A night at The Local Show turned out to be a real treat this month as show host, Andrew Peterson, welcomed guests Drew Holcomb, The Gray Havens and Christopher Williams to the stage at The Well Coffeehouse in Brentwood, TN. Ellie Holcomb was originally scheduled to join the line-up but opted to send her husband Drew Holcomb after loosing her voice earlier in day recording vocals for her new album.
This was my first time to experience The Local Show which was birthed by Andrew Peterson in 2014. The show features artists in Nashville’s “writer’s in the round” fashion as they share stories and song. Highlights last night include Drew Holcomb’s touching story behind his song “Live Forever” and his song “American Beauty” made famous with the Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial. The Gray Havens shared new songs from their upcoming album showcasing their powerful blend of harmonies and storytelling. Andrew Peterson shared a few of his gems while weaving in personal stories of family and friends. Last night was my first exposure to Christopher Williams and boy does he have a soulful voice. The evening ended with Peterson’s daughter joining the stage to help lead a group hymn sing.
Be sure and connect with The Local Show’s Facebook page HERE for updates on the monthly shows.
Something I often hear in Christian circles, is a common distaste for the overall sound of Christian radio. Many in the industry listen to Christian radio in short stints as a necessity for work but their personal preference is found in mainstream music. The complaints I hear are generated from college/young adult Christians, artists, producers, songwriters, record label employees and even some who work in radio. Reasons heard from those complaining include 1) the music sounds the same as what was being played ten years ago 2) every song sounds similar 3) radio plays the same handful of artists on repeat 4) the production isn’t relevant to what is being made in the mainstream. While some of those reasons may ring true, who is serving up solutions? Who feeds the music to radio?
I would argue that the radio playlists lie in the hands of the creators. If the artists, songwriters, producers and record company A&R teams refuse to feed radio the same formulaic music, wouldn’t radio be forced to change? When something new begins to work, what if creators resisted the urge to jump on the copycat bandwagon and instead chose to lead with even newer sounds? What if record companies refused to put so much stock into what radio research is asking for and instead fed radio with nothing but innovative music? Imagine radio playlists chocked full of innovative artists like Switchfoot, For King & Country, Lecrae, Future of Forestry, John Mark McMillan, Social Club and The Brilliance. Radio might just sound a bit different.
Join the conversation, share your thoughts and stay tuned for Part 2 as we explore even more.
The Gray Havens End 2015 On High Note
CCM Magazine, JesusFreakHideout and NewReleaseToday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. January 4, 2016 —Artist Garden Entertainment artist, The Gray Havens, end 2015 on a high note with top rankings on multiple industry Top 2015 album lists. The independent, Chicago-based husband/wife duo found their way into the hearts of top Christian media with Fire & Stone, produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Mitch Dane (Brandon Heath, JJ Heller)
CCM Magazine’s Andy Argyrakis ranked The Gray Havens Fire & Stone #6 on his Top 10 Albums list for 2015 stating “this full-length debut is an enthralling and enlightening start to what’s sure to be a fruitful career.”
Fire and Stone ranked #6 on JesusFreakHideout’s Overall Staff Picks for 2015 making The Gray Havens the first independent artist to ever appear on the chart. In addition, the duo ranked #1 on several individual staff picks charts.
Christian music discovery site UnderTheRadar ranked the record #4 on their 2015 Top Gourmet Album Picks.
The husband/wife duo released a new song, At Last, The King, in December which became NewReleaseTuesday’s top downloaded Christmas song of 2015.
The Gray Havens enter the studio this week with producer Ben Shive ( Colony House, Andrew Peterson) to begin recording their next record currently scheduled for a spring release.
Mary Did You Know that Christmas is Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s favorite time of the year? December is a BIG royalty check generating month for the two songwriter’s of “Mary, Did You Know” as the song continues to build in worldwide popularity. This year Pentatonix is singing the song to the top of the charts. Over the years, the song has been recorded by Wynonna Judd & Kenny Rogers, Rascal Flats, Cee Lo Green, Scotty McCreery, Mary J Blige, India Arie, Reba McEntire, Clay Aiken, Jeremy Camp, Kutless and The Braxtons just to name a few.
This week I ran across a Youtube performance that puts a totally new spin on “Mary, Did You Know.” Below is a video with Ryan Corn giving the song a hipster busking vibe. Merry Christmas!
Have you ever heard a Christmas song begin with the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden? Well, You’re about to! While many artists are busy releasing cover Christmas songs, The Gray Havens decided to take a new and fresh approach at writing and recording their new original Christmas song, At Last, The King. The new song, produced by Ryan Corn, is now available on iTunes. This song serves as a preview of what’s to come as The Gray Havens are busy working on their new Spring 2016 release. Below is a video of a live performance from The Gray Havens singing At Last, The King.
The music streaming race gets a little more interesting with the today’s announcement from Youtube. Youtube announced the release of their music app for IOS and Android. I’m just downloading the app so no opinion from me yet on its functionality, however, I’m sure it will quickly move to the top of every music marketing plan. Upon hearing the news, I found this amazingly produced video that Youtube made to introduce the service. Interestingly I was the 50th person to view it so I wanted to share with those of you who haven’t seen it. After watching this video, I’m stoked. How about You?
Working as an artist manager, I’ve discovered something that holds true for most artists. If an artist is comfortable, they most likely aren’t growing. In order to continue growing an audience, the artist must continually push the boundaries of their music, imaging and marketing. The irony is that most artists don’t like to be uncomfortable but they all want to grow their audience.
Are you comfortable?
If you aren’t aware of The Gray Havens, then you should be! The husband/wife pop-folk duo have been quietly building a following amongst college students, hipsters and those who appreciate great music. With lyrics inspired by literary greats JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, The Gray Havens are branding a unique style of fantasy story telling with theological undercurrents.
David and Licia Radford, The Gray Havens, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new EP which they hope to release in Spring 2016. They have been vigorously writing new songs and have lined up producer Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Colony House, Brandon Heath) to begin production once the funds are raised. Check out the video and join them in making the new record.
CLICK THE K IN TOP LEFT CORNER OF VIDEO
Frontman for one of Christian music’s all-time best live bands, Salvador, releases his first solo EP “My Life Is Yours” today through Lucid Artist. In typical Nic Gonzales fashion, you won’t see him attempting to grab headlines. Instead, he is quietly releasing his new collection of beautifully written songs with minimal self-promoted fanfare. Well sports fans, THE SECRET IS OUT!
This EP reminds me of the pure but powerful vocal presence that led Salvador to the top of Christian radio charts. Nic plays most of the instruments himself but is accompanied by Salvador producer/keyboardist, Chris Bevins. His brother, Art Gonzales, makes a guest drumming appearance and of course you will hear some BGVs from wife, Jaci Velasquez. Listeners will be drawn in by the vulnerability Nic expresses through his lyrics on the EP. “Good As Gold” is my favorite track as he sings about the joy of being a husband and father.
Do yourself a favor…GO BUY THIS RECORD! CLICK HERE
Artist Garden Entertainment
I have been working on a book for the last couple of years titled Creating Monsters – Finding Fame In Jesus’ Name. The book is targeted at anyone pursuing a career on a platform that could potentially bring fame.(music, film, sports etc) The book released this week and is available at amazon.com, christianbookstore.com, select Christian retail and on my website keithstancil.com I’d be honored if you would check it out.