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March 2006
On the Rise
BUILDING 429 is back with its sophomore release, and 2005’s “New Artist of the
Year” is stepping up to the plate. JOHN J. THOMPSON introduces us to the
fearless side of Building 429, guys who aim to take a newfound direction in both
their music and their leadership.
cover story
Mark Their Words
The recent media attention surrounding P.O.D.’s new release Testify
is a whirlwind not to be ignored. This month, the hard rock act graces
our cover for the second time, and DAVID JENISON is here to give
us the lowdown on what Sandoval & Co. have been up to.
Music: Kutless returns with a new rock disc, Watermark’s
final chapter is assessed and much, much more
Books: Margaret Becker’s editor inspires
Head Held High
Warren Barfield has seen his share of ups and downs in the Christian
music industry, and they almost brought him down. However, with his
latest release, a new, refreshed Warren is emerging, extending to his
fans a record full of hard lessons learned. BEAU BLACK reports.
Mission Across the Pond
Known for pushing the limits and challenging listeners with vivid lyrics
and powerful worship anthems, Delirious embraces its mission.
LOUIS CARLOZO investigates.
Listening In: Queens of Soul
2006 GMA “Female Vocalist of the Year” nominee Natalie Grant and
renowned actress Queen Latifah both love Gospel music and talking
about real life. In a phone conversation between these two divas, the
ladies discuss what it means to live life without fear and the messages
they want to communicate through their art. Listen in on their girl-talk.
Pillar rocks the house
From the Editor:
The Insider: Get the “inside” scoop on the Stellar Awards,
the 411 on mewithoutYou, Anthony Evans, The Rocket Summer
and more.
The Writer’s Block: Join Matthew West on a songwriter’s
Say Goodbye
Worship power couple Nathan and Christy Nockles are bidding
recording as Watermark adieu. CHRISTA A. BANISTER chats with
Christy about worship, parenthood and life after Watermark.
in review
All About You
journey, a matter of heart over mind.
By the Numbers: Avalon
A Personal Perspective by Andrew Peterson
HistoryMakers with John Styll: How Nashville became
the hub of Christian music.
5:01 PM
Page 6
by Jay Swartzendruber
The Winds
of Change
How well do I know you, the
CCM reader? That’s a question I
often ask myself. And in more
direct terms, who are you and
what do you want? As someone
who’s been a loyal reader of this
magazine, myself, for more than
20 years, those are extremely
important questions to me.
Case in point? Consider the
recent “Music Fan Survey” CCM
Magazine conducted this past
December and January. Thousands
of Christian music fans completed
our 50-question survey, providing
us with incredible feedback. If you
were one of them, I thank you.
For the purposes of this
This month P.O.D. rocks the party.
discussion, I’d like to highlight
the throngs of respondents who indicated they are subscribers. (If you’re a
casual reader, don’t take it personally, it’s just that our subscribers’ opinions
matter most to us.) There were several key things we discovered, a few of
which, I thought you would enjoy knowing about.
Let’s start with your musical tastes. Most of you are interested in a broad
cross-section of music. But, of the 10 genres we listed in the survey, you are
hands-down most interested in rock & roll. (Literally, only 2% of you said you
weren’t interested in rock.) Modern worship came in 2nd and pop 3rd. And
who knew hard/metal would be so popular with 69% of you indicating you
are “somewhat” to “very interested” in it. And faith-based hip-hop? 59% of
you are keeping an eye on it. Nice!
We also asked you about related topics of interest. Would you believe that
92% of you appreciate coverage of independent artists? That’s quite a
mandate. There were several topics we knew you’d have a strong interest in
such as “the stories behind the songs” and “the making of an album.” But we
also discovered that a vast majority of you want to know about “artists’
friendships with each other” and that more of you are interested in “artists’
activism on social issues” than “non-music entertainment news”—both are
popular topics.
Some of the other interesting results? Half of you are musicians, while 5%
of you actually earn your living that way. On the philosophical front, 89% of
you believe “it is great” when Christian artists such as MercyMe, Relient K or
Your Christian Music Magazine Since 1978
volume 28 issue 9
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 Jim Cumbee
Associate Publisher & Editor in Chief Roberta Croteau
Editor Jay Swartzendruber
Managing Editor & Web Editor Kristi Henson
Editorial Assistant Lindsay Williams
Art Director Mary Sergent
Natalie Grant “cross over” into the general market. (Only 3% of you went so
far as to say you believe these artists “are compromising their spiritual beliefs”
when they do so.) Meanwhile, 82% of you said that CCM Magazine is the way
you “usually find out about new Christian music releases.” And there’s so
much more you helped us learn and confirm about you. Again, thank you.
Your written feedback the last couple of years has certainly helped us
realize where many of your tastes and preferences are headed. And you have
probably noticed some subtle but significant changes taking place with CCM
as a result. But the survey? It’s given you a unified, authoritative voice. In
other words, we now know there’s no need for us to continue being subtle or
gradual with the changes.
You want ROCK? You got it. While we will continue to cover all popular genres
of Christian music, rock—in all its forms—will grace our pages more than ever.
In the interest of full disclosure, I can’t even begin to tell you how much
this pleases me. While our job is to serve your tastes, and we will always base
our coverage on what you want, I must confess that the more this magazine
rocks, the better, in my opinion. Rock & roll—primarily alternative rock—is
where most of my interests are as a fan, and that’s mainly where I invested
myself professionally before joining CCM’s team.
With next month’s CCM, you’re going to notice another key change. Each
issue we will commit at least one page to the independent music scene. If we
have anything to do with it, you’re going to know about the future
MercyMes, Underoaths, Sara Groveses and Hawk Nelsons before they even
sign to record labels, not to mention many great artists who, by their own
choice, will never sign with labels.
Yes, when I think of CCM’s future, the first word that comes to mind is
adventure. I love adventure. And you can continue to help us shape how the
adventure will unfold by keeping your feedback coming. Usually, we’re
subtle in how we take your advice, but on rare occasions, we just might
rock the party.
Thanks again for turning up the volume.
Your fan,
[email protected]
P.S. As we were preparing to go to press with this issue, the 2006 GMA Music
Award nominees were announced. And while that was happening, I was on
my way to Washington, D.C., to take part in an on-the-record conversation
with U2’s Bono and several “faith editors.” While we’ll report on both the
conversation with Bono and the Dove Award nominees in next month’s issue,
you can go to CCMmagazine.com today for extensive details about each.
Production Director Ross E. Cluver
Contributing Editors Andy Argyrakis, Margaret Becker, Michael
Card, Paul Colman, Russ Long, Gregory Rumburg, John Styll,
Chris Well, Matthew West
Contributors Christa A. Banister, Beau Black, Lou Carlozo, Andree
Farias, David Jenison, Dan MacIntosh, David McCreary, Robert
Mineo, Terri Modissette, Brian Quincy Newcomb, Andrew
Peterson, Tony Shore, Mark Stuart, John J. Thompson
Circulation Director Joan Dyer
Customer Service Representatives Amy Cassell, Emeka Nnadi
Fulfillment Manager Leesa Smith
Senior Director of Advertising
DeDe Tarrant 805/987-5072
Account Executive Blake Jackson
Account Executive Pat McAbee
Advertising Coordinator Carol Jones
Marketing Manager Callie Johnson
Administrative Sales Assistant Melissa Smart
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 Blvd., Ste 300,
Nashville 37205, 800/527-5226 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 design: Mary Sergent
6 ccm march 06
6:16 PM
Page 7
of a cover than most you publish…I
apologize if this email comes across
as harsh. I frequently have high
expectations of others and myself,
and, as I stated above, without
criticism, none of us would ever
learn and improve.
Jonathan Fosdick, via e-mail
Nichole Nordeman’s “A Personal
Perspective” article has really stuck
with me (“Turning a New Leaf,”
January). Her honesty and openness
is really amazing. The best thing was
that I was able to share this story with
[new artist name withheld] during an
interview. She is just 18, and there is
so much that she as an artist can
learn from a veteran like Nichole. She
may not get the whole children thing
yet, but the rest is a given. I myself
felt convicted and moved by the
article, and I hope to read many more
like this in the future. God Bless!
Ken Wiegman
Platteville, WI
I am a longtime subscriber who’s
very curious as to why you continue
to use a “grade” system for your
reviews. You give nearly every album
that you appraise a grade of “A” or
“B.” What is the point of giving a
good album a high grade if every
album gets a high grade? I am so
confused as to why Christians are
afraid to critically examine each
other’s work. Constructive criticism
only builds and improves. If you do
not have any intention of offering
critical reviews, I just wish that you
would simply drop the facade of a
grading system. As an aside
regarding your ar ticle on Sara
Groves (“Beautiful Days,” January),
she’s an artist much more deserving
You raise a good question, Jonathan.
Thank you. In recent years, we have
tended to steer clear of reviewing
albums we believe merit a “D” or “F”
grade. We don’t have the space to
review all the albums we’d like to, so
why “waste” space when a more
deserving album can benefit from that
real estate? We also believe that when
we give a “C” or “C-” grade to an album,
it sends a message. Of course, the fun
part for readers is to decide whether a
specific omission from our reviews
section is due strictly to space limitations or to its being a downright bad
album. And rule No. 1? Never assume.
I loved the article on Project 86 in the
December issue (“Subject to
Change”), and I’d like to see more on
bands like them—bands such as Zao,
Underoath, Skillet and Dizmas, as well
as those like Hawk Nelson, MxPx,
Anberlin and Relient K. I see a lot of
softer adult contemporary and pop
artists, and at times feel as if my mom
would enjoy reading more than I would.
Becki Strabbing
Hudsonville, MI
Becki, in hindsight, we’d like to
dedicate last month’s Hawk Nelson
cover to you... And this month’s P.O.D.
cover? Yep, that’s for your mom!
I just subscribed for the first time in
December, after hounding my local
bookstore for the past nine years,
asking, “Have you gotten the new
issue of CCM yet?” As an Australian,
it is sometimes difficult to get the
issues on time (if at all), but, with
the addition of my credit card to an
array of plastic in my wallet, CCM
arrives in my letterbox on time—and
the news is still current when I read it!
Also, I have to say that the
quality of Christian music being
released in the last year is an
absolute joy for a music fan like
myself. The music from Sara Groves,
Rebecca St. James, Switchfoot,
Nichole Nordeman, Audio Adrenaline
and P.O.D. is top notch, and every
spin of these discs is a joy to behold.
More importantly, these artists have
not lost any of their passion for
sharing their faith through song, and
their music just gets better with every
new release. God is using them in
mighty ways. Thanks for getting CCM
to me on time!
Cam Hateley, via e-mail
I found your “List-O-Rama” on the
connection between Christian music
and C.S. Lewis in the December issue
very interesting. I had no idea that a lot
of Christian bands found their band
names from or had another connection
to a book written by C.S.Lewis.
However, I was disappointed that the
name for the group Point of Grace was
not mentioned. The origin of the name
“Point of Grace” came from the
sentence, “We live ever y day at the
point of God’s grace,” in a book written
by C.S. Lewis. Surely, Point of Grace
should not have been overlooked!
Laura Kilbrai
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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. Letters may be edited
for length and clarity.
march 06 ccm 7
6:42 PM
Page 9
Stars, stars, and more stars!
The Stellar Awards, The Rocket
Summer, and more!
From left: (Top Row) Mary Mary, jeff obafemi carr, Jennifer Louis and Michael W. Smith, Yolanda Adams (Bottom Row) Fred Hammond, Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler, Tammy and Kirk Franklin
The 21st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, held January 21st in Nashville
at the Grand Ole Opry, proved to be…well…stellar! Featuring a star-studded
and cosmic cast of gospel music’s finest, the heavenly night shone with divine
performances from both old and new alike! OK, enough with the astral
references…you get the idea—the Stellars were celestial!
The Opry house was packed with an eager audience as gospel diva VICKIE
WINANS and her co-hosts DONNIE McCLURKIN and ISRAEL presided over the
evening’s events. Starting off with a big bang, MARY MARY was honored with
the opening performance slot, and they didn’t disappoint! The sister duo, soon
joined by TY TRIBETT, took the stage by storm with a hand-clapping, footstomping and all-around rousing rendition of “Heaven,” from their critically
acclaimed self-titled album Mary Mary, which took home the Stellar Award for
“Urban/Inspirational Single/Performance of the Year.”
As the night progressed, the big winner turned out to be DONALD
LAWRENCE, who received 10 nominations and ended up with six Stellar
Awards. J MOSS, who also received 10 nods, was hot on Lawrence’s heels,
picking up three awards, including “New Artist of the Year.” WALTER HAWKINS
and LIL IROCC WILLIAMS both received two awards each.
The stars were shining bright when special guest ARETHA FRANKLIN
presented the Stellar Award for “Song of the Year” to JONATHAN NELSON for his
song “Healed.” Another highlight turned out to be the special recognition of FRED
HAMMOND, who was honored for his pioneering work in songwriting, outstanding
performances and record sales success in the gospel music industry. JOANN
ROSARIO and MEN OF STANDARD serenaded Hammond with a medley of some
of his most notable recordings, including “Running Back,” “No Weapon,”
“Blessed” and “Glory-to-Glory.” Thereafter, gospel dynamo KIRK FRANKLIN was
on hand to present Hammond with the “Most Notable Achievement” Award.
But the Stellars weren’t only focused on awards. In fact, one of the most
memorable and touching moments of the evening was found in the tribute to
THE WINANS FAMILY. Known as the “First Family of Gospel Music,” The
Winans have been trailblazers in multi-musical genres for years, spawning hits
in the traditional, contemporary and urban/hip-hop realms, just to name a few.
During this segment, the legendary ANDRÁE CROUCH, a 2003 recipient of the
James Cleveland Award, introduced CHANTE MOORE, KENNY LATTIMORE and
RIZEN, whose performances celebrated the life and legacy of the late RONALD
WINANS. The REV. JESSE JACKSON, who opened the show with an
inspirational prayer, then presented the family with the prestigious James
Cleveland Award, which is given annually to someone who has made a major
impact in the development and advancement of gospel music.
The great moments just kept on coming with other soul-stirring
performances by the incomparable YOLANDA ADAMS, Walter Hawkins, Kirk
picked up a Stellar for “Instrumental CD of the Year” gave a moving
performance featuring the soothing vocal stylings of singer JONATHAN BUTLER.
The show finally concluded with a powerful finale by this year's Stellar Award
pack leader Donald Lawrence.
For a complete listing of all the 2006 Stellar Award winners, visit
thestellarawards.com, and to see pictures of your favorite artists at the Stellar
Awards, visit CCMmagazine.com and click on “Photos.” The 21st Annual Stellar
Gospel Music Awards Show will air in syndication through March 5. Please check
local listings for dates and times.
Singer/songwriter hub Rocketown Records has announced the formation of new band-oriented label imprint >>>
march 06 ccm 9
6:42 PM
Page 10
Western New York’s Premier Christian Festival!
Psalm 22:27
AUGUST 6-9, 2006
Featuring: Casting Crowns • Third Day • Newsboys
Mercy Me • Chris Rice • Rebecca St. James • John Reuben • Kutless
Joy Williams • Paul Baloche • Robin Mark • Alvin Slaughter
Parachute Band • Skillet • Denver & MHO • Desperation Band
Seventh Day Slumber • Kids in the Way • Hawk Nelson • Sanctus Real
Thousand Foot Krutch • Dizmas • Spoken• Pam Stenzel
Michael Franzese • Reggie Dabbs • Ken Freeman • And many more…
VISIT www.kingdombound.org FOR THE COMPLETE LINEUP.
1.800.461.4485 • (716) 633.1117
>>> RKT
Last year was a particularly good one for Bryce Avary—aka THE
ROCKET SUMMER. For starters, he released the widely acclaimed
album, Hello, Good Friend (S.R.E./Militia), and then signed to a
major record label. “I’m really excited about being on Island/Def
Jam,” enthuses the 23-year old multi-instrumentalist/producer.
“It’ll be really rad to put out a record and have it be a lot more
available. I’m working on a lot of songs right now, but I’m definitely
not to the stage of recording a record,” he continues. “I’m excited
about the songs and the way they’re coming out.”
Fans will have to wait quite awhile to see the fruit of his labor
though—his next album won’t be releasing until early 2007.
That said, these new tunes will once again find Avary pondering
“life, and everything that is in life; everything that’s in my life.
Right now, I’m trying to focus more on the musical side of it.
I’m trying to get the actual melodies and chords and stuff like
that ready before I start writing a lot of the lyrical part.”
Even with all its positive developments, 2005 wasn’t always
a smooth ride. “Pride can be easy to feel, you know, when
you’re doing what I do,” he admits. “That’s just something that
I’m always working on.” Even so, Avary remains ever the
optimist. “I think the main thing that I’ve realized this past year
is just to take everything as a blessing.”
Avary expects to earn plenty of frequent flyer miles via his
opening slot on Relient K’s spring tour. But first, he’s slated
to return to Japan, which is one unique place to perform.
“They’re awesome,” says Avary of the country’s audiences.
“They’re really polite. They’re crazy fans, screaming really
loud. And then, all of a sudden, it’s dead silence, and they’re
listening for whatever you have to say.”
For tour information, visit therocketsummer.com.
Music; RKT's first release will be the May 9 debut from modern rock act Hyper Static Union titled Lifegiver
10 ccm march 06
6:42 PM
Page 11
>> pop/fanfare
named CCM’s newest
columnist and next
thing you know…
Matthew is a brand
new dad. Matthew
and his wife, Emily,
welcomed their first
child, Luella Jane West, into the world
the night of January 16. Weighing in at 5 lbs.
and 10 oz., little Luella is sure to become the
inspiration for many of Matthew’s future hits.
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New mom MEGAN
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Crowns, has added the
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the Crown kids. Megan
and her husband,
Ryan, celebrated the
beginning of 2006 with the birth of their first
child, Lillie Addyson. Born at 3 p.m. on
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18” long, Lillie takes after her mom with a
head full of curly hair. Look for Lillie’s mom
on the “Lifesong Tour” this spring.
“ Grace gives me a real-world education from a
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“Grace has nurtured my faith and provided me
with a solid education.”
“The education I have received, and the
relationships formed at Grace have changed
my life.”
“I have been trained to succeed in life and grow
“College is a time to develop your relationship
with Christ.”
“Small class size, diverse majors, Christian
fellowship, preparation for life.”
LIL IROCC will be turning 16 on March 3,
commemorating his birthday in style with a
string of events held in Atlanta, Georgia, to
celebrate and help others. A Red Carpet/
Hollywood Style Birthday Jam kicks off the
weekend of events. Then, on Saturday, Lil
iROCC is inviting all of his friends to an
exclusive ticketed event to help raise money
for a mission effort he supports in West
Africa. To top off the festivities, Lil iROCC will
host a masquerade ball that weekend as well
as a praise celebration on Sunday. While he
is looking forward to partying for a good
cause, Lil iROCC is most excited about
getting his driver’s license! Lil iROCC recently
garnered two wins for his latest release, The
Sequel, at the Stellar Awards held in January.
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february 06 ccm
6:42 PM
Page 12
Things You Should Know About
MEWITHOUTYOU bought its tour bus on eBay. It
was actually a Greyhound style passenger bus
that the band converted into its own luxury home on
wheels. That fact in and of itself is really pretty cool,
but here comes the kicker…they also converted the
engine to run not on diesel but on straight vegetable
oil. Previously used vegetable oil. Guitarist Michael
Weiss says, “We had heard about this and looked
into it. So we contacted this guy that makes the
conversion kits for diesel engines. This isn’t BioDiesel; this engine runs on 100 percent used
vegetable oil. We get the used oil from restaurants,
when we’re out on the road. We have to stop and
ask, and they usually let us go in the back and siphon
it out of their old oil drums and dumpsters.” There
are a number of reasons the band gives for wanting
to do this, as Mike points out, “All of us care about
the environment and want to do our part to reduce
our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, but it’s also
about saving money. We’ve researched it, and we’re
really into it. The diesel engine was actually invented
and designed to run on vegetable oil so that farmers
could grow their own fuel source.”
This past summer the band had pot-luck
dinners before all of their shows. Fans were
invited to bring a dish, and then mewithoutYou would
cook as well. They would sit and talk and eat with
the fans, and they’d pray together. “It didn’t always
work out as planned. Sometimes lots of kids would
show up without food, and, of course, we can’t
afford to feed everyone. But it’s a great way to meet
the fans. We’re just looking for ways to connect with
them. So many fans only get to see the bands
they’re into up on stage, and they don’t get to go
backstage and meet them and hang out.”
The guys are notorious for not letting food go to
waste. If you eat with the band, don’t even think
about leaving any leftovers or putting scraps in the
garbage. “Aaron is really the one that’s serious
about that,” says Mike. “I don’t remember the last
time Aaron paid for food. He takes what other people
don’t want. He goes to grocery stores and gets the
food they’re throwing away.” The band is known to
dumpster dive for food and other useful items.
Every band member knows all the words to the
Walker Texas Ranger theme song. They sing it
regularly and even have the DVDs of the show on the
bus. “That show is a guilty pleasure for us. It’s so
bad, it’s funny. We like to invite the bands we tour
with onto the bus, and we’ll have sing-alongs. That
theme is always a fun one, and then we do the
classics—the Beatles, Jim Croce, that sort of thing.”
Both Aaron and Mike have college degrees and
are certified to teach.
The band used to be called “The Operation” and
actually put out an album on Take Hold
Records. It was a slightly different line-up. In that
band, Greg Jehanian was the lead singer. He left,
and the others formed mewithoutYou. And Aaron
became the lead singer. In a weird twist of fate, the
band lost its bass player, and they asked Greg to
join again—this time as the bassist.
Before joining mewithoutYou, Greg had never
played bass. He taught himself to play, and the
other guys in the band all say he’s amazing. He also
knows everything there is to know about Star Wars
and has quite a collection of Star Wars stuff…a real
sci-fi nut.
The band actually got signed at the Cornerstone
Festival in Illinois. They went as both “The
Operation” and “mewithoutYou.” According to the
band, mewithoutYou was a side thing, and they
played on a small “unofficial” side stage and delivered
“a really bad performance.” But there was a rep there
from Tooth & Nail. They gave him their EP, and “he
liked what he heard and saw something in us.”
is focusing
on hisw. band
• Due
to health
20-City Holiday
• TheOlesen
movie (starring
now set
to hit
in >>> >
>>> guitarist
12 ccm march 06
6:43 PM
Page 13
<A%% 8478EˆF
* J4E7F
ou’d think ANTHONY EVANS is a shy, reserved
guy. Judging from the cover photo of his second
album, Letting Go (INO), you’d probably
conclude he’s one modest singer, someone who
doesn’t want to draw attention to himself but, rather,
wants to point to something greater.
By his own admission, though, Evans is anything but.
You see, the image isn’t your typical, PR-friendly
mug shot, but a picture of Evans from the neck
down—a far cry from the glossy, carefree look of
his debut album, Even More. But there’s more to
that visual choice than meets the eye.
“The first record really taught me a lot about
putting expectations on myself and then trying to
have those expectations met by the approval of
other people,” says Evans, who confesses he had
to do much rearranging in his life before setting out
to make new music.
“I think I learned a lot with the past record and over
the past couple of years,” he adds. “I’ve had to realize
that God is sovereign, period. No matter what the
scenario, what the industry says or what people say.”
The battle with expectations was one Evans
fought daily, as his quest for everyone’s “thumbsup” began to consume him.
>> >>>
6E84G<[email protected]
*,!+,+ &8JF5BLF q 4FG<A: EBJAF q GB5L%46
“I think a lot of it was in my head. I had to let go
of the part of me that searched so hard for man’s
approval. I wanted to hear from everybody around
me, ‘Oh my gosh, that was amazing! That was
great!’ And that’s wrong. How’s God going to give
me a gift and give me songs [to sing] and do all this
stuff, and then I go and look for somebody else’s
approval of what God’s given me?”
Conquering his people-pleasing ways and
coming to grips with God’s sovereignty became the
breeding ground for Letting Go, an outing that
furthers the adult contemporary mold of his first
effort yet is complemented with Evans’ ever-sosoulful delivery.
But the sound of things isn’t his biggest
preoccupation anymore.
“There’s always going to be a side of me that’s
going to care about what people think,” he says.
“Music is so subjective. You can’t please
everybody. I’ll try to just focus on remembering God
giving me the songs. He poured them into me. Now
I have to communicate them to people.”
Check out our review of Anthony’s new album
on page 43.
Tonic is delaying his new album The Dash; at press
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6:43 PM
Page 14
Keep track of upcoming artists’ birthdays, key concert dates,
HOLIDAYS, and other seasonal fun right here each month.
12 34
5 678 91011
12 14 161718
Did you know DELIRIOUS recently
performed in front of 1.2 million people at
a 4-day Christian gathering in
Jonathan Stephens
you know
recently released a
3-song EP exclusively
to iTunes? You can
buy his new full-length
album, Ripen, today.
Mike Weaver
(Big Daddy Weave)
Scotty Beshears
(Building 429)
Derek Stipe
(Monday Morning)
Chuck &Dennie
the Tree)
. Big Daddy Weave
“The Name of
Jesus Tour”
Tampa, FL
Garrett Buell
(Caedmon’s Call)
Relient K &
The Rocket Summer
“The Matt Hoopes
Birthday Tour”
Tulsa, OK
time—a day to begin
transforming winter’s
dreams into
Hugging Day
summer’s magic.”
—Adrienne Cook
13 15 24
1920 2223
29 31
Sarah Hart
DAY of
FREE copies
CCM for your
school’s dorms!!!
Find out how:
Brandon Hargest
Sarah Hart
Matt Odmark
(Jars of Clay)
Kevin Swartwood
(Red Umbrella)
Superchic[k] “This Is
Your Anthem Tour”
Coshocton, OH
Denise Jones
(Point of Grace)
Joe Shirk
(Big Daddy Weave)
Sarah Ross
Thomas Pellerin
Brandon Yoder
(Mourning September)
Jeremy Edwardson
(The Myriad)
26 28 30
Did you know
EVERLIFE recently
signed a mainstream
deal with Hollywood
James Colvin
Aaron Blanton
(By The Tree)
Which CCM
staffer got to
meet Stryper?
Find out on
Photos page:
time no firm release date had been set • President Bush has appointed Michael W. Smith to his
14 ccm march 06
6:43 PM
Page 16
by Chris Well
The Jan. 29 episode of ABC's hit drama
PAYNE song “Scratch.” Response to the song
was immediate: ABC’s message board for the
show lit up with viewers searching for info on the
song. The next day, “Scratch” finished at #23 on
the iTunes Pop Singles download chart while
Payne’s acclaimed album Grown (BHT Records)
reached #15 on the Pop Albums chart.
One of the big success stories in Hollywood right now is
HOODWINKED, the little-animated-film-that-could. During
the long MLK weekend, the film topped the box office with
$16.6 million in ticket sales. With BENJY GAITHER joining
an all-star voice cast and FLEMING & JOHN providing the
musical score and songs, the film has grossed some $40
million (twice what it cost to make). A sequel has already
been greenlighted, Hood vs. Evil.
Following the blockbuster success of THE LION, THE WITCH,
AND THE WARDROBE, Disney has officially announced the
based on the second book in the series. Reuniting most of the
original cast and creative team, production begins later this
year for a Christmas 2007 release.
Worldwide, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe has earned
some $640 million dollars—at press time, it was the secondhighest-grossing live-action film in the Disney library, behind
The Sixth Sense. The DVD hits shelves in April.
The hot ticket in musical theater right now is
“ALTAR BOYZ,” a 90-minute stage satire about
a Christian boy band that “makes the
Backstreet Boys look like gangsta rappers.” A
New York Times review remarks: “Thanks to five
dynamite performances and songs convincing
enough to be played on MTV, the show became
an unlikely hit. ...Finally, a dopey off-Broadway
musical that actually works.”
Even as the DVD hits stores, the Johnny Cash biopic WALK
THE LINE continues to pull ’em in at the box office, thanks
to a string of awards—including big wins at the Golden
Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In January, actor JOAQUIN PHOENIX (who portrays
Cash) and Charles Colson’s ministry PRISON FELLOWSHIP
visited California’s Folsom State Prison for a concert and
special showing of the film. Fellowship’s Joe Avila told
Billboard that the film’s message is good for inmates: “The
movie is about how [Cash] screwed it up really bad, and he
turned to Jesus Christ to help him change.”
This month
frontman Mark Stuart reviews the
popular sequel and forthcoming
DVD Cheaper By the Dozen 2.
AH, THE BAKER FAMILY! If you missed them the first time, here’s
your shining moment to play catch up. Steve Martin and Bonnie
Hunt return for this predictable follow-up to 2003’s dark horse hit
of the year. This time around though, the family finds itself in a
competition with the new “8 is Enough,” fathered by dry-witted
Eugene Levy.
“Part 2” is better than the first one but still not quite the musthave DVD of the year. Piper Perabo and Hillary Duff return as two
of the numerous siblings and embark on the family competition
adventure in rather mundane
style. Thankfully, Hillary is not
contracted to sing in this version,
so we are spared a little pop-ick
moment. Whew!
From the onset, Tom Baker
(Martin) gets reflective, as many
parents do, on the good ol’ days
when the family was super tightknit. So one last family vacation is
in order before the oldest goes off
to college. The Bakers file off to a
remote lake in the Midwest, where
they cross paths with Jimmy
Murtaugh (Levy) and clan. Jimmy
and Tom have a sordid back
history that I will not expound
upon here. It’s rather silly but creates the drama well.
All in all, this is probably not the best movie you’ll ever see, but
it’s worth a chance. Sit the family down for a night of popcorn and
diet soda and have a laugh. After all, what makes movies
memorable is the company you keep with you anyhow. Levy does do
his usual stellar job of throwing dry humor around rather loosely,
and Martin is his usual spastic self.
The child actors are surprisingly good, and the final scenes of the
movie provide a feel good family time. It’s still comforting to see
people attempting to produce good cinema for all ages, despite
predictable plot sequences and, at times, contrived humor. See the
movie, and enjoy it for what it is, as opposed to hoping it would be
so much more.
Until next time, happy viewing. Oh yeah. Kids, stop throwing the
Milk Duds at your parents’ television. It doesn’t have the same
effect in your living room.
Keep up with the latest “SIGHTINGS” at CCMmagazine.com.
President's Council on Service and Civic Participation • Gotee Records unveils two digital EPs with
16 ccm march 06
6:45 PM
Page 17
12 9 8
7 101814 13
19 11 16
1 235
arched” musings
A compendium of arguably useless and “rese
Real estate agents go by the pop philosophy mantra, “The three most important things about a
business are location, location, location.” (Which probably says more about their math skills than
it does about their ability to sell property. Of course, with taxes and escrow and such, maybe that
should worry us.) While we’re on the topic, here are five artists who have places in their names…
This hip urban pop sibling
trio records some of the
sweetest harmonies and
some of the finest R&B we
know. The group also takes
its name from the Garden of
Eden. (Look it up.) The
group’s latest album is
Hymns (Gotee). And did you
know more than 6,000
young women have taken
part in Out of Eden’s “This Is
Your Life” girls events through
their student ministries?
This modern rock band,
presumably named after the
Apostle Paul’s journey to
meet the Roman emperor,
came together in the summer
of 2004. The boys toured
Europe before playing numerous colleges and venues
throughout the United States.
Following a successful indie
EP, they signed with Union
Street Records. The fulllength debut, Love Rain Down,
is in stores now.
This hip-hop collective representing the City of Angels
spent years building an
underground following with
their unique and diverse
style. After some fits and
starts as both an indie artist
and—temporarily—an artist
signed to Squint Entertainment (don’t ask), these
urban street poets are now
coming on strong at Gotee
Records. The group’s latest
disc is Disappear Here.
This totally awesome new wave
band from Canada opened
for Michael W. Smith on his
Wired for Sound tour. Elim
Hall, comprised of two brothers
and a cousin—well, I guess
they were all cousins, but
you know what I mean—took
its name from their hometown
church. Find the group’s story,
pictures and music online at
Hey, remember when you
were a kid and you went to
camp? Man, camp was the
best. Maybe it was church
camp, or band camp, or
maybe you were sent away
for—oh, let’s just call it
“rehabilitation.” (Oh. Wait. This
list is supposed to be about
specific places.) Hey, remember
when the president and
those world leaders went to
Camp David? Man, Camp
David was the best.
1.“With a name like ‘Hawk Nelson,’
you would expect the official Hawk
Nelson kite to fly better than this.”
2. “Boys, boys, put down those
light sabers—we’re trying to fly kites!”
Contributing editor and novelist Chris Well is not so good with places. In
fact, he would get lost on the way to his own office if it weren't for the
handy GPS in that “house arrest” dealie around his ankle. (Oh. Wait. Were
we supposed to mention that?)
previously unreleased songs by Jennifer Knapp; the first, titled Live, released Feb. 28, and the
march 06 ccm 17
6:27 PM
Page 18
5 Questions with Shawn McDonald
and Delirious in South Africa
It’s no secret that Sparrow recording artist Shawn McDonald is “the
real thing.” In fact, the singer/songwriter disproves the music critic’s
mantra, “When quality goes up, sales go down.” Exhibit A: His 2004
debut Simply Nothing has sold more than 90,000 copies in the United
States alone. And whether you were first introduced to McDonald via
his No. 2 radio hit “Gravity” or when you saw him open for David
Crowder Band, Bethany Dillon, Bebo Norman or Matthew West, chances
are you’ve already got March 7 highlighted on your calendar. How could
you not? That’s the day his engaging new album, Ripen, hits stores.
If you could visit any
place in the world, where would
it be and why?
Definitely South America...maybe
Brazil...It’s a place I haven’t been
yet, but, ever since I was a little
kid, I have wanted to visit.
What’s your most embarrassing moment onstage?
Actually my most embarrassing
happened just recently! Our show
was visited by Spider-Man...in full
costume. We (my cello player, Neal,
and I) welcomed our special guest,
and then we began our next song...
only, to our surprise, Spider-Man
decided to join us on stage...as
our drummer! Neither one of us
had any idea what to do...
As a kid, what did you
want to be when you grew up?
Well, I wasn’t your average kid...I
didn’t want to be a fireman or a
police officer. I think if someone
had asked me back then, I would
have likely responded “chief
Indian” or “a professional knight.”
What’s one goal you
have as an artist?
My main goal as an artist is to
write songs that really connect
with people on a personal
level...songs that draw them
nearer to God.
What’s one question
you’d like to ask God when you
get to heaven?
Hmmm...That’s really hard...I don’t
think I have one question I would
want to ask God. I kind of think
once I get to heaven, questions
will fade away...overshadowed by
His Presence.
Ask Delirious keyboardist Tim Jupp about
turning 40, and he will reply with a grin, “I
had a rather large birthday!” Large would
be an understatement as the gentlemen
of Delirious celebrated Jupp’s birthday
with over 60 orphans in Durban, South
Africa, throwing a party in the streets
complete with crepe paper and balloons.
The idea for the birthday party came
about after Jupp received several
questions from friends and family asking
him how he was going to celebrate this
milestone. Jupp sent out printed
invitations to loved ones for his birthday
extravaganza, but there was one
catch—they weren’t invited. Instead,
Jupp encouraged friends to send the
money that they would spend on a
present and transportation to his party
to be donated to a non-profit organization
called HOPE HIV, which helps underprivileged street children in South Africa.
The plan was a raging success, with
Delirious raising much-needed funds.
Children, some of whom hadn’t eaten in
several days, were picked up in the
backs of trucks driven by the band
members themselves and taken to the
location of the party where decorations,
a magician and even a DJ awaited their
presence. During the party, ex-street
children were given the opportunity to
share with the kids the hope that they
have found through the ministry of HOPE
HIV and a local ministry, Umthombo.
Then, there was even plenty of food for
the children to take home with them
when the party was over.
Umthombo’s mission is to re-establish
these street children, many of whom have
been orphaned by AIDS, back into society.
Durban, alone, is now reported to have
6,000 street children and is fast becoming
the “Rio de Janeiro” of this decade.
Although Delirious members were
thrilled to have the privilege to help these
children, Tim realized that there was only
so much they could do in one trip.
“Unfortunately, [after the party] we had to
take them back to the streets,” Jupp says.
Throughout its stint in South Africa,
Delirious also used the time to share its
gift of music, playing before 20,000
people in five cities.
The children inspired Delirious to
expand its sphere of influence not only
as a band but also as individuals. Jupp
says, “We want to use our platform to
benefit others as much as we can. We
talk about being a worship band, but
what does that really mean? What is the
expression of a lifestyle of worship?”
Jupp explains that throwing this party
was one way of expressing God’s love,
and Delirious plans to continue to
partner with Umthombo and HOPE HIV in
efforts to raise money for the Durban
street kids in the upcoming year.
Jupp says their partnership with South
Africa began through relationships, and
he encourages fans to use the
relationships they have to live a life of
true worship. “Look for opportunities
wherever God puts you…at college, in the
workplace…Look for ways to express
God’s love to others. The power of God is
love really.”
For more information, visit umthombo.org
or hopehiv.org. To read more about
Delirious’ trip, log on to their website at
second, A Diamond in the Rough, hits March 28 • The Nettwerk Records solo debut from Leigh
18 ccm march 06
7:18 PM
Page 19
A conversation with
John Peroyea and the
latest industry news
by Jay Swartzendruber
owner of the scrolls agreed to allow it to be exhibited at Celebrate FreedomTM,
under guard, of course. One of the things we strive to do is have different
attractions and freshen things up year to year.
What are some of your staple attractions?
Last year we had Stephen Baldwin’s skate board and BMX bike ministry called
“Livin’ It” taking part, and they’ll be with us again this summer. They built an
exhibition platform out of plywood—had their own real estate area, display area
and sound system. They had kiosks set up with counselors and printed material
and other things. They were able to actually gather a lot of support with young
people. We’re excited they’ll be back because people are still talking about it. We
also take a lot of our resources and put them back into the event. We established
“The Cool Zone” inside one of the enclosed conference centers—totally air
conditioned, with a big stage and giant TVs. It broadcasts what’s going on
outside, inside an area that can hold a thousand or so people. We also set up
more than five acres of things for kids to do in a fenced-in secure area where they
can go in and play—a lot of inflatables and such. We have a fireworks display
that’s one of the largest in Texas. It’s huge—almost 30 minutes of fireworks.
Admission is free, so who are the event’s key sponsors?
Freedom’s Song
As the vice president and general manager of
Dallas’ trendsetting 94.9 KLTY, John Peroyea’s
responsibilities include more than overseeing the
nation’s leading Christian music station. (94.9
KLTY’s listenership is the largest in the country,
and the station is a recent recipient of the
National Religious Broadcasters’ “Music Station
of the Year” Award.) Peroyea also manages the
station’s gigantic Celebrate FreedomTM event
each summer. Celebrate FreedomTM, which is
entering its 16th year, is the largest one-day
Christian music concert in the country. (Last year,
local law enforcement officials estimated that Celebrate FreedomTM’s
attendance surpassed 200,000 people.) The event’s performers have included
Casting Crowns, Rebecca St. James, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Nichole
Nordeman, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and Phillips, Craig & Dean,
among others. This year Celebrate FreedomTM will take place on Saturday, July 1,
so make your travel plans now. And did we mention attendance is free? Tickets
are required though—keep an eye on KLTY.com to find Texas locations where
the free tickets will be made available.
By the time Peroyea joined 94.9 KLTY in 1999, he had already spent 24 years
in broadcast management, including serving as president and CEO of several
major radio groups. He had been named Louisiana Broadcaster of the Year,
received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Association of
Broadcasters and landed a “Marketing of the Year” Award from the Sales and
Marketing Executives International. (94.9 KLTY is owned by CCM Magazine’s
parent company, Salem Communications.)
It was nine years ago that Interstate Batteries first got involved. They had
attended the event, and they decided they wanted to become the title sponsor—
and they have been ever since then. Chic-Fil-A is another key sponsor.
Artists and industry executives alike are very aware that the Dallas
area is a huge supporter of Christian music. Are there any ways
other than massive fan attendance that this support manifests
itself at Celebrate FreedomTM?
Absolutely. After artists perform here, their record sales go up exponentially—even
if they don’t have a current album out. People support these artists because they
know they are putting back into the community by coming here and working with
94.9 KLTY to put on a free concert. It’s a family event. Our own market specific
research shows that 94.9 KLTY’s listeners and the attendees at Celebrate
FreedomTM feel that these artists and the station work hand-in-hand to bring this to
them as a gift, and it’s much appreciated. I can’t tell you how many letters, e-mails
and phone calls we get every year after Celebrate FreedomTM. And it’s all positive.
A Day Behind the
Scenes with John
“First, never are my days
‘typical’...They are all different.”
How did Celebrate FreedomTM get started?
It started in 1991. America was still recovering from the first major war of the modern
age—the Gulf War. 94.9 KLTY was just a little over five years old and was playing
adult contemporary Christian music. The idea was birthed to do something around
the 4th of July to celebrate the freedom that our soldiers had fought to protect. There
were around 3,000 people at the first one. After four or five years, when crowds grew
in excess of 30,000 or 40,000 people, we decided to have Celebrate FreedomTM
at the world-famous South Fork Ranch [of TV series “Dallas” fame].
Wasn’t Celebrate FreedomTM the first outlet outside of a museum to have
a public viewing of a Dead Sea Scrolls fragment?
Yes! It was in an exhibit three years ago. The Biblical Arts Center in Dallas was
on their tour, and the person that was one of the principles of the tour and the
First cup of coffee!
Workout (every other day)
Check office e-mail
Breakfast with my wife and
Briefing with Sales Manager
Return phone calls and clear
Regular walk around to all
departments to “visit” with
Regional conference call
Department Head meeting
Work on national business
Return phone calls and clear
Meet with Program Director
Meet with Promotions
3:00 Regular walk around to all
departments to “visit” with
3:30 Client call with Sales Account
Exec. out of office
4:00 Local sales client call with
Account Exec.
5:30 Return phone calls and clear
5:45 Prepare next day’s agenda
And the beat goes on…
With more than 500,000 copies
shipped, Chris Tomlin’s 2004
release Arriving has been certified
Gold by the Recording Industry
Association of America. Arriving is
Tomlin’s first Gold album.
Meanwhile, “Stars,” the lead single
from Switchfoot's Gold certified
album Nothing is Sound, has been
certified Gold as a digital track
surpassing 100,000 downloads.
“Stars” marks Switchfoot’s third
digital single cer tification, with
“Meant to Live” certified Platinum
(200,000 downloads) and “Dare
You to Move” Gold.
Nash (Sixpence None the Richer), set to release this summer, will be distributed by RCA •
march 06 ccm 19
7:18 PM
Page 20
by Matthew West
MIND: Whatever. You’re dreaming, dude. Now, why
don’t you make yourself useful, and turn yourself off.
There’s a re-run of “Saved By The Bell” coming on.
You know how much that Screech makes you laugh!
HEART: But, but…
MIND: No buts. You don’t have what it takes.
Besides, you’ll just wind up broken. You can’t do
this. GIVE UP!
have a love/hate relationship with songwriting. I can compare the process to different things on different
days. Some days writing a song feels as natural as a conversation over coffee with an old friend. I feel
like I can wear my heart on my sleeve and watch it spill out onto the page in a wave of emotion. But other
days, I’m stuck in the middle of the Sahara, and I’m as dry as the empty Aquafina bottle sitting next to my
laptop right now.
So, let’s visit some of those places. Let’s take a trip. Join me on a journey into the mind of a songwriter,
or at least this songwriter (fasten your seatbelts). The following is the internal dialogue that goes on between
my heart and my mind every time I sit down to write a song.
MIND: What do you think you’re doing?
HEART: Well, I’ve got some stuff going on in here, so I thought I’d write a song today.
MIND: A what? You’ve got to be kidding. You can’t write a song! Besides, all the good ones have already
been written. Trust me, there’s nothing new under the sun, man. And if there was, you couldn’t find it. Just
leave the songwriting up to Smitty and Steven Curtis Chapman.
End Scene. It sounds like some kind of songwriting soap opera! I confess, some days my mind
wins, and the song remains unwritten. But other
days, I find the strength to pray and ask God to help
me focus. I find myself relying on His leading, instead
of on my own ability. And on those days, a song is
written, a story is told, and I’m amazed not by what
I’ve done but by what God has done through me.
Have you ever faced that kind of struggle within? If
you’re like me, it’s not just when you try to write a
song. It’s the struggle that happens when you’re trying
to write the song of your life every day. It happens to
the woman battling depression, who struggles just to
get out of bed each morning. It happens to the
preacher of a tired church, who struggles to reach out
to a community in need. It happens to the drug addict,
who struggles to stay clean.
Every day is a struggle. Every heart faces its
toughest challenge yet, this present moment. Don’t let
the voice of doubt steal your hope. Don’t let a spirit of
fear remind you of all your failures. The only way to win
the struggle is to look to the One who made you and
ask Him to help you write your song. You’ll sit back at
the end of the day and be amazed, not by what you’ve
accomplished but by what God has accomplished
through you. There’s no sweeter melody.
Next month, we’ll be hanging out at The Writer’s Block
with some of my favorite artists and songwriters,
finding out where they go to find inspiration.
HEART: Well, I’d like to think I still have something to say. I mean there’s gotta be a fresh idea, a new
melody, some different chords out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. I can do this.
New dad and Universal South singer/songwriter Matthew West has listened to his heart and written songs recorded by Natalie Grant, Joy Williams, Point
of Grace and Rascal Flatts, among others. His latest recording, History, released in June 2005. For more information visit matthewwest.com.
20 ccm march 06
7:19 PM
Page 21
paulcolman’s onestowatch
POCKET FULL OF ROCKS is a veteran worship band from Texas.
Comprised of Michael Farren (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard), Alisa
Farren (vocals), Ryan Riggins (lead guitar), Kyle Lee (guitar, keyboard,
vocals), Jody Crump (bass) and David Rollins, Jr. (drums, trumpet), the
group has been leading worship in churches, conferences and festivals
since 1995. Even if you’ve never worshipped with them in person,
there’s a good chance you’ve heard their songs. Pocket Full of Rocks’
compositions have been featured on numerous projects over the last
several years, including Michael W. Smith’s Worship (“Let It Rain”) and
Phillips, Craig and Dean’s latest release, Let the Worshippers Arise
(the title track). Pocket Full of Rocks’, label debut, SONG TO THE KING,
releases March 14 and marks the re-launch of Myrrh Records as a
worship imprint. For more information check out pocketfullofrocks.com.
PAUL: How did you come up with the name, “Pocket Full of Rocks”?
MICHAEL: In Pocket’s beginning months, we had not yet decided on
The Fold
The Chicago-based band THE FOLD was created from the remnants
of a number of musical outfits. With new enlightened clarity, lead
vocalist and guitarist Daniel Castady helped charter a new musical
and spiritual course for the now unified group of musicians, which
you may have already seen on tour with Waking Ashland, Allister or
Project 86. The Fold—which also includes drummer Mark Rhoades,
bassist Keith Mochel and guitarist Aaron Green—produced two independent albums in 2004 before signing to Tooth & Nail Records in
2005. The resulting CD, entitled THIS TOO SHALL PASS, hit the
streets in late February. Produced by Steven Haigler (The Pixies,
Brand New) and Zach Hodges (Terminal), the album features truly
exciting wide and spacious rock with monster guitar riffs and smooth
yet truly compelling vocals. And the band’s name? It came from John
10:16 where Jesus talks about the sheep he has from another fold.
It is the band’s goal and purpose to be a part of God’s plan to make
one complete fold. Be sure to check out thefoldmusic.com.
PAUL: On your website, you say that your label, Tooth & Nail, is in tune
with what you are trying to do. So what is it you are trying to do?
DANIEL: Put out the best music we can create without having to deal
with major label politics. We know the integrity of the people who work
at Tooth & Nail and have an enormous amount of confidence in them
as a label.
what to call ourselves. We did a song back then entitled “Pocket Full
of Rocks” based on the story of David and Goliath. It basically said
that God could use whatever you had to offer Him, even if it was just
a “pocket full of rocks.” And to the best of our recollection, a bunch
of teenagers somewhere decided to call us that, and it stuck.
PAUL: What was it like to have Michael W. Smith and Phillips, Craig &
Dean record your songs?
MICHAEL: All of us in Pocket were totally unaware that they were even
interested in the songs. I was completely overwhelmed the first time
I heard “Let It Rain” on Michael W. Smith’s Worship. And having
Phillips, Craig & Dean put “Let the Worshippers Arise” on their latest
album led to us getting to know Randy Phillips on a personal level.
And wouldn’t you know it, he’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever
met! But let me say that both of these were situations that only God
could have orchestrated. He’s just good that way!
PAUL: Your label debut arrives this month—can you tell us about the record?
MICHAEL: This project is unique for us because it contains both songs
that we have been doing for a while as well as songs that will be
heard for the first time. Our prayer is that this album will lead people
to a place where they can’t help but know that God deeply loves
them, and, in response, they can’t help but love Him back!
Pocket Full of Rocks
PAUL: How would you describe your new album? And what does the
title mean?
DANIEL: It is a collection of 14 songs that we’ve worked on creating for
years. The album has a lot of pop melodies mixed with in-your-face guitars and huge drums. The title, This Too Shall Pass, is just a reference to
how everything in this world will pass eventually, good or bad, whether we
like it or not. It is a strong message of hope.
PAUL: How does The Fold settle band disputes?
DANIEL: Three words: Air Soft Gun
PAUL: If someone asked if you were a “Christian band,” how would you reply?
DANIEL: We are all Christians in a band, but we don’t consider The
Fold a “Christian band.” Our message through music will be the
same regardless.
Singer/songwriter/author Paul Colman, the former frontman of Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning act Paul Colman
Trio, recently became the Newsboys' new guitarist. The latest single from his current solo album, Let It Go, is "Holding On
to You." Colman currently tours, speaks and performs internationally. For more information visit PaulColman.com.
7:20 PM
Page 22
by Michael Card
“Then Jesus said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat
your fruit again!’…”—MARK 11:14 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)
The Curse for Fruitlessness
12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig
tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were
only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree,
“May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
Mark 11:12-14 ( NLT)
Jesus left a naked, withered tree in His wake that day as He made His way
toward the fruitless Temple. This is a story that defies definition, that
refuses to be squeezed dry, that is as untranslatable as a heartbeat.
He was hungry, we are told, when the leaves that disguised the
barrenness of the tree caused Him to hope for just a bite of fruit. It was
fruitfulness for which He always hungered.
But it was not the season for fruit, Mark reminds us. “The time,” he might
have said “has not yet come.” Perhaps it was the frustrating burden of all
that laid before Him that day—the conflict, the unbearable barrenness of
the place He was going—that caused Him to speak the word that withered
the tree to its roots and left us forever to wonder why.
It was so unlike the tame and domesticated Jesus we think we know, with
only saccharin words dripping honey-sweet from His pale lips. And it was
unlike the living and inscrutable Rabbi, who defies explanation—had he
himself not said “bless and do not curse?” We sometimes forget that the wise
and patient Rabbi was also the fiery Prophet who was burdened to speak
the Words of God, whose heart beat forever in time with the Father and
even that very moment quickened at the frustration of the appearance of
22 ccm march 06 ccmmagazine.com
fruitfulness without fruit. It was in truth the prospect of going to the Temple
that day, that place so willfully fruitless, so full of religiosity, empty works
and words, that had lit the fuse for His smoldering fury. For fruitlessness,
theirs and ours, will always bring the pronouncement of a curse from God,
His Father. In the end, is Jesus really cursing the innocent tree, or is He
simply pronouncing the truth of the cursed fruitlessness of it?
The cursing of the tree that day was the action of a prophet, symbolically
representing by means of the tree the tragic truth of what had already
occurred in the Temple. But because it was from His luminous lips that those
words fell, even the curse turned out to be a blessing. His every lament is a
lesson. And while He will always curse the counterfeit green and barren tree
of our hypocrisy, He will never crush the bruised reed of our broken lives.
The barren branches He leaves along the pathway of our lives are the result
of His grace-filled pruning of our old sterile works.
It is time for us to hear the call that
Brennan Manning so powerfully
“And while He will always articulated, to come and listen to Jesus’
curse the counterfeit green heartbeat, to lean in close to the warm
reality of His Incarnation. The heart
and barren tree of our
that quickened that day on the way to
hypocrisy, He will never
the Temple still beats. Pray that what
crush the bruised reed of was true of the Temple and tree will
our broken lives.”
never again be true of your life. Listen,
then, at the level of your own
7:20 PM
Page 23
sanctified imagination and pace your breathing so
that your heartbeat will fall into place with His.
Listen and learn the sound of a heart that, though
beating, was broken. And understand once and
for all that His was broken by you and for you
and that, above all else, He is hungry for fruit.
1. Do you think that, by now, after all these
centuries, we have come to understand
everything Jesus said and did?
2. In your own life is the call of Jesus something
you always understand?
3. In John 15:2-16, Jesus issues the clear call that
we should all bear fruit. Do you understand what
that means in your own life? What type of fruit
are you called to bear?
4. What does fruitlessness look like in your life?
STUDY: As you study the story of the
cursing of the fig tree in Mark 11 (and its parallel
in Matthew 21:18ff) try to interact with the
passages using your imagination. Put yourself in
the place of Jesus’ disciples.
The fig tree clearly represents something to
Jesus. What about it caused such a mysterious
response from Him? The issue seems to center on
the notion of fruit and what we might possibly
expect from a tree that is green with leaves, even
though it was not the season for fruit. (And Jesus
knew this.)
Both Matthew and Mark use
this story to begin to build the intensity that
surrounds Jesus during the Passion Week, His
final week in Jerusalem before the crucifixion.
The theme points to hope and expectations, all
of which will be disappointed.
As you enter into the story, as you become a
part of the story yourself, seek to understand why
the story is told in the gospels. What were
Matthew and Mark intending by telling it?
Finally, open your heart and mind to the
question of bearing fruit, of what it means or
could mean in your life.
“How amazing it is to understand that
Christ was just like one of us. It is hard
to fully understand that, in a world full
of impurity, there is one that achieved
the impossibility of a pure man. What an
example. This study touches very close
to home for almost everyone. It moves
past the mind blowing almighty of God’s
power and knowledge and shows the
love that Christ has in that He would
relate to us on all levels in order for us to
strive to draw closer and closer to Him!”
— Jessy Ribordy (Falling Up)
Michael Card is an award-winning scholar, musician and radio broadcaster
who resides in Franklin, Tennessee. His latest book and its study guide, both titled A
Sacred Sorrow, deal with the painful circumstances surrounding the lives of Job, David,
Jeremiah and Jesus, circumstances that provoked these men into a unique song of
worship. Visit MichaelCard.com for more information.
Support your
For the location of a Christian Retailer in your area
call 1-800-251-3633
(Ad Sponsored by New Day Christian Distributors and Daywind Music Group)
24 ccm march 06
6:35 PM
Page 24
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By: Davi
P.O.D. seems open to revisiting previously traveled paths. At least, that’s how it
appears with the promotion behind the band’s new album Testify (Atlantic/Word).
For example, Testify mirrors 1999’s Fundamental Elements of Southtown in
that both albums were preceded by a limited edition Warriors EP and a major
tour with Staind. Likewise, P.O.D. recently returned for another New Year’s Eve
performance in Times Square, something it previously did right after the Sept. 11
tragedies. And once again, the gatekeepers are responding in spades. Coinciding
with Testify’s late January release, P.O.D. performed an unprecedented five songs
on MTV’s “Total Request Live” and made the rounds on other high profile outlets
such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Last Call with Carson Daly” and
DIRECTV’s “CD USA.” And in addition to securing CCM Magazine’s cover story—
again—this month, Testify landed P.O.D. on the front of Metal Edge, Risen, HM
and Drum!, among others.
Once more, P.O.D.’s fans have responded in kind—Testify debuted at No. 9 on
The Billboard 200 album sales chart and at No. 1 on iTunes’ Alternative album
download chart in late January. At press time, the album’s lead single “Goodbye
For Now” had entered the Top 20 of America’s Rock radio airplay charts and the
Top 25 of Alternative radio according to Radio & Records. The video for the song,
meanwhile, had climbed to No. 3 on MTV’s “TRL.”
Familiar territory? Absolutely. And P.O.D. has historically demonstrated its growth
with each new opportunity. But there is one path the band is continually forced to
retread. After three indie albums and four major label releases with Atlantic
Records, P.O.D. still faces the same scrutiny from both sides of the spiritual fence.
“It’s like half the people say we’re not Christian enough, and the others say we’re too
preachy,” admits P.O.D. vocalist Sonny Sandoval. “Can’t we just be P.O.D. making music,
and if you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, there are other bands out there for you?”
march 06 ccm 25
6:35 PM
Page 26
R WISother
’S weOUencourage
believers, and it’s our wish that people
OUR LIVES . Our faith is real,
might come to know what we know because
but I don’t want to go up there
and convince you what a great Christian I am so you go buy my record.”
Despite what’s said, Sandoval is not complaining. He’s just answering
another predictable question about his faith when he’d rather be talking about
his new album. The fact is the band’s success makes it an easy target. Even
though 2003’s Payable on Death album opened with the faith-filled anthem
“Wildfire,” the other songs often addressed less spiritual matters. Does this
mean the band went multi-platinum and cut back its faith-related content?
Payable On Death sold more than a million copies worldwide but didn’t come
close to matching the massive success of its forerunner Satellite, which
contained more faith-related content and sold more than three million copies
in the United States alone. So did that motivate the band to include more
spiritual content on its latest, Testify? The point is, no matter what the band
says or does, there’s always a way to spin the facts to criticize it, and so the
band finds itself with a new album and the same old set of questions.
“Even now people say, ‘Are you guys still a Christian rock band?’” laughs Sandoval.
“People need to get more real than that—come up with a better question.”
When Sandoval mentions that question’s monotony, he’s not talking about
sharing his faith but, rather, the way in which his faith might be used to
influence record sales. “I don’t ever want anyone to use my faith to sell
records,” he continues. “It’s not the people. I love all the people who have
26 ccm march 06
supported us in the Christian world, and that gratefulness will never change.
It’s our wish that we encourage other believers, and it’s our wish that people
might come to know what we know because it’s changed our lives. Our faith is
real, but I don’t want to go up there and convince you what a great Christian I
am so you go buy my record.”
“But I have no complaints,” reflects drummer Noah “Wuv” Bernardo.
“Everyone wants to label us, and our band went through a transition where we
didn’t want to be labeled. But now we’re at the point where we don’t care. Call
us what you like. If you like the music, cool, and if you like the message,
straight up—that’s dope!”
That said, Testify does feature more faith-evident content than recent releases,
and, while there are challenges to covering spiritual themes, Wuv also feels it’s
natural. He continues, “You don’t want to say things over and over again until it’s
flat out cheesy, and you’re not taken seriously anymore. But faith in God is
repetitive. It is something you have to do every day in your life. It is something that,
if you have it, you’re going to take it with you until you die. So for us, writing those
songs about faith and struggles will never get [old] because it’s part of the daily
struggle we’re always going to have. It’s not something that you can do once and
then forget about it. Having faith in God is something that you work on every day.”
6:35 PM
Page 27
While P.O.D.’s music has long embraced such
pertinent themes, for many fans it’s the integrity
behind the lyrics and the band’s artistic fervor that sets
P.O.D. apart. Just ask Pillar, the band CCM readers
recently voted their “Favorite Hard Music Artist.”
“There may never be another band that comes
along that has such an epic passion in their music,”
says Pillar’s lead singer Rob Beckley. “P.O.D. is easily
one of the biggest influences on musicians in this
industry and one of the most looked up to. They
have encouraged me to live strong and with no fear
in a world that is somewhat intimidating. P.O.D. is
for real—great musicians, great passion and great
presence. They may never know the impact they
have had not only on fans but on the industry—both
general market and Christian!”
In the end, it all comes back to who the artists
are as people. And the members of P.O.D. choose to
live out their faith as they always have. Consider
their recent visit with wounded Iraq War vets at a
military hospital outside the nation’s capital. The
USO contacted the band knowing they were going to
be in Baltimore, and they quickly set aside the time.
“It was deep,” says Sandoval, speaking with a
sense of hurt in his voice. “I’m not good with
hospitals anyway, but, once we walked in, they took
us straight to the head trauma units. I almost
couldn’t do it, man. The first guy had half his head
gone. His wife is sitting there next to him, and he’s
got pictures up of his kids and how he used to look.
Then there was one really young kid who couldn’t
communicate or even control his own body. His
mother was there, and she had a sweater with his
picture and scripture verses on it. Right before he
went into the service, he got a tattoo on his chest
that read ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd.’ As soon as his
mother started to talk about God, he started to shake
and get upset. He’s got the ‘Lord Is My Shepherd’
across his chest, yet he’s sitting there not knowing if
he’s going to make it. My heart was just dropping.”
Ultimately, the band members expressed their
gratitude to all the soldiers and found themselves
encouraged as well. The singer continues, “Most of
the people we saw were believers. Everyone had
their scripture shirts on and Bible verses posted in
the room. If anything, I walked out more encouraged
because here are these kids whose lives will never
be the same, yet they still push on in their faith.”
“Goodbye for Now,” the lead single from Testify,
was written before the military hospital experience
yet addresses similar situations. This mid-tempo
rocker offers courage to anyone who feels
downtrodden or lost.
Sandoval explains, “‘Goodbye for Now’ is just a vibe
track, one of those hope songs that people can relate
to a little bit. It comes from struggling and feeling
down and out in whatever walk of life you are in and
hoping that tomorrow has a lot more promise. But so
many people have taken different directions from it.
For example, when I played it for my sisters, they took
it from the angle of our mother passing away.”
The new album also features guest vocals from
Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu, whose own hit song
“King Without a Crown” was poised to crack
alternative rock radio’s Top 10 at press time. This
reggae-rock artist, who was in Jerusalem when P.O.D.
first inquired about him, joins the group on the upbeat
“Roots in Stereo” and the worshipful “Strength of My
Life.” Also making guest appearances are hip-hop
legends the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. and Sick Jacken from
the L.A. rap duo The Psycho Realm.
Still, the most notable appearance comes behind
the soundboard. After recording its previous three
albums with Howard Benson (Hoobastank), P.O.D.
worked with veteran producer Glen Ballard (Alanis
Morissette, Dave Matthews Band) on Testify.
“I think we just wanted to try something
different,” admits Sandoval about the producer
change. “There were some scheduling issues. But at
that time we had done three records, and we are
always trying to learn different things. We started
with one of Rick Rubin’s main engineers and got
some really amazing sounds, but, once we got to
the vocals, we realized that we were just duplicating
a lot of the early demo work we had done. That’s
when we started working with Glen, and he was
like, ‘Man, we’ve just got to color all of this in.’ We
worked with him at his studio/home for a month
and a half, and it was a cool experience.”
Looking back, P.O.D.—which also features bassist
Traa Daniels and guitarist Jason Truby—formed 14
years ago in the San Diego suburb of San Ysidro,
not far from the U.S./Mexico border. The band,
whose name is short for “Payable On Death,” selfreleased Snuff the Punk, Brown and Live at Tomfest
before finally signing with Atlantic Records. The
group then broke big during the nü-metal craze,
scoring huge radio hits with “Southtown” and “Rock
the Party (Off the Hook).” However, when Satellite
came out on Sept. 11, 2001, the band’s emerging
hit “Alive” took on new meaning and became a
positive anthem for people of all faiths.
“The fact that the album came out on 9/11 and
that the tragedy hit really woke up a lot of hearts
and minds,” remarks Sandoval. “People were like, ‘I
want music that makes me think about stuff and
helps me take my mind off of the tragedy.’ I feel
very fortunate to be a part of that song, and it is still
one of my favorites. The sad part is that the U.S.
had such a bond and brotherhood at the time, and,
now that 9/11 is said and done with, everyone's
back to the grind and back to their grudges.”
Satellite also produced the hits “Boom” and
“Youth of the Nation,” the latter about a local high
school shooting. With the departure of Marcos
Curiel (see sidebar) in ’03, the band had little time
to gel with replacement guitarist Jason Truby, yet its
self-titled follow-up still produced the Top 20 rock
hit “Will You.” P.O.D. toured heavily with groups such
as Linkin Park, which gave Truby a chance to settle
into his new role before recording Testify. In recent
years, the band also contributed music to The
Passion of the Christ: Songs, Santana’s Shaman and
the XXX: State of the Union, Matrix Reloaded and
Little Nicky soundtracks.
Despite all the success, Wuv still emphasizes the
importance of humility. He remarks, “We always
want to take the attitude ‘Thanks for having us’
because it’s always going to be that exciting for me.
When it isn’t, it’ll be time for us to stop. In the
meantime, there’s still music inside of P.O.D., and
we still have stuff to say. We got the blessing from
our families to keep playing music, so there’s no
reason to stop.” ccm
After the meteoric success of Satellite, many fans
were surprised to see founding guitarist Marcos
Curiel depart the band in early ’03 before P.O.D.’s
self-titled follow-up. Since then, he’s vigorously
pushed his new band Accident Experiment, which
recently released its full-length debut United We
Fear. The split was bitter, as evidenced by Accident
Experiment’s venom-filled “Million Dollar Hell” (from
2003’s Arenas EP), so CCM asked Wuv and
Sandoval for more information on what happened
and where the relationship stands today.
“We were on the road for 2 1/2 years straight
with Satellite, and we didn’t have any time to assess
any problems,” recalls Wuv. “There was a path that
started earlier, but, once we took a break, things got
magnified. Marcos started jamming with other guys
and hanging with a different crowd.”
With the band renegotiating with Atlantic
Records at the time, everyone thought it was
important to present a stable front and agreed not
to start any side projects. Wuv continues, “It was
important not to stir up the waves and to show that
we were a strong unit. That was the game plan. Our
manager asked what I thought [of Curiel’s new
band], and I said, ‘It’s a lot more serious than you
think.’ If he’s not telling us, he’s scared to tell us. He
was trying to keep it a secret.”
Between albums, the group agreed to do the
Matrix Reloaded soundtrack single “Sleeping Awake,”
but, when it came time to record, Curiel declined. “He
said he couldn’t because he was doing something
else with his other band,” recalls Wuv. “We asked him
to take a step back, and he wasn’t willing to. So we
knew it was time for us to move on as well.”
After the split, P.O.D. recruited Living Sacrifice
guitarist Jason Truby, whom Curiel previously
recommended as a possible second guitarist. Wuv
continues, “We liked Truby’s personality, background
and playing. And I don’t want to say it was
necessary, but I think it’s easier to have someone
with the same beliefs. That’s probably why we
connected because we do have the same faith.”
Fortunately, emotions have since toned down.
“It’s a work in progress,” says Sandoval. “I first
talked to Marcos again last year when we were in
Palm Springs [working on new material]. He ran
into someone we knew and passed numbers, and
he called Wuv. It was cool and heartfelt, like, ‘We’ve
been through a lot.’ He talked to our manager
because we also have legal stuff to get past, but he
wanted to let us know that, if we ever met up on the
street, it wasn’t going to be ugly.” D.J.
march 06 ccm 27
7:20 PM
Page 28
From left: Michael Anderson, Jesse Garcia, Scotty Beshears, Jason Roy
3:54 PM
Page 29
There are few goals—if any—the modern rock band
Building 429 failed to accomplish with its major label
debut, Space In Between Us (Word). Opening single
“Glory Defined” rocketed up the charts in several
formats, ensconcing itself as one of the biggest hits
of last year and winning BMI’s prestigious “Christian
Music Song of the Year.” The band went on to sell
more than 130,000 copies of its full-length debut,
score four Gospel Music Association award
nominations, and walk away with “New Artist of the
Year.” Numerous tours with major names such as
Jeremy Camp and Casting Crowns put them in front
of thousands of fans, making them one of the
biggest stories in Christian music in 2005. ¶ The
slick radio-friendly sound of “Glor y Defined,”
however, didn’t exactly coincide with the high-energy
rock the band delivered at their concerts. Lead
vocalist and guitarist Jason Roy recalls numerous
examples of the clash between large guitar
amplifiers and church sanctuaries. “It became
apparent quickly when we went out to play live
shows,” Roy admits, “that there was somewhat of a
disconnect between who we really were as a live
band and who we were on the CD. We’d pull up and
roll off half stacks (amps) and [discover] they were
expecting an acoustic show.” Ultimately, though, the
response was overwhelmingly positive. “We spent
the last two years trying to educate people about
who we really are,” he continues. “But the more we
really went for it, the more people were saying they
wished the record was more like that.” ¶ Along the
way, the band, which also features bassist Scotty
Beshears, guitarist/keyboardist Jesse Garcia and
drummer Michael Anderson, hooked up with Redeem
the Vote, with Roy serving as a spokesman for the
conservative evangelical voter activation effort. His
work included coverage on CNN, Fox News and other
national outlets, earning the band additional
exposure and momentum. “To be brutally honest,”
he says of the motivation to get involved with the
political project, “I think that sometimes we as a
church have been off. You know they say to be ‘in it
and not of it,’ but we have been of it, and not at all
in it! We’ve withdrawn and closed the gates. We say,
‘No Johnny, don’t run for office. Don’t become a
movie producer.’ Lord forbid someone get in a
position of power at a network or something. Look, you
can sit back and complain about it all you want. But if
you’re not making an effort to change it, then what
good is your complaining doing? We need to grow
leaders who can step into those roles who will always
stand up for what they know to be true and right.”
march 06 ccm 29
3:54 PM
Page 30
One individual known for standing up for what he
knows to be true and right is recording artist—and
one-time Building 429 tour mate—Paul Colman. A
year ago, he saw what he perceived to be an
injustice, and on Building 429’s behalf, Colman took
action. He proceeded to call CCM Magazine’s editor
and express his belief, in no uncertain terms, that
Jason Roy & Co. were getting insufficient coverage in
the magazine. Mind you, this was even before
Building 429 was named “New Artist of the Year.”
Colman felt so strongly about it, he insisted that, if
need be, he would write a big CCM feature on the
band himself! This unusual encounter resulted in two
things: 1) CCM’s editorial team smelled the
proverbial coffee, and 2) the magazine locked into
Colman’s passion for emerging artists and enlisted
the future Newsboys guitarist as a contributing editor.
Ask Colman what compelled him to step out on
Building 429’s behalf, and he’ll reply with the same
conviction he had a year ago. "I shared a stage and
a tour bus with Building 429 for three months,” he
recalls. “I actually watched their set just about every
night. They can rock your face off and then, quite
effortlessly, segue into a ballad that legitimately
brings tears to your eyes. They can also bring an
audience to genuine corporate worship in a natural,
non-contrived manner.
Records immediately demonstrated its commitment to
helping Building 429 evolve. The association with Jones
also rightly heralds a deepening commitment from the
band to shake off the fresh-faced, safety-conscious
stylings of its debut in favor of grittier rock & roll.
“Honestly,” Roy admits, “when our A&R guy
brought up Monroe’s name we thought, ‘Why in the
world would he want to work with us?’ To work with
the guy that worked with one of the bands that we
respect most…we were like, ‘Yeah! Let’s do it!’”
Having grown up on fellow Southerners Third Day, the
band was beyond stoked. After hearing 30 potential
songs for the record, Jones was more than
interested. “He helped us stay focused when we
went off the deep end. But we’ve never felt the kind
of freedom like we did making this record—to create
and be artful. He preached that the whole way
through. He was telling us not to be afraid to go for
it, not to be afraid to go down a rabbit hole and see
what we come out with. That’s the joy of the record.
As you listen to a song, it’s going to take a few turns
on you. There was a reckless abandonment in the
studio that was awesome. We may fall flat on our
faces, but we are not going to be afraid.”
That adventurous spirit goes beyond the riffs and
rhythms, straight through to the subject matter of
the lyrics. “On this record we felt like we were going to
and to rise into the roles He has for them. Borrowing
from a personal experience as a kid, the radiofriendly ballad “Rise” sees Roy offering a word of
encouragement to the downtrodden via a story about
sticking up for a weaker kid at school and then seeing
the man that little kid grew into.
Listening back to the finished record, Roy likes
what he hears. “We had a big target we were going
for,” he says. “As I listen to it now, I think we hit it
right in the bull’s-eye.”
Though the band has been touring constantly for the
last two years, the “Rise Tour” will be Building 429’s
first headlining jaunt. “We’ve been out as an opening
act for six tours,” Roy explains, “and, honestly, our
fans want to hear us for more than 30 minutes.”
Those fans will get what they want as the band hits
the road this spring with their new friend Michael Tait,
who lent his voice to two songs on Rise. But Tait isn’t
the only guest on the show. Adventure Missionaries
Tim Scott and Will Decker from the television series
Travel the Road will be in the house as well. “Because
we’re not preachers, we thought it was important for
us to bring someone with us who can clearly convey
the message,” Roy explains. “They take the Gospel to
the ends of the earth. They preach it as it is. The
“Jason Roy is a disarming storyteller and frontman,” Colman continues. “He can disappear into a
song as well as grab it by the scruff of the neck and
lasso it around you. The band that supports him is
solid, wonderfully musical and dependable night
after night. I am most certainly a fan of the music
and the people in Building 429.”
Ya think?
Following a summer full of festival dates, Building
429 hit the road again, this time in support of
Casting Crowns for their blockbuster fall ’05
“Lifesong Tour.” While the television and main stage
performances of the summer months were exciting,
they were nothing compared to the impact of the
experience with Casting Crowns. “We saw thirteen to
fourteen thousand people come to know the Lord on
that tour,” Roy states emphatically. “That’s more
people than live in my hometown! I think that tour
really opened our eyes and helped us to recognize
that true ministry can be found in music. I’m not ever
going to say that I’m a preacher or that I’m called to
be a Billy Graham-type guy, but it’s really exciting to
see the impact music can have on people.”
Somehow in the midst of it all, the band managed to
find time to record their potentially incommodious
sophomore effort. By enlisting the production services
of the much-esteemed Monroe Jones (Third Day,
Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Black Crowes), Word
30 ccm march 06
have to dig a lot deeper,” Roy adds. “We said some
things on it that were even hard for us to deal with.
Some of the songs are very much about remorse for
situations in the past.” The song “Now That It’s Over”
typifies this confessional and vulnerable attitude of
several of the songs. “I’m a leader,” Roy confesses.
“I’ve been driven all my life. There are times as a
leader [that] I have just cut people loose—just let
them go. I decided they weren’t worth the trouble
anymore. That song is really an apology. It’s hard to
stand up and tell people that it’s an apology, but there
are people who I have really run through. They were a
part of my life, but they no longer are because I didn’t
feel like they were helping me get to where I wanted
to go. I think what I’ve learned is that we are all
leaders, and we are called to empower other people,
not our own ideals. If you crush a person, you’ve
missed the whole point of being a leader.”
The songs are affected by the surprising
commonness of real struggle the band continually
hears about from their fans, including young people in
the church. Issues such as eating disorders, cutting,
self-worth and apathy all color the overall lyrical feel of
the record. On the whole, though, Rise—which releases
March 14—is far from a downer. Having solicited input
from youth pastors all summer via its relationship with
Interlinc (interlinc-online.com), the band included some
made-to-order anthems of encouragement and hope as
well. The title track, for instance, challenges confused,
disfranchised youth to see themselves as God does
whole tour is going to be like a movie. They’ll be on
the screen behind us, and it will be very interactive
with us bouncing in and out of their story. The focus
at the end of the night is to challenge kids to rise into
their influence, to go out and be fearless for the Lord.”
Roy and the rest of Building 429 are dead serious
about their mission this year. “We have been given a
platform,” he insists. “We may not see it, but we have
a platform. We realize that it’s time for us to rise, step
into those shoes, and become the leaders we were
meant to be. It’s very much our coming of age.”
Regarding lingering misconceptions that the band was
some kind of manufactured project or a label-created
hit machine, Roy is confident that those impressions
are soon to be gone. “We were four years into our
indie career,” he explains, “playing 120 dates a year,
losing jobs constantly…we worked our tails off! We
hope that this record sets that straight. We hope that
when people hear this, they hear the band—they
realize this is the real thing. Hopefully, they’ll hear the
heart and soul of what we’re doing.”
If releasing a more aggressive, less “safe” record
as the follow-up to one of the biggest releases in
Christian music seems risky, that’s perfectly fine
with these guys. “It’s a year to take risks,” Roy adds
with a touch of humor and bravado in his voice. “As
long as we’re being obedient to His call, as long as
we’re listening to Him when He is calling us to do
these things that look like risks, then we’re going to
see eternal results.” ccm
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7:21 PM
Page 33
a really positive step after a couple of years of bad phone calls,” he says.
Barcus listened to the six tracks Barfield had started on, but “because those
and atop radio charts—and then disappeared for two long
first two productions were so scattered, [Barcus] didn’t know where I was
years. Yes, Warren Barfield’s short tenure in the Christian
going. I said, ‘Let me give you a couple of ideas of what I want to sound like.’
music industry illustrates some of its less pleasant features.
One of the records I named was Marc Broussard’s.”
But, more importantly, it’s changed the artist more than he
A phone call later, Broussard’s producer Marshall Altman was listening to
could have imagined when he rolled into town three years ago.
demos of Barfield’s new stuff—and digging it.
His new record, Reach, which releases March 7, documents
“We decided to start all over from the beginning, go to L.A., get a place, go
this rocky route.
into the studio for a month and a half, and make a record that’s a snapshot
At his first Gospel Music Association Week, Barfield was
from my life at that time—songs from that journey,” says Barfield.
wide-eyed, eager and innocent. Now, on the phone from a
Moving to L.A. freed him to start fresh. “When you make a record in
holiday visit to Ohio, he comes across as weathered but,
Nashville, you’ve got managers and A&R guys stopping in all the time, and
notably, not jaded or bitter as some who’ve been through the
you’re making changes based on what 10 people are telling you.” In L.A., he
music biz wringer end up.
was removed from that and working with a producer new to Christian music.
After a much-touted and generally successful self-titled
And the result? The music’s the same brand of taut, rhythmic acoustic pop
debut, his label, owned by his then management company,
that Broussard’s nearly perfected, but the album’s lyrics are no less faithfolded as he was three songs into recording his
based. Just ask Christian music legend Steven Curtis Chapman. “Reach is
second project. When it looked like another label
musically, melodically and vocally one of the coolest records I’ve
would buy out his contract, recording reheard in a long time,” he says. “It’s very seasoned and
started with another producer, but, again,
listenable. Warren’s talent shines through on this
after three songs, things fell apart.
album, and it’s a very bright light.”
Behind-the-scenes maneuvering
Barfield, himself, perks up when he talks
kept him in neutral for the
about the songs on the album:
better part of two years.
“Beyond The Walls” is about
Barfield says, “I sat
life beyond music. “You
around for a few
pour yourself out
months. It
on stage,
first time in my
was the
and they applaud. But
life I’d ever had to just wait
then you walk off, and it’s over.
on someone.”
The next band is on. I can be
Barfield began, as many do,
replaced; I’m not some special thing the
touring and recording on his own.
world has never seen before.”
“When I was indie and something needed
“Unleashed” is another one of his favorites. “It’s fun.
to get done—make t-shirts or whatever—I just
It’s me dealing with my first couple of months in the industry—
did it. But during this time, because of my
everyone’s selling Warren Barfield, and I’m buying it. It’s kind of about
contract, I had to sit and wait until it was resolved,” he
believing your own press,” he says, realizing that basing your worth on your
says. “The system that took me from selling CDs out of
success sets you up to fail. “If you’re believing you’re great because everyone’s telling
my car to being on tour with Third Day is a brilliant
you that, when no one cares anymore, you feel like a loser.”
system, but it was hurting me.”
“I’ll Be Alright” is Barfield realizing in the midst of “getting a phone call every other
While he waited, and waited, he got more bad
day,” informing him he was losing something in his life or career, that nothing can
news, this time on a personal front: his sister was
separate him from God.
severely injured in a car wreck that killed her
best friend. “You think you’ve got it all figured
out. And you’re driving back from the mall one
night, and it all can be taken away,” he says.
The loss of a long-time friend and his
sister’s difficult recovery “really made me
ask questions about life—what do we
A lot of weighty stuff. But the artist doesn’t sound
live for? What’s our foundation?
weighted down by it. The skepticism bred from his label trials (he says several
’Cause a lot of things can be taken
times “if the record comes out”—not “when”) pops up in conversation, but it seems clear that
away from us. What do I live for?”
his hopes are ultimately beyond his current record deal.
Barfield says he started writing
“I’m grateful for my career and this industry, but that’s not number one on my list,” he says
out of that pain and confusion.
deliberately. “I’m grateful for friends and family. They aren’t number one either. Any of those can be
And things began to happen
taken away. Number one is knowing God—that I’m doing something for the kingdom that will matter
again in his career. Essential
when this is gone.”
Records picked him up, and
He says he titled the record Reach because he felt that all the songs were about connecting to God:
the process of making
“I’m reaching to know God, and he’s reaching to know me. And as long as that’s continuing to happen, you
record number two started
can face any obstacle or anything—family stuff, career stuff, life stuff—and have peace in the most
over. “Blaine Barcus and
confusing time.”
Terry Hemmings [execs
In the end, he’s found that the process of losing, then re-gaining, a record deal has re-focused him
at Essential] said,
to “get back to singing, not because I was getting a check, but because that’s who I am. I’m on that path to
‘We believe in what
being that person I was before ‘Heart Goes Out’ went to No. 3. Back to who I was before I cared what people
you’re doing and
said about me—because of a very unhappy, frustrating journey. That was God’s blessing on me,” he concludes.
want you to be a
“Whether this record comes out and does great or no one cares, I’ll be a better person because of this.”ccm
part of this
family.’ It was
march 06 ccm 33
7:22 PM
Page 34
After 10 years of leading worship, extensive touring and recording as WATERMARK, not to mention participating in Passion worship events,
producing records and parenting two young children, Christy and Nathan Nockels finally realized that something’s gotta give. And while
their decision may disappoint some diehard fans, the Nockels couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter in their life.
be honest, it’s rather exhausting to listen to Christy Nockels
reminisce about the past few years of her life in ministry. Now mind
you, it’s not because she’s long-winded or that her stories are boring
by any stretch. Rather, it’s simply mind-boggling to consider how she
and her husband, Nathan, have managed to do so much in the past
10 years without losing their sanity.
Now fresh from leading worship at the recent Passion ‘06 conference in
Nashville, Christy not only sounds relaxed this particular Wednesday afternoon
but excited as she talks about the end of a decade-long run with Watermark.
While she and Nathan certainly loved their time of ministry that resulted from
sharing their songs, the decision not to re-sign with Rocketown Records and to
dissolve the group was one the Nockels knew needed to be made for a while.
“It took hearing friends who we really trust asking, ‘Have you guys ever
thought of taking something out of the equation? What if it was Watermark?’”
Christy recalls. “All along we have felt that it was the one thing that could
go. But it helped to hear it from them.”
Further confirmation came when Watermark hit the road with Michael W.
Smith on the recent leg of his “Healing Rain Tour.” “Here we are on tour with
Michael, who is so genuine and sweet—we love him. And this is a very
sought-after tour to be on. But it was really odd to try and do Watermark in
an arena and try and make it fit into that world,” Christy says. “And it just
became very evident that this isn’t what God has called us to do.”
Sixsteps recording artist/worship leader Charlie Hall and his wife Kimber
used to lead worship with the Nockels at their Oklahoma church. “Nathan
and Christy are a special and rare thing,” Charlie says. “They are the marriage
between skill and heart, and Watermark is leaving behind inspiration to all
who have walked through any music they have written. I am blown away
these days at their willingness to follow a path that isn’t walked quite as often
when they have an easier way that they could go. But I am grateful for people
like them who are willing to turn quickly at the whisper of the great voice we
follow. This is the heart of Nathan and Christy, and this is what will be over
their next stage as they walk out to teach and lead worship. This is a new day
for them in partnering up with God’s move.”
34 ccm march 06
These days, Christy finds her life to be a little closer to that of a typical
mom. While Nathan has steady producing gigs from 9:00 to 6:00 every day,
she finally has the time she’s always wanted to spend with her two children,
5 1/2-year-old Noah and 3-year-old Elliana. “This past fall, God made it so
clear to me that my No. 1 ministry right now is my kids. He actually had to
physically break me down. I got sick, and He just began to show me that I’m
never going to have this season with them again,” Christy reflects. “I’m just
so grateful that He showed me that, and I’m not 45, my kids aren’t off in
college, and I missed it. Knowing that makes me so joyful.”
But before fans think that means that Christy—a 2005 GMA Music Award
nominee for “Female Vocalist of the Year”—won’t be singing anymore, think again.
“There will always be music coming from our bones. I will always be singing,”
Christy says. “I just think right now it’s important for us to recognize a journey that
was 10 years long. And I think that 10-year thing was significant. I think it was God
saying, ‘I’m moving you into a different thing; you need to let that go.’”
But before the group officially leaves the proverbial building, there’s one
last CD and an 18-city farewell tour that fans won’t want to miss. “From the
beginning, Nathan and I have sensed that we’re so wired for partnership and
collaboration with other artists,” Christy adds. So with that in mind, the band
won’t end its run with a standard greatest hits package.
Instead, on March 14, the duo will release A Grateful People, a 65-minute live
disc recorded at the couple’s home church just outside of Nashville. Featuring
new concert recordings of 12 songs, including “Arise and Be Comforted” and
“A Grateful People” from Watermark’s independent days, the album also
includes two new studio songs, “Light of the World” and “Elliana’s Song”, for
their daughter, and highlights special guests Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall,
Point of Grace, Shane & Shane and Ed Cash.
Reflecting on the group’s tenure, Michael W. Smith says, “Christy Nockels
creates space for worship like few artists I’ve been around. When she sings,
it’s disarming—you must pay attention. Whether it’s 10,000 people at a
Passion conference or an intimate gathering, Christy is a worshipper who
leads us all. Nathan and Christy are a huge part of the Rocketown Records
story, and my life has been enriched by their love for worship music.” ccm
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From left: Tim Jupp, Stew Smith, Martin Smith, Stu G and Jon Thatcher.
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Page 37
After more than 13 years, these British rockers challenge themselves
afresh with THE MISSION BELL.
The longevity of Britain’s most prominent Christian rock band can be summed up
in a neat factoid: Today’s teenage fans of Delirious were toddlers when the group
was taking its first baby steps as a worship band in Littlehampton, England.
“It’s been an interesting journey, to be honest,” says vocalist/guitarist
Martin Smith, calling in from England to discuss Delirious’ latest release, The
Mission Bell (Sparrow). “All we know is that we’re still a band that’s improving;
we’re getting better live, and The Mission Bell is our best studio effort. And
when you’re moving forward, you don’t look back. There’s no time to
romanticize—we’re too busy. It’s all progress and learning, isn’t it?”
The music of this band—which has both delighted and challenged listeners
over the years—has always been smart musically, drawing comparisons to U2,
Radiohead and Blur. But to hear Smith tell it, the challenge on The Mission Bell
was to make an album that was lyrically brilliant—surpassing anything
Delirious has done before.
“The biggest advance on this record was the lyrical content,” Smith says.
“We spent a lot of time laboring over the lyrics to make sure we said
something fresh, from ‘Our God Reigns’ to ‘Paint the Town Red.’ A lot of [the
topics] were things we would just talk about in conversation—from the AIDS
crisis in Africa to ‘Is it alright for a Christian to have [plastic surgery]?’”
“Our God Reigns”—a key-of-D dirge built around spare acoustic guitar, a
whirlwind of keyboards and thunderous percussion—may be the hardesthitting piece on The Mission Bell. It tackles abortion in the first verse (“40
million babies/ Lost to God’s great orphanage/ It’s a modern day genocide/ And
a modern day disgrace.”). Later, Smith sings about the AIDS pandemic: “My
Chinese takeaway/ Could pay for someone’s drugs.”
“We know this record is slightly uncomfortable to listen to, but we’re proud
of it,” says Smith, a father of five. “And, musically, it’s great—it bridges the
gaps [between previous Delirious efforts].”
Some of the sonic contrasts on The Mission Bell are striking. “Love Is a
Miracle” alternates between smoldering, soulful verses pierced by electric
guitar stabs and wide-open, gospel-flavored choruses thick with percussion.
Elsewhere, “Paint the Town Red” rocks as hard as anything Delirious has ever
cut, while “Solid Rock” trails out with a guest rap by tobyMac, who uses Edward
Mote’s 19th century hymn “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less” as his text.
But for Smith, the song “Miracle Maker” is “probably the joy and the crown.
It’s the take on the man who is too poor and crippled to get to the stirring of
the waters. It came together in the studio, and when I hear it, I think, ‘We
nailed it, we nailed it’—and we’ll always be proud of that.”
“Miracle Maker” indeed balances frailty and strength with finesse, as Smith
begins the song with a voice befitting a broken spirit. But as he soars into the
chorus—“Holy, You are holy”—his tenor takes flight above the music with such
intensity that you can feel the living water beading his brow.
As it was with “Miracle Maker,” so with almost all of The Mission Bell, Smith
says, “We were less prepared than ever on this one. But we made a conscious
decision to do the [song] demos in the studio, and as we did, we thought, ‘Let’s
just print them.’ There are mistakes; on one song, there’s a drum fill that goes
in an entirely different direction because [drummer Stew Smith] hadn’t learned
it properly. But we thought, ‘That sounds great, let’s keep it.’ It was a journey
of discovery, and when I listen to the record, I’m still discovering it myself.”
Martin Smith isn’t the only one enjoying recurring discovery with The Mission
Bell. Consider this take by INO recording artist/worship leader Darlene Zschech:
“For many years now, Delirious has been inspiring us in our pursuit of Christ
through its creative genius and uncompromising message of faith and hope
through music. My husband Mark and I count it one of life’s greatest riches to
call these guys and their families our friends and co-labourers as they continue
to fill the earth with the high praises of God. We consider The Mission Bell one
of their absolute finest projects...prophetic, compelling and just basically
brilliant. There are songs for the church, songs for the broken and songs of
devotion and gratitude.”
The Mission Bell also marks the latest chapter for an outfit that has evolved
tremendously since its early years. The story began in 1992, which saw the
dawning of Cutting Edge, a monthly gathering of music and worship organized
by several of Delirious’ current members. Within a year, crowds of 200 to 300
were showing up to see the group—which at first had no name, but was
christened “the Cutting Edge band” so promoters would have something to put
on posters.
By 1994, Cutting Edge attendance was topping 1,000; by 1995, the group
took on its present lineup. The following year saw the name change, and it
didn’t take long for Delirious to turn heads across the Atlantic. Starting in
1997, Sparrow Records released all of the band’s previous work—the fruit of
seven years of labor—within a 24-month span. And that’s all the time it took
for Delirious, along with America’s Sonicflood, to kick-start the modern worship
boom that reshaped the world of Christian music.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, though: Controversy ensued in 1999 when
multiple Christian retail chains refused to carry Delirious’ Mezzamorphis album,
because the song “It’s OK” contained the phrase, “She’s pretty as hell, and her eyes
have no home.” Sparrow Records stood by the band as it weathered the storm.
Smith acknowledges that the group’s geographic location in Europe and its
reputation for pushing limits have made it more difficult to achieve top-level
success in the U.S. “I don’t think we’re ever going to be the Bill Gaither Vocal
Band, are we? Or those big pop acts like the Jeremy Camps, though we love
those guys,” he says. “From the day we started, we’ve had shovels in hand,
and, hopefully, we’re clearing the way. We just have a great life. Last year we
traveled in 20 different countries; and some people get it, and some don’t.
And yes, we’d love to sell a million records in America, yet we haven’t. Maybe
it’s the distribution. Maybe it’s that we haven’t toured enough.”
Of course, Smith recognizes that he could always prevail on his bandmates
to sand down the rough edges a bit. “But that isn’t Delirious, is it?” he asks
rhetorically. “We trip ourselves up saying what we want to say as it is. And
that’s how we want it to continue. We could’ve been a sugary pop band to
please everyone, but then it wouldn’t be Delirious.” ccm
Check out “Get Real” on page 18 to learn about Delirious’ ministry in South Africa.
march 06 ccm 37
7:24 PM
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listening in...
Natalie Grant &
Queen Latifah
In her new film, Last Holiday (in theaters now), Queen
Latifah plays Georgia Byrd, a woman living a small life
tucked inside big dreams. A shy cookware salesperson for
a New Orleans retail outlet, she handles knives and skillets
with the flair of a master chef. But when Georgia learns her
days are numbered, she throws caution to the wind and
embarks on a dream holiday vacation to a grand resort in
Europe. There, thinking she has nothing to lose, Georgia
undergoes a metamorphosis…and her transformation
affects everyone around her.
Similarly, in real life, Queen Latifah affects everyone
around her…in a good way! Natalie Grant, too, affects us!
Case in point? You voted her smash single, “Held,” the #2
Favorite Song in the 2006 CCM Readers’ Choice Awards.
And what’s more, Natalie is a movie buff and a huge gospel
music fan like Queen Latifah. So it only made sense for us
to pair her up with the Queen! Now, listen in as the two of
them talk about transformations and inspirations...
From left: Natalie Grant, Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah: Yeah, I am. My favorite gospel artist would be The Clark Sisters.
Natalie: Oh my gosh, I love them!
Queen Latifah: Any of ‘em—all of ‘em.
Natalie: I sang them growing up!
Oh yeah, they’re awesome! I don’t know if you’ve
heard—one of their daughters...
Queen Latifah: Yeah, KiKi [Kierra “KiKi” Sheard].
Natalie: Yeah, she’s just insane!
Natalie: I’ve seen the preview for your new film, and haven’t seen the movie yet. But I
can’t wait to! Girl, I’ve been loving you for a long time! I think the first movie I saw of
yours was Set It Off. I loved Chicago, and, of course, I have loved everything that you’ve
done that I’ve seen to date. [Last Holiday] seems interesting to me because it has a
real redemptive quality to it. I love the theme about living your life boldly and without
fear. It seems as though—the little bit I know about you—you seem to also be a woman
of faith. [But] I don’t know much about your background. Were you raised in the church?
Queen Latifah: Yeah, she is!
Natalie: She’s just an insane singer! That’s just not right that a girl can sing like that
when she’s 17 years old. Just not right! But you’re a singer as well—kind of do it all it
seems like!
Queen Latifah: I try!
Queen Latifah: Pretty much. I was raised between [New Jersey] and Virginia. My mom
wasn’t a strict churchgoer where we had to be there every Sunday without fail, but we
spent a lot of time with my aunt in Virginia and my grandmother in Maryland, who do
go to church every single Sunday—Vacation Bible School and all that, you know. And
my aunt directed the choir—a big mass choir—so I loved the music. I always loved
music and hearing the singing. Of course, we had to go to church, too, up here at
home so, yeah, I guess you could say I was raised in the church.
Natalie: And I heard that there’s a scene in the movie that has a gospel choir?
Queen Latifah: Yeah!
Natalie: Can’t wait for that! gospel music is, now…I’m going to be honest with you…I’m as
vanilla white bread as they come. I’m from Seattle! But my favorite music my whole life is
like—[well], I skipped over the whole grunge music scene—and my favorite music has
always been true gospel music!
Queen Latifah:
Natalie: I don’t know where I got that from, but it’s just been my favorite. Do you have
any favorites in gospel music? Are you a fan of gospel music?
38 ccm march 06
Natalie: One of the things that’s always been interesting to me about being a person of
faith in mainstream culture—[and] I’m a recording artist in contemporary Christian music—
[is that] there’s definitely a set of rules that kind of go along with [my job] as much as I try
to buck them. But for you, do you try to incorporate, your faith into your art and into what
you do? And how do you walk that fine line of going, “This is just not somewhere I’m going
to go” or “This is something I’m not comfortable doing?” How do you try to shine the light
without preaching it, you know what I mean?
Queen Latifah: For me, it’s always about speaking from the heart and sharing things
that I’ve been through and sharing how God has brought me out of those things. And
they can be harsh things. So it’s not—[well], I don’t quite make records or speeches that
a pastor might make. [A pastor has] studied and has done what he does, and that’s
what he does. But me, I just know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for God, and I wouldn’t
be working with half the people I work with. I wouldn’t have met the friends that I’ve
met who have been working with me for over 15 years. I wouldn’t have the parents that
I have. It just all makes sense to me. It’s a divine sense, you know. I just try to stay
positive as much as I can and represent all that I’ve been given and, then, give the
credit where it’s due. You know, [that’s] so that other people can see—Queen Latifah is
doing well. She’s doing these movies and stuff and music and probably making money,
yet she manages to give the credit to God.
7:24 PM
Page 39
Natalie: That’s awesome! I think that it’s so important to have that kind of message in
today’s world because I do a lot of work with teenage girls. I’m part of a tour called the
“Revolve Tour” which is for 7th thru 12th grade girls. It’s amazing to me what teenagers
are facing today—the messages that are being thrown at them through the media. You
know, just the things that they are struggling with that are so different from even just a
few years ago when I was in high school.
One thing I’ve always respected about you is that you seem to just be yourself. You
don’t seem like you’re trying to fit somebody else’s idea of who you need to be. Being in
entertainment—whether from the recording side or from the acting side—there are always
things people are trying to tell you in your life…this is what you need to be, this is what’s
hot right now, this is what’s happening right now. I’ve faced that kind of pressure in my
own world. One of the things, when I look at you, that I’ve always respected is that you
just seem to be yourself. This is who God has created me to be. This is who I am. And
I’m going to be true to myself.
I just want to say “thank you” for putting that message out there—for girls and for
women to be able to look at you and say, “It’s alright to be who you are and to stand for
who you are and to know that it’s enough. God created you, and it’s enough. Who you are.”
Queen Latifah: Yeah, exactly.
Natalie: I thank you for really portraying that message to the culture because it’s
desperately needed. And that’s one of the things that I love. It seems to me that one of
the themes of your movie is abandoning your fears. I think one of the quotes [describing
the movie] I read was “surrendering your fears and living boldly.” That seems like one of
the themes that comes through. Is that the case?
Queen Latifah: Definitely. If there was one main thing for me, it would be to just live
without fear.
That’s a hard concept to talk about.
Queen Latifah: But it’s the only way you’re going to move forward. You can be fearful,
but you don’t let it trap you, control you or hinder you from doing. Fear has its place.
We should be fearful walking around a certain corner or being in a certain
neighborhood and not being aware. I think maybe being aware is better, but being
fearful is being afraid. Being afraid can paralyze you and keep you from moving
forward, keep you from trying the things that you are supposed to try and that you will
actually accomplish if you only do them. I can’t live like that (laughs).
I’m afraid of things, yeah, but if I want it, I have to do it anyway. I’m going to do it
anyway. I’m going to try it. I’m going to try it and see what happens. And life is too short
to be walking around in fear all the time. You’ll never have accomplished the things
that you were supposed to do if you’re always worried about what everyone else has
to say, what everyone else thinks. Or you’re doing so much for everyone else, and you
always forget about yourself. There’s something to be said for that, too. But I mean,
that’s what I love about this character. She just embraces life!
It seems like you personify that to me a lot. You just have a very contagious persona,
and I think that what you stand for is so positive. Just hearing the things that you’ve said
[will impact] the people who are going to be reading CCM Magazine, which I love because
it’s very relevant to culture, what’s happening. The messages that you’re portraying, I
think, are really important, especially for our church culture…because we have a lot of
scared Christians out there (laughs).
Queen Latifah: But you know what? The problem with that is that some people want
to follow the Bible letter by letter, and then some people over-think the Bible when it’s
really not a thinking book to me. It’s a spiritual book. There’s a personal connection
with God.
And that’s the line of communication that has to be open. That’s the most
important line of communication that needs to be open in your direct contact with the
Lord—so that when He wants to do something, you hear it. When He’s motivating you
to step forward, you step. And you’re not constrained by man because a lot of people
will scare the heck out of you. “Don’t do that; you’re going to break your arm! Don’t do
that; you’re going to fall down.” It makes it seem so judgmental that they plant those
seeds in you at an early age. As you get older and more independent, you have to
overcome things. You have to make your own path. And one of the passages that I
like—I believe it’s Phil. 4:6—says, “Be anxious for nothing for the God of peace that
transcends all understanding will keep you and guard your heart in Christ Jesus.”
Yeah, that’s my joy right there. It’s like whenever I get worried about something or
fearful when I’m flying or whatever...
Natalie: You are not a scared flyer!
Are you scared to fly?
Queen Latifah: Yeah, yeah, I’m not scared to fly, but when I get up there, [and]
sometimes when I’m taking off, I’m a little nervous, you know? Sometimes I’ll say that
passage. I think that passage also keeps the worry down, keeps the fear factor down.
With God on your side, whom shall you fear?
There are so many passages in the Bible to pump you up. And I kind of lean toward
those things moreso than anything. I lean toward those kinds of passages that will
help me get positive and be more brave and courageous.
Natalie: Because there really is something to the power of positive thinking. You can take
the Scripture and totally interpret it to the negative—[say], “These are the things that we’re
not supposed to do.” Or you can look at it and go, “These are the things that I am
equipped to do. These are the things that God has said I am. He has told me that I am
more than a conqueror.”
And it’s so much about [the fact that] He’s already given it to us, but there really is a
lot that we are responsible to do—how we interpret that, how we digest it, how we live it
out...I gotta say to you—maybe you think you’re not studied like your pastor, but girl, you’re
preaching! (Laughter) ccm
For more information on the film, visit lastholidaymovie.com and, to keep up with
the latest on Natalie, check out nataliegrant.com.
Natalie: Yeah, you can feel that even from the trailer and reading a little bit about the film.
Photos by: Stephen Vaughan
It has a contagious quality to it, you know what I mean? That feeling like you’ve got to go
see this film, and you know that whatever is portrayed from this character is contagious.
march 06 ccm 39
7:25 PM
Page 41
Hearts of the Innocent
Modern rock act Kutless returns with its greatly
anticipated fourth album entitled Hearts of the
Innocent. As one of the top-selling hard rock
bands in Christian music, expectations are high
for these Portland natives. Fortunately, following on the heels of a largely successful worshipFile under:
Grade: ARock
themed project last year, Kutless is further
establishing itself as the big dog of epic, modern hard rock in Christian music.
Huge, almost super-human riffs are the stock-in-trade of Kutless’ sound. Longtime
producer Aaron Sprinkle (Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson) is all about tonal saturation,
and on Hearts of the Innocent he has captured some of the toughest tones yet. Left
to the imagination, an arsenal of Gibson Flying Vs or Les Pauls churn through mountainous amplifiers, cranking out rhythms that seem to have been swirling around the
primordial swamps of classic rock’s past seeking whom they may devour. If this
approach wasn’t so incredibly common these days, the sound might stand out as
truly monumental. Purveyors and consumers of this flavor of rock & roll, however, are
not usually too concerned about innovation. This is all about reinventing the jackedup, chrome-plated, mag wheel, and, as such, Kutless fits right into the pantheon of
modern rockers such as Staind, Seether, Nickleback, and, to a lesser extent, Creed.
When Kutless really nails it, the band even recalls the uber-hooky Foo Fighters.
Vocalist Jon Micah Sumrall continues to hone his tone and attack as he
matures as a singer. Though no songs stand out as lyrical masterpieces, they
have come a long way since the band’s debut. Themes of righteous defiance
and determined optimism run through most of the tracks, especially the barnburners “Shut Me Out” and the strangely familiar title track. (Fans of the
obscure indie Star Wars tribute band Twin Sister will definitely notice some similar riffage here.) Mid-tempo and increasingly textured tunes like “Somewhere in
the Sky” and the impressive “Winds of Change” fill up the middle ground with
substance. But as riff conscious as this band is, Kutless is certainly not afraid
to add some strings and get radio friendly, as it does on the extremely accessible tracks “Promise of a Lifetime,” “Changing World” and “Mistakes.” Shades of
the increasingly commercial sounding Green Day weave around layers of piano
and effected guitars for the mod-rock equivalent of mood music; thus, Kutless
is sure to increase its stock value with the females in the audience as well as
the fist pumping males.
In the end, Kutless shines brightest when it leaves any attempts at artsy or
vibey ballads in the rear view and goes speeding down the highway of monster
rock. “Change Your Legacy” and “Million Dollar Man” make up for so-so lyrics
(sincere, just slightly predictable) with some of the best melodies on the disc.
Interestingly, the record’s certain standout track “The Knife” offers up truly Fooworthy grandeur, even bordering on classic metal at times (Blue Oyster Cult, The
Smithereens, Iron Maiden and Barren Cross must factor into these boys’ collective unconscious somehow), and includes a poignant, inspiring and painfully
relevant lyric tackling the increasingly troubling problems of cutting and suicide
amongst teens and twenty-somethings. Nicely done.
march 06 ccm 41
7:25 PM
File under:
Page 42
Grade: B
42 ccm march 06 ccmmagazine.com
the sublime yet insubstantial foundation
of mid-tempo cut “I Believe”). Then there
are cases like “Now That It’s Over,”
where it appears the guys are ready to
cut loose only to stop short, leaving the
listener somewhat denied. But underneath it all, Rise still represents a step
in the right direction for a band with
great potential. It’s refreshing to see a
group that’s not afraid to throw off the
chains of market dictates and push its
music toward the brink.
Unless you’ve been holed up in a cave
somewhere lately, you’re probably familiar
with the breakout success of post-grunge
pop/rock outfit Building 429 and its ubiquitous hit single “Glory Defined.” Still
reaping the benefits of steady radio airplay,
stellar album sales and a 2005 GMA
“New Artist of the Year” Award, the band
returns with Rise, its second full-length
studio album.
It doesn’t take long to determine that,
this time around, Building 429 purposely
scales back the overproduced glossiness
of its previous material and delivers a
more raw-edge offering. Produced by
Monroe Jones (Chris Rice, Third Day), the
result comes off sounding reasonably
close to live per formance. In some
respects, it’s a risky move, as many of
the tracks on Rise don’t fit into the
band’s typical radio-friendly formula. But
more likely than not, Building’s core fans
will find that this release resonates with
sonic authenticity.
While the band’s sound shares company
with the likes of Nickelback and 3 Doors
Down (with an additional nod to Jeremy
Camp), Building 429 differentiates itself
with the soulful intensity of frontman
Jason Roy. Whether resolutely belting out
the chorus of “Fearless” or delivering an
emotion-laden avowal on standout closer
“Alive,” Roy proves he has the goods to go
the long haul. Most of the album’s 11 cuts
are anchored on Roy’s commanding
vocals and substantive lyrical message,
backed by the requisite supply of sweeping
choruses, guitar-driven melodies and pulsating percussion.
Thematically, Building 429 weighs in
on topics such as teen suicide
(“Home”), the destructive power of the
tongue (“Fighting to Sur vive”) and God’s
unconditional love (“Because You’re
Mine”). The disc’s title track addresses
the impor tance of viewing others
through God’s eyes, while “Empty,”
which features Michael Tait (dc talk,
Tait) on background vocals, speaks of
ever y believer’s sufficiency in Christ.
If any constructive criticism should be
given, it’s that Building 429 seems to
be holding out on us. At times during
the set, the band emotes a sense of
urgency bigger than its music (witness
File under:
Praise & Worship
In the
Company of
Angels II:
The World
Will Sing
Grade: B-
A quick glance at Caedmon’s Call’s discography reveals two distinctive stylistic
directions over the band’s almost 10-year
career. After the success of the band’s
self-titled debut and sophomore disc, 40
Acres, college kids (and their parents alike)
couldn’t get enough of the group’s homegrown, acoustic-based sound.
It’s a prototype that Caedmon’s
could’ve probably stuck to without many
complaints, yet Cliff Young and his
cohorts weren’t satisfied with merely
staying the same. And the results of taking
chances certainly paid off as 2000’s
Long Line of Leavers and 2004’s Share
the Well were nothing short of exquisite.
Now, as the follow-up release to Share
the Well’s adventurous foray into world
music that was inspired by the band’s
life-changing trip to India, In the Company
of Angels II: The World Will Sing feels like
a step back in a more conventional direction—one that’s rather bland at times.
And while there’s certainly plenty to
love about a congregational-friendly
project that doesn’t feature covers of
the tried-and-true praise songs, there
are few standout moments that separate
Angels from anything already available in
the worship music realm.
Things get off to a promising start, however, with the mid-tempo “Great and
Mighty,” a song with catchy guitar riffs and
verses easy enough for a church audience
to pick up in no time. Unfortunately, the
next few songs don’t fare as well with
little to distinguish them from each other,
even when Cliff and Danielle Young trade
off lead singing duties.
But a welcome change of pace comes
six songs in with “The Fountain,” a
confessional track any believer can
relate to as it expresses the need to go
to God in times of uncertainty and doubt
and for repentance. While that’s a pretty
basic sentiment of the Christian faith,
there’s something so rich and heartfelt
about the way it’s conveyed here. Ditto
for “Be Merciful to Me” with Danielle’s
unique vocal sound and simple piano
accompaniment that let the simple
message of the song shine through.
Ultimately, when compared with the
first In the Company of Angels disc, the
sequel quite possibly outshines the
original. But once somebody’s heard what
Caedmon’s is capable of when it ventures beyond the typical worship fare, it’s
difficult not to be a little disappointed
when the band doesn’t.
7:25 PM
File under:
Page 43
Letting Go
Grade: B
File under:
Praise & Worship
A Grateful
Grade: A
Thanks to his 2004 R&B flavored debut,
Even More, many may assume recording
artist Anthony Evans is a purveyor of urban
grooves. Yet his sophomore release Letting
Go is actually a disc full of well-executed
Christian pop/rock with a smattering of soul.
Yes, it’s true that Evans has spent studio and stage time with the likes of Kirk
Franklin and Donnie McClurkin. But the
time he spent on the road last year with
FFH and Matthew West (who surfaces here
as a co-writer) seems to have made a more
profound artistic impact on him. The coproducers selected—Matt Bronleewe and
Watermark’s Nathan Nockels—have built
their own resumés crafting modern pop
showcases for a variety of artists, and they
skillfully shepherd the transformation of
Evans into a more straight-ahead pop act.
Unless missing Evans as an R&B maestro
becomes a speed bump, it is quite easy to
latch onto Letting Go. Each selection is
delivered cleanly, and the pacing—from
crunchy opening rocker “Good Enough” to
anthemic first single “I Choose Now” to
power ballad “Meaningless”—is brisk. The
lyrical themes are straightforward and, as
indicated by the title, often refer to Evans’
recent lessons in using God’s standards to
measure success rather than his own.
The main criticism of Letting Go is that
it sounds a bit generic at times. The lyrics
are relatable but not groundbreaking; the
melodies are accessible yet not overly
ingratiating; and, as a vocalist, Evans is
engaging and robust but just a shade
removed from compelling or warm.
Time should work well on Anthony Evans,
though, as he continues to let go and
become more comfortable in his artistic skin.
For nearly a decade, Nathan and Christy
Nockels have been molding and sculpting
excellent works of art, sometimes messy
and sometimes careful, fascinated by
worship, consistently creating for God’s
pleasure, in a lovely chaos.
And listeners have come alongside the
sojourn of truth in a synergy that possessed
them to kneel by the thousands in prayerful
reverence at one concert in Sherman,
Texas; to adopt one album or another as the
soundtrack of their lives; to pick up a guitar
or put their lips to a mic on Wednesday
nights in the youth basement and give a
new crowd of listeners a healthy portion.
And now, Watermark’s final bow comes in
the form of A Grateful People, a compilation
of Christy and Nathan’s favorites recorded
live among friends at their home church.
The going away party also includes a herd
of buddies, including Chris Tomlin, Charlie
Hall, Ed Cash and Point of Grace.
A Grateful People combines Watermark
standards and Passion faves such as
“Take Me There” (always an excellent
showcase for Christy’s buttery, reverberating voice), a seamless medley of the title
track and the hymn “Bless The Lord” (featuring Tomlin) and “Arise and Be
Comforted,” for which Shane & Shane
pop in (this song was also Shane Everett’s
personal anthem shortly after his salvation). Look for the somber “Knees To The
Earth,” which was written and performed
in under an hour at the legendary OneDay
Passion Conference in Texas in 2003, and
an interpretive medley of the classic hymn
“In The Garden” along with Lenny
LeBlanc’s “There Is None Like You.”
As Nathan and Christy move on to fulltime parenthood and new ministry, A
Grateful People epitomizes the definition
of “watermark” they encountered when
they started out as worship leaders in
Houston in 1997: “An impression only
visible when held up to the Light.”
march 06 ccm 43
7:25 PM
File under:
Page 44
Tooth & Nail
Grade: B+
44 ccm march 06 ccmmagazine.com
File under:
Alternative Pop
board. But some Christians might wonder if
his reference to those who’ve dumbed
down the gospel message in the title track
is a judgement of them.
Little did the band formerly known as
Holland realize that its maiden release,
2003’s Photographs & Tidalwaves (Tooth
& Nail), was an identity crisis of sorts.
You see, brothers Will and Josiah Holland
grew up in a music-loving family, one that
paid its respects to such greats as Bob
Dylan, The Band and Gram Parsons, not
the conventionality of Jimmy Eat World,
Foo Fighters, and the shimmering rock
sounds of their national debut.
Now, three years later, and more interested in making their parents and The
Beatles proud than succumbing to fickle
pop trends, “Holland” re-christened itself
as “The Lonely Hearts” and recorded
Paper Tapes, an effort they claim is the
closest to their creative heart.
Though they’re not as Americanainfluenced as they let on—their website
goes on at length about their deep admiration for roots music, almost to the point
of crowning them heirs to the Neil Young
estate—Paper Tapes is most adequately
described as a placid acoustic rock
record with a big, insistent pop-shaped
heart. Think The Thrills meets The Byrds,
with added traces of Snow Patrol and Gin
Blossoms for an air of modernity.
“Passive Aggressive” is an apropos testament to this shift in direction both in title
and style, a pop/rock jewel with slight Brit
affectations and an infectious chorus.
Though Will sings, “I can’t believe in anything that feels like honey, honey,” ironically
the set can’t help but drip with sweetness,
a trend that continues with the melodic
indelibility of “Love and Politics” and
“Heartbreaker,” two songs that are
diametrically opposed in compositional
delivery yet similar in the spirit they evoke.
Country elements—a slide guitar solo
here, jangled sonics there, harmonies with
a hint of twang over there—invade The
Lonely Hearts’ methodology in spots, but
they never become the centerpiece of their
blue-collar brand of folksy pop/rock, one
so sunny that it gravitates more intently
towards California’s shores than America’s
heartland. At times, they’ll fool you, like in
the impossibly countrified “Love Comes
Quickly,” but, at its core, Paper Tapes is
adult alternative music in a blissful pop
guise, a mature triumph for a band whose
members are still in their twenties.
Grade: B-
Minnesota winters can be cause for reflection, self-analysis and praying for spring.
They’ve also played muse to some great
songs. The Mary Tyler Moore theme, sure,
but I was mostly thinking of “Skyway” by
the Replacements. Another in that vein is
“Overnight On Nicolet,” from the debut
album by Mainstay, Well Meaning Fiction.
“Must have been that winter cold,” the
song begins, before describing the rather
joyless life that has befallen the singer/
songwriter, Justin Anderson, who’s seeking
a return to the faith of his youth, his first
love in Christ. Whether it’s the winter’s
influence or the Scandinavian heritage of
many of the area’s natives, there is a
sternness, a seriousness that underlies
these unfailingly appealing, if often predictable, alternative pop songs.
Veteran producer Aaron Sprinkle
(Starflyer 59, Falling Up) adds a nostalgic
mid-’90s tone (think Vervepipe’s hit, “The
Freshman”) with just the right layers of
guitars and synth washes to create a
sterling support for Anderson’s effecting
vocals. Joined in this three-piece by Ryan
DeYounge and Dan Ostebo, Mainstay will
need support producing these lush musical
environs live.
For his part, Anderson has strong opinions and doesn’t hesitate to say what’s on
his mind, writing from time to time of a
“they” with whom he disagrees. Of course,
tracks like “These Pages,” which invite
God’s Spirit to lead us through the
Scriptures, or “Yesterday,” which condemns
living in the past, will connect across the
File under:
Reason to
Grade: B+
Jaime Jamgochian might have a last name
that is hard to pronounce, but this woman’s
got a sincere heart for worship and tremendous songwriting talent. With her national
debut, Reason to Live, Jaime became the
flagship artist for Centricity Records, a
Seattle-based label run by industry veteran
John Mays (one-time A&R guy for Point of
Grace and Nichole Nordeman).
If you think Jaime’s release is just another
debut in a sea of worship leaders turned
commercial artists, think again. With every
song, Jaime wears her heart on her sleeve,
and one doesn’t have to see her beaming
face to sense that every word comes from a
sincere, honest place.
While attending Boston’s Berklee College
of Music, Jaime had the opportunity to perform backing vocals for several mainstream
acts, including Carly Simon. However, after
a friend led her to Christ when she was 21,
Jaime was certain she could sing of nothing
else but the love of Christ, and that’s what
she’s been doing ever since.
While her lyrics are vertical in nature,
the melody is pure pop. Jaime’s first single
and the title track, “Reason to Live,”
showcases the fun, energetic mix found
3:56 PM
Page 45
Warren Barfield
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Caedmon’s Call
Anthony Evans
Ana Laura
Jadon Lavik
Shawn McDonald
Reach (Essential)
Live...I’m Amazed DVD (INO)
In The Company Of
Angels II (Essential)
Letting Go (INO)
7 (Gotee)
Ana Laura (Reunion)
Life on the Inside (BEC)
Ripen (Sparrow)
Farewell DVD (Inpop)
Over the Rooftops (7 Spin)
throughout the record. “You Are” is just
downright infectious and is probably the
most up-tempo song on the album. But
don’t let the energy fool you; this record
is full of worshipful moments.
The stand-out cut “Hear My Worship”
has to be the most moving song on the
album as she sings, “Beyond this bended
knee/Beyond the words I speak/Beyond
the songs I sing/Hear my worship.” Jaime’s
soft, angelic voice is often reminiscent of
an early Twila Paris, yet at other times her
hooks sound more like Point of Grace.
Perhaps this is why Jaime has been connecting so well recently with teenage girls
while leading worship around the country
for “Girls of Grace” conferences.
Combine her energy and pop sensibilities with her worship-evoking lyrics, and
you’ve got yourself an exceptional worship
leader. Although Jaime’s sound is nothing
new and her debut doesn’t capture her
potential, it’s a solid start to a career as
a well-respected worship leader.
Building 429
By the Tree
Pocket Full of Rocks
George Beverly Shea
Rise (Word)
Hero of My Soul (Fervent)
Song to the King (Myrrh)
I’d Rather Have Jesus (Word)
A Grateful People (Rocketown)
Take 6
And the Land of Fake
Believe (Flicker)
Feels Good (Take 6 Records)
Family Force 5
Business Up Front,
Party in the Back
Hearts of the Innocent (BEC)
march 06 ccm 45
7:26 PM
Page 46
by Margaret Becker
I really don’t know how to preface this book. It doesn’t fall into the usual
category I seek. In fact, I probably would never have picked it up if it hadn’t
been for the editor of my own new book. She edited this one as well.
The book is When I Lay My Isaac Down (Nav Press) by Carol
Kent. It’s about dealing with letting go of your most precious
“thing”—not the stuff that you can live without—the stuff that
is vital to your life, the few things that are deal breakers.
Hence, the title.
We all know the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, how
Abraham was called by God to sacrifice Isaac. It’s a story that
frightens me every time I read it. I know it makes sense on
some Divine level, but, to me, it’s always difficult to digest. It
doesn’t make me want to stand up and go, “Test me that way!
Make me that faithful Lord!” It’s the kind of story that makes
me want to stay still and hunker down.
Carol Kent’s “Isaac” was her son, her grown son—who wasn’t “sacrificed” to all the compassionate types of crises. He did something that
was against the law, and he paid for it. A Christian man did something
that cost him his freedom because, at the time, he thought it was the
“good” thing to do. The truth is often full of controversial things, undone
lives, and endings that make no “happily-ever-after” sense; and this
story is one that has all the markings of befuddlement. And redemption.
Redemption—freestyle that is. There are no carefully wrapped
packages of relief here, only hard worn tendrils of strength.
Kent manages to infuse bits of scriptural truth into the most
difficult of happenings.
Why do I like the book? The story defies spiritual gravity. It
does all the things you hope against and least expect. But the
people living the story? They do all the things you wish you would
do in the same circumstances. They learn all the lessons, garner
faith, and piece together all the patches of truth that most of us
could never—would never—formulate in our lifetimes.
Carol Kent has had to lay down her Isaac. She’s undone,
and we benefit from her tears, her struggles, her daily pursuit
of peace in the tragedy.
Read this book for wisdom you would spend a lifetime of suffering to
get. You will find many things in here to help you with your own sacrifices,
both big and small.
Margaret Becker is an award-winning author, speaker, producer, songwriter
and recording artist. Her latest CD is Faithfully Yours: Psalms, and her new
book, Coming Up for Air, can be ordered at amazon.com and christianbook.com.
For more information visit maggieb.com.
On the Personal Side
Living 101
The Day I Died
Damage Control: How to Stop Making Jesus Look Bad
By Dean Merrill (Baker)
If CCM Magazine gave a “Best Title of the Year” award, this
book’s title would take it! And the actual book? Author Dean
Merrill encourages fellow believers to step outside of the
Christian “bubble” and portray a more accurate picture of
who Christ really is. In this witty, truth-filled book, Merrill
focuses on the ways in which Christ is often misconstrued
to a watching world.
The North Face of God
By Ken Gire (Tyndale)
The silence is deafening, and the questions remain unanswered. That’s a place we’ve all been. This book takes a
serious look at the times of silence we all face and how
God is working even when He can’t be heard.
By Steve Sjogren (Regal)
This fascinating story will resonate with readers immediately
as they imagine what it would really be like to die…twice.
Steve Sjogren caught a glimpse of death and lived to tell
about it. Here, he recounts his real-life story of a supernatural encounter following a medical accident, forcing readers
to examine and face their fears regarding death.
Fight Like A Girl: The Power of Being a Woman
By Lisa Bevere (Warner Faith)
Who says women are inferior to men? Lisa Bevere looks at
the ways women view themselves and the way the female
gender is perceived in general. With an example prayer concluding each chapter, Fight Like a Girl reads like a day-by-day
devotional, though it’s more of a self-help, confidence
booster for those women struggling with self-identity issues.
Story: Recapture the Mystery
By Steven James (Revell)
The greatest story ever told is recapped in short excerpts,
building verse-by-verse in a modern fashion, as the reader
journeys through this cleverly crafted book. From the manger
to the cross, James connects the dots and uses modern
day examples to create a trendy devotional-like book that is
an easy yet enjoyable read.
46 ccm march 06 ccmmagazine.com
Historical Fiction
Holding Heaven
By Jerry B. Jenkins (Integrity)
Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins is back with a novella
that explores the relationship between Joseph and Jesus.
As a storyteller, Jenkins shines, writing how the baby
Jesus grows up into a man, creating a tearful, spine-tingling roll reversal between father and son.
Profiles by Lindsay Williams
7:29 PM
Page 47
russlong’s guidetogear>>
Nichole’s husband, Errol, did the legwork on figuring out what Nichole needed for a home studio and what gear would best meet
this need. “BRAD O’DONNELL (Vice President of A&R for EMI Christian Music Group) told me about the M-Box (the most basic
ProTools setup).” Errol decided that ProTools was the route they should take, and he ended up building the studio around the
Kurzweil Mark 10 Ensemble Grand, which they already owned, the Digidesign 002 and a Carillon AC-1 music computer, which
comes optimized for recording. Errol went with Yamaha MSP-10 monitors for monitoring, an Audio Technica 4060 tube mic and
Monster Cable to connect it all together.
Nichole Nordeman
Not only did Nichole draft a new producer for this project, but the new home studio helped with the writing process as she
compiled material for the album. Nichole composes her material on the piano. Also interesting is the fact that Nichole
simultaneously composes her music and lyrics. “Typically they [the music and lyrics] come at the same time, but the bulk of
the writing of the song for me usually happens two weeks before I ever even sit down at the piano.” She goes on to explain,
“I can’t really even start writing before I have the general plan, so a lot of writing time for me is thinking time.”
Having an in-house studio definitely paid off for Nichole. “The last thing I want to do when we put Charlie [their nearly 3year-old son] down at night is drive 45 minutes north to record a piano demo at someone else’s studio. So it’s given me
such freedom to be able to write and then turn on the computer and record it really quick and have a great sounding piano/
vocal demo that I can then send to the producer.”
DigiDesign 002
Kurzweil Mark 10
Ensemble Grand
JAY JOYCE used his frequent collaborator GILES REEVES (PETER CETERA, ROBBIE SEAY BAND, TIM FINN) to cover the album’s
engineering duties. They recorded the majority of the album at a studio in Dallas, Texas. Jay and Giles took a trailer of gear with
them to supplement the studio’s gear (mostly guitars, guitar amps and keyboards). I was interested to see if Nichole’s homestudio engineering experience would change her perspective as she began recording her album. “It definitely took a lot of
intimidation out of it,” she says. “My first couple of records, I was in a sound booth singing, and the whole world of the recording
element was out of my vision. Even on a really small level of familiarizing myself with the basic stuff, I was able to appreciate the
recording process a lot more.”
Jay explained that the vocal recording chain that they used was a Neve 1073 through a Teletronics LA 2A. The Lawson L47 was
the primary vocal mic, but there were a couple of instances where they used the scratch vocal (including the DYLAN tune “Gotta
Serve Somebody”) which was a Shure SM7 through the same vocal chain.
Lawson L47
Technica 4060
FAVORITE: “Tie between my iPod mini and my old-school handheld tape recorder. I've tried to get used to the smaller, more
efficient digital voice recorders, but my old one has seen me through the writing of many songs and is very familiar and
faithful. I usually carry it in my purse to sing song ideas into when inspiration strikes.”
BIGGEST HEADACHE: “Anything that requires me to read more than three paragraphs of instruction. This would include Tivo,
our new cappuccino maker and anything I’ve ever bought from IKEA.”
Front row, from left: David Leonard (mix engineer), Jay Joyce (producer).
Back row, from left: Mike Paragone (asst. mix engineer), Nichole, Giles
Reeves (programming, engineer, keyboards), Brad O'Donnell (A&R guru).
For more information on the artists and gear on this page, visit:
digidesign.com, audiotechnica.com, kurzweilmusicsystems.com,
carillonusa.com, lawsonmicrophones.com, nicholenordeman.com
Russ Long is an award-winning recording engineer who has helmed gold and platinum albums by Sixpence
None the Richer and Newsboys as well as recordings by Relient K, Wilco, Phil Keaggy, Over the Rhine and
others. Russ recently created an educational DVD on studio engineering tailored for singers, songwriters
and home studio enthusiasts. For more information visit audioinstruction.com.
march 06 ccm 47
7:29 PM
Page 48
your guide to concerts
All photos by Andy Argyrakis
by Andy Argyrakis
From left: Kalel, Noah Henson, Rob Beckley, Lester Estelle
Hard rockers Pillar have remained a force to be
reckoned with since the band’s 2001 national
debut on Flicker Records, ascending steadily to
become one of the genre’s most consistent and
sturdy backbones. Much of that charm stems from
a series of punching rhythms, scalding licks and
militant vocals that have all found credibility in the
underground along with radio attraction in both the
Christian and general market scenes. And just like
the evolution that can be traced on each of the
band’s albums, the same can be said about the
members’ stage show, which has developed well
beyond opening act status into headlining capacity.
That’s exactly the position the group held in front
of a thousand screaming fans as a black and blue
backdrop descended from the ceiling to unveil
thematic images from Pillar’s latest album cover
Where Do We Go From Here. Highlighting that
project, in addition to previewing a few forthcoming
selections, was the guys’ purpose on the road, and
they made sure to make every moment count. The
roars began with “Holding On,” a flame thrower off
their recent effort demonstrating a mixture of
bombastic riffs and attention-commanding screams
by vocalist Rob Beckley. The front man was like a
lightening streak bolting from one side of the stage
to the other, with his veins protruding from his neck
throughout the entire track and rampaging even
more throughout its follow-up, “Hypnotized.”
Even with such an unquenchable degree of
energy, Pillar’s players still performed with fusion,
channeling each crash of chaos into a stroke of
cohesiveness. In fact, such concentration to detail
and sheer entertaining ability gave the gang a rare
48 ccm march 06
chance to introduce a new track only a few songs
into the set, which was met with its faithful fans’
attentiveness and acceptance. The first of the fresh
batch was called “Helmet,” and, believe it or not, it
came across heavier than the others, matching the
upper screaming registers of even Living Sacrifice.
Yet with so much jumping up and down and, perhaps,
a strain on Beckley’s vocal chords, the band gave
everyone a breather for a slightly quieter segment.
The electrified “Simply” revealed more melodic
tendencies, as did “Further From Myself,” first
known for its finale slot on Pillar’s previous project
Fireproof (Flicker/MCA). However, this stripped
down version followed closer in step with the one
on 2003’s more acoustic flavored EP Broken Down,
which better conveyed its message of recommitting
one’s life to Christ after a sinful spiral. But no
sooner had everyone stopped sweating, than the
foursome debuted the sizzling “Escape,”
hammered into “Aftershock” and nailed home their
pummeling point with current single, “Frontline.”
“Fireproof” proved a fitting encore and yielded
the most audience participation, though material
from 2001’s Above was disappointingly absent in
its entirety. Pillar could’ve scrapped its out-ofcharacter interpretation of U2’s pacifistic anthem
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” for the likes of “Open Your
Eyes” or “Original Superman,” but, instead, chose
to stay in the here and now. Either way, the band’s
future looks bright, and many appetites were
primed for the next offering in their complex
cauldron of sonics, sure to keep the stride going
and the action at an all-time extreme.
Though the band’s lyrics may be a bit tricky to
decipher at times, there’s no denying the
ministry impact PILLAR has had on alternative
audiences. Aside from making blistering hardcore music, members have also backed various
causes from time to time, such as the antipornography outreach XXXChurch.com.
The latest place to find Pillar’s support is in
a brand new program by Teen Mania (an
organization that seeks to fuel the fires of young
people for Christ). This popular evangelistic
outlet is currently in the midst of its “BATTLE
CRY Campaign” (battlecry.com), and Pillar has
lent the hit “Frontline” to ser ve as a
soundtrack. The tune speaks about being supercharged in one’s faith and presenting those
beliefs to the masses, which coincides with
Teen Mania’s rallying and revival goals.
“Music is the soundtrack to the lives of today’s
youth,” says Teen Mania producer Doug
Rittenhouse. “Pillar’s ‘Frontline’ speaks to the
heart and passion of a movement, one that
aspires to change the futures of these young
people. ‘Frontline’ will be used as a catalyst to rally
pastors, churches and youth group leaders in their
quests to incite this generation toward change.”
Are you within a day’s drive?
Here is a concert date you won’t want to miss!
03/31 “The Hearts of the Innocent Tour”
with Kutless, Disciple, Falling Up and Stellar
Kart in Plainview, TX
For the latest concert listings, check out CCMmagazine.com’s
searchable tour database to find out when your favorite
artists will play in a city near you.
7:30 PM
Page 50
by Gregory Rumburg
In January, Avalon served up its latest studio offering, Stand, to critical praise
and popular appeal. A decade after being introduced to the church as part of the
much-lauded “Young Messiah” Tour, this Grammy-nominated, Dove Awardwinning group still helps to set Christian music’s pop standards, and, through its
harmonies and soaring melodies, it keeps alive a vocal style that was seminal to
the genre’s infancy. Members Jody McBrayer and Melissa Greene take us through
Avalon by the numbers.
2002 70
Year former Truth member Greene joined Avalon, replacing Cheri Paliotta, who
in 1997 replaced original member Nikki Hassman. Greg Long, husband to
Avalon’s Janna Potter Long, was drafted formally by the ensemble in 2003
when Michael Passons took leave of the group. Janna and Jody are the two
remaining 1995 original members.
Spotlight performances last year by King Killian, Melissa’s Pomeranian.
“I’ve had him for three years, and he’s a great road dog. We took him out
last year on tour, and he did two tricks. He does “praise the Lord,” and he
gets up on his back paws and raises his front paws. And then I’ll say, ‘Do
you hate Satan?’ And he’ll growl!” she laughs. Aslan, watch your back.
Fans have watched Avalon perform in person, according to Sparrow Records,
the group’s label. “I think anytime you can get in front of a group of people
who appreciate your music, it’s a lot more fun. There’s nothing more exciting
to me than watching people sing along,” McBrayer says.
No. 1 singles credited to the group, including its most recent, “New Day.”
McBrayer heaps praise on the many songwriters who have helped shape the
group’s catalog. “I think we’ve been given some great songs,” he says. “It
doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with Avalon. God has blessed us with
great tunes.” Jody’s favorite? “I Don’t Wanna Go.”
Records sold by Avalon during the last decade. Again, McBrayer is quick to
credit the songs for paving the way to longevity. “If you don’t have great
music, then people aren’t going to listen,” he asserts. “There’s something
about great songs that clicks in the minds of people. They want to come to
your concert and hear it live, and they want to hear it on the radio.”
Foot tour bus—no, pardon us, “recreational vehicle”—owned and operated by
Avalon. In fact, two members, Jody and Greg, sometimes run like newlylicensed 16-year-olds to see who gets to drive the 12-bunk land yacht next.
The group’s pro driver must love this gig.
50 ccm march 06
Studio album by Avalon, Stand, arrived Jan. 24. The title comes from the
group’s interpretation of the Russ Taff classic “We Will Stand,” written by
Russ and Tori Taff and James Hollihan, Jr. The song was recorded by the
former Imperials member for his Grammy-winning, 1983 solo project Walls
of Glass (Myrrh). McBrayer says, “We always love to do remakes because
we all grew up on Christian music. Those are the songs we cut our teeth
on.” Russ even joined Avalon in the studio for a guest vocal.
Months passed making this album, the longest recording process of all
Avalon projects. “We were very choosey about the songs,” Greene says.
“We had a message we wanted to get across, so we were going to be
very specific about waiting on the songs and the right people to produce
them. It was well worth the time!” Mark Hammond, Shaun Shankel and
Bernie Herms each took the helm.
American Music Award (for Oxygen) included in the group’s trophy case.
“The American Music Award is coolest just because of how the award is
given. Basically, it’s given by the fans,” McBrayer says. Jody continues,
“Awards are great. I think that God uses them solely to encourage us and
to keep us going. When we won the 2003 American Music Award, we
were beginning to be in the throes of a very difficult time as a group…I
believe God gave that to us to encourage us and say ‘I haven’t forgotten
about you. Keep going.’ And I think that’s what they’re for.”
7:31 PM
Page 52
by Andrew Peterson
With regard to recording artist Andrew Peterson, perhaps it was Christian
music legend Phil Keaggy who said it best: “Andrew's style has a familiar
yet refreshing quality, lyrical but not stodgy. He’s candid and off-the-wall in
a good way...” While Keaggy may have been referring to Peterson’s music,
as far as we’re concerned, the guitar wizard’s synopsis is the perfect
introduction for this month’s guest editorial… Enjoy!
I have a confession to make. I care what you think. Whoever is reading this, and I
believe that a fair number of folks from all over America—maybe even a few from
across the ocean—might end up reading this, believe me when I say that I care what
you think. Humility is maddeningly elusive to me, like a dog chasing its tail. I pray
for wisdom, ask for humility, and as soon as I think I’ve got a little of it—poof!—it’s
gone in a flurry of misplaced pride. Finally, I’m humble, says I. Check me out.
When I hear wiser men than I speak about their own gifts, be it Rich Mullins, C.S.
Lewis or the pastor of my church here in Nashville, I detect a comfortable detachment
from the gift of which they speak. Lewis said that humility means that you can be as
enthusiastic about something you’ve created as if someone else had done it because you
realize that it wasn’t really you doing it in the first place. My ability to write decent songs
is a gift from God. Period. Am I being arrogant in considering my own songs to be
decent? I hope not. I can certainly name about 50 singer/songwriters who are better at
what they do than I am, but I can also sit back and look at a few of my songs and be
thankful that I was able to bring them into the world. Lord knows I have a long way to
go, but it’s nice sometimes to see Him working me closer to being who I’m meant to be.
But there’s something flawed with that last thought. My mistake is that I’m operating
under the delusion that my songs have something to do with who I’m meant to be. It
seems a little presumptuous to say that God is interested in my songwriting, any more
than he’d be interested in a farmer’s eggplant harvest. Sure, the eggplant is a central part
of the farmer’s work, lying there in the sun all purple and shiny, but it seems to me that
God is concerned chiefly about the farmer. Indeed, He died on a cross for the farmer,
not the eggplant. The eggplant is a good thing. It was made by God Himself; the
farmer planted the seed, God made it grow, gave it life, said that it was good. The
eggplant will feed someone. Some fine Southern cook like my mom will slice it up into
round little patties, dip them in flour and fry them up in a skillet to be eaten with distrust
and ketchup by kids like myself who’d rather have had her chicken casserole.
Imagine standing next to that farmer, bib overalls and straw hat, deep red suntan on
his sweaty neck, one hand on his hip and the other propped up on the side of his truck
while he squints in the sun and says, “That’s a fine eggplant, son.” Now, can you
imagine thinking that he was arrogant in saying so? I can’t imagine it, either.
It’s right and proper to find joy in the fruit (or vegetables) of your labor. So I want
to joyfully look at my songs and say, “That’s a fine song.” But I’m afraid that people
will think I’m getting cocky, that I’m forgetting what a bonehead I am. (I have lovehandles. I run like an old man. One of my nostrils is bigger than the other, by a large
margin. I am terribly self-conscious and ill at ease, even around my closest friends.
No, dear reader, I’m very aware of what a goon I am.)
I’m thinking about all this stuff a lot because of the recent release of my new
eggplant (record). I sincerely, deeply, passionately, desperately hope people enjoy it.
I hope that God uses it to nourish many of His children. I also sincerely hope that
thousands of people buy it so that I can afford to keep making eggplants because
those tractors and fertilizers aren’t free, folks, and I love being a farmer, as it were.
Amazingly, God has a way of using little things like eggplants for His purposes, to
affect people deeply, far more than we eggplant farmers could imagine. I get a deep
satisfaction when I go on tour and serve up fried eggplant to all of you; and you like
it; and you tell me how much you like it; and then you go off to your part of the
Kingdom; and something about that eggplant I gave you helps you to plant and sow
and harvest your own good work (broccoli, perhaps?) that’s really God’s work in you.
And by God’s grace, I can stop chasing my tail. I can rest. Because, if you have to try
to be humble, then you ain’t. Christ-like humility is losing yourself; it is no longer
thinking of yourself as humble or proud, but, rather, in no longer thinking of yourself at
all. It is being consumed with the Father and His will while yours shrivels and dies, until
what is left is a wide piece of land with rich, dark soil, ready for the planting. That way,
when you tell me how much you like my fried eggplant, I can smile and say, “Thank you,”
and tell you that you’re right. It is a good recipe, ain’t it? But it’s not mine. ccm
52 ccm march 06
Andrew Peterson's sixth album, The Far Country (Word), released this past August. For more
information, visit andrew-peterson.com.
7:31 PM
Page 53
NEW CD’s $6, used CD’s $3.50. All genres
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STUDIO-READY and tour-ready drummer
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CCM [ISSN 1524–7848] is published monthly by Salem Publishing.
Copyright: CCM © 2005 by Salem Publishing, 104 Woodmont Blvd.,
Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37205. Contents may not be reproduced in any
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march 06 ccm 53
7:32 PM
Page 54
In early January, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
released a study that showed that the music business has an
annual economic impact of $6.4 billion in the Nashville area.
Yep, that’s billion with a “b”! The majority of that is from
country music, but I would guess that at least 10 percent is
from Christian/Gospel music. That means that Christian
music is pumping several hundred million dollars into the
Nashville area economy every year.
This includes all of the salaries paid to a couple thousand
people employed by the Christian music record companies
and other related businesses, plus all the money these
companies spend on goods and services, mortgages, taxes, etc.,
with “multipliers” built in to calculate the residual impact as
people, in turn, spend money on food, clothing, housing, etc.
All this really means is that Christian music has become a
significant part of the music scene in Nashville, which is also
known as “Music City” (with good reason). Last month we
discussed the Jesus Movement and the fact that Southern
California was the birthplace of much of the earliest Christian
rock. It is a well-known fact, however, that Nashville is now
the epicenter of the Christian music business. That was not
the case 20 years ago. So what happened?
It turns out that Nashville has a very long heritage with
gospel music. The Fisk Jubilee Singers were Nashville’s first
musical ambassadors in the 1870s. In fact, it was supposedly
through them that Nashville was first called “Music City.”
(Today’s generation of the group from Fisk University still
performs, by the way.) More than 100 years ago, a gospel
music publisher–Benson–became Nashville’s first music
publishing business.
Skipping forward several decades, Billy Ray Hearn had
started Myrrh in 1972 (one of the first labels devoted to what
became known as “contemporary Christian music”) as part of
Waco, Texas-based Word, Inc. In 1976, he formed Sparrow
Records in Southern California. But things were happening in
54 ccm march 06
From left: Billy Ray Hearn, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith
Nashville, too. The Benson Company started its own contemporary Christian label, Greentree, in
the ’70s. And a young singer named Amy Grant, signed to Myrrh Records, began to make a big
impact out of Nashville starting in 1979. A new songwriter named Michael W. Smith moved to
town about that same time.
The influence of Nashville-based artists and songwriters grew through the ’80s. Meanwhile,
Texas-based Word and California-based Sparrow continued to grow, opening satellite offices in
Nashville. Star Song, a Houston-based label that focused on cutting-edge contemporary music, was
becoming a factor as well.
In 1989, my wife and I–both California natives–decided to move California-born-and-bred CCM
Magazine to Music City. We weren’t a big business, but the magazine was emblematic of the
California contemporary Christian music scene; and it was seen by many as the beginning of a shift
when we moved to Nashville. I remember being chided by a number of California-based artists and
business friends for making the move. Most of them live in Nashville now!
Nashville’s business-friendly climate and growing artist community led Billy Ray Hearn to make
the decision to move Sparrow from California to Nashville in 1991. Shortly thereafter, Word
moved its music division there from Dallas. And, sure enough, Star Song left Houston for Nashville
about the same time. It was as though Music City had a sort of gravitational pull that attracted
Christian record companies and artists to join its already vibrant songwriting community.
For decades, Nashville has been a music community unlike any other. In the last 15 years, it has
taken on a new dimension with the influx and growth of the Christian music sector through the
major Christian record companies that have moved here, the new companies that have started here,
and the many businesses and organizations that support the artists and industry that have moved,
launched and/or grown here during that time.
Do you have to be in Nashville to “make it” in Christian music? Definitely not. But it helps,
especially if your label, booking agency, management company, etc., are here. And if you want to
work in “the industry,” a Music City address is practically a must.
Some say that Nashville has had more effect on Christian music than Christian music has had on
Nashville. While there may be some truth to that, my constant prayer is for our industry to be “salt
and light” in this community and for the life-changing power of Jesus Christ to be evident in the
music and the lives of the people who make it.
Send your thoughts to me at [email protected]
JOHN STYLL is the president of the Gospel Music Association. Before taking its helm, he launched CCM
Magazine in 1978 and captained our ship for more than 20 years. For more information on the Gospel
Music Association or the GMA Music Awards, which it oversees, go to gospelmusic.org.