Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Major Concert Announcement: Jars of Clay, Building 429, Todd Agnew, Echoing Angels and Jackson Waters are coming to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom July 21.

Jars of Clay has been getting a lot of attention lately for their humanitarian work. Earlier this year, Michael W. Smith presented, the Volunteer Service Award to the band on behalf of President Bush. Blood:Water Mission is a non-profit organization founded by Jars of Clay that exists to promote clean blood and clean water efforts in Africa, tangibly reducing the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic while addressing the underlying issues of poverty, injustice and oppression. Blood:Water Mission is building clean water wells, supporting medical facilities and focusing on community and worldview transformation, both here in America and in Africa.

In 2003, President Bush created the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation to find ways to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our Nation. The Council brings together leaders from the worlds of business, entertainment, sports, education, government, nonprofits and the media.

The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. Recognizing and honoring volunteers sets a standard for service to others. It encourages a sustained commitment to civic participation and inspires others to make volunteering a central part of their lives. The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families and groups that have achieved a certain standard - measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.

The band is also using the release of its new album as a platform to provide clean water for Africans in need. The band hopes to raise at least $300,000 for clean water projects in Africa with the help of sales from its Good Monsters CD.

According to the United Nations, over 300 million people in Africa lack access to safe drinking water and 477 million people live without adequate sanitation facilities.

As part of the effort, The Coca-Cola Company will provide a matching grant of up to $100,000 to the band's Blood:Water Mission (BWM). The company is making the challenge grant to generate awareness and action on the need for safe water and the work of the Global Water Challenge. The partnership will donate $1 for each of the first 100,000 copies of Good Monsters sold. Funds raised will go toward the provision of clean water in Africa.

The Global Water Challenge (GWC) is an initiative to save lives and reduce suffering in the developing world by providing safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education to people who lack these basic services. Launched by The Coca-Cola Company in partnership with a diverse coalition of corporations, foundations and aid organizations, the GWC is a unique partnership to build healthy communities and provide sustainable solutions to ensure the availability of potable water. The goal of the GWC is to bring safe water and sanitation to millions by identifying and multiplying the solutions that work. (See www.globalwaterchallenge.org)

Working together, the Blood:Water Mission and the GWC are expanding their collective influence and delivering a sustainable clean water solution to at-risk communities. Providing clean water in Africa is a constructive and necessary first step. More than one billion people lack access to clean water. Water-borne diseases kill 6,000 people per day, mostly children. Blood:Water Mission is making a lasting impact in the fight against poverty, injustice and oppression in Africa through the linking of needs, talents and continents, of people and resources. Last year, the band raised more than $1 million for this mission.

"The Global Water Challenge is a demonstration of Coca-Cola's leadership in corporate responsibility by not only envisioning a world where all people can have access to clean water, but taking real action to bring that world to being, is something to applaud and cheer loudly about," says Dan Haseltine, the band's lead vocalist. He continues, "This partnership brings two of my greatest passions together, my love for creating music and my work to help our fans find ways to commit tangible acts of humanitarian service and love toward the poor and oppressed in Africa. It is fulfilling to know that the situation of so many Africans, who suffer under the weight of poverty and disease, will improve because people did something as simple as buy a new Good Monsters CD."

Completely self-produced by the band, the CD offers eleven original songs and a remake of the Julie Miller-penned anthem "All My Tears." Good Monsters even boasts a couple of stirring guest appearances: Nashville-based, singer/songwriter extraordinaire Kate York guests on "Even Angels Cry," and formerly of Sixpence None the Richer, Leigh Nash, sings on "Mirrors and Smoke." Additionally, the African Children's Choir is featured on the track, "Light Gives Heat."

The July 21 concert marks Building 429's return to Six Flag Kentucky Kingdom after making their Louisville debut there in 2004 (that show also featured then little-known band Mute Math, which has gone on to create quite a buzz). The band's third CD, Iris to Iris, hit stores last month.

Also on the bill is Todd Agnew, who I got a chance to see in concert a few weeks ago. It was great! One thing about Agnew is that when he plays, you never know what he's going to say. Not that he is outrageous or anything-he just seems very down-to-earth. When I saw his live show, he almost seemed reluctant to "push" his new CD. He said that if people wanted to use the money to sponsor a child in Africa that might be a better use for the money. I'm looking forward to seeing his set the most. He's had a couple of hits that have gotten airplay locally on Christian radio, particularly "My Jesus" and "Grace Like Rain."

Echoing Angels, who have scored a big hit with the title track to their debut CD, You Alone, will be making their Louisville concert debut.

If you are fan of any of the bands, this is a pretty good deal. Admission to the park is obviously included, so it's really not too expensive (assuming you want to play in the park).

For ticket and other information on the show, visit www.sixflags.com.