Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman recently released Limbs and Branches, a compilation of hits from his widely acclaimed solo EPs Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. The full length, 12-song recording also features two new tunes, “Broken From the Start” and “Over the River.” Some artists write songs to get famous or gain respect. Foreman writes songs to understand himself, and he allowed his fans to journey with him on the EPs.
In more Switchfoot news, the band releases their greatest hits anthology, The Best Yet, on Nov. 4. The 18-song collection features hits from the band’s six albums (with global cumulative sales of more than 5 million), as well as the new song, “This Is Home,” from the movie soundtrack of Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.” “These are songs that we would like to play for someone who has never heard of Switchfoot,” says Switchfoot member Tim Foreman. “There is quite a wide musical journey expressed in that list, and we’re very proud of that part of our history as a band.” The deluxe edition also includes 14 hit videos as well as rare and never-before-released-for-sale videos, “The Blues,” “Happy Is a Yuppie Word” and “Company Car.”
Funk rock/hip-hop band Shachah last month released their national debut, On the Move, a unique mix of soulful funk-rock and hip-hop with Gospel-centered lyrics. The project’s first video single, “Arise (Stand Up),” is in rotation on Gospel Music Channel. The four members of Shachah came together at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., crafting their sound while leading worship for a Costa Mesa college ministry. The band has traveled the globe as “musicianaries,” performing everywhere from open-air concerts in Russia to outreach shows in Palm Desert.
In September, modern rockers Sanctus Real teamed up with the cast of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to put on a benefit concert to raise money for the Frisch family of Ohio, who received a home makeover from the hit show. The concert raised an additional $50,000 to help the family. Sanctus Real has a long history of charity and generosity, helping people around the globe and in their own backyards in Ohio. “There’s power when people are unified,” says Sanctus Real frontman Matt Hammitt, “and there’s a righteousness that’s unbridled when that force is molded to serve, love and sacrifice for the ‘greater good.’” The Frisch family episode airs in November. Sanctus Real is currently on the road in support of their fourth studio album, We Need Each Other.
Michael “Kalel” Wittig, long-time bassist for Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning hard rock band Pillar, recently announced that he will leave the group to pursue other opportunities. In addition to spending more time with family, he’ll focus on his new group, Stars Go Dim, which he created with former Pillar drummer Lester Estelle, as well as his artist management company, JMA Music.
The 2008 Diamond Awards were handed out on in September during the week of the National Quartet Convention. Winners included Lulu Roma, J.D. Sumner Living Legend Award; The Isaacs, Group of the Year; Booth Brothers, Trio of the Year; Jeff and Sheri Easter, Duet of the Year; Guy Penrod (Gaither Vocal Band), Male Vocalist of the Year; Sonya Isaacs (The Isaacs), Female Vocalist of the Year; Bill Gaither, Songwriter of the Year. For a complete list of winners, visit www.diamondawardsonline.com.
Christian music’s best-selling new artist of 2007, tween pop sensation pureNRG, recently launched a new partnership with Milk Rocks!, a comprehensive program designed to promote good nutrition to elementary-, middle- and high-school students. The group’s video “What If,” as well as songs from the group’s album Here We Go Again, were featured at MilkRocks.com. PureNRG recently released their first Christmas project, A pureNRG Christmas, and the group is on tour with Casting Crowns through the end of December.
Arthur “Bob” Beatty Jr., The Brooklyn All Stars, Melvin Couch, Dr. Vernard Johnson, The Pilgrim Jubilees, and the Rev. Ernest Davis Jr.’s Wilmington Chester Mass Choir were this year’s inductees to the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The 12th annual event took place in October in Detroit and was hosted by Vickie Winans. The International Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum honors artists who have been involved in gospel music activities for at least 25 years, and inductees include individuals, groups, choirs, quartets, broadcast personalities and promoters. For more about the organization, visit www.igmhf.org.
After their successful 2007 debut Secondhand Dreaming and extensive touring with Switchfoot and Relient K on the “Appetite for Construction Tour with Habitat for Humanity,” rock band Ruth returns with their sophomore release, Anorak. The word “anorak” is British slang for an obsessive enthusiast, and refers to a person who has an unfathomable interest in something and feels compelled to talk at length about it. For a band that focuses their artistic endeavors on exploring their faith, it’s an apt title for their sophomore release.
Chris Tomlin will head out in January for his “Hello Love Tour,” with special guests Israel Houghton and New Breed. The tour is in support of Tomlin’s latest album, Hello Love. The album, which released in September, took the No. 9 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 Album and was the highest charting iTunes debut ever for any album in the Christian industry. Tickets for the “Hello Love Tour” are on sale now. To purchase tickets online, visit www.christomlin.com.
Rock worship band Downhere performed last month before the second presidential debate at Belmont University’s pre-debate block party. The band performed selections from their new CD, Ending Is Beginning, which released in September. American Idol Chris Sligh also performed selections from his new album, Running BacktTo You. Other artists who appeared included Sarah Darling, Brandon Kinney, Bomshel and university student bands The Nova Ray and Greg Bates.
Southern gospel’s The Dove Brothers were recently named the Ambassadors of the Southeastern Firefighter’s Burn Foundation in recognition of their support in raising funds for the organization. The Southeastern Firefighters’ Burn Foundation was created in 1988 to support burn patients being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga. The organization provides meals, support, and a place for families to stay while their loved ones are being treated.