Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Celebration 2003 is Saturday June 7th at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Jars of Clay is back for the second consecutive year. Chris Rice is opening. I had an opportunity to talk with him recently and he told me that, yes, "of course" he'll be singing "Cartoons," his often-requested radio hit. This concert is probably the best deal of the summer. You get to the ride the rides all day, then check out the concert at the end of the day. It cost about $35 to get in, so it's not a whole lot more than you'd pay to see Jars anyway. They also have group rates, check out


.com for the details. See you there.

Natalie Grant was in concert on May 2 at the Evangel World Prayer Center church in Louisville. Fans of her phenomenal vocals were not disappointed as she belted hits like "Keep On Shining" and "I Will Be" as well as ballads like "Always Be Your Baby" (her current hit). She wrapped up the evening with a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," dedicating the song to U.S. troops.

Afterwards she signed autographs for a very long line of fans. Unfortunately, I was only able to catch bits and pieces of it but everyone I talked with seemed to enjoy the concert.

Louisville artist (okay, former Louisville artist, he has moved back to Nashville) Jason Kennedy opened the show with a 25-minute set that included songs off of his indie CD, Peace Of Mind. At one point he stopped singing and a video for "Prayer For You" off the CD was played on two large screens above the stage. I mention this because it was the most impressive video I've ever seen by a truly independent artist. The quality was amazing: up to the standard of MTV or VH1. Kennedy recently won a Gospel Music Association contest in Nashville and is heading to Estes Park, Colorado this summer for the big "Seminar In The Rockies" talent competition. If Christian pop music is your thing, keep your eyes and ears open for this guy-I think you'll be seeing and hearing more from him.

Sonicflood was also in the area recently, playing to a "sold-out" (free, but you needed a ticket to get in) crowd at Bullitt Central High in Shepherdsville. About 3,000 people were on hand to see the show, which also featured new group Everyone and Louisville artists Krymson.

I have seen Sonicflood several times in concert and this was the probably the best I'd seen them. There was plenty of lights and smoke, but what impressed me the most was how good they sounded. In the past, I had been disappointed with their "tightness"; they sounded like they weren't a band but were individual players who hadn't jelled yet as a group. And lead singer Rick Heil seemed to be almost lost at times on stage, with a look like "where am I, how did I get here?"

The group has had a storied past, with major line-up changes, causing some fans to wonder if this version really is Sonicflood or just an individual member (Heil) using the name. No matter what your take would be on that issue-Sonicflood is finally "tight." The group, several of whom were recovering from food poisoning, played as a unit and had the crowd responding with enthusiasm to each song. The show clocked at over three hours. Not a bad show (especially for free!).

I was able to catch Ichthus 2003 in Wilmore recently and the highlight was seeing Toby Mac live.

His musical roots are in rap, but some of his music and live performance is as much Limp Bizkit (or maybe P.O.D. is a better analogy) as it is Run-DMC. Dare I say it, maybe even with a little Eminem? I'm talking musical style, of course. Toby Mac loves his wife.

Anyway, he had the Ichthus farm rocking that night with 20,000+ fans moving to his songs, most of which came from his solo debut Momentum. He is, of course, one third of dc Talk and if that group never gets back together I think he'll be able to hang on his own.

It's been a while since Momentum released (his was here in Louisville for release day - you may remember). So what's he got going on now?

Re:Mix Momentum is hitting the streets this month on the 24th. Contrary to earlier reports, there are no longer seven remixed tracks from Momentum on Re:Mix, instead the track list doubled to 14! The disc has over 50 minutes of music, including "J-Train," "Somebody's Watching Me," "Irene," and an all-new version of "Love Is In The House," which he played at Ichthus. Re:Mix Momentum project also includes an original mix performed by his 4-year old son, Truett, also known as "Tru-Dog."

The creation process of this project also took an unexpected turn. "In efforts to keep Toby Mac focused on his Fall 2003 studio project, ForeFront tried to keep him out of the remix process, but he couldn't stay away from the project," says ForeFront Vice President of A&R Brent Milligan. "When Toby Mac is in the studio, he puts 100% of himself into every project he works on. We actually asked him to slow down because suddenly this $10, seven-track disc was turning into a $10, 14-track album!"

For weeks, Toby Mac ended up burning the midnight oil, splitting his time between writing and tracking for his new album and then sifting through the remixes submitted for Re:Mix. Despite his earnest attempts to let others remix Momentum he was drawn in by what was coming from the producers who contributed to the project.

"What the producers turned in was so hot, I saw the amazing potential of all this project could be. It was too enticing for me to not get involved," he says. "It was all so diverse and interesting and my creative side was itching to get in the mix." Now, each song not only has Toby Mac's personal stamp of approval, but he also put his own finishing touches on some of the mixes.

If he comes near Kentucky again, don't miss the opportunity to see him live.