jars20

Jars of Clay at 20 years

To celebrate 20 years together as a band, Jars of Clay has taken 2014 to throw themselves a yearlong birthday party. Not only have they spent the year performing a series of online Stageit concerts commemorating their previous albums, but they have also crafted a uniquely special, fan-curated retrospective double album of re-recorded favorites appropriately titled 20.

As the band reflected on their previous twenty years, they wanted to mark the milestone in a way that seemed true to the spirit they had cultivated within their first two decades. During one of their early online Stageit concerts, Jars of Clay multi-instrumentalist Stephen Mason noticed, “There were some songs that were surprisingly hitting a really strong emotional chord in me because I had missed them the first time around.” It is this second-time-around sentiment that sparked the initial idea for 20. Not wanting to just compile their own favorite songs for an uninspired greatest hits package, the band looked for an opportunity to once again serve and thank their fans in a genuine, tangible way. They decided on the retrospective re-recording approach and as keyboardist Charlie Lowell explains, “We wanted to really honor the fans by letting them choose the songs.” By allowing the fans to say which songs they would do and allowing themselves to decide how they would do them, the adventurous 20 ends up feeling both nostalgic and now, simultaneously looking back and facing forward.

To hear lead singer Dan Haseltine describe it, deconstructing and reconstructing the songs for 20 has allowed the band a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at themselves and their body of work: “There are so many different economies when looking at a record. We started young and the first economy presented to us was ‘Is it selling records?’ This project has given us the opportunity to go back and listen to some of these songs in a brand new way, not having to just think about that first financial economy.” Jars of Clay has always been a band that has leaned forward and focused on what their next creative endeavor could be. Each new album has pushed off in a new direction from the previous one, showing a trend of transformation that has become a calling card of the band. With 20, they now have taken a moment to actually look back over what they’ve created. As rhythm guitarist Matt Odmark summarizes, “This has been the most extended period of time that we’ve been able to musically reflect on what we’ve done over the last twenty years.”

That fact that it has taken them 20 years to finally pause and reflect for a moment is quite understandable when you look at what all they’ve been able to accomplish during that timeframe. Their debut album Jars of Clay made a unique dual-market splash when it was released in the fall of 1995. With five singles landing in the Top 5 on Christian radio and their smash hit “Flood” making waves on mainstream radio and MTV, Jars of Clay went on to sell over two million records and earned the band their first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Gospel Album. Their eclectic sophomore follow-up album Much Afraid also went platinum and won the band their first Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album, a feat that would be repeated with their next two albums, If I Left the Zoo and The Eleventh Hour. While the next season of the band was marked with a sonic shift into roots, blues, and gospel music for the well-received albums Who We Are Instead and Redemption Songs, it was 2006’s Good Monsters that garnered Jars of Clay the highest level of critical acclaim that they had experienced since their self-titled debut. They received six nominations at that year’s Dove Awards and they ended up winning for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year and Short Form Music Video of the Year. Their next album, The Long Fall Back to Earth, also found the band with a busy awards season as they received six Dove Award nominations and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. In 2013, the band left the friendly confines of their hometown studio in Nashville and traveled to Portland, OR to work with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists). The result was Inland, an ambitious album of introspection and exploration that debuted at #2 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and #70 on the Billboard 200. Overall, Jars of Clay has released 12 full-length studio albums, over 40 songs to radio, and a substantial grouping of EPs and fan-club releases.

With such a rich catalog full of radio hits and song placements in well-known movies and television shows, it would be easy to chart out what a Jars of Clay career retrospective might look like from the industry side of things. However, by allowing the fans to have their say and vote for the tracklisting, the band was able to see which songs ended up being the most connective and meaningful apart from all of the inner workings of the music business machine. Many of the fan’s selections even surprised the band as they hadn’t played some of the songs in 10 years or more. However, it was those non-radio album cuts and deep track selections that allowed the band to see just how much weight these songs held with their fans. As they re-recorded the songs to “regift” back to their fans, Mason details that it felt, “maybe more sincere on some levels than it initially was the first time around.”

That new awareness of sincerity and significance is displayed throughout the entirety of 20, as each song balances out the essence of the original version with the ethos of who the band is now. Each song has been brought forward with a sonic sprucing that captures the current snapshot of the band. There are even some drastically altered adaptations ready to surprise and delight listeners. Compare the original version of “God Will Lift Up Your Head” from Redemption Songs with its 20 revamp and you’ll find an already-amped-up song taken into new territories of punk rock energy, tempo shifted atmospherics, and jazz-flavored poly-rhythmic drum-and-bass grooves. Embodying the other side of the musical metamorphosis coin is the beautifully broken down “Love Song for a Savior.” Originally an acoustic-driven folk-pop song from their self-titled debut, the 20 version showcases a relaxed confidence that allows the song to breathe and float over sparse piano chords and a cinematic string section. Another nod to the past that is present on 20 is the return of a couple special guest vocalists. Reprising their roles for a second time around are singer-songwriter Ashley Cleveland on “Jealous Kind” (originally on Who We Are Instead) and Mancy Pendergrass on “Worlds Apart” (originally on Jars of Clay), a certain treat for long-time fans of their self-titled debut.

Alongside the twenty years worth of refreshed fan favorites on 20 are two brand new songs as well. “If You Love Her” was birthed from the band’s experiences working with Blood:Water Mission, the organization they founded in 2004 that has raised over $22 million dollars to help fight against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. “Ghost in the Moon” is a hauntingly beautiful song of melancholy melodies that eloquently embodies the idea of hearing Jars of Clay like you’ve never heard them before. By placing these two new songs together with the 18 other re-recorded fan favorites, Jars of Clay has managed to both continue the conversation they started 20 years ago and keep it moving forward as well. As Haseltine sees it, “There is weight attached to a collection of songs that people who have spent 20 years with us have chosen. It’s sacred space.” 20 not only gives context to that sacred space, but it provides the perfect soundtrack to one well-deserved birthday party as well. –Will Hodge

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lecrae

Lecrae is back with Anomaly album

Lecrae, the critically-acclaimed Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist has launched the pre-order for his seventh studio album, Anomaly. Featuring guest artists Andy Mineo, Kari Jobe, for King and Country and Crystal Nicole, the album is available now as a pre-order at the iTunes store, on Amazon and at Merchline. Fans will receive two new songs from Anomaly, “Fear” and the first single, “Nuthin,” as a free MP3 download with the pre-order through iTunes and Merchline. Anomaly has already impressively landed at #1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart and #2 on the Overall iTunes Top Album chart.

Anomaly will be available in-stores and online Tuesday, September 9, 2014.

Lecrae, known for his music message that is often at odds with his hip-hop peers, speaks of monogamy, contentment, and faith. While remaining true to his beliefs, Lecrae has managed to garner critical media buzz, release chart-topping albums and mixtapes, headline the highest ticketed tour in the country, draw a Grammy nomination and win a Grammy award for Best Gospel Album.

Lecrae has been praised by mainstream and hip-hop press alike with features in Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, XXL, The Source and Vibe Magazine, among others. Radio personality and MTV News Executive Producer Sway Calloway recently proclaimed Lecrae’s music as the “Evolution of Hip-Hop.”

Most recently, Lecrae’s co-headlined tour, “Winter Jam” was rated as the highest ticketed tour in the country (First Quarter) this year by Pollstar.

He’s performed on the BET Network’s Hip Hop Awards and the BET Experience, was featured on Statik Selektah’s mixtape, toured with the famed “Rock The Bells Tour” and released a mixtape that soared to double platinum status on Datpiff garnering over 500,000 downloads. The mixtape, Church Clothes, debuted at #10 on iTunes as an EP, and charted on Billboard.

Gravity, Lecrae’s last studio album broke industry records when it debuted with 70,490 units sold in its first week–making it the #1 Rap Album, #1 Independent Album, #3 on the Billboard 200, and earning Lecrae the Grammy award for Best Gospel Album. His previous album, Rehab, landed on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart debuting at No. 17, while reaching No. 3 on the Top 10 Albums chart on iTunes. In 2013, Lecrae released his follow-up mixtape Church Clothes 2. The mixtape was hosted by Don Cannon and executive produced by Street Symphony. It featured several artists including Grammy-nominated B.o.B., Paul Wall, Novel, Kevin Ross, Crystal Nicole, King Mez; label mates Derek Minor and Tedashii, as well as production from Grammy Award-winning producers Boi-1da, David Banner, ThaInnaCircle, Dirty Rice, Tyshane and more.

Lecrae’s message spreads beyond his music, however. He’s a guest speaker at several major conferences and speaks to many professional sports teams throughout the year. ESPN noted, “Lecrae is highly sought after by players around the league — and even team chaplains — for his prayer sessions. Lecrae either does them at the arena or stadium or the visiting team’s hotel, typically starting two hours before the game and lasting 45 minutes.”

Lecrae’s next tour, presented by Live Nation and Premier Productions, went on sale on Friday, July 25th. The Anomaly Tour kicks off in Houston on October 3rd.

Upcoming Lecrae Tour Dates

Date Venue | Location

October 3 Berry Center | Houston, TX

October 4 Verizon Theatre | Dallas, TX

October 5 Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | San Antonio, TX

October 9* Paramount Theatre | Denver, CO

October 10* Abravanel Hall | Salt Lake City, UT

October 12 Hollywood Palladium | Los Angeles, CA

October 15 The Warfield | San Francisco, CA

October 17 Crystal Ballroom | Portland, OR

October 18 Revolution Concert House & Event Center | Boise, ID

October 19 ShoWare Center | Seattle, WA

October 23 The Riverside | Milwaukee, WI

October 24 Skyway Theatre | Minneapolis, WI

October 25 Independence Events Center | Independence, MO

October 26 Aragon Entertainment Center | Chicago, IL

October 30 The DeltaPlex | Grand Rapids, MI

October 31 Murat Theatre at Old National Centre | Indianapolis, IN

November 1 The Louisville Palace | Louisville, KY

November 2 The Fillmore Silver Spring | Washington, D.C.

November 6 The Fillmore Detroit | Detroit, MI

November 8 Wellmont Theater | Montclair, NJ

November 9 Tower Theater | Philadelphia, PA

November 13 Times-Union Center Moran Theater | Jacksonville, FL

November 14 The Fillmore Miami Beach | Miami, FL

November 19 Mobile Civic Center Theater | Mobile, AL

November 20 Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center | Greensboro, NC

November 21 The Tabernacle | Atlanta, GA

andrewE

From the heart of Andrew Ehrenzeller from Jesus Culture Music

Change happens. It’s inevitable. Some people embrace change better than others. Though it seems most of us prefer to keep the status quo and not disrupt the comfortable routine of familiarity. Not if, but when change happens we prefer it to be in smaller doses. Little did we know that everything would change for me and my wife that Friday morning. Walking out the door we didn’t have a clue what was ahead. We were the ones about to be changed.

My wife Kat was due to deliver our first child, a boy we named Liam, in about a week or so. Making the most of our free time was a no brainer. Frequent day dates were the usual. That day we went to one of our favorite local spots with plans to catch a matinee of the new Noah movie afterwards. But our plans changed (as they often do). Decision time was upon us.

See I’d been having some minor health concerns for a few weeks. I took a hard fall on a fishing trip a few weeks earlier and thought maybe concussion symptoms were lingering. We wrestled with the decision, but the symptoms had gotten to the point where I just couldn’t ignore them any longer. If we were going to investigate, now had to be the time. Standing there in the movie theater with tickets in hand, I had to make a choice. Of course, I would much rather sit through a visual storytelling of the biblical epic than spend way more money to sit in the emergency room for a few hours. That would have been a mistake, however. So I listened to the voice of God speaking to me through my wife and agreed that we should go. Peace of mind is far too great a virtue to give up so frivolously.

From the theater, my wife and I drove straight to the hospital. Walking into the ER at Boca Regional all the stares were pointed in her direction because when a nine-month pregnant woman goes anywhere, the husband is irrelevant. Asked what the issue was, I sheepishly responded, “I’m actually the one who needs help.” I explained my situation and filled them in on what I thought was wrong. They fashioned me a wristband and asked us to wait for the nurse to escort us to our room.

Then the moment of truth came. A couple of blood tests and CT scan later we were confronted with the gravity of present circumstances. The doctor who was warm and welcoming at first came back into the room with a much different look on his face than before. Hurriedly, and with a sense of panic, he proceeded to tell us that not only did I have major swelling in my brain, but that the CT scan also showed two lesions, one that was sizable and virtually untouchable. Life changed.

As you can imagine, the fear in the room became very real. My wife and I immediately burst into tears and reached for each other. And it was in that moment I had another choice to make. A choice presented to me many times before. I had to choose whether or not I would allow the information I just received to have power over my life or would the Spirit of God? My reality was “I AM SICK.” God’s reality is “I AM HEALER.” In that moment, I had to decide from which reality was I going to live. My reality or God’s? The realm of the natural or the supernatural? The realm of fear or faith? The realm of man’s word or God’s word?

Immediately we sent out word for people to begin interceding for us. My thoughts were a tempest. A hundred different scenarios began to play out in my mind. I wasn’t so concerned about myself. My thoughts were of the well-being of my wife and my soon-to-be-born son. With so much to live for, with so much promise on the horizon, the timing of these circumstances just wreaked of the devil.

Within minutes, we had two good friends by our side bearing witness of God’s faithfulness. These friends spoke life and encouragement into us. One shared a vision she’d seen as soon as she got to the hospital. She said she saw in the spirit a fortress surrounding us, that we were safe in God, and that nothing was going to harm us. This was especially encouraging because the first song I wrote after my wife and I got married is a song called “Mighty Fortress.” As I was writing this song, the Lord promised me that my entire household would always know Him as a mighty fortress, One who is safe and secure, One who can be trusted.

After officially being admitted to the hospital, I was taken to the ninth floor, the neuro ward. I felt special in my own private room with a beautiful view overlooking south Florida. People pay big money for that kind of treatment. My room number was 912. This was significant to me because I had specifically been praying Psalm 91 over my family for the past few months in preparation for our huge life change. Not only was our son going to be born that April, but Jesus Culture was about to release my record, Children of Promise, on their label the very same month! I remember Kim and Skyler [Smith] calling us to share the good news about how the record was being received. Distributors from around the world were getting a hold of Children of Promise and having encounters with God in their offices. Over the phone Kim and Skyler took time to pray for us and bless us, and to remind us that God is faithful to His promises.

Jesus taught us that “he who has ears let him hear.” Seeing that room number 912 almost made me laugh because immediately I could remember what I’d been praying so fervently for my family…

            “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!” Ps 91:2

God was speaking and I was listening. A promise is a promise. And to see my wife in her most vulnerable state so filled with the strength and confidence of Holy Spirit encouraged me greatly. She said right from the beginning, “Andrew, the only thing the devil is permitted to do is set a stage for God to reveal His glory. That’s it.” Such wisdom flowed from her. Such peace.

So, for the next five days, I went through a series of tests. The doctors poked and prodded me more times than I care to remember, attempting to find some semblance of what was ailing me. My vitals were checked constantly. They were looking for cancer, but they couldn’t’ find any. It was baffling. And yet during this time there was such an outpouring of love from the body of Christ, such a sense of God’s peace in that very room that nurses and even doctors would come by and linger for a few moments. I sensed they felt at home in that atmosphere of hope. In the midst of the storm there was Jesus completely at rest right there with us. We truly felt covered.

Liam’s birth was only days away, so the doctors really had no choice but to release me. That was on Wednesday. Liam was going to be born on Friday of the same week, at the same hospital. My wife moved the scheduled C-section back to Monday, April 7th, to give us a few extra days to recover. So I came home for the weekend and we pressed pause on the issues I was facing so we could direct our attention to Liam’s arrival.

Liam Valor was born at noon on April 7th, 2014. Kat was a champion and my hero. Liam, he was perfect. The first time I saw him, our eyes met and I saw heaven right there in front me in this beautiful baby boy. To try and describe it in detail would only fall short and cheapen the moment. What I can say is that it was truly a spiritual experience.

We spent four days in the maternity ward of Boca Regional. Those days were surreal. Emotional. After the week we just had, being surrounded with the sights and sounds of new life was the best medicine. While in the hospital, “Band of Sons,” the first single off my record, was released. The main line from the chorus, Time will tell what you’re really made of… the dust of earth and revival fire, was a prophetic cry to my own heart. While holding our newborn, we had the evidence right there in our hands of God’s faithfulness. Now it was time to go home as a family and begin our new life together.

But the storm hadn’t completely passed.

An hour after we came home from the hospital I had to abruptly return to the ER under the suspicion that I could possibly have a blood clot. Lying around for two weeks in a hospital can do that to a person I guess. And my doctor was right. So now I’m back in the place I began. This time sequestered in room 925.

How great are Your doings, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep.” Ps 92:5

I welcomed change passionately. My circumstances were beyond my control. All I could do as I sat in my hospital bed, alone again, was worship. None of this made any sense. My wife and newborn son are at home and I’m here in the same hospital on the same floor hooked up to another IV. All I could do was worship. I grabbed my guitar and looked out the window, this time I’m facing north and I began releasing a song of praise…

Death has passed over my house forever

We have been covered by the blood of the Lamb

Death has passed over my house forever

My cup runneth over with the Spirit of God

As for me and my house we will serve You Lord forever

Over the next few days I encountered the love of God in that hospital room like never before. I’ve never really used the word “portal” to describe an experience with God until this moment. It was as if something opened up over me and the waterfall of God’s presence was washing over me right there in my weakened state. My spirit man was so alive in God. Song after song kept coming to me. All I had to do was catch them. In the span of 48 hours I wrote 14 songs. Death may have been knocking on our door, but the Spirit of the Living God was answering. All I could do was worship. I thanked God for every moment and for every breath. Being faced with our own mortality brings the days of our lives so clearly into focus. We see them for what they really are, gifts from God.

Meanwhile, as I’m meeting with God tucked away in the “cleft of the rock” of my hospital room, Jesus Culture is releasing my two latest singles All On Fire and Meet You There. And I wasn’t angry with God. I was mad as hell at the devil. But I wasn’t angry with God. I just kept remembering what Kat had told me from the beginning, “The only thing the devil is permitted to do is set a stage for God to reveal His glory.” To know that people were enjoying the fruit of my relationship with God and yet unaware of my current condition seemed appropriate. It wasn’t news. It was process. The songs may have been written. The record may have been released, but the testimony was still being written and God was about to reveal His glory here at the very end.

I received a phone call from a dear friend of our family. He called to tell me about a dream He had the night before. It was an elaborate dream. He was driving somewhere in his car but had to stop because a house was right there in the middle of the street. He couldn’t drive around it so he had to get out of the car, and when he did an old man invited him into the house. While following this old man through the house, a telephone rings. The old man answers and says, “It’s Andrew calling for you Donnie.” Donnie picks up the phone and says, “You’re calling to tell me you’ve been healed, right?” I was on the other end with tears of joy telling him that God had indeed healed me.

While listening to Donnie’s dream on my voicemail, my neurologist entered the room and said “We’ve scheduled the biopsy for Tuesday morning at 9 am.” The “biopsy” meaning a brain biopsy where they were going to shave my entire head and cut out one of the lesions. After three weeks of treatment, they still were stumped. I felt Holy Spirit say to me, “You’re not going to have that biopsy.” And in that moment I had to make a choice. I had to choose who I was going to believe more.

The day before the scheduled biopsy was April 14th, which was actually Passover. Months before Kat and I decided we want to have Liam circumcised on the eighth day. Not for religious reasons but because we’d learned that Vitamin K was released in a baby’s body on the eighth day and acts a natural coagulant, which makes the circumcision less painful. Leave it to science to prove that God know what He’s doing, right? So my wife and son, some close friends, and the medical staff all gathered back down on the third floor in the maternity ward for this special moment. At this point, I hadn’t seen my son since we left the hospital. Me in my gown, with guitar in hand, sang my song of praise over him. “As for me and my house we will serve You Lord forever.” This was another holy moment for us.

And it was after this that my doctor came back into the room to deliver his latest word. The brain biopsy had officially been called off. The reason being that the last MRI showed such a dramatic decrease in the size of the lesions that they couldn’t even do a biopsy any more. Not only that, but all the swelling was gone. As soon as he left the room, I immediately heard Holy Spirit whisper to me, “I told you so.” Lying in bed I just burst into laughter and began to thank God for His great doings. I was released from the hospital a couple of days later and asked to come back in a few weeks for a follow up visit. A few weeks later I was even better than before. Death had passed over for good this time.

So much more happened during the month of April I don’t have the time or space to put into this article. Can you count the drops of a waterfall? I guess if you could, it wouldn’t be a waterfall. No, you just stand beneath its flow and experience the majesty. God once told a man named Abram to count the stars if he could or even count the grains of sand on the beach. God promised that man long ago his descendants would be just as numerous. God encountered that man and as a result his circumstances changed drastically. Even more so, the man Abram was changed and Abraham was born. I can relate to this. As my son Liam was being born, I too felt a rebirth happening in my own spirit. God was taking something away from me, but He was giving me something so much greater in return. His promise fulfilled.

Change comes us to all. Sometimes we ask for it. Sometimes we’re ready for it. Other times it comes upon us like a thief in the night. No matter what though, I am more confident than ever that what God is really after is not changing our circumstances, but transforming our hearts. And He is relentlessly pursuing for the sake of knowing His heart. He is good. He is kind. He promised us heaven and earth if we would only trust and obey Him like a little child. Free from the bondage of having to explain everything in order to feel in control. That’s the essence of belief. That’s what Abraham learned. That’s what he became. In the end, knowing God is what truly changes us.

tfk

Thousand Foot Krutch to release Oxygen:Inhale

Modern rock favorite THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH is set to release its first new studio album in over two years, OXYGEN:INHALE, Aug. 26 with marketing, sales and distribution through The Fuel Music into all territories worldwide except Europe, where it releases through Hassle Records.  Prior to the release of the highly anticipated recording, the band is offering the lead single and upcoming music video, “Born This Way,” as an Instant Grat Track download beginning today through an exclusive album pre-order campaign at iTunes.

“Born This Way” is a ‘barn burner’ of classic American rock n’ roll by way of TFK’s native Ontario roots. Premiered at Loudwire last week, the single is garnering steam at national outlets like SiriusXM Octane and at stations in at least 35 states on its first day at radio alone (July 22).  Already tearing up the charts, “Born This Way” hit the Christian Top 30 at Rock even before the song’s official add date, and moves to No. 18 as the No. 1 most added single on the chart this week.

Thousand Foot Krutch are back, and strike strong with their brand new single,” says Evigshed Magazine.  “‘Born This Way’ is a stellar combination bluesy rock groove with a heavy metal flavor…It is a perfect anthem, incredibly inspiring, delivering a strong message for people who are tired of being someone they’re not…These guys know how to rock.”

With upcoming featured performances and headlining positions on the summer festival circuit after performing at Rock on the Range, Rocklahoma and more for the last two consecutive years, TFK will unleash “Born This Way” and other new hits from OXYGEN:INHALE along with fan favorites while on the road.  Hitting Creation Northwest, Unity Music Festival, Soulfest and more in the next couple weeks, the band is also engaging the “TFK Army,” fans of the band that they prefer to call their “friends and family,” for a goal-driven PledgeMusic campaign.

The PledgeMusic campaign, which continues through the release of the album, is a place for fans to pre-order the album and receive exclusives from the band that are not available anywhere else, including audio and video downloads, special incentives for all PledgeMusic backers after reaching target levels, and much more.  Asking for just one dollar to fully fund the campaign, the band received the first dollar from hardDrive’s Lou Brutus and Roxy Myzal and already has over 3,600 pledges for support at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tfk.

The Ontario, Canada-bred TFK has been a continuously escalating highlight reel since their formation in 1997.  Receiving over 2,000, 5-star average customer reviews on iTunes® alone for its 2012 independently released, SiriusXM Satellite Radio Octane-nominated “Epic Album of the Year,” The End Is Where We Begin, the album went on to become the band’s biggest ever selling mainstream album (hitting No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200) and spark five Active Rock radio hits (“Let The Sparks Fly,” “War of Change,” “Light Up The Sky,” “Courtesy Call,” “Fly on the Wall”) and two No. 1’s at Christian radio (“War of Change,” “Light Up The Sky”).  Remarkably, in combined streaming of each song from the album, The End Is Where We Begin has been played over 215 million times over all of YouTube and continues receive about 296,000 plays every day.

With additional best-selling albums, Active Rock radio hits “Fire It Up,” “Move” and “Phenomenon,” plus a slew of soundtrack slots, the group has literally infiltrated every facet of pop culture.  They continue to receive ongoing ESPN appearances, as well as various NASCAR, MLB, NHL, WWE, NCAA and NFL airings (including the 2010 Super Bowl), along with the “GI Joe” movie trailer, WGN-TV’s “Smallville” and EA Sports’ NHL 2010 and 2013 video games.

crystallewis

Crystal Lewis back with new version of People Get Ready

A new version of “People Get Ready…Jesus Is Coming,” the debut single from Crystal Lewis’ upcoming CD, 25, is being made available to A/C and INSPO Christian radio stations today. The single, a variation of the remix made available July 17 that featured additional rap lyrics in the bridge by Propaganda, is being serviced to stations by A-Sides Radio Promotion.

Some of you remember when Lewis hit #1 with the song in 1996. This year, she’s celebrating 25 years in ministry, with the release of 25 of her top songs on “25.”

mandisa

Mandisa Remixed

Mandisa, who made her initial splash on the scene on the TV show American Idol, will release her first full remix album on Sept. 16th. It’s called “Get Up: The Remixes” and will include remixes of her hits like “Overcomer,” “Stronger,” and “Good Morning.” She follows in the footsteps of Christian music maker Amy Grant, who also is in the remix business lately. 

skillet

Skillet has great fanbase

Which Christian rock band has a huge fanbase? It’s Skillet, according to Billboard.com. Skillet’s Panheads (that’s what Skillet fans call themselves) are in the same league as One Direction’s The Directioners, Iggy Azalea’s The Azaleans, and Adam Lambert’s The Glamberts.

This Fall, Skillet heads to Europe and Russia on tour, further expanding their fanbase.

tobymactour

TobyMac to tour this Fall with Matt Maher

Five-time GRAMMY® Winner TobyMac has announced the “Worship, Stories & Songs Tour” which will hit the road this fall and will feature Matt Maher and Ryan Stevenson. TobyMac, who is renown for his live performances, will bring together the three artists in a night of fellowship in intimate venues and musical settings across the country.

The “Worship, Stories & Songs Tour” will be a totally different TobyMac show, a time where it’s not about the lights, smoke or big stage. Instead, it will be more intimate and personal, a “storyteller’s night” where Toby will share where the songs came from.

Kicking off in Madison, MS on November 6, the tour will make select stops in 20 cities before wrapping in Ft. Wayne, IN in mid-December.

“Worship, Stories & Songs Tour” Dates
More to be added, tour dates subject to change

November 6 – Madison, WS
November 7 – Texarkana, TX
November 8 – Wichita Falls, TX
November 9 – Lewisville, TX
November 13 – New Albany, IN
November 14 – Lexington, KY
November 15 – Akron, OH
November 16 – Troy, OH
November 20 – Joplin, MO
November 21 – Lincoln, NE
November 22 – Bourbonnais, IL
November 23 – Grand Rapids, MI
December 4 – Toledo, OH
December 5 – York, PA
December 6 – Williamsport, MD
December 7 – Richmond, VA
December 11 – Normal, IL
December 12 – Appleton, WI
December 13 – Milwaukee, WI
December 14 – Ft. Wayne, IN

Christian worship leaders go viral with “Rude” cover/parody

Well this is interesting: Benji and Jenna Cowart were the worship leaders at The Chapel at CrossPoint in Buffalo for about a decade, and this week they’re viral YouTube stars! Benji does a parody of Magic!’s “Rude” song (the #1 hit on Billboard by the way) and in less than a week, the video has about 5 million views! Even Good Morning America was talking about it.

Enjoy the video here:

By the way, the Cowarts have three kids, including a daughter who is not yet in her teens. They recently moved back to their native Nashville, and are primarily known for writing Christian praise and worship music, like this one:

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News about Christian and Gospel music from Mark Weber

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