This week we’re blasting back to the past to bring you a great free song from Chasen. This whole album is fantastic, so in case you missed it before now is a great time to check it out. Frontman Chase Callahan is a worship leader at marathon church, and has also ventured out in doing his own music with a solo Christmas project in the works for this year. Check out the sneak peek video below to get a glimpse at some early sounds from the recording studio.
Be sure to check out Chase’s “Something New EP” from earlier this year, and follow him on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with the latest Christmas album developments!
It might not sound like it, but the Georgia based pop band The Museum is actually named after a revolution. During a 2008 musical mission trip to Romania, drummer Josh Kirk found himself at a ceremony commemorating the end of Communism in that country twenty years earlier. “There was a small, humble museum near the square that told the story,” he recalls. “Turns out it was a group of Christians that actually brought about that political and social revolution.” Twenty years later the political changes were celebrated but the spiritual center of the revolution had been mostly forgotten. Kirk saw little evidence of Christian influence in the culture. “That little museum remained though,” he adds, “offering a glimpse into the kind of faith that can turn a nation upside down.”
Shortly thereafter Kirk teamed up with singer and songwriter Ben Richter to form a modern pop band that would explore the big themes of their lives – faith, justice and worship – with an eye toward waking the church to the incendiary role it should be playing in the world. “We were, and are, all worship leaders,” Richter explains, “and we have a passion for the local church. But as much as we love to sing together on Sunday morning, we felt a calling to bring songs that would challenge the Church to live out lives of worship all week long.” With the addition of bassist Chris Brink in 2010 their lineup was in place. Their budding calling and youthful ambition quickly led to the band’s debut album Let Love Win (BEC Recordings) and its two hit radio singles; “My Help Comes from the Lord” and “Allelujah,” as well as significant press coverage, a growing nationwide fan base and hundreds of live appearances. The band partnered with the poverty relief agency Compassion International and the anti-slavery ministry Not For Sale, even penning a theme song for that group (“Not For Sale”) and representing their work on the road.
Beyond improved sonics and musicianship, Richter believes that the new album, entitled My Only Rescue, takes the band a significant step further in both their creative and spiritual calling. The first single, “Love Will Find You,” was written months earlier for a friend who felt impossibly distant from God due to personal mistakes and sin.
“Love Will Find You” (Official Music Video)
Story Behind The Song “Love Will Find You”
Throughout My Only Rescue, The Museum accomplishes exactly what they set out to. “We are called to write songs for the church,” Richter adds. “Whether they are heard on the radio, at one of our shows, or on the album, we hope that our purpose rings out loud and clear. If we are not living lives that bring glory to Christ and that show His love to the hurting and vulnerable, we might as well not bother singing worship songs at all. In Amos God says ‘Away from me with the noise of your songs, but let justice roll on like a river.’ Do we really want to create something that adds to that noise? We put a lot of thought into every lyric and every song that we write to make sure that it is something that is true to our hearts and, more importantly, true to God’s word.”
Still only in their twenties, the mission of The Museum combines the maturity that comes from ministry experience with the zeal of youth. “Our concept of worship continues to expand,” Richter adds without missing a beat. “Singing is an aspect of worship but worship is so much more. Whether we are challenging someone to trust God through their valleys, or moving people to get involved in ending slavery in our generation, it’s all worship. We’re excited about this record, the upcoming tour and our continuing relationships with Compassion International and Not For Sale. But mostly we are excited about what God can do through simple people like us.” Josh Kirk, the one who thought of the band’s name years ago, continues to draw inspiration from his experience in Romania. “We want to sustain this revolution,” he says. “Like that little museum, we want to show the evidence of continuing spiritual revolution in our own lives and through these songs.”
It has been said that God has a perfect plan for each of us, and that He’s equipped us in just the right way to fulfill that plan. There are tragic tales of sad souls who never quite figure out their purpose, and joyful testimonies of those who just know they’re fulfilling their calling. And then, in between, there are those who have a pretty good idea of what God wants for them and yet somehow, inexplicably, they fight it. We’ve probably all been there at some point.
Todd Larson, front man for new BEC Recordings artist An Epic, No Less, knows exactly how it feels to see God’s path and still try to go your own way. “I had been playing music for a long time. I knew where God wanted me. I knew He wanted me playing praise music, but I just told Him, ‘No. That’s the most neutered, boring style of music there is. I don’t want to do that.’ So I just played in these rock bands. I would have tremendous bad luck, and God would make it clear it wasn’t the right thing for me to do, but I would just pour even more energy into the effort, and it ended up really frustrating me.”
For Larson, surrender finally came in a faraway place. “I went on a mission trip to Uganda with some people from church. I know there’s nothing magical about ‘going to Africa’, but I just told the Lord, ‘As long as I’m getting so far away from home I would really like to take this time to focus on what You want me to do.’ I just separated myself from everything. I was working at this orphan’s hostel, alone, scraping concrete off these walls; it was monotonous. There was an inch of water on the ground. It was dark and cold. That’s where the Lord reminded me of a short sentence: the gates of His kingdom are called to praise. All of a sudden, I felt myself being able to have the faith and the strength to accept the path the Lord wanted me on. I felt my spirit be able to accept that.”
“Echo Of Love” Official Music Video
And so begins the story of An Epic, No Less. Larson’s transition did not happen all at once – he states that “It took me about a year to really be obedient” – but he knew right away that he was finally allowing God to work. His church shocked him with start-up money. His producer immediately jumped on board, pouring in songwriting ideas on his own time and his own dime. “I was in this stream,” Larson recalls, “where all of a sudden things were going the right way. I wasn’t fighting against the current anymore. I was going the way I was supposed to. It’s been our effort to remain in that stream, to not grasp onto things so hard, to let God take control. It’s just our job to manage the pieces that He gives us.”
Larson founded the band alongside best friend and drummer Daniel Chancellor. The two met at a little country church in Carbondale, Illinois, while both were attending Southern Illinois University. Dan’s marriage to Hannah Chancellor created the opportunity to expand. Larson describes her contributions: “Hannah plays keyboards and sings. I was flattered that she would want to be in the band. She’s so intelligent, and she has that spark that people are drawn to.”
Conversations about how to round out the band ensued, and the idea to feature a live string player emerged. The so-called “stream” of God’s will was still flowing strong, and the band met a young virtuoso violinist, Britney Stutz, who just happened to be enthusiastic about playing worship music. Finally, a big dose of skill and experience was added when guitarist Neil Endicott joined. Neil splits time between Epic and Run Kid Run. Recalling their meeting, Larson said, “I talked to him about what the Lord was doing with us, how we were excited about it. I could tell he and I had the same passions as far as praise and worship music. I remember him saying that, in the end, we get to play songs that help people in worship. I could tell that was satisfying enough for him.”
“Mercy Light” Official Music Video
That theme – helping people in worship – became the band’s rallying cry, the goal statement towards which all decisions would be made. “I’ve tried to do stuff by myself before,” Larson confesses, “and I’m terrible. I know that it’s God using me that makes all the difference. When it comes to my time on Earth, I know that I want to be seeking after the kingdom of God. I want to help people in worship and prayer.”
The thought even led to the band’s curious name, which comes from a quote by John Eldredge that came from Dan’s journal: “… because they knew the Christian life as an epic, no less than the greatest myths the world has ever known.” Larson explains: “I didn’t want my life to be just boring and mundane and mediocre. I really wanted my life to affect other people. I know I was created to sing songs and make art and help people, and I just felt an urgency in my mid- to late-twenties that I needed to spend as much possible time doing those things to make my life really matter. I was blessed that God gave us this outlet to do those things. That’s what I want my life, and this ministry to be: no less than the greatest thing that God has for it.”
Hitting stores everywhere today, The band’s debut album, “Echo of Love”, chronicles their part in the epic. And We’re excited to bring you a FREE DOWNLOAD of the title track “Echo Of Love” this week! Click on the grey download button at the bottom of the page to get your song now, and be sure to check out the rest of the album HERE! Stay tuned this week for more great things to come from Epic, No Less.
This week we’re spotlighting great up and coming artist, Jonathan Seller, PLUS, he’s giving you a download of his single “You Reign” for free! Jonathan Seller grew up in Canada and currently lives, works, eats, and sleeps in the greater Detroit area as a pastor at VOX Church. As a church planter, pastor, preacher, song writer, and worship leader, Jonathan enjoys doing whatever he can to advance the Kingdom of God here on earth. After playing for multiple worship events, concerts, youth retreats, and conferences ranging from 25 to 25,000 people, Jonathan is taking his music to the next level. With the release of “GREAT EXCHANGE” Jonathan is quickly receiving invites to open for artists such as AARON SHUST and MATT MAHER. Although Jonathan is a pastor of the church he co-founded (www.voxchurch.com) he enjoys any opportunity he is able to speak or lead worship for events all throughout the United States (and of course Canada). If it’s bringing glory to God, Jonathan wants to be apart of it.
Check out his music video for “You Reign” and click the download button at the bottom of the page to get it for FREE!
Music aside, Jonathan’s contagious passion and knowledge of the Word help him connect with an audience on a deeper level. His passion to teach, preach, and sing the Gospel are seen in everything Jonathan does. Being a graduate from Moody Bible Institute and Bethel College with his MA in Ministry, it is with out a doubt Jonathan believes the Power of God is most effective when using the Word of God to encourage the People of God.
“Something is stirring across New England and we are desperate to be a part of it,” says Justin Kendrick, Out of Hiding’s lead vocalist and guitarist; author of Living For Another World (2009) and Vessels of Honor (2008); and founder of the multi-faceted Holyfire Ministries. Driven by an urgency to help initiate revival in America’s birthplace—once the center of Christianity in the New World—Justin, his band mates and ministry partners are nurturing a vision that singlehandedly defines their purpose. “My prayer is that God would use us and many others to bring unity and spiritual awakening back to New England and it would grab the heart of our entire nation.”
Audacious? Perhaps. But if it takes a leap to exercise faith, then Out of Hiding represents the mouthpiece of a ministry most definitely on the move. “Each member of the team is far more than a musician,” Justin explains of the band, which also includes his wife Chrisy (vocals/keys); bassist Joe Jacobs; guitarist Jon Wisecarver; and drummer Madison Bollinger. “We all work for the larger purpose of Holyfire Ministries, and we are all friends, part of a community together of Jesus followers wrestling with what it means to live authentically for Christ in our city and our culture.”
The band’s latest offering, a live CD/DVD combo recorded at Holyfire’s annual youth conference Brave Generation features 14 tracks as well as a live video recording of the conference’s worship sessions. The album, “Live from Brave Generation,” was recorded in the historic town of Plymouth, MA in front of nearly 1,000 teens and young adults from every state in New England and as a result serves as a rally cry for the hearts of a generation separated from Christ. The project carries an intensity—both musically and lyrically—that is undeniable. “The more we’ve connected with people across America, the more we run into the themes of emptiness, fatherlessness, depression, guilt, and bitterness,” Justin says. “The answer is always the cross of Jesus. Hope has spoken through the cross for all eternity to breathe life back into humanity, and these songs chronicle the journey of that Truth in the human heart.”
When he was 22 years old, the day after his college graduation Charles Billingsley packed up his red two-door Ford Explorer, attached a little trailer behind it and headed to a church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to perform his first professional concert. Almost twenty years later, after 24 records, 17 years of marriage, two children, and 3,000 concerts, Charles has just released his 25th album. Never Forsaken, which hit stores on March 6th, is a collection of songs ranging from recreations such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Another Day in Paradise” to intimate autobiographical tracks like “Baby I Blinked,” as well as the impassioned truth-telling like “God So Loved the World” and the title track.
With Never Forsaken, Charles is certainly not holding back on delivering an album that contains a variety of music styles. “It’s time to do a record for my generation,” he says. With a more distinct pop edge, he notes such artists as John Mayer and Phil Collins as influences, yet the listener will no doubt still hear Billingsley’s classic artistry.
Eight years since his last solo artist album, Charles is excited to share Never Forsaken with the world, and its catchy tunes are served with a powerful message: “It’s a plea to the church,” he explains. “Look beyond the four walls of our buildings and get out there and love the world. It’s just a reminder to us all–God actually loves them as much as he loves me.”
Elaborating on that message is the album’s catalyst song, “God So Loved the World.” Written by Billingsley along with Keith Smith, Adam Lancaster and Tony Wood, the song serves as a wake-up call to the church: “Every preacher in the pulpit/Every cynic on the street/Every poet/Every pauper/Every soldier/Every lawyer…God so loved the world.”
Watch the official music video for “God So Loved The World” here
Charles, with his wife Shae and their two boys, recently took an eye-opening trip to Guatemala along with the humanitarian organization Causelife. During their visit, as they journeyed through numerous villages in dire need of fresh water, Billingsley’s inspiration deepened to help build wells across third world countries. This trip also grew the inspiration for his new project, especially for its title track.
“The song ‘Never Forsaken’ is for those people in the world who are hungry, lost, afraid, malnourished, thirsty, who cry out every day for something called hope. They won’t hear this album. This record is for the people who will hear it to do something about it. Give away today, whatever that means. Your love, time, money, talents, whatever it takes, let God use you.” – Charles Billingsley
Click on the download button at the bottom of the page to get the title track “Never Forsaken” for free now!
Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes is known for his warmth and vulnerability as a lyricist and storyteller. The words to his songs feel familiar long before the final chord is heard. Over the past decade and with five well-loved studio albums, the Nashville-based Barnes has effortlessly melded the sound of pop, country, rock, and soul. His sixth album, Stories To Tell, is the perfect mix of what fans have grown to love about his musical personality combined with a daring new approach to the making of this album. The interesting newness triggered by working with a new producer in a new city, includes more pronounced and unique instrumentation and a genre defining sound from song to song. Recorded in Los Angeles with pop-rock savant producer John Fields (Lifehouse, Switchfoot, Goo Goo Dolls, Jonas Brothers, Pink), Barnes exited his comfort zone to release true creativity.
“Making this album was a real bucket list thing. For my entire career I’ve dreamed about the romanticism of driving along the west coast to record in Los Angeles,” Barnes explains. “I’ve done all my other records in Nashville but for this one I wanted to do something different.”
Hear more about it from Dave in his “Making of the album” video!
One of the big themes on this record is enjoying the moment while you have it because who knows what will happen, that’s something that’s universal for everyone. -Dave
While writing Stories To Tell Dave’s wife discovered she was pregnant with their first child and many of the songs are about that experience in some way. One of our favorite tracks on the album is “Mine To Love,” which welcomes his child into the world and we’re excited to let you download the song for FREE this week! Another favorite of ours is his hit song, “God Gave Me You” (Grammy nominated for the Best Country Song as performed by Blake Shelton on 2011’s Red River Blue album.) Check out the music video for it below, and click on the download button at the bottom of the page to get your free download of “Mine To Love.”
Pop Quiz. Remember the good old days of grade school when these were a regular part of your life? Your day could start off awesome, and then be completely turned upside down by those 2 simple words: Pop. Quiz. You might still be in school, and if that is the case then I apologize for bringing it up. However, today we’ve got a pop quiz that we hope will turn your day around for the better
We’re putting your knowledge to the test (or your ability to make really good guesses) for an Anthony Evans CD Giveaway. We’re also excited to bring you a free download this week from Anthony’s latest album release “Home”… So really everyone wins!
Anthony shared about the record, “Home” and says that it was inspired by his decision to move ‘home’ to Dallas, where he could aid his father, Dr. Tony Evans, in ministry and be closer to family. The result is an offering of soulfully arranged worship standards and original anthems, performed with passion and power. Click on the download button at the bottom of the page to get the track “My Desire” for free, and submit your answers to our pop quiz below to take part in our CD giveaway contest! Post your guesses in the comments section, and you’ll be entered to win Anthony’s new album “Home!” (even if you don’t get them right – Everyone gets an A for Effort ;)
Pop Quiz! Anthony Evans Trivia: (Post your answers in the comments section to enter for the prize!)
1) What Is Anthony’s Favorite Snack?
A) Cool Ranch Doritos
B) Cheese And Crackers
C) Cheetos puffs
2) What Is Anthony’s Favorite Meal?
3) What Is Anthony’s Favorite TV Show?
A) American Idol
B) So You Think You Can Dance?
C) The Voice
“Home is a true expression of where I am creatively. From the songs to the musicians to where I actually recorded the record, I wanted to make sure that it felt connected and unaffected. I believe it’s my best work to date.” –Anthony Evans
After three decades together, iconic alternative rock band The Choir releases their 14th studio album, “The Loudest Sound Ever Heard,” today! As one of the few bands left standing from the 1980’s SoCal music movement wave that swept nationwide more than 30 years ago, The Choir continues to make their renowned atmospheric music married to lyrics stirred by life’s inspirational lessons in the context of real relationships – love, despair, light, dark, hope, and recovery.
The project’s title of The Loudest Sound Ever Heard is taken from the infamous volcanic explosion on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa in the late 19th century. “A quick Wikipedia search revealed that to this day the event is considered to be “the loudest sound ever heard,” Drummer/lyricist Hindalong explains. “I referred to that tragic occurrence in the first verse of the song ‘I’m Learning to Fly,’ which is thematically central to the album. It’s about living each day like it truly matters. ‘Living to love in a dying world.’ Such catastrophic events remind us of our vulnerability, and how we ought to celebrate every breath.”
The final song on the album, ‘After All,’ features a stunning duet with Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. “We’ve known Leigh since way back,” says Daugherty, “She’s a friend and one of my favorite singers ever. We’re thrilled that she was able to sing on this project. Matt Slocum [Sixpence guitarist] also played cello on a couple of songs. Those guys are great.”
To celebrate the release their new CD, the band is giving away a free download of our last album, “Burning Like The Midnight Sun,” on Noisetrade.com for 1 week only! The download also includes one of their new songs, “Cross That River.” Visit www.noisetrade.com/thechoir to get it now!
“I’m so glad we get to keep doing records like this. Here we are standing together 30 years down the line and we still love and respect each other. It’s amazing, really.” –Dan Michaels
“We are fortunate to have such devoted listeners after all these years. That’s what keeps us motivated to continue making music. In that way we are lucky and blessed, and I’m thankful.” –Derri Daugherty
“We don’t pretend to have the answers. We are still struggling, still wandering and seeking; but if our music inspires listeners to consider important things with open hearts, well, that’s a good thing. Hopefully, the spirit of love will stir within and the truth will resonate.” -Steve Hindalong
Singer/songwriter and popular touring artist Mark Wagner releases his fourth national studio album,” NeedLove,” next week, and we’re excited to bring you a great free download from him called “Hideaway” along with some behind the scenes video footage from him.
In true Wagner fashion, “NeedLove,” showcases his aptitude for accessible lyrics intended, on this record, to remind listeners of their need for God’s love. Songs like “All I Need” and “Carry Your Love” speak to the redemptive quality of His love, while “Made For Love” emphasizes our reason for being–to be loved by Him.
Check out the making of the album + his latest music video for “Gonna Be With You” below!
“Our deepest longing is to be known and to be loved. For most of us, we spend years chasing after all the wrong kinds of love before we find the right kind, the kind we really need. I created this album as a reminder that God created us in order to know us and love us.” –Mark Wagner
In addition to enlisting Ben Shive (Matt Wertz, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves) as a co-producer and session player on NeedLove, Wagner tapped songwriters Andrew Osenga of Caedmon’s Call and Mark Trussell, recently a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” among others. NeedLove also includes a cover of the popular Rich Mullins tune, “Creed.”
Mark is also impacting lives with his music by making it exclusively available through non-profit, Mocha Club, an organization formed in 2005 to strategically fund relief and development projects in Africa. They work in five main project areas: Clean Water, Education, Child Mothers + Women At Risk, Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children, and HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, providing a way for people to make a real difference with just $7 (the cost of two mochas).
“We’re thankful for our continuing partnership with Mark Wagner and are excited that he’d want to release his new album exclusively with us,” says Jeff Jackson, artist relations director for Mocha Club. “His efforts will make a significant and lasting impact on Mocha Club’s outreach in Ethiopia with our Women at Risk ministry.”