Funny thing about bands that enjoy head-turning grassroots success before they ink deals with major labels: They usually turn out to be fairly regular folks, and not the kind of people who would impress record company executives as the next rock stars. Look at Hootie and the Blowfish, the Dave Matthews Band or, in the genre of which we currently speak, the David Crowder Band, Caedmon's Call and Casting Crowns. Not rock stars from central casting, but musicians who have an amiable stage presence and a way with a tune.
Addison Road fits right in with that m-o. The band formed in 2001 when Jenny and Ryan Simmons -- not married then, but married now -- got a gig before they even had a band. So, the then-Baylor students put together a group that has since morphed a bit over the years, dropped three indie releases and now has a major label debut on INO Records -- which brought you more unassuming stars in MercyMe. The self-titled album is a solid effort of pop rock that is at its best when it is speaking in the plainest terms. What Do I Know of Holy is a prime example, with Jenny singing about a relationship with God that often seems difficult, awkward and unreal. It's introspective writing from the Nichole Nordeman school. Casualties is a catchy and thought-provoking piece about people losing their personal and spiritual relationships to our go-go American culture. The current hit single, All That I Know, may a bit misleading giving folks the impression Addison Road is cut from the Krystal Meyers and Fireflight rocker-chic mold. But Ryan Gregg and Ryan Simmons Beatle-esque guitar flourishes hint at the greater picture, which is a real diversity of material for debut album.
Then again, these folks have been working on this record for a while.
Out today: P.O.D.'s When Angels & Serpents Dance is in stores, online, and everyone else seems to be staying away from the week like it was the release of a new Spider-Man movie. We'll have a review of the Boys from the South next week.
Coming soon: The labels are already whetting our appetites for upcoming releases. Third Day's Revelation, the Georgia band's first album since its two-disc greatest hits package, is set to release July 29 with production by Howard Benson, whose credits include Daughtry, P.O.D. and Flyleaf. And some of those acts showed up on Third Day's new saucer, including Flyleaf's Lacey Mosley for two tunes and Chris Daughtry on one. Overall, they're promising a grittier, Southern rock sound. Family Force 5, also hailing from the Atlanta area, is slated for a late summer release also, though we don't have an album name or date yet. It'll be an interesting release for FF5, which was voted artist of the year by CCM Magazine readers and then greeted two months later with a page full of letters to the editor denouncing the band's look and message -- or perceived lack thereof. It'll be interesting to see if a new release offers anything to satiate the band's detractors.
Got VBS crafts?: This isn't Christian pop related, but I figure some of you may have some ideas for this: Our Faith & Values editor is looking for great Vacation Bible School crafts for a feature later this spring. If you have an unusual craft that others might be interested in, please let us know. Briefly describe the project including the materials involved, the age-appropriateness, how long it takes to create and the end-result. You can e-mail that to me, and I'll send it along to the right person. Thanks, and we can't wait to hear about cherry Jello Red Seas and stuff.