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JFH Music News

JFH Music News Archive

August, 2004



*Tuesday, August 24th, 2004*


Newsboys
EMI CMG /Sparrow Records’ internationally renowned band, newsboys, is currently in the studio recording its highly anticipated album, devotion, releasing Nov. 2. As of 9pm last night, fans can download their excellent brand new song "Presence" here: http://www.newsboys.com/prerelease Combining traditional newsboys rock stylings with praise and worship elements, devotion follows up the band’s recently certified fifth Gold album and fastest selling project to date, Adoration: The Worship Album. newsboys frontman Peter Furler is producing the album that features the songwriting talents of industry legend Steve Taylor and acclaimed newcomer Tim Hughes, in addition to vocals from Rebecca St. James and guitars from Delirious?’ Stu G. In addition to devotion, newsboys announce Target’s sponsorship of its fall tour. Featuring co-headliner Rebecca St. James and special guest Todd Agnew, “Target presents Adoration: The Tour” extends the spring leg of the circuit that sold out 29 of 34 markets earlier this year and will garner significant exposure from the national mega retailer’s tour support. Target’s campaign initiatives spotlighting newsboys’ tour include significant and sustained in-store positioning and feature positioning in merchandising catalogs. Stores in each Adoration market will also promote the events via local media outlets including TV, radio, newspapers and entertainment periodicals. Nationally, the retailer will support the tour on syndicated radio shows and with advertising in top CBA publications. newsboys’ website, www.newsboys.com, will further partner with Target on the Internet to cross promote Adoration: The Tour via more than two million music fans. Amidst recording devotion, newsboys continue to perform before tens of thousands of fans this summer, ranging from church leader’s conferences and amusements parks to Christian and mainstream festivals. Preorder devotion now and get it autographed!

Third Day
Million-selling, GRAMMY and Dove Award-winning rock band Third Day has accepted an invitation to perform at the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Third Day will be taking the stage during a primetime slot at the convention alongside Vice President Dick Cheney. Also, the band celebrated its first No. 1 single from its May 4 release Wire with “I Believe” topping the indicator charts the week of August 15. Third Day lead vocalist, Mac Powell, anticipates the GOP convention next week. He comments, “This is a time unlike any other. With so many differences in opinion in cultural and world view values, it’s time for each individual to make a stand for the things that we believe in and hold dear. Third Day supports President Bush in is reelection efforts and look forward to working with the RNC in the coming weeks leading up to November’s election.” “George W. Bush has responded in a significant way to an issue that is very important to us personally, the pandemic of AIDS in Africa,” remarks band’s bass player Tai Anderson. “We are honored to stand up for the president who is standing up for those that are suffering around the world.” RNC Chairman, Ed Gillespie, who has worked with the band via the MTV Choose or Lose campaign, comments, “I’m extremely proud of Third Day’s support for the President and the Republican party. I've enjoyed getting to know them and appreciate their work to get more young people involved in the democratic process. In addition to being great artists, they should also be commended for being great citizens by making sure that Americans of all ages get out and exercise their right to vote.” Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Bill Harris, CEO of the 2004 Republican National Convention, yesterday announced a second group of entertainers who will perform in New York City during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Country music superstars Brooks & Dunn, Grammy Award-winning Country singer Lee Ann Womack, Latin Grammy Nominee Jaci Velasquez, the inspirational Gracie Rosenberger, rock band Dexter Freebish, Country star Darryl Worley, and Grammy Award-winning Donnie McClurkin join a previously announced lineup of entertainers who will take the stage at Madison Square Garden.

Point Of Grace
Some of the biggest name artists in contemporary Christian music are rallying for a cause: To register the more than 25 million evangelical Christians who are not currently registered to vote. Their ultimate goal is a simple one: To mobilize those in the faith based community to exercise their rights as citizens in having their voice heard in the political process. And they are succeeding. Sunday, August 22nd, "FOX NEWS LIVE," hosted by Rita Cosby, had representatives from two of the Christian industry's biggest current groups--Shelly Breen from platinum selling group "Point Of Grace," and Jason Roy of the hot new band "Building 429"--on satellite from Nashville to voice their commitment to the "Redeem The Vote" campaign. Since its' beginnings earlier this year, the grassroots campaign conducted with sign up tables at a number of major Christian concerts this summer has resulted in the onsite registration of more than 25,000 first time voters. Participants are also go encouraged to go online to register on the organization's website: www.redeemthevote.com Point Of Grace and Building 429 are only two of scores of major artists fully committed to having their voices heard. Other major names on the "Redeem The Vote" platform currently include more than three dozen of the Christian industry's top names including Steven Curtis Chapman, Jaci Velasquez, Casting Crowns, FFH, Jeremy Camp, Mark Schultz, Toby Mac, and Pillar, among others. The efforts of "Redeem The Vote" are in sharp contrast to the efforts of the "Vote For A Change" coalition that boasts a line-up of major mainstream artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow who are outspokenly rocking the music, the boat--and the hope ultimately-- the vote to unseat President Bush in November. Their efforts, as reported this weekend by Associated Press, will benefit America Coming Together(ACT) which promises on it's website to "derail the right wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush." As noted by Breen and Roy this weekend on FOX NEWS LIVE, "Redeem The Vote" is a non-partisan campaign based on getting the Christian youth of America involved in making their voice heard in the 2004 elections.

Superchick
Inpop progressive punk outfit Superchic[k] and BEC Records’ ska-rock band the O.C. Supertones team up for this fall’s big ticket event. The “SuperTour,” launching next month, will showcase music from two of contemporary Christian music’s leading rock authorities joined by guest artists The Wedding and Sky Harbor. The tour will make its debut at Riverfront Amphitheatre in Montgomery, Ala. on Sept. 15 moving on to 19 cities, including major markets Boston, MA, Minneapolis, MN, Orlando, FL., Dallas, Texas, and Denver, CO. Mark Guynn, booking agent for the William Morris Agency in Nashville, comments “I think the SuperTour package is one of the cooler packages to come along this touring season. Both of these groups have dynamic live shows and have been around long enough to garner some seriously loyal fans. It’s going to be a crazy night! I can’t wait to see it myself.” “Here we have two bands that not only put on a truly super live concert performance but also have a real heart for reaching kids with authentic ministry,” says Scott Huie, president of H2O Artist Agency. “I am looking forward to experiencing the fruits of their labor.” Touring in support of their third studio project, Beauty From Pain, available in stores Dec. 14, Chicago-based band Superchic[k] continues its tradition of albums that inspire, empower, and entertain with a call to rise above society’s unhealthy trappings.

RSJ
Rebecca St. James' much anticipated new book release, "SHE," being published by Tyndale House, and still more than two months from its' official November 1st release date, will feel the first echo of its' promotional heartbeat this weekend at the World Pulse Festival in South Bend, Indiana. With pre-event crowd estimates running as high as 50,000 attendees for the one day concert event this Saturday, August 21st, Grammy winning St. James is the only "she" performer in a major artist line-up that also includes all male counterparts Third Day, Audio Adrenaline, Petra, and Tait. Her new book, "SHE," will be introduced to consumers at the World Pulse Festival by way of a special multi-level pre-release promotion by Tyndale House. The publisher has devised an introduction roll-out campaign that leans heavily on the drawing power of St. James as a major name artist in contemporary Christian music. The book will be represented by an ambitious radio campaign of 60 and 30 second radio spots on Pulse FM. For visual branding, banners of the "SHE" cover will hang onsite at the festival and a pre-release ad for the book will appear in the official program being distributed at the concert. With Rebecca's performance this Saturday will come the opportunity to obtain her autograph on one of the thousands of special souvenir "album flats" of the book being distributed free. The piece not only heralds "SHE," but a special online contest being launched by Tyndale at Rebecca's official website at www.rsjames.com Those logging on can register to win "SHE" bracelets custom designed to compliment the St. James book project by the world famed Tiffany jewelers of New York. "SHE"--an acronym for 'Safe, Healthy, Empowered'-- is being termed a "where the rubber meets the road guidebook to life as a 21st century woman." Preorder SHE today!

Todd Agnew
Ardent Records’ signature voice, Todd Agnew, is currently in the studio recording his anticipated sophomore album scheduled for release early in 2005. Recording at Memphis’ world-renowned Ardent Studios, which has lent its distinctive halls to such artists as R.E.M., ZZ Top, Dave Matthews, Bob Dylan and numerous other notables, Agnew is co-producing the project along with veteran John Hampton (Gin Blossoms, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Audio Adrenaline). Agnew’s yet-to-be-titled album follows his 2003 critically acclaimed Grace Like Rain, the debut project that earned him four Dove nominations in addition to honors from Christian Music Planet as one of “12 Artists to Watch in 2004” and Worship Leader magazine as the “2003 Breakthrough Artist of the Year.” Recently exceeding 100,000 retail sales in less than a year, Grace like Rain continues to garner fan appeal including remarkable success at radio. Following two consecutive No. 1 singles, “This Fragile Breath (The Thunder Song)” and “Grace Like Rain,” Todd is simultaneously releasing two new songs to radio on Friday, August 20; “Reached Down” for CHR and “Still Here Waiting” for AC/INSP. In between studio sessions at Ardent and wrapping up this summer’s performances at various youth camps and festivals across the country, Agnew is preparing to traverse the nation on two major-market tours this fall and winter. He will headline World Vision’s “In the Name of Love Tour” beginning this September along with artists Building 429, BarlowGirl, Starfield and speakers David Nasser and Brian Currie. Agnew will continue in November as a special guest on “Target presents Adoration: The Tour” with Newsboys and Rebecca St. James. In addition to significant concert exposure, Agnew will be featured in a “Todd on Tour” promotion this fall with participating retailers. Starting Sept. 15, Grace Like Rain product will feature a special sticker providing purchasers with access to free downloads of new Agnew songs, giving a sneak preview of his 2005 studio project.

Casting Crowns
In the fervor of a skyrocketing career at retail and on the road, the Atlanta-based band Casting Crowns is poised to release Live From Atlanta Sept. 14. This two-disc CD/DVD set offers an inside look at the group behind the success, highlighting performances from Casting Crowns’ live show and offering in-depth interviews with band members. It was recorded as part of an Oct. 5, 2003 event at the band’s home church in Atlanta. Providing viewers and listeners with a virtual front-row seat, Live From Atlanta’s six-song DVD captures the moving, emotional impact Casting Crowns creates through its music ministry. Five songs were part of the October event. The sixth is a new concept video for “American Dream,” a track off the band’s 2003 debut CD. “Additional material includes behind-the-scenes interviews with Casting Crowns and some of the youth from Eagles Landing, Mark Hall’s testimony and a fascinating, song-by-song insider’s guide to the band’s music via commentary offered by Hall. The set’s six-song CD includes the No. 1 radio singles “If We Are the Body” and “Who Am I,” songs garnering Casting Crowns five 2004 Dove Award nominations. “Beautiful Savior,” a previously unreleased track, serves as an apt centerpiece to the CD. Also featured are “Voice of Truth,” “American Dream” and “Here I Go Again.” Casting Crowns hits the road this Fall with the Steven Curtis Chapman “All Things New” tour. Dates run October-December and include Sixsteps recording artist Chris Tomlin on the bill. Casting Crowns will also be the featured artist of Provident Distribution’s Pulse campaign between August and December. These marketing efforts will simultaneously set up Casting Crowns next single, “Voice of Truth,” impacting radio this fall.

Rocketown recording artist Shaun Groves recently added another title to his resume: pastor. In addition to his work as a singer/songwriter/performer, Groves has accepted a part-time position as a co- Minister of Post High School/College Young Adults in partnership with his brother-in-law Brian Seay. Groves and Seay team-teach a community of young adults called IKON on Thursday nights. Groves says, “Young adults between the ages of 18-25 are the stepchildren of the family of God it seems. Youth ministries are pumped up with large budgets, volunteers and general enthusiasm. But once a young person graduates from high school, he/she steps into an abyss, relegated to ‘singles’ status. It's not until they wear a wedding ring that they recapture the attention of ministers and once again benefit from church programs and resources… We hope to provide a forgotten generation with a biblically-based bridge from childhood to adulthood, from their generation to others', from their community to the larger Church, and from that Church to the world in need of Christ.” Rick White, the senior teaching pastor at The People’s Church in Franklin, says, “Shaun has been an integral part of our ministry team for a long time. Of course, everyone knows how great a songwriter he is, and we have certainly benefited from his gifts when he participates in our weekend services as an artist. When we lost our college ministry director, we knew we would have big shoes to fill. Shaun’s name surfaced immediately as someone we knew who could step up to the challenge of leading, teaching and worshiping on a weekly basis with a group of young seekers of Christ. His vision for this ministry is already taking it to new heights, and we look forward to many seasons of having Shaun as a major part of our ministry.” Look for Groves this month on the “Summer Jam 2004” tour as well as out this fall headlining his own “Blank Stage” tour.

Caedmons Call
Dove Award winning folk-pop group, Caedmon’s Call, recently concluded production on its Oct. 12 release of Share the Well, the first album of its kind in Christian music. Having recorded the album with local musicians in India, Ecuador and Brazil, the band’s focus is to raise awareness of caste discrimination against India’s 250 million “Dalits,” or lowest class, as well as existing persecution and poverty in the three countries. In addition, Caedmon’s Call is headlining its ninth national tour, hitting 30 cities this fall on the “Share the Well” tour which will feature seven of the international musicians the band met while recording. The band titled the record, Share the Well, when it learned that Dalits are not permitted to drink from community wells in India unless an upper caste person draws the water for them. Many Dalits wait all day and are never given a drink. For Caedmon’s Call, this reality came as a metaphor to those thirsting for hope and a savior. “The truth is, as believers, we’ve been called to help these people,” lead vocalist Cliff Young explains. “In America, we live by a self-centered version of Christianity. We forget the Great Commission. We think we aren’t called to help people because our gifts and talents lie elsewhere. Instead, we should be asking how we can use the gifts we’ve been given to go to all the world and live out the message of the Gospel.” As another method to increase awareness, Caedmon’s Call invites two Indian, one Brazilian and four Ecuadorian musicians to join its 30-city fall “Share the Well” tour. The tour kicks off in Peachtree City, Ga., on Oct. 8 and will provide the unique opportunity for audiences to experience first-hand the people and music embraced by the band, and hopefully serve as a motivator for fans to get involved with organizations like the Dalit Freedom Network and Compassion International who aid these impoverished people.

Ben Kolarcik and Justin Unger, the Word/Curb/WB duo known as Across the Sky, are pictured with Donald Duck and Goofy at Walt Disney World in Florida. The group was in Orlando last week to promote the 22nd Annual Night Of Joy at Walt Disney World. Disney Youth Markets coordinated a Night of Joy promotional campaign, sending Across the Sky throughout the state of Florida performing live "acoustic sets" at five Family Christian Stores locations, as well as live radio remotes and interviews at JoyFM, The Promise, WayFM and WMCU. Store employees at all 29 Florida Family Christian Stores locations participated in "Night of Joy Weekend," wearing Night of Joy promotional T-Shirts and lanyards with Night of Joy badges, along with other event related store incentives. With a diverse line-up featuring some of the biggest acts in Christian music, Night of Joy takes over the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida September 9, 10 & 11, 2004. This year's line-up includes Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, Avalon, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Kirk Franklin, Jump5 and many more. Across the Sky will perform on Thursday, September 9th.

POD
Lots of rock stars play video games. But Sonny Sandoval, lead singer of multi-platinum rock band P.O.D., has become an investor in Gamecaster Inc. He also has been named music director of the gaming events company, and will perform as on-camera talent. The company has plans to turn video game competitions into a spectator sport franchise with a high profile on television, online and in the physical world. The first official event is scheduled for today, Aug. 24 in P.O.D.'s San Diego hometown. David MacIntosh, president and CEO of Gamecaster, said Sandoval will be responsible for developing the company's music program, which includes the use of popular bands to perform at Gamecaster's upcoming televised video game competitions. Without disclosing his financial arrangement with the self-funded company, Sandoval said he believes being part of Gamecaster is a good business move. An avid gamer himself, he also has first-hand knowledge of competitive gaming's potential as a major sport. "Music and video games go hand in hand," Sandoval said. "We were just out on tour with Linkin Park, and they're big Halo fans -- they had two screens hooked up on their tour bus, so they can compete with each other, and they always had about 20 people watching." P.O.D. always has video games in their dressing rooms as well, Sandoval said. In addition, when on tour the band members often take on their fans in bouts arranged by local radio stations as a competition prize. "Sonny is charismatic and recognized as a positive person, a clean and sober person with a family, so people like him and identify with him," MacIntosh said. "People will tune in to watch Sonny in a new and interesting environment." Sandoval said he will be getting his personal network of professional musicians to participate as well, starting with his cousin Noah "Wuv" Bernardo -- who happens to be P.O.D.'s drummer.

*Monday, August 16th, 2004*


Blindside
Blindside's " Internal Storm Tour" got off to a very scary start when the band crashed their brand new tour bus on the way to Denver. The band recently bought a tour bus and had just finished work on it for this tour last Friday. They left town about 1am for the overnight drive to Denver and 20 minutes later on a very dark stretch of 2 lane road they came into a stop sign at a T junction too fast and drove straght off the road into trees. By the grace of God nobody was injured and none of the equipment was damaged. The bus unfortunately did not fare so well and thus it has been christened the “Wasa”. The “Wasa” was a famous Swedish ship that sunk on it’s first journey before it even left Stockholm harbor! But the boys were loaded in a van and they didn’t even miss a show. For more info on their latest tour, visit blindsideonline.com

toby
Michael Tait and TobyMac challenge us to take their stand for America's future--by examining our past. Using unforgettable accounts of both famous and little-known Americans, Under God, a new book put together by the two artists, examines the stories of men and women who forged our nation. Against these, they pair the dark side of America's legacy--racism, slavery, injustice--in order that a new generation might seek God's face and avoid repeating sins of the past. You can preorder the book now and get it signed by Tait and Toby! Also, be sure to check out TobyMac's brand new record Welcome To Diverse City when it hits streets October 5th.

Michael Smith & Associates announces its 4th Annual Conference on Artist Management: A Christian Music Industry Summit to be held September 24-26, 2004, at the Factory in Franklin, TN. This intensive course, taught by leading professionals who work in all aspects of the music industry, is designed to teach artists and managers how to nurture and manage all aspects of an artist's career. Mike Smith, president of Michael Smith & Associates, has helmed the careers of Christian artists such as Salvador, Chonda Pierce, and Brad Stine. He feels the industry's biggest need today is more well-trained artist managers and industry people. This year's conference offers a Sunday Master Class with strategies taught by Mike. The speakers confirmed for this year's event offer attendees a rare chance to interact with different members of the artist's team. Speakers include Peter York, President of Sparrow Records; Jeff Gregg, Creative Artist Agency; John Styll, President of the Gospel Music Association; Lannie Cates, entertainment lawyer; Tom Jackson, performance consultant; Louis LaPrad, LaPrad Art Direction & Design; Shari Saba, Vice President for Word Publishing; and more. For more information, a complete list of speakers, and special rates call 615-794-5763 or check out the website at www.michaelsmithandassociates.com/conference.

Rocketown Records recently completed the recording of the label’s first compilation Christmas album, Gloria, which was produced by Runway Network’s Charlie Peacock and Scott Dente. Set for release on Sept. 28, Gloria will include both traditional Christmas classics and new original songs written in community by the artists. In December 2004, many of the artists on the Gloria project will embark on a 15-city Christmas tour, which is being booked now by David Breen at The Breen Agency. Rocketown Records President Don Donahue said, “The Gloria project is finished, and it's everything I hoped it would be... cohesive, celebratory, thought provoking—a wonderful musical addition to the story of Jesus and the rhythm of the season.” Artists involved in the creation of Gloria include label founder and Chairman Michael W. Smith along with Rocketown artists Christine Dente, Ginny Owens, Shaun Groves, Alathea, Taylor Sorensen, Wayne Kirkpatrick, George Rowe, Watermark and the label’s most recent addition, Amy Stroup. Producer Charlie Peacock kicks off the disc on a self-penned duet with Owens; other special guests on Gloria include long-time Rocketown friend Cindy Morgan, Essential recording artist Steve Mason (Jars of Clay) and Word recording artist Amy Grant. The album’s original cover concept was designed and painted by well-known artist Jimmy Abegg, who also is responsible for the artwork on the label’s first various artist project, Exodus (1998). Many of the artists participated in community writing sessions that occurred at Peacock’s Art House studio and Kirkpatrick’s Maple Room studio during the first part of the year.

POD
Next month, P.O.D. guitarist, Jason Truby will release a stunning 24 song solo acoustic record titled, String Theory. The record will be launched exclusively through the P.O.D. online store before it hits stores later this year. For you guitar freaks, Truby played a remarkable nineteen guitars including McGill, Ryan, Charis, Breedlove, Lowden, Langejans, Pimentel, Godin reso, and Sitar. String Theory was produced using a patent pending recording technique that captured some of the most ground breaking acoustic sounds ever recorded. Keep an eye on www.payableondeath.com for more details...

Grits
Check out AudioGoat.com for exclusive material that you can't get anywhere else. Every few months exclusive projects such as a John Reuben remix, a DJ form mix tape, vinyl, and much more will be released. Right now we're featuring Grits Remix - The Art of Transformation, click on the ecard below for more information. http://www.audiogoat.com/ag/ecards/grits_ecard/

Dj Maj is currently in the lab working on his 4th Gotee release schedule for spring 2005. The project's title will be released in late 2004. Maj celebrated his 4th year this summer with VirtualFrequency.com the VF syndicated radio show. You can also catch Maj on various solo dates this summer including a headline spot on the 2004 OneHeart Festival in Danbury, Conneticut on August 21st (http://www.1heartonline.org). DJ Maj will appear on the 2004 fall leg of the TMac/Third Day tour. Dates and other goodies will post post at the http://www.djmaj.com.

Jonathon D. Jones Management Co. & Crown Nod Entertainment is proud to announce The Live & Direct II Tour. The tour is a follow-up to last year's tour which featured Mars ILL (Gotee) and Pigeon John (of LA Symphony) This years tour features hip-hop act, Verbs (Gotee) with special guests, Playdough (of ill harmonics) Listener (of Labklik/Deepspace5) and J-Remy. The tour is scheduled to begin its month long excursion in November. For details please visit www.verbs7.com

Mars ILL and Gotee have set a tentative release date of October 19th for PRO*PAIN, Mars ILL's 3rd full-length album. With a sound hot enough to burn through radio charts and street corners alike, this is the record that music fans everywhere have been waiting for. PRO*PAIN... Stay away from the flames."

Sarah Kelly's currently becoming a huge favorite on the main stages of the summer festivals. Her recent worship set at Creation West drew an unusually large crowd of onlookers which grew even bigger as she and her band rocked into her full live set featuring performances from her critically-acclaimed album Take Me Away. The festival buzz brought back a crowd of new fans later that same day, who packed the tent to catch Sarah's third performance at the festival. Don’t forget to call and request Sarah's latest singles "Matter of Time" and "Living Hallelujah" on your local CHR and AC stations! And watch for Sarah when she hits the road this fall on tour with Jars of Clay!!

*Tuesday, August 10th, 2004*


Supertones
The O.C. Supertones are as busy as ever. As if releasing their brand new studio record Revenge Of The Supertones in June wasn't enough, the guys are releasing a new "Best Of" record this Christmas! Here's what they posted on their official website on Monday... "Thats right, we are releasing a best of CD this Christmas. This thing will be packed with extras. Aside from the basic "best of" track order, the CD will come with a bonus DVD and 6 new recordings! These recordings will include, two brand new songs, three re-recorded songs... one from Adventures and two from Strike Back, and lastly, we will be recording a song by Five Iron Frenzy! So in case you are already sick of Revenge, now you have got a new Supertones release coming. Release date coming soon!" In the meantime, we highly suggest checking out their new project Revenge Of The Supertones...

Scott Stapp
The fine folks at Christianity Today got to the bottom of a topic few ever dared to ask. While so many were consumed by the question "Is Creed a Christian band??", lead vocalist Scott Stapp wondered why no one ever asked if he himself was a Christian. Now with the band split with the members going their own separate ways, Mark Moring of Christian Music Today sat and chatted with Stapp about his renewed faith, touching on subjects few ever dared approach the singer with. Check out the excellent interview here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/interviews/2004/scottstapp-0804.html

toby
On the heels of selling over 450,000 albums as a solo artist, the Grammy and Dove Award-winning tobyMac returns on October 5th with Welcome To Diverse City. Accentuating his celebrated career with dc talk, tobyMac made his solo bow in 2001 with the Grammy-nominated Momentum. The disc marked a return to tobyMac's hip-hop roots, the very style with which dc talk first emerged, and yet the rapper-singer once again finds himself branching out from this base. As the title implies, Welcome To Diverse City is an album bursting with musical flavors and nuances, and yet this stylistic blend finds unity through faith as it's threaded through a melding urban rock and hip-hop frame. Reaching into a world of different sounds and cultures, this album knits it all together with a genuine artist's touch. Building upon this throwback style, tobyMac infuses new life with raps, hooks, and melodies that transform the party energy into a celebration of races united as a single city on a shining hill. "My style is diversity, it always has been," says tobyMac, who co-produced the album along with such notables as Chris Stevens, Paul Meany, Robert Marvin, Mike Linney, Joe Baldridge, and Solomon Olds. "It's about taking hip-hop and injecting pop melodies and guitars and harmonicas and whatever else it takes to make the song fit the message I'm trying to communicate." In regards to the message, the new album reflects a shift in the way he expresses ideas. Whereas past albums tended to tackle issues in a more universal manner, Welcome to Diverse City takes a closer look at specific people, at times himself, problems, and situations as real life backdrops to the lyrics. "In the past I dealt head-on with social issues, but I'm starting to see that social issues come down to real lives," says tobyMac. "As you dig into personal issues and find resolve in God, social issues will begin to take care of themselves." Showing everyone he's more than just "talk," tobyMac put his artistic vision and values back into action with Welcome to Diverse City, fully living up to its title. "People fashion a great city by holding tight the beauty of our differences with the bonds of our unity," he concludes. "My new album invites people to ponder how they relate to each other and to God and how He relates to them, but at the same time, I know it's gonna drop a bomb that'll make any listener feel the energy.” Radio will get their first taste of the project in late August, when the first single "Gone" goes out to all three formats AC, CHR & and Rock radio. Click here for the final cover image and track listing for Welcome To Diverse City...

After setting the standard for global worship anthems, celebrated rock group Delirious? has been asked by the Cultural Committee of Athens to headline an event Aug. 14 for the Opening Night Olympic Celebrations at the Omonia Square in Athens, Greece. The Olympic Games are the World's most prestigious sporting event, watched by a global TV audience. In the States, the band’s new single, “Majesty (Here I Am),” from its globally acclaimed 2004 release, World Service, continues to climb the radio charts breaking into the Top 20 and Top 25 on the PDAdvisor and R & R AC charts respectively.

Nicole C. Mullen
Best-selling, six-time Dove Award-winning female vocalist and songwriter Nicole C. Mullen is set to release her first studio project in over three years, Everyday People, for Word Records on September 14. The project was produced by Mullen along with her husband, songwriter and producer David Mullen, and also features the production talents of such mainstream luminaries as James “Big Jim” Wright (Mariah Carey, Yolanda Adams), Drew and Shannon (India Arie, Cindy Morgan, FFH) and Tommy Sims (CeCe Winans, Rachael Lampa). As one of Christian music’s most gifted songwriters, Mullen was responsible for writing or co-writing twelve of the thirteen songs on the project. “The songs on this project were inspired by my fans,” said Mullen. “The stories that they have shared with me have left a lasting mark on my life. These songs are about real-life issues and struggles, and the hope that Jesus brings to all of our lives.” Everyday People includes several songs written out of true-life stories including “Bye Bye Brianna,” inspired by a blind seven-year-old fan who recently passed away. “Valorie” tells a brave story of courage and hope in the face of domestic violence, and “Gon’ Be Free” recounts the plight of the Troski slaves – women and young girls enslaved by the cultural practice referred to as “Fetish Slavery” along the south eastern coast of Ghana. Each of these songs was written in response to the stories of real people who have made a lasting impact on Mullen as she has traveled the world performing, and each carries an emotional message of Christ’s compassion in the darkest places of life. Get it September 14!

dctalk
Could it be true? New music from dc Talk?? Yes! Well, sort of... tobyMac's new record Welcome To Diverse City hits shelves October 5th, but fans can expect a guest appearance from one of their favorite pop/rock trios of all time. dc Talk (yes, Toby, Michael, and Kevin!) makes an appearance on the record's closing track, a remix of Toby's song "Atmosphere". We haven't heard it yet, but we're too excited about the news not to share it! Perhaps all hope is not lost for a reunion from the trio sometime soon...

Pc3
The dates for the recording of Paul Colman's first solo record for 6 years have been set. Paul will be in the studio in Nashville Sept/Oct of this year. Although there is no official release date, it is expected to be Feb 2005. Paul is currently in heavy writing and pre-production mode. So far, songs have been written with Nashville based songwriter Jason Ingram as well as Newsboys frontman Peter Furler, Tree63's John Ellis and Marc Bryd (of Common Children, who co-wrote "God of Wonders" and Third Day's "Show me your Glory"). Paul has been demoing the songs on his own home studio as well as Jason Ingram's studio. At this stage, a producer has not been announced but stay tuned for more recording information. Paul says "I've never co-written as many songs as this before and I am thrilled at the results. The guys I have been writing with have certainly added amazing stuff and made my songs that much better. We are currently trying to finish the first single to go out to radio ASAP." Paul is also planning a 'one voice-one guitar' tour of Australia in Feb 2005. The tour should take him to every state including hopefully a debut performance in Darwin. To coincide with the tour, Paul is planning to record 'one voice-one guitar' volume two as well as his next band/studio album.

After rescheduling on account of rain, Riley Armstrong and his fiance' Shannon were married at the San Soucci Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on May 26th, 2004. Riley and Shannon felt truly blessed for the holiday, not ever really having one of those before! The Caribbean Ocean was a brilliant back drop for the perfect eloping story and they made some new friends in a new country too. Now they are happy to be back in full force, traveling the roads in the U.S.A. working on summer camps and festivals. Check out a brand new song from Riley called "Melting", downloadable here: http://www.7spinmusic.com/main/home.asp

Fans of Joy Electric know that frontman Ronnie Martin rarely ever takes a break from making new music. And although his latest project Hello, Mannequin just recently debuted on store shelves, Martin has already made a brand new independent 11-song EP available via the web entitled Friend of Mannequin. For details on the project, surf on over to JoyElectric.com!

*Monday, August 9th, 2004*


The Passion Of The Christ
Artists inspired by Mel Gibson's epic film The Passion of the Christ have banded together for Passion of the Christ: Songs. The album features newly recorded original songs sparked by the experience of seeing the film, and features the diverse lineup which includes tracks by former Creed singer Scott Stapp; Lauryn Hill; P.O.D.; Kirk Franklin featuring Yolanda Adams; Brad Paisley & Sara Evans; Third Day - Steven Curtis Chapman - Mercy Me; MxPx featuring Mark Hoppus; Charlotte Church and others. The Stapp contribution is the album’s lead single and marks his debut as a solo artist. The collection will also serve as the inaugural release for Lost Keyword Records, an imprint which will be marketed and promoted by Wind-up Records. Provident will handle marketing and distribution in the CBA marketplace and BMG through the secular market. The album will be released on August 31st, the same day the film’s much anticipated DVD arrives at retail. The Passion of the Christ released February 25, 2004, creating a tsunami of media and public interest before and after it hit theatres. To date the drama is credited with over $370 million box office receipts in the United States alone, and over $600 million worldwide. Gibson welcomed the artists’ support. “My kids think these guys are cool, so they must be,” joked Gibson. “It means a lot to me that this group of artists dug my film and all wanted to contribute a song. The project came about very organically. Some of the artists on the album saw early screenings of the film and offered to create a song because they had been so moved by it. When we got similar reactions from others, we knew we had something special happening.” Scott Stapp, who contributed his song “Relearn Love” shared, “Mel Gibson again shows his genius as an artist and director. His passion for this film is obvious from beginning to end. He took on a very controversial historical event and, in my humble opinion, displayed it with extraordinary artistry. All of us who have different faiths could use some tolerance for one another. This film depicts a timeless story of betrayal, forgiveness and eternal atonement. I am blessed to have the opportunity to contribute ‘Relearn Love’ to this project.” “This is the real deal—brutal, honest, touching,” P.O.D. lead singer Sonny Sandoval said of the two-hour film. The San Diego band wrote and recorded its contribution “Truly Amazing” after a showing at Gibson's offices in November. “This film made me check my own heart and my own faith,” Sandoval continued. “It's not the fairy tale story of Christ we're all used to hearing. So, even before anybody wanted to be involved, in the heat of the controversy, I wanted to give back and contribute to this. The only way for us to truly give back and raise awareness is through our music.” Lauryn Hill offered, “The film was a visual representation of what life is supposed to be for the people of God – a sinless man willingly gave himself up so that others might be saved. I was inspired by the film and proud to contribute a song to this collection.” For a full list of songs and artists, click here...

Rock N Roll Worship Circus
The Rock N Roll Worship Circus had to cancel some tour dates this past weekend due to their bus breaking down. We talked to the band on Friday night while they were stranded at home in the west coast following a Pennsylvania date cancellation. Please keep the band in prayers that this problem resolves quickly and smoothly. Please also pray that this mishap isn't too costly for the guys either! Check WorshipCircus.com for rescheduled dates and information on how to get your paws on their incredible new EP The Listening!

Jars of Clay recently taped a special for XM Satelite Radio which will be airing on Friday August 13th at 6PM EST and will be re-broadcast on Monday August 16th at 6PM EST. Listen in on XM Channel 32 The Fish!

Bebo Norman
Essential Records announces the fall headlining tour for acclaimed folk-pop artist Bebo Norman, kicking off Aug. 21 in Waco, Texas. The Bebo Norman Fall 2004 Tour will feature special guests Bethany Dillon and Jason Morant while hitting 40 cities from August – November in support of Norman’s highly anticipated fourth national release, Try, streeting Aug. 24. The Bebo Norman Fall 2004 Tour marks Norman’s third national headlining tour. Norman comments, “I’m super excited about this fall tour. We’ll play great new songs, and some old ones, too. Jason and Bethany are phenomenal young songwriters – frankly, I am a little jealous they are so good so young. It is a privilege to have them out with me.” “Bebo Norman has always been one of our most requested touring artists because of his unique ability to connect with an audience in a personal way, both through his music and stories,” said Dan Rauter of Third Coast Artists Agency. “There is a lot of excitement in the market about Bebo's new album, and the addition of Bethany Dillon and Jason Morant to this tour have taken things to the next level.” While on tour, Norman will perform new music from Try, recorded at Nashville’s renowned Sputnik Studios (Jars of Clay, City on a Hill). Working for the first time with producers Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay) and Matt Bronleewe (Michael W. Smith, Natalie Imbruglia), Try is reminiscent of Norman’s intimate and sincere musical style.

TFK
It’s been just under a year since Thousand Foot Krutch released their spectacular sophomore album, appropriately titled, Phenomenon. In that time the band has accomplished an extensive list of successes including a Dove nomination for “Best Recorded Album of the Year,” acquiring a Vibe award for “Hard Music Album of the Year,” non-stop tours through the United States and Canada, and numerous radio hits, winning over both Christian and mainstream audiences. Now the band adds a new achievement to the catalog. TFK and Tooth & Nail Records are proud to announce that Phenomenon has successfully reached over 100,000 sales, according to Soundscan reports. The feat places the band in the company of other top Tooth & Nail sellers like Jeremy Camp, Kutless, the OC Supertones and MxPx. In other Thousand Foot Krutch news, the band is also planning on treating fans with the re-release of their debut album, Set It Off, in stores September 7th. It was four years ago when the original album was released independently with little promotion. Instead of backing down though, the band became self-promoters, booking tours to get their name out to the masses, and even hitting radio to create enough buzz to sell over 50,000 albums. “We wanted to make Set It Off available to new fans of the band and also make it new for old fans by remixing, remastering, repackaging and adding 6 new songs,” explains Tooth & Nail President, Brandon Ebel. “Phenomenon has sold well over 100,000 and we think that those fans will want to hear the old material.” With 18 tracks in all, the re-issue contains 5 bonus cuts off their initial independent record, That’s What People Do (out of print), new artwork, remixing and re-mastering, PLUS a brand new song called, “Everyone Like Me” produced by Gavin Brown (Three Days Grace, Billy Talent) and mixed by Scott Humphrey (Andrew WK, Rob Zombie). For more news on Thousand Foot Krutch, visit their website at: http://www.thousandfootkrutch.com

Pillar
Flicker Record’s rock group Pillar continues to gain momentum with their hit single and video, “Bring Me Down,” from their newest project, Where Do We Go From Here, that released on June 15th. The project has scanned over 63,000 units in its first seven weeks as the single has risen to #24 with a bullet on R&R’s mainstream Active Rock radio chart. The video for “Bring Me Down” was recently voted #1 on FUSE TV’s “Oven Fresh,” and has now been added to the network’s “ROCKZILLA” program beginning on August 9. “ROCKZILLA” is a one hour program featuring the best in rock music videos and can be seen on the FUSE TV Network Monday through Friday at 9pm and 1am EST. The video is also set to air on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” in September.

Inpop Records’ acclaimed female vocalist Erin O’ Donnell is set to release her first Christmas project, Christmas Time Is Here, on October 5. The project, produced by Ed Cash (Bebo Norman, Chris Tomlin, Bethany Dillon), features ten traditional Christmas favorites along with two original songs. “There are many albums that have become part of my family’s Christmas traditions... songs we play as cookies are baked, decorations are hung and cards are shared,” said O’Donnell. “My prayer is that this record will become a tradition of sorts; that each year you can dust off the cover and, with family and friends, be drawn in once again to the celebration of our Savior's birth.” The marketing campaign for Christmas Time Is Here will feature national radio and publicity campaigns, along with retail promotions featuring the project at a special price of $9.97. Additionally, the record will be marketed via targeted direct-to-church mailings, and will be the focus of a television and movie placement campaign.

Hawk Nelson
Tooth and Nail Records’ recording artist, Hawk Nelson is not slowing down as they are in Hollywood last week taping an episode for the NBC hit show, American Dreams. Hawk Nelson was selected to emulate the 60s rock group, The Who. The Who, was known for the manic energy and “mod” musical fashion and their invention of the rock opera. In the day this group was the 3rd most powerful UK group under the Beatles and Rolling Stone. Here's what the band had to say about their experience on Monday, August 2nd! ..."Today was a grand experience to say the least. We woke to the sunny sights of Hollywood, California. On this day we would prepare for the filming of American Dreams, our first film experience. Our dreams of this place have transposed into a new found inspiration. Mid afternoon we tried an approach not so "Hawk Nelson" - choreography. It turned out to be a blast, as we mimicked rock legends "The Who" with their hit song "My Generation". We got to visit the grounds of NBC and meet some of the actors/actresses in the show. It was honestly hard to tell which buildings were real, and which were make-believe for film. They had a burger joint set up in the middle of a parking lot... we were so hungry when we saw it, but guess what - it was fake! Later on we got to record the vocals to "My Generation" at this huge and famous studio. I mean, Frank Sinatra recorded at this place! We were in sheer awe. In the evening our manager told us to go and play (as if we hadn't been doing that all day), so we strolled over to Universal Studios Hollywood and saw the sights. This day will go down as one of the finest in the history books of Hawk Nelson."

Day Of Fire
Day of Fire, Essential Records’ new rock band, recently wrapped recording on its national self-titled debut, releasing Oct. 26. Frontman Joshua Brown is the former lead singer of mainstream rock band, Full Devil Jacket (Island/Def Jam Records) who turned away from his rock-star lifestyle after surviving a heroine overdose and surrendering his life to God while in rehabilitation. Brown comments, “I’m straight from the world, and this aggressive music is the language of this generation. But it brings a message of hope into a hopeless life. I want people to have an encounter with Jesus Christ through this music and be radically changed forever, ‘cause that’s what happened to me,” says Brown. “And if God can save me, He can save anybody.” Brown teamed up with guitarist Gregg Hionis in his hometown of Jackson, Tenn., and the two co-wrote the Day of Fire debut. The album is produced by Scott Humphrey (Metallica, Motley Crue, Rob Zombie) and features Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) on bass, drummer Gary Novak and guitarist Phil X, (Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, Andrew W.K), along with Mat Nelson (Nelson) on back-up vocals. As Day of Fire prepares for the Oct. release, it is already making early impressions at media, retail and summer festivals. The band taped its first 700 Club interview last week, with a tentative air-date of Aug. 20, and has secured features in upcoming issues of HM and Seven Ball magazines. Retailers were recently introduced to the band at the Christian Bookseller’s International Convention in Atlanta, where Day of Fire’s performance at Provident’s “Big Ticket” concert received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd of key industry frontliners. Click here for our PReview!

Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin, known for such worldwide-sung anthems as “Forever,” “Be Glorified,” “We Fall Down,” “Famous One” and more, releases his highly-anticipated sixsteps/Sparrow Records recording, Arriving, Sept. 21. Tomlin’s third studio record and first in two years, the album’s guitar-driven pop melodies were recorded in Austin, Texas, home to Tomlin and the church he co-founded, Austin Stone Community Church, which has grown 500% over the last year-and-a-half. Produced by Ed Cash (Caedmon’s Call, Kathy Mattea, Bebo Norman, Bethany Dillon), Arriving tips the scales more toward corporate worship songs than devotional, melding wisdom, gratitude and celebration into a single package. “I feel as though we’re like this landing strip in the desert for our great, incredible God to arrive on; a way for Him to come into people’s lives,” Tomlin says of the album’s metaphorical moniker inspired in part by Isaiah 40.

Australian worship phenomenon, Planetshakers sweeps the U.S. with its dynamic spiritual teaching and high-energy live performance. Three months since the debut of its latest studio recording, Open Up the Gates, Planetshakers delivers (My King) Live Praise & Worship, featuring live songs from its spring project. The joint CD/DVD releases through Word Records Aug. 24. (My King) Live Praise & Worship is the most recent in a series of Planetshakers products and events planned for 2004. In conjunction with the Open Up the Gates release and a 15-city U.S. tour this summer, (My King) Live Praise & Worship is part of an ongoing initiative to affect America's youth for Christ by empowering them to impact their communities with the Gospel message. "Planetshakers pioneered the youth praise and worship movement in Australia but is just now moving to the U.S. market," comments Barry Landis, president of Word Records. "I'm excited about helping youth leaders across the U.S. experience this powerful ministry."

Fusebox
Elevate Records/Inpop Records group Fusebox has completed a nationwide radio promotional tour in support of their sophomore release Once Again. The band kicked off their promotional tour in early June, visiting radio stations in more than 16 markets to talk about their new album and the hit single "Once Again." Key markets on the tour included Dallas, Irving, Houston, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Birmingham, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, and more. In many cities, the group performed an acoustic set live on the air. In addition to radio interviews, Fusebox stopped at numerous retail stores to meet fans and sign autographs. With the promotional tour completed, Fusebox is preparing for a busy summer and fall with concert dates scheduled nationwide. In addition to Fusebox dates, lead singer Billy Buchanan will be touring with Rebecca St. James this summer and fall, performing a short set of Fusebox material at each show. Long-time fans may remember that Fusebox was formed by players in Rebecca's band, and they toured with Rebecca as her band and opening act from 2000-2003.

Point Of Grace
Award winning and platinum-selling Word recording artist Point of Grace is set to release their first full studio project in three years on October 12th, with I Choose You. Showcasing a reenergized sound as well as new member Leigh Cappillino (former Truth vocalist and worship leader for Women of Faith conferences replaced original member Terry Jones this spring), the girls are more excited about this project than just about any previous CD they’ve made over the past 11 years. The decision to add Leigh to their ranks brought with it an added bonus, a new excitement the girls hadn’t known they were lacking. “She’s been an inspiration to all of us to work harder at our craft,” Heather Payne says. In addition to a retooled musical approach, the lyrics underwent a minor overhaul as well, born out of where the women are at in their lives. “We’ve had experiences that we didn’t at 22 or 23,” Denise Jones says. “I had a friend pass away and leave a widow with three kids. Those things make you say, ‘okay, let’s stop and take a look at what life’s really about.’ The more I know Christ, the more I realize I don’t have it all together. I think that’s just where we’re at, saying, ‘we don’t have all of the answers, but let’s all look at life together.’” “We want to be vulnerable and honest about our feelings,” Payne adds. “There are times when I have doubts. I ask why. I suffered a miscarriage. We struggle just like everyone else does and I think it’s important that we share that because God uses the struggles we go through in our lives to minister to other people.”


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Music Out This Week

This Friday, October 19
Gawvi Panorama [Reach]
Hollyn Everything and More / Isaac - Single [Gotee]
Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
Matthew Parker Daydreamer [DREAM]
Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar [Sparrow]


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