Blessings of Summer

It has been one of the best summers I can remember for our music!  Below are some of the highlights…

IMEA Awards

The IMEA Awards ceremony and all the unexpected blessings that happened along the road from Atlanta to Kentucky and West Virginia were another “handfuls on purpose” experience for us this summer. The nomination for “No Go” as Christian/Gospel Song of the Year was such an unexpected surprise. It was one of eight songs nominated, and I felt very strongly that one of the other deserving songs would receive the award.

That said, I really wanted to attend the ceremony since it was an honor to be included on the list this year.

I soon learned there were no rooms available in Ashland, Kentucky, the location of the awards program that would be held at the historic Paramount Theater. There were three events in town including the awards show, and it was also Father’s Day weekend. My plan was to have two rooms, with one being handicapped-accessible since my mother was going to go this year, and another room adjoining with two beds since my sister was also planning to attend. Not only were there no rooms available, I was told on multiple occasions that this type of arrangement would be impossible. I also tried hotels in Ohio and was told there were no hotel rooms available within an 80-mile radius of Ashland.

You may remember the story of the cross and meeting my great friend, brother, and prayer warrior David Wagner five years ago in preparing for the 1st Annual IMEA Awards Ceremony. I called to tell him the situation since he and his family were originally from the Ashland area. I told him I did not think I would be able to attend this year. He said something to the effect of “well, that is just not going to be an option”, said it was too big a deal to miss, and to let him see what he could do.

Within a few hours, he left me a voicemail and let me know that he had done some research and located what appeared to be the last two rooms in Huntington, West Virginia. I was not aware that West Virginia was close to Ashland. His mother, who grew up in West Virginia, also helped and left me a message. The hotel was approximately 15 miles from the Paramount Theater, and he gave me the contact information I needed to reserve the rooms. By the time I received these messages, David had left an additional message that he had gone ahead and made the reservation! He was worried that by the time I received the initial message, the rooms would be gone. This was such a surprise and a relief for me to know that this had been handled, as I had spent hours the day before to no avail.

Even though the two rooms were not adjoining, neither was handicapped-accessible, and we would need a rollaway bed, it was still such a gift that we had a place to stay. David also said he would continue to contact the hotel in case there were cancellations.

On the day before we left, I checked with the hotel to see if the adjoining room, three beds, and/or the handicapped-accessible room would be a possibility, and I was told that the hotel only had one suite with adjoining rooms, and that this had been booked for some time. So you can imagine my shock and surprise to learn that when we arrived after a 12-hour drive, we were placed in this sole suite with two adjoining rooms, three beds, and a handicapped-accessible room. This felt like a miracle!

I sent David a message with the great news, and I told him I had a feeling he had something to do with this. Even though he would not take the credit, he admitted he had contacted the hotel that day to let them know again what we needed.

During the ceremony, “No Go” was announced as the winner of the category for Christian/Gospel Song of the Year! It was such a special moment with my mother and sister there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as well as my producer, Swaff, who co-wrote the song and his wife. We are so very grateful to all of YOU who voted during the portion that counted 20% of the process and for Colt Chambers and everyone at IMEA who made this possible!

There are also many to thank in radio who have supported the song, especially Effect Radio (network of 58 stations), Crossroads Radio, RacMan Christian Radio, Righteous Rock Radio, 97X, WXGN and many others. This has meant so much to our music!

Reluctant Radio

We have mentioned in earlier posts that Reluctant Radio has been playing songs from Leap , and the great people there have continued to include our music on several podcasts this summer. We can’t thank them enough! If you haven’t already, you can go to iTunes for a free subscription!

 

New Project

The new project is coming soon! Even though the completion date keeps moving, we are hopeful it will happen in the fall. Thank you for the messages asking about it and for your interest in the music! More to come soon…. 🙂

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The Billy Graham Impact

It is interesting how someone you have never met can become a part of your everyday life. Such is the case with Reverend Billy Graham, who has been a household name in my family for as long as I can remember. According to Wikipedia, Billy Graham led 417 crusades between 1947 and 1995 and reached over 210 million people in more than 185 countries on six continents. There are likely millions of people who share the same feelings I have had this week knowing that Dr. Graham no longer makes his home here on Earth.

Some of my memories of Billy Graham include my dad keeping an article written by him in his Bible. The article said that in God’s eyes, no race is better or worse than any other because God made all of the nations of one blood (Acts 17:26). There was even an example of God’s wrath toward a family for being racist (Numbers 12:1-15). To me, this is such a simple truth that settles any issue about race.

My Mom has said many times over the years that she is glad she lived during a time when the world had a Billy Graham. Even now, part of our Sundays are spent watching the Billy Graham TV Classics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Graham even inadvertently had a hand in my music career. After finishing our very first studio album, the radio station WMIT, which is part of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, picked up one of the singles. I remember the station manager at the time sending us a message that they rarely added indie artists and how much they loved the song. It ended up making the station’s top 10 songs on the yearly countdown. The encouragement this provided for our music early on was so powerful, mainly because it felt like it had been blessed by someone we considered a giant.

That said, the truth is that Billy Graham never considered himself a giant. I heard an interview with someone this week who was asked what it was like to be in the presence of Rev. Graham. The person being interviewed said that Dr. Graham always kept the focus on the other person, or on the subject of God, but never on himself. This reminds me of Phillippians 2:3 that says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”.

I think this is one reason he touched so many lives. He made it about us, and the impact God’s message of hope could have on our lives.

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Reasons to Jangchikyjang!

Most of you know that Jangchikyjang is a song of praise. The name is based on the sound that numerous critters may be making at any given time of the day or night. If you have ever been near or in the forest during one of these periods, it can be amazing. I have always likened the sound to nature’s version of praise, and picture the birds, crickets, frogs, katydids, and others singing on and on to their Maker! It reminds me of how I want to always have a thankful heart every second of every day.

The video for the song is a labor of love that we are so happy is finally realized. It took some time to find the right person to do the animation. To me, Tim Andrews of Pacific Rock Productions does an incredible job of capturing the message of the song while keeping a reverence of faith. I am so thankful that our paths crossed, and I hope we can work together on a new video for a song from the upcoming album. He is an outstanding talent!

I am also thankful to Dave, Joe, Shari, and Turbo from Crossroads Radio for adding the song to the playlist at KCLC 89.1 The Wood this year. I know of several groups of people who gather on Saturdays to watch football and listen to their show! The video is dedicated to them, because, although they did not know it, their enthusiasm about the song was an inspiration for us to move forward with the video. When the video was finished, we shared it with them because we wanted them to see it, and they posted it on the station’s website! They have truly blessed our lives!

More about the video will follow in a future post. As always, thank you for your interest in the music!

 

 

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Jangchikyjang Official Music Video!

While we are finishing the new album project, we are excited to share the video to the song “Jangchikyjang”! It was animated and directed by the amazingly talented Tim Andrews of Pacific Rock Productions, and is based on Job 12: 7-10 that says “Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Sometimes the best place to hear and experience God is in nature. We will share more about the video later. We hope you enjoy it!

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New Project Update!

The new album is coming soon! Blessed to work with these A-listers from our final day of recording at The Delivery Room. (By the way, how do you like my booth?) 🙂IMG_3095

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No Go, New Music Update, Other News

It has been awhile since the last post, mainly because it has been a busy time of year! Below are some highlights of what has been happening the last few months:

No Go

As you may remember, the song “No Go” had a limited radio release in March, and since that time, it has received wonderful support by Christian Rock stations. The song made the Billboard Music Christian Rock Most Added chart for the third time in April, and is currently #1 on the Sort Hits Chart for 2017. We are very thankful! The program directors and others at the radio stations have been unbelievably kind to us, and there are not enough words to properly thank them. We have also completed initial filming on a video for the song as a surprise our listeners (a photo from the shoot is below). IMG_2996

 

New Project

Speaking of the future, we have been working on a new album since August, and it looks like we are on schedule to have it ready by the end of the year. If this happens, you will be receiving an invitation to the CD release party!

Leap Revival

Reluctant Radio is a nationally syndicated half hour weekly radio show on at least 35 stations and transmitters in the United States. They have been featuring several songs from the 2011 album “Leap”, and this has resulted in a revival of sales through iTunes, including Walking Blind (see above), my very first song collaboration with Swaff and one of my favorites. Reluctant Radio is co-hosted by Katy Kinard and Scott Cook in Nashville, and they have been so kind to include our music in their podcasts! (Most recently, May 7, April 9, and March 12…) A link to their station is here, and you can subscribe to their podcasts for free from the link. While you are at it, feel free to give them a five-star rating at iTunes. They are amazing!

There will be more updates soon. Thank you for your interest!

 

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More About the Song “No Go”

The song “No Go” from HOLE IN THE SKY is an official radio single this week. The song is about the experience of witnessing change, and this can happen in a number of forms throughout our lives. It is the kind of change that can be described as an “about face”, where all of the sudden everything we believed seems to have completely vanished. This can be in the form of a person, belief, or even the very place we live.

A song can often have different meanings to different people. One of my favorite classes in high school focused on creative writing, and I remember we would often analyze the meanings of songs. I was always amazed at how many different interpretations there could be about the same song. As a listener of music, I have always preferred the personal meaning a song brings rather than knowing exactly what the writer was thinking.

With this preference in mind, we want “No Go” to be your song. We have had a lot of feedback about it, and “No Go” is having multiple meanings to the listeners of our music. Some have said it reminds them of a relationship gone bad, of a friend or family member who completely changed, and others have said it reminds them of the current political climate.

Even though we go through periods of insecurity, loneliness, betrayal, and fear, there are some powerful truths from the Bible that override all of these. One is from Hebrews 13:8, where it says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Knowing the principles he stood for, including love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, how could we ever doubt during the rough times? Sure, we feel it, as is the subject of “No Go”, but what reassurance it is to know that Jesus also said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

 

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At Your Feet with Thanks

Thank youI am a big believer in gratitude. When people give of themselves to help others, I think they should be recognized for what they have done.

It looks like Jesus felt the same way. In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed 10 lepers. The passage says: Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him,“Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

When people are kind to me, I feel like the healed leper. Following his example, I would literally throw myself at the feet of those who show kindness if it were socially acceptable. Many times, it feels like we live in a world where the opposite of kindness is the norm; so when it is shown, it feels incredible.

Our hearts have been full over 2016 and already in 2017 with the kindness that has been shown to us with our music by so many people. Below are examples starting in January 2016:

HITS1/31/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” from the album HOLE IN THE SKY reaches #2 on the Play MPE Christian Top 20 Weekly Streams and #3 on the Play MPE Christian Top 20 Weekly Downloads in preparation for its official radio release on 2/23/16.

2/24/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” makes the Billboard Music Most Added Christian Rock National Airplay Chart for the March 5 edition.

3/17/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” is one of 50 songs to make the Apple Music Christian & Gospel Found Sounds Playlist.
3/28/16– “Did Ya Hear?” from the album Leap is selected by A-Sides Radio Promotion asJDouglasWrightLeapCover250 part of their Easter radio campaign and reaches #8 on the Christian Radio Chart.

Racman5/6/16– Racman Christian Radio features us on their Artist Music and Spotlight show.

5/17/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” reaches #1  on the Top 100 Christian Songs 2016 according to SortHits.

IMG_15206/20/16– “Mama’s Faith” from the album HOLE IN THE SKY is selected by A-Sides Radio Promotion A-Sidesas part of their Traditional Christian Music campaign and reaches #1 on the Christian Radio Chart, being added to 602 stations.

7/16/16- “No Go” from the album HOLE IN THE SKY makes the Billboard Music Most Added Christian Rock imagesNational Airplay Chart for the July 23 edition.

8/4/16– Our music is recognized with two IMEA Award nominations– “Typical Day in Heaven” as y_LpWlX4_400x400Christian Song of the Year and J. Douglas Wright as Christian Artist of the Year.

9/3/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” is one of 25 songs to make the Breaking Christian Apple Music Playlist.

10/21/16– “Jangchikyjang” from the album HOLE IN THE IMA_NOMINEESKY is nominated in the Christian Song Category by the Independent Music Awards.

12/31/16– “Typical Day in Heaven” is #1 on Crossroads Top 30 Christian Rock Songs of 2016, and “No Go” is #25. 36c0cf_4bfa92e3db964ba49903677e4efc1a19

1/5/17– “No Go” makes the Billboard Music National Airplay Most Added imagesChristian Rock Chart for the second time and will be included in the January 14 edition.

krng-logo-201505251746021/16/17– “No Go” is on Renegade Radio’s Top 20 of the week.

Some have said to play it cool when great things happen. I think a production needs to be made every time, because at the heart of it is the kind act of someone. We are so very grateful to the radio station managers and others that made the Play MPE, Billboard, Sort Hits, and Christian Radio Charts possible, and to those who work at these organizations. We thank A-Sides Radio Promotion, Crossroads Radio, Renegade Radio, Racman Christian Radio, IMEA and the Independent Music Awards. There are many other individuals and stations that we will thank in upcoming posts. We thank the listeners of the music for liking the music enough to buy it, request it, and send us messages about the way it has spoken to you. And, of course, we thank our Maker for allowing our paths to cross all of you through the music.

Thank you for letting us grovel at your feet in thanks.

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“Typical Day in Heaven” #1 on Crossroads Top 30 Christian Rock Songs of 2016!

36c0cf_4bfa92e3db964ba49903677e4efc1a19Early on New Year’s Eve, the music director of KCLC Radio let us know that “Typical Day in Heaven” and “No Go” had made the Crossroads Top 30 Christian Rock Songs of 2016! KCLC has been so supportive of our music, and we really appreciated them contacting us about the countdown. So on New Year’s Eve, several of us (across at least three states) had Crossroads Radio playing as part of our festivities, and found out that “No Go” was #25 and “Typical Day in Heaven” was #1!

We are excited beyond belief, and there are not enough words to describe what an honor this is! Dave, Joe, Shari, and Turbo shared such kind words about the music, and we are so thankful to them for making this possible. It was also nice that they were live on the radio to bring in the new year!

What a way to end 2016 and start 2017! In case you want to see the complete Top 30 list, the link is here. Also, you can listen live to the station any time. Their station has always been a blessing, and now will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

I am working on a longer Year End/New Year post that will be ready soon. Until then, Happy New Year!

 

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Jangchikyjang Nominated for Independent Music Award!

I think this is the longest I have gone without posting an update! A lot has happened over the last few months, and we are feeling blessed beyond belief about the music:

  • Our music was featured on the Music and Artist Spotlight on Racman Christian Radio, and there is such a spirit covering this station. It was an honor to spend an hour with Jesse Martin (May 6);
  • “Typical Day in Heaven” reached the #1 spot on the Sort Hits 100 Christian Songs 2016 Chart (May 17);
  • “Mama’s Faith” reached #1 on the Christian Radio Chart thanks to the team at A-Sides Promotion (June 13);
  • “No Go” made the Billboard Music National Airplay Most Added Christian Rock Chart (July 23);
  • We received two IMEA award nominations, one for Christian/Gospel Artist of the Year and one for Christian/Gospel Song of the Year for “Typical Day in Heaven” (August 4);
  • Typical Day in Heaven” was included as one of 25 songs on the “Breaking Christian” Apple Music Playlist (September 3);
  • We attended the IMEA Awards red carpet ceremony (October 10);
  • Jangchikyjang” (linked above) was nominated in the Christian Song Category by the Independent Music Awards, and the winners will be announced at day-long festival at the Lincoln Center in New York City this year!

It has been such an exciting summer and fall, and we are so thankful! I will be writing more soon. Thank you for reading!

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