The Chapel Sessions – Songs of Hope is a project born both from a response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and a charge to boldly live through it and any unforeseen events to come in this most unprecedented of seasons. For the Mariners Worship team–the creative arts extension of one of the Top 20 largest churches in America, Mariners Church, Irvine, CA—the locked-down versions of weekly worship (online broadcasts of church services) only seemed to increase in passion and fervor, which resulted in this set of live “songs of hope.” Moving forward, it’s their vision that these songs will serve to inspire hope and strength as we all trek through challenging times together.
In Legacy Five‘s first ten years (2000-10), Singing News Magazine has nominated “L5” for 75-plus Singing News fan awards. The Southern Gospel Music Association honored Legacy Five with Recording of the year in addition to two Dove Award nominations. Averaging 130 cross-country shows per year, L5 masterfully weaves together a signature four and five-part harmony that continues to leave an indelible mark on Southern Gospel.
About the focus track | As only the vocal & harmonic prowess of Legacy Five can, “Heaven Is” is a performance that lays the foundation for a project that truly focuses on message, masterful singing & moving songwriting. Emphasizing the songs of Lee Black, this classic opening track takes it back to the music’s roots & causes the listener to experience a powerful pause, drawing them in to the real heart of the matter.
Born in the pastures of a town you’ve never heard of, WE ARE ONE emerged on the scene as small town boys with a big sound. A music and worship ministry based out of Gateway Assembly in Imlay City, MI, their vision has always been to use music, media, and creative elements to equip and encourage the local church to reclaim its voice in an increasingly loud culture. A group of not simply musicians but pastors, artists, filmmakers, writers, Super Smash Bros. experts and wannabe stand-up comedians—WE ARE ONE is the sound of a group of nobodies from nowhere refusing to be told that nothing good comes from Nazareth.
About | In a recent string of 2019-20 “Recompletes” of songs from their 2018 debut album Seven, the boys of WE ARE ONE return with a club remix of the hit “WE’RE GOING PUBLIC.” With performances and production that command all feet to hit the dance floor, the funky-clean bass groove leads the way for a fresh-and-fun feel-good take worthy of attention.
Bluegrass; Mountain Home Music Company – STREAM / BUY single
Almost from its earliest days, bluegrass has found a way not only to speak of personal themes such as lost love and longing for home, but also to address the whole range of human concerns and behaviors. From stories of economic hardship to meditations on the contrast between farm and city life, its artists have never demurred from offering their perspectives on the society in which they live—and when they deliver a song that works on both a personal and social level, the results can be truly special.
With their latest single, western North Carolina’s Unspoken Tradition presents such a song, given a beautifully burnished treatment that introduces a new lead voice in its newest member, Saravanan (Sav) Sankaran. Co-written by Kentucky’s Aaron Bibelhauser, whose credits include Balsam Range’s smash hit, “Blue Collar Dreams,” “Carolina And Tennessee” draws on natural imagery—and iconic geography—to offer a vision as meaningful for social relationships as it is for personal.
“What originated as a love letter acknowledging the picturesque beauty and peace in the Smoky Mountain regions of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee has grown into something much more profound with Unspoken Tradition’s take on ‘Carolina and Tennessee,’” says Bibelhauser. “Of course there’s the obvious metaphor equating the two states with two partners walking through the happiness and hardships of love. But something bigger crept its way in as my co-writer, Pat Younger, and I crafted the tune, and even more so when the band worked up their own rendition for this single release.”
Adds Sankaran, “I knew from the moment I heard Aaron Bibelhauser’s demo of ‘Carolina and Tennessee’ that we had to record it! I’m so excited for it to be my first opportunity to sing lead on an Unspoken Tradition track. The subject material of the lyrics was one of the things that drew me to the song; the idea of ‘finding out that our boundaries [are] imaginary lines’ resonates so deeply during such polarized times in our world. The song took on even more meaning having been created during a time of forced isolation, in which we have all been reminded of the importance of all of the relationships in our lives, romantic and otherwise. I think this song really illustrates the band’s versatility; it allows me to showcase my lead vocal, and the guys provide instrumental and vocal accompaniments that add depth and complexity without distracting from the message of the song. Unspoken Tradition has always been about crossing those ‘imaginary lines’ that define what a modern bluegrass band is; ‘Carolina and Tennessee’ is no exception!”
“I believe the deeper message that Unspoken Tradition delivers here is that there is a simple underlying fact that transcends the imaginary lines that divide us,” Bibelhauser concludes. “WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. It may not soften the blow of the immense societal challenges ahead of us, but it certainly shines a light of hope to recognize that we are all deserving of human dignity, respect, and love.”
Zoe & Cloyd is renowned fiddler and vocalist Natalya Zoe Weinstein and award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist John Cloyd Miller. Natalya trained classically in her home state of Massachusetts before moving south in 2004. John, a twelfth generation North Carolinian and grandson of pioneering bluegrass fiddler, Jim Shumate, is a 1st place winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest as well as an Artist Fellowship recipient for songwriting from the North Carolina Arts Council.
About | In their version of the 1959 Stanley Brothers‘ classic, up-tempo bluegrass hymn, Zoe & Cloyd say “That Home Far Away”—despite its age—has a message that speaks to modern times. “This song speaks to hope for the future, which we could all use right now, while offering up a sense of humility. Only in acknowledging our own transgressions can we seek literal or figurative redemption.”
Tres Hodgens—a.k.a. Sojourn, his hip hop moniker—is an emcee, producer and all-around live performer. He has produced tracks recorded & verses for other artists including Braille, Ohmega Watts, Theory Hazit, Blame One, Ras Kass and Myka 9 of Freestyle Fellowship. In addition to his stage and spitting skills as a frontman, Hodgens is also a professional drummer (playing since the age of 5), and crosses genre boundaries with his talents on the skins.