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JFH Music News

JfH OLD Music News

January, 2004


*new as of Friday, January 30th, 2004*

Third Day
On Monday, February 2nd, members of award-winning rock band Third Day shall share impressions of Mel Gibson’s upcoming film The Passion Of The Christ (releasing February 25th) during a live, one-hour online talk-radio show entitled “Live and Interactive.” “Live and Interactive” will be broadcast exclusively via Internet and will allow listeners an opportunity to hear interviews, view rare photos, and send in questions about their favorite artists. "We want to support this film because in an age where visual media drives most everything we do, The Passion Of The Christ brings us a seemingly accurate and strikingly real depiction of Christ's death as told through Scripture. In this war between sacred and secular, it is important that this movie be seen and heard, even amid the controversy, because it portrays the truth." - David Carr, drummer for Third Day. The interview will take place on Monday, Feb. 2, 9:30 pm EST/8:30 pm CST at www.essentialtalk.com
Blindside
It is finally here. The brand new video for “All Of Us”, the first single from Blindside's new record About A Burning Fire (Feb 24th), is now available for all of you. Shoutweb.com have been kind enough to premier the video for the band online for the fans to see first! Click Here To See 'All Of Us' on Shoutweb! This video was shot by photographer/director – Patrick Hoelck in Romania. The band and crew spent 2 days outdoors below freezing shooting in a forest. The exotic location was in vampire country between Transylvania & The Black Sea. Fortunately no one was bitten by anything more harmful that frostbite and everyone is really happy with how the video has turned out. The video features a powerful band performance and Christian’s “go-go gadget arm”. While the special effects are not quite Lord of The Rings quality, we think you will really enjoy this video... now if we can only figure out what it all means... Tomas had this to say, "We were shooting the video for two days in the forest in Romania. It was really cold and I felt soooo bad for Adriana (the actress) who had be outside wearing only a thin dress (it was actually snowing for a while). However we got to work with some amazing people and the video proved to be very beautiful. We hope you all enjoy it."
Anberlin recently took some time to hit RollingStone.com and record acoustic versions of the songs "Foreign Language" and "Autobahn." The songs have been posted here, in vibrant color, for all the world to see. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/videos.asp?oid=2046788&cf=2046788
Things have been getting a little too ugly lately for the members of Further Seems Forever. To clear up the rumors and gossip, the boys have released this official statement on their website regarding the departure of FSF's lead singer, Jason... "The statements already made by Jason Gleason regarding his departure from Further Seems Forever are not official announcements from the band and were disseminated by him alone. In the following statement, the band hopes to bring the objective truth to light without the taint of personal feelings. We refuse to sully our music with any "sordid" details of Jason's departure, yet we feel that our fans deserve to know the course of events that have lead to the demise of FSF. Hopefully, the following will accomplish just that.
In the tail end of the recording process for our upcoming album, after the music lay complete and awaiting vocals, Jason e-mailed us to announce that he was leaving Further Seems Forever without explanation. While we were aware that he was not fully satisfied with membership in the band, through the course of many encouraging discussions Jason assured us that we had worked out our problems and he remained committed to us. His decision left our music as a proverbial hostage as we now had no way to finish the album. This left the remaining members of the band in an artistically and legally precarious situation. It also left the band as a whole and its remaining members in financial ruin. Tooth and Nail was also left in a bind. As our label they had already spent money and time to complete the project. Jason's decision to leave at this time had negative effects that stretched far beyond the band. After much discussion between the parties involved and our label, the situation has now become cordial. Jason has verbally agreed to complete the album with us, bringing our last project as FSF to fruition. We believe in the music enough to share it with others despite the now certain disbanding of FSF.
We are also 100% committed to bringing you our music personally on the up coming Tooth and Nail Tour. However, Jason has not yet informed us as to whether he will do the tour with us. We wish him the best in future endeavors regardless of his decision.
As a band, FSF in all forms, has experienced together the full range of human emotions, from sorrow to elation. We have all been emotionally bruised by the course of events. Finally, we want all the fans to know what they have meant to us. In times of stress and disunity, the faith and love of "our people" has been a consolation; much more than that it has been a confirmation that all we have done is not in vain. Our music mattered to you and, therefore, achieved its most hoped for effect. The remaining members of the band will continue to create music together in the near future, as we have done for the past 10 years.
Thank you and God Bless,
Chad
Joshua
Steve
Derick"

Michael W. Smith
Christian music legend and pioneer, Michael W. Smith recently completed the 20th year of his long-lived career. In celebration of his success and dedication to the genre, Reunion Records introduces two commemorative projects—a live DVD as well as a three-album worship box set. With career sales in excess of 10 million records, selling a cumulative two million copies of his last three music releases alone, Smith’s momentum shows no signs of slowing. Industry and consumers alike continue to support Smith, and Reunion Records maintains its effort to meet that demand. In stores Feb. 10, Michael W. Smith’s Live in Concert: A 20 Year Celebration DVD showcases his hits from 1983 through today, as collectively heard on The First Decade and his most recent album, The Second Decade. The disc comprises multiple sets, including an acoustic medley, a segment featuring Smith with Amy Grant, and a section devoted entirely to worship. Among the DVD’s song titles are classic tunes (“Secret Ambition,” “Rocketown”), anthems that spoke to a nation (“This is Your Time,” “There She Stands”), worship/instrumental favorites (“Agnus Dei,” “Hibernia”) and more recent compositions (“Signs”). Additional highlights include the exclusive “Signs” video, its behind-the-scenes “making of” footage, and Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. Dean Diehl, Provident Label Group’s sr. vp of marketing, comments, “This DVD captures a concert that may never happen again. Michael’s concerts typically have a section where he plays some of his hits from the past 20 years, but this concert is dedicated entirely to those songs we all remember and love. For the true Michael W. Smith fan this is a ‘must-have’ DVD.” Also on the horizon for spring is a Michael W. Smith Worship Box Set, available March 9. Smith’s three worship projects have been among the strongest sellers in Christian music for the last two years. This collection marks the first time the trilogy—Worship, Worship DVD, and Worship Again—have been packaged together.
Jeremy Camp
Speaking of DVD's... BEC Recordings’ singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp is set to release his first DVD, titled In24, on April 6th. With its unique title, In24 takes fans on a 24-hour “life on the road” experience, showing the ins and outs of a day in the life of Jeremy Camp and giving a peek into what it’s like during a typical “concert” day. In24 also includes live performances of songs from Stay and the soon-to-be released Carried Me: The Worship Project as well as behind the scenes footage of his shows, soundchecks and meet and greets. Fans will also get a peek at some brand new songs that will be on his sophomore studio release, coming this fall. In addition, In24 shares Camp’s touching testimony in a biographical style. His music videos, “Understand” and “Walk by Faith,” round out the DVD. On the heels of marrying Adrienne Liesching (formerly of The Benjamin Gate), Camp is currently in Seattle recording his sophomore studio project debuting this fall and is ready to offer Carried Me: The Worship Project releasing on BEC February 10th.
P.O.D.'s brand new video for "Change The World" is available now! Click here to download the video in Quicktime or here in Real Video. "Change the World," was directod by marcwebb and was filmed in fourteen different countries including Agra, India; Sydney, Australia; Beijing, China (Great Wall); New York, USA!
EMI Gospel recording artist Darwin Hobbs is at home recovering following a recent health scare. After returning from a singing engagement in Richmond, Virginia, Hobbs was experiencing a persistent cough and extreme shortness of breath in the early morning hours of Monday, January 19, 2004. Hobbs and his wife, Traci, rushed to the Dekalb Medical Center in metro Atlanta and, after a battery of tests, were told that he was suffering from Congestive Heart Failure. While doctors told him that his heart was weakened and only beating at 15% efficiency, there were no blockages or blood clots to be concerned about. Having already lost 50 pounds in the past 4 months through dramatic changes in his lifestyle, Darwin's doctors assure him that he is on the road to recovery and that his heart will continue to strengthen with continued adjustments to his diet and lifestyle as well as aggressive medication. "Darwin is doing very well. I have given him no major restrictions and he should be able to perform all of his activities of daily living including his singing career," says Dr. Anthony Dorsey, MD, Cardiologist, Cardiology of Georgia, P.C. "He is scheduled for follow up visits with me on a regular basis for periodic re-evaluation."
EMI Gospel sensation Smokie Norful and his wife Carla have added a second son to their growing family. Ashton Myles Norful, weighing in at 5 pounds 5 ounces, made his debut on Wednesday, January 21 at 3:22 PM at Hinsdale Hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois. Hinsdale is a suburb located outside of Chicago. "This is miracle baby number two for us," says Norful. "We are once again overwhelmed at God's awesome hand at work..."
Disciple is currently in the studio recording their new album, which will not be released until sometime this summer. They have been writing the material for around a year and a half, and are very pleased with the outcome so far. Kevin is laying down the vocals this week, so you can keep the band in prayer!
Mae recently headed out on their headlining tour and took along their friends in Copeland, The Working Title, and Slow Coming Day with them! The band has released an exclusive song that they will be playing on tour. Read on to check out a message from Dave from Mae about the song "Tisbury Lane" and find out where to download it! "Hey everyone! Dave here to tell you about the song, 'Tisbury Lane.' 'Tisbury' was one of the first songs we wrote and recorded. Over three years ago now, before Mae was even a band, we joined up in the studio as friends and recorded a few songs for fun. Most of these songs showed up on the our debut record, 'Destination: Beautiful.' Some of them did not. This was the first song from the 'Beautiful' sessions that did not make it on the record. Now, we have decided to release it online, free of charge! We will also be playing "Tisbury Lane" on our headling tour starting January 23 through March 7 with Copeland, The Working Title, and Slow Coming Day. We hope you like it! See you on tour!" Dave....Mae" http://www.absolutepunk.net
Tooth And Nail band Thousand Foot Krutch is finding their song “Rawkfist,” off their current album Phenomenon, getting early adds on the FM dial. The set add date for Active/Modern Rock Stations is January 27th, although several top stations couldn’t resist adding it ahead of time. Speaking of TFK, when you buy the new Thousand Foot Krutch album from Tower records, you'll get a free DVD sampler! The sampler features videos from Thousand Foot Krutch, Relient K, Yellowcard, and Starsailor, and more! You can pick it up at any Tower Records location while supplies last or order it online here! http://www.towerrecords.com/product.aspx?pfid=2892821
*new as of Thursday, January 22nd, 2004*

SCC
We may be in the heart of winter, but Steven Curtis Chapman is already making plans for warmer weather, heading back into the studio next month to record a new album due out in summer 2004 and making plans to play at several of the major outdoor Christian music festivals. Not that the cold air is treating him badly; Chapman's limited edition holiday CD (a revision of his mid-1990s release + new tracks) that was only available in Hallmark stores sold out its 400,000 unit supply two weeks before Christmas! Full details of Steven's new studio album aren't available yet, but you can get a unique "behind-the-curtain" look into his creative process by reading a conversation between him and author Philip Yancey in this month's issue of CCM magazine. Sneak preview the article at CCMMagazine.com.
Formidable artist, songwriter, and producer Charlie Peacock comes home again on February 24 with Full Circle: A Celebration of Songs And Friends. The all-new disc features fresh recordings of Peacock hits with special guests Amy Grant, tobyMac, Switchfoot, and more. A modern Renaissance man, who has also worked as an author, teacher, and music industry executive, Peacock began his career 20 years ago as a West Coast alternative artist, a label mate to U2 on Island Records. Later converting to Christianity, he signed to Sparrow Records and gained recognition as a writer when his songs became hits for Grant ("Every Heartbeat") and dc talk ("In The Light"). Next, he started the re: think record label through Sparrow, signing Switchfoot as its flagship act, and has gone on to produce and write with artists like Avalon and Audio Adrenaline. Other guests on Full Circle include Mercy Me lead singer Bart Millard, Phil Keaggy, Bela Fleck, Sixpence None The Richer, Sara Groves, Out of the Grey, and Venus Hum. Tracks include "Every Heartbeat" and "In The Light," and first single "God In The World" goes out to radio stations next month, a few weeks prior to the album release date.
Following the launch of new hit acts like ZOEgirl, Jump5, and Sanctus Real in recent years, Sparrow Records is proud to introduce debut artists Bethany Dillon and Jadyn Maria in 2004. Dillon is a young singer/songwriter whose music is deeply rooted in her personal study of scripture. Currently in the studio with producers Ed Cash (Bebo Norman) and Josh Moore (Caedmon's Call), her first album is due in stores this April. Bethany's refreshing debut single, "Beautiful," is already being added to radio playlists and can be heard now by clicking over to BethanyDillon.com. Jadyn Maria is a young, Spanish-bred spotlight vocalist who can be heard singing alongside Avalon's Jody McBrayer on the recent radio hit, "Never Alone (Nunca Solo)," from the It Takes Two project. She's also featured on In The Name Of Love (in stores January 27) performing U2's "With Or Without You" with hip-hop duo Grits. Jadyn's first album, Choices, will be released this summer, and a sneak preview single is available for purchase now at her appearances on the Winter Jam tour with Newsong, Audio Adrenaline, and Relient K through February. For a list of Jadyn Maria concert dates, click over to itickets.com.
With all the artist lineup changes in recent months, I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jump5 is losing one of their original members. The band made this recent announcement... "Libby has decided to leave the group. She has just decided that this isn't the right time for her any longer and feels she needs to be at home and have a normal schedule. She wants to go to regular school and play sports! We totally understand where she is coming from, you know, wanting to be home with friends and family all the time and we support her FULLY in this decision and wish her only the best in whatever the future holds..."
Libby then released this personal message... "Hey everybody! .....this is so incredibly hard to do. But I want all you guys to know. I have decided to step out of Jump5. I can't tell you what a hard decision this has been. The hardest of my short life. There's no juicy gossip to have. We are all still really good friends and they have been nothing but SOOOO sweet to me. We are still supporting each other 100%. It's simply that I want to take a deep breath and see what exactly God wants me to do at this point in my life. This has not been a quick or easy decision but I have prayed about it for a long time. I'm actually going back to my old High School at home! You should have seen me the first day (yesterday)...nervous like a Kindergartener. Then today, Chris showed up and gave me a hug. Whoa! Is he great or what? You all have been so supportive and loved me in so many ways. My greatest and MOST memorable moments were when I was able to talk to you all one on one about having Jesus in your life on stage. My promise to you is that I will continue to pray for you daily. And I pray you will remember how important it is to have Jesus in your heart!!! I can't wait to see who God brings as a new member to Jump5. I know they'll be awesome and you'll welcome them with open arms. Hey! I'm going to sign up for the web site and be a fan...just like you! I know that Jump5 will succeed because I truly believe God WILL be in it. Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me, praying for me and just being there. God has blessed me beyond belief. I always was and now I am more than ever... just a regular kid. God Bless You.
I love you,
Libby
P.S. I'm gonna play soccer. I don't even know all the rules!"
Pax217
And as if that wasn't enough, PAX217 has also made this announcement... "The New Year has brought a lot of changes to the PAXFAMILY. The biggest change, however is that Bobbito The Chef (Bobby Duran) is no longer with us, PAX217. After 4 years of sharing the stage with Bobby, the time has come for us to go on without him. Bobby-friend, brother, chef. We will miss you. Thank you for all that you have given to us: the dedication, the service, the memories, the barbecues, the salsa, "the hammer", and the countless hours makin' tracks across the world." (thanks to Hannah for the update)
Essential Records presents a musical depiction of Jesus' birth, life, and passion with its latest collection The Christ: A Trilogy. From the community of artists that brought you City on a Hill, this series intends to shed light on the character and sacrifice of Christ. Catastrophes like 9/11, and other tragedy resulting from the current political climate, have raised questions for many about life's meaning and purpose. Hollywood has sought to address such issues with films that portray a "higher spiritual power," most often Jesus Christ. Likewise, The Christ: A Trilogy aims to illuminate Jesus' earthly and eternal significance. Robert Beeson, Provident Label Group's sr. vice president of A&R and executive producer for The Christ, elaborates, "It's a natural and obvious parallel that people will make between our record and many of the movies coming out today that take a look at Christianity. We're not affiliated with any of them, but it is impossible to take away the impact that these films are going to have on our world, and this is our response to what we believe is going to be a move of God." The project comprises three installations: His Passion-Remembering the Sacrifice, His Birth-Celebrating His Coming, and His Life-Embracing the Truth. All contain previously recorded City on A Hill songs in addition to exclusive content. His Passion, featuring three new tracks as well as contributions by Third Day, Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, Bebo Norman, Caedmon's Call, Sara Groves, Paul Colman, GlassByrd, The Choir, Gene Eugene, Phil Keaggy, Jennifer Knapp and Derek Webb, releases March 9. Subsequent chapters with more original content are headed to retail fall 2004 and spring 2005. Also this spring, the collection's debut radio single, "Yes I Will", showcasing Bebo Norman and Joy Williams, will be released to radio stations nationwide.
Our friends Everyday Sunday are currently in the studio working on their sophomore release to their hit 2002 debut Stand Up. We talked to frontman Trey Pearson who gave us a little tip on the album title and release date. Mark your calendars for their new record entitled Anthems Of The Imperfect hitting shelves on May 18th!
Jeff Deyo
Gotee recording artist Jeff Deyo is gearing up for the anticipated release of Light, his sophomore solo album on Gotee Records. The brand new project is set to hit store shelves Feb. 10. Further cementing Deyo’s place as a modern worship pioneer, Light ushers in a brand new collection of thirteen original songs written primarily by Deyo. Songs like “As I Lift You Up,” “I Fear You,” “Take Me to You” and the album’s title cut, “Ray of Light,” represent the musical diversity and lyrical maturity that have continued to cause listeners to gravitate toward Deyo’s powerful choruses and emotion-packed vocals. Co-produced by Deyo, Bryan Lenox and Otto Price, Light’s stand-out tracks include “Bless the Lord,” featuring a guest performance by artist Rita Springer, “We Come to Your Throne with Weeping,” a duet with Third Day’s Mac Powell and a collaboration with artist Natalie Grant on “Keep My Heart.” The album also features a bonus live version of the congregational favorite, “These Hands.” “I want this record to be more of a tool, rather than just another album people go and buy,” Deyo says. “I hope it will be something that will truly and honestly connect people to God. My relationship with God is deeper than it has ever been, and I think my faith is beginning to develop into something that is real and powerful. That is something I hope is coming through loud and clear in these songs and through the project as a whole.”
Visit www.taylorsorensen.com and download new Rocketown artist Taylor Sorensen's live version of "Love Somebody Else" for a limited time. Look for hsi first full-length debut The Overflow coming March 23rd and listen for "Love Somebody Else" at Christian radio.
Casting Crowns, the Atlanta-based band who has become the “fastest-selling new artist of 2003,” reclaimed its position this week at No. 1 on Nielsen’s SoundScan Top Christian Albums Chart with its self-titled debut project. “We have seen huge numbers ordered in just the first week of 2004,” states Don Noes, sr. vice president of Provident Distribution. “It is apparent that retail is very excited about Casting Crowns and are optimistically looking forward to very, very strong winter and spring sales of this release.” In addition to top sales, the band also held the No. 1 position on both Radio and Records and Christian Radio Weekly’s CHR and AC radio formats. The band’s second single, “Who Am I” will be released to both formats in late Feb. Andrew Patton, vp of national promotions, adds, “The sense of excitement being expressed to the PLG team from radio over ‘Who Am I’ is unbelievable. I can’t remember a new artist that I have launched where programmers are so anxious to get new music out to their audience because of the massive success of the debut launch.”
*new as of Tuesday, January 20th, 2004*

Bleach
It's true. As of August 29th, 2004, Bleach will have played their last rock and roll show... After eight and a half years, five (5) critically acclaimed albums, well over 1,000 shows, and countless miles logged from coast to coast, rock and roll band Bleach (Tooth & Nail) have decided to say farewell. The strains of a consistently packed touring schedule and the desire to spend more time with family prompted this difficult decision. The band will be performing shows throughout the spring, and at major music festivals throughout the summer. In August, Bleach will embark on a farewell tour, beginning August 11th and wrapping up on August 29th. This special tour will give fans one last chance to catch the band’s energetic live show, and give the band a final opportunity to say thank you for the years of support. Emerging from the halls of Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, KY, Bleach established itself as a premiere rock act with the release of it’s national debut, Space. Eight years, fourteen top 10 radio singles, a Dove Award, and multiple TV appearances later, Bleach still delivers hard hitting, relevant rock that both challenges and entertains. The band, consisting of Milam Byers, Sam Barnhart, Jared Byers, Jerry Morrison, and Davy Baysinger, have come to this difficult decision, and reflect on what the band has meant to them “The last eight and a half years have been amazing, “reflects lead singer, Davy Baysinger. “I can honestly say they have been the best years of my life. I feel like I've been able to live a dream, with my very best friends. We've always done our best to be honest and up front, about who we are, and the things we've dealt with--the victories and the losses. It’s been about so much more than shows and music. The goal for us has always been to bring hope to people who are without it. This band was based on the idea, that somehow, we could really make a difference. I wouldn't change a thing.” Beyond delivering a top quality rock show, Bleach has always been a band based on relationships and the desire to be real about their struggles and joys, always holding tight to their deep rooted faith. This desire has pushed the band to perform both inside and outside of traditional Christian music circles. “We’ve always believed, “explains guitarist Sam Barnhart, “that we were not just a band for Christian people only, and that what we have to share is relevant to all people who deal with the human condition.” The end result has been touring not only in churches, church clubs, and neutral, non-church venues, but also with general market artists in clubs and bars. “It’s in the bars and the clubs that God has given us amazing opportunities to share the hope He’s given us, “continues Barnhart. “We’ve been able to demonstrate that to people that would never set foot in a church.” While none of the guys have made definitive plans beyond August, they are confident this is a right decision and have a peace about their individual futures. “I know that God will continue to use us. “says Baysinger. “While I don’t know yet exactly what I’ll be doing come September, I know that it will work out. God has provided for us for the last eight and a half years, so I know He’ll put us where we need to be.” With the end in sight, the members of Bleach emanate a quiet nostalgia and a peace about what’s to come, beyond the band: “Being in Bleach has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life, “says Barnhart. “It's given me the opportunity to see amazing places and allowed me to meet so many amazing people--not to mention being able to rock out with my best friends. I just want to say thank you to all the people who have allowed me this opportunity and to all our friends who have supported us through the good times and the bad times. I pray we leave behind not just a legacy of music - but of hope.”
MercyMe has announced some big Spring tour plans! From the end of January until March, the guys will be heading up a tour with none other than Amy Grant! "The Imagine Tour" will also feature special guest Bebo Norman. For more details and dates, visit www.theimaginetour.com
Elms
The Elms are going through a few changes. Lead singer Owen Thomas announced today the departure and replacement of their bassist Keith Miller... "On January 18, 2004, Keith Miller performed his final show as bassist for The Elms. Keith has been our friend and bass player since the release of our debut album in 2001. And of course, known as the band of brothers that we are, Keith’s leaving is a very important happening. Keith first expressed to me in October 2003 his desire to endeavor in other areas, and we agreed that the beginning of 2004 was a good time to part ways. Keith simply stated to us that there were many things in his life that outweighed his passion for music, and that being a musician wasn’t where he felt called to primarily operate. So there are no rumours... Keith is now back attending university in Louisville, KY, working towards a degree in communications. We remain supportive of Keith in whatever he chooses to do with his life, and he remains a supporter of The Elms. Keith’s departure is, of course, a sad occasion. But it brings me to an extremely exciting announcement: Keith’s replacement, and new bass player for The Elms, will be a certain 23 year-old Indiana native named Nathan Bennett, formerly of a great rock band called A.M. Drive. I’ve known Nathan for 5 years, and always admired his skill and proficiency on the bass. He’s a great friend and an extremely industrious guy, with a kind of intangible, unexplainable sense of rhythm. Although Nathan’s first show with The Elms will not be until early February, he’s already brought a new feeling of excitement to Thom, Chris, and I. We’ve been rehearsing weekly with Nathan, and our rehearsals have yielded new songs, as well as revived and re-worked versions of our two albums. Nathan meets all the criteria we set out to find in a new member: he's got immense skill, knows how to have a laugh, understands our vision, has spent time on the road, and is as full of bull as we are... and he'll add muscle to our music like never before. Oh, he's got a faux-hawk, too. Nathan will perform his first show with us in Mt. Vernon, OH, on February 13."
Side Walk Slam is currently on tour promoting their new album, ...And We Drive, and they recently had a scary experience, while eating a late-night dinner at a Waffle House in Hillsboro, NC. They were among the victims in an armed robbery... Along with them was the band Hawk Nelson, touring with them until the 20th of this month (today). The guys had ordered their food and were eating, when Josiah, the lead singer and bassist of Side Walk Slam, received a phone call from his girlfriend Alyssa. As he wandered away from the table to hear better, he stepped up to the counter, where 2 guys were sitting. All of a sudden, one of the guys jumped over the counter and pulled out a gun, demanding the cash in the register from the cashier. The other guy stepped behind Josiah, apparently to guard the door, and also pulled out a gun. He stuck the gun in Josiah's back and demanded that he "get off the phone!". He promptly hung up leaving his girlfriend bewildered at what was happening. This 2nd gunman approached the table where the other members of Side Walk Slam (Matt and Neil) were sitting, along with Hawk Nelson, and ordered them to hand over their wallets, while waving the gun in their faces. Other wallets were taken from some of the other customers, too. The 2 men grabbed the cash and most of the wallets (Jason, the lead singer of Hawk Nelson's wallet was taken, as well as some cash from the drummer) and ran out the door, thankfully leaving no one harmed. After the police arrived, the guys found out that the 2 men most likely were the ones that had also held up a Blockbuster Video a few blocks away earlier that night. The guardian angel's were working overtime, that night, so remember to pray for the bands you love -- they need to be continually protected as they are out there on the road!
Jeremy Camp
BEC Recordings’ singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp closed 2003 and begins his 2004 with amazing success. From sales to radio, Camp is making a mark in this industry with his tremendous songs and ability to capture audiences nationwide. Camp’s debut project, Stay, which released September of 2002, continues to be strong on the sales and radio charts and since its debut, the project has sold over 168,300 units, with 142,846 sold in 2003 alone. In fact, the second half of 2003 showed that over 103,000 were sold during that time, averaging 4,000 units a week. Stay yielded multi-format radio hits, achieving three No. 1 songs. Its first single, “Understand,” reached No. 1 on both the R&R and CRW’s CHR charts. “I Still Believe” topped CRW’s CHR, was No. 2 R&R CHR and top 5 AC. At present, the popular single is at the top of the playlist for Sonshine FM and is also featured on WOW 2004 while “Enough” appears on the new WOW Worship. Currently, one of his radio singles, “Right Here,” is No. 3 R&R/CHR and No. 12 R&R/AC. It is also No. 3 for CRW’s CHR chart and climbed from No. 35 to No. 12 for CRW/AC. “Right Here” is CRW’s highest gainer for the week (Jan. 19th issue).
Wonder where Chasing Furies have been? Well frontwoman Sarah MacIntosh (former lead singer of Chasing Furies) has already released one worship album with her husband, Jonathan MacIntosh, which is available for purchase on her church's website (her father, Mike MacIntosh, is the church's pastor). The project is entitled Fill Me, and there are hopes for another album to be released by her at a later date. (thanks to Shawn S. for the update)
*new as of Sunday, January 18th, 2004*

Joy Williams
Dove nominated recording artist Joy Williams will soon add another title to her name but this time it’s not related to her music. Williams recently announced her engagement to Nate Yetton, director of promotions at Inpop Records and is planning for a June wedding. Williams comments, “I’m ecstatic to be marrying my best friend. He is truly the greatest extension of Christ’s love that I’ve experienced on this planet.” The couple got engaged on Christmas Eve and plan to wed on June 12 in California, the same day both Williams’ mother and grandmother were married. In 2003, Williams signed an exclusive management agreement with Blanton Harrell Cooke & Corzine, home to artists including Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, and recently signed an exclusive booking agreement with William Morris Agency. Williams is preparing to hit the road in Feb. 2004 with ZoeGirl and Superchic[k] on the spring FREE Experience tour. Williams is currently in the studio working on her July 2004 album release.
Norma Jean
Hard rockers Norma Jean have announced the departure of some key band members this week... "Hello all.
We have decided to announce the recent departure of our singer, and best friend... Brad, who will no longer be singing with our band. We would like to clarify that there is no hard feelings or bitterness between us. We love Brad very much. He is our brother. At this time, we all felt like it was the best thing we could do. both for the band, and for brad and his family. We will still be coming to the UK the first of February. Our good friend Cory Putman, formerly of the band Eso-Charis, will be filling in for us, for the time being. As of right now, we have no plans for a permanent replacment. But we will keep you up to date on whats going on. We will still be doing a full-US tour in March/April. thank you for your support.
amen.
daniel.
norma jean."
Congratulation are in order for Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer, and husband Mark! Leigh had a little boy on Friday night, January 9th! The couple welcomed their first child Henry Bingham Nash!
Avalon
On February 24, Avalon launches The Creed, their first full studio record in 3 years and the first showcasing the vocal contribution of Greg Long, who replaced Michael Passons after his departure from the group last summer to pursue other career interests. The Creed is also the first complete recording to exhibit the vocal strengths of Melissa Greene, who joined Avalon in the fall of 2002. The Creed goes deeper, as a songwriting collaborative effort from the foursome, as Jody McBrayer, Melissa Greene, Janna and Greg Long worked with 20 of their favorite writers during a Writer’s Camp in an effort to speak directly into the songs on this record. As a result, The Creed reveals not only personal and spiritual growth over the past 3 years, but also the mission of Avalon as a group in the title song. The Creed offers five songs resulting from the Writer’s Camp, as well as two songs co-written by Avalon members; “Abundantly”, co-written by Janna Long and “The Good Way”, co-written by Melissa Greene and Janna Long, as well as a re-make of “Overjoyed” from Janna Long’s solo record. The Creed, produced by the dream team of Brown Bannister, Tedd T. and Charlie Peacock, comes on the heels of a very memorable 2003, beginning with the collection of an American Music Award in January and ending with a recent CCM Readers Choice Award for Group Of The Year.
Former Tooth & Nail Records recording artists Morella's Forest have recently disbanded. The band had three records with T&N in the nineties and more recently released Tiny Lights Of Heaven after a four year hiatus. We wish the members the best of luck!
TAIT hits the road this month for a special radio listener appreciation tour to select markets. Visit ForefrontRecords.com to see a list of cities and details on how you can attend...
Luna Halo has announced some new music in the works... "Yes... yet another EP! A full album is coming soon! This one WILL be available in the U.S., and will have 4 brand new songs. The band is set to go into the studio in a few weeks with producer and Dreamworks recording artist Matt Mahaffee from the band SELF."
Well, Fusebox is coming to the end of the recording process for their new album. With guest appearances by Mac Powell (Third Day), Grits, and Donnie Lewis (!Hero/Raze), the guys can’t wait until it is released this spring. The band and their record company are still discussing a title for the album and what the first single will be. Look out for the new single in the next few weeks. The album’s release and marketing plan is to coincide with lead singer Billy Buchanan’s second performance as Kai in the rock opera “!Hero” in April. Also, in other Fusebox related news, the band has announced that the change of the New Year has brought about a few changes in the Fusebox family. After 4 years as a founding member and guitarist for Fusebox, Brad Duncan is leaving the band. Brad was a youth pastor and speaker before he became a full-time musician. The Lord is leading Brad to put more of his efforts into building his speaking career. He is fulfilling his obligations with Fusebox until the end of February. He is being booked by the Ambassador Agency (ambassadoragency.com), one of the most prominent speaking agencies in Nashville. We wish Brad all the best as he follows the Lord’s leading in his life. Brad is being replaced by two talented young guitar players. Ben Rodriquez will be handling lead guitar and background vocal duties, and Justin Mackey will be handling rhythm guitar, bass, and background vocals.
GRAMMY and Dove Award nominated group NewSong kicked off its 8th annual Winter Jam tour with record numbers over the weekend. In three stops the tour played to over 11,000 fans despite cold weather and snow in Southern cities. The tour began on Jan. 8 in Augusta, Ga. and will stop in more than 20 cities before wrapping Feb. 28 in Lakeland, Fla. Joining NewSong on this year’s tour include Audio Adrenaline, Relient K, Todd Agnew, Jadyn Maria and illusionist Brock Gill. “Last weekend was so much more than we expected,” commented Michel O’Brien. “We were blown away not only by the number of people at the show but more importantly by how many people came forward to accept Jesus into their lives. To God be the glory!” In addition, other record numbers were set as the CBS made-for-TV-movie, “The Christmas Shoes” won its timeslot on Dec. 21, reaching over 13 million viewers. Numbers for “The Christmas Shoes” were impressive since this is was a repeat broadcast for the movie. The movie was the top-rated and most-watched broadcast in its 9-11PM slot defeating NBC’s airing of “Titanic.”
Studio wizard James Wisner has been enlisted to produce Mourning September's forthcoming debut on Floodgate Records. Wisner is best known for the monster success of the Dashboard Confessional's The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, and the recent Further Seems Forever effort How to Start a Fire. Additionally, Wisner was the man behind the console on releases by such artists as New Found Glory, 238, Underoath, Glasseater and Legends of Rodeo. "I'm very much looking forward to working with the guys" says Wisner "I know we are going to create something really special that will show the fans what they are capable of." Wisner says that the decision to work with the band was immediate upon hearing their music. "There was just a vibe to it, and really like the tone of Tony's Chavez’s voice. Sometimes there's just a feeling when I know that I can come together with a band and make something great. This is one of those times." "We love the sound and the feel of his past records," says Tony, “It’s an honor to be able to work with a producer of his caliber." Bassist Zach Tietsort continues, "We really like what he does with vocals. We're very excited to work with someone who has such a great history with so many great records from so many great bands." Recording is set to begin in early March at Wisner’s studio in Orlando, Florida. The currently untitled project is slated for a late summer release through Floodgate Records, Word Entertainment/WEA Distribution.
Chris Tomlin
Passion is preparing to release its seventh album, Passion: Ancient And Modern Hymns- Live Songs Of Our Faith, February 24. The project was recorded live at Passion's Thirsty Conference in April 2003 at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta where over 1,300 campus pastors and college ministry leaders gathered to refuel and refocus for their ministries. The highly anticipated project features hymns that are 100 years old or older made new by some of today's most sought after and respected lead worshippers Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman and Christy Nockels of Watermark. "We are truly humbled to be able to share this 'ancient-future worship' with worshippers everywhere, wrapping the rich tradition and heritage of music of the church in the modern musical 'skin' of our time," explains Passion founder and director Louie Giglio. "Modern worshippers have tended to discard these ancient confessions of worship because they are old, while traditional worshippers have failed to embrace modern confessions because they feel they are shallow and void. With this project we wanted to create a common ground where worshippers, traditional and modern, can join in worship, realizing that worship is not about the music but the state of the heart." Inspired by the "Phos Hilaron," perhaps the oldest surviving Christian hymn, Passion: Ancient And Modern Hymns- Live Songs Of Our Faith champions confessions of worship that are centuries old, and in the case of the "Phos Hilaron," have their roots in the earliest days of the Christian church in Jerusalem. The "Phos Hilaron," literally translated "hail gladdening light," was already considered ancient as early as the fourth century, being a mainstay of evening prayers in a tradition known as the lighting of the lamps. At that time in Jerusalem, a candle was kept perpetually burning in the empty tomb of Christ, its glow a symbol of the living light of Jesus. As Christians gathered to worship the candle was brought forth from the tomb, it's bright, solitary flame calling the church to celebrate the Risen Lord.
EMI Gospel/Forefront Records recording artist Lil iROCC Williams walked away a winner at the 19th Annual Stellar Awards, held Saturday January 10th, 2004 in Houston, Texas. With two nominations to his credit, the 13-year old Holy Hip-Hopper was awarded a prestigious Stellar Award for Children's Performance of the Year for his self-titled debut release. Also nominated for Rap/Hip-Hop Gospel Performance of the Year, Williams was a featured presenter of the 19th Annual Stellar Award, presenting the award for Male Vocalist of the Year. While in Houston for the Stellar Award festivities, Lil iROCC Williams also served as a celebrity judge for the Gospel Dream Group and Hip-Hop Talent Search, held Thursday, January 8th at Abundant Life Cathedral. While the votes were being tallied, the audience was treated to a mini-concert from Lil iROCC. Williams' self-titled debut was released June 24th, 2003, and had the distinction of being the second-highest selling new release that week. Since the release of his debut CD, the Atlanta native has been on the road, hitting markets such as Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Memphis, Baltimore and Orlando. During 2003, Lil iROCC landed a slot on the Shoutfest 2003 Tour, where he shared the stage with some of Christian Music's most popular artists, including ZOEgirl, Tait and Skillet. Williams has also appeared on BET's Lift Every Voice and Bobby Jones Gospel. Lil iROCC's call to minister to his peers through Hip-Hop music recently took him to the island nation of Bermuda where he participated in the country's first Leadership Conference and Youth Explosion, hosted by Dr. Myles Munroe. In addition to performing at the opening session of the conference and Youth Explosion, Williams also ministered at a Bermuda Youth High School Assembly, a co-ed youth prison and trainee facility and appeared on FRESH TV, a popular entertainment channel.
Justin McRoberts
Here's the latest from our favorite indie acoustic artist, Justin McRoberts, "I hope your 2004 has begun well. Mine began with something of a milestone. At roughly 8:00 a.m. on the morning of Jan 1, I turned 30. It was a low key new years/birthday party, but someone did show up with a picture of me from the 6th grade sporting quite the nasty 80s hair cut. Good friends do those kinds of things... or so they tell me. Our holiday season was a bit of a rough one this year. My grandmother went into the hospital just before thanksgiving and then passed away a few days before Christmas. She was 89 years old. The celebration of her life in Albuquerque New Mexico is something I will always cherish. There were many stories told about her love and spirit. She was truly the strength of our family and I am honored to be in her bloodline. A true highlight of our holiday season was the 2nd annual McChristmas Benefit Concert. On Dec 17th, we raised $2000 for a local organization called Christmas For Everyone which provides dinner, clothes and gifts for those in our community who are unable to share in a Christmas day celebration. This year CFE served roughly 2000 people on Christmas day, who each walked away with a full stomach, a Hefty bag full of clothes and a new gift. Thanks to all who came to the show or served at the project. I am honored to work with you and humbled to be a part of such a great work. It has been a good break from the road, all things considered, and I am ready to head out again. This will be a very busy winter-spring (see below) and I will keep you updated as things progress. As always, I am excited to see yall and look forward to sharing, in person, what God is up to with me.
Blessings,
Justin"
*new as of Friday, January 9th, 2004*

Third Day
Third Day has invited you into the studio with them as they record their follow-up album to their hit 2001 record Come Together. The band made the following announcement recently... "Haven't you always wanted to sit in the studio with the guys as they assemble their next album? Well, now you have a chance! This whole week we will bring you up close to Third Day while they are in the studio. From the 6th through the 10th, Web Lackey Gomer will be in the studio with the guys bringing you real-time photos, videos and updates of the band as they record their next album. Make sure to visit as many times as you can to see reports as they are posted." For those who haven't been tuning in all week, you can catch up with some really cool photos, videos and notes right here: http://www.thirdday.com/live/main.htm
Gospel music sales rebounded in the second half of 2003, giving the industry reason to be optimistic for 2004, announced John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA). According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of gospel music ended the year down 5.2 percent, cutting in half a mid-year 10.4 percent decline. 47.1 million albums were sold in 2003 compared to 49.6 million in 2002. The total does not include sales of singles and digital single downloads. “With the overall economy showing very positive signs of growth, and with the tide slowly reversing on the piracy issue, we have every reason to be confident going into the New Year,” said Styll. “There are still challenges ahead, but the outlook is brighter, and more importantly, we know that Gospel music is having a strong impact in every segment of our society.” In the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales of gospel music grew four percent. The last week of the year saw a 20 percent increase over the last week of the year in 2002. Pop Gospel was the style of music that sold the most records with 19.4 percent of sales, followed closely by Black Gospel with 17.9 percent, rock with 14.9 percent and Praise & Worship with 11.1 percent. Sales grew at mainstream retail outlets, where gospel music sales increased 6.7 percent in 2003 over the previous year. More than 60 percent of gospel music sales occurred in the general market. The top ten best-selling gospel albums of 2003 were:
1. Worship Together: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever/Various (Sparrow/WorshipTogether)
2. Almost There/MercyMe (INO)
3. Wonder What’s Next/Chevelle (Integrity/Sony)
4. Stacie Orrico/Stacie Orrico (ForeFront/Virgin)
5. Offerings II: All I Have To Give/Third Day (Essential)
6. WoW Worship Yellow/Various (Provident)
7. Beautiful Letdown/Switchfoot (Sparrow/Columbia)
8. Payable on Death/P.O.D. (Atlantic)
9. WoW Gospel 2003/Various (Verity)
10. Rise and Shine/Randy Travis (Word/Curb/Warner Bros.)
FiF
Reese Roper and Leanor Ortega of the former Five Iron Frenzy will be joined by Mark Salomon (Stavesacre), Pigeon John (LA Symphony), and Alan Brooks for a two-week spoken word tour. Each event will be a very personal evening with these artists as they share their writings and poetry. They're inviting their guests to bring their written art to share with them as well. Check out FiveIronFrenzy.com for tour dates! At the first night of the Spoken Word Poetry Tour, Leanor (aka: Jeff The Girl) made the announcement that as of a couple of weeks ago she is engaged! No other details are currently known at this time Congradulations Leanor!
Our Audio Adrenaline "Locks That Rocked" Contest may be over, but the AudioA giveaway fun is not! The band is hosting the "Leaving 99 Hits Radio" Contest online now where fans can sign up to win a "Leaving 99" radio single prize package complete with a shirt and signed 8x10 photo! For more details, surf on over t this link! http://www.kicksclub.org/candice/aasite/lv99entryform.html
Big Idea
Our favorite produce are returning to DVD next month! It's back to 1880s London, the setting for Big Idea's recent hit video The Star of Christmas, for the new companion release VeggieTales: An Easter Carol, a new holiday adventure brimming with fun-filled music, mechanical chickens, and way too many plastic Easter eggs! Loaded with lots of yuks and yolks, the DVD is a basket full of Easter fun with special kid-friendly bonus features including an Easter Egg Hunt playable with DVD remote, interactive storybooks, DVD-ROM links, and a behind-the-scenes video starring ForeFront Records recording artist Rebecca St. James. Sure to be an instant holiday classic for years to come, VeggieTales: An Easter Carol, distributed by Word, will be available in Christian bookstores February 7, 2004 on VHS for $12.99 SRP and on DVD for $14.99 SRP.
Creative Trust Workshop’s debut artist Warren Barfield has been invited to join Third Day for 2004’s most anticipated tour. The North American tour, which also features special guest TobyMac, will begin in April and will visit 28 cities in the spring, playing in 6,000-20,000 seat venues. Earning a coveted spot on a big tour is not new for Barfield, one of 2003’s most promising new artists. As the year ended, Barfield completed more than 40 dates with FFH and Big Daddy Weave on the successful “Free To Fly”\ fall tour. “Performing live shows is what I love to do, so I am both honored and grateful that I’ve had these tremendous opportunities. FFH was generous and wonderful to tour with, and I’m so excited about the opportunity to tour with Third Day and TobyMac, both artists I admire very much,” said Barfield. “We are very excited to have Warren on our spring tour. It's a hard job to be an opening act and get out in front of thousands of people with just an acoustic guitar. But after seeing the great connection Warren established with very large audiences at different summer festivals, we're confident he'll be up for the challenge,” said Tai Anderson of Third Day.
The Gospel Music Association (GMA) will induct Reverend Al Green, Sandi Patty, Frances W. Preston and the recently deceased Vestal Goodman into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The four music industry greats will be honored at a special Hall of Fame Awards show on February 11, 2004 in Nashville, announced John W. Styll, president of the GMA. "The newest inductees for the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame exemplify the great diversity and history of Christian and gospel music,” said Styll. “Their contributions to our culture have had a profound and lasting impact and will be forever remembered by this honor.” The GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame was established in 1971 and has inducted 125 members since its inception, including Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Amy Grant, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Andrae Crouch, Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Oak Ridge Boys, Petra, Bill and Gloria Gaither, the Rambos, Thomas A. Dorsey, the Fairfield Four, Billy Graham and the Jordanaires.

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This Friday, April 20
Jason Crabb Unexpected [Provident]
Stryper God Damn Evil [Frontiers]
Vertical Worship Bright Faith Bold Future [Essential Worship]

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Bright Ones Bright Ones [Bethel Music]
Randall Goodgame Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs Volume 3 (independent)
Sanctus Real Changed [Provident]
Sarah Reeves Easy Never Needed You [Word]
Chris Sligh A Modern Liturgy (independent)


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