Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Derek Webb, formerly of Caedmon's Call, will be in concert Friday October 10 at Ormsby Heights Baptist Church. No stranger to the Louisville area, Derek is performing as the headliner of a benefit concert for a local couple adopting children.

Due to a set of circumstances much too complicated to explain here, the couple has incurred huge legal fees. This concert will put a small dent in their debt.

Webb released his first solo CD, She Must and Shall Go Free, in March. Fans of Caedmon's won't be surprised or disappointed. Webb's solo material doesn't stray far, if at all, from that familiar folk-rock style. I've had a chance to see Derek perform as a solo artist a couple of times over the last year. His "unplugged" approach suits his songs well. In the past, many artists have played "unplugged" and should have plugged in and just rocked (in my humble opinion). I actually hate some of the "unplugged" material that was so embraced for years. Webb, on the other hand, was born to play this kind of music, so it works. I'm looking forward to this show.

Also on the bill that night will be local artists Thomas Hood, Calling Levi and Casey Page. Hood doesn't have a website, but you can check out callinglevi.com and caseypage.com for more information on them.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, October 10 at Ormsby Heights Baptist Church, 2120 Lower Hunters Trace in Louisville. Tickets are $6 and available at the church as well as LifeWay Christian Store on Hurstbourne parkway and The Wellspring Christian Book Center on Shelbyville Road.

Point of Grace is coming to Louisville for the third time this year. The Girls of Grace conference hosted by the group comes to Southeast Christian Church on the 24th and 25th. Record numbers of girls across the country attended the first round of conferences which began last fall. The sold-out two-day events hosted by Point Of Grace took place in Dallas, Denver, Grand Rapids and Lakeland, Florida. With over 25,000 young women in attendance at four churches in the fall, Point of Grace continued to pursue this market with Spring 2003 dates in Houston, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle and Little Rock.

According to the group, after touring and recording for ten years they wanted to have a more personal relationship with their audience, teen-age girls. Out of a desire to make an even bigger difference in the lives of young girls, the Girls Of Grace conferences were born.

Girls of Grace features guest speakers like Mercy Ministries of America Founder and President Nancy Alcorn and Brio magazine editor Susie Shellenberger. There are more personal sessions led by the group on topics ranging from family relationships and sex & dating to having a personal relationship with God and friendship & self-image. In addition to a mini-concert by Point Of Grace, Joy Williams is the featured "guest" artist for the Louisville date.

Point of Grace is currently promoting their new album 24 which released Spring 2003. They sang before a crowd of about 2500 at Oxmoor Center back in June. They will be special guests again this year on the Michael W. Smith Christmas Tour which starts mid-November and travels to 14 cities nationwide, including Lexington.

The Girls Of Grace Conference comes to Southeast Christian Church, 920 Blankenbaker Parkway, October 24 and 25. For more information visit girlsofgrace.com.

In the `burbs: Chris Rice is headlining a show on the 12th in Shelbyville. Rice will perform at First Baptist Church on Midlin Trail. There are no advance tickets - a $10 suggested donation will be received at the door. This may be the first time a major contemporary Christian artist has played in the town (some smaller groups like 40 Days have performed there in the past). Rice has only performed a handful of times in the Bluegrass, so if you're a fan, don't miss this opportunity to see him up close and personal.

Finally, I had to throw this in because I didn't know where else you'd hear it. With their hit song "I Can Only Imagine" continuing to get mainstream airplay on stations like WDJX and that "Kiss" station, a platinum record with Almost There and growing sales each week (#50 Billboard Top 200, 22k scans), MercyMe went back to where it all started last month as they headlined Dallas station WILD 100-FM's (KRBV) September 11 Tribute show. Also performing on the show were Sugar Ray, Hillary Duff, Smash Mouth and others.

Yes you read that correctly - MercyMe headlining a show over the likes of Hillary Duff, who may be the hottest artist in America right now. Has this ever happened before? Not that I know of. In an industry that celebrates with a Christian band gets to open for a popular artist, this seems unprecedented. The phenomenon with "I Can Only Imagine" started this past April, when the Wild FM morning show played the song as part of their "All Request Hour," and the phones rang off the hook all day with overwhelming positive feedback. Amazingly, Almost There is the #1 selling Christian album in Louisville, three years after it's release. And it just keeps on coming.

The group made radio history last month as "Word of God Speak," from their top-selling 2002 project Spoken For, sets the record for a #1 song at 10 weeks on R&R Magazine's AC radio chart and 11 weeks on both the CRW and PDA AC radio charts. This breaks the eight-week record held by this year's GMA Song of the Year winner, Nichole Nordeman. Spoken For continues to generate sales as well, currently at #10 on the Top Contemporary Christian Soundscan chart after a year in release.

MercyMe is currently in the studio recording for a new studio project scheduled to release in spring 2004 and will tour with Michael W. Smith this fall on "The Celebration Tour." No Kentucky dates are scheduled at this time.

As always there are upcoming events and a few things "in the works." We'll look at more of these next month!