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JFH Music News Report


Celebrated Vocal Band Reunites to Record Brand New EP

Grammy nominated, multi-Dove Award winning contemporary Christian music vocal band First Call will be releasing their new EP, Second Birth, on Friday, June 17, 2016 (Whitney Newby photo)

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June 14, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 14, 2016) - Marty McCall, Melodie Tunney and Bonnie Keen, the original members of the Grammy nominated, multi-Dove Award winning contemporary Christian music vocal band First Call, are thrilled to announce the release date for their highly anticipated new project, Second Birth. The new 6 song EP is slated to impact retail on Friday, June 17, 2016.

The idea of producing a new First Call EP developed when the celebrated vocal band performed a few reunion concerts. But the concept took wings in January 2015 during the live stream DVD taping of CCM United's We Will Stand project. First Call performed at the event, which honored songs from contemporary Christian music artists from the last three decades.

"We were simply blown away by the power of this experience," Bonnie Keen recalls. "We sang background vocals on a lot of these songs, and have toured with many of these artists. As we looked each one in the eyes, it was truly overwhelming in the best sense of the word. Our cell phones were blowing up with fans and friends sharing the moment, watching online or in the audience."

"We were all humbled by the ongoing stream of interest in our music coming in through social media," Tunney adds. "After the taping, we determined to move ahead with the EP, but with one caveat: we would produce this project with no expectations other than to make the music available. God has always honored our efforts and surprised us beyond our wildest dreams with how the music takes on a life of its own."

The We Will Stand concert DVD continues to air internationally on a variety of television networks, and the response from fans from around the world has been nothing less than astonishing to the trio. The outpouring of excitement was so intense that it sparked First Call to go back into the studio to record a new 6 song EP, Second Birth.

Second Birth is a true family affair. Tunney's husband, Dick, produced four of the projects' songs, and Keen's husband, Brent King, recorded the other two songs, then mixed and mastered the entire project. Tunney's daughter, Whitney Newby, shot photos and designed the cover while McCall's wife, Vickie, launched the project's website. The trio also called on the talents of long-time friend and collaborator, Travis Cottrell, to provide some of the signature First Call vocal arrangements on the project.

"As we began planning the EP, we decided to come up with song styles and arrangements we had never done before," explains McCall. "We chose two fan favorites along with four worship songs, including a song we had previously recorded but never released. I'm particularly thrilled to share Travis Cottrell's spectacular arrangement of the spiritual, "Wade In The Water." Fans who enjoy the intricate, vocal-gymnastics, a cappella moments are going to love it!"

"In Christ Alone" is another track the group is eager for fans to experience. "It's a beautiful hymn that has been recorded numerous times by many artists, but I'm guessing the third verse has never been done the way Bonnie, Marty and I did it," explains Tunney. "My husband, Dick, had a great time arranging the track in a dramatic, almost theatrical fashion. We love it, and we think our fans will, too!"

The EP includes the band's fourth version of fan favorite, "O Sifuni Mungu." Keen notes the amazing story behind the song. "The song was inspired by a Grammy performance in 1987, collaborating with twin brothers from Zaire, writing and recording the song on our second LP, all of which seemed highly favored by the Lord," she says. "After nearly 30 years, the song seems to have a life of its own."

"Majestic/Majestic," an arrangement born out of combining the old with the new, is one of McCall's favorite tracks on the project. "In 1981, Michael W. Smith wrote and recorded "How Majestic." The song became a huge hit, and virtually changed the worship genre forever," McCall explains. "Fast forward 15 years--Lincoln Brewster used the same scripture for his electric guitar-based "Majestic." Having led both songs in worship at my church, I played around with the tempos and feels of the songs until I managed to combine them into a mashup. Bonnie and Mel liked the idea, so we arranged the vocals in the studio and included it on the EP."

"Second Birth was recorded as an act of joy. It was so great to sing together again," says Keen.

As this next chapter in their musical journey continues, these three friends are open to whatever God has in store during this new season. And whatever that may look like, Tunney, Keen and McCall are grateful to experience a second birth of First Call.

About First Call:
The vocal trio of Melodie Tunney, Bonnie Keen and Marty McCall were considered the "first call" background vocalists and commercial jingle singers by studio producers in Nashville, Tennessee during the mid-1980s. Their pristine vocals soon compelled them into the spotlight, resulting in a 30+ year career that included 13 major label recording projects, three Dove awards, five Grammy award nominations, and multiple national and international tours.

As they sang about their faith with unmistakable three-part harmonies on songs like "Undivided," "The Reason We Sing," "O Sifuni Mungu," "Sweet Love" and "Sacred Journey," a theme of unexpected grace and unforeseen opportunities emerged. Their journey involved changes, challenges, and the ups and downs that come with any recording career, including changes in the group's members. One thing that never changed, however, was the strong and abiding friendship between the original three members.

Individually, Tunney, Keen and McCall have recorded solo projects, published books, acted on stage and screen, toured and used a variety of artistic mediums to convey the gospel. In January 2015, the original members of First Call were invited to participate in a new DVD project, We Will Stand. The live DVD taping, which became one of the major industry events of the year, featured 33 prominent CCM artists who gathered to pay tribute to songs that live far past careers. That evening, the trio revisited the power of singing with artists they'd recorded with, and shared tour bus adventures, lives of joy and sorrow and a rich history of receiving God's grace. That experience led First Call to record their new 2016 EP, Second Birth.

To learn more about the members of First Call, visit:



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