Shortly after I became a Believer I was made aware of Michael W Smith. His music was at that time worlds ahead in production and style of other Christian music artist. It sounded exactly lie the stuff I was playing when I was working at the Top40 station. Continue reading
It has been 20 years since Steven Curtis Chapman’s breakthrough hit, The Great Adventure, was released.
If that makes you feel a little old, if your perspective on the rousing rocker has changed over two decades, Chapman is with you.
“When it came out, oh, what, 20 years ago-ish, which is pretty crazy, it was as rockin’ as anything they played at Christian radio,” Chapman, 49, recalls. “And that song represents a moment in time. There’s an element of it that was every summer camp song — hey, let’s saddle up our horses, and everybody made up dances to it in Christian youth groups and things, and it becomes almost a novelty of sorts.
“But for me, I know where that song came from originally. It was far from a ‘rah-rah, let’s go have fun’ song. It was really rooted in some hard things I was wrestling with coming into this understanding of God loves me, God has this plan for my life that is like an adventure, not a prison. Grace is something that makes our lives everything they were meant to be.
“I really wanted to recapture that.”
So, he rerecorded the song and a number of other hits, including Heaven in the Real World and More to This Life, for his latest album, re:creation.
As it starts to play, it sounds like it might be a mellow, unplugged Great Adventure on the new album. But then it builds, strings come in, and the adventure becomes Spielbergian, life as a great adventure with a cinematic swath.
And Chapman can claim that kind of life, becoming a chart-topping recording artist, traveling the world to perform and gather his family as an adoptive parent, suffering the communal tragedy of the school shootings at his alma mater, Paducah’s Heath High School, and the personal tragedy of the death of one of his children.
“There’s a lot of life crammed into 3 1/2 minutes of a song,” Chapman says. “Sometimes there’s years and years of life and story that went into that song, and I love knowing it and I love sharing it.”
To tour the latest album, Chapman decided to take a different approach than just putting together a band and hitting the road.
For the Songs Stories Tour, which stops at Southland Christian Church in Jessamine County on Tuesday night, Chapman has brought along fellow Christian artists Andrew Peterson and Josh Wilson for a sort of Nashville-style singer-songwriter night.
“Usually it’s several writers that will sit on a stage on stools in a row or in a circle and just go down the line and tell a story and sing a song, and then it’s the next guy’s turn,” Chapman says. “As it goes down the line, everyone kind of backs each other up and plays along, and it’s a cool kind of community, a unique thing that happens in a songwriting town like Nashville.”
The album re:creation presented a prime opportunity to take that show on the road. So he called Peterson and Wilson to see if they were up for it. The tour went out last fall, and it went so well they booked another leg for the new year.
“We’ve got 46 instruments onstage at last count between the band behind us — we have a three-piece band — and the three of us, and we’re passing instruments around,” says Chapman, whose father owns a music store in Paducah.
“One of the things I love, and this goes back to being from Kentucky, is this is the first tour I’ve had a banjo and a mandolin and some of those instruments onstage with me. Those are the instruments I grew up with, and I love bluegrass music and folk music. It’s the first music I listened to and learned to play. This tour is the first where I’ve felt I’ve been able to go there a little bit more and do more folk arrangements.
“It’s the first time for sure that I’ve picked up a banjo onstage in all my years of touring. So it seems only appropriate that I bring this tour back to Kentucky.”
Chapman recently received a big honor from the commonwealth when he was given the national award in the Governor’s Awards in the Arts, Kentucky’s top arts awards. The national award goes to a Kentucky native or person with a strong association with the state who has had a national impact in the arts. Previous winners include George Clooney and the Judds.
“Anybody can win a Grammy or a Dove Award,” says Chapman, who has five Grammys and a whopping 56 Doves. “But it’s a little more narrowed down when you get opportunities like that to get recognized as a Kentucky boy, a Paducah boy.
“So I am really honored by that and grateful for the support I have had from my home state and my home folks.”
Multi-platinum selling, GRAMMY, AMA and 2010 Dove Award-winning Artist of the Year Casting Crowns will extend its massive Come To The Well tour into the spring by adding an additional 44 dates across the U.S., this time featuring special guests, singer/songwriter Matthew West, pop-rockers Royal Tailor (both GRAMMY-nominated) and Christian music newcomer Lindsay McCaul who was also on the 2011 fall tour lineup. Following a hugely successful fall run, which included a string of more than15 sell-out performances, playing before more than 155,000 people, the spring leg of the Come To The Well tour kicks off Feb. 9, in Florence, S.C. Among its scheduled 44 shows, the tour will hit arenas in major markets like Grand Rapids, Orlando, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Houston and many more.
The tour takes its name from the Casting Crowns newest studio project, Come To The Well, (released October 18, its first new studio album in two years), featuring the hit single Courageous, which was showcased in the recent Sherwood Pictures film by the same title. The project is filled with songs that both challenge and encourage believers in their walk, including, Just Another Birthday which goes for radio adds today. Frontman Mark Hall collaborated on several of the tracks with top songwriters including Steven Curtis Chapman, Matthew West and award-winning country songwriter Tom Douglas.
The week of its release, Come to the Well sold 99,138 copies, making it the highest debut on Billboards Top 200 at No. 2. The album additionally topped the Billboard Contemporary Christian Overall chart, while also claiming No. 1 on the iTunes Christian Albums chart and No. 3 on its Overall Albums chart. Lead radio single Courageous landed at No. 1 on the iTunes Christian Songs chart and peaked at a No. 1 on the Billboard National Christian Audience
chart in just 10 weeks. In addition, the band celebrated its second career American Music Award win, from six career AMA nominations, on Nov. 20.
The Come To The Well tour is partnering with Christian humanitarian organization World Vision ( www.worldvision.org). World Vision provides assistance to approximately 100 million people in nearly 100 countries by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Casting Crowns has helped to generate a total of 52,000 child sponsorships for World Vision to date.
About Casting Crowns:
All of Casting Crowns projects are RIAA certified, with a tally of three RIAA Platinum Albums, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, two RIAA Gold Albums, two Gold DVDs and two Gold digital singles, holding position as Billboards top-selling act in Christian music since 2007.
The group also claims two American Music Awards, with six total nominations, three GRAMMY Awards and 14 GMA Dove Awards.
Despite an unprecedented eight-year career with Casting Crowns, the seven band members remain active in student ministry in the Atlanta area and tour part-time around their local church duties. Serving his 18th year in youth ministry, lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall is the student pastor at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta. As a testament to the bands impact, Casting Crowns performed for a second time in North Korea in April 2009, in partnership with Global Resource Services, as the band continues to forge invaluable relationships with the people in the D.P.R.K. For more information on Casting Crowns and Come to the Well, visit: www.castingcrowns.com or follow Mark Halls Twitter at twitter.com/markhallCC.
About Matthew West
Lauded by The New York Times as a vivid and compelling songwriter with impressive approaches to the familiar, two-time GRAMMY nominee Matthew Wests discography includes acclaimed releases Happy (2003), History (2005) and Something to Say (2008). His latest studio album, The Story of Your Life, was inspired by 10,000 stories from every state in the U.S. and 20 countries. The album released on October 5, 2010, and garnered attention from CNN Online, FOX News, Billboard Magazine, Country Weekly, American Songwriter and more. The Story of Your Life gave West the largest street-week debut of his career, selling over 10,000 units the first week, landing at No. 3 on Christian Soundscan, and No. 41 on the Billboard Top 200. In conjunction with Harvest House Publishers, West teamed up with bestselling author Angela Thomas for The Story of Your Life book. The Heart of Christmas marks Wests first full-length Christmas project which also boasts the top 15 mainstream AC radio hit The Heart of Christmas. A multiple ASCAP Song of the Year winner, West has had four No. 1 radio hits including his latest GRAMMY-nominated tune Strong Enough. His songwriting credits include Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio and more. For more information, visit www.MatthewWest.com.
CASTING CROWNS COME TO THE WELL SPRING TOUR 2012
*Dates, markets and venues subject to change without notice
2/9 (Thursday) – Florence, S.C. – Florence Civic Center
2/10 (Friday) – Virginia Beach, Va. – Rock Church
2/11 (Saturday) – Woodbridge, Va. – Hylton Memorial Chapel
2/16 (Thursday) – Grand Rapids, Mich. – Van Andel Arena
2/17 (Friday) – Troy, Ohio – Hobart Arena
2/18 (Saturday) – Lynchburg, Va. – Vines Center Liberty University
2/23 (Thursday) – Coral Gables, Fla. – BankUnited Center
2/24 (Friday) – Orlando, Fla. – UCF Arena
2/25 (Saturday) – Tallahassee, Fla. – Leon County Civic Center
2/26 (Sunday) – Pensacola, Fla. – Pensacola Civic Center
3/1 (Thursday) – Ft. Wayne, Ind. – Memorial Coliseum
3/2 (Friday) – Brookfield, Wis. – Elmbrook Church
3/3 (Saturday) – Toledo, Ohio – Huntington Center
3/8 (Thursday) – Johnson City, Tenn. – Freedom Hall
3/9 (Friday) – Raleigh, N.C. – RBC Center
3/10 (Saturday) – Charlotte, N.C. – Bojangles Coliseum
3/11 (Sunday) – Greenville, S.C. – Bi-Lo Center
3/15 (Thursday) – Lowell, Mass. – Lowell Memorial Auditorium
3/16 (Friday) – Newark, N.J. – Prudential Center
3/17 (Saturday) – Getzville, N.Y. – The Chapel at Crosspoint
3/18 (Sunday) – Baltimore, Md. – 1st Mariner Arena
3/22 (Thursday) – Independence, Mo. – Independence Event Center
3/23 (Friday) – Moline, Ill. – iWireless Center
3/24 (Saturday) – St. Charles, Md. – Family Arena
3/29 (Thursday) – Philadelphia, Pa. – The Liacouras Center
3/30 (Friday) – Hershey, Pa. – Giant Center
3/31 (Saturday) – Pittsburgh, Pa. – Console Energy Center
4/5 (Thursday) – Bowling Green, Ky. – E.A. Diddle Arena
4/6 (Friday) – Chattanooga, Tenn. – UTC MacKenzie Arena
4/7 (Saturday) – Birmingham, Ala. – BJCC Arena
4/12 (Thursday) – Austin, Texas – Shoreline Church
4/13 (Friday) – Odessa, Texas – Ector County Coliseum
4/14 (Saturday) – Oklahoma City, Okla. – State Fair Arena (Private)
4/19 (Thursday) – Cedar Falls, Iowa – McLeod Center
4/20 (Friday) – Sioux Falls, S.D. – Sioux Falls Arena
4/21 (Saturday) – Minneapolis, Minn. – Target Center
4/22 (Sunday) – Fargo, N.D. – Fargo Dome
4/24 (Tuesday) – Springfield, Mo. – JQH Arena
4/26 (Thursday) – Louisville, Ky. – Broadbent Arena
4/27 (Friday) – Woodstock, Ga. – First Baptist Church
4/28 (Saturday) – Charleston, W.V. – Charleston Civic Center
5/3 (Thursday) – Tulsa, Okla. – Spirit Bank Event Center
5/4 (Friday) – Lubbock, Texas – United Spirit Arena
5/5 (Saturday) – The Woodlands, Texas – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion