Tenth Avenue North "I Have This Hope Tour" + Brandon Heath + Jon McLaughlin (at McLean Bible Church)
Event on 2017-10-20 19:00:00
This event is all ages
Tenth Avenue North
This concert will be held in the Smith Center at McLean Bible Church 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182
Benefiting Meant 2 Live Foundation
Presented by IMPACT Collective
VIP Ticket includes:
• Concert ticket
• Short Acoustic set with BOTH Tenth Avenue North & Brandon Heath
• Exclusive Deluxe Ticket tour pass or Signed Concert Flyer
• Includes Teaching, Prayer, and Worship time!
If every album serves as a single snapshot of an artist’s current season, then Tenth Avenue North’s new album, Followers (Provident Label Group), is a Polaroid coming to life in full color. Brilliant hues of exuberance, confidence and unwavering hope saturate the band’s follow-up to 2014’s Cathedrals. Every cut finds Mike Donehey (lead vocals, guitar), Jeff Owen (guitar, vocals), Brendon Shirley (keys, vocals), Ruben Juarez (bass, vocals) and Jason Jamison (drums) basking in the pure joy discovered only in following Christ.
Tenth Avenue North has long been known for the depth and vulnerability of their songwriting since they released their acclaimed national debut, Over and Underneath, in 2008. Quickly winning fans’ allegiance with radio staples like “Love Is Here,” “Hold My Heart” and “By Your Side” (GMA’s 2010 Song of the Year), the band was named the Gospel Music Association’s New Artist of the Year in 2009. The group gained further momentum with three additional full-length records that spawned hits like “You Are More,” “Losing,” “Worn” and “No Man Is an Island,” among others, and has sold in excess of one million albums to date.
Followers—the quintet’s fifth official studio project—charts a new course for the beloved band and finds the five men with hearts full and hands open. “To begin a season, another season has to die,” Donehey reflects. “I think this is a fresh season because I finally let a lot of my dreams die.”
The singer admits his aspirations revolved around his music career for years, which caused his self-worth to rise and fall with the band’s success. “I think with this record, I started to realize how a lot of my dreams weren’t big enough and that they were very much mine—like getting signed, getting played on the radio. Those aren’t the kind of dreams that will satisfy your heart,” he offers. “If our hearts are made for a new kingdom—a new heaven and a new earth—if that’s what the bent of our souls is, then these little man-made dreams aren’t ever going to be enough.”
In the middle of attempting to reconcile his calling with the trajectory of his career, Donehey uncovered this nugget of infinite wisdom: “God’s not as interested in the success of our career as He is the posture of our hearts,” he remarks. “The whole theme of the record comes from believing that God’s will for my life isn’t a plan, and it’s not necessarily a dream. God’s plan for my life is the position of my heart.”
The heartbeat of Followers is one of surrender and complete obedience. On EDM-infused lead single “What You Want,” the group aligns their dreams with the desires of Christ as Donehey gives voice to his thoughts with the lynchpin line: So many leaders / You ask for followers / So keep on leading / ‘Cause You’re my Father.
“Why are we so obsessed with leaders?” he asks. “When you look in Scripture, you don’t ever see Jesus ask anyone to be a leader—never. Jesus said, ‘I don’t do anything of my own accord.’ He basically said, ‘I’m not a leader; I only do what the Father in heaven tells me to do.’ So Jesus viewed Himself as a follower. If Jesus viewed Himself as a follower, then no matter what anyone else thinks of me, that’s how I need to view myself before God.”
Heading into the studio with producers John Fields (Switchfoot), Jason Ingram (Chris Tomlin), Paul Mabury (Lauren Daigle) and Colby Wedgeworth (Jordan Feliz), Tenth Avenue North began to craft a fresh collection of songs every bit as colorful as the album’s artwork.
The apropos “Afraid” opens the set with a pensive, synth-soaked anthem for today’s culture. Owen originally began the song and played it for Donehey the day following the Paris attacks in November 2015. With the people of France in the back of their minds, the band finished the song with a message relevantly speaking faith over fear.
“My treasure is not my life. As soon as you let go of your life as the treasure, then suddenly you find freedom… Someone who’s lost the fear of death is an insanely free person,” Donehey maintains. “I don’t have to be afraid because fear, not only is it time wasted, but fear is the belief that God’s not going to get it right.”
Passionately tender ballad “I Have This Hope” was born of a time of personal uncertainty in Owen’s life when his sister-in-law was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and he walked into a writing session with a heavy heart. The 32-year-old mother of three began chemo treatments in early February of 2016 just as the band first began writing for Followers. Rooted in Isaiah 43, the song was penned in her honor.
“For the most part, the things I see in Scripture are really not this promise of this plan working out a certain way, but it’s the promise of His presence with us through whatever happens,” Donehey observes. “God doesn’t say, ‘You will be spared of tragedy.’ He says, ‘Tragedy won’t crush you; it won’t overwhelm you; it won’t consume you. I am with you.’”
Two-and-a-half months later, when Tenth entered the studio to record the song, Owen’s brother and sister-in-law stopped by following a doctor’s appointment at Vanderbilt University. Miraculously, while his sister-in-law was sitting on the couch in the studio, she received a call from the doctor telling her that her cancer was in remission. It was a divine intervention and a literal in-studio reminder to the band that God is in the details.
Mid-way through the set, the moving “Sparrow (Under Heaven’s Eyes),” acknowledges our desire to be seen by the God of the universe. Coming to a co-write with Jonathan Smith feeling insignificant, Donehey began to search for inspiration through music. The two songwriters started listening to “Between Me and You,” a poignant song by The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, and began to see their stories mirrored in the lyrics.
“It just captures the struggle of wanting to live your dreams but also not wanting to let your ambition get in the way of loving your family well,” describes Donehey, adding, “So many men have sacrificed their family or their marriages on the altar of ambition.”
Often fearing he sacrifices his own family at times for the sake of his calling, it was a song Donehey could identify with, and he found himself praying, “I’m ready to give up all my ambition and all my dreams if, God, You could just remind me that You see me.”
“Sparrow (Under Heaven’s Eyes)” is the manifestation of the band coming to grips with letting go of their dreams, their plans and their aspirations and putting everything in the hands of the God who cares for them individually infinitely more than the birds of the field. Yet, just like anything else, they realize surrender is a process.
“God’s working on me to let go of this need to have the plan, this need to have the answer. Basically, way more important than knowing a 10-year plan from God is just knowing that I’m living a perpetual ‘yes’ to Him,” Donehey offers.
The next decade isn’t clearly mapped out, but his aim is sure, and his goal for each day consists of only three simple letters: j-o-y. “I don’t know if God’s will for my life is to play in front of 10,000 people. I don’t think that it is. I think God’s will for my life is joy, whether I play for 10,000 or 10,” he continues. “God’s will for my life is peace. God’s will for my life is forgiveness. And when you start dreaming that way, then you realize, ‘Oh man, I can live the dream every day.’”
Tenth Avenue North may not know what the future holds, but no matter where life leads, they know who they’ll be following.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. ----Psalm 51:12
There’s something so incredibly special about the moment you first believe; when Jesus comes into your heart and your life is forever changed. That moment when salvation soaks into your soul and the joy is nearly unspeakable. It’s been nearly two decades since Brandon Heath experienced that joy as a teenager, and he recaptures it powerfully in his album No Turning Back.
“2015 is the 20th anniversary of that experience and that decision,” says Heath. “I was thinking about the joy of my salvation and how I could really write a record about that. That’s where I started shifting all of my creative energy, writing songs about who I was then and what made me ultimately decide to let Jesus into my life. No Turning Back is retelling the story. I wanted to capture the moment that I met the Lord---the rush of feeling and believing that my life was going to be different.”
The young Nashville native is an established storyteller with a lengthy list of achievements. He earned the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award in 2008 for Best New Artist and fulfilled that early promise by garnering numerous other accolades including two consecutive Doves for Male Vocalist (2009 and 2010), Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year for “Give Me Your Eyes” (2009). Heath has received five Grammy nomincations, won an Emmy Award, and most recently won BMI’s songwriter of the year for 2014. Three previous albums have landed in the top ten, and he’s scored four No. 1 hit singles---“Give Me Your Eyes,” “Wait and See,” “I’m Not Who I Was,” and “Your Love.” In 2013, he released Christmas is Here, which became an instant holiday classic, that went on to win a Dove Award for Christmas album of the year.
The reason for Heath’s success is easy to understand. It starts with a compelling voice that has a warm, rich tone and Heath has a gift for penning songs from a deep well of personal experience, yet they are universal in their appeal. His honesty and transparency resonates with believers of all ages, genders and cultures. On No Turning Back Heath showcases his songwriting, celebrating the decision that changed his life. “I heard the gospel for the first time at Young Life's Malibu Club in Canada,” Heath says. “Every night they share a little more of the Gospel, and by the end of the week, I told my Young Life leader that I thought that I wanted to have a more active and intimate relationship with Jesus. So that’s where I made that decision.”
The title track commemorates that powerful moment in Heath’s life. Featuring the duo All Sons & Daughters, “No Turning Back” is already soaring up the charts. “Fans of Christian music love anthems that make a statement of faith,” Heath says, noting the inspiration for the song came when he was talking to All Sons & Daughters’ Leslie Jordan and David Leonard about the camp where he was saved. “You stand in front of everybody and tell them that you’ve become a believer. I was thinking about that moment and David said, ‘Oh man, that reminds me of that old hymn, “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.”’ I wasn’t familiar with it, but they played it for me. And I said, ‘Let’s re-do that song and kind of contemporize it a little bit.’ So we made a new version of it.”
“No Turning Back” gives listeners their first taste of Heath’s sixth album, a record that not only celebrates the anniversary of his salvation, but also reflects his new status as a married man with the light-hearted love song “Girl of My Dreams,” which he wrote for his new wife Siebe.
The bulk of the album was produced by Ed Cash, which in a way felt full circle for Heath. “I started talking to Ed about doing this record and reminiscing about when I met him when he was the camp musician at a Young Life camp that year I became a Christian,” Heath recalls. “The sound of his voice and his music has always been a soundtrack for when I first believed, and I really wanted to capture the emotion of that time.”
“S.O.S.” is a poignant ballad, written by Cash, that captures the teenage angst and confusion Heath felt before his conversion. “I have never recorded a song on one of my records – aside from a Christmas record – that I didn’t write,” Heath relates. “But Ed wrote that song for high school kids. He wrote it to sing at camp and I thought it captured where I was at the time, as a teenager. So I thought, ‘This has to go on the record!’ Ed is really close to that song and he tried to record it a few other times and it just wasn’t panning out. So I just put my vocal on it and owned it. And Ed loved it!” The song reflects how Heath and many teens feel. “You start to really see the brokenness of the world, and you’re not as protected as you were as a kid,” Heath confesses. “All of a sudden you feel alone in a turbulent world and you’re trying to figure everything out as best you can. So many teenagers are desperately looking for something. Some of us along the way find God and realize that He’s made us and He understands what we need."
Heath also serves up the beautiful worship song, “Behold Our God” written with Matt Maher, and the thought-provoking “Everything Must Go,” which calls for a return to a simpler life. Throughout No Turning Back, Heath makes bold declarations about faith in such songs as the opening track “One Way to Heaven.” “I wrote that one with Ross Copperman and Lee Thomas Miller,” he says. “It’s really the fundamentals: there’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through Jesus,” Heath states matter-of-factly. “We wrote that song in an afternoon and we did a demo. I think that it’s cool to just start with the fundamentals. If you’ve ever believed that you earn your way to heaven by good deeds and works, you’re wrong. All these myths about stairways and highways are wrong. There’s no other way to heaven than Jesus. So just putting it plainly is cool.”
Another highlight of No Turning Back is “When I was Young,” a song that captures the childlike faith we all try to hold onto over the years. “It’s important to preserve that innocence and whimsy that you had as a kid. God loves that,” Heath says with a smile. “At the very end, I wanted it to say, ‘Each night I’d say my prayers and He was there. I slept so well.’ I think ultimately that’s a great lesson because I don’t sleep well sometimes because the evil one comes to visit me in my sleep and he tells me lies and I get really anxious. I think that it’s important to preserve our innocence.”
In a life filled with awards and accomplishment, love and marriage, and so many other blessings, recording No Turning Back took Brandon Heath back to his greatest turning point of all---the start of his personal relationship with Jesus. And he’s hoping these songs will take others back to that joy, as well. “I hope that they remember that moment when Jesus came into their life,” he says. “And that they remember that they’re on a journey and see how faithful God has been to them since that day. I hope people can re-live that and the same thing happens to them. I hope their joy is restored and that they remember their salvation and just see how present God is in our lives. When He says we are a new creation, He means it. The old is gone. The new has come and there’s no turning back.”
McLaughlin’s Island Records debut propelled his song “Beautiful Disaster” up the charts, with “Beating My Heart” following quickly after. Hollywood immediately took notice of the young songwriter and didn’t stop at just using several of his songs for films and commercials. McLaughlin himself was offered a role in the hit film Enchanted, performing a song that was later nominated for an Academy Award. In 2008, he found himself onstage at the Oscars reprising the tune in front of 32 million US viewers. In between the hit songs and television appearances, true to his hardworking Midwestern roots, McLaughlin spent his nights opening for the likes of Sara Bareilles and Kelly Clarkson, recording with Jason Mraz and writing for other artists.
But the affable McLaughlin was never quite comfortable with the artistic compromises he made along the way. Largely inspired by an extraordinarily close relationship with his fans, he left Island to create an album like he had never done before; one that was filled with lyrics that were a part of him. Careful to note that he genuinely loved working with other songwriters and found great meaning in their collaborative work, McLaughlin nonetheless couldn’t shake his need to be completely responsible for the songs he delivered to his extremely loyal fans. An ardent social media aficionado, his interaction with his audience influenced him to release this album on his own for the first time.
“A lot of songs over the past few years, there’s nothing wrong with them,” Jon explains, “but there was no weight or significance with me. I felt like I was in a way not being completely fair.” “It feels really good to have a record that I’m working on that I can really deliver wholeheartedly knowing that the fans are getting a piece of me,” he continues. “There isn’t a note on the record that I didn’t spend hours scrutinizing over, or at the very least sitting with and playing over and over again. I feel like it’s a real connection to me.”
Once Jon began writing the new songs that would ultimately fill Forever if Ever, the rest fell into place just as quickly as his career took off. He began producing for the first time, drawing from hours spent with brilliant producers he’d worked with throughout the years. He experimented with equipment, including some a former tour manager had sagely told him to explore. He wrote exactly what he wanted to, spending weeks upon weeks making sure every lyric, every note was just where he needed it to be. And perhaps most importantly, he recorded with the musicians he’d been touring with not only his entire career, but his entire musical life.
Convinced to use studio musicians by his former record label, McLaughlin was finally able to make an album with his longtime bandmates. And it resulting sound plays just like that – warm, familiar, comfortable and seamless. They finish each others’ musical sentences. “It’s the first time that I’ve listened to something at the end of each day in the studio and I loved it,” Jon says excitedly, “every single day, from beginning to end.”
But McLaughlin’s liberating euphoria surprisingly isn’t the theme for Forever if Ever. Ironically, the album is filled with powerful, agonizing, gut-wrenching songs about love and loss thereof. “I guess I would call myself a bit of a romantic,” he starts, “but at the same time I’ve always loved those painful break-up songs. There’s something about the agony of love at any level that I am obsessed with, whether it’s that overwhelming love or heartbreaking break up end-of-love. There’s nothing more universal than that.”
The galvanizing pain of lost love is particularly poignant on “These Crazy Times,” written after the cataclysmic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Jon’s lyrics are graceful and angry, despondent and incredulous as he struggles to find meaning in the death of his cousin Adam who was on the oilrig when it exploded. “It turned into this kind of a song about the state of the economy, the country right now,” he says quietly, “and I’m not Neil Young. I don’t typically write songs like that a lot. But it came out of a real place.” “I think I haven’t written like that before because if it’s not genuine it sounds pretentious and fake,” evoking those earnest, Midwestern ideals again. “But it became the most therapeutic, thing I’ve ever done,” he reflects solemnly. “I needed to write about it or I would have been a different person if I hadn’t.”
“If Only I” bears a different take on loss, cleverly written from the perspective of a person deeply, madly in love with someone they’ve never worked up the courage to talk to. Mirroring Jon’s chutzpah behind Forever if Ever, “I feel like that song was the song where I said, ‘I’m really just going to do everything that I would want to do in a song.’” And armed with his newly earned creative freedom, McLaughlin did just that.
He returns to a more traditional view of heartbreak with the wistful “Summer is Over,” written for a friend in the throes of a crushing break-up, but lest fans begin to think he is about to drown in the depths of love’s despair, McLaughlin throws in “Without You Now.” “The word ‘pop’ is a polarizing word sometimes, especially for songwriters who want their lyrics to be felt as much as heard,” he admits, “but when it comes down to it, everybody just likes a good pop song. And that song is this song on the record.” “Windows down, driving in the country on a great summer day…that kind of song…and of course, there’s some agonizing heartbreaking in there,” he adds with a smile.
“Making Forever if Ever reminded me that music is a personal thing,” McLaughlin reveals. “It’s not a corporate business. It’s just music. On my previous albums, I was tied up in a lot of red tape and meetings and actually heard myself say ‘fourth quarter budgets’ at one point.” “And now I get to be a musician again!”
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