullet—I relate
to “Trainwreck” all too well!
10. Charity Von, Charity
Von—The most promising
diamond in the rough since
Ashley Cleveland.
1. Sara Groves, The Other
Side of Something—If you’re
cry and cry (in a good way).
2. Various, Christ His Passion:
Remembering Sacrifice—Great
songwriting, interesting
collaborations and stellar
production—my worship record of
the year.
3. Derek Webb, I See Things
Upside Down—It’s a new Derek,
and it’s good.
4. Sara Groves, The Other
Side of Something—Two
producers and stellar
songwriting—classic Sara.
5. Mat Kearney, Bullet—A
debut CD that fuses rap, rock,
6. MuteMath, Reset EP—
Catchy, electronic pop/rock.
7. GRITS, Dichotomy A & B—
Two servings of slick rapping and
melodic hip-hop.
8. Shawn McDonald, Simply
Nothing—His West Coast vibe is
simply different—and very
9. Moya Brennan, Two
Horizons—Soothing, Celtic music
for the soul.
10. Fernando Ortega,
Fernando Ortega—The
consummate songwriter offers
lyrical portraits with a folk/pop
Appearing on 4 of 5 critics’ lists:
MuteMath, Reset EP
looking for goodness, truth and
beauty, this album is 2004’s holy
2. Caedmon's Call, Share the
Well—The boldest, most
adventurous recording of 2004.
Charlie Peacock, Full Circle:
A Celebration of Songs and
Friends—CP’s classics performed
by your favorite artists.
4. tobyMac, Welcome to
Diverse City—After the first
stunning listen, you’ll be thinking,
“Um... dc who?”
5. GRITS, Dichotomy A & B—
This brilliant two CD series is a
“must have” for any fan of
redemptive hip hop.
6. Bethany Dillon, Bethany
Dillon—Her depth of soul and
talent reminds me of the first
time I heard Sixpence None the
7. Relient K, Mmhmm—Is it
possible for a band to be this
good and still be a raw talent?
Yep—we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
8. Nicol Sponberg,
Resurrection—Her group Selah
only skims the surface of the
deep waters behind the soulful,
moody voice.
9. Taylor Sorenson, The
Overflow—This modern rock gem
may be the best kept secret of
10. Sixpence None the
Richer, The Best of Sixpence
None the Richer—A potent
reminder of why they were your
favorite band.
january 05 ccm 51
7:53 PM
Page 52
File under:
Grade: A
A must-have for those who... want to
experience what most of their favorite
Christian artists are listening to.
How to Dismantle an
Atomic Bomb
A musical journey from fear
Into faith
Can you name a recording
artist who has inspired
Christian music’s top acts as
much as Bono and his band
U2? Good luck. Think about
the Irish group’s faith-infused
songs—performed by
everyone from Michael W.
Smith on his Worship DVD to
MercyMe on its latest tour.
Guitarist The Edge’s
trademark sound has been
consistently present in the
music of The Choir, Sixpence
None the Richer and
newcomers like MuteMath
and Starfield. Bono’s
distinctive vocal style is one
52 ccm january 05
that few can invoke as well
as dc talk’s Kevin Max or
Delirious’ Martin Smith. And
then, perhaps most
importantly, there’s the
band’s overtly biblical
response to the poor, sick
and persecuted—just ask
Jars of Clay, Switchfoot or
Third Day which artist has
most influenced the way they
use their public platform as
a call to action.
It should come as no
surprise then that, in
addition to these artists,
many a Christian music fan
anticipated the late
November release of U2’s
13th studio album, How to
Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
Bono has referred to both
himself and his nowdeceased father as the
“bomb(s)” named in the title.
In a recent interview with
British Rock magazine Q he
said, “A bomb went off when
my old man died and I had
no idea how to deal with it. If
I’m honest I [ran] away from
it for 2 years... but eventually
you have to turn and face
Fittingly, Bono has
described Atomic Bomb as
“a journey from fear into
faith.” Starting with the lyric
“I was born a child of
Grace,” “All Because of You”
could be a modern version of
Psalm 139, talking about
God’s presence in Bono’s life
and of wholeness found
above. In “Yahweh” he asks
God to take his shoes, shirt,
hands and mouth to be
purified and to “Take this
soul, stranded in some skin
and bones/Take this soul
and make it sing.” It also
asks the ever-present, nowbut-not-yet questions (“Why
the dark before the dawn?”),
while recognizing the hope of
the future (“The sun is
coming up on the ocean/
Your love is like a drop in
the ocean.”)
Musically, as well as
lyrically, this record is
“classic” U2. While similar in
feel to 2000’s All That You
Can’t Leave Behind, here
there are many more echoes
of U2’s roots, from roughedged rock to the use of
simplicity and space. And, of
course, being U2, there are
certainly surprises to spice
up the mix. “Love And Peace
Or Else” has a dirty, driving
bass reminiscent of
something Moby or The
Neptunes might cook up
from the ingredients of
“Bullet the Blue Sky,” and
the final track “Fast Cars”
(featured on the UK release
and in America on the “box
set” edition CD) starts like
something more from a
Mexican-flavored version of
the Beastie Boys than four
guys from the south side of
If U2’s career is like a
journey of faith, the band’s
early albums contained the
enthusiasm and certainty of
a new convert; Achtung
Baby, Zooropa and Pop were
the questioning and
rebellious teenage years and
with All That You Can’t Leave
Behind and (even more so)
How to Dismantle an Atomic
Bomb, U2 is showcasing
both its musical and spiritual
File under:
Grade: B+
A must-have for those who... like their
hip-hop sunnyside-up.
Eyes” downshifts the album
into ’70s soul territory with
standout strings and muted
It’s ultimately unfair to ask
whether B is better than A.
Just like the alphabet, it’s
simply the next in line—and
it’s far removed from those
sleepy “zzzzs,” which is really
the bottom line.
Dichotomy B
A tasty second helping of
Double albums have become
something of a trendy idea in
hip-hop lately, but usually
both discs come out at the
same time. Not so with
GRITS’ Dichotomy B, which
follows four months after the
June release of its sibling,
Dichotomy A. Given the
separation of time, fans
might expect something very
different as GRITS lets the
other shoe drop, so to speak.
But, no. Although
“dichotomy” tends to mean
the division of something
into two very different pieces,
B is really more an extension
of A—albeit one that’s
sunnier and more upbeat.
Teron “Bonafide” Carter
and Stacy “Coffee” Jones
maintain the focus on the
beats and rapid-fire delivery,
which becomes clear as
soon as the disc opens with
“Be On My Way,” featuring a
gothic choir that seems like
it would fit well on a Danny
Elfman Batman movie
From there the disc serves
up a variety of musical
backdrops for its rhymes,
with some of the more leftfield offerings being the most
engaging. “We Don’t Play”
starts with a steel drum
sample before it launches
into tobyMac rap-rock
territory. “You Want” will have
you thinking Joy Electric
when you hear synthesized
“bleeps” opening the track.
And “When I Look In Your
File under:
Grade: B+
Pop/Adult Contemporary
A must-have for those who... can
appreciate a change in direction for one
of Christian music’s enduring artists.
Gentle Revolution
Spring Hill
The road less traveled is a
great place for Krippayne.
Scott Krippayne attempts a
departure on his sixth
album, Gentle Revolution.
Using lesser-known producer
Phil Johnson works to
Krippayne’s advantage as he
experiments with different
musical styles and effects.
“Lyin’” is a potpourri of
sounds, beginning innocently
enough with a simple piano
melody and then joined by
urban synth pads and hand
claps. The mix between
traditional and electronic
instruments creates a fun
dichotomy of sounds
throughout the song. The
vibe is remarkably similar to
Steven Curtis Chapman’s
“Only Getting Started” off his
latest disc, All Things New.
The other stylistic
standout on Gentle
Revolution is “Something
Different,” and, as the title
implies, it’s just that.
Krippayne uses vocal effects,
double tracks the leads and
draws on more innovative
instrumentation than on any
other song. His singing is
soulful yet tinged with
electricity. However, in his
attempts to sing the lyrics as
they whiz by in the bridge, he
drops words or over
enunciates every syllable to
make the rhyme, which
detracts from the overall
flow, despite the infectious
On the flip side, there are
also stripped-down acoustic
songs like the breathy “Last
Will and Testament” (cowritten with Brown Bannister)
and “Renee.” The latter
features Krippayne’s clear
voice and a piano as he
sings a sweet ballad about a
chance encounter with
actress Reneé Zellweger at a
Starbucks in Los Angeles.
All things considered,
there’s a little bit of
everything on this disc that’ll
keep old fans onboard and
potentially attract new fans
alike. From what he’s served
up here, Krippayne seems on
the right track as he mixes
his formula up and ventures
into new musical territory.
File under:
Grade: AHip-hop/Folk
A must-have for those who... like a little
melody to mix up your hip-hop.
This debut’s right on target.
Talk about locked and
loaded! Mat Kearney’s debut
album, Bullet, blasts a hole
right through the conventions
and novelties of today’s
mainstream music. Sure, the
7:43 PM
Page 53
Beaver State native uses hiphop as a musical backdrop;
and while that’s common
practice these days, there’s
nothing common about the
way Kearney layers his
influences. His rookie
release mixes a variety of
sounds that includes
acoustic guitars, pianos, pop
choruses, spoken word,
singing, rapping and vintage
folk, yet each part is placed
with an accuracy and
subtlety that leaves the
blend seamless.
The upbeat “Train Wreck”
leads the disc with the most
rock-influenced energy and
popular appeal, but the
album truly finds its groove
when Kearney steps outside
the norm. For example,
“Middle” intertwines spoken
word raps and huge vocals
over live drums, pianos and
strings, while the Johnny
Cash tribute “Won’t Back
Down” features emotional
lyrics belted out over a
pronounced piano track.
While many of the songs
feature rap-like verses, the
rhymes are predominately
delivered in a laidback,
speakeasy style that
effortlessly flows into lush
vocal hooks and harmonies.
Kearney’s kickback style
also makes the cutting lyrics
that much sharper. Offering
social commentary on his life
and others, the singer
tackles tragedy
(“Renaissance”), personal
change (“Undeniable”) and
sacrifice (“Bullet”) with an
overall theme of hitting rock
bottom and bouncing back,
something Kearney
experienced as a college
student in northern
California. In fact, it was his
own change that inspired
him to pursue music in the
first place. Originally selfrecording this album with
hometown buddy/producer
Robert Marvin (tobyMac, Zoe
Girl), Kearney breaks through
with a clear reflection of his
life and vision.
File under:
Grade: APop/rock
A must-have for those who... enjoy
uncomplicated, catchy pop hooks.
Better Days Ahead
Creative Trust Workshop
A promising debut signals
even better career days
Fresh out of college, BDA is
made up of five guys who
are really good at playing
pop/rock with a distinctly
Christian bent. While the
band is in no way reinventing
the musical wheel, its label
debut contains 12 tracks
with few lulls whatsoever.
The first single, “Maybe
You,” opens the record as a
preview of what is to come.
The vocals are gorgeous, the
production is tight, and the
musicianship sounds
professional. Lead vocalist
Matt Jones has just the type
of voice needed to take this
band places—pretty but
rough enough to pull off the
rock vibe. The clarity with
which he sings is a pleasant
surprise, making the lyrics
printed inside the packaging
unnecessary. Additionally,
the driving guitars and
rhythmic drums are arranged
perfectly to shape the song
without drowning out the
message. The fact that most
of the tracks are upbeat may
make them difficult to
differentiate at first listen,
but the end result is that the
listener is left feeling
refreshed and enlivened.
BDA’s principle songwriter
David Ray crafts honest,
straightforward lyrics that
come out of the reality of
day-to-day life. “Mystery of
You” features verses that
sound like journal entries
with the chorus of a worship
song—a mix most Christians
can easily relate to. “You
Love Me When” is an
updated take on the lesson
of the prodigal son: “I tried
my best to run away, but you
say that none of it matters to
you/You loved me when I lost
my way, and you say that
none of it matters to you.”
The band’s ode to romantic
love takes shape with
“Something Wonderful”; and
while all of their songs are
somewhat worshipful, “Into
Our Midst” is the track that
most lends itself toward
corporate worship. However,
it’s the final track of the
album, “All to Thee,” that’s
the true gem. A medley of
original lyrics and the hymns
“Take My Life,” “I Surrender
All” and “‘Tis So Sweet” will
give you chills.
Better Days Ahead is a
strong debut for music fans
who enjoy radio-friendly rock.
File under:
Grade: A-Worship
A must-have for those who... want an
education in the upper echelon of
worship music.
Exodus (Extended
Version/Special Re-issue)
Even better the second time
In 1998, Rocketown Records
(at the time still a fledgling
label founded by Michael W.
Smith), released Exodus, a
record that, in part, signaled
the full-on arrival of the
modern worship movement.
The collection of mostly
original songs was produced
by Smith and featured many
of Christian music’s leading
artists, and it was a shining
example of what
contemporary worship music
could be when done well.
Nearly seven years later,
as the project is nearing gold
certification, Rocketown is rereleasing Exodus for the
benefit of those who may
have missed it the first time
around—with three bonus
tracks to boot. Amazingly, the
album sounds every bit as
good as it did back then. Of
course, any project with an
artist lineup that includes dc
talk, Jars of Clay, Third Day,
Crystal Lewis and many of
Christian music’s finest
would be hard pressed to
disappoint; but Exodus still
remains head and shoulders
above many of the worship
projects being churned out
these days.
january 05 ccm 53
7:57 PM
Page 54
Several tracks still sound
particularly good, notably
Cindy Morgan’s soaring
anthem “Make Us One,”
Sixpence’s “Open My Heart”
and Third Day’s rocking
rendition of Smith’s “Agnus
Dei.” Dc talk’s reminder that
“we’ve got to be children of
peace” takes on a new
poignancy in a post-Sept. 11
world, and Chris Rice’s
simple masterpiece “Nothin”
still manages to sum up
salvation in a three-minute
song without trivializing the
greatest gift ever offered to
The three new tracks are
included at the end of the
record, and, thankfully, they
are more than just filler. The
first two, in particular, seem to
fit seamlessly into the original
concept and feel of Exodus.
Nirva, a gifted vocalist known
for her work with tobyMac,
offers a soulful and satisfying
“Jesus’ Blood.” Rocketown
rocker Taylor Sorensen joins
with Delirious vocalist Martin
Smith for “Sing (or the Rocks
Will Get To),” an uplifting
number with an ethnic flair in
the background vocals. And
finally, Robbie Seay Band
brings the record to a rousing
finale with “Hallelujah God
Is Near.”
In the end, if you aren’t
already a fan of Exodus, pick
up this re-release, and you
soon will be.
54 ccm january 05
File under:
Grade: B+
A must-have for those who... favor an
out-of-the-box approach to musicianship.
songs is Meany’s Fender
Rhodes piano, which gets
enough electronic tweaking
to have multiple personalities
and King’s tasty yet powerful
Just when things seem to
be falling on the conventional
side, the band uncorks the
instrumental “Reset,” which
has overtones of Radiohead
meeting Calico Sunset with a
live drummer on the way to a
Joy Electric concert. The EP
features two more fairly
conventional pop-rock songs
before a brief instrumental
ushers it to a close.
There’s plenty here to
enjoy, particularly Meany’s
melodies and strong voice.
And with more strong songs
apparently waiting in the
wings (check out the video
for “Chaos” on the band’s
Web site.), a full-length
album as good or better
than this EP shouldn’t be
far behind.
almost completely on
the live show, Live Wire
is clearly an ode to the
band’s most dedicated
fans, “the Gomers.”
Fancy camera work never
masks this band’s everyman,
blue-collar style. In an ironic
twist, the self-depricating
lyrics to the intro “Rock Star”
do not seem far off the mark.
This isn’t a “Monsters of
Rock” show; rather, the band
seems a bit subdued and “by
the numbers” in its
performance approach for
nearly three quarters of the
show. The stage production
values are minimal, and the
requisite backstage clips
provide no insight into the
band. But, then again, maybe
that is the point. This is a
band that apparently wants
the music to speak for the
band members and to stand
on its own proverbial two feet.
This is not to say that the
DVD doesn’t have its
moments. Live Wire really
peaks with a heart-tugging
version of “It’s a Shame” and
the fired-up, down-home
stomp on “Blackbird.” Extras
include personal band
testimonies of the guys’
travels to Africa and a plea to
support World Vision’s work
with the AIDS Crisis. A
shockingly moving montage
is juxtaposed against the
worship song “Offerings,”
which, in two minutes,
redeemed this curiously
understated DVD.
Reset EP
Bring on the main course,
MuteMath is the brainchild
of ex-Earthsuit members
Paul Meany (vocals, bass,
piano) and Darren King
(drums, programming). As
the story goes, a demo of
their post-Earthsuit
songwriting landed in the
hands of producer Tedd T.,
who just happened to be
starting a new label imprint
under Warner Bros. Despite
some misgivings about
returning to a major-label
deal, the group signed; and
the Reset EP is the result.
With the addition of Greg
Hill on guitar, MuteMath’s EP
is nothing if not eclectic. In
the space of half an hour,
we’re treated to the U2-ish
rock of “Control,” the lively
reggae burst of “Peculiar
People” and the dreamy
Duran Duran-like ballad
“OK.” Driving most of the
File under:
Grade: B+
A must-have for those who... want the
Third Day live show experience in the
comfort of your living room..
Live Wire DVD
Provident Label Group
No frills but still plenty of fun
Hot on the heels of its latest
release, Wire, Third Day
invites the world to a special
night in Louisville, Kentucky.
On a sparse stage in front of
a large black and white
cityscape backdrop, in front
of a cheering standing-room
crowd, singer Mac Powell and
his bandmates leap into a
live set of notable hits and
worship songs. Focused
JAN. 18
Exit East
Hillsong and Delirious
Olivia The Band
Travis Cottrell
Exit East
Unified Praise
Olivia the Band
Alive Forever
Stellar Awards Hits 2005
(Integrity Gospel)
Integrity's iWORSHIP @ Home 5
Integrity's iWORSHIP Resource System
JAN. 25
Andy Griffith
Brian Free & Assurance
The Clancys
Darrell Evans
George Bloomer
Nicholas Jonas
Scott Krippayne
Steve Grace
Bound for the Promised Land
Live In New York City (CD & DVD) (Word/New Day)
Arise: Jump to the Beat
Uncharted Waters
It's a Beautiful Day (Remix)
Nicholas Jonas
(Spring Hill)
Gentle Revolution
New Day Coming
(Liquid 8)
A Gospel Celebration (CD and DVD)
(Worship Together)
Here I Am to Worship, Vol. 2
Here I Am to Worship--Kids, Vol. 2 (Worship Together)
(EMI Gospel)
Look Up Sing Out (CD and DVD)
Steelroots Surf Tour, Vol. 1 (DVD
JAN. 31
Ron Winans Family & Friends 5
(Five Stones)
7:51 PM
Page 55
What: His Rules: God’s Practical
Roadmap for Becoming and
Attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right
What: Extreme Marriage:
Mastering the Ever-Changing
Lifelong Adventure (Waterbrook)
Who: By Christopher L. Burge and
Who: By Gayle Haggard
Who: By Terry Owens
Pamela Toussaint
Why: If you think the most extreme
Why: Single and ready for love?
thing you can do is sky diving or
mountain climbing, think again. It’s
marriage actually, according to author
Terry Owens. With Extreme
Marriage, Owens seeks to prepare
marriage-minded couples and
newlyweds (with a penchant for
adventure, thus the extreme sports
analogies throughout the book) for
the challenges couples face in
marriage and the ways to build a
strong and vibrant relationship to
withstand the difficulties.
Then, check out these 15 “rules” to
help Christian singles along the path
to marriage. His Rules breaks down
in three “phases” that charge the
reader to first, seek biblical counsel;
second, be realistic about one’s past
mistakes and correct them; and
finally, learn what makes a godly
relationship work. The book offers
guidance in preparing for a future
mate and being able to tell the “real”
thing when you see it.
Artists’ Picks:
What: A Life Embraced:
A Hopeful Guide for the
Pastor’s Wife (Waterbrook)
Why: As the wife of Teg Haggard,
pastor of the 11,000-member New
Life Church in Colorado Springs,
Colo., Gayle Haggard definitely has a
few things to say to pastors’ wives.
Like many pastors’ wives across the
country, she has, by her admission,
experienced times of fear about her
abilities and the expectations of
others in the church. But it all comes
down to two things: “growing up in
God and helping others do the
same,” she says. And in her book,
she offers practical advice to help
these special women find happiness
and freedom in their role.
What are January’s featured artists reading these days?
Cliff and Danielle Young
Nic Gonzales (Salvador):
(Caedmon’s Call):
When I Lay My Isaac Down
Pierced by the Word
by Carol Kent
(Check out our review of the
book in the May 2004 issue.)
by John Piper
Editor’s Pick:
The Man Called Cash: The Life,
Love, and Faith of an American
Legend (W Publishing Group)
By Steve Turner
In what was to be Cash’s third
autobiography, Steve Turner (Imagine:
A Vision for Christians in the Arts)
writes what became, instead, a
retrospective look at the Man in
Black’s life and career. (Cash passed
away only two weeks before he and
Turner were to begin collaborating.)
While readers may miss hearing
directly from Cash in his raw, direct
way, as Turner points out, “If he had
spoon-fed me the information, I might
have been tempted to pass it on
without subjecting it to the normal
rigorous tests.”
And, indeed, Turner does submit
his material to tests, as he had the
help and support of the Cash clan in
writing and researching the book.
The opening chapter offers an
insider’s look at the details from the
last days of June’s life and the
funeral that followed. The following
chapters often compare and contrast
earlier book accounts of events in
Cash’s life, shedding light on the
most probable true account.
There may be a number of books
written about this legendary singer,
songwriter, husband, father and man
of faith, but can there ever really be
too many? For those who loved the
man and his music? Never.
january 05 ccm 55
7:39 PM
Page 56
by Kent Morris
I C A N H E A R C L E A R LY N O W :
Even Nicole C. Mullin’s relatively straightforward technical requirements
emphasize her need for a clear monitor mix. When she performs without
her band, Nicole must rely fully on the
tracked music she hears in her in-ear
monitor. If the monitor mix is out of balance,
she is left to struggle through the set; but if
the mix is correct, she can focus on
delivering her pristine vocals to the
audience. Monitors, mics and processors
can “make” or “break” a concert. With the
right tools, musicians can “dial in” their
preferred settings and repeat them night
after night. Here are some of the latest tools
designed to improve the performance and
increase both the performer and audience’s
Building the proverbial better mousetrap is more difficult than it first appears.
Usually, the current version is popular because it is effective. To find a better
sonic solution to the issue of micing instruments, the engineers
at Audix came up with the i5, a precise dynamic microphone
with the detailed response of a studio condenser but robust
enough for the grueling tour schedule of Israel and New
Breed. The i5’s natural frequency response and low
self-noise combine to deliver the sound the musician
wants and the tech needs. When placed in front of a
classic Fender Blackface Twin guitar amp, the tone
generated by the i5 and replicated through the PA
was exactly what the amp sounded like onstage.
If you are seeking an alternative to the old
standards, look no further than the i5.
It’s just a simple box mixer, isn’t it? Not if it’s the Gigrac, Soundcraft’s entry into
the powered mixer market. Aside from its innovative set-up, the Gigrac offers
some serious audio performance as well. For instance, its 600-watt power
amplifier is built to deliver the long term, high output signal today’s speakers
demand without resorting to heavy transformers and sharp-edged heatsinks. The
tone is pure Soundcraft: sweet and round with EQ sections that actually make a
sonic difference when adjusted. Gigging musicians rejoice: Your backpack PA has
Out of the bayous of Louisiana, some of the finest audio processors emerge with
the Presonus label emblazoned across their front panels. Among the silver and
blue-faced products Presonus makes, the Eureka is their premier single channel
mic preamp. With its bold oval VU meter at centerpoint, the Eureka certainly looks
the part of a high quality audio piece, and its sound doesn’t disappoint. “Clean,
clear and precise” describe the Eureka’s tone. The compressor section doesn’t
intrude on the vocal, the equalizer corrects tone without imparting its own, and
the output drives enough level for any application. For its asking price, Presonus
offers an American-made, handcrafted bargain capable of challenging similar
products at twice the cost.
56 ccm january 05
Wireless in-ear monitor systems continue to improve with each new generation,
and the ew300IEM II represents the best of the new breed. With guaranteed
freedom of movement, wireless in-ears allow vocalists to roam around the stage
while maintaining the same monitor mix. Getting all the mix information into what
is, in essence, a small radio transmitter is a difficult task. Sennheiser has solved
many common wireless problems through a combination of proven construction
and innovative techniques. For example, the Pilot Tone system creates a unique
tone recognized by the receiver as the desired signal. Other transmissions can
then be ignored, making delivery of intact sound more probable.
Sennheiser reduced the size of the bodypack by half and improved
the information panel on the receiver. With the G2, as it is called,
vocalists now have a valid reason to go wireless.
8:13 PM
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OK, the tree is down, and you’ve finally got
your Christmas presents all put away. You’ve
likely made your New Year’s resolutions (or
even broken them already), but have you
gotten a jump start on thinking about what
colleges you’re wanting to apply to yet?
Sure, January may feel a little too early to
get started; but really, with such a grueling
process and so many options to consider, it’s
never too early. Really. And to make the steps
a little easier, we want to help. With Web
addresses and spotlights for several great
colleges and universities that may strike your
academic fancy, we provide you with a few of
the tools you’ll need to be successful in your
college search.
Also helping you college-minded folks gain
some perspective on how to be successful
in university life and faith as well, college
grad and as most of you know him Christian
recording artist Bebo Norman also provides
some personal insight into your next, big
life journey.
8:13 PM
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Alaska Bible College is a place where there is room for you to grow.
During your studies at Alaska Bible College, you can increase your
knowledge and understanding of the Bible, improve your Bible study
skills, strengthen your faith, deepen your relationship with God, sharpen
your thinking skills, mature spiritually and socially as well as develop
your ministry gifts and skills.
ABC’s remote location also removes students from many of life’s
distractions. Surrounded by the beauty of mountains, rivers and lakes,
the Alaska Bible College campus enables students to quietly reflect on
God and their personal spiritual journey. With distractions minimized,
students can concentrate on the study of God’s Word and its application
to their lives.
God instructs us through Peter to “grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV). Alaska Bible
College is an excellent place to experience such growth. The ABC
leadership team desires to serve you by being used of God as a catalyst
to stimulate this growth in your life. Now we encourage you to come and
grow with us.
For more information on Alaska Bible College, visit
Huntington College has been honoring Christ in scholarship and service
for more than 100 years. Huntington offers more than 70 areas of study,
including new programs in digital media arts, economics and finance,
political studies, recreation and sports ministry, social work and worship
leadership. Huntington features nationally recognized programs in youth
ministry and theatre arts. Huntington’s teacher education program is
nationally accredited through NCATE, a distinction earned by less than
one-third of the colleges in the United States.
Founded in 1897, Huntington’s mission is focused on the principles
of preparing students to have an impact on our world for Christ through
scholarship and service. The quality of scholarship is evidenced
by Huntington’s strong ranking as a top 20 “Midwest Comprehensive
College” by U.S. News & World Report. To see the campus and hear
about Huntington through the
testimonies of our faculty,
students, and alumni, we
would like to offer you a free
copy of our new DVD. It is
chock-full of all kinds of neat
stuff, including our complete
application form.
We also encourage you
to come and visit us to
experience Huntington for
yourself. We will gladly work
around your schedule. You
can contact us via the web
at, by e-mail at
[email protected]
or phone at 800/642-6493.
Greenville College certainly doesn’t hurt for
notoriety when one of Christian music’s biggest
bands (Jars of Clay) got its start at this Illinoisbased college. But aside from having some
great pop bands (including the recent Creative
Trust Workshop signing, BDA) on its “famous
students” resumé, Greenville College has
plenty to offer when it comes to educational
Serving as a Christian community
committed to challenging and nurturing
students, Greenville College is dedicated to
excellence in higher education that’s grounded
in both the liberal arts tradition and a rich
Wesleyan heritage. The college provides an
education characterized by open inquiry into all
creation and guided by the authority of
Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.
Faith commitments and an understanding
about the nature of God and creation
profoundly shape Greenville’s academic
program. Greenville College is committed to
high academic standards, welcoming and open
-spirited in attitude yet principled and
passionate in commitment to Jesus Christ.
Over the next three to five years Greenville
hopes to focus on residential face-to-face
education while expanding access to students
at multiple regional sites. They aspire to be a
“growing, diverse, inclusive, respectful and
warm community of scholars that contributes
to the regional and national culture as well
as to the Kingdom of God by producing
graduates who have been deeply transformed
for lives of character and service.”
For more information about what Greenville
has to offer or to apply online, please visit
Jars of Clay at Greenville College
8:14 PM
Page 62
Malone College has more than 2,200 students
in more than 80 academic programs, including
five at the graduate level: education,
counseling, Christian ministries, nursing and
business administration. Some of the college’s
exciting, newer undergraduate programs
include forensic chemistry, commercial music
technology, music ministry, youth/sports
ministry and zoo biology.
Though the college is affiliated with the
Evangelical Friends Church—Eastern Region,
students from all walks of life are welcome.
Malone College boasts a student-tofaculty ratio of 14:1 and a graduate school
acceptance rate of nearly 100 percent.
The college’s most widely recognized
building is the Randall Campus Center. Known
as “The Barn,” the remodeled lodge-style
facility features lounges, a game room, an
upscale café, a prayer chapel and studentgovernment and college admissions offices.
The three-story Everett L. Cattell library
houses 140,000 volumes, 1,300 different
periodicals, an instructional communications
center and the campus radio station. Patrons
have access to electronic indexes, databases,
the Internet and OCLC, a national interlibrary
loan program.
Osborne Hall, home court of the Pioneers,
features the Stan and Dee Ewing Varsity
Center. Adjoined is the campus’ newest addition, the 10,200 square foot Wellness Center,
which provides space for an aerobic exercise
and weight room, equipment and laboratories.
The Pioneer football team plays at the famed
Fawcett Stadium, adjacent to the Football Hall
of Fame in Canton.
The Walter O. and Mildred V. Brehme
Centennial Center features the college
bookstore, food court, dining commons and a
formal dining room, Mitchell Hall, houses the
Fred F. Silk auditorium, equipped with state-ofthe-art technology requirements for Internet
connections and teaching enhancements.
Malone College offers rich student life
experiences with numerous opportunities for
missions and service learning trips both locally
and abroad. The College participates in offcampus educational opportunities, including
the Los Angeles Film Studies program,
Things were a lot different at Virginia’s Regent
University only a quarter century ago. Back in
1978, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson saw a vision
materialize as 77 students entered leased
classroom space to study for graduate degrees
in communication. From those humble
beginnings, Regent University has grown into
the pre-eminent educational institution of its
kind in America.
The University has grown considerably from
its founding discipline—the School of
Communication and the Arts—to include more
areas of influence for Christian leadership.
Regent now has nine separate programs of
study with classes on two physical campuses
and an online worldwide campus, which will
continue to grow as Internet-based education
eventually reaches hundreds of thousands
of students.
With a mission “to provide exemplary
education, from a biblical perspective, leading
to bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees
for aspiring servant-leaders in pivotal
62 ccm january 05
professions, and to be a leading center of
Christian thought and action,” Regent
University aspires “to provide Christian
leadership in transforming society by affirming
and teaching principles of truth, justice and
love as described in the Holy Scriptures,
embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, and
enabled through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
To get more on the inside track on what
Regent University is all about, check out
American Studies program and overseas
student teaching and nursing cross-cultural
experiences. Student athletes may choose
from any of our 18 men’s and women’s sports
competing intercollegiately in the NAIA and
NCCAA. A Christian college for the arts,
sciences and professions in the liberal arts
tradition, Malone College is a member of
the Council for Christian Colleges and
Universities and is recognized by the
prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader
in character development.
8:15 PM
Page 64
Wheaton College has long held to its mission
of building the church and improving society
worldwide through programs of Christian higher
education. Since its inception in 1860, the steadfast commitment to intellectual growth and
Christian faith has shaped the lives of many
young men and women. The graduate school,
founded in 1937, further intended to provide
theological training and ministry skills needed to
advance the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.
Today students come from all over the world in
order to be part of an academic community that
prepares them to participate in proclaiming the
good news of the gospel.
Wheaton College is located 25 miles west
of Chicago and offers a doctor of philosophy
in biblical and theological studies, a doctor of
clinical psychology (Psy.D.) and the master of
arts (M.A.) degree in: biblical archaeology, biblical
exegesis, biblical studies, general history of
8:15 PM
Page 65
Christianity, religion in American life, general
theology, historical and systematic theology,
clinical psychology, Christian formation and
ministry, evangelism, missions, intercultural
studies, TESOL, primary and secondary education
(M.A.T) and interdisciplinary studies. In addition,
non-degree certificates are available in teaching
English as a second language (TESOL) and
leadership and outdoor ministry.
More than $500,000 in grant money is
available to full-time, degree-seeking graduate
students. Nearly two-thirds of that amount is
directed toward international applicants and
American applicants involved in some type
of missions work. Financial aid is awarded
on the basis of need as demonstrated on
the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) and the Wheaton College Institutional
Form. The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program
is available to full and part-time graduate
Program information and application forms can
be obtained at
Become the
Youth Pastor
You Were
Called to Be!
Skilled…Knowledgeable…Spiritually Deep…and Vitally Alive!
Master of Arts in Youth Ministry
Ideal location! • Chicago metropolitan area
Choose your ministry setting!
Urban • Suburban • Rural
Scholarships available!
Northern Seminary
800-YES-NBTS ext. 2180 (outside Chicago)
630-620-2180 •
Training Leaders…Transforming Lives!
8:16 PM
Page 66
First Person:
Bebo Norman
With as many concerts as he plays at colleges during any
given tour, it’s safe to say that college campuses are
almost like a second home to singer/songwriter Bebo
Norman. In addition to being able to fit in well with college
kids because of his laidback musical vibe and easy-going
khakis and T-shirt attire, he also knows what it’s like to be
a student as he earned a four-year degree in biology before
pursuing his music full-time. Now exclusively for
Collegebound, Bebo weighs in with some helpful advice for
prospective and current college students.
I think that the college years are some of the most difficult and the most crucial years for setting
the foundation for real spiritual maturity. My advice is twofold:
1. Ask questions.
This may seem obvious—”Ask questions.” After all, isn’t that what learning is all about? And isn’t
college about learning? But I think that many Christians are afraid to truly ask questions—not
necessarily intellectual questions but spiritual ones. Or maybe it would be better put to say that
many Christians are afraid to question God. We’re afraid that maybe it’s a sacrilege or a sin. But
I beg to differ. Actually, Scripture begs to differ.
Just take a look at the Psalms or read up on John the Baptist. While in prison, shortly before
his death, John sent word to Jesus questioning whether or not He was truly the Messiah. Keep in
mind that this is all after John had already baptized Jesus, watched the sky open up while a dove
descended on the man and heard a voice from heaven say, “This is my son.” But he still doubted.
He still had questions. He still was afraid. And do you think Jesus was angry when He got word
that John doubted him? No.
He simply told John about all the miracles, and then He made note that this same doubtful
man was one of the greatest men who had ever lived. I can promise you that there will be times
in college when you will be afraid and you will doubt (whether you’re willing to admit it or not). My
point is this: God is not intimidated by our questions. He’s not afraid of them. He’s not afraid of
us. Be honest with God, and look for answers. Don’t question just for the sake of questioning—
that is the way of fools.
2. Explore God.
Everything about college is built around exploration. We explore our intellects. We explore careers.
We explore new friendships. We explore the first inklings of responsibility, the first moments of
adulthood. Some of us probably find ourselves lost in the exploration of things that we wish we
hadn’t explored. But above all we explore life. Jesus said that He is life, so live it. Live Him. He
came to make life wide and deep and rich and full. So look for Him in intellect, in friendships, in
careers, in responsibility, in “mess-ups,” in that awkward and scary transition into adulthood. Look
for Him in life. Lighten up and enjoy the blessing that life is.
7:22 PM
Page 68
Did you know that Chicago, the “Windy City,” has more
theological seminaries and theological students than any
city in the world except Rome? Northern Seminary is
located just 20 minutes west of Chicago—a world-class city
that offers a multitude of cultural and recreational
attractions. Northern is ideally situated on a 28-acre
campus with easy access to rural, suburban and urban
ministry opportunities. The Seminary offers a variety of
degrees to fit a variety of ministry callings: master of
divinity, master of arts, MA in youth ministry, MA in worship
and spirituality, MA in Christian ministries, doctor of
ministry and certificate programs.
At Northern, we know that churches are looking for
pastors that go deep with God. This is why spiritual
formation is an integral part of the education process.
Each student’s study of God’s Word, involvement in small
groups, participation in chapels and times of reflection and
prayer deepen their connection to God while expanding
their knowledge.
Go to to learn more about what Northern
Seminary has to offer.
8:11 PM
Page 69
your guide to concerts
by Andy Argyrakis
All photos by Andy Argyrakis
Bethany Dillon may be a full-time artist, but she’s
also a student working through high school.
However, while the performer’s peers are in a
classroom, she may be completing studies in a
hotel room, tour bus or dressing room. Here’s
more straight from the teenager’s mouth about
the balance between singing and schooling.
When Bebo Norman first visited the historic Wheaton
College, he was merely a side attraction for a
memorable bill that included Caedmon’s Call, Sixpence
None the Richer and Andrew Peterson before he signed
with Essential Records. But when the troubadour
revisited the venue, this time as headliner on the “Try”
tour, he displayed an incredible gain in visibility and the
confidence of having released four albums on a major
label. Despite the time and distance between the two
events, Norman’s most recent set was filled with just as
much wonder, inspiration and charm as was first
relayed in those more obscure beginnings. And,
thankfully, even with successful sales, the soft-spoken
Georgia boy is still humble and overflowing with a
huggable sense of humor.
After launching into a trio of his peppier pop tunes,
such as “I Am,” “Stand” and “Our Mystery” (all of which
were supported by a full band), Norman took time out
for his first “comedy routine” of the night, cracking jokes
about traveling and his recent foray into married life.
The topic of that new relationship also spilled over to
many cuts from the current album, which were blended
in with his major hits, including the praise-focused
“Great Light of the World” and the peaceful “Cover Me.”
But beyond the “plugged in” portion of the show, fans
were most receptive during an acoustic set that
featured the sparse and subtle “How You Love Me,” the
accordion-tipped “The Hammer Holds” and the folkflavored “Nothing Without You.” In all those cases,
Norman was able to boldly project his warm voice and
detailed strums, recalling past days of playing up-closeand-personal coffeehouses.
Though newcomer Bethany Dillon’s inviting playing
and songwriting style could’ve also worked in cozy
quarters, she sure wasn’t shy in front of the masses
gathered. At a mere 16 years old, the performer is
remarkably comfortable and conversational onstage,
backed by an artillery of incredibly introspective
material from her self-titled debut. The rising star
performed cuts from her album, evoking a more
thoughtful version of Jewel or Sheryl Crow on “Exodus
(Faithful),” “Great Big Mystery” and her No. 1 hit “All I
Need.” She even took time to vulnerably address
personal issues of self-image with “Beautiful” and
previewed a poetic piece about grace entitled
“Imagination” (likely to be featured on her next project).
Besides playing in Bebo’s band, guitarist Jason
Morant revealed a disposition toward worship in an
opening slot that revolved around his Abandon album.
Throughout tunes “I Am Yours” and “Fashion,” he
mirrored top-ranking Brit-rockers such as Travis and
Coldplay but with a decidedly spiritual take. “Inside of
Me” served as his most reflective song, exposing vividly
spelled out emotions of insecurity that stem from the
ongoing threat of terrorism. Yet even in the midst of that
realistic paranoia, he reminded all of God’s continuous
control and believers’ need to trust Him, not only in this
situation but through each period of peril that comes
across one’s path.
Home-school situation: “I went to public school
for four years but was home-schooled most of my
life because [public school] didn’t seem to fit for
me. Basically, it was hard to be completely
invested there and in my music. I have so much
respect for people my age living for Jesus and
going to high school.”
Teacher’s family ties: “When I was home, my
mom would be involved in passing out my
materials and staying on me to complete my
school tasks. But now that I’m on the road, my
[older] sister Kate takes care of it and keeps tabs
on what I need to do.”
College consideration: “Right now I’m probably
not going into college straight out of high school
because music is the season my life is in right
now. But I could see myself going to Bible school
down the road or getting involved in missions.”
Are you within a day’s
drive? Here are a
couple concert dates
you won’t want to miss!
1/15 “Winter Jam”
with NewSong,
tobyMac, Tait,
Rachael Lampa, Matthew West, Building
429 and Chaos on Wheels at the Delta Plex
in Grand Rapids, MI
1/28 Sanctus Real with Hawk Nelson at
Hazelwood Christian Church in Clayton, IN
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.
Top-Bottom, L-R: Bebo Norman, Jason Morant, Bethany Dillon
january 05 ccm 69
8:10 PM
Page 70
Some artists find musical inspiration by exploring other art forms. Colman isn’t
necessarily one of them. “If you play Pictionary with me, you’ll most likely want to
kill me half-way through the game. I’ll draw what I think is a dove, and to
others it looks like a tree. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. Probably putting words
together verbally is an art I like. I like to talk. I like listening to people who are
skilled orators.”
“I like films,” Colman says, continuing to contemplate his artistic habits. “But I am
not a film buff. I don’t seem to have very good taste in films. I walk out of a movie
and go, ‘That was great!’ And people who know something about films go, ‘That
was awful.’ But I’m kind of glad I’m that way because I can enjoy a lot more films.”
Come to think of it, it’s like that with coffee, too. “I think Starbucks coffee tastes
great; but then again, I had coffee in the south of New Zealand, in organic Hobbit
country. And I loved that, too. If someone burns my toast, I love it. I pretty much
have pedestrian taste buds.”
Before being an artist, Colman was a high school teacher, covering history,
English and religion at an elite school in Australia. “And on the weekends I was a
wedding singer. I was a good wedding singer, too.”
Now, take good notes. With some 750 weddings under his tuxedo, Colman gives
sage advice on being a wedding singer. “You’ve got to understand that it’s not
about you. It’s about the bride and groom. You learn to use music as a tool to
make someone else have a great night. Grandma always ends up close to the
band, so it teaches you to rock out at a very small volume. You also have to play
everything from Neil Diamond to James Taylor to Elvis to the Rolling Stones to
Michael Jackson. Weddings bring out the worst in people. I’ve seen it all!”
Colman also played in a ’70s cover band called the Polyester Patrol, and one
night before a gig he asked a bandmate advice about marrying Colman’s thengirlfriend Rebecca. His friend urged him to pushed past his insecurities and
marry her. Colman’s gracious reply? “Alright, I’m doing it; but if you’re wrong, I’m
going to kill you.”
It’s back to the future for Paul Colman. He fronted Australian import
Paul Colman Trio (alongside bandmates Grant Norsworthy and Phil
Gaudion) for five years, gathering four studio albums (two with
Essential Records), a pair of live projects, one Grammy nomination, a
Dove Award for “New Artist of the Year” and more. But Colman
originally debuted as a solo artist, and next month he will unveil his
first solo record since 1997, tentatively titled Let It Go (inpop).
Colman heaps accolades on his former Paul Colman Trio bandmates and reports
they’re doing well. “Grant’s in Nashville as a session player. Phil’s in Melbourne,
Australia, producing and engineering records.”
Colman practically assembled his dream band for the new record. “If I could pick
any group of players, I’d have Kenny Aronoff on drums, Adam Lester [who played
with PC3] on one guitar, Nick Seymour from Crowded House on bass, Daniel
Lanois on the other guitar and Eric Darken on percussion.” In fact, Aronoff, a
player who caught Colman’s attention with John Mellencamp’s American Fool,
Lester and Darken are credited on the new project.
Later, Colman again found just the right words. On one knee and having received
the affirmative answer he hoped for, he replied to Rebecca’s pledge, saying,
“Then you are, indeed, the bravest of all women.” They married two years and one
week from the day they met and celebrated 10 years of marriage last month.
At home, Paul credits his family for helping to keep him grounded. He and his wife
enjoy the company of two daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth. “We feed the
ducks, go for walks, play roly-poly on the carpet, snuggle on the couch and watch
DVDs,” Colman says of his daughters. “We have shoulder rides, go to Starbucks
together and read a book. We go to story time at the library.”
Though he lives outside of Nashville, Colman travels home to Melbourne
whenever he can. Thinking of a spring break trip? He says visitors must see “a
game of Australian rules football at the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground, the
Yankee Stadium of the region]. You must also see some of the streets where
there is just a phenomenal, multicultural, socio-economic demographic of
people. Melbourne has a wonderful, cosmopolitan, multicultural feel like that.
And take a drive down the Great Ocean Road, which winds down the south coast
and has the most magnificent scenery.”
Just where would the dream team play its first gig? “Wherever there are people
assembled,” Colman says. The crowd, not the room, is what matters to him.
Driven and ambitious, golf offers Colman, an 11 handicap, satisfying relaxation.
“I love the challenge—that there are so many different ways to get to the green. I
love the fact that it teaches me about timing and patience versus aggression and
muscle. I love that you can spend four hours playing with a guy you don’t know,
and you can talk about the game or about the deepest, darkest secret of your life
or anything in between.”
On tour, the bus is home, often complete with decked-out entertainment systems
like satellite TV, video games and the like. But Colman takes a more old-fashioned
approach to domestic road life. “I’m more likely to talk to people than anything
else. Ask [former tourmate] Michael Tait. Every time he tried to go to sleep, I’d
want to pick his brain about something. I might highjack the TV and tell everyone
that we’re talking to each other tonight.”
Always thinking, often puzzling what’s on his mind out loud, Colman resolves that
in 2005, “I’m going to leave more space for people in my social interaction. That’s
going to be a big challenge.” And don’t forget that golf game. Colman says he will
“play a 4-iron off the tee a lot more rather than my driver. I’m going to lay-up a lot
more and not go for the green as often. I’ll settle for par instead of managing a
triple bogey.”
70 ccm january 05
8:15 PM
Page 72
Love in Action
This month, as CCM introduced our World Vision and
Compassion children, we thought it fitting to have a member
of Caedmon’s Call, a band involved with Compassion, write
our closing letter.
Getting involved with Compassion International,
for me, was originally just a good decision rather
than a passion. But looking back, I see that it was
the beginning of my heart being broken for the
gospel of Jesus Christ being spread worldwide.
What had an impact on me most over the years
traveling with Compassion was the simple faith
of the believers I met. Whether they were
children, young adults or older parents, they had
a joy and a peace that I somehow had missed out
on growing up as a Christian involved in church
and doing all of the “right things.” Instead of
coming home from the Compassion trips feeling
like I had given something to the people I met, I
quickly realized that I wanted what they had—
simply a pure understanding of who Christ is and
who I am in Christ, the joy of knowing my
Creator, the gospel.
We, in Caedmon’s Call, have been involved
with Compassion for about six years now and got
involved mainly because of how highly Rich
Mullins spoke of the organization and the
enormous impact it made on his life. After
meeting the leaders of Compassion, we were
very impressed with their vision. We learned that
72 ccm january 05
they have been around for more than 50 years,
which says a lot. I am sure there are many
organizations with a great vision and even a great
history; but, for us, the integrity and character of
the leaders we met spoke loudly to our hearts.
Out of hundreds of child sponsorship
organizations, Compassion is consistently noted
for its superior financial integrity by numerous
publications and financial accountability groups.
by todd bragg
We are a fairly cynical group, which can be a
fault at times; but in this case, particularly, it was
important for us to believe in Compassion and
what they were doing if we were going to play a
part in it. Caedmon’s involvement with
Compassion had to be an honest expression of
who we were and what we were called to do in
order to hold true to our vision and calling. Little
did we know just how much this focus on
missions would shape who we are and what we
are called to do.
To date, our travels with Compassion have
taken us to Haiti, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and
India. Each trip has had its own set of memories
that I will treasure for the rest of my life. But
more than memories, there are relationships that
are being built and cultivated through
Compassion. Families are brought together so
many times just because of a simple relationship
that one of their children has with a Compassion
sponsor in another part of the world.
Young men and women are earning degrees
through the Leadership Development Program
(LDP) that will further their respective
communities and improve the current living
conditions for their families. Character is being
instilled in these children because they are seeing
the gospel of Jesus Christ lived out through
Compassion by having their immediate needs
met. So many times meeting immediate physical
needs is the first step to meeting spiritual needs.
Understanding the gospel is understanding who
Christ is and who we are in Christ. Living the
gospel is putting “hands and feet” to this
Todd Bragg is a founding member of Caedmon’s Call and
the band’s drummer. See page 34 for CCM’s feature story
on Caedmon’s this month.
(L-R): Todd visiting Compassion school in Bolivia; Todd with wife Christie and sponsor child Venia Sterlin in Haiti
Above: Todd and some boys he skated with from the Compassion school
8:23 PM
Page 73
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8:26 PM
Page 74
Dallas Holm & Praise… Live
(Greentree, 1977)
Change the World (Dayspring, 1985)
Beyond the Curtain (Dayspring, 1988)
Before Your Throne (Ministry, 1999)
“Against the
Taken In”
“Face to Face”
“He Means All to
“Here We Are”
“I Saw the Lord”
“Losing Game”
“Hey, I’m a
“Prayer Warriors”
“Rise Again”*
“Saved, Saved,
“To The Glory”
“When We
Worship Him”
*No. 52 in CCM’s The Top 100 Greatest Songs
in Christian Music (2004)
Dallas Holm
allas Holm has spent most of his 35-plus
years in Christian music as a bridge between
traditional and contemporary styles.
Influenced as a young man by the “new” rock
& roll sounds of such artists as Elvis Presley, Holm
began trying to incorporate his teenage faith with his
love for music. Seeking to use his music to reach those
around him, Holm fittingly titled one of his first albums
For Teens Only. However, despite the early rock
influences, Holm settled into a decidedly inspirational,
middle-of-the-road sound early in his career that more
or less became his legacy.
Holm and his backup group, Praise, toured in the
1970s with the crusades of evangelist David Wilkerson
(author of The Cross and The Switchblade), which was
ironic, considering Wilkerson, at one point, was a
vehement anti-rock music critic. In 1977, Dallas Holm
and Praise…Live was released, featuring the smash hit
“Rise Again,” which tells a dramatic tale of Christ’s
perspective on His death. The song led to a Dove
Award for “Song of the Year” for Holm. Interestingly
enough, Holm was the only person other than Bill
Gaither to win a Dove for “Songwriter of the Year” for
74 ccm january 05
the entire decade! The album eventually became one of
the first Christian albums to be certified gold for sales
of more than half a million copies.
“Rise Again” has also been covered by more artists
than Holm can count. His personal favorite? “No
question—the best cut anybody ever did of that song
was Bob Dylan,” Holm says. “Somebody gave me a
bootleg copy of a 1980 Dylan concert in Seattle when
he was doing his Slow Train Coming material. He even
called it the ‘Rise Again Tour.’ It was just killer; I mean,
can’t you just hear that voice singing, ‘Go ahead…drive the
nails’? Dylan really got it.” (excerpt from The Top 100
Greatest Songs in Christian Music, 2004).
Though in the 1980s Holm recorded for Dayspring
Records, updating his sound with a more contemporary
feel and garnering some success, he never matched the
extraordinary heights of Dallas Holm & Praise… Live.
Today, Holm, 56, runs Praise Ministries in Texas.
Proficient on guitar, piano and trombone, he continues
to perform in churches each month. He and his wife of
more than 30 years, Linda, released a hymns album
called Foundations in 2002. They are the parents of two
grown children as well as proud grandparents. A
longtime biker and member of the Christian
Motorcyclist Association, Holm also continues to ride
his beloved Harley Davidson. M I C H A E L C I A N I
For more information, visit
Seven Dove Awards
One Grammy nomination
One gold album
SESAC Outstanding Achievement
Award (1991)
• This is My Story autobiography (1980)
• More than 30 albums released
• More than 3,000 concerts performed
January 1979
November 1981
(Holm, Sheppard &
For a complete list of past Hall of Fame inductees, visit