Music News: Sarah MacIntosh to release new indie solo project

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When the critically acclaimed Chasing Furies disbanded in 2000, the band's founder and lead vocalist Sarah MacIntosh moved on, sharing the stage with Michael W. Smith and Matt Redman as a background vocalist and lending her talents to recordings like Can You Hear Us Now (David Crowder Band) and Worship Again (Michael W. Smith). In 2002 she and her husband, Jonathan, relocated to San Diego and accepted ministry positions at Horizon Christian Fellowship, where his father Mike serves as senior pastor. Now MacIntosh is back with an indie solo project, The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers, And Me, which features original songs and a renewed personal purpose. "I believe we are here on this earth to worship God, and to lead other people to Him," shares MacIntosh. "As far as I know, the best way that I can do both of these things is through music. My hope is that these songs are deep and though- provoking enough to draw people into a closer relationship with the Lord." The independent release is available on iTunes and through www.myhorizonstore.com.

Matthew West returns from a literal season of silence with Something to Say, his highly anticipated third studio recording and first project in more than two years. In 2007, doctors at the Vanderbilt Voice Center in Nashville discovered a vascular polyp and hemorrhaged blood vessels on West's vocal chord. He not only underwent surgery, but he was also not able to speak for two months. During this season of silence God refocused West's priorities and renewed his purpose. "Prior to this experience, I only had a glimpse of what these songs had to say, but having literally nothing to say for two months, it was as if I understood what these songs were trying to communicate all along," West said in a statement. "Sometimes you're given the message before you know what it means. Then the test comes, and you can see how God intended everything to be."

Also releasing in February is the third album from quirky punk/pop rockers Stellar Kart, Expect the Impossible. And with this project, expect the unexpected. "Sonically, we wanted to shoot for a broader sound," says producer Ian Eskelin. "Stellar Kart has never been afraid to challenge the current trend, so we decided to incorporate some new elements. This album will please the band's die-hard punk fans while offering something to straight-up pop and rock lovers as well. The goal is to meet listeners where they are, driving an emotional connection to the music." What hasn't changed is the band's Christ-centered message, with themes of striving to achieve one's best self in Christ and the message of God's faithfulness to those who love Him.

Last year was a phenomenal year for pureNRG, Fervent Records' tween pop/dance trio. Their self-titled debut CD and two video and dance DVDs produced combined sales of nearly 60,000 units in seven months and made them the top selling new artist at CBA retail for the year. And the momentum doesn't stop in 2008. The group recently finished their first major tour with Jump 5 and was recently featured on the "Winter Jam 2008" tour MercyMe, BarlowGirl and Group 1 Crew. In addition to a pending May 2008 cover story on the group in Brio magazine, pureNRG member Jordan Yates was quoted in a Jan. 21 issue of TIME magazine in a story about the re-emergence of interest in vinyl records.

After some restructuring and regrouping, Chico, Calif.'s Number One Gun is back with their third album, The North Pole Project. This band is no stranger to changes. Their 2003 debut album, Celebrate Mistakes, was released on Floodgate records and their 2005 follow-up, Promises for the Imperfect, found a new home at Tooth and Nail. At the time of recording for this third album, the band was going through some restructuring, so frontman Jeff Schneeweis took the task in hand, writing and recording every part as he penned it. With the new project in hand, Number One Gun has regrouped and the full band will be touring consistently throughout 2008, starting with a Winter West Coast tour with Brighten, Sever Your Ties and Secret and Whisper.

Do you know an aspiring Christian rocker? Tell them about Camp Electric, a ground-breaking Christian music camp for youth aged 13 to 18 that will be held June 29 to July 3 at Trevecca University in Nashville. The "all-access" schedule will offer five power-packed days of hands-on music/ministry instruction, worship, personalized tips and tune-ups, and overall encouragement for young musicians seeking to perfect their skills on vocals, keyboards, drums, bass, and guitar. Camp registrants will have lots of informal "hang time" with their professional instructors (like Pillar frontman Rob Beckly, Sanctus Real guitarist Pete Prevost, Pillar drummer Lester Estelle, MercyMe guitarist Barry Graul, Salvador bassist Josh Gonzales, and Kutless bassist Dave Luetkenhoelter, just to name a few) as well as the opportunity to personally jam with their favorite musicians. Nightly concert presentations include TobyMac, Skillet, Pillar, Leeland, Phil Joel, Britt Nicole, and a to-be-announced "mystery artist." Leading Christian author/youth minister David Nasser will also be on campus to speak at the event. For more information and a complete list of presenters, visit www.campelectric.com.

"Rise," from the Robbie Seay Band's latest album Give Yourself Away, is currently featured on four national television promotional spots for FOX's "American Idol," which premiered in January. Give Yourself Away released last August and was one of the Top 25 Christian albums downloaded on iTunes for more than 18 weeks. The album also spawned the hit single, "Song of Hope." This was one of my favorite albums of 2007, so if you haven't already checked it out visit www.robbieseayband.com.

Some of country music's biggest stars have come together to showcase the amazing gospel music performed at The Grand Ole Opry each year with the unique collection, How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites Live From The Grand Ole Opry. The album features twelve gospel songs - like "I'll Fly Away," "Give Me Jesus," "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," and "Blessed Assurance"—recorded live by Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels Band with Third Day's Mac Powell, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, and Carrie Underwood. This is a great album for country fans and a fitting tribute to The Grand Ole Opry.

Entertainment notes compiled from artist interviews and press releases.