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Bethel Music’s Bright Ones is “Invigorating & Inspiring,” Depicting “Experiences that are Unique to a Young Faith”

Bethel Music’s Bright Ones is
“Invigorating & Inspiring,” Depicting
“Experiences that are Unique to a Young Faith”
Nashville, Tenn. (Apr. 27, 2018)Bright Ones, formed as an extension of Bethel Music and Bethel Church as a ministry for creative youth, released their self-titled album today, available now. Breaking the mold of kid’s worship, the album features a diverse pop-influenced soundscape with a mixture of re-invented covers and original songs written by members of Bethel Music. Featuring the unique talent of nine kids ages 12 to 16, the inspiring collection of songs invites listeners to experience what is possible when a group of young people fully believe they are the light of the world carrying a message meant to impact others.
Here’s what the critics are saying…
“These 12 songs are theologically intelligent and sonically relevant…[Bright Ones] highlights the team’s knack for reaching today’s kids without embarrassing them or the name of Jesus. Moreover, this album also testifies to the versatility of Bethel Music’s catalog.  Not only are they made for adults to sing but they are also worship opportunities made for kids too.” – Hallels  
“Led by talented 12-16 year olds from the Bethel Music family, Bright Ones is invigorating & inspiring…” – CCM Magazine
“Bright Ones never runs out of steam. Even in its slower moments, it refuses to simply fall into what a worship song should sound like…[It] doesn’t give the impression of a grown-up’s faith repackaged for kids, but rather tells of the experiences that are unique to a young faith.”- Eden
“This isn’t your grandmother’s worship music, it may not even be your mother’s. With a blend of pop, techno, and even dubstep; this album will encourage youth to worship at a whole new level.” – Faith Filled Family
“Young or old, Bright Ones will remind you of the light within you, who you reflect, and cause you to dance and sing in reverent worship.”
Bright Ones is now available here.
About Bright Ones:
Bright Ones is ministry formed as an extension of Bethel Music and Bethel Church in Redding, CA for creative talented youth and kids who love God and want to see His Kingdom expand through music, movement and multimedia. Motivated by the brilliance, beauty, and goodness of God, Bright Ones seeks to tell God’s stories through music, films, videos, stage events, teachings and resources that inspire and equip youth and children all over the world. Their first album, Come Alive, released under the name Bethel Music Kids in 2015, and won a Dove Award for Children’s Album of the Year, with their EP Christmas Party (2016) following shortly after. Bright Ones’ latest self-titled project is available now.

CHRISTAFARI Debuts at #1 on Billboard Reggae Albums Chart

Chart-topping Gospel Reggae pioneers CHRISTAFARI return to the top spot this week on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart with their latest studio album, “Original Love” (Lion of Zion Entertainment). Released on April 13th, “Original Love” is the group’s seventh consecutive album to debut at #1.

After nearly three decades, CHRISTAFARI is the all-time top selling Gospel Reggae act and continues to be a driving force in world music. But the band considers themselves to be more than just musicians, but rather “musicianaries” (musical missionaries), spreading the message of hope and salvation globally to approximately 20 countries per year.

“We give thanks to God and the tremendous support of our listeners and friends who believe in our unique and counter-cultural blend of Gospel Reggae,” says Christafari frontman and founder Mark Mohr. “While chart positioning is exciting and it’s a blessing to be the first and only Christian artist to consistently top the mainstream reggae charts, we care a whole lot more about touching hearts than topping the charts. Souls are more important to us than sales. And we will use these sales to help fund our upcoming Central America mission where we will be ministering in barrios and trash cities throughout Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Roatan (May 6-23).”

CHRISTAFARI has performed in 46 states, over 74 nations, at two Olympic Games and a Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. The band has performed at most major reggae and Gospel/CCM festivals with the top artists in the genres, and they’ve had the privilege of performing at many of the country’s most prestigious venues such as L.A.’s Greek Theater, Dodger Stadium and the steps of the United States Capitol before a crowd of 500,000. The band has been featured on The 700 Club, CNN, MTV, MTV Brazil, ABC, TBN, JUCE TV, BET, TBS and many more. Their music is even featured in the current curriculum taught at Carnegie Hall.

“We are grateful for the platform that charting gives us, allowing us to reach and impact even more people across the globe with the Good News of Jesus Christ,” says Mohr. “Thanks again everyone for helping make this happen!”

“Original Love” is available now at GospelReggae.com, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and everywhere music is streamed or sold.

For more information, visit www.CHRISTAFARI.com.

LEDGER Makes Highest Debut on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums Chart, Enters Top 5 at Rock

LEDGER Makes Highest Debut
on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums Chart,
Enters Top 5 at Rock
Praise Continues to Pour In for Breakthrough Album from Critics and Fans Alike
Nashville, Tenn. (Apr. 23, 2018) – LEDGER, the self-titled debut EP from drummer and vocalist Jen Ledger of multi-platinum selling, GRAMMY® nominated rock band Skillet, made the highest debut on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums Chart, hitting Top 5 on Rock charts as well as No. 2 on iTunes Rock Albums chart and No. 7 on iTunes Overall Albums chart. The album was released on Apr. 13, via Atlantic Records in partnership with Hear it Loud, the imprint encompassing the creative team of Skillet’s John & Korey Cooper and longtime manager, Zachary Kelm.

Praise for the breakthrough album continues to pour in from fans and critics alike. Here’s what the critics are saying…
“The collection is fraught with intelligently poetic lyrics, prose that weave a curious sense of searching for something much greater than ourselves. Ultimately, LEDGER shows abundant heaps of promise for this talented woman as a solo artist…For these reasons, CrypticRock give (LEDGER) 5 of 5 stars.” – CrypticRock
“(LEDGER) encapsulates every moment within my faith journey where I had to decide if I was going to give into fear or continue the fight.” – Smart Cookie Philes
“The exciting new project is a compelling blend of Skillet-esque rock anthems with pop influences all her own.” – CCM Magazine
“Without hesitation, LEDGER is a strong EP – bold, unashamed, and full of potential. This is Jen Ledger at her best – it is fantastic to hear her unleash everything across each of these tracks. There’s a word to perfectly summarize this collection: power.” – TheChristianBeat
LEDGER is a project you can tell Jen Ledger poured her heart and soul into. It’s a journey we’re lucky to have the opportunity to travel on with her. Her voice is angelic and stronger than ever.” – The Front Row Report
Here’s what the fans are saying…
“Couldn’t wait for it to come out! (LEDGER) does not disappoint! I love every song!” – aprilmrigril
“Just purchased and can’t stop listening!!!” – Auntiekk 44
“A perfect blend of rock, dance and pop… Jen really shows her wide spread musical talent with this record. If you are a fan of Skillet, this is a no-brainer.”
– Scotter23

Photo Credit: Gina Monahan

Photo Credit: Gina Monahan
In addition to her role as drummer and vocalist with Skillet on “joy.UNLEASHED | The Tour,” Ledger, along with her full band, has been opening the tour with new, original songs. Having already sold out major markets including Dallas, TX and Port Huron, MI, the tour will stop in over a dozen markets through early May, visiting Huntsville, Jacksonville, Orlando, and more.
About LEDGER:
Jen Ledger’s unique vocals and powerful stage presence have given her a distinct role in Skillet since joining as the band’s drummer when she was just 18. Ledger has had the privilege of being a part of Skillet as they have cemented their place as one of the 21st century’s most successful rock bands, selling more than 11 million units worldwide, receiving two GRAMMY® Award nominations and winning a Billboard Music Award for the multi-platinum-certified Awake.

With an engaged and ever-growing social media presence, the latest signee for Atlantic Records and Hear It Loud debuted her solo endeavor, LEDGER, on April 13, now available.

Get Connected with LEDGER:
Website: LEDGERband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ledgerbandofficial/
Instagram: @jenledger
Twitter: @jenledger

Jackie Hill Perry To Unveil Fearless New Album, Crescendo, on May 11

Jackie Hill Perry To Unveil
Fearless New Album, Crescendo, on May 11

Female Rapper, Writer, Preacher and Poet Balances Strength and Sensitivity on Newest Record

Nashville, Tenn. (Apr. 23, 2018) – Birthed out of one of the busiest times of her life, Jackie Hill Perry will release her sophomore album Crescendo (Humble Beast, Fair Trade Services) on May 11. The rapper, writer, preacher and poet presents a 14-piece collection of musical art that serves to reveal a journey that she has taken personally, spiritually and artistically. Amidst the rich tapestry of sounds, beats and words, the constant thread running through the growth-aligning Crescendo centers on Perry’s sense of brokenness entrusted to God’s care.

“A crescendo should be lowered at some point to grow,” explains Perry. “It needs to include a place of lament. The truth of the Christian walk is weakness: It’s riddled with suffering. I wanted an album that would carry the idea that how, when you grow in faith in Christ, your life gets louder. I wanted to make that connection: Our lives should be a constant crescendo. We should be growing in love for God and our neighbor. This is really a story about what it’s like to grow.”

Notable tracks found on Crescendo include, but are not limited to the urging first single “Fall Away,” the courageous anthem “Woman” and the vulnerably driven “Mustard Seed.” No Ways Tired” finds Perry taking her cue (and her title) from the gospel classic by the Rev. James Cleveland, “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” while “Lamentations,” a track that features Latifah Alattas of Page CXVI found its origin in one of the lowest parts of Perry’s life.

In the spirit of growth and change, Perry says “there’s a big difference when you write a record as a 24 year old as opposed to a 28 year old. I approach melody, content and rapping differently. I’ve been five years married now. I have a toddler. I’m in a different season and grateful that it took so long because it allowed me time to mature as a woman first.”

Crescendo will be available at Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon.

Crescendo track listing:
1. Lamentations
2. Hush
3. No Ways Tired
4. Fall Away
5. Melodies
6. Thy Neighbor
7. Hymn
8. Mustard Seed
9. From Heaven
10. Woman
11. Restless
12. Maranatha
13. Crescendo
14. Reprise
About Jackie Hill Perry:
Jackie Hill Perry is a prolific writer, speaker and artist. Her work has been viewed by millions online and featured in publications like the Washington Times, Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition, among others. She consistently tours at a wide range of speaking engagements, showcases and more and has plans to release a book later this year. The Art Of Joy released in 2014, marking her debut with Humble Beast Records. Her newest collection of music Crescendo (Humble Beast Records/Fair Trade Services) will be unveiled on May 11. The album follows an arch of experiences of someone working through their faith, digging into themes about womanhood, spiritual depression and wrestling with doubt as someone growing in knowledge, worship and obedience to God. At home, Perry is known as wife to Preston and mommy to Eden. The Perrys are expecting their second child this spring.

Get Connected to Jackie Hill Perry: 
Website: www.jackiehillperry.com
Facebook: @jackiehillpage
Twitter: @JackieHillPerry
Instagram: @jackiehillperry
Youtube: @MyNameIsJackieHill

OWL CITY ANNOUNCES CINEMATIC NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

OWL CITY ANNOUNCES CINEMATIC NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

20+ SHOW RUN MARKS OWL CITY’S FIRST TOUR IN OVER THREE YEARS

MATTHEW THIESSEN & THE EARTHQUAKES TO SUPPORT ON ALL DATES

NEW YORK, NY (April 20, 2018) — Owl City announced today the “Cinematic Tour” — his first North American tour in over three years. Kicking off this September in Milwaukee, WI, the tour will bring Owl City (Adam Young) to 24 markets across North America in support of his new album — Cinematic — which is slated for release on June 1.

“After spending the last few years working in my studio, it’s finally time to hit the road,” said Owl City. “I’m excited to pack my bag, grab my guitar, and go on a journey that will take me around the country. See you on the road!”

Supporting Owl City on all dates is friend and fellow collaborator Matthew Thiessen & The Earthquakes. Thiessen is best known for his work as co-founder, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Relient K, as well as his collaborative work on Owl City’s breakout debut album Ocean Eyes.

The “Cinematic Tour” will bring new music to Owl City fans across the country in support of his new sixth full-length album and first independent offering Cinematic.

Cinematic, which was preceded by a trio of three-song “Reels” (EPs) which are available now, is described by Owl City as, “…a personal narrative, as if a film was made from key scenes throughout my life. My hope is there’s a way to teach yourself to recognize and appreciate what I like to call, ‘movie magic moments’, so you don’t miss out on them. That’s what the title alludes to. You have an audience cheering you on. Everybody is in your corner. Do your best for them.”

The entire undertaking represents the apex of Young’s decade-long output to date. Hailing from the tiny town of Owatonna, Minnesota, he quietly became one of pop’s most ubiquitous voices, selling over 2.5 million albums and 18 million singles globally. 2009’s Ocean Eyes yielded a timeless smash in the form of “Fireflies,” which went seven-times RIAA platinum, soared to #1 in 26 countries, and ignited a meme frenzy in 2017 nearly ten years removed from its initial release. Among a discography of hits, “Good Time (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)” also earned a triple-platinum certification and toppled charts worldwide.

Presales for the “Cinematic Tour” start on Monday, April 23 at 10:00 AM local time. Public onsale begins next Friday, April 27 at 10:00 AM local time. See full tour dates below.

For tickets and more information, visit owlcitymusic.com.

“Cinematic Tour” 2018 Dates
September 13 – The Rave II – Milwaukee, WI
September 14 – Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, MI
September 15 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON
September 17 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
September 18 – Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
September 19 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
September 21 – Paradise – Boston, MA
September 22 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C.
September 23 – The Underground – Charlotte, NC
September 25 – Center Stage – Atlanta, GA
September 26 – The Plaza “LIVE” – Orlando, FL
September 28 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX
September 29 – House of Blues – Houston, TX
October 1 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
October 2 – House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
October 3 – Regency – San Francisco, CA
October 5 – Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
October 6 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
October 7 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
October 9 – The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
October 10 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
October 12 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
October 13 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
October 14 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH

ABOUT OWL CITY
With humble small town beginnings in Owatonna, MN, Owl City (aka Adam Young) remains an avantgarde hitmaker in his own right. With total album sales over 3 million and single sales surpassing 20 million globally, his smash “Fireflies” from 2009’s Ocean Eyes received a five-times RIAA platinum certification in addition to going No. 1 in 26 countries. His popular hit “Good Time feat. Carly Rae Jepsen” went Top 4 in the U.S. and racked up sales of close to 3 million. Following the release of 2015’s Mobile Orchestra, which saw him team up with Aloe Blacc, Hanson and Jake Owen, to name a few, Adam Young took a year to work on his eponymously named side project and begin to lay the groundwork for Cinematic – Owl City’s 2018 offering and first independent album. Rolling out in a trio of EPs – dubbed “Reels” –the 18-track album Cinematic album is slated for release on June 1, 2018.

Kim Walker-Smith ON MY SIDE TOUR

Kim Walker-Smith
ON MY SIDE TOUR
with Special Guests Urban Rescue
Nashville, Tenn. (Apr. 17, 2018) – With fresh focus and renewed purpose Jesus Culture’s Kim Walker-Smith is heading out on a summertime On My Side Tour with special guests Urban Rescue. Last fall, following the release of her latest solo album On My Side, Kim Walker-Smith toured a dozen cities and brought a message of hope and healing to all those in attendance. On Friday, April 6, she released an EP of live recordings from the fall tour, featuring a select group of songs from the album. Today she is announcing her 2018 tour by the same name.

“I am so excited for this summer! On the first run of the On My Side Tour, it was incredible to see how God met us each night,” said Walker-Smith. “God brought a lot of healing and restoration to many people’s hearts through powerful worship and intimate moments with Him. I’m so excited for this next run and I know it will be a powerful night of worship and testimony!”

Promoted and produced by Premier Productions, the Kim Walker-Smith On My Side Tour will alight on popular East Coast venues and markets such as Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, FL, House of Blues in Orlando, FL, Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, GA, Fillmore Silver Spring in Washington, DC, Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH, and Rocketown in Nashville, TN. She is also planning to visit a few megachurches such as City Church in Chattanooga, TN, Raleigh First Assembly in Raleigh, NC and Crossroads Community Church in Kokomo, IN. More summertime tour dates will be announced soon.

Regarded as one of Christian music’s top female worship leaders, Kim Walker-Smith is one of the founding leaders of the Jesus Culture movement. For 17-plus years she has travelled the world leading worship events, sharing her story at conferences and recording many live albums with Jesus Culture, including Love Has a Name (2017) and such well-known worship anthems as “How He Loves,” “Spirit Break Out,” and “In the River.”

Tickets for the On My Side tour go on sale to the general public Monday, April 23. For a complete list of dates, ticketing and details, www.premierproductions.com or https://jesusculture.com/artists/kim-walker-smith/.

On My Side Tour:
*all dates subject to change
July
20 – St. Petersburg, FL
21 – Orlando, FL *Urban Rescue will not appear in Orlando, FL
23 – Atlanta, GA
24 – Chattanooga, TN
26 – Raleigh, NC
27- Washington, DC
30 – Kokomo, IN
August
3 – Columbus, OH
4 – Nashville, TN

About Kim Walker-Smith:
Kim Walker-Smith has become one of the strongest voices in worship music as a passionate worship leader bringing an entire generation into an encounter with God. Her heart is to see people transformed by experiencing God’s love and for this generation to see themselves the way God sees them. Kim has been a part of Jesus Culture since the beginning of the ministry. She carries a genuine heart to see worship change the course of lives and nations. Kim is married and she and her husband have three children.

About Premier Productions:
Pollstar Magazine ranks Premier Productions as the largest producer of live Christian events both nationally and internationally.  Over 18 million people have attended a Premier event in over 4,000 concerts worldwide.  Premier promotes Tours for Hillsong UNITED, Hillsong Worship, Young & Free, Kari Jobe, Jesus Culture, Lecrae, Lauren Daigle, Gaither Homecoming, Sadie Robertson, The Newsboys, comedian John Crist, Rend Collective, as well as their annual Winter Jam Tour Spectacular and OUTCRY Tours.

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LEDGER Delivers With “Powerhouse Vocals” and “Empowering Anthems”

LEDGER Delivers With
“Powerhouse Vocals” and “Empowering Anthems”
In Debut EP Available Now
Nashville, Tenn (Apr. 13, 2018) – LEDGER, the self-titled debut EP from drummer and vocalist Jen Ledger of multi-platinum selling, GRAMMY® nominated rock band Skillet, released today to critical acclaim. Ledger’s unique vocals and powerful stage presence have given her a distinct role in Skillet since joining the band when she was just 18. Stepping out from behind the drums as her own frontwoman, LEDGER collaborated with Skillet’s John and Korey Cooper, as well as GRAMMY® Award winning songwriter and producer Seth Mosley who, together with Korey Cooper, produced the six-song project. LEDGER has accomplished a sound uniquely her own in her self-titled, debut EP.
“With driving rhythms, high production value, powerhouse vocals and songs that boldly encourage listeners to find their strength and identity in Christ, LEDGER gives a solid debut proving that she has much to offer and voice all her own.” – Today’s Christian Entertainment
“With the advent of LEDGER, a whole new level to Jen Ledger’s piercing vocal talent is uncovered, while courageous lyrics make this one of the most faith-affirming releases of the year so far.” – New Release Today
“LEDGER accomplishes a lot in such a short run-time. It’s smart and fun. It rocks and it sometimes makes you want to dance. It shows the range and breadth of LEDGER’s skills while playing to her strengths. Most of all, it’s a collection of empowering anthems that leaves you excited to hear what’s next in this new phase of her career.” – CCM Magazine
“…with a blast of electric guitars and ear-popping percussions… Is this a great hard rock record with heart and soul? The answer is a resounding yes.” – Hallels
“Going from being part of a massive band to doing your own stuff is no easy task. But LEDGER has made a collection of solo songs that stand on their own merit.” – Louder Than The Music
“Put simply, LEDGER is a finely crafted masterpiece and you’d be hard pressed to find a better release in the whole of 2018.” – Jesus Wired
“After spending several years lying in wait, LEDGER is proving that she is more than capable of producing a gem.” – JesusFreakHideout
Infectious” – Worship Musician 
 “LEDGER is a project you can tell Jen Ledger poured her heart and soul into. It’s a journey we’re lucky to have the opportunity to travel on with her. Her voice is angelic and stronger than ever and it’s so good to see her venturing out on her own.” – The Front Row Report
LEDGER is now available here.
About LEDGER:
Jen Ledger’s unique vocals and powerful stage presence have given her a distinct role in Skillet since joining as the band’s drummer when she was just 18. Ledger has had the privilege of being a part of Skillet as they have cemented their place as one of the 21st century’s most successful rock bands, selling more than 11 million units worldwide, receiving two GRAMMY® Award nominations and winning a Billboard Music Award for the multi-platinum-certified Awake.

With an engaged and ever-growing social media presence, the latest signee for Atlantic Records and Hear It Loud released her debut solo endeavor, LEDGER (4/13), available now.

Get Connected with LEDGER:
Website: LEDGERband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ledgerbandofficial/
Instagram: @jenledger
Twitter: @jenledger

Chart-Topping Gospel Reggae Pioneers CHRISTAFARI Return April 13th with “Original Love”

Chart-Topping Gospel Reggae Pioneers CHRISTAFARI Return April 13th with “Original Love”

CHRISTAFARI return April 13th with their latest studio album, “Original Love” (Lion of Zion Entertainment) – available now for pre-order at iTunes, with 4 instant tracks available upon purchase. After nearly three decades, CHRISTAFARI is the all-time top selling Gospel Reggae act and continues to be a driving force in world music. Their last 6 albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart. But the band considers themselves to be more than just musicians, but rather “musicianaries” (musical missionaries), spreading the message of hope and salvation globally to approximately 20 countries per year.

CHRISTAFARI was founded in 1989 by Pastor Mark Mohr, who strayed from his spiritual upbringing in his teenage years and turned to drugs and alcohol. After running away from home, living on the streets, and hitting rock-bottom, he had an undeniable encounter with God that drastically transformed his world. Just two weeks later, CHRISTAFARI was birthed at a camp talent show, when a friend said to Mohr, “So you’re not a Rastafarian anymore; you’re a Christafarian.” And the name stuck! While their name may just sound like a play on words, in Biblical Greek it stands for a group of people who bear or represent the name of Christ. “At that time, the best advice I was given was to go to Bible College so I could be theologically and doctrinally sound,” says Mohr, who attended BIOLA University, taking classes that emphasized pastoral studies and missions. During his college years, CHRISTAFARI continued to take shape as Mohr wrote songs for the band’s first three albums.

In 1999, after recording two albums with Gotee Records under the tutelage of multi-platinum recording artist TobyMac, Mohr branched out and founded his own record company, Lion of Zion Entertainment, with the goal of “reaching the world through world music.”

CHRISTAFARI has performed in 46 states, over 74 nations, at two Olympic Games and even for a Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. The band has performed at most major reggae and Gospel/CCM festivals with the top artists in the genres, and they’ve had the privilege of performing at many of the country’s most prestigious venues such as L.A.’s Greek Theater, Dodger Stadium and the steps of the United States Capitol before a crowd of 500,000. The band has been featured on The 700 Club, CNN, MTV, MTV Brazil, ABC, TBN, JUCE TV, BET, TBS and many more. Their music is even featured in the current curriculum taught at Carnegie Hall.

The band’s YouTube channel sees well over one million views each month. “Aside from touring,” says Mohr, “our greatest platform to reach the world is YouTube, so we’re doing our best to maximize it with the few resources that we have.” Over the last few years, CHRISTAFARI has released roughly one music video per month through their Rank and File Film Co.

It was never the band’s intention to take on a missionary role, but as often happens, God had other plans. “The funny thing is that one of my first prayers to the Lord after coming to Christ was, ‘Please don’t make me a missionary in the jungle in some Third World country,’” recalls Mohr, who now thanks the Lord for not answering that prayer. After visiting places like Africa, Central and South America, and some of the most remote islands on earth, it became clear to the band that these were the types of places that God wanted them to invest their time and talents in. Their mission is simple: “To reach the lost at any cost and make disciples of every nation.”

So they became full-time musical missionaries – willing to travel to the ends of the earth in an effort to preach the Gospel through the universal language of music to those who could never afford them in conventional terms. Each of the members in CHRISTAFARI has the same mission and vision, a commitment that requires tremendous sacrifice and discomfort. But this is right where they believe the Lord has called them. Seeing lives changed across the globe makes it entirely worth their while, and the results have been astonishing. In 2016-2017, the band saw over 231,000 decisions for Christ at their outreach events. They are well on their way towards their goal of seeing one million decisions for Christ within the next decade.

Not only does the band travel the world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through reggae music, but they’ve also set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They try to find and fill a need in each country they visit, such as outreaches in trash cities and slums, serving at orphanages, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and ministering to those whom Jesus called “the least of these.”

“CHRISTAFARI’s mission is simple,” says Mohr. “To go to the ends of the earth until all have heard, and until all have heard we’re not quitting.”

For more information, visit www.CHRISTAFARI.com.

Track Listing for CHRISTAFARI’s “Original Love”:
1) Original Love (feat. Dillavou & Avion Blackman)
2) Wounded for Our Transgressions (feat. Avion Blackman)
3) Good Good Father (feat. Avion Blackman)
4) Surely Goodness (feat. Avion Blackman)
5) Your House (feat. Avion Blackman)
6) Aloha Ke Akua (feat. Kapena, David Fohe & Avion Blackman)
7) What a Beautiful Name (feat. Avion Blackman)
8) Make Me Say Ooh (feat. Avion Blackman)
9) Love Supreme (feat. Avion Blackman)
10) He Reigns (feat. Avion Blackman)
11) Wherever Your Treasure Is
12) Your Beauty Chases Me (feat. Kevin Kinsella & Avion Blackman)
13) What Is the Difference? (Intro)
14) The Love of Jah

CHRISTAFARI’s 2018 Original Love World Tour Dates:
Feb. 7-22 – Brazil
March 22-April 1 – Philippines
April 2-5 – Nepal
April 12-22 – Southern California
May 10-13 – El Salvador
May 14-19 – Honduras
May 20-23 – Roatan
June 13-25 – Hawaii
August 1-15 – Kenya and Uganda
August 16-28 – Europe
August 31-September 16 – California
September 19-October 1 – Peru and the Amazon
October 10-16 – Australia & Papua New Guinea
October 17-22 – Solomon Islands & Melanesia
November 7-19 – Brazil
November 28-December 10 – Seychelles, Mauritius & Reunion

Michael W. Smith Creates Nurturing Steps™, Releases His First Children’s Album, Book

MICHAEL W. SMITH CREATES NURTURING STEPS™,

RELEASES HIS FIRST CHILDREN’S ALBUM, BOOK

Lullaby Album, Nighty Night and Good Night Book Both Crafted In Collaboration With VeggieTales Co-Creator Mike Nawrocki

 

 

 

 

Multi-Platinum, three-time Grammy® Award winning artist, best-selling author and acclaimed actor Michael W. Smith launches Nurturing Steps™, a new infant and toddler series with a simple mission to provide parents and grandparents with music and books to enliven a young child’s journey with hope and faith through song and storytelling.

 

The first new album, Lullaby, and book, Nighty Night and Good Night, from Nurturing Steps release May 4 and May 8 through The Fuel Music and Zonderkidz™ respectfully. These projects also mark the first-ever children’s album and book by Michael, each crafted in collaboration with renowned VeggieTales co-creator Mike Nawrocki. The book is available now to preorder through NurturingSteps.com or favorite online retailers.

 

“One of the greatest joys of my life is being a parent and a grandparent,” says Michael, the father of five, who is called “G-Daddy” by his 14 grandkids. “I want to serve the next generation well. That’s why I created Nurturing Steps, to provide stories and songs that will help shape the faith of our newest generation.”

 

For Lullaby, Michael meaningfully arranges his worldwide hits like “Agnus Dei” and “Friends” along with new ballads “No More Crying,” “Sleep Tight” and more, and leads an audio bedtime drama for young children with the Nighty Night characters. The Nighty Nights also join Michael as his band with Bear on Guitar, Lamby on Keys and Sleepy Puppy on Upright Base.

 

In Nighty Night and Good Night, members of the Nighty Night band are further called upon to help their friend, Ben, as he tries to fall asleep. After bedtime prayers and some going-to-sleep rituals are done, a lullaby sung by the band of animals including Bear, Sleepy Puppy and Lamby finally does the trick.

 

“I have wonderful memories of reading, singing and praying with my children before bed,” says Nawrocki. “It can be a sacred time with our little ones, and I’m thrilled to be able to partner with Michael to create stories that parents and grandparents can use to help pass important values on to their children and grandchildren.”

 

Known as one of the most influential Christian music artists in the world, Michael recently performed “A Million Lights” and “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” from his 5-star-aclaimed albums A Million Lights and Surrounded respectively on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America. He has also recently been featured by USA Today, Billboard, TBN, FOX News, CBN, Parade, Yahoo! Music and many more outlets as these albums became his 30th and 31st Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart, more than any other solo artist in history.

 

Taking the new music and fan favorites from his extensive repertoire on the road internationally, Michael begins his “Israel Tour 2018” next week before continuing his “Sounded By A Million Lights World Tour” that is traversing the eastern half of the US this spring prior to wrapping up May 13 in Joplin, MO. Already seeing packed venues, this full-production tour is being presented by Compassion International and features special guest Nathan Tasker.

 

Even in the midst of his busy schedule, Michael makes time for his children and grandchildren and treasures the special moments he has to speak into their lives.

 

“I hope they see these books and this music as a gift to them, to remember that they are loved as they fall asleep every night,” says Michael.

 

Following the release of Lullaby and Nighty Night and Good Night, additional Nurturing Steps titles releasing this fall will be announced.

 

For all the latest Michael W. Smith and Nurturing Steps news, go to www.michaelwsmith.com and www.nurturingsteps.com and connect through Michael’s socials:

    

 

About Michael W. Smith:

Michael has been releasing new music regularly and performing around the world to sold-out crowds for the last 30+ years. During his storied career, he’s written 32 No. 1 singles, been honored with three Grammy Awards and 45 Dove Awards, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has sold more than 15 million albums. He’s also given back to the global community. Michael has raised funds to battle AIDS in Africa; started Rocketown, a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope; and has helped more than 70,000 children through Compassion International.

 

About Mike Nawrocki:

Mike Nawrocki is co-creator of the popular series VeggieTales. Acting as the voice of Larry the Cucumber and several other VeggieTales characters, Mike also wrote and directed dozens of episodes including the brand’s two feature films; Jonah and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. He resides in Franklin, TN, with his wife and two children.

 

About The Fuel Music:

Established in 2008, The Fuel Music & Management, LLC, is a leading artist management and artist solutions company that independently distributes music internationally. Based in Nashville, TN, the Fuel team brings nearly 70 years of combined music industry experience in record label operations, major label distribution and marketing, and artist management for artists ranging from upstart bands to GRAMMY Award nominated, multi-platinum artists. More information on the company can be found at www.thefuelmusic.com.

 

About Zonderkidz:

Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children’s communications, it creates products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 14. Zonderkidz is also publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the third grade reading level edition of the NIV. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.

Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters

Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters

By Doug McKelvey

 

On paper Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is a project that shouldn’t exist. The math doesn’t add up. After ten years of putting it off, ten years of feeling too intimidated and inadequate to write and record the project he instinctively knew could be the most important and personally meaningful of his career, Andrew Peterson wrestled a growing sense he could put it off no longer. After all, we’re only given so many years in this life.

 

Peterson’s twenty years of creative output as a songwriter and novelist had already served to articulate and shape the longings of hundreds of thousands of fans, turning and training their desires towards eternal things. His poetic and theologically rich expressions have been always honest, sometimes painful, ever restless, ever hopeful, ever human. He is the rare artist who clearly sees his talent, not as a reason for pride and self-promotion, but as a thing he is given primarily to steward in the service of others. And it was because of that posture of humility—and despite all his recent successes as a recording artist, novelist, filmmaker, and non-profit organizer—that the unfinished Resurrection Letters project was always present somewhere in the back of his mind unsettling him like a splinter under skin.

 

“Listeners asked me again and again about when I would record Resurrection Letters, Volume One,” Andrew remembers, “and I would wince every time.”

 

To put all of this another way, there are many artists who are gifted, and then there are a small handful of artists who are gifts. And Andrew Peterson is a gift to the Body of Christ. He has not pursued a career by asking what would sell well and seeking to cash in on that. Instead he has pursued a calling by asking what would serve well and then laboring to bring those expressions of beauty and comfort and longing into being. When he creates, he creates with a measure of fear and trembling, because he begins in the knowledge of his own limitations, never presuming he will be able to bring his work to any meaningful completion. So it makes sense that the project he saw as most necessary would also be the project he would feel most unprepared, even unworthy, to pursue.

 

“Honestly, as the centrality of the resurrection became clearer and clearer to me from a theological standpoint,” he says, “the less I felt up to the task.”

 

A decade ago Peterson had been so stirred by implications of the resurrection expressed in N.T. Wright’s Surprised By Hope and C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce that he penned an album’s worth of songs unpacking those epiphanies. For the intervening decade since the release of Resurrection Letters, Vol. II though, he’s found himself mumbling ambiguous and reluctant answers to that obvious, repeated question: “When are you going to go back and record Volume I?”

 

“The songs I wrote for Volume II traced the ripple effects of the resurrection,” Andrew explains. “They explored how it impacted my own life and hopes rather than being specifically about Jesus. I called it Volume II because I knew there was a more fundamental part of that story still to tell. The whole church, the whole history of our faith, hinges on Christ’s resurrection. But I didn’t feel adequate to the task of communicating that, so for ten years I’ve carried that insecurity along with the sense that I needed to bring it to completion at some point.”

 

Eventually, that time came. In the fall of 2017 Andrew met with his label Centricity Music and together they agreed on a deadline three short months away so the project could release in time for Easter of 2018. Now Resurrection Letters, Vol. I was on the calendar. The gears were turning and time and money from the label were being invested in anticipation of the pending release, so one way or another Andrew was going to have to deliver something. Problem was, those three months spanned a quarter year which was shaping up to be the most unlikely recording season of Andrew Peterson’s career.

 

“I came into the process with only two songs written,” Andrew explains, “and during those three months I had two trips to England scheduled, a trip to Israel, a deadline to complete the Wingfeather Saga animated film, and a deadline to finish writing a nonfiction book. I was also staging the Rich Mullins tribute concert, staging the Rabbit Room Live show, hosting the annual Hutchmoot Conference, and coordinating and touring the Behold the Lamb of God Christmas concert. It really didn’t make sense that we could record Resurrection Letters, Vol. I during those same three months, but somehow, on odd days when I was home in Nashville, it happened.”

 

Happened is perhaps a slight understatement. Three months later Peterson had managed to record fourteen new songs. At that point a decision was made to split the project into a five-song EP and a nine-song album, partly because of the number of songs, and partly because of the subject matter. Most of the songs were about Christ’s resurrection, but a handful centered instead on his crucifixion.

 

“My dream was always that Resurrection Letters, Vol. I would be a record you would listen to on Easter Sunday,” Andrew says, “so I wanted it to feel like a celebration. Early on I imagined a three-part structure following the line from the Anglican liturgy ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.’ But once everything was recorded it just didn’t feel right to open the project with “Last Words (Tenebrae)”(a song based on Christ’s final utterances on the cross) and then to spend five songs contemplating his death. So we split it. The Prologue EP (Resurrection Letters: Prologue), honors the necessary darkness of the cross and becomes a musical meditation for Passion Week and Good Friday, allowing Resurrection Letters, Vol. I to be the pure Easter celebration we envisioned.”

 

Much of the credit for the prolific song output during those three months, Peterson says, goes to producer Ben Shive (Ellie Holcomb, Colony House, Mercy Me). Shive stepped up to shepherd the project through Andrew’s frequent absences. Having produced Resurrection Letters, Vol. II a decade earlier and toured for years with Andrew, Ben was the obvious choice. “He understood more than anyone else what we were trying to do,” Andrew says. “Plus, Ben Shive knows scripture better than any friend I have, which is essential for a project like this. He even wrote two of the songs and co-wrote another three.”

 

Shive had also split production credits on Peterson’s last two studio projects, Light for the Lost Boy and The Burning Edge of Dawn. Those albums were autobiographical, dealing in large part with Andrew’s “long, dark journey” through a three-year depression.

 

“One of the reasons I love doing the Behold the Lamb of God tour every year,” Andrew says, “is that it feels really good to spend a month of the year not singing about me and my story, but instead singing words from scripture about the Lamb of God. After four years spent writing and singing songs about my own struggles, to spend this season writing and singing about the death and resurrection of Jesus felt like a culmination of that hard journey. When I die, I’m not interested in people saying that I told my own story well, except in how the telling of my own journey might have drawn them to a deeper understanding of the gospel. Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is a distillation of that hope.”

 

Such hope is articulated most clearly in the first single and video “Is He Worthy?” Drawn from the fifth chapter of Revelation, the song is structured as a sort of liturgy set to music, utilizing a call and response format that invites listeners to become participants. It isn’t difficult to imagine that “Is He Worthy?” might be printed in hymnals 200 years from now. The poetic, catechismal lyric begins in a recognition of the world’s brokenness and builds to a hope-filled and worshipful proclamation of Christ’s worthiness.

 

“When I sing those words from scripture, I can hardly believe they’re true,” Andrew says. “‘From every people and tribe, every nation and tongue, he has made us a kingdom and priests to God who reign with the Son.’ We’re told that we will actually reign with Christ. That is a mind-blowing promise. How can we even wrap our thoughts around it?”

 

The album’s upbeat, anthemic opener, “His Heart Beats,” likewise deals with an incomprehensible reality: that the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t only a spiritual event, but involved a dead physical body being restored to life; that a heart which had been silent for three days suddenly contracted and began to beat again; that the blood which had stilled and pooled in Christ’s veins suddenly began to flow again. “His Heart Beats” is a joyful meditation and triumphant declaration likely to be incorporated into many Easter sunrise services.

 

A third song that could similarly serve the church for generations is the psalm-like “Always Good,” written when a friend suddenly and unexpectedly lost his wife. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, “Always Good” is a hard-won confession of faith that lives in that expectant tension between the hurts of this life and the hopes of what is to come.

 

“I never cried so much making a record,” Andrew reflects. “What it really means to ponder and pray and write about the significance of the centrality of the resurrection is that the whole album is about Jesus. It’s about the person of Christ. Through that creative process I found myself loving him more. If Behold the Lamb of God is about dusting cobwebs off the Christmas story to remind people it’s about the incarnation and the atonement for sin, then Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is the next chapter in the story, a celebration of what Christ saved us for. My hope is that these songs kindle a new longing not only in hearts, but down to our very bones and sinews—a tangible longing that we were made for this, for this coming redemption, for God dwelling with his people in a more profound way than he did even in the garden.”

 

www.andrew-peterson.com, Facebook, Twitter

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