Grace Notes

By Chris Crain

First, I want to remind you to vote on November 2. You don't want to wake up on the 3rd and feel like a loser because you didn't take part.

So vote. Now that I have that out of the way...

Heavy Christian bands rarely come to town, so if you're a fan of the genre-listen up! Pillar and Project 86 bring the metal (sorry, kids, if you call it something else - to me it's metal) to Headliners Music Hall.

While I'm not the biggest fan of either band, P86 can "bring it" live. And as I mentioned, this stuff doesn't come to town often- so be there!

Pillar released a third full-length studio project, Where Do We Go From Here, a few months ago and it has been getting airplay not just on Christian radio but on mainstream rock radio as well. The follow-up to 2002's Fireproof (which sold in excess of 275,000 units domestically), Where Do We Go From Here repeats the production team that launched Fireproof to impressive success, with Travis Wyrick and Pillar jointly producing the album and includes songs entirely written by Pillar. Fireproof brought Pillar unprecedented success in every aspect of their career, including media coverage in Spin and Hit Parader (remember that magazine?) and the first appearance ever by a Christian band on the cover of Radio & Records (R&R) Magazine. Fireproof produced a Top 40 hit on the R&R Active Rock chart and four #1 Christian Rock singles, including its title track, whose 11-week run at the top tied P.O.D.'s "Alive" for the longest-running #1 Christian Rock single in the history of the format.

"The momentum behind Pillar just keeps growing and has put them in an amazing place to release this album," says Troy Vest, general manager for Flicker Records. "The response to Fireproof from industry and fans alike has been nothing short of incredible and Where Do We Go From Here has the potential to connect this band with an even greater audience."

In addition to its work on Where Do We Go From Here, Pillar has been incessantly active both on the road and at radio. The band completed two headline tours in 2003, bringing Pillar's total audience to over 1.5 million people since 2001. After releasing the six-song disc Broken Down: The EP, Pillar contributed the lead track, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," to In The Name Of Love: Artists United For Africa on Sparrow Records.

"This album has the signature rock hooks that Pillar is known for, but we've added some more eclectic elements. I'm really grateful to play with the guys in this band, because they're great musicians and I feel like we've been able to successfully evolve with the times," said lead singer Rob Beckley. "I think this record will really challenge people to think about their lives and look at their relationships in a new way. The title sums it up...what will you do with what you've heard and where will you go from here?"

I haven't seen Pillar live-but as I mentioned, I've seen Project 86 and they rocked. They are supporting their latest Tooth and Nail release Truthless Heroes.

The concert is on Saturday, November 6. Also on the bill that evening are Subseven and Falling Up. Headliners is located at 1386 Lexington Road. Call 584-8088 for ticket info. Be there (man, I feel like I should get a cut of the door for this promotion)!

On a completely different musical note and as I mentioned in September, Chris Tomlin was releasing his latest CD in Louisville at Southeast Christian Church. That CD, the Sixstepsrecords release Arriving, is turning out to be Chris's biggest yet.

In its first week at retail, Arriving, which hit stores on September 21, sold over 22,000 copies landing the album at No. 39 on the Billboard Top 200. Tomlin's fastest selling recording to date, Arriving, more than quadrupled the debut sales of his sophomore release, Not To Us.

"All of us at Sixsteps are so excited about the release of Arriving and humbled that God would allow us to be a part of it," says Louie Giglio, Sixstepsrecords founder. "Once again, Chris displays his unique and God-breathed gifting, bringing songs to the world that are easily accessible, yet theologically rich."

"We are ecstatic for the response to Arriving and for all the support received from retail, radio and the industry," says Peter York, EMI CMG Label Group president. "Chris Tomlin creates a worship experience through lyrics and melody that engages its listener. Whether leading worship on stage before thousands or simply sharing stories one-on-one, he encouraging us all to come along."

As tens of millions of people are already singing his anthems such as "Forever," "We Fall Down," "The Wonderful Cross," "Famous One" and more in churches across the world, Tomlin has crafted nine of 11 new songs for Arriving. His first studio record in two years, the album's guitar-driven pop melodies were recorded in Austin, TX, home to Tomlin and the church he co-founded, Austin Stone Community Church.

"I feel as though we're like this landing strip in the desert for our great, incredible God to arrive on; a way for Him to come into people's lives," Tomlin says of the album's metaphorical moniker inspired in part by Isaiah 40.

The album also features "Indescribable," Tomlin's biggest radio hit ever. Already Top 5 and climbing on the R & R, CRW and PD Advisor AC charts, producer Ed Cash calls the song "one of the best songs I've ever heard."

Tomlin returns to Louisville on December 5 with Steven Curtis Chapman and Casting Crowns, which some believe is the hottest concert event of 2004. I'll have more on that in next month's LMN.

Finally, I caught the "Illuminate" tour on October 14 at Valley View Church. Believe it or not, there were some people who didn't watch the Cards play that night (although they did stop the show at one point for an update). Anyway, it was a great show.

Something Like Silas (a Southern Cal band, sort of a lighter version of Switchfoot) opened and sounded great. The crowd of about 700 or so loved them.

Shawn McDonald, armed with just an acoustic guitar, seemed to mesmerize the crowd with his breathy vocals and quieter songs during his set. A shy guy in person, he seems right at home on stage.

The David Crowder Band came out rocking and the crowd (big fans for sure, missing the U of L game and all) jumped so hard security had to hold onto some of the speakers to make sure they wouldn't fall. I left early, but heard rave reviews about the show afterward.

So-a reminder-if you love heavy music, come to the Pillar/Project 86 concert. It should rock. I hope to see you at the show! I'll have my thoughts on it in next month's LMN.