Grace Notes July 2005

By Chris Crain

One of the hottest bands around in any genre, much less Christian music, comes to town on the first of this month (so if you are reading this-you don't have much time left!). Switchfoot comes to Jillian's for what I'm sure will be a sweaty, rocking, pogo-jumping fest. Actually I'm not sure about the pogo-jumping part. What do I know, I came from the early days of mosh. Jumping up and down was something they made us do in gym class. But I digress.

Anyway, I've only got one of the band's CDs (as a gift) and haven't kept up with the band like many, so Switchfoot fans will know what to expect more than I will. I did meet lead singer Jonathan Foreman once and can tell you I was pretty blown away by how down-to-earth and humble the guy was. This was before the double-platinum success of the group's latest release The Beautiful Letdown. This was before "Meant to Live" was played on MTV and DJX a million times. This was before they became the biggest group Christian music had ever seen (mark my words: their next release, Nothing Is Sound, will be the biggest-selling debut in Christian music history). But I will say, it was after the group had already sold quite a few records and had been on MTV. And Jonathan was, if I may say, totally cool. So more power to them, not that they need it. I've heard how much it costs to get them to play a gig these days and let's just say they are doing fine.

They do some cool things other than just play music: Switchfoot's hometown "Bro-Am" charity event-a surfing contest held to raise money for Care House, a San Diego organization serving homeless kids-"has exceeded any of our expectations," says Foreman.

Bro-Am sponsors gave homeless kids a great day at the beach, providing free shoes and clothes, surf lessons and INT foam boards, Taylor guitars and guitar lessons.

Following the local surfing contest, Switchfoot - a band named after a surfing term - gave a free concert for the sponsors, participants and Care House kids.

"To all of the teams and sponsors, thank you for joining us in giving back to some amazing people who truly deserve our love, support and respect...The Care House kids learned how to surf and play the guitar and they taught me how to dance," Foreman said. Right on!

The show is Friday July 1 at Jillian's. Tickets are $20.

As I announced a few issues back, Kentucky native Steven Curtis Chapman is headlining a free concert August 22 at the Fair. Of course you will still need tickets to get into the fair.

Fairgoers can now go online to purchase discount admission and ride tickets, as well as register and pay for some of their competitive entries. Advance discount gate admission and ride tickets are now offered through the Kentucky State Fair web site, www.kystatefair.org. By visiting the online General Store and completing the order form, ticket buyers can receive advance discount prices combined with the convenience of having the tickets mailed directly to their doorstep. Those who act before August 11 will receive advance discount prices for gate admission to the Fair - $5 for adults (regularly $7) and $2 for children and seniors (regularly $3). For more information about purchasing tickets online or using the State Fair Registration System, visit kystate.org.

Appearing with Chapman will be Kentucky's The Crabb Family. When I told a friend of mine that, he said "who?" In case you are wondering, they are one of Southern gospel music's biggest groups-but more and more are appealing to those outside of that realm.

From a small, storefront church in rural Kentucky, to stages, auditoriums and amphitheaters across America, The Crabb Family has become one of Gospel music's greatest success stories and one of the "hottest" acts to hit the music industry in recent memory. Siblings Jason, Kelly, Aaron, Terah and Adam Crabb, ranging in age from 22 to 28, have been honored with numerous awards, including eight Dove Awards and two Grammy nominations, as well as radio success with 15 number one songs.

The Family, along with special guests CrossWay and The McRaes, has launched a 20-city Crabb Jam '05 tour, taking place nationwide over the course of the year.

"Our roots are in the southern Gospel musical style and we look forward to exposing more young people to that," stated Kelly Bowling, of The Crabb Family, "but we'll also bring a variety of music to the audience. There are hints of soul, country influences and traditional Southern Gospel with a progressive edge. You never know what you'll hear, but the message will be the same."

The Family opened for Avalon and Rebecca St. James last year and was met with a huge reception (that's why they are back this year). I don't listen to Southern Gospel music - but I thought they did great.

I'll have more on the concert (which looks to be the biggest Christian concert event of the year) in next month's LMN.

And now for something completely different -

Another Jillian's show to mention: As I Lay Dying headlines a show with Killswitch Engage and Soilwork on August 5. This is not one to take the "youth group" to. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about as I've had a youth group storm out of a Christian metal show I produced - and that was with a totally "Christian" bill. But As I Lay Dying is made up of Christian guys and I thought you'd like to know.

The band has got an extremely heavy sound, based on the little that I've heard. They just released a new CD, Shadows Are Security. Vocalist Tim Lambesis can rip it vocally (think Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice or Phil Anselmo). I just got through watching their latest video, "Confined" and was pretty impressed. If you like it heavy, check it out.

I would love to report about more of this kind of music in Louisville, but there usually isn't much.

Wow! That's Switchfoot, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Crabb Family and As I Lay Dying all in the same column. Who says Christians are close-minded? Talk to you again next month, when I'll have the latest info on Michael W. Smith, Ce Ce Winans, MXPX and King Diamond, all coming to Louisville! Just kidding!