Artist News December 31, 2014

Casting Crown’s Chris Huffman says his resolutions for 2015 include making time with his kids better, continuing to read through the Bible, praying a lot more, and loving people better.

Josh Wilson is cheering on his wife Becca. He says she is running 9.2 miles for the organization Hope for Justice.

Jodi and Chris of Love and the Outcome were doing their P90X exercise program the Canadian way. They were celebrating the holidays in their home country and tweeted a picture doing what they called the P90x ice edition, in the middle of a frozen lake.

Randy Phillips of Phillips, Craig and Dean is suggesting spiritual cleansing as a great way to kick off the new year. He is recommending 21 days of fasting, from January 5th thru the 25th.

Christian author Karen Kingsbury says the music of Jeremy Camp has had a major impact on her life. She told CCM Magazine that it started as she was sitting in her office realizing that she had just been betrayed by a friend. Karen says her first thought was that she needed to hear Jeremy’s music. She says she burned three of Jeremy songs to a disc; Walk by Faith, Give Me Jesus, and I Still Believe. Karen says she played those songs over and over again and the Holy Spirit worked through them to help her through and find hope and healing.

The Sidewalk Prophets had a different face behind the drums this week. Drummer Justin Nace is taking some time off after the birth of his daughter Eisely Vivian. So Christopher Wilson filled in. Band members tweeted: Thanks for rocking the drums on such short notice.

The latest Jason Gray tour is over but you can still help Jason to reach his goal. Jason was part of the 500 Acts of Love Campaign during his recent tour, with the goal of sponsoring 500 World Vision kids in Guatemala. And Jason says there is still time to join in the campaign.

Steven Curtis Chapman is spending the holiday break with his family at Walt Disney World. But it’s a working vacation. Steven took a break from his family time December 28 through 30 to serve at the celebrity narrator for Disney’s Candlelight Procession. Each night Steven was able to narrate the Biblical account of a savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem backed up by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir.

Answers in Genesis is hoping that the millions of people witnessing the famous ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Eve will also see its video billboard displayed nearby with a cross and reminder to Americans of the “religious freedoms they enjoy.” According to the Christian Post, the video display will feature a cross with the words Thank God for Freedom. The digital video board will air for seven minutes per hour each day from December 30 through January 1. AiG says about 3 million impressions will be totaled at Times Square over the three days.
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Artist News December 30, 2014

Casting Crowns Melodee Devevo is thanking God for medicine and for no adverse reactions. The background singer and violinist for the band tweeted this week that she is having her 60th and infusion for psoriatic arthritis.

What did you accomplish in this final week of 2014. Kutless guitarist James Mead says he inadvertently discovered he can moonwalk forward.

Jamie Grace says practice makes perfect. She tweeted a picture from two years ago of the first Oreo cake she ever made and also the one she made earlier this week. There’s quite a bit of improvement.

The members of Bluetree were wishing for skis this week. The Irish Worship Band said they aren’t in the Alps, they are in Northern Ireland. But you couldn’t tell from their pictures. Attached was their photograph in front of snow covered hills.

Want to meet Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman? They were looking for anyone wearing a Colony House Band t-shirt in the Disney parks. The entire Chapman family is in the Disney parks this week and Mary Beth was hoping to see someone wearing a t-shirt from the band started by her two sons.

Natalie Grant is celebrating the new year in New York City. She tweeted let the adventures begin.

Third Day’s Tai Anderson says he’s having more fun with his son Eli’s present then Eli is. They converted an old bench swing into an archery back stop. Tai says he’s not a great shot yet but he can hit the target every time.

Phil Wickham is inviting you to join him for Valentine’s weekend in Texas. Phil will be recording Sing Along 3 at the Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas on February the 15th. The event is free. Find out more by clicking on the link and
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Artist News December 29, 2014

Jamie Grace says it doesn’t feel a lot like December. She said she recently spent her afternoon riding horses and reading on the porch\

Kristian Stanfill welcomed the six member of their family over the holidays. Indie Grace Stanfill was born just after Christmas, making this what Kristian called the merriest Christmas.

Congratulations to the Newsboys. Just months after their song Gods not Dead was certified as gold, selling 500,000 copies, their album by the same name has received the same honor. God’s not Dead the album has also been certified as gold.

Worship leader Robbie Seay says he and his family are enjoying some together time over the holidays. He recently tweeted: Today has consisted of Monopoly and peanut butter cookies. It’s been a good day!

The Sidewalk Prophets had an addition their the bands family over the holidays. Drummer Justin Nace says his wife just gave birth to Eisely Vivian.

Hawk Nelson’s Jon Steingard tweeted a picture of his shoes with the caption: These shoes have seen a lot of city streets from New York to Nashville to LA. And Jon says they are ready to see more in 2015. In the next few weeks he will be in Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, Florida, and Louisiana.

Chris Tomlin says Passion 2015 is coming up quickly. The first conference for young adults is just days away. Gathering number one in Atlanta is sold out but places at the second gathering in Atlanta and the Houston conference are still available.

The Newsboys, Matthew West, Mandisa, Colton Dixon, and Switchfoot are all helping ring in the new year in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The bands are taking part in Xtreme Gatlinburg this week.

Jimmy Needham wrapped up 2014 overseas. He was in Switzerland for a concert this past weekend.

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Artist News, December 22, 2014

Dealing with the loss of a loved one during the Holidays? Christian artist Mark Schultz can relate. In his recent news letter, Mark posted: This year is a different kind of Christmas in our household. Different in several ways. We have two kids now, that makes it a lot different in a wonderful way. But, in another way, we are experiencing another different kind of Christmas, without Kate’s dad who has been a big part of both of our lives. Dealing with the loss is the subject of Mark’s latest Christmas song, A Different Kind of Christmas. Read the letter and watch the video by clicking on the link at

Josh Wilson is trying something unique in the days leading up to Christmas. He says he is challenging himself to do one random act of kindness each day. And he says you can join him by doing the same.

Phillips, Craig and Dean had a secondary purpose for their recent Christmas tour. During their six city tour, the three pastors asked concert attendees to donate charitable items to the needy. At each location Phillips, Craig and Dean teamed with local charities to gather items that included food, clothing, toys, and financial donations.

Jimmy Needham and Sanctus Real are asking for your help. The bands says say their friend and manager Tiffany Rockhold needs a double hip placement and, due to past health issues, her insurance will not cover it. They are asking their social media followers to come along side and help her pay for the surgery. Click on a link at

Casting Crowns Megan Garrett says she has a sinus infection to thank for her spotless house, or at least the medicine she took for that sinus infection. Megan said the doctor gave her a steroid shot and an Rx pack and she can’t sit still. Instead, she’s cleaning house.

A reminder from Dr. James Dobson: Not everyone will be home with their families for Christmas. Remember our military families!

Colton Dixon was showing off his Christmas present over the weekend. It was a game called Wahoo played with marbles. And it sounds like it might be an intense game, at least for Colton. He added that it might cause some fights to break out on their tour bus.

Mercyme’s Nathan Cochran was recently answering questions on twitter.
Q: what is you’re favorite song to play live?
A: Right now it would be Greater. You guys singing so loudly with us is awesome
Q: What is the favorite place you all have played?
A: Doing a USO tour in the Middle East was a career highlight for me.
Q: what is a favorite christmas tradition of yours?
A: Honestly, being home with my family Christmas morning, sharing and spending time together being grateful.

Michael W Smith recently shared his favorite childhood Christmas memory. And it’s no surprise that it involved music. When he was five years old he received a sparkling red drum set. And Michael says it changed his life.

Natalie Grant’s band put together a surprise to help celebrate her birthday over the weekend. As she was talking on stage her three daughters surprised her by appearing behind her via video to sing happy birthday.

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Artist News December 19, 2014

Matt Maher this week tweeted a picture of the newest member of their family. No they haven’t had another child. Attached was a picture of the new Maher family dog.

Tenth Avenue North Mike Donehey recently took some time just slow down and listen to the Lord. He says he was up late, the house was quiet, and he was slowing down his soul. As he stared at their family Christmas tree his prayer was: Lord, make me ever green.

A word of advice from Casting Crowns Jaun DeVevo: Playing “Guess this Song” with your son playing a duck call is not as fun as it sounds

A fan of for King and Country recently shared with the band: my husband and I divorced 3 years ago, but are remarrying. We are walking down the aisle to the for King and Country song Fix My Eyes.

Third Day’s Tai Anderson may be considering a second job. He tweeted a picture of a sign on the local Jimmy John’s store that said Rock Stars Wanted. Tai quipped that, with six kids, he could always use some extra holiday cash.

Francesca Battistelli recently shared her prayer for her family: Lord Jesus, come see into the depths of our hearts and make us more like you.

Jason Roy is facing a dilemma. The frontman of Building 429 says he was given a super cool looking photograph of himself by a fan at a recent concert. But Jason’s question was: how to display awesome artwork of one’s self without being a diva?

A thought from Family Life Today’s Dennis Rainey: What would you do if you learned you had only one year to live? Dennis adds: Pray that God would give you the ability to live by those priorities.

Mercyme’s Robby Shaffer says he saw something this week that he never, ever thought he’d see again. Attached was a picture of a gas station sign featuring gas prices at $1.99.

A bit of trivia about Hawk Nelson front many Jon Steingard. He tweeted that his favorite holiday treat is Chocolate Oranges.

There may be some Christian artists who are spending a lot of time at the mall over the next week. Meredith Andrews this week asked on twitter: It’s a week before Christmas. Raise your hand if you have yet to buy one Christmas present. Meredith added that her had is raised. To which Jodi of Love and the Outcome replied that she had both hands up!

Congratulations to Casting Crowns guitarist Josh Max and his wife Andrea. Josh tweeted: ladies and gentleman, my boy, Paxton James Mix, is here. He’s healthy and 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

Legendary Gospel Music Hall of Famer and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy has been named the Greatest Christian Rock Guitarist of All Time by Classic Christian Rock Zone. According to a CCM Magazine report, Keaggy topped the list of the ‘100 Greatest Christian Rock Guitarists of All Time’ in a recent survey conducted by the site. Officials say over 24-thousand votes were cast in the contest.

The members of the Sidewalk Prophets say they got to do something special this week in Terra Haute, Indiana. They say they were able to help raise nearly 3,000 dollars in the fight against cancer.

The members of the Christmas Story Tour, Jason Gray, Lauren Daigle, and the Carrollton Band, say they may have just had the best day on tour ever. Jason Gray says it started when the host church put the bands up in an amazing lodge with an old fashioned bowling lane, tunnels, and a pool. But that wasn’t all. Jason says the members of the Christmas story tour were also able to do a little rock climbing on an indoor wall. And Jason says everyone made it to the top, even his son Gus.

Third Day is wrapping up 2014 with a special three day run of shows this weekend. They will be joining Steven Curtis Chapman and Brandon Heath for three nights of Christmas music

Matthew West has written a lot of music about a lot of different topics. But it will be really interesting to see his take on his latest. It was suggested on Twitter that he take on the challenge of writing a Christmas song about fruit cake. To which Matthew replied: you got it. We’ll have to see what he comes up with.

Michael W. Smith is featured on the cover of the new CCM Magazine. Michael talks about his latest Christmas CD in an article titled The Bright Light of Christmas and the Dark Night of Advent. Also featured in the magazine is Jeremy Camp, Chris August, and 7eventh Time Down. Access a free online version of the magazine by clicking on the link at

Be on the lookout for more music from Point of Grace. They officially announced this week that they will release a new album this spring. It will be titled: “Directions Home (Songs We Love, Songs You Know)”

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Artist News December 18, 2014

Third Day’s Mark Lee was on a Daddy Daughter Date Night with my girls this week. He said their fun evening included an Italian dinner and Christmas shopping. Mark added: Gotta enjoy every minute – they grow so fast!

John Waller says a pine scented air freshener fell into his Vitamix. He added that now his shake tastes like a Christmas tree.

Tai Anderson says this this is not the Hap Hap happiest time of the year for his wallet. The Third Day guitarist tweeted a picture of his wife with two shopping carts full of packages and a very long receipt for their recent purchases. On a side note, if Tia’s kids follow their dad on twitter, they now know what to expect under the tree Christmas day morning.

The members of for King and Country were giving back this week. They dedicated the income from the sales of their 2013 Christmas CD, Into the Silent Night, entirely to Compassion International’s Christmas Gift Fund for one entire day.

Christmas is still one week away but Darlene Zschech says preparations are well underway at her church in Australia. The worship leader tweeted: love walking around the church building to hear Christmas Eve rehearsals going on everywhere.

Jason Roy had some help in congratulating his son this week. The Building 429 frontman said his son just scored his first basket in a ball game. So Jason enlisted the help of those on the I Believe Tour, tweeting his Son a picture of everyone joining together with one big cheer.

Some advice from Michael W Smith: It’s Christmastime! Go out of your way to do something nice for someone today! Tip a little extra, give a big smile, anything!

Jeremy Camp and his family are employing something special this Christmas to remind them of imprisoned Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini and Jeremy is encouraging you to do the same. Jeremy says his wife and kids put cutout paper crosses on their Christmas tree in honor of Saeed. But in addition to hanging crosses, Jeremy also suggests that you pray for Saeed, his family and all of those suffering for the gospel.

Ever have one of those days? For Ellie Holcomb it came earlier this week. She tweeted that she called a tow truck after finding that her car wouldn’t start. But it wasn’t a mechanical problem. Ellie said it wasn’t until after the tow truck arrived they found the problem. She had put the car in drive before trying to start it.

MercyMe’s Mike Scheuchzer says he’s proud but also a little bit nervous about his 10 year old’s Christmas wish list. Mike tweeted that his 10 year old wants lumber, plywood, screws, and a drill for Christmas.

Hawk Nelson front man Jon Steingard says they finally have a place to call their own. Several weeks ago Jon and his wife Jess moved to the LA area after eight years in Nashville. This week he tweeted the they finally have locked down their first apartment in the community.

Kerrie Roberts says just like the song, she’ll be home for Christmas. She tweeted this week the presents are wrapped and the suitcases are packed.

Colton Dixon was showing off a special early Christmas gift from his mom this week. He shared a selfie with a stocking cap and full fake beard and mustache. Colton added Look Out Duck Dynasty.

Casting Crowns Mark Hall says his big diet is off to a smashing start. In a video Mark proudly reported that he had only ordered four donuts that morning, rather than a dozen.

The web site We Are Worship suggests keeping Brandon Heath’s latest song in mind when making New Year’s resolutions. The song it titled No Turning Back.

Jason Gray’s Christmas Stories Tour 2014 gave up their day off to hold a very special concert. The members of the tour made an impromptu stop at a nursing home to sing Christmas carols with the residents.

What began as a discouraging situation for the members of 7eventh Time Down has become an exciting adventure. The band pulled into a rest area after their van blew a tire. But when they try to change the tire they found that the jack wouldn’t go high enough to get the spare tire on. That’s when the adventure started. While searching around the rest area for something to rest the jack on, band members found a hidden booklet that has been traveling around the world for the past two years. The instructions said too add your own stamp and date and then hide it somewhere else and allow it to continue its travels. The members of 7eventh Time Down say they were more excited about the find than kids in a candy store.

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Artist News, December 17, 2014

Colton Dixon recently sat down with the Christian music web site New Release Tuesday to talk about all things Christmas. From his favorite Christmas gift to his favorite Christmas carol to his favorite Christmas food, Colton discusses both the fun and the Spiritual side of what Christmas means to him. Watch the video by clicking on the link at

The Billboard music organization is out with their end of the year overview of 2014. And according to their charts:
*The top artists of the year were Hillsong, Lecrae, The Newsboys, Casting Crowns, and Mercyme
*The top albums of the year were THRIVE by Casting Crowns, WOW HITS 2014, ANOMALY by Lecrae, WELCOME TO THE NEW by MercyMe, and RIVERS IN THE WASTELAND by NEEDTOBREATHE
*The songs played most on Christian radio were THIS IS AMAZING GRACE by Phil Wickham, WE BELIEVE by the Newsboys OCEANS (WHERE FEET MAY FAIL) by Hillsong United, HOW SWEET THE SOUND by Citizen Way, and I AM by Crowder.

Glasses or contacts may be in the near future for Casting Crowns Megan Garrett. She tweeted just got an eye exam for the first time in over 20 years. Apparently I’m blind and I didn’t know it.

Earlier this month CBS News published their list of the top entertainment stories creating a buzz on facebook. And mixed in with news about The Rolling Stones, Star Wars, and the 2014 Soul Train Music Awards was a story about Cloverton’s Christmas themed rendition of the song Hallelujah. The story focused on Cloverton’s spin on Leonard Cohen’s classic, switching out the lyrics for Jesus’ nativity story.

Late last month Brandon Heath was selected to be one of ten guests of NASA Astronaut Terry Virts to witness the Soyuz spacecrafts launch to the International Space Station. While on base in Russia, Heath performed a special “living room” concert for Virts, fellow crewmate, and their families. While preparing for the launch the astronauts also listened to a demo track of Heath’s song “For The First Time”. In addition, Heath also recently worked with Designer and Illustrator Matt Lehman and Virts to design a one-of-a kind patch that the next team of astronauts will wear on their NASA suits during an upcoming mission.

The new Mark Schultz Christmas song Different Kind of Christmas seems to be striking a chord with the listeners. The video for the song racked up nearly 1.2 million Facebook views in three days. The song tells the story of dealing with the first Christmas after the loss of Mark’s father in law.

Danny Gokey says White Christmas is one of his favorite Christmas songs. And now you can check out a live performance of Danny performing the song on stage. Watch the video by clicking on the link at

Another new video is now available from Crowder. Check out the acoustic performance of his song This I Know. Click on the link at

The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular will have some big shoes to fill when it kicks off in the spring of 2015. The tour has been the world’s number one first quarter tour for four consecutive years, with more than 650,000 fans attending the concert series in 2014 along. The Winter Jam tour will celebrate its 20th anniversary when it hits the road January 2 with 10 bands. Artists on the 2015 leg of the tour include Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, Family Force 5, for King and Country, and more

TobyMac had a little extra time before his concert this week. He tweeted that he and his drummer took advantage of the down time to catch up Bucks vs clippers NBA game before the show.

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Artist News December 16, 2014

Jonny Diaz and MercyMe’s Mike Scheuchzer have something in common. Jonny tweeted that he had just found the receipt for his very first guitar, an Ibanez purchased at Carlton music. To which Mike replied that his first guitar was also an Ibanez and was purchased at a Carlton music branch as well.

Good news from Casting Crowns Chris Hoffman. His son Silas had his 1 year post transplant check up late last week and Chris says it went great. No signs of rejection.

Tiffany Lee was making her own Christmas gifts this week. The artist who goes by the name Plumb said she was making a lavender sugar scrubs for Christmas this year.

TobyMac says this would be a good week to follow him on his Facebook page. All week long TobyMac is doing giveaways as part of his five days of gifting on Facebook. Giveaways include at TobyMac hat and speak life bracelet, a gotee swag bag, and two meet and greet passes for the show of your choice.

Third Day’s Mac Powell has found a challenge he can’t wait to sink his teeth in to. He tweeted a picture of a magazine with the cover story Atlanta’s 20 best hamburgers along with the text: can’t wait to conquer every one of these.

Bonus points for Jenny Simmons husband Ryan. She returned home with her daughter just hours after Ryan left on a business trip. But before he left he cleaned, bought groceries, laid out their daughters pajamas, and left notes and special treats all around the house.

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Artist News December 15, 2014

Mike Grayson is changing his Twitter account. You can now follow the frontman for MIKESCHAIR at the Twitter account @IamMikeGrayson.


Congratulations to Seth Huff. The member of Sanctus Real announced the arrival of their baby boy, Liam, over the weekend. Seth said he can’t wait to see what life has in store for the newest member of The Huff clan.

Luke from for King and Country is celebrating the birth of their latest child. Luke tweeted: We came to the hospital as a family of three but we will leave as four. New life is a true miracle.

Jamie Grace has some unique items available in her online store. In addition to standard items like CDs and individual downloads, Jamie is also offering autographed guitars and white cowboy boots.

When you spend as much time on the road as most Christian artists do, you make do with the time you have. Danny Gokey tweeted a picture with his family taking a late night stroll at the Mall before he had to leave for a few more shows.

The fourth time is the charm. Jimmy Needham says he finally had a good recording session. After fighting voice problems several months he says he was able to sing with little fatigue. Jimmy had to delay both his regular CD and his Christmas CD due to vocal problems. He hopes to release his regular CD early in 2015.


The members of Casting Crowns were in Nashville late last week doing some recording for a new project. They will be putting out a Cracker Barrel Hymns CD sometime in 2015.

Touring while trying to record an album can sometimes result in some interesting recording locations. A couple of weeks ago Josh Wilson tweeted a picture of his wife recording background vocals in a closet. This week Matthew West took a selfie as he recorded vocals in a stairwell.

A lot of people are hearing songs like Silent Night and What Child Is This thanks to Michael W. Smith’s appearance on the CMA Country Christmas show earlier this month. Smith shared live performances of All is Well with Carrie Underwood and Silent Night with Little Big Town. And following his appearance sales of his latest Christmas CD increased by 150 percent. It also caused a lot of secular organizations to sit up and take notice, including USA Today, The New York Times, and iTunes.

The web site Proclaim Online is giving away free Christmas music from worship leaders Shane and Shane. They are giving out free downloads of the Shane’s song O Holy Night from their new Worship Initiative Christmas album. Access your free copy by clicking on the link at
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Artist News December 11, 2014

As a Christian artist it’s sometimes difficult to be there for your kids activities. But the Afters Josh Havens is doing his best. He tweeted this week flew home to see my son Ethan’s first orchestra recital as a violinist. Josh added: now a red eye flight to Nashville to work on some new Afters songs.

Steven Curtis Chapman is continuing an interesting holiday tradition. He said he is again wearing on of his Charlie Brown Christmas t-shirts every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Steven tweeted a picture of one of his favorites, Charlie Brown with his well-known Christmas tree.

The hometown of Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips has been named one of the most romantic towns in the USA. Franklin, Tennessee came in at number 14 on the list compiled by the Travel plus Leisure Magazine. No word on whether Duncan was factored into the designation.

Advice from Tenth Avenue North frontman Mike Donehey: Don’t get caught up in the hype. Success is rarely what it seems.

Looking for a creative Christmas gift? How about a video dedication from Jonny Diaz? The Christian artist best known for his songs More Beautiful You and Thank God I Got Her is offering to record an acoustic performance of one of his original songs with a special dedication to whomever you would like.

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