Only a Mountain
There’s a reason it’s the title track. It’s the message I want to carry. Above all else, you just gotta have faith. There’s no problem too big for God to tackle. Now as we’ve been touring for a while and playing it live, a lot of people have come up to me at concerts to just tell me their stories about how the song helped them. I was at a show about a month ago and this guy came up to me and said he was a drug addict, and he’d been clean for six days because of this song. You don’t expect something like that. You’re not ready for that. Seeing his family there – it made me cry. God can really move in people’s lives through songs, really use them to minister to people and to encourage them and to give them hope and to change the course of their life. That’s what music can do. And I’m thankful to be a part of it.
It’s a declaration of faith. I think along my journey there have been a lot of moments that I’ve felt really close to God, and times I’ve felt far away. But when I start weighing the options and considering, “What is my faith? What if this isn’t real? What if?” – every time I start doubting, I always come back to, this is the truth. This is what I believe. I don’t get what’s going on here, but God does, and He has a bigger plan. That’s where I find my hope. This was one of the first songs that I wrote and got excited about for this album. I felt like just getting it out. And it’s my wife’s favorite song.
If It’s Love
This was the very last song we wrote for this record. We were literally starting to record and I’d been writing for months, and I was like, “You know what? I don’t want to try to write something that I think people want to hear. I just want to write from my heart.” This song is inspired by the lifestyle of a touring musician, and the demands of it – travel, late nights, all that stuff. It can really take a toll on a relationship if you’re not careful. Like the song says, there are nights where it doesn’t end well at home, and you have a 5 a.m. flight. It’s tough. But no matter what the days bring, or how tired you are, you have to make the choice to love. And just like Jesus, you give it your all, even when you’re at your end. Fight for love. It’s worth it.
I really wanted my album to be universal for people. I really wanted it to be something anybody can pick up and find inspiration, and hopefully truth. This song was purposefully written in that way. As a Christian or a believer, I think people will very much relate to it as the experience of that first time you really meet God. Even if you’ve heard the story all your life, there’s that moment when everything starts to change and you start to see everything for what it is, and who God really is – the fact that he’s been there all along and he’s just waiting for you. He never gives up. He’s just always right there, waiting for us to turn around.
Stay This Way
This is one of my favorite live songs at the moment. This album is a step up musically for me, as far as the weight of the music – it’s not just acoustic guitars – and “Stay This Way” is some killer intense singing for me. It’s also the most relevant one to me lyrically. You know, in the last couple years I think I realized for the first time that I’d grown up accustomed to some things being the way they were, thinking that I can’t outrun my last mistake, and I’m just stuck here. I always believed in God, I knew He was good – I thought I was just messed up. I didn’t understand what people meant by freedom in Christ. I never felt free – I always felt like a slave to my sin. It wasn’t until these last few years that I got into my first real Biblical community. And as I started to share my life with others and we studied God’s word together, I really discovered freedom for the first time. And so that’s been a big part of my journey these last few years, and one of the highlights.
Same Kind of Broken (feat. Moriah Peters)
Most songs are inspired by something that’s happened to me, or drawing on my experiences. This song is the first song I’ve written that was really inspired by my immediate surroundings. I was writing with someone I hadn’t met before in Nashville. She lives in a really cool place, really new and urban. But you look out the window, and there’s government housing all around. She said that she chose to live there because she loves looking out the window and seeing people that are different from her – but we’re all the same. That’s really where the title came from: We’re the same kind of broken. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you get to in life – at the core of it all, we all have the same needs and desire for love and for a savior and for acceptance. I chose to duet with Moriah Peters because when I heard her sing, I thought she sounded real. And having a female voice in the mix adds a universal element to the song. This isn’t a guy thing, this isn’t a girl thing, this is all of us.
I was doing an event here in Dallas to raise money to build the first Safe House in Texas, to help victims of sex trafficking. This topic was something I was not really aware of, in my state, in my city, and it was just a really moving night. And at the end of the night, the lady who started this organization said in passing, “You should write a song for these girls who come to the safe house.” And that stuck with me. I started exploring the idea one day, and it turned into this song. It’s not so much a song to the girls, because I didn’t know what to say. But I did know that I could talk to the people out there who can help, and so it’s really just a call to awareness and action.
This is the most rockin’ one of the crew, and it ties really close to “Stay This Way.” The heart of this song is the idea of running away to something new. Being a runaway doesn’t usually have a positive connotation, but I find it positive. I think that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to be different, to run away from the sleazy things of this world and run to Christ. Run to the light. This song is very much an anthem for me. This is an invitation to run away, and you don’t do that on your own. You’re joining a group of us, a long line of saints that have come before you. And I just think there’s power in that, in knowing that you’re not alone. One of my favorite moments is when everyone is singing in unison, when we all, with one voice, declare that we’re runaways.
Enough is a song to my daughter. When I started this album, she’d just been born, and everybody was like, “Oh, you must be so inspired! Have you written any songs to her?” And at the time, I hadn’t, because I wasn’t getting a whole lot of sleep. So as I started writing, it was always in my mind – I need to write a song for my daughter! And that was a big task! This song has to be great. It has to be perfect. The heart behind it was, if I could tell my daughter one thing, what do I want her to know? And that’s really when it came to “Enough.” I want her to know that she’s enough. That she never has to try to be somebody she’s not. I’m always gonna love her, because she’s my daughter.
Rise To You
This song is very much drawing from my past, remembering a moment when I was in a time of need, when I was down and trying to find some hope. Those times come and go, and I had to wrestle with this song. I liked it, but I wasn’t sure if it was an album contender, and I didn’t have a deep connection to it. But I kept getting overwhelming response from people, because I guess it was speaking to them. And it’s funny – you don’t think of your own music speaking to you, but it’s a song that has been really encouraging to me recently. It has brought amazing hope to me, and that’s something I never expected. It’s kind of weird. I wrote something to encourage people, and it ended up coming back to me.
I think this song is kind of a bridge between my last album and my new album. The first album was based on acoustic love songs, and my new album is a much more wide-open version of me. But I love songs like this. “Good Love” was inspired by the great times in my life over the last year. There have been moments when I’m sitting on the couch and I just can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m just in awe. How did I get here? How has God been so good to me? This song is a celebration of where I’m at, and a celebration of my relationship with my wife. It’s just a good old-fashioned love song.
check out this behind-the-song and music video for Big Daddy Weave’s powerful hit “Redeemed,” featuring frontman Mike Weaver talking about the inspiration behind the song, followed by the live performance video-
from the album Love Come To Life
Award-winning artist and songwriter Brandon Heath announces the 24-city “Blue Mountain Tour,” named for his forthcoming studio project, Blue Mountain, due out Oct. 9. Heath is joined by label mate – celebrated singer, songwriter and worship leader – Matt Maher on all dates; the tour is presented by Food for the Hungry.
Kicking off October 11 in Milwaukee, Wis., the “Blue Mountain Tour” will visit cities including Chicago, Knoxville, Indianapolis and St. Louis. A night of rich musical layers, fans can expect to hear Heath’s hits (“Give Me Your Eyes,” “I’m Not Who I Was” and “Your Love”) as well as songs from his fourth full-length studio album, Blue Mountain. The forthcoming 12-track project merges modern music-making and ancient tones, taking listeners on a musical journey full of heart and back-porch ease via Heath’s signature storytelling.
“Similar to the new album, this tour invites the listener to a special experience to come on up to ‘Blue Mountain,’ a fictional place where this music was created,” says Heath.
Heath shares the stage with Essential Records’ Matt Maher, known for worship staples like “Your Grace Is Enough,” “Christ Is Risen” and the radio hit “Hold Us Together.” Also part of the night, audiences will meet the talented spoken-word poet Micah Bournes and new independent sibling acoustic act, The Church Sisters. Heath will continue highlighting the work of Food for the Hungry on tour, specifically its efforts in the villages of Kitgum, Uganda. These are communities in which Brandon Heath’s audiences have wholly sustained the child sponsorship program.
“Blue Mountain Tour” Itinerary:
*Dates and cities subject to change without notice
October 11 – Milwaukee, Wis.
October 12 – Lincoln, Neb.
October 13 – Omaha, Neb.
October 14 – Chicago, Ill.
October 18 – Springfield, Mo.
October 19 – Wichita Falls, Texas
October 20 – Garden City, Kan.
October 21 – Tulsa, Okla.
October 25 – Knoxville, Tenn.
October 26 – Chattanooga, Tenn.
October 27 – Huntsville, Ala.
October 28 – Birmingham, Ala.
November 1 – Thomasville, Ga.
November 2 – Gainesville, Fla.
November 3 – Bonita Springs, Fla.
November 4 – Sebastian, Fla.
November 8 – Wise, Va.
November 9 – Baltimore, Md.
November 10 – Columbus, Ohio
November 11 – Elkhart, Ind.
November 15 – Indianapolis, Ind.
November 16 – St. Louis, Mo.
November 17 – Cincinnati, Ohio
November 18 – Marion, Ill.
In the dynamic world of praise and worship, the music never stops as believers seek new songs to express their hearts to God. No one knows this better than gospel-praise powerhouse Israel & New Breed and its bandleader, Israel Houghton, who for more than a decade have been resourcing the Church with such classics as “Friend of God,” “You Are Good,” “Again I Say Rejoice” and “Alpha and Omega.”
Why, then, did the group go on hiatus, waiting five years before recording Jesus At The Center, since the release of their 2007 GRAMMY®-winning album A Deeper Level?
Truth is, the band didn’t go anywhere. If anything, Houghton says they’ve been as busy as ever: “We did around 700 concerts in that amount of time. And we’re still hopping.”
Hiatus? Not even close.
Houghton points out that in the interim he also recorded two solo albums, The Power of One and Love God/ Love People, Grammy-winning studio albums that allowed him to stretch creatively, trying things that perhaps would sound differently if replicated in a live setting. But whenever a ministry opportunity arose, Houghton says the New Breed gang was ready to hit the road—whether it was touring with Chris Tomlin, performing at the GRAMMYs®, or leading worship around the world. Still hopping, indeed.
And it was their experiences during these past five years that inspired Jesus At The Center, music for a new season with a message that has been resonating with the group for a while.
“It felt like the right time and the right statement to make,” Houghton says of the album title. “The simplicity of being all about Jesus, and not using ‘pronoun-ed’ gospel… going back to a place where it’s not about us, where we’re decreasing because Jesus is increasing and drawing all men to him.”
“This requires finding the balance between being a worship leader and being an artist,” he continues. “The purpose of a worship leader is being looked through, not looked at.”
Words that Israel & New Breed put to good use on Jesus At The Center, co-produced with his friend and collaborator Aaron Lindsey and recorded before a live audience at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, where Houghton is a longtime worship leader. But don’t call this a homecoming.
“It felt more like a home-court advantage than a homecoming,” says Houghton, who had recorded at Lakewood before with the likes of Michael W. Smith, Martha Munizzi and the church itself, but never for one of his own albums. “There were a lot of these songs that were in the house so to speak, so it made it easy for the crowd to worship along.”
And worship along they do. Houghton says that about 70 percent of Jesus At The Center had been tried and tested at Lakewood before making it onto the recording, which is palpable in the way the audience responds to the music, beginning with the album’s centerpiece, the worship ballad “Jesus At The Center,” originally introduced in the Israel & New Breed anthology, Decade.
The title track marks a midpoint between Center’s two halves—a first disc comprised mostly of explosive congregational songs, and a second one that takes the listener through a seamless worship experience, one reminiscent of some of the best moments from 2004’s Live from Another Level. The songs are simply gigantic, with a polish that’s befitting for the venue, one of America’s foremost multimedia churches both in the realms of sight and sound.
The first disc kicks things into high gear with an avalanche of corporate praise like only Israel & New Breed can unfurl—which means there’s plenty of funk, horns, rhythm, vocal dynamics, and call-and-response interplay between the band and worshippers in attendance. Opener “Jesus the Same” is classic for the group, a funk fest replete with ‘70s synthesizers and an Earth, Wind & Fire vibe, yet congregational and Christ-centered to the core.
Israel & New Breed know this is the part of the recording where they let loose and help the audience drop its guard, so the troupe keeps the praise going with “Rez Power,” “No Turning Back,” and “More Than Enough,” a one-two-three punch that borrows elements from contemporary gospel, choral praise, rock and even ska, a sonic fusion that Houghton has characterized as a “Kingdom” sound. The big surprise in this stretch of Center is the danceable “Te Amo” (Spanish for “I love you”), a Latin-pop stunner that turns Lakewood into the biggest block party in Houston.
The pace slows down in the middle with “I Call You Jesus” and “Worship Medley,” culminating with the album’s cornerstone, “Jesus At The Center.” The worship flows uninterrupted from there through such tracks as the driving, Daniel Johnson-led “Speechless,” the New Breed encourager “It’s Not Over (When God Is in It),” and “Your Presence Is Heaven,” another congregational piece that Houghton hopes makes its way to Sunday-morning playlists.
Always stretching musical boundaries, Houghton invites on stage “Friend of God” co-writer Michael Gungor for one of Center’s most stand-out moments—a medley of Gungor’s bluegrass-tinged “You Have Me” and Houghton’s “You Hold My World,” a combination that only makes sense on an Israel & New Breed recording. As the second disc draws to a close, Houghton’s daughter Mariah shares a special moment with her father in a tender cover of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.”
As a bonus for listeners, studio versions of three high points from Jesus At The Center are included at the end of the second disc: the title track, “Your Presence Is Heaven,” and “It’s Not Over (When God Is in It),” the latter of which features guests spots from James Fortune and Jason Nelson. And for an even more experiential enjoyment of Jesus At The Center, all of the album’s performances will also be included in a companion DVD to be released in conjunction with the project.
“I hope that people would hear the authenticity of the whole experience and know that whether they are believers or not, they can sense a conviction around what we do,” says Houghton. “Sometimes we can be so ‘churched’ that we can lose sight of the ‘who, what, why’ of worship. This project simply places Jesus where he is supposed to be.”
by Andree Farias
also on DVD
Acclaimed band Tenth Avenue North announces “The Struggle” fall tour, its biggest headlining tour to date, visiting more than 35 cities from mid-September though late November. The tour, featuring guest artists Audrey Assad and Rend Collective Experiment, will support Tenth Avenue North’s Aug. 21 studio release, The Struggle.
Kicking off Sept. 13 in Sewell, New Jersey (Philadelphia area), “The Struggle” fall tour will hit major markets including New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Houston, among others. Singer-songwriter Audrey Assad and Kingsway artist Rend Collective Experiment will join Tenth Avenue North, who will perform new music from its latest project as well as fan favorites. Produced by six-time SESAC Christian Songwriter of the Year, and two-time GRAMMY nominee, Jason Ingram (Chris Tomlin, Sanctus Real), The Struggle is a bold, creative leap forward for the band, reflecting influences ranging from fan insight to the addition of two band members to a new recording process.
The band has always done something special for its fans during each tour and this run isn’t any different. Tenth Avenue North fans were given the opportunity to buy a limited number of “Fan Presale Tickets” the week prior to the national on-sale date through a special first-come-first-served, online offer. In a majority of the markets, those tickets sold out within the first
few days, creating a wave of excitement for the tour.
“The Struggle” 2012 Fall Tour Dates
*Dates and cities subject to change without notice
9/13 – Sewell, N.J.
9/14 – Middletown, N.J.
9/15 – Marriottsville, Md.
9/16 – Woodbridge, Va.
9/21 – Burlington, N.C.
9/22 – Gaffney, S.C.
9/23 – Cordele, Ga.
9/27 – Beaver Falls, PA
9/28 – Middleburg Heights, Ohio
9/29 – Whitestown, Ind.
9/30 – Cincinnati, Ohio
10/4 – Plymouth, Mich.
10/5 – Holland, Mich.
10/6 – Palos Height, Ill.
10/7 – Maple Grove, Minn.
10/17 – Wheat Ridge, Colo.
10/18 – Layton, Utah
10/19 – Nampa, Idaho
10/20 – Redmond, Wash.
10/21 – Tualatin, Oreg.
10/23 – Santa Rosa, Calif.
10/24 – Sacramento, Calif.
10/25 – Santa Ana, Calif.
10/26 – Redlands, Calif.
10/27 – Phoenix, Ariz.
10/28 – Albuquerque, N.M.
11/1 – San Antonio, Texas
11/2 – Houston, Texas
11/4 – Abilene, Texas
11/8 – Lenexa, Kan.
11/9 – Bellevue, Neb.
11/10 – Davenport, Iowa
11/15 – Jacksonville, Fla.
11/16 – Boca Raton, Fla.
11/18 – Pace, Fla.
Veteran rock band Third Day has been spending a generous part of 2012 immersed in the recording of its next studio album. The forthcoming project, Third Day’s 17th career offering, is being recorded within the walls of its own state-of-the art studio, The Quarry, in Atlanta, Ga. Third Day is working with veteran rock producer Brendan O’Brien.
“When we were getting together as a band to talk about starting work on this project, we did an exercise where each member named his top five albums of all time. Brendan O’Brien had at least one record on all of our lists,” offers bassist, Tai Anderson.
Mac Powell, the band’s front man, shares, “Our time with Brendan has been nothing less than an amazing experience. He is one of my favorite producers. Having made so many great records with so many amazing artists through the years, I consider it such an honor to be working with him. Brendan has definitely stretched me as a songwriter and vocalist more than any other producer ever has.”
The new project follows a stellar 2011 for Third Day, which included being the first Christian artist ever to receive ASCAP’s coveted Vanguard Award, as well as wrapping up its highly successful spring/fall “Make Your Move Tour” which saw numerous sell-out performances.
Additional information on Third Day’s latest record is forthcoming. In the meantime, fans can catch the band on select concert performances throughout the summer, where it intends to begin previewing select tracks from the new recording.
Raleigh, NC: 5-18-12
Myrtle Beach, SC: 5-19-12
Jackson, NJ: 6-2-12
Clarkston, MI: 6-3-12
Hot Springs, AR: 6-9-12
Enterprise, AL: 6-14-12
Charlotte, NC: 6-16-12
Houston, TX: 6-23-12
Williamsburg, VA: 6-24-12
Duluth, GA: 6-29-12
Visit ThirdDay.com for details!
Join Celtic progressive rock, folk and worship outfit Iona for an electrifying evening of music in Lowell, MA!
Presented by FirstLoveWorks.org, Iona comes to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, June 24th 2012 at 4pm- tickets available at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium box office, https://tickets.lowellauditorium.com/Online/seatSelect.asp?BOset::WSadmissions::admission::performance_id=DF642901-4491-4E79-952C-45E573904FCD
About the band:
Uniquely combining rock / folk / progressive / ethnic and ambient elements with the crystalline voice of Joanne Hogg as their focus, IONA create ‘a blaze of colours and textures…all the sounds fusing into a single, yearning, heartfelt beautiful cry.’
IONA have built up a formidable reputation as a great live band with their incredible musicianship and disarmingly humorous banter and are noted for their timeless and innovative studio recordings.
don’t miss it!
don’t miss your shot at the biggest Gospel artist tour of, well maybe all time, this fall!
Comprised of Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin and Israel Houghton, The King’s Men will tour major markets across the US starting this September. Tickets go on sale next week, check it out!
DATE-CITY-VENUE-ON SALE DATE
Sun, Sep 16-Phoenix, AZ -Comerica Theatre-Fri, May 11
Wed, Sep 19-Los Angeles, CA-Gibson Amphitheatre-Fri, May 11
Sat, Sep 22-Concord, CA-Sleep Train Amphitheatre-Fri, May 11
Tue, Sep 25-Dallas, TX-Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie-Sat, May 12
Wed, Sep 26-Houston, TX-Reliant Arena-Sat, May 12
Fri, Sep 28-Atlanta, GA-Chastain Amphitheatre-Fri, May 11
Sun, Sep 30-Miami, FL-AmericanAirlines Arena-Fri, May 11
Tue, Oct 02-Tampa, FL-USF Sun Dome-Fri, June 1
Thu, Oct 04-Norfolk, VA-Constant Convocation Center-Fri, June 8
Sat, Oct 06-Washington DC-Verizon Center-Fri, May 11
Sun, Oct 07-Philadelphia, PA-Liacouras Center-Fri, May 18
Tue, Oct 09-Cleveland, OH-Wolstein Center-Fri, May 11
Wed, Oct 10-Chicago, IL-United Center-Mon, June 18
Fri, Oct 12-Detroit, MI-Fox Theatre-at, May 19
Sun, Oct 14-Brooklyn, NY-Barclays Center-Sat, May 12