Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

As I mentioned last month, Michael W. Smith is coming to Cardinal Stadium Monday August 21st as part of the Kentucky State Fair. The rest of the major shows for 2006 are lined up now as well. Here's a run down:

The Soul2Soul Honors event takes place on Friday the 25th at Northside Christian Church in New Albany. Rebecca St. James, Barlow Girl, Bruce Carroll, The Katinas and a reunited Whiteheart will all perform. The event, which is sort of like an awards show, will be taped for TV. I'll be there to see the Barlow ladies - one of the best groups ever. They are the best female band, Christian or otherwise, in music today. Sorry if this sounds sexist, but I didn't know all-girl bands could rock like that. We've all seen female lead singers rock, but usually they are backed up by a band of guys (Janis Joplin, Gwen Stefani and more recently Flyleaf - see below for more on that). But these three ladies can bring it musically, vocally, song-wise, everything. Yeah, I'm a fan. I'm planning on attending the event.

Soul2Soul Honors takes place at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Family Christian Stores in Louisville and Clarksville. Groups of 5 or more and special "premier" gold seat tickets are available by calling 800-928-3461.

Chris Tomlin, who is arguably the most popular solo artist in Christian music right now, is coming to the Palace on October 12. Reserved tickets range from $16-$20. Groups of 10 or more get $2 off on $16 and $18 tickets. Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 502-361-3100. Tickets are on sale September 4 at 10AM.

MercyMe is also coming to the Palace. As their new hit single "So Long Self" hits mainstream AC radio's Top 20 (No. 17 BDS) and No. 1 on the Christian AC Mediabase/R&R Chart and they made their second appearance on The Tonight Show last month, the band announced their national fall Coming Up to Breathe Tour in support of their latest CD of the same name. Debuting at No. 13 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts with nearly 60,000 units sold, Coming Up To Breathe has remained strong on both the Billboard Top 200 and Contemporary Christian SoundScan charts for the 12 past weeks since its release.

Hitting over 30 cities this fall including the Palace, New York City's Nokia Theater, Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena, Los Angeles The Pond, The Dodge Theater in Phoenix and Houston's Berry Center, the line up will also feature industry veteran band Audio Adrenaline and newcomer, Phil Wickham.

About hitting the road again and doing so with Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe's Bart Millard had this to say: "Words cannot express how excited we are to have Audio on this tour! They have played a huge part in getting MercyMe its start, so getting the chance to take them out for their final farewell is a no-brainer. This tour is really going to rock."

"The last 15 years have been nothing short of a miracle," commented AudioA's lead singer and founding member Mark Stuart. "Every moment...every concert...every song was such a gift from God. We can't think of a better way to say goodbye to the greatest fans in the world than doing it on tour with our best friends, MercyMe."

This tour will be the final tour for Audio Adrenaline, one of the industry's top bands. Also adding a final chapter to its substantial career will be ADIOS: The Greatest Hits, releasing August 1. After fifteen years, over three million records sold, eighteen No. 1 singles and four Dove Awards, Audio Adrenaline is saying `adios,' offering one more nod to its considerable fan base with the album and this tour. AudioA's acclaimed ninth studio album, Until My Heart Caves In, was released last August and grabbed the Grammy this year, marking back-to-back Grammy wins for AudioA. Their first Grammy was for its 2004 release, Worldwide. The band's Bloom recording was certified gold by the RIAA in 1999. The band is also well known for its humanitarian aid and will continue its Hands and Feet Project, a non-profit organization and orphanage they formed dedicated to the health, welfare and education of orphaned children of Haiti.

Phil Wickham, a Southern California native, is the second artist to sign and release a project on Simple Records, MercyMe's Bart Millard and producer Pete Kipley's label. Growing up in a strong musical family, Phil began leading worship for his youth group and the young age of 12. This past April, Phil Wickham released his self-titled project, which landed on the Billboard Top 200 and Heatseekers charts.

The concert is on Friday November 3. Tickets range from $45-$27 and will be available at all Ticketmaster Outlets. Tickets are on sale September 9 at 10AM.

Also, looks like the David Crowder Band will play another free show in town before the end of the year. I'll have the info once I get the "official" word.

Flyleaf played at Club Oasis on June 24. This show was scheduled somewhat at the last minute or I would have had something in last month's LMN to tell you it was coming up.

Flyleaf is composed of female leader Lacey Mosley and band members Sameer Bhattacharya (guitar), Jared Harmann (guitar), Pat Seals (bass) and James Culpepper (drums). The rock quintet hails from the small Texas town of Belton and was discovered in 2003 during the legendary Austin, Texas music convention, South by Southwest.

"On behalf of all Octone Records, we are very excited to partner with S/R/E Records to bring Flyleaf's amazing music and live show to Christian Music fans everywhere," states David Boxenbaum, General Manager of Octone Records.

"Flyleaf's music evokes raw emotion with songs about abuse, neglect, addiction and dysfunction confronted with a positive message that overcomes despair. It is clear that Flyleaf's strong lyrics stem from personal experience as Mosley grew up in a home with a single mother of six moving from location to location to make ends meet.

"Our music is passionate and on purpose. It's angry and sad and urgent and loving," states Mosley. "It's about our experiences and passions and how we have overcome. Our message is to encourage the hopeless people to have hope and the apathetic people to stand up in their destinies and purposes and believe in something good and world changing."

Following the successful eponymous debut EP that was released in early 2005 on Octone Records, Flyleaf was produced by acclaimed producer Howard Benson (POD, All American Rejects, Hoobastank) and features twelve hard-rock style tracks.

"A flyleaf is the blank page at the front of a book," explains Mosley of the band's moniker. "It's the dedication page, the place you write a message to someone you're giving a book to and that's kind of what our songs are-personal messages that provide a few moments of clarity before the story begins."

Flyleaf songs include EP tracks "Breathe Today," "Cassie" and "I'm Sorry." The first single "I'm So Sick," features Mosley's emotionally revealing vocals along with strong guitar riffs.

"When I first heard the music of Flyleaf, I was stunned by how good it is," states Steve Ford, General Manager of S/R/E Recordings. "The music is edgy and excellent, their passion is invigorating but it was the message and the heart that made me want to get involved with the band. I am very excited about the opportunity to partner with Octone Records in bringing Flyleaf to the Christian marketplace. The hope that this band brings to a very dark world is something we can embrace as a label."

The band played nearly every song in the CD at the show, plus a heavy cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Something I Can Never Have." Despite some technical trouble at times, the show totally rocked and I had a blast. This is one of my favorite bands of the last ten years. Check out the CD and if they come to town again, I'll try to let you know in advance, because you won't want to miss it.