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JFH Music News

JFH Music News Archive

February, 2006



*Tuesday, February 28th, 2006*


Anberlin
Tooth & Nail Records rock band Anberlin has had to cancel some recent dates this week due to a family emergency. On Anberlin.com, the guys announced, "Hey guys, some bad news. We're going to be missing a few shows on the Hawthorne Heights tour. One of our close family members is having a serious health issue, and we need to get home to be with them." The band proceeded to list a series of dates of cancellations and shows they will still appear at. They ended the update with, "We really hate doing this, but family is family. Hope you all understand, and we will make these dates up as soon as we can." Please keep the band in your prayers during this tough time. (from Anberlin.com)

Eleventyseven
According to MTV.com, Stavesacre's forthcoming Abacus debut, How to Live With a Curse, has been pushed back slightly for a new release date of April 18. Hopefully this will be the final release date for their new record. In other release date changes, Flicker Record's flagship pop-punk act Eleventyseven's debut And The Land Of Fake Believe has been pushed from March 21st to May 2nd. Also, Gotee rock band Fighting Instinct's self-titled debut sees further delay from May to June 27th. (from various; Thanks to Kevin V. for Stavesacre news)

This March & April, John Davis of Superdrag and The Violet Burning will be touring together for the first time. Each a sizable creative force in their respective musical worlds, fans and newcomers to both will be besieged with an incredibly moving rock and roll experience. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Davis spent a decade as the primary creative force for Superdrag, a melodic, power-pop band from Knoxville, Tennessee. With their combination of punk energy, bittersweet melodies and classic British influences, the group built a fan base that was both sizable and loyal. "Sucked Out," a single from their 1996 debut album Regretfully Yours, became a Top 20 Modern Rock hit. Over 10 years, Superdrag released four albums and numerous EPs and singles, all of them featuring Davis' keenly inventive tunes. The group's videos were played on MTV and the band performed twice on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Details Magazine declared, "If you don't like Superdrag, you don't like rock 'n' roll." John is touring in support of his debut self-titled album. The Violet Burning is one of the great and influential rock groups of this era. With ten years of touring the United States and Europe, and having their songs used regularly on MTV, the Long Beach, CA. based band have established themselves as a great band that can deliver a moving experience live, as well as in the studio. With their new album, /Drop-Dead/, The Violet Burning marks a return to the aggressive sound of their early releases and the themes that have made them stand out among traditional modern rock acts. Integrating his iconic guitar tones, with his love of electronics, creative force Michael J. Pritzl and the Violets have created a unique sound all their own. Some in the Southern California press have hailed The Violet Burning in recent years as “the new New-Wave”. This time around New-Wave gets a kick in the teeth. The tour is being booked by Provision National Booking. PNB can be reached at 502-271-7644 or by email at info@provisionnational.com (from Provision National Booking)

*Friday, February 24th, 2006*


Hawk Nelson
Following a fall packed with shows and their national film debut, the energetic foursome Hawk Nelson continues full force with the release of their sophomore studio project during Gospel Music Week on April 4, 2006. Hawk Nelson is thrilled to release, Smile, It’s The End Of The World, which delivers a positive, upbeat and happy mix of songs in response to an often times sad and negative world. “Music is a big part of all of our lives,” says vocalist/keyboardist Jason Dunn. “Through the new project we wanted to express the realities and truths that we deal with in our lives and give some positive solutions to our peers and the people we make our music for.” True to its title, Smile, It’s The End Of The World, is jam packed with catchy melodies and lyrics that showcases Hawk Nelson’s growth as a band since their debut two years ago. Co-written by the band and Thousand Foot Krutch’s Trevor McNevan, who spent time touring with Hawk Nelson last year, Smile, It’s The End Of The World is a more diverse, mature collection of material. The band has broadened its sound with additional keyboard input from Dunn and a barbershop quartet from Pike’s Market in Seattle, Washington (“The Show”). Although the CD takes an upbeat approach, Hawk tackles serious subjects on the disc that is evident on the song, “Zero,” which addresses the reality of teen suicide. Dunn himself had a personal experience of a 19-year-old friend and co-worker who committed suicide. “The song talks about how a guy’s feeling after his best friend kills himself,” says Dunn. “It goes on to explain his inner thoughts, and how he starts to blame himself for what happens. It really shakes your life up when someone you’re that close to is all of a sudden not there, not a part of your life anymore.” One of the disc’s most powerful numbers, “The One Thing I Have Left,” features blaring guitar chords and strong backing vocals. With the instantly catchy chorus, this song is about the members of Hawk Nelson standing up for their beliefs and maintaining their dignity. The first CHR radio single, “Everything You Ever Wanted,” speaks to the topic of abandonment and not living up to someone’s standards. For the JfH PReview of Smile, It's The End Of The World, click here! (from The M Collective)

MercyMe
After four years of sell out shows, three top 10 mainstream AC hits, six No. 1 Christian radio hits, a Tonight Show appearance, being raved about in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and USA Today, and accolades from the Amercian Music Awards to the GMA Music Awards, the multi-platinum selling group MercyMe is Coming Up To Breathe on April 25, 2006. MercyMe has become what some are calling ambassadors of sorts: bringing evangelistic, Christian music to the mainstream while staying true to their call to make Christ known. With Coming Up To Breathe, MercyMe says they have delivered the album they’ve always wanted to make. The result is a powerful collection of songs that in some places rocks harder than MercyMe ever has during their dozen years together. "We just wanted to make the music we love and it definitely came across a little more rocking than any other album we've ever done," says lead singer Bart Millard, adding enthusiastically. "We love it. We really focused on up tempo songs. It's definitely way more energetic than anything we've ever done before. I don't think we are trying to reinvent the wheel, it's just trying to put a little more edge into what we are creating." After an intense four years, personally and professionally, the title Coming Up To Breathe holds special significance for Millard and the band. "We just want to take a break and surface and take a gasp of air," he says. "We just wanted to stop for a second and kind of let our hair down." What emerged is a veritable kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions from the exuberant celebration of the title track and the absolutely infectious song of surrender (and first single to Christian and mainstream radio) "So Long Self" to the sweeping epic "Hold Fast," which reminds us all of the strength to be found in God's presence. "There is no huge consistent theme," Millard says of the songs on the new album. "It's really just everything that was on our hearts at the time. There are some songs that reflect where we've been like 'Hold Fast.' It's just talking to people about when you feel like you are going to give up, just hang on because help is on the way. That's definitely based on what we've gone through and how we've made it." Recorded at the infamous refuge of Allaire studios in upstate New York, (Norah Jones, Tim McGraw, David Bowie), the band spent a solid month with producer Brown Bannister eating, sleeping and making music in the 1920s mansion that was developed into a studio in 2001. With its huge rooms, fireplaces, mountaintop, serene, locale, it’s a place where while recording, Millard told Billboard magazine, “If you can’t be inspired here, you don’t have a pulse.” (from The M Collective)

Haste The Day
After one European tour and 2 weeks into their tour with Bleeding Through & Every Time I Die, Haste the Day have made Stephen Keech a permanent fixture in the band. Stephen replaces Jimmy Ryan as the lead singer for Haste the Day. Jimmy Ryan made his decision to depart the band known back late November of 2005. His decision to leave was strictly personal and was amicable. Haste the Day became aware of Keech in early 2005 through his involvement in bands locally in Denver Colorado. When Jimmy Ryan's decision to depart was made known internally, the search began and Keech's name was one of the first to come up. After several discussions and much thought were put forth, Keech was asked to join the band for a 3 week European tour in January of 2006. After two weeks of tour in the U.S. Haste the Day was proud to announce on stage last night in Denver Colorado, Keech's permanent addition to the band. (from myspace.com/hastetheday; Thanks to Zak J.)

Anberlin
Tooth & Nail Records have announced their spring tour! And to celebrate, the fine folks at the label are making a 22-song sampler FREE to you! The tour will take place during March and April and features co-headliners Emery and Anberlin. Far-less and The Fold will be splitting legs of the tour, and new T&N newcomers Jonezetta and The Classic Crime will be opening dates for the entire tour. The official online headquarters for the tour is www.purevolume.com/toothandnailtour, where users will be able to check out tour dates, purchase tickets, and download the song sampler that includes new music from Hawk Nelson, Jonezetta, Far-Less, and many more! (from Tooth & Nail Records; Thanks to Chris K.)

Sarah Kelly
Sarah Kelly is scheduled to appear on the 700 Club next Friday, March 3rd. The show is live on Friday morning at 9:00 am - 10:00 am Eastern. It will be broadcast live across the country at that time on ABC Family cable channel. ABC Family repeats the show that same day at 11:00 pm Eastern and again at 3:00 am Eastern. The show will also be streamed on the channel's web site, www.cbn.com! Spread the word and tune in! Sarah's long anticipated sophomore release Where The Past Meets Today hit stores May 16th. (from Sarah Kelly)

Underoath
Underoath has posted an update on their official website this week (www.underoath777.com). Along with the update on the band's next project, the guys have included a lovely video update that offers a soundbite or two from the new record. Fans can expect the album sometime this summer, with a possible June release! For more news, grab your boards and surf on over to underoath777.com! (from underoath777.com; Thanks to Kevin T.)

Chris Tomlin
Artist and Male Vocalist of the Year GMA Music Awards nominee and sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records’ Chris Tomlin garners his third No. 1 radio hit with “How Great is Our God.” Receiving nominations in both the GMA Music Awards Song of the Year and Worship Song categories, "How Great is Our God" has now become Tomlin’s third No. 1 song from his first RIAA Certified Gold album, Arriving. Landing at No. 1 for the third consecutive week on the R&R Christian AC Indicator Top 30 chart, the song is garnering an estimated 11,000,000 impressions weekly on radio while simultaneously claiming the No. 7 spot for most downloaded tracks on the digital sales chart. The song follows both Tomlin’s “Holy is the Lord” and “Indescribable” to the top of the chart. A live version of the song is also included in Tomlin’s acclaimed Live From Austin Music Hall recording that released December 26. Receiving a commemorative RIAA Certified Gold plaque this week for Arriving during a presentation at ASCAP in Nashville, Tomlin led the crowd of industry, media and friends gathered, singing “How Great is Our God.” During the Gold celebration, Tomlin thanked those in attendance: “At the end of time, I think all of us here aspire to look into the Father’s eyes and hear him say, ‘well done.’ That is what this is all about. We want to carry the gifts He’s given us well,” said Tomlin after receiving his Gold plaque. “I want you to hear from me today, for all of your excellent work, well done. The world is using these songs to glorify our magnificent God.” (from Hoganson Media)

Midas recording artist Jessie Daniels claims her first hit with debut single “The Noise.” The song spent a mere five weeks at radio before reaching No. 10, according to Radio & Records’ Christian Hit Radio chart. “The Noise” ties American Idol winner Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” as the fastest climbing Christian single from a debut female artist in 2006. Underwood’s song broke Top 10 on the Radio & Records Christian Adult Contemporary Monitored chart in its fifth week as well. Andrew Patton of Patton House Entertainment and team Daniels remarks, “We all know how tough it is to break a female artist at radio these days. But, a new female artist on a new Christian label is even harder. The success of this single shows the openness at radio to a great song when they see one.” Both Adult Contemporary and Christian Hit Radio stations nationwide are commenting on the explosive potential of Daniels’ young career as well. Mike Carrier, music director at KAFC-FM in Anchorage, Alaska gloats, “Combine Avril Lavine with Kelly Clarkson, add incredible lyrics from a Christian perspective and BAM, you’ve got 2006’s hottest new artist! This gal is going places, and her new song ‘The Noise’ is already poised to be her first No. 1! An instant add for KAFC!” Eighteen year-old Jessie Daniels hails from Long Island, N.Y. An actress since the age of eight, Daniels has appeared in multiple independent films as well as commercials for MTV and Lifetime. In 2003, she began writing and recording her first music project, a 6-song EP that released via her Web site. The EP garnered Daniels national attention, and she was asked to perform at Radio Disney concert events nationwide. Additional dates followed with artists including Seventh Day Slumber, Kutless, Paul Wright, and Across the Sky, among others. Daniels has been featured by more that 60 media outlets and is endorsed by Transitions Optical and Daisy Rock Girl Guitars. Her debut self-titled project on Midas Records is scheduled to release June 6. For more information, check out her official Web site at www.jessiedaniels.com. (from Savvy Media)

*Tuesday, February 21st, 2006*


NewSong
Winter Jam ’06 has become the must-see concert event of this year and the most successful Jam tour in the event’s 10-year history. This past weekend, Winter Jam ’06 surpassed 127,000 in paid attendance in just 17 shows, averaging nearly 7,500 per night, announced Troy VanLiere, partner in VanLiere-Wilcox, and manager for Integrity Music’s NewSong, which is hosting Winter Jam for the 10th straight year. The actual paid attendance during the first six weekends was 127,151. The tour’s biggest show to date came this past weekend in Greenville, SC with 13,556 in paid attendance. There are four more weekends, with 14 shows left in the tour. The remaining dates and locations can be found at www.newsongonline.com or www.jamtour.com. “Winter Jam has surprised all of us as it has surpassed everyone’s expectations,” said VanLiere. “I think it is safe to say that the combination of our best line-up of artists and great tour markets have made this the most successful Winter Jam ever. It appears that fans have truly made Winter Jam the show to see this winter!” In addition to NewSong, Winter Jam’s artist line-up includes Newsboys, tobyMac, ZOEgirl, Hawk Nelson, and Krystal Myers. The tour is visiting 31 cities every weekend from January 13 to March 19. In addition to the music, Winter Jam features "Sphere Of Fear," a motorcycle stunt show, and guest speaker, David Nasser, a youth evangelist and author of "A Call to Grace." NewSong members continue to measure the tour’s success by the lives changed at the Winter Jam concerts. In addition to an estimated 3,700 decisions made for Christ, more than 2,000 have made commitments to sponsor children in Holt International (www.holtintl.org) Children’s Services “Waiting Child Program,” a monthly sponsorship program that brings sustaining hope and support to orphaned, abandoned or vulnerable children awaiting full-time adoptions. Said Eddie Carswell of NewSong: “The entire tour is humbled every weekend by the thousands of people coming to the shows, and then even more floored, when hundreds of kids at each show stand up for a new life in Christ or to pledge their support to a great ministry like Holt.” (from Spinhouse PR)

SCC
Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, are offering a third children’s book from their well-known “Shaoey & Dot” picture book series. This third installment with Tommy Nelson Publishing is titled Shaoey & Dot: A Thunder And Lightning Bug Story and will hit shelves this April. This touching tale shares the story of a little girl named Shaoey, who is the star of the first two books of this series, and her ladybug friend named Dot, as together they help others conquer their fear of the dark. Dot teaches Shaoey, and the young readers, that the dark is just a place where the lights are off, and that God is everywhere, even in the dark. The tender story is sure to help the young reader with nighttime comfort while empowering them to have courage during scary times. A Thunder And Lightning Bug Story was written from the personal experience of Steven and Mary Beth and is sure to comfort any little one who is hesitant to turn out the lights. Filled with delightfully whimsical illustrations from Mary Beth’s brother, Jim Chapman, who also illustrated the first two books, the “Shaoey & Dot” picture book series truly is a family affair. The Shaoey and Dot series, named after the Chapman’s first adopted daughter Shaohannah Hope, nicknamed Shaoey (pronounced show-ee), was launched with the Chapman’s first picture book, Bug Meets Bundle, in November 2004. The second book of the series released last fall, titled A Christmas Miracle. The book will be offered as a hardcover for $10.99. ISBN # is 1-4003-0743-0. (from The M Collective)

Have you always wanted to get your indie band noticed? Think your band has what it takes to win over the masses? Well if they feel you rock hard enough, Flicker Records will play you on the Flicker Records Myspace player. That's right, rockstars, your band's song could be featured on the label's player for all your friends to see! To enter and vote, you must be become a FR Myspace friend (if you're not already), so don't forget to tell your groupies. A voting bulletin will be sent out once we have the bands entered in. Read the rules below to make sure you have what it takes to be the Myspace Indie Band winner. Enter NOW and have your friends vote your way to the top: www.flickerrecords.com/contest (from Flicker Records)

KJ-52
On the heels of his recent Dove Award nominations, BEC Recording’s own rapper extraordinaire KJ-52 will unveil KJ-52 Remixed on May 2nd. KJ-52 Remixed will hail 14 hit songs from the four previous releases including two brand new songs, “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Washed Up.” Other fan favorites such as “Dear Slim part 2,” “Are You Real,” “Mullet Song,” and “Fivetweezy” are also slated for the remix table. Jeremy Camp, Jessy Ribordy of Falling Up, and Pigeon John will all make guest appearances. The album will be remixed by Tedd T. (tobyMac, ZOEgirl), Joseph Kisselburgh of Falling Up, and KJ himself, with collaborative efforts from Liquid Beats, DJ Morphiziz and many more. KJ-52 received two nominations at the recent Gospel Music Association press conference announcing nominees for the upcoming 37th Annual GMA Music Awards. Behind The Musik (BEC/Uprok Records) KJ-52’s 2005 album release, was given a nod in the “Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year” category. The song “Are You Real” from that same recording was also listed among the “Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year” runnings. KJ-52 won the 2004 Dove Award for “Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year” with his album It’s Pronounced Five-Two. Winners will be announced at the GMA Music Awards on Wednesday, April 5th. KJ-52, who has toured with the likes of Kutless, Disciple, and Falling Up is currently on a 30-city run as part of The Anthem Tour with Superchick and Seventh Day Slumber. He will also be performing at the Acquire The Fire conferences and Dome Events throughout 2006. With six albums to his credit, KJ has amassed over 500,000 records sold to date. He was also just recently voted the favorite “Hip Hop Artist” in the CCM Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards. Look for KJ at every major festival this summer. For more information check out KJ-52’s official artist website at www.kj52.com (from LB PR)

RSJ
Grammy Award winning rocker, Rebecca St. James read Saturday's New York Times front page feature, "Chad's Oil Riches, Meant For Poor, Are Diverted" (Feb. 18 edition) with particular emotion. Just back from a mission to Rwanda and Kenya as part of her work as a global spokesperson for child sponsorship organization Compassion International, St. James has seen with her own eyes the effects of "aid" that is actually working in Africa. In contrast to the diversion of funds in Chad as reported by the New York Times, St. James is quick to point to the work of Compassion she just witnessed. "The Compassion program can be tracked as a reliable process that guarantees the monies are not diverted to corrupt regimes or taken up in overhead. I saw firsthand the funds actually reaching and being utilized in devastated communities and making a difference in the lives of children," she noted from her current concert tour stop in California. St. James added that through Compassion 82% of all support earmarked for the world's neediest children throughout Africa and other developing parts of the world, actually reaches the children for whom it is intended with more than 650,000 children currently receiving tangible benefits globally. The successful implementation of aid comes through partnerships on the ground with indigenous Christian churches-a network of more than 3,100 of them representing more than 65 denominations. Her experience in Africa is one she won't soon forget.. "It was one of the most powerful moments in my life to not only see the work of Compassion's people in action but to see how the children are actually being benefited on an everyday basis. In Kenya, we visited a slum area that represented the most intense poverty I've seen anywhere in world. In the middle of this desolation Compassion has built a project-a school filled with wonderful, joyful children that are being given love and hope," she noted. Equally moving to the Australian born singer was seeing first hand the implementation of Rwanda's ‘No Revenge Policy' a policy seemingly in direct counterpoint to current world headlines. "Rwanda as the world knows is a country where major genocide took place with neighbor killing neighbor and even family members killing family members just ten years ago. It was a country that was destroyed from the inside with violence that left over 1 million people dead. Now you sense a change has taken place." "What I learned on my visit was that Rwanda's current President-who is a Christian-has instituted a national policy of 'no revenge.' People are actually not allowed by law to seek revenge. They've adopted a policy of forgiveness that has allowed a huge healing in their country to take place and allowed an open door for an aid organization of integrity like Compassion to make a profound contribution." (from Morning Star PR)

RKT Music President Don Donahue recently announced the signing of The Turning to the recently-formed imprint. The four-piece modern rock band, which is originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., will release its debut CD, Learning to Lose on June 6. Donahue said, “We’ve been talking with The Turning for almost a year now, and I’m continually impressed by their ability to write memorable, radio-ready songs with timely and challenging messages. Jacob, Matt, Jeremy and Jeff are incredibly hard workers who want to really spend time with their audience and are always working to improve their already solid musical gifts.” The Turning formed in Chattanooga, TN, five years ago when members Matt Warren (guitar), Jeremy Little (bass) and Jeff Goff (drums) began playing and writing music in each others’ garages. Raised in the church or on the mission field, all three were serving on worship teams in their respective churches but were looking to do more with their musical gifts. When it came time to pursue a lead singer, Warren spoke with his best friend, singer/songwriter Jacob McGinniss, who was studying music business at Middle Tennessee State University. McGinniss’ engaging melodies, introspective lyrics and driving vocal combined perfectly with the tight, rock instrumentation the other members were already perfecting. Together, The Turning creates thought-provoking modern rock music that works in an acoustic camp setting or an electric club environment, giving the band multiple avenues to reach a diverse audience. According to the band’s own mission statement, “The Turning exists to influence people through our music and our daily lives to love God passionately and to love others intentionally. We seek to lead both young people and adults to find freedom by tearing down the walls that imprison our hearts, to be released from the fear of rejection because of our insecurities, and to find comfort in allowing others to feel the weight of who God made us to be.” “Out of My Hands,” the first radio single from Learning to Lose, is scheduled to release to Christian CHR/AC radio on March 17. Signed to Nightvision Artist Management and the Greg Oliver Agency for booking, The Turning plans to announce Spring and Summer 2006 tour dates soon. For more information, visit www.turningmusic.com and www.rktmusic.com. (from Rocketown Records)

New entertainment company Indelible Creative Group announces its first artist signing, The Longing. The four-member band will release its national self-titled debut May 9. Fronted by award-winning songwriter Jason Ingram, The Longing additionally comprises three accomplished musicians whose credits include a range of touring, production and studio work. Guitarist Dave May (ZoeGirl, Stacie Orrico, David Crowder Band), drummer Drew Lashock (Paul Colman), and bassist David Childress (Joy Williams, Rebecca St. James, 4Him) felt the corresponding call to bring their gifts home and serve the local church. Members of The Longing regularly provide music for Fellowship Bible Church in Franklin, Tenn. Ingram comments, “Over the years, I’ve become more aware of my absolute inadequacy to approach God, much less lead others there. What’s amazing is how God accepts our worship, broken as it may be, and actually delights in it. That truth leaves me with a longing to create something beautiful for Him.” It is out of this desire Ingram and his bandmates are recording an album which seeks to capture God’s life-transforming grace message on tape. Co-produced by Tom Laune (Phil Keaggy, Point of Grace, Michael W. Smith), the project is designed to offer listeners a vessel through which they may come to a place of complete submission before God. President and co-founder of Indelible Creative Group, Chris Thomason elaborates, “There are few things more inspiring than music that compels us to live with passion and clarity. This is how The Longing draws us in—by creating powerful music that encourages us toward a lifestyle relationship with God.” Additional information on The Longing’s May 9 release will be available in the coming weeks. The record will be distributed by Word Distribution at CBA retail and WEA Distribution in the general market. For more information, visit: www.TheLonging.org. (from Savvy Media)

Demon Hunter
Demon Hunter has announced their US Tour in support of their latest album, The Triptych. The tour will feature special guests Zao, Spoken, August Burns Red and Becoming The Archetype! The tour will be four weeks long and will commence on June 14, 2006. It will include stops at Cornerstone in Illinois and Lifefest. Stay tuned to demonhunter.net for more information on specific cities and venues... (from DemonHunter.net; Thanks to Jesse T.)

INSP Network
The Inspiration Network is announcing the fifth season of its popular Christian Artists Talent Search (C.A.T.S.). Now an established platform for discovering new talent, C.A.T.S. brings together 64 finalists from around the country to perform on national television with the winner receiving a national recording contract from Point of Grace Entertainment record label. "During the first four years of C.A.T.S., we have witnessed extraordinary talent with entries from every part of the country," said Fred Shaheen, Senior Producer. "We believe that in the fifth season, we will continue to see the best Christian talent the country has to offer, and C.A.T.S. provides them the platform to showcase their talent." Shaheen said that entries will be accepted from soloists and groups until April 21, 2006. Submissions from all forms of Christian music are acceptable, including: Gospel, Contemporary, Southern Gospel, Rock, and Rap/Hip Hop. To qualify, contestants must enter a CD or audiocassette with two Christian songs, two copies of a recent photo, and two copies of their biography. All entrants must be 15 years of age or older by April 21, 2006. Finalists will compete in televised competitions that will be produced at INSP's studios in Charlotte, NC. The fifth season of C.A.T.S. will begin airing in January 2007. Music industry professionals and celebrity judges from the Christian entertainment genre will judge the performances and select a winner from the 64 finalists. Contestants can visit www.insp.com to sign up and view rules and regulations for the competition. Additional information is also available by calling 704.561.7955. (from INSP)

Pillar
Pillar's Kalel sent out the following update on the band last week... "We have some exciting news for you all! There are going to be two new additions to the Pillar family this summer. Lester and his wife are expecting their first baby in June. My wife and I will be having our second in July. Please keep our wives and the babies in your prayers. So what have we been up to lately? Not playing very many shows that's for sure. We have been locked up in the recording studio working hard on our new record which we hope to release this summer. Lester and Noah did an amazing job with the drums and guitars. I actually just finished tracking all my bass parts earlier today and I fly home tomorrow. One of my favorite new songs so far had a working title of "Samurai" because the bass line was influenced by the movies The Last Samurai and Hero. I love the chorus Rob has for it. I think it might really be called "Wake Me Up." Rob was able to get into the studio a few days last week and tracked vocals for a song called "Last Goodbye." It turned out killer. Our first 5/4 time signature, great lyrics, and counter melodies. Rob will be back in the studio tomorrow to start hammering out more vocals. Please pray for him to have a continuous flow of inspiration as he is working. So you know- we haven't decided on a title for the new album yet. We will continue to post regular journal entries of our studio progress on www.pillarmusic.com and www.myspace.com/pillar. Thank you for your prayers and support!" (from Pillar)

*Friday, February 17th, 2006*


SCC
This just in... so tune in tonight! Be sure to watch Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" this evening! Steven Curtis Chapman will be a featured guest on tonight's program. Tune in as Steven will talk about he and his family's adoption advocacy and career. Hannity & Colmes airs at 9-10pm EST, 8-9pm CST. Check your local listings for correct air time. (from Steven Curtis Chapman / The M Collective)

*Wednesday, February 15th, 2006*


Bebo Norman
Bebo Norman just recorded "Sometimes By Step" for WOW Worship 2006. This Rich Mullins song actually is a duet with Rich and Bebo. The new single is set to tide fans over until Bebo's new record releases in the Fall. Fans can begin requesting "Sometimes By Step" from your radio stations this Friday, February 17th! Bebo is headed out on the road for "An Evening of Compassion Tour" with Caedmon's Call and will be accompanied by Geoff Moore, John David Webster and Aaron Shust. For tour dates, visit www.bebonorman.com (from Bebo Norman)

Family Force 5
Can't possibly wait til March 28th for Family Force 5's debut Business Up Front, Party In The Back? Well you're in luck! Yesterday, the band released the 12-track album on iTunes for purchase and download! The actual CD won't hit stores until the end of March, so here's your chance to get the new music over a month in advance! For the JfH PReview of Business Up Front, Party In The Back, click here! (from iTunes; thanks to Rufus)

Building429
Christian rock band Building 429 announces the launch of a new Myspace promotion coined "Take The Journey - Five Weeks to March 14th." The promotion allows fans an exclusive video behind-the-scenes look into the making of the band's new album Rise including band member spotlights, the stories behind the writing of each of the songs on the album, early listens to the full album, and blogs from the band members. Each Monday, leading up to March 14th, the band's myspace page will feature a new band member spotlight and two songs from the album. The song player will include exclusive listens to each of the featured songs and a 30 second clip of "fearless," the band's first radio single from Rise. To receive the full stream of "fearless," you can register for Building 429's mailing list. By registering for their list, you not only receive the stream, but you are also automatically registered to win a Video iPod to be given away later this year. You can visit the band's MySpace at www.myspace.com/building429. For the JfH PReview of Rise, click here! (from Word Label Group)

Petra
Christian rock pioneer Petra brings 33 years of music and ministry to a close with Farewell, the exclusive Nashville tour stop DVD featuring over 65 minutes of live footage from this groundbreaking band. Fans from all over the world flocked to pay homage to the b and and take part in the once-in-a-lifetime reunion concert, which drew the likes of Petra alumni Greg X. Volz and John Lawry to the stage. Recorded on October 4th, 2005, Farewell features Petra classics, emerging worship favorites and behind the scenes footage from the concert. DVD bonus material includes a special fan appreciation segment with the "Petheads," an interview with newsboys’ frontman Peter Furler, in attendance at the show, and up-close-and-personal goodbyes from the band members. “Petra is undoubtedly the founder of Christian rock, and we felt it was important to have Greg, John and Bob perform together again on the same stage,” says Inpop Records President Dale Bray. “This DVD will be a true collector’s item for the millions of Petra fans who have been impacted by the music over the past 30 years,” he concludes. Last August, Petra announced its decision to retire the band at the year’s end. Throughout the fall, the band toured tirelessly to thank fans around the world for three decades of love and support. The Tennessee tour stop was especially meaningful to the band, as past Petra members joined the current lineup for a night of music and memories. Farewell the DVD releases March 7th! (from Inpop Records)

Amy Grant
Best-selling, multiple GRAMMY and Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter Amy Grant recently received her sixth career GRAMMY Award for her newest project, Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith. Additionally, Grant contributed material for two other GRAMMY Award-winning projects, Songs From The Neighborhood - The Music Of Mister Rogers, and Marlo Thomas & Friends: Thanks & Giving All Year Long. The winners of the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on February 8th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Pock of Ages, Grant’s twentieth album, won the GRAMMY Award for “Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album.” The project made its first week sales debut at #1 on both the Christian and the Christian Overall SoundScan charts, and entered Billboard’s Top 200 sales chart at #42. Rock of Ages follows the Gold certification of Grant’s first hymns project, Legacy…Hymns & Faith, and since its release last year, has received rave reviews including being picked as People Magazine’s “Critic’s Choice” and given a “four-out-of-four” star rating. Produced by Vince Gill and Brown Bannister, Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith contains twelve classic hymns and worship songs, including a “Rock of Ages” duet with Gill, along with a newly recorded version “El Shaddai,” which was named “A Song of the Century” by the RIAA in 2001. (from Word Label Group)

Christian music’s newest artist-worshiper continues receiving media acclaim with several recent television appearances. Jaime Jamgochian has performed songs from her latest CD, Reason To Live, on CTN’s Nashville Bridges, Family Net’s At Home Live!, Daystar’s Celebration with Marcus & Joni Lamb, and TBN’s Dino Show. Jamgochian is already getting great early support from radio on her second single, “Love Rains Down,” as it received a Most Added mention in Radio & Records this week with adds from KCBI/Dallas, American Family Network, CDR Radio Network KCRN/San Angelo, KYCC/Stockton, to name a few. While in Dallas, Jamgochian stopped by the KLTY studio for a visit and also did a live on-air interview with KCBI. (from Bozeman Media)

EMI CMG
EMI CMG Distribution and Gaither Music Group have agreed to extend a decade-plus relationship that has generated sales of more than 20 million albums, with a new, long-term agreement. The extension was announced today by Greg Bays, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for EMI CMG Distribution, and Barry Jennings, President of Gaither Music Group. Under the new agreement, EMI CMG Distribution continues to hold exclusive rights for worldwide Christian and general market retail distribution of all Gaither Music Group audio and video products, including the popular Homecoming series and music from artists such as The Gaither Vocal Band, Bill & Gloria Gaither, Ernie Haas and Signature Sound, Lynda Randle, The Isaacs, Guy Penrod and more. "EMI CMG Distribution has been honored to partner with Gaither Music Group for more than 12 years and is grateful for the confidence Bill Gaither and his team have expressed with this distribution agreement extension," said Bill Hearn, President and CEO of EMI Christian Music Group (EMI CMG). "We look forward to the next chapter of our partnership and predict many rewarding years ahead." "EMI CMG has been a tremendous force behind Gaither Music, helping us propel our music into exciting new places where we may never have taken it on our own," added Jennings. "Their commitment to our vision as a company and their long history of excellence are two great reasons we are thankful to continue this working relationship into the future." Together, Gaither Music Group and EMI CMG have sold more than 20 million albums and 14 million videos since the two companies aligned in 1994. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has awarded more than 75 gold and more than 40 platinum certifications for Homecoming videos, including multi-platinum certifications for "Old Friends," "Ryman Gospel Reunion" and "Turn Your Radio On." "The EMI CMG Distribution team continues to be dedicated to providing Gaither Music Group with outstanding sales and service. Looking at the new products coming out in the next few months, we have a lot to be excited about, and look forward to a long and productive relationship," said Bays. (from Spinhouse PR)

*Monday, February 13th, 2006*


POD
P.O.D. has made an official announcement regarding their new spring tour we mentioned last week... "We know that you guys are dying to know about the Spring Tour and the bands they have chosen. Back in 1999 P.O.D. went on a groundbreaking tour that has been talked about for years. The Warriors Tour, a tour dedicated to the fanbase that had always stood by them and supported them the "Warriors." Now 7 years later The Warriors Tour is back with round 2, "Guilty by Association" here is the phenomenal lineup: Pillar, The Chariot, and Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster." Dates for The Warrior Tour 2 will be announced soon... (from P.O.D.)

MercyMe
Congrats to two members of MercyMe who just recently celebrated newfound fatherhood! Jack Philip Bryson was born to MercyMe keyboardist Jim Bryson and wife Misti on January 19th, weighing 6lbs, 6oz at 19 1/2" long! Levi Troy Shaffe was born to MercyMe drummer Robby Shaffer and his wife Margaret on January 23rd, weighing 6 lbs., 1 oz at 19” long! Congratulations guys! (from The M Collective)

FM Static
Last month, TFK frontman with shared vocal duties in side project FM Static eluded to the fact that the long awaited followup project from the band has been completed! According the January 12th blog from Trevor on the Thousand Foot Krutch Myspace page, we should be expecting a new FM Static album really soon. A post a few days earlier on FM Static's Myspace reveals a June/July targeted release with a video and single beforehand! Stay tuned... (from myspace.com/thousandfootkrutch / myspace.com/fmstatic)

Showbread is currently in the studio recording their new record Age Of Reptiles for Solid State Records. Drummer Frank Lipari has recently parted ways from the band and former drummer Marvin Reilly will be performing the drums for the record but will not be rejoining the band. Expect Age Of Reptiles to hit store shelves this Summer! (from myspace.com/showbread)

Kevin Max
Kevin Max was in Nashville last week as part of a promotional stop for his latest CD The Imposter. Kevin taped an episode of the national Christian television program Bridges, airing February 24th on CTN (check local listings), and an upcoming artist profile feature for JCTV. The lengthy interviews touch on a variety of subjects including DC Talk, fatherhood and family, and Kevin's solo career. The Imposter was released by Nothern Records in November, and is in stores now. Until the end of February, The Imposter is being showcased and is at a special price at all Border's Bookstores in the United States. There will be a few instore stops during Kevin's Spring tour so stay tuned! For more information on Kevin Max, visit the official website at www.kevinmax.com. (from Nashville Publicity / KevinMax.com)

*Friday, February 10th, 2006*


Audio A
To expand on yesterday's top story... Audio Adrenaline's eighth studio album, Until My Heart Caves In, earned the band its second consecutive GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Gospel Album yesterday at the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Released Aug. 30 to rave reviews, the album became the band's sixth consecutive studio record to be nominated for a GRAMMY. Audio Adrenaline's first GRAMMY win came in 2004 for its previous album, Worldwide. As CCM Magazine in September predicted, the award winning Until My Heart Caves In, produced by Jay Joyce, is destined to “certainly turn some heads.” Christian Music Planet (Sept/Oct) said that the album calls for “repeat listens” and Campus Life (Nov/Dec) said the album offered “exciting rock anthems and passionate praise for God’s love.” Featuring the multi-format hit single “King,” the album also caught the attention of ESPN, who used the album’s rousing opener, "Clap Your Hands," on the network’s "Ultimate Highlight Reel" in October. “This GRAMMY is especially significant for us because it’s our last year together as a band, and it’s about doing what we love to do,” says Audio Adrenaline frontman Mark Stuart. “Although it’s our last year, it’s not all ending here. We will continue on with our efforts for Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project.” Audio Adrenaline announced last month that due to Stuart’s ongoing vocal challenges, AudioA will add a final chapter to its substantial career with Adios, slated to release later this year. After 15-years of music and mission, the band is choosing to say “adios,” offering one more nod to its considerable fan base with the album and select live events. For a photo of the guys with their award, click here! (from Hoganson Media)

CeCe Winans
The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards were held on last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where CeCe Winans won her sixth and seventh Grammy’s for the following: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for Purified, and Best Gospel Performance for her song "Pray." Last December, CeCe Winans helped announce the nominations for the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Gotham Hall in New York City. Sharing the hosting duties with Winans were Natasha Bedingfield, Big & Rich, Mariah Carey, Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Carly Simon, and Sway. Winans took home the Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album GRAMMY for CeCe Winans in 2001 and in 1996 for Andrae Crouch (Various Artists). In 1995, she won Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, Alone In His Presence, as well as in 1991 for Different Lifestyles as BeBe & CeCe Winans. In 1989 Winans, won Best Gospel Vocal Performance/Female for the single “Don’t Cry,” and in 1987 for “For Always.” (from The M Collective)

Watch Michael W. Smith on CNN's Larry King Live TONIGHT, February 10, 2006 at 9 p.m. EST. Smith will talk on his near drug overdose, nearly losing his life, and finding God. For more information, please visit www.cnn.com/larryking (from Essential Records)

Pillar
Pillar's video for "Frontline" will be aired on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball this Saturday, February 11 at 10pm (ET). Make sure you know your time zones. Fans are suggested to jump on their email accounts and myspace pages to tell all their friends about this. Once they show the video, go to MTV's message board and talk about it. Also, Pillar will be joining the likes of Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster and The Chariot for P.O.D.'s upcoming The Warrior Tour 2! More info to come... (from Pillar, P.O.D.; thanks to Xboxgamer411)

Caedmons Call
Wanna hear five new full-length songs from Caedmon's Call's new album In the Company of Angels 2: The World Will Sing? All you have to do is send 5 friends an automated email which talks about the new album being released March 7th. Once the emails has been sent, you'll be redirected to our exclusive Sneak Preview page. Fans who participate will also be automatically entered to win a personal phone call with Cliff Young from Caedmon’s Call! And if that wasn't enough, the band will even be calling random fans to get their opinion of the record, so don't be surprised if a Houston area code shows up on your Caller ID! Visit www.inthecompanyofangels2.com for more information! (from Essential Records)

*Thursday, February 9th, 2006*


Audio A
Audio Adrenaline took home their second Grammy win last night for their latest (and final) studio album Until My Heart Caves In! The album won for "Best Rock Gospel Album," over the likes of Day Of Fire, Grits, The Cross Movement, and Fresh I.E. Other notable CCM winners included Amy Grant for her album Rock Of Ages...Hymns & Faith in the Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album category and Casting Crown's Lifesong in the Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album category. (from Jesusfreakhideout.com / Grammy.com)

delirious
Delirious? recently traveled to Hyderabad, India to join dynamic evangelist Joyce Meyer and India’s own Sounds of the Nations for one of the largest Christian events in India. More than 1.2 million people attending heard Delirious? play songs from its widely acclaimed new album, The Mission Bell, as well as songs from its significant repertoire of international hits. With as many as 400,000 people attending each day of the four-day gathering, hundreds of thousands made commitments to faith in Jesus Christ. “The incredible gift that Delirious? brings to an event like this is immeasurable,” says Joyce Meyer. “The ability to go from completely rock'n down the house to absolute pure worship is awesome! It was an honor to share the stage with them and look forward to doing more in the future! India will never ever be the same!” Delirious? is also being recognized for its song on the Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which received a GMA Music Award nomination for Special Event Album of the Year. (from Hoganson Media)

Todd Agnew
World Vision presents a high profile cast for the upcoming 40-city The Name of Jesus Tour that kicks off March 3 in St. Louis, Missouri. Co-headlining the bill are Christian chart-toppers, Todd Agnew and Big Daddy Weave, along with opening artists Nate Sallie and Jason Morant. The concept for the tour is “one night about the One Name that changes everything.” Pamela Muse, director of artist associates for World Vision, comments, “Todd Agnew and Big Daddy Weave are so transparent and authentic when it comes to letting Christ shine through. We believe that this tour will challenge, inspire, and even confront individuals with the claims of the Cross like never before. Without a doubt, this is one of the top tours going coast to coast this Spring.” Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave echoes Muse’s enthusiasm, “When your tour is called ‘The Name of Jesus’ Tour, you want to be sure that the guys who share the stage are solid. We know that Todd and his guys, Nate Sallie, and Jason Morant have hearts that will point people to Jesus.” Todd Agnew concurs, “A lot of thought and prayer has gone into this tour. Mike and I enjoy our time offstage almost as much as we enjoy sharing the stage. We’ve already spent hours wrestling with these ideas, and we’re really looking forward to bringing these ideas to life on tour.” (from Bozeman Media)

Want a phone call from P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sondoval? You can enter now for a chance to win a phone call from Sonny, by joining the wireless list by entering your cell phone number online at: http://www.payableondeath.com/wireless/! By joining the list, you will receive periodic updates about tour announcements, TV appearances, and more! (from PayableOnDeath.com)

David Phelps
Premier Christian Cruises, the nation's leading packager of Christian-themed events at sea, has begun this week taking bookings for cabin space on their much anticipated second annual "Girl's Get-A-Way Cruise" scheduled to set sail November 9th from Jacksonville, Florida. Onboard for the sailing will be a full shipload of top Christian music artists and comedians, nationally known speakers, specialty workshops and seminars, and the traditional promise of sun and fun on a five day-four night cruise package to the Bahamas. Following the sold-out success with the "Girl's Get-A-Way" theme in its' maiden voyage in '05, Premier has literally doubled the cruise package for this year's participants, anticipating a fast sell-out of the 1,500 plus passenger capacity onboard. "We had demands for cabins so far in excess of what we had in inventory on the first Girl's Get-A-Way Cruise that we have opted to charter the entire ship this year-a fact that's also allowed us to literally double the amount of talent we can present, and the number of shipboard activities we can offer," noted Roy Morgan of Premier. Cruise goers will be treated to luxury at sea provided by Carnival Cruise Line's ship, Celebration. The ship will sail from Jacksonville on a November 9th-13th course that will include extended port stops in both Freeport and Nassau. Additionally, a full day at sea will be enjoyed either in total relaxation, or participating in an ambitious round of shipboard seminars and workshops geared to appeal to women of all ages. Talent for this year's cruise includes both top name and emerging newcomers in Christian entertainment. Musical guest artists set to perform include multi-platinum Grammy and Dove Award winner Sandi Patty, a recent inductee into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame; 2005 Dove Award winning group, Selah; newcomer Kristy Starling, winner of NBC-TV's "Today's Superstar" competition; former Gaither Vocal Band member, David Phelps who has launched his own highly successful solo career; and Brother's Keeper, currently impacting Christian radio with their latest album, Beyond Beautiful. For more info and information on booking cabin space for the "Girl's Get-A-Way Cruise 2006," call toll free: 1-888-999-1099 or go to http://www.premierchristiancruises.com (from Morningstar PR)

Eleventyseven
Flicker Records’ debut punk band eleventyseven invites listeners into its whimsical world of quirky, yet meaningful, pop-punk on And the Land of Fake Believe, releasing March 21. In conjunction with the album’s launch, eleventyseven will appear on a 30+-city tour with headliner Superchic[k], beginning late January. The group’s first label project is intentional in its bi-polar tone. While maintaining the high-energy, fast-paced sound signature to punk music, eleventyseven lyrically touches on teenage heartbreak and other coming-of-age concerns. And the Land of Fake Believe is a unique balance of reckless abandon and honest inquiry. “Our music makes fun of almost everything,” comments frontman and primary songwriter Matthew Langston. “I look back at experiences I’ve had and have a huge laugh. But joking aside, we’re very serious about our purpose. One of the major life themes adopted by this band is learning from our own mistakes. I have made many. And the weight of that is enough to drive me out of my mind sometimes. That’s why it’s important to laugh, to learn to live with joy in forgiveness.” Eleventyseven will take its show on the road this January through March as special guest on Inpop recording artist Superchic[k]’s “This is Your Anthem Tour,” alongside Seventh Day Slumber and KJ-52. The tour, which opened in Cincinnati on Jan. 27, will visit nineteen states as well as Canada. For a complete itinerary, go to www.superchickonline.com. From our PReview of And The Land of Fake Believe, click here! (from Savvy Media)

Big Idea
Whether traveling in the car or in the comfort of your own home, gather the family, turn up the volume and sing your heart out with VeggieTales' Bob and Larry! Just in time for the Easter holiday, Big Idea, Inc. announces two family-friendly CD releases, A Very Veggie Easter and VeggieTales: Worship Songs, available in stores everywhere on March 7, 2006. Both CDs encourage family togetherness in a meaningful and memorable way. In addition to Bob, Larry and the rest of the VeggieTales crew, special guest Matthew Ward can be heard on A Very Veggie Easter, while renowned worship leader Matt Redman lends his voice to VeggieTales: Worship Songs. The CDs are being distributed by EMI CMG Distribution and are priced at $10.99 SRP each. (from Hoganson Media)

*Tuesday, February 7th, 2006*


Kutless
BEC/Tooth & Nail Records band Kutless is starting off the new year with what they do best - a new tour. Having played to over 1.6 million people in the past 4 years, Kutless aims to increase that number by headlining their first rock tour since Sea Of Faces in the spring of 2004. The Hearts Of The Innocent tour features headliner Kutless, with Falling Up, Disciple, and Stellar Kart. The tour, beginning on February 23rd, will highlight Kutless’ new album titled Hearts of the Innocent that returns the band to their rock-n-roll beginnings. Hearts Of The Innocent releases nationwide on March 21st. Kutless has enjoyed widespread success since their first release in 2002, selling over 600,000 units, touring relentlessly, and releasing 8 radio hits. This year they have been nominated for three GMA Music Awards including Group of the Year. (from Big Machine Media)

Hyper Static Union
Rocketown Records President Don Donahue recently announced the formation of a new label imprint, RKT Music, and the imprint’s first release, Lifegiver, from four-piece modern rock band Hyper Static Union. Unlike Rocketown, whose primary focus serves singer/songwriters, RKT will seek out touring bands with strong artistic statements, active fan bases and great songs to reach a diverse demographic. HSU was discovered by members of Grammy-winning band Third Day, who signed HSU to their own Consuming Fire Productions and brought the album to RKT to market and distribute. HSU’s debut, Lifegiver, is set for a May 9, 2006 street date. Donahue and Rocketown Records/RKT founder and chairman Michael W. Smith are thrilled to be working with Consuming Fire Productions on this release. Donahue said, “From our beginning when we were all at Reunion to touring partnerships to the Exodus album, Michael and I have enjoyed a decade of friendship with and admiration for the guys in Third Day. To now be working together on a band with as much potential as Hyper Static Union is truly exciting.” Producer Mac Powell (Third Day/Consuming Fire Productions) said, "Hyper Static Union is unlike any other band out there. Shawn Lewis is hands down the most talented guy I know. And still, it's not just one of those bands with a main guy surrounded by whoever just to fill in the holes. Each guy brings such a vital part that adds to an exciting sound and live performance. People can expect to be rocked by the music and challenged as well by a lyric that is not compromised or stale. This is something totally original." Hailing from the Northwest, Hyper Static Union formed in 1998, and its members have spent the past eight years honing their craft and creating a style of music that’s one of a kind. Band members Shawn Lewis (guitar/vocals), Ray Burnham (drums), Bryan Albrechtson (guitar) and Mike Jackson (bass) first met in high school, and the four indicate a variety of musical influences, everything from Seal to Sting to Sade to Steely Dan. But their extensive musical backgrounds in jazz, modern rock and funk meld into a unique style all their own, a sound that defies any one description. Excellence—both musically and lyrically—is the common thread that holds everything together for Hyper Static Union. Hyper Static Union frontman Shawn Lewis said, “Ultimately we are about the craft of songwriting, and occasionally we are able to incorporate all things funk and rock into a sensible, three-and-a-half minute package laced with a passionate melody. We feel inclined to produce music that requires people to ‘tune-in’ mentally and spiritually. We want the audience to consider certain things about their salvation, the state of the world, their hearts and their relationships.” (from RKT Music)

Former Forefront Records rock band Steve has called it quits. The UK rock/worship band announced late last month that they have decided to pary ways. The band's official website SteveRock.com announced, "It is with a great sense of sadness yet also anticipation that we announce the ngm band ‘steve’ has come to an end. The four band members (Neil, Lee, Joe & Paul) have over the last six months been wrestling with the future of the band and have now taken this difficult yet exciting decision. 'The last 10 years have been an incredible journey for us as a band – we’ve been to so many places across the UK and the World, met literally thousands of fantastic people and have seen God use us in so many different ways. We’re so grateful for all that we’ve been able to achieve through God opening the right doors at the right time. The new journey we are on is yet another opportunity to follow God and see what is behind the next door.' - Neil, Lee, Joe & Paul. The decision to bring the band to an end has been taken prayerfully and with the support of ngm. The relationships within the band are as great as ever and their connection with ngm remains through continued friendship and working together on other projects..." For the full press release and more info on Steve, visit SteveRock.com. (from SteveRock.com; thanks to M. Mayne)

The Rocket Summer
The Rocket Summer was the #1 Mover on Yahoo’s! Buzz Index last week! The Yahoo! Buzz Index counts the total number of people searching for specific subjects. Movers are the search terms that have increased their buzz score over the previous day's score by the greatest percentage. The Rocket Summer also launched a new music video for the song “Brat Pack” last week. You can check it out at: http://music.yahoo.com/ar-302284-videos--The-Rocket-Summer Finally, TRS will be hitting the road with Relient K and Maxeen on ‘The Matt Hoopes Birthday Tour’ in cities nationwide starting February 15th. Tour dates and updates can also be found at http://www.therocketsummer.com. (from The M Collective)

Acclaimed Word Records’ group, Point Of Grace, was a featured performer at the 54th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. on February 2. Co-chaired by Senators Norm Coleman and Mark Pryor, speakers for the event included King Abdullah II of Jordan, U2’s Bono and President George W. Bush. Pictured (l-r) with keynote speaker Bono (center) are Point Of Grace members Shelley Breen, Denise Jones, Heather Payne and Leigh Cappillino. The National Prayer Breakfast is an event organized every February in Washington DC by the conservative Christian organization, The Fellowship Foundation. Established in 1953, the event's attendance has increased to more than 3,500 dignitaries from many nations. (from Word Records)

Spring Hill Worship, the worship recording and publishing imprint of Spring Hill Music Group, has just released a new line of worship products to stores everywhere. The line, called Echoes Around the World, captures thriving worship experiences taking place regularly at various churches throughout the country. The Echoes Around the World series launches with six releases from the following congregations: Champions Centre (Tacoma, Wash.); Brownsville Church (Pensacola, Fla.); Second Baptist Church--featuring the eleven eleven band (Houston, Texas); Hope Presbyterian-with Bruce Carroll (Memphis, Tenn.); Eagle Heights Baptist with Timothy Haynes (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ- featuring the Hallal Singers (Franklin, Tenn). "This is a true sound of worship music with no gimmicks--the sound of what churches actually sound like," stated Joe Beck, visionary for the Echoes Around the World line. "You can hear the diversity... the true passion of what's taking place out there. I was amazed when I began working with these congregations. Many times, we as an industry can come across as telling the church 'here's how to do worship music.' And while that can have merit, some of these churches are doing a great job already; and they are finding ways to make moving music." "You look at some of the 'indie' artists in the mainstream of music," continues Beck. "Some of the success stories are artists who were doing what they do, and someone realized, 'hey, this is good the way it is.' That's how this is...this is what these congregations are doing...it's working in their respective areas, and we believe others in various parts of the world will enjoy it as well!" (from Spring Hill Music)

Newsboys
One of North America’s largest and longest-running Christian music festivals, Kingdom Bound, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a stellar line-up of just announced headliners, including MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Third Day and Newsboys. Kingdom Bound 2006 will be held at Six Flags Darien Lake amusement park and camping resort, in Darien Center, New York (near Buffalo-Niagara Falls) August 6-9, 2006. The annual festival, which typically attracts 70,000 people from all over the United States and Canada, will feature over 40 popular recording artists and 30 speakers, to be announced at a later date. Kingdom Bound 2006 tickets are now on sale, and campsites are currently available for the duration of the event. Call 800-461-4485 or visit www.kingdombound.org for more information. (from Primo PR)

*Saturday, February 4th, 2006*


Matt Kearney
The Gospel Music Association has discovered an error in the nominees announced for the category of New Artist of the Year, a category voted on by the professional membership. The official criteria for this category states: “A New Artist is a soloist or group whose… first and only album in this configuration was released for General Distribution within the last two GMA Music Awards eligibility periods and who has not previously been a finalist as a musical artist for a Dove Award.” Because Shawn McDonald has released two recordings on Sparrow Records (Simply Nothing in August 2004 and Live in Seattle in April 2005), his nomination is invalid in the New Artist category. InPop Records’ Mat Kearney now joins Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Krystal Meyers, Stellar Kart and The Afters as a nominee for New Artist of the Year. The GMA regrets this error and has made the correction to the official online ballot. Final voting begins February 17 and ends March 10. The 37th GMA Music Awards will be presented on Wednesday, April 5 at the Grand Ole Opry House. Complete and corrected nominations list is online at www.gmamusicawards.com. (from Spinhouse PR)

*Friday, February 3rd, 2006*


GMA
Nominations were announced today for the 37th Annual GMA Music Awards (www.gmamusicawards.com) by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) with several new faces leading a field that features a strong showing by praise & worship and pop/rock artists. Nominations for the Dove Awards were announced at the Hilton Nashville Downtown in Music City by GospoCentric artist Kirk Franklin and ForeFront Records' Rebecca St. James, both of whom earned Dove nominations today and will host the GMA Music Awards show on April 5, 2006 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The awards show will then be televised in national syndication April 15 to May 21, 2006. Artist of the Year nominee Chris Tomlin and Group of the Year nominee David Crowder Band (both sixstepsrecords) lead the field of nominees with nine nods and six nominations respectively, proving modern praise & worship music is still going strong. Coincidently, both artists were pictured on the recent cover of the January issue of CCM Magazine, featured for their music's influence in the "Passion" collegiate worship movement. Female Vocalists of the Year nominees Natalie Grant (Curb Records) and Joy Williams (Reunion Records) helped to bring women back to the top of the Dove nominees with six a piece, while rock band Relient K (Gotee Records) also earned six nods thanks in part to its cross-over success in the last year. Several of 2005's biggest Dove Award winners returned with five nominations, including Switchfoot, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, Crabb Family and Israel Houghton. BarlowGirl and Third Day rounded out the field of artists with five nods a piece. "Each of these artists reflects the multi-dimensional impact that gospel music has in our culture and they deserve the recognition these Dove nominations will bring. Chris Tomlin and David Crowder Band make music that not only resonates with one person listening on the radio or on their iPod, but also connects with hundreds or thousands gathered in a worship setting," said John W. Styll, president of the GMA and executive producer of the GMA Music Awards. "It is also great to see Natalie Grant, Joy Williams and BarlowGirl bringing the female voice back to the forefront, alongside recent years' Dove favorites like Switchfoot, Casting Crowns, Relient K and Jeremy Camp." A complete list of nominations is available online at www.gmamusicawards.com or www.gospelmusic.org. (from Spinhouse PR)

Joy Williams
Nominations were announced Wednesday for the 37th Annual GMA Music Awards by the Gospel Music Association (GMA). Joy Williams was announced as one of the top nod-getters, racking up a total of six nominations for this year’s show. Up for one of the night’s biggest awards, Song of the Year, her chart-topping single “Hide” was written by Williams together with Jason Houser and Matthew West. “Hide” was the first of two No.1 singles from her Genesis project, also nominated for Pop/Contemporary Album. Williams shares that nomination with the project’s producer Matt Bronleewe. For the fourth consecutive year, Joy Williams is nominated in the prestigious Female Vocalist of the Year category. Since being nominated for New Artist of the Year in 2002, Joy Williams has now garnered eleven total Dove Award nominations. “Hide” also makes an appearance in the Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song category. Her other two nominations fall into the Special Event Album category for her contributions to the multi-artist Christmas projects Come Let Us Adore Him and WoW Christmas Green. The powerful anthem “Hide” set records for unprecedented first-week number of adds on the Christian AC format. In talking about the inspiration behind the hit song Joy explains, “Nearly a year ago, I had a counselor friend of mine point out how much I hid my pain away. And there is no way any of us will be able to heal our cracked hearts by spackling them ourselves. We need God to do that. We need others around us to encourage us in the process. This song is really an invitation for anyone who’s ever felt unlovable, disappointed, lonely…to link arms with another broken soul like mine, and to realize that you’re never alone.” (from Provident Label Group)

Sarah Kelly
With growing anticipation of her sophomore album release Where The Past Meets Today this May, Sarah Kelly’s image will be added to the Guitar Center’s outdoor photo exhibit this month in her hometown of Rockford, Illinois. In early 2005, Sarah Kelly's portrait, a 10 x 12 foot image, was officially added to the "World’s Largest Outdoor Photo Exhibit." The gallery can be found on the outside of 140 Guitar Center stores all around the country. Kelly’s photo, shot in Los Angeles by renowned photographer Maryanne Bilham, joined the likes of Carol King, Bonnie Raitt, and Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart. This latest addition in her hometown of Rockford Illinois will be unveiled at their new Guitar Center store on February 16th. Sarah Kelly made her 2004 debut with Take Me Away, which merited her a GRAMMY nomination in the “Best Rock Gospel Album” category and debuted at the No. 12 spot on the “Top Christian Albums” Soundscan chart, securing Kelly as the highest new artist debut in the 10-year history of Gotee Records, Kelly has shared the stage with several notable acts including Jars of Clay, Bebo Norman, and the Paul Colman Trio. For more information on Sarah Kelly, check out www.gotee.com or her official artist website at www.sarahkellymusic.com. (from LB PR)

Jonezetta
Tooth & Nail has added a new group to their roster. Jonezetta is a foursome from Mississippi, whose pulsating grooves of dance beats are like a dose of rock with an added shot of adrenaline. Garnering early comparisons to the likes of The Faint and Bloc Party, and extracting influences from The Cure to Tears for Fears, Jonezetta present a sense of urgency in both their songs and lyrics, an urgency that will be audible on their upcoming full-length. Click here to check out their MySpace page to take your first listen to your new favorite band. (from Tooth & Nail)

JoC
And the nominations continue... GRAMMY winning, multi-platinum band Jars of Clay received recognition for its Redemption Songs project, a creative and soul-stirring collection of recordings crafted from ancient 18th century hymn texts and spiritual songs. This project garnered the band a nomination in the Pop/Contemporary Album category. Furthermore, Jars of Clay also received nods in the Special Event Album category for three separate projects to which they contributed tracks: Come Let Us Adore Him, WoW Christmas Green, and the critically-acclaimed Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, a companion to the recently Oscar-nominated film. The four individual members of Jars of Clay have also each received nominations for their production work on each of the above mentioned albums. The Redemption Songs project was also mentioned in the Recorded Music Packaging category. While not an actual nod for the band, the design team of Stephanie McBrayer, Tim Parker and Jimmy Abegg each received nominations. Since debuting at No. 1 on Nielsen SoundScan, Redemption Songs has produced the No. 1 radio hit “God Will Lift Up Your Head,” while reaching No.14 on Apple iTunes’ Top 100 Albums chart. (from Provident Label Group)

Third Day
Platinum-selling, GRAMMY and Dove award winning rock band Third Day received a total of five nominations in various categories for the GMA Music Awards, and individual group members are recognized as writers of “Cry Out To Jesus,” nominated for the prestigious Song of the Year award. The ever-popular rock band from Atlanta received nods in the Rock/Contemporary Album category for Wherever You Are and for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song for the project’s lead single “Cry Out To Jesus.” The band also received a nomination for Long Form Music Video for its Live Wire concert video, and two nominations in the Special Event Album category for contributions to Come Let Us Adore Him and WoW Christmas Green. Additionally, each band member received individual nominations for songwriting and production for each of the previously mentioned Song and Album categories. Group member Mark Lee was also recognized as a writer on “Strong Tower,” nominated for Worship Song and recorded by Kutless. The band recently received its fourth consecutive GRAMMY nomination for the Live Wire CD, this on the heels of winning its second GRAMMY Award at last year’s ceremonies. Over the past decade, Third Day has amassed 22 No.1 radio singles and sold more than five million albums, with RIAA certifications including one Platinum record, one Platinum DVD, and five Gold records. They have garnered 23 career Dove Awards, two Grammy Awards (from five nominations), two consecutive American Music Award nods, multiple ASCAP honors, performed at the Republican National Convention, developed an historic partnership with Chevrolet, and developed a touring record second to none by playing for audiences reaching into the millions. (from Provident Label Group)

Kutless
Tooth & Nail band Kutless was nominated in the GMA Music Awards in three categories: Group of the Year; Worship Song of the Year for their #1 hit song “Strong Tower,” and Special Event Album of the Year for their collaboration on the Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack. The award show will be on April 5, 2006 with the airing station to be announced. To date, Kutless has sold nearly 650,000 copies of their last four albums combined and the band has played in front of 1.6 million people in the past few years. Their upcoming album Hearts of the Innocent will be in stores nationwide on March 26th. (from Big Machine Media)

Krystal Meyers
Krystal Meyers, Essential recording artist, has been recognized as one of the top new acts of 2005, with a nomination in the New Artist of the Year category. This nomination comes on the heels of tremendous radio, video and touring success in the past year. She also receives a second nomination for her contribution to the Come Let Us Adore Him project, recognized in the Special Event Album category. Her debut project’s first single, “The Way To Begin” spent six weeks atop the CHR chart this past year, with its follow-up single “My Savior” cracking the Top 10 and still climbing. After its release this past fall, Krystal’s song and video for “Anticonformity” began topping the charts. This past month the high-energy video rose to No. 1 on Gospel Music Channel’s Top Pop Videos and took No. 1 on its Overall Top 10 Videos. The single also impacted radio charts in the Top 15 on R&R’s ROCK chart. The 17-year-old rock artist has adopted ‘anticonformity’ as her personal anthem challenging her peers to “become the person God wants you to be and refuse to become the person the world wants you to be.” Krystal was recently seen on the Winter Jam tour (Newsboys, tobyMac, Hawk Nelson) and is currently working on her second full-length album slated for release in August 2006. The sophomore release will feature producers from her self-titled debut “The Wizardz of Oz” production team (Avril Lavigne, Liz Phair) and artist/producer Ian Eskelin with new originals songs written by Krystal. (from Provident Label Group)

Ana Laura
And the GMA Music Awards nominations continue... Ana Laura, new Reunion recording artist is celebrating her first-ever nomination in Gospel music’s top awards. Her nod comes for her featured performance on the opening track of the 2005 Christmas album Come Let Us Adore Him from the producers of the City On A Hill series, being recognized in the Special Event Album category. While her debut project, Ana Laura, is set to release March 7th, her third radio single “Water” has just been released to AC and CHR formats. This marks her first appearance in the CHR format after having been a mainstay at AC and INSPO radio with her first two songs, “Because You Loved Me” and “Completely,” both available on her debut project. Ana Laura was recently seen on the “The Christmas Blessing Tour” with NewSong and Anointed, as well as performing last fall on the “Girls of Grace Tour” with Point of Grace, Rebecca St. James, Mark Schultz and Jaime Jamgochian. This spring, Ana Laura will be hitting the road with David Phelps and Anthony Evans. Details are forthcoming... (from Provident Label Group)

BarlowGirl
Proving that they’re not going to slow down anytime soon, BarlowGirl received multiple GMA Music Award nominations during GMA’s press conference. The acclaimed three-sister rock band collected five nominations for: Group of the Year, Rock Recorded Song of the Year (“Let Go”), Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year (“Mirror”), Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year (Another Journal Entry), and Special Event Album of the Year (WOW Christmas Green). “We feel so humbled and honored to be recognized by our peers in the Christian Music industry,” says BarlowGirl. “Recording Another Journal Entry was such an intimately personal journey for us, since the content for the CD came from our private daily journals, so we are very grateful for the response we have received. It’s very important for us to keep our musical ministry honest with what God puts in our hearts to share with our fans. We’re very appreciative of their support and of course want to also thank radio, media, and the wonderful people we work with at Fervent Records.” “All of us at Fervent Records and Word Entertainment are thrilled with these incredible GMA Music Awards nominations for BarlowGirl,” exclaims Susan Riley, President, Fervent Records. “Rebecca, Alyssa, and Lauren are such talented young ladies that keep the ministry of their music at the heart of everything. They are changing lives and really connecting with their audience, both in the Christian and mainstream world, because their message of hope and faith speaks to everyone.” The GMA nominations follow the impressive win by BarlowGirl in Yahoo! Music’s “Who’s Next” competition that is now online with a concert and interview of the group. Also upcoming are specially recorded concerts and interviews for NapsterLive and Sony Connect Sets that will air this spring, plus a two-page feature in Sophisticates Hairstyles in April, and a May cover feature in Brio magazine. (from Bozeman Media)

Casting Crowns
Casting Crowns garnered five nominations as a group, lead singer Mark Hall grabbed another four, and producer Mark A. Miller notched an additional three. After having one of the biggest-grossing tours of the past year, Casting Crowns cements its place as one of the most respected and popular groups in Christian music with nods in the top categories of Artist of the Year and Group of the Year, one of several categories the band won at last year’s awards. The group’s three other nominations include one for Lifesong as Pop/Contemporary Album. The album’s title track “Lifesong,” which topped charts for 11 weeks at AC (R&R) and 12 weeks at INSPO (CRW), is up for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song, a category Casting Crowns won last year. Also, the group’s contribution to the multi-artist WoW Christmas Green received a nod in the Special Event Album category. Lead singer and songwriter Mark Hall was recognized for an additional four awards, including a nod in the Male Vocalist of the Year category. The reigning Songwriter of the Year for the past two years, Hall also received nominations as writer of two Song of the Year nominees, “Lifesong” and “Voice of Truth,” which he co-wrote with industry veteran Steven Curtis Chapman. Hall won the Song of the Year award last year for “Who Am I” from the Platinum-certified debut project, Casting Crowns. He’s also recognized as writer on the Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song nominee, “Lifesong.” This year’s nominees and winner for Songwriter of the Year will be announced the night of the show. Casting Crown’s producer and Beach Street label head, Mark A. Miller (of Country music sensation Sawyer Brown), received three nominations including one for Producer of the Year, and another for his role as producer of Casting Crown’s Pop/Contemporary Album nominee “Lifesong,” as well as on the group’s contribution to the Wow Christmas Green project. (Provident Label Group)

*Thursday, February 2nd, 2006*


Pillar
Pillar's brand new video for their hit single “Frontline” is now available for your viewing delight on Flicker's MySpace. The effect-laden video was produced by a conglomerate of aspiring young filmmakers ages 18 to 22. Visit www.myspace.com/flickerrecords right now to watch it! Pillar is also currently in the studio working on their next assault on rock fans worldwide... (from Flicker Records)

POD
P.O.D.'s new album Testify debuted at #9 on Billboard.com's Top 200! Also on Billboard.com, the band's single "Goodbye For Now" is #17 in Mainstream Rock and #25 on Modern Rock. Testify is #7 on iTunes' Top 100 albums, while "Goodbye For Now" is #23 on iTunes Top 100 Songs and #3 on iTunes Top 100 Alternative Songs. Finally, "Goodbye For Now" is #4 on MTV's TRL, And #4 on MTV 2's T-Minus Rock. Fans are encouraged to keep on voting on MTV's TRL and voting on MTV 2's T-Minus Rock! (from P.O.D., thanks to "Xboxgamer411")

Flatfoot 56 has been playing brazen Irish punk rock in the Chicago area since 2000. Now the band of three brothers (and a friend) are ready to whip the masses into a frenzy with their debut release Knuckles Up from Flicker Records. Guitars, drums, bagpipes and a mandolin fuel the band’s up front energy that reaches out and grabs even the sleepiest of cynics. With Flatfoot 56, standing in the back is not an option... For more info on the band, visit www.flatfoot56.com or www.myspace.com/flatfoot56 (from Flicker Records)

Sony/BMG/Provident rock band Nevertheless hits the studio this Sunday to begin recording their first full length album with producer James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Dashboard Confessional, etc). The as-of-yet-untitled album is expected to release in late Summer, 2006... More to come! (from Neverthelessmusic; Thanks to Greg P.)


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This Friday, October 19
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