Michael W Smith – “Surrounded by a Million Points of Light” World Tour

Michael W Smith
“Surrounded by a Million Points of Light” World Tour
Davenport, IA
March 16, 2018

When was the last time ANY recording artist was out on tour backing the release of two new projects? That’s what Michael W. Smith is doing on his current tour. And this MWS at his best.

You can’t go wrong opening with new standards such as “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” Most were on their feet, singing along.

Michael then performed several tracks from “A Million Lights.” The back story on “Footsteps,” which Michael shared from the stage, made that song even more moving. “Your Love,” “Crashing Waves,” and “Revolution” were all excellent as Michael’s backing band and singers are outstanding. The sonic wall had me out of my seat. Get the disk, then go to the show. You’ll appreciate the new songs that much more.

Michael then took the audience on a back-in-the-day swing through songs from his extensive catalog including “Secret Ambition” and “This Is Your Time,” the latter made even more poignant given receive events in Florida and New Mexico.

Stu Garrard, “Stu G,” former guitarist from the mush-missed delirious? was a surprise opener. Stu played a couple of songs unplugged and talked about his “The Beatitudes Project.” Its great seeing him back on stage, the guy can play.

Nathan Tasker was the other act billed on this tour. Nathan did an unplugged set. The back story on the song “Eternity” made his performance that much more meaningful. Nate did tell the audience that no one from Australia knows what a “bloomin’ onion” is. (HA)

I’ve seen MWS in concert several times, most recently last summer, performing in front of 20,000-plus on a beautiful Wisconsin summer evening at Lifest. I was disappointed at the turnout in Davenport. Many of those in attendance were older than I and I’m an old dude. Michael’s shows are more about worship and community, great for all ages.

– Rob S.


Steven Curtis Chapman – “Songs and Stories”

Steven Curtis Chapman
“Songs and Stories” tour
September 21, 2016
Milwaukee, WI

I’ve seen Steven Curtis Chapman in concert several times and have attended dozens and dozens of other Christian concerts. This was, however, the first smash-up concert I’ve attended, with multiple artists sharing the same stage; and I must say I really enjoyed this show.img_9469

img_9467Steven Curtis was joined by Mac Powell of Third Day and Brandon Heath. It was refreshing hearing old favorites in new settings as many times the performers took turns on the verses. Or, on the iconic “Dive,” Steven Curtis played lead banjo!

Mac Powell and Brandon Heath had their moments, too. Mac did a tune from his independent country music release. While hardly a fan of so-called country music, I enjoyed Mac’s performance. The three-hour concert (which included a pitch for Steven Curtis’ “Show Hope” foundation and an intermission) ended on the rousing Third Day song “Soul on Fire.” Brandon sang a new song inspired by the old pop standard “Lean on Me.” Can’t wait for that one to come out.

This tour has several dates remaining through the middle of October. Mac Powell will be teaming up with tobyMac on Mac’s next tour.

Photos and Story by Rob S.


Annie Moses Band: A Foundation of Faith and Family

Annie Moses Band: A Foundation of Faith and Family


The Annie Moses Band is an ensemble of siblings classically trained and educated in music, and deeply rooted in faith and family. Their parents selflessly invested in their children’s lives on a daily basis, setting the foundation for success in life and as a band. The name itself not only comes from the band leader, but it also has deeper roots as Annie was named after her great grandmother.

The Wolaver parents were involved in CCM in the 80’s and late 90’s as songwriters, writing hits for the likes of Sandi Patti and others who were pioneers in the CCM movement of that time. Their songwriting work moved them to Nashville where they started their family. The children were all introduced to musical instruments at an early age. Annie herself started on stringed instruments at age 5. Later on as their children’s talents began to evolve, the family moved to New York where the youths could study in a pre-college program at Julliard.

Aside from the high-quality training, their parents instilled hard work and togetherness into the fabric of their lives. The children had an “authentic friendship” as Annie described it. With lots of daily focused prayer and devotional time they were instilled with a character of “humility, honesty, and vulnerability.” They were raised with a Christian worldview that has helped them to grow and mature as a family and as artist individually, as well as helping them to navigate the music industry gracefully.

As musicians, the Annie Moses Band has crossed genres and markets with seeming ease. When asked about the challenges of appealing to multiple markets (Christian and Secular), Annie stated, “We never wanted our faith to be an adjective in a sense of being involved in Christian music as a business.” Instead, their faith is an outgrowth of their lives and not an agenda of their music. Their skills cannot be doubted and so because of their talent, they’re able to share their music with a more broad audience. That talent has been recognized by PBS, where they experienced record breaking numbers of airings, song charting on three separate categories on the Billboard charts, and stage appearances at highly regarded stages like Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry.

Hearing about their family life is an inspiration in itself in today’s society, where in general, those bonds and structures appear to be so broken down and discarded. The matriarch of the family, Robin Wolaver, has written a book about the journey titled “The Song of Anne Moses – A Musical Quest A Mother’s Gift.” The book can be purchased via their official website (listed below).  From what I have read and know about the family, I believe the book would be an inspirational read for families who are looking to find a balance in the hastiness of society, in hopes of instilling valued family connections.

Another part of their family rearing is the desire to give back as well. The family runs a Fine Arts Summer Academy where approximately 200 plus students gather each summer to work on their musical skills and improve upon other non-musical traits as well. As Annie described, “music is so accessible and it speaks so well to others,” and “we want to help raise up a new generation of artist capable of being good communicators of God’s story.” Anyone from age 4 – 21 yrs. old can attend and registration is currently open at

The Annie Moses Band is in the midst of touring right now on the “American Rhapsody” tour. They will be performing a mix of their faith repertoire along with some traditional American Folk music as well. The tour is building up to their next release of the same traditional American Folk type of music which is hopefully releasing early fall of 2015. As Annie explained, the music dove tails from their grassroots following and how American music and church music have both been influenced by each other. From, Foster and Copland to Girshwin in bluegrass, it’s an exploration of sounds. It is sure to be an incredible collection of songs adding to an already phenomenal repertoire.

For more on the Annie Moses Band check out their official website at

-Ken W.