The Hands & Feet Project, the children's village in Jacmel, Haiti that was started in 2004 by the band Audio Adrenaline, suffered major damage in the recent hurricanes. After Hurricane Fay blew across the island, the property was completely buried under as much as five feet of rock and rubble that washed down from the mountain during Hurricane Gustav. The school had major damage to two of the children's houses and lost most of the property walls as well as the foundation for the new cafeteria/kitchen. The estimated immediate financial need runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. To make a donation online to help Hands & Feet Project, go to www.handsandfeetproject.org. Contributions via mail can be sent to Gustav Relief, c/o Hands & Feet Project, PO Box 682105, Franklin, TN 37068.
For more than two years, the Church in Australia has been praying for singer/songwriter Michael Guglielmucci as he battled aggressive cancer. The recent Hillsong project, "This Is Our God," even featured a segment on it's latest DVD highlighting Guglielmucci, his illness, and the story of how he wrote the powerful and popular song, "Healer." Well, just after that project was released, Guglielmucci confessed that he's been faking cancer and for more than a decade has also been hiding an addiction to pornography. In statements to the media, Guglielmucci's family, including his wife, say they had no idea he wasn't really sick and are as shocked as the rest of the world at the revelation. Hillsong has pulled the DVD from shelves and is in the process of re-editing the video. They are also considering whether or not to remove the song "Healer" from the CD.
Worship artist Chris Tomlin recently celebrated the RIAA Gold and Platinum Certification of his last two projects, and his fifth studio album, Hello Love, looks like it will follow in their footsteps. The album, which released Sept. 2, was the highest charting debut at iTunes for any album in the Christian industry. In addition, Hello Love took the No. 10 spot on Billboard's Top 200 Album Chart and sold more than 51,000 units in its first week alone.
Some of the industry's top names offer up musical portraits of God's character with the new project, Your Name, which releases on Oct. 14. The concept CD offers 10 new worship songs written by Ian Eskelin, Brian White, Tony Wood and Glenn Packiam, and features vocals by top artists like Phil Wickham, Paul Baloche, Aaron Shust, Lincoln Brewster, Vicky Beeching and Ayiesha Woods. Each of the tracks on the album focuses on a name of God, from "Savior" and "Shepherd" to "Life" and "Rock." Eskelin, who produced the album, says, "It's amazing what you can learn about the character of God from each one and it gave us extraordinary content for writing these songs."
The Dove award-winning trio, Building 429 recently signed with INO Records and will release their first project with the label on Oct. 21. Jason Roy, Michael Anderson and Jesse Garcia have come a long way since their 2004 debut album Space In Between Us, including line up changes and now a new label. "This record is a new beginning," says Roy, who is the band's front man and chief lyricist. "Its no longer about what everybody wants us to be or what we think we should be, but a season of finding what God has in store for us. I'm more confident than I've ever been in my life when it comes to my calling, when it comes to my brothers and when it comes to my band. That confidence is not in myself. That confidence is in the fact that the Lord is going to do something great with us. We're just excited to be along for the ride."
Lincoln Brewster releases his latest album, Today is the Day, this month. Most Christian music fans probably know his name from last year's radio hits, when he held both the No. 1 and No. 3 spots at the same time. But Brewster actually got his first break in music when he was just 19 years old, after an A&R rep at Sony named Randy Jackson (yes, that Randy Jackson) passed Brewster's demo onto his friend and former band mate, Journey lead vocalist Steve Perry. Brewster went on to co-write and record with Perry, and also toured with the music legend, but found the tour life unfulfilling. When he got back, rather than accept any of the offers he'd gotten from mainstream bands, Brewster took a job with a local church as the tech guy. He got married, had two kids, and helped launched a church in Nashville. Now Brewster and his family are back in California where he is the worship arts pastor at Bayside Church near Sacramento. He says, "I'm truly grateful to be able to do what I do. I know I don't deserve it, but I am committed to doing my best with what God has put before me."
Country music star Collin Raye will host the 14th Annual Inspirational Country Music Award Show Oct. 16. The event takes place at the Trinity Music City USA Auditorium located in Hendersonville, Tenn. and honors the biggest names and emerging artists who perform Christian and Inspirational Country music. Cross Country the Band, Del Way, Russ Murphy, The Isaacs and Tommy Brandt are nominated for Entertainer of the Year. The Oak Ridge Boys, The Bellamy Brothers, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Vince Gill are all nominated for Mainstream Inspirational Song of the Year. For a complete list of nominees, as well as information on how you can watch the show in your area, visit www.icmawards.com.
The Gospel Music Channel will launch a new series featuring performances by the top names and future stars of Southern Gospel music. The yet-to-be-named weekly concert series will premiere in early 2009. GMC production crews were at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Ky., last month where they shot performances from artists like The Dove Brothers Quartet, The Hoppers, The Kingdom Heirs, Brian Free & Assurance, Gold City, Greater Vision, Isaacs and Karen Peck & New River. The series will also feature behind-the-scenes footage and provide a personal look at the lives of the quartet members. For more information on the show, visit www.GospelMusicChannel.com.
For more Christian music news, visit Joanne's Gospel Soundcheck blog at Beliefnet.com www.blog.beliefnet.com/gospelsoundcheck.