Tag Archives: jason ingram

Feature:: Paul Baloche: The Same Love

13 Mar

“There are a lot of songs about the Cross on this record. People are almost apologetic about it, and yet I feel challenged not to shrink from it. Our tendency is to make our language inclusive and seeker friendly. And I get that, but we also need songs that point to the truth of the new covenant.” – Paul Baloche

By Melissa Riddle Chalos  There’s a certain blanket of wisdom that, if you seek it, comes over time. It wraps around that place in your life where you’re settled in, a place where you’re surrounded by good friends and family and have nothing left to prove. A place where you know who you are, you know your purpose, and you’re content to leave the details up to God.

“If you do something long enough you uncover life lessons along the way,” Paul Baloche says.  “You aspire to be faithful to God’s calling in your life, pressing through even when you fall short. And when you hit a certain age, as you grow in your faith, you recognize the potential and the burden of being a leader, realizing ‘I’ve got to step up and be more intentional toward the people God has put in my life.’ And your prayer becomes, ‘Lord, give me grace to finish well.’”

After 25 years of marriage, 23 years leading worship at Community Christian Fellowship in Lindale, TX, 12 albums recorded with the same label, and hundreds of teaching resources provided free for church leaders (via his web site leadworship.com), one might think Paul Baloche had already qualified for a great finish.

But for this modern hymn writer, mentor and teacher who once aspired to be a priest, ministry is not a sprint, but a marathon, a long series of obedient steps in the same direction. A path where every aspect of life is forged in fires of passion for Jesus and His Church, and the result is almost always an honest prayer for the Church to sing.

All this is at the heart of The Same Love, an organic collection of worship songs from the worship leader best known for such modern classics as “Above All,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “Your Name.” The Same Love mirrors Paul’s love for the Church and gives new expression to the complete faithfulness and overwhelming mercy of a gracious God.

The same love that set the captives free

The same love that opened eyes to see

Is calling us all by name

“One of the reasons I love the process to this day is that it’s a bit of a frontier, a mystery,” Paul says of the creative process behind The Same Love. “You can’t put your finger on it. Nobody can. It has a sense of adventure, a Lewis & Clark kind of thing. All explorers, over time, are trying to go places they’ve never been. Writing for worship is a lot like that. You’re trying to go places you’ve never been, deeper into ancient biblical truths, stirring up your modern soul, if you will. You’re testing the tension and the harmony of several things, combining that with what’s going on musically at the moment… And you end up with all these different elements — harmony, chords, lyrics, melody, vibe — and out comes something new.”

Co-produced with longtime collaborators Ben Gowell and Michael Rossback, The Same Love continues to walk a modern edge musically, while delivering unforgettably rich lyrics composed in the context of community.

“From project to project, I try to wipe the slate clean, to consider what’s happening right now, in my church, in my own soul, in the church at large and to ask ‘What do I sense in the hearts of the next generation, how do they perceive God, the church, fellowship and community?”

Grammy Award-winning engineer Chris Lord-Alge (U2/Switchfoot) mixes the title track and first single of the project, co-written by Paul and Michael Rossback. This is the touchstone for the entire collection.

“God is not this impersonal force,” Paul says. “The truth is that from creation to the crucifixion, God has been calling us – by name. He’s giving us a challenge, calling us to the cross, asking, ‘Are you ready to give up your way of doing things? Come as you are, pick up your cross daily and I will transform your life.’”

The four songs that follow—the anthemic, Coldplay-esque “We Are Saved” (co-written with Jason Ingram and Ben Fielding), bluegrass tinged “King of Heaven,” “All Because of the Cross” (a modern spin on “Nothing But the Blood”) and “Your Blood Ran Down”— follow a path often resisted, even in worship. “There are a lot of songs about the Cross on this record. People are almost apologetic about it, and yet I feel challenged not to shrink from it. Our tendency is to make our language inclusive and seeker friendly. And I get that, but we also need songs that point to the truth of the new covenant.”

We are children of your mercy, rescued for your glory,

we cry Jesus set our hearts towards you

that every eye would see you lifted high…

“Look Upon the Lord,” co-written with Kari Jobe and Jason Ingram, began as a time of worship, an effort to linger and focus on Jesus and His sacrifice. “We felt such a strong presence from God as we were writing it that we decided to record the song around our original demo, keeping Kari’s worshipful vocal and Jason’s keyboard part.”

I don’t know where You’ll take me

But I know You’re always good…

 “My Hope,” featuring Kathryn Scott and co-written with Ed Kerr, with whom Paul has written over 100 songs, gives voice to the spoken and unspoken prayers of people in times of need. “Life is hard, people are looking for hope, and there’s not much to be found outside of the hope we have in Christ,” Paul says. “My prayer is that this song will help others express to God what they really feel and point them to His promises.”

In each and every one of these church-tested songs, perhaps even more intentionally than ever before, Paul Baloche continues to draw from deep roots of devotion and ministry to feed the fire in his spirit. To create songs in community with like-minded worship artists who understand the hearts and prayers of those they serve, the people in the pew… and those who are still seeking.

“I can’t deny what I’ve seen and experienced in the presence of God,” Paul says. “I can’t deny that I’ve witnessed His goodness and faithfulness over and over again. God is alive. The same God who created the world calls us by name.”

The same God that spread the heavens wide

The same God that was crucified

Is calling us all by name

 “When I meet people who are full of the Spirit—despite their present circumstances, beyond their temperament or attitude—I’m inspired. I want to be that kind of person, to be in His presence, to read and digest his Word, to make it part of my DNA, to walk it out – to live it out. In the end, I want my life, my music to facilitate a conversation about God and who He is.”

For more information on Paul Baloche’s ministry, go to www.leadworship.com. AAAAAAAAAAAnd head over to Paul’s Facebook page to download a FREE song from The Same Love.

Take 5 with worship leader Matt Redman

17 Aug

Every week at church services, youth group meetings, on the radio, and in our home, millions of people probably sing a worship song written or influenced by UK-born worship leader, Matt Redman.  Known for such songs as “The Heart of Worship,” “Blessed Be Your Name,” “You Never Let Go,” and a slew of others, Redman recently released his latest album, 10,000 Reasons (Sparrow) and a book, Mirror Ball (David C. Cook).  This busy father of five also co-writes songs with his wife (I just had to throw that in here!) took time out to provide insightful answers about new album, books, and life in general in Backseat Writer’s latest Take 5.

You’re released eight albums, written several books, and compose songs that are sung in millions of churches every week.  What is it like to look back on your career?  To think back to when you first started plucking out tunes on a guitar?

Honestly, I feel so encouraged by all that has happened through the songs. And yet I know that what people are responding to isn’t some kind of creative cleverness or innovation on my part. They’re responding to the truth in the songs—the wonders of a God who is utterly high above and yet knows our names and holds our lives. I have a deep conviction that if we can write songs that present the truth of Jesus in a real and relevant way, they’ll make an impact somehow.

One of the biggest surprises and encouragements has been how some of the songs have traveled to different countries around the world. It’s so fascinating to show up in some part of Asia, Africa or Eastern Europe and start to lead a song like “Blessed Be Your Name” and realize people already know it. Of course, this whole thing also carries a weight of responsibility. For any of us writing and recording congregational songs, as exciting as that is, we also need to realize the seriousness of putting words into people’s mouths in worship. There’s a responsibility to try and make sure the songs are thoroughly biblical and honoring to God.

Your newest album, 10,000 Reasons, was recorded live with over 1,000 participants at LIFT: A Worship Leader Collective—why did you choose live over studio recording?

There’s something about the people of God coming together and singing their hearts out which is just so powerful. If you can capture the essence of that on a record, in can be a really wonderful thing. I hope that is what’s happened with this 10,000 Reasons record. The people at LIFT were a complete joy to lead in worship. I loved how they sung out to God through these new songs with such passion, and even created their own crowd harmonies a few times which we didn’t teach them. I guess that’s what happens when you get a thousand worship leaders and singers in one room! The whole LIFT event was brilliant.  Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin hosted it and I felt like the flow of the whole couple of days was just so inspiring.

While all the songs on 10,000 Reasons are meaningful, would you please share the story behind a song or two on the new album?

“Never Once” is a song of God’s faithfulness. When we look over our lives we soon see what an amazing track record Jesus has in our lives and that gives us a great hope for the future. In one way we don’t know what the future holds, but in another way we do. It will be sure to be filled with the goodness and greatness of God shining down upon our lives. I love an old Charles Spurgeon quote, “The future is as bright as promises of God.” What a fantastic thought.

This song was written shortly after we left the USA and moved back to the UK. Our house in Atlanta was still unsold, and I was back there for a few days. My family was gone, and so was all the furniture. So I stood there in that empty, echoing room with just my guitar and started to think about the faithful hand of God in my family’s life. He’s provided for us for this two yearlong Atlanta adventure, and even though I didn’t know exactly what the future held, I had such a strong sense that He would continue to be enough for us. The chorus of the song says “Never once did we ever walk alone; Never once did You leave us on our own.” I wrote this song with Jason Ingram and a UK friend named Tim Wanstall, and we really hope that is will breathe hope into the lives of those who sing it.

The title song “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” was the last song to be written before the live recording. In fact, it only got finished a few days beforehand.  My co-writer friend Jonas Myrin kept telling me he had a chorus melody idea, but my mind was spinning with trying to finish so many other song ideas that I kept telling him I didn’t want to hear a new one. But then one night after a day of writing I said, “Why don’t you just play me that idea quickly?” And the moment he played it we started wrapping some lyrics inspired by Psalm 103 around it.  Actually about 75% of those verses I reckon were spontaneously, there and then. I think I still have an iPhone recording of that happening; it was just such a fantastic moment.

Songs don’t always get written so fast, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with some hard work and perspiration when it comes to the creative process. But now and again you get a little inspired worship moment like this, and it can be really special. The song of course became the title of the album, and I’m so grateful for it.

Your latest book, Mirror Ball, is released on July 1.  What is this book about?

Yes, I’m excited about the Mirror Ball’s release. I wrote it on and off over the period of about three years. Some of the themes of the album songs actually tie in with the content of the book.  In fact, some of the song names also ended up being chapter titles in the book. The main theme of the book is living boldly and shining brightly for the glory of God. My hope is that it could inject a new confidence into the lives of many worshippers of Jesus, that they truly might get a sense that their lives can make a difference in the kingdom of God.

And our last question is just for fun.  What are some hilarious things that people assume about you because you’re from England? (Or just share something funny.  Let’s have a good laugh together.)

You have no idea how many people from the USA asked me, “Did you get invited to the Royal Wedding?”! I’m sorry to say the answer (of course) is “no”!

For more information on Matt Redman, visit him online at his online hub, MattRedman.com, where you can find chord charts for 10,000 Reasons and Matt’s previous album, We Will Not Be Shaken, Matt’s online store, how to connect with Matt on social networks, and a plethora of news and insight into Matt’s life.


What’s your favorite Matt Redman song? Or album?  Or book?  What something surprising insight you learned about Matt?  Are you surprised that he wasn’t invited to the Royal Wedding, but Joss Stone was? What do you think of Matt’s latest album (if you’ve heard it) and/or book (if you’ve read it)?

Take 5 with Phillip LaRue

6 Apr

I remember seeing LaRue in concert when I was 21.  My single female friends and I all commented how we wanted to meet a guy like Phillip LaRue—who loved God, sang, played guitar, and had cool hair.  His sister, Natalie, seemed pretty hip, too.  But, really, we were all about the male half of the duo called LaRue.  Then, it seemed, the band disappeared.

That was eight years ago, and Phillip LaRue has re-emerged as a [married] singer/songwriter debuting his first solo album, Let the Road Pave Itself (Bec Recordings).  Phillip’s song, “Found” has been featured on “One Tree Hill” and “The Ghost Whisperer” and another song has appeared on “Harper’s Island.”  Then there’s “Chasing the Daylight” and “Running So Long,” which are fast becoming fan favorites.  Such is the power of Phillip LaRue.  And, yes, his hair is still very cool.  He’s even cooler for agreeing to Take 5 with Backseat Writer.

*You started out singing with your sister, Natalie, in the popular band LaRue and then working on indie projects, but then you left the industry altogether in 2003—why?  And what prompted your move to come back?

Well, I didn’t necessarily move out of the industry just in the background a bit. After LaRue I signed a publishing deal with a company based in Nashville which led me to writing and eventually co-producing a compilation record called “The Message Psalms” with Monroe Jones. I got to work with some great artists on the project like Chris Rice, Dave Barnes and Ginny Owens. However, the label that released the project folded a month after the release of the album which struck my heart to its core, but after producing it, I thought about production and artist development.

Thankfully about 6 months after that I met some great guys in a band called Tenth Avenue North and ended up developing and producing them with a friend of mine Jason Ingram in Nashville. Since then I have stayed busy writing and producing for other folks including myself. It does feel a bit strange stepping back into the artist world in some ways but at the same time it is freeing as well because I am less intimidated by it and more excited about connecting with people than any other time of my life.

*Besides being incredibly organic and original, Let the Road Pave Itself, is an intriguing title in and of itself.  What does “let the road pave itself” actually mean?

Well, I was struggling back and forth with what step I should take as an artist for a while there. Struggling with questions–Should I stay independent?..Should I sign a record deal? Should I just give up the artist thing and focus my attention writing for folks?  My thoughts were like walls around me. But one day I hung out with a good friend of mine named Jeff Balding. I really respect him musically and spiritually and after I told him everything in my mind he sat back with a smile and said “Phillip, you just got to let the road pave itself.” After hearing this something switched in my heart and I began to watch what God was trying to tell me. After I recorded the record, I felt like it would be a perfect title.

* I read that a lot of the songs on the album are first takes, which you didn’t edit.  It’s a pretty risky move (which pays off, by the way).  But why did you decide to record like this?  How did the other studio musicians react to this decision?

I really wanted folks to hear this record and hear my heart. Too many times Nashville can make music too perfect, too on time and too polished. Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of some pop music, but for me, I knew I needed to record the record as organically as possible. Thankfully, Paul Moak (co-producer) felt the same way as me and we began creating an environment that would suite what we were hoping to capture. A lot of what was captured was in part of how amazing the musicians played on the record. Each one embraced what we were aiming for and gave 100% of them selves.

*”Running So Long” is one of my favorite songs on this album.  What can you tell me about it?

It’s a love song in many ways. Too many times in this life I just ran face forward without really knowing what I was aiming for. I wanted to write a song about catching myself in that act and remind myself of what really matters. My wife and I have have been through a lot together through the years and I wanted to try my best to say to Lia, “You’re what matters most” in a different way acknowledging the pain and beauty that we have walked through.

*OK, I noticed in one of your press pictures, that you have tattoos on the inner part of your forearms.  What does the lettering say and what is the significance of these tats?

On my right arm it says “Your love is the music of my life”- that is for God. A way of saying I see you everywhere.  On my left arm it says- “Lia is the song of my heart”- That is for my wife. A way of saying, “I love you.”

Visit Phillip LaRue online at philliplarue.com or myspace.com/philliplarue.

Rush of Fools’ Confounded Plans

18 Apr

By Amy Sondova Twenty-one year-old Wes Willis had big plans for his life. “All my life, since I was five, I played baseball,” he says. “That was my plan and that was my dream—to play baseball professionally.” Unlike many dreams, Willis’ was in reach with his .341 batting average and his records of leading his team in doubles and stolen bases his senior year of high school. “I was going to sign a college scholarship to play baseball,” shares Willis, who incidentally throws right-handed but bats left-handed. “But God worked in my heart in different ways.” Rejecting the scholarship offers from several colleges, Willis ended up going to automotive school instead. Then there’s Kevin Huguley, a young married man, who dreamed of serving God in ministry. “Kevin was going to go to seminary,” explains Willis. “He packed up his stuff and moved to a different city. He even got his wife a teaching job there, and then he didn’t get accepted at the seminary.”

A couple of months later, Willis (lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitar) and Huguley (electric guitar) met and forged the band Rush of Fools. Recruiting drummer Jaime Sharpe, who hadn’t even graduated high school yet, and bassist Jacob Chestnut, the band played small shows until they decided to enter the Band-On-A-Mission contest in April 2006 to receive critiques from some of the Christian music industry’s elite. (The band later added guitarist and keyboardist JD Frazier to the fray.)

Much to their surprise, a couple of weeks later the guys in Rush of Fools learned they had won the contest, which included a record deal and a mission trip to China. While both of those prizes fell through, to the disappointment of the band, something even more amazing happened. A representative of Midas Records saw Rush of Fools perform on the last night of the contest and decided to sign them to the label. “Midas is actually a mainstream country label,” laughs Willis. “So it’s amazing to have this Christian label portion.” Rush of Fools is the second Christian artist to be signed to the label, the first being singer, Jessie Daniels.

Releasing their self-titled debut album in May 2007, Rush of Fools has made quite an impression with listeners with the release of their first radio single, “Undo” (watch “Undo” music video). The song, a ballad about God’s forgiveness for His wandering children, has caused the band’s inbox to become inundated with e-mails from fans who have been impacted by the song’s message. “One of the first e-mails we got was from a lady who is struggling a lot in her life. Her husband’s an alcoholic, her son’s a drug addict, and her daughter’s into witchcraft. It just felt like her life was falling apart,” shares Willis. The woman was about to drive her car over the edge of a bridge she passed every day on her way to and from work, when suddenly “Undo” began playing on the radio. Instead of driving off the bridge that day, this woman was touched by the knowledge that God can undo the messiness of her life. Another story came from a teenager who was staying with his Christian grandparents over the summer. “His grandma went out and bought our CD and now it’s all that the kid listens to. Then the kid said in his e-mail, ‘I think I’m gonna give this [Christianity] thing a shot’,” explains Willis, who seems genuinely awed by how God has used Rush of Fool’s music.

A pleasant pop-rock album, Rush of Fool’s debut is filled with eloquent lyrics that cut right to the heart—something a bit out of the ordinary for such a young band. The album’s deep theological undertones are intentional with its message of God’s faithfulness to His undeserving people, yet Willis humbly admits, “We still don’t have a deep understanding of mercy and grace. God blessed us with what we do know. We don’t have any other option but to tell the truth; we just try to write songs as biblically based as we can.”

Of course, bringing together a team of talented producers has added to the quality of the album. Combining the efforts of top industry producers Matt Bronlewee (Natalie Imbruglia, Jars of Clay, Leeland), Scott Davis (Jessie Daniels), and Jason Ingram of The Longing, Rush of Fools has been able to fuse a lot of talent into their first album. Working with Ingram on “All We Ever Needed”, Willis says he first penned the song when he was only 15. “I got together with Jason and reworked it. The song’s about how sometimes all we have to bring is a heavy heart—a heart of stone—but God can change it.” Reminding listeners to remember who they are, Willis says the song calls people out of their mire and into the hope that is in Christ, “I see that a lot with us as a band and how many times we stumble of fall or don’t do quiet times or don’t acts like Christians at all. God constantly needs to remind us who we are in Him.”

Another song on the album, “Can’t Get Away” has interesting word pictures to describe a Christian’s relationship with God. One especially poignant line, “I am the beggar/You are the table,” gives Willis an incredible image in his head as he sings. “I picture this really poor kid that’s wearing scraggly, dirty clothes. He’s on his hands and knees trying to get to this table, begging for food and that’s kind of how it is for us. Our righteousness is like a filthy rag, and we’re not clean or pure without Christ.”

“Peace Be Still” a slower song about God’s peace was written while the band was playing for a youth retreat in Tennessee. “We were reading our Bibles and having a quiet time in our room,” remembers Willis. “I just felt like God wanted us to grab our guitars and that’s when we started writing it. We realized that God was telling us to slow down and know that He is God.”

While it seems that Rush of Fools came together by divine providence, Willis can see God’s Hand on his music since he started playing in his youth group’s praise band, “As a pimple-faced 14 year-old, I was about to pass out sweating every night because I was playing in front of friends. The just really changed me and taught me and molded me in that time frame to be a worship leader.”

Hoping to pass on his experience to other aspiring worship leaders, Willis also likes to spend time with the teenagers at his home church, “When I’m at home, I’m always trying to lead worship as much as possible and I try to be a mentor for the youth group. I try to be someone they can talk to and be friends with.” Of course, there are always kids who will be impressed with Willis’ radio hits, but taking it in stride he shares, “There are a couple of kids that are like, ‘I heard you on the radio and you’re a superstar!’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not a superstar.’ Then there are kids that know me for me, and I love that they don’t put me on a pedestal.”

Willis also enjoys restoring classic cars, citing the 1967 Mustang Fastback as his rarest project thus far. However, like baseball, automotive school wasn’t exactly what God had in mind for Willis’ life, at least not at present. Happy that God confounded his plans, Willis says, “The thing is that we think we have good plans, but sometimes those plans can interfere with God’s plans.” Fortuitously, the confounding of Willis’ and Huguley’s plans led to a bigger plan beyond their imagination.

Print copy of article.

Congratulations to Rush of Fools for the four GMA Dove Award Nominations, including New Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “Undo”!

Grey Holiday: The Outtakes

19 Mar
By Amy Sondova Being on a conference call with Grey Holiday’s Matt Minor and R.T. Bodet is something that everyone should be able to experience. If you’re going to do an interview with a band, you should definitely talk to two band members at the same time to add to the chaos and confusion. To capture the full “Grey Holiday Experience”, here at some outtakes from my interview with Matt and R.T.

Outtake 1: “Stephen was in the cool crowd in elementary school and I was a dork.”—Matt, reflecting on his friendship with Steven. Incidentally, the two have been friends since childhood.
Outtake 2 (random comment): R.T: “Matt and I were both English majors”
Matt: “Yeah, all we know how to do is speak.”
Outtake 3: I remark to the guys that Jason Ingram is taking over the world because Ingram’s been directly and indirectly involved with many of the artists I’ve interviewed lately, to which R.T. responds, “You can’t print the whole Jason Ingram taking over the world thing because that will totally go to his head and we’ll never hear the end of it”
Outtake 4: I tell the band that they need to come play in Pennsylvania to which Matt responds, “We charge about $100,000 a show.”
R.T.: “We have demands also. There needs to be at least one bag of Swedish fish. I would also love some French Onion Sun chips. Those are also my favorite and maybe some Dr. Peppers and I’m good.”
Matt: “Dude, I’m starving now.”R.T.: “Yeah, I’m hungry.” He pauses. “I hope people get the sarcasm here. Italics. Sarcasm.”Matt: “I require a back massage for 30 minutes right before I play. I need a 12 by 18 foot dressing room with a lot of different outfits because I like to do a lot of wardrobe changes during the show. I need really dramatic changes—stuff that’s like black with metal studs and then something that’s a little softer like a teal.”
RT: “I think something with a little turquoise brings out his eyes.”
Outtake 5: I share that many artists mention Carman as one of the first Christian artists that they hear and Matt says, “You know, I had never heard of Carman until I was in college. Our guitarist, Stephen and I were sitting in our apartment and there was a Christian TV station where I went to school. It was like probably 3 AM and there was a Carman video marathon. I saw like 10 Carman videos and I was amazed.”

Outtake 6:
When asked who would win, if the guys in Grey Holiday got into a physical fight, this is what Matt says, “I’m telling you right now that I would take all three of them down at the same time. I think it’s actually happened.”R.T.: “No, that’s impossible because I like to bit and use fingernails. I’m a dirty fighter like that.”Matt: “Are you going on record saying you could beat me?”
R.T.: “I’m scrappy, man!” He pauses and then admits, “Matt would destroy me in a fight.”

Outtake # 7: Apparently, Matt and R.T. are traveling in a vehicle with their other band members and decide to rip on Josh.

RT: “Josh would hit a girl. He’s a drummer. All drummer’s have a few screws loose. Josh talks in full sentences sometimes, but like I said, he’s crazy. He’s got a couple of different personalities like Animal from ‘Sesame Street.’ Sometimes he just like yells crazy stuff.”

Matt: “You know what’s awesome? Only R.T. and I get to talk in this interview so we can totally rip on the other guys.”

Outtake #8: Matt accidentally hangs up on us, leaving the conference call, so R.T says, “Matt totally hung up on us. That is so rude. You should write that in—that Matt was so rude that he hung up in the middle of the interview but your best friend, RT, kept going.” And because R.T.’ said he was my best friend, I had to include it .

Read the full interview “Grey Holiday’s Glorious Revolution” with Matt Minor and R.T. Bodet here.

Grey Holiday’s Glorious Revolution

19 Mar

By Amy Sondova Rarely, if ever, do musicians start a band with a bass player who’s never played bass and a drummer who’s never actually drummed. Yet that’s exactly how Grey Holiday got its start—with four friends, Matt Minor (vocals, keys, guitar), Steven Bedingfield (guitar, electronics, programming), R.T. Bodet (bass), and Josh Fenoglio (drums), who were committed to making music together.

“Matt and Steven were playing acoustic stuff in college,” explains R.T., who is on a conference call along with his band mate, Matt. “They decided they were done doing the whole coffee house thing and they wanted to go ahead and form a full band.

Instead of going through the hassle of trying to find musicians that–”

”–were good–,” interrupts Matt.

“–that were good, they found musicians that were awful,” finishes R.T. with a laugh. Then he continues, “They pretty much forced us to play our instruments. Josh never played drums and I never played bass and they gave us these instruments and told us to play.” Since R.T. and Josh were roommates at the time, they spent time together practicing during the week, meeting up with Matt and Steven on weekends.

Eventually the band developed musically and the foursome was signed to Essential Records in June of 2006, “We signed a record deal and I got married and my sister had a baby all within two weeks,” laughs Matt in remembrance. The band is released their debut album, The Glorious Revolution, in September 2007.

It’s not your typical full-length album containing only six songs. “The music business seems to be moving in this direction. It allows us to make new music more often,” explains Matt, who also notes that the album is full of extras. “Plus the disc is supposed to help people to get to know us better. It’s packed with videos and song-writing journals. It’s much more than just six songs.”

R.T. jumps in adding, “You get basically the whole experience of what goes into music and why we do what we do. Some of our videos are really goofy and ridiculous because we have that personality and some of the videos are about the songs.” He pauses and then says, “The consumers are kind of like ADD with music. They don’t want to wait two years for new music.” Plus, with the advantage of download sites like iTunes, Grey Holiday can get songs onto the iPods and MP3 players of listeners faster than ever.

Still, fans who love the Grey Holiday sound won’t have to wait long because the band plans to record another album in the next year. Matt playfully says, “We just whetted your appetite and you’ll be jumping at the bit for more.”

Co-writing some of the songs on The Glorious Revolution with producer Jason Ingram (Rush of Fools, Bebo Norman), the album goes from the heights of the glorious to the realms of revolution to the depths of the human spirit. One of the most poignant songs on the album is “You Belong to Me”, a ballad illustrating God’s love for His children from a Father’s perspective. “The song is about falling away from God and the way that life is supposed to be lived,” explains Matt. “God always has His arms open and is waiting for us to come back to Him. It’s really a song about coming back to God.”

“Glorious” is another song that explores God’s relationship with His creation. R.T. explains that the goal of the song is to help listeners to discover what is glorious all around them, “There are so many things in this world that we lose sight of—it’s about seeing the beauty that’s all around. It’s about slowing down and seeing the world.” Full of energy and movement, R.T. says it’s also a fun song to play live.

One of the catchiest tunes on the album also happens to be one of the most special to Matt. “’Let Go’ means a lot to me in my growth as a musician. I was really frustrated when we were making the album. This is the first time I’ve worked with a team of people who’ve got 13,000 different opinions,” he humbly admits. “I was at a breaking point when we were writing this record. As a songwriter, my first inclination is to be selfish about the songs, thinking that’s mine and I don’t want to change that.” Seeing his struggle, producer Jason Ingram offered Matt a reality check saying, “This isn’t your music. God is trying to work through you and you’re hindering the process.” Matt readily accepted Ingram’s gentle rebuke and was reminded to let go of his own pride and give God the glory.

Matt refers to “Revolution” as the band’s battle cry to their listeners passionately sharing, “The world is never going to satisfy us; we’ll never catch up with it. It’s always going to take from you. There’s no reason to stay in step with the world when was we Christians are called to be a change to the world and to make a difference.” Perhaps one of the album’s most interesting aspects is the gang vocals included in this song. About 20 high school and college students were brought into the recording studio to sing the chorus with Grey Holiday.

Ironically, it’s middle school, high school, and college students that are the band’s targeted demographic, which is why they chose to partner with The Mocha Club, an organization that partners with musicians to that raise support and awareness for humanitarian efforts in third world countries. “They help you develop your own little community. The Grey Holiday community with the Mocha Club will sponsor a specific project,” explains Matt, whose wife, a photographer, traveled with Invisible Children in Africa.

Community is something that Grey Holiday wants to share with their audience, even with a little community on the Mocha Club, that’s helping to change the lives of people forever through music. “With music you get this really interesting platform, where people want to listen to what you have to say,” shares R.T.

The band’s passion is magnetic, yet their passion is deep. Even the name “Grey Holiday” is an indication of the band’s faith in God, says R.T., “Grey Holiday is our reflection on Jesus’ crucifixion and how it was such a dark time in history, but it was also a great time because He died for our sins.” Taking a moment to reflect, R.T. then says, “When we hear our name or see it on our band gear, it reminds us that we were bought for a price. We hear our name and we go back to that place.”

Deeply impressed by his band mate’s answer, Matt pipes in, “That was a really good quote.”

Personality is a huge factor for Grey Holiday, who often play off each other’s comments. Matt and R.T. constantly derail the interview time and time again with witty banter. Take this conversation about the band’s song-writing process:

Matt starts, “I come up with the original idea and I take it to the guys. We form the song around everyone’s input. We’re still learning the process really.”

Then R.T. adds, “We’ll go with an analogy. Matt is basically the skeletal system of the song—the bones. Then Steven and Josh—they kind of make up the skin. I’m pretty much the muscles.”

Matt calmly interrupts and takes over the interview, “R.T., I have a question for you.”


Matt: “How much do you weigh?”

R.T.: “Uh…142 pounds.”

Matt: “And how tall are you?”

R.T.: “About 6’1”.” He pauses. “Okay, so I’m really slender. I’ll be the skin.”

Yet with all their playfulness, the band’s passion is clear through their deep lyrics, insightful wit, and willingness to take a chance on their two friends who didn’t even know how to play their instruments. Friendship is what bonds the band together, yet it’s also about the band’s God-given passion to make music Matt says, “The point of songs it to meet people where they are. If you’re not doing that, then you’re not making music that people want to hear.” And Grey Holiday is definitely making music that people want to hear—one glorious revolution at a time.

Print copy of article.

Read the hilarious interview outtakes with Matt and R.T. here.

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