Category Archives: Industry Highlights

The Passing of Joey Feek

We were saddened to hear that over the weekend our dear sister in Christ, Joey Feek, passed away after a two year battle with cancer, but we rejoice in the fact that her suffering has ended. All the pain and tears are gone and she now resides in Heaven with her Savior. As her husband Rory said on his blog, Joey’s “greatest dream came true.”

joey

Losing a loved one is incomparable to any other feeling in this world—a piece of you goes with them and leaves an unfillable hole within. But in Christ, we can find joy and comfort in the fact that death on earth means new life in Heaven. Our life on earth is just a snippet of the eternity we will spend with Christ if we believe in Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. An eternity spent without pain, without suffering, and without tears.

Rory echoed this idea in his last blog post on the This Life I Live blog:

“Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy … When a person has been through as much pain and struggle as Joey’s been through, you just want it to be over. You want them to not have to hurt anymore, more [than] you want them to stay with you. And so, it makes the hard job of saying goodbye just a little easier.”

We say goodbye to Joey today, but with the confidence that she is happier now than she’s ever been.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25–26 NIV

Join us in praying for Rory, their children and their friends and family during this difficult time.

Photo Credit: joeyandrory.com

It Is Well With My Soul

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”

New meaning now flows through these classic lyrics for musician Joey Feek of the country duo Joey + Rory ever since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.

Joey and Rory have always been known for their authenticity, and for singing beautiful country, gospel and bluegrass music. The couple is abundantly full of faith and hope, despite Joey’s battle with cancer.

She is now receiving in-home hospice care, but she hasn’t given up. Joey is praying for a miracle—and asking us to do the same—but is also praying that she would have peace with whatever God does next, just like the lyrics say, “It is well with my soul.”

In a blog post that Rory wrote after Joey’s health went downhill quickly, he wrote “We came home. Not to die. But to live.”

Joey and Rory Dancing

Joey and Rory share a sweet moment in her mom’s home.

But Rory’s hope and faith are most evident in what he said here about his relationship with his wife and his relationship with God:

“It’s hard for me to feel slighted, when I know that the career that Joey and I have had—this amazing last 7 years or so—has only been, because God reached out His powerful hand and chose us. He lifted us up from our little farm. And let us see and do things beyond our wildest dreams. And you can’t be in awe of an amazing road that God leads you down, and then be any less in awe of a corner that He has you turn.

I think in the end . . . the good and the bad, He just wants us to give it to Him.

And so we do.”

Joey and Rory both found hope in the simple beauty of the first snow this past November at their home in Indiana. They find joy and peace being with and comforting each other.

Joey called the snow “manna from heaven.”

She said, “I didn’t think I’d get to see snow again. If this is the last snow I ever see, thank you Jesus . . . thank you.”

As an individual and as a couple, Joey is an amazing image of what it’s like to truly follow Jesus, and find peace like a river, even when she’s in the billowing sea. She and Rory hand their lives over to God and allow him to wash their worries away.

Please join us in praying for Joey, Rory, and their entire family.

Photo by Rory Feek at This Life I Live.

Family Christian® Celebrates New Path Forward

Family Christian® Celebrates New Path Forward
Store and product improvements create unique shopping experience

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Nov. 18, 2015) – Following a 12-month operational reorganization, along with a complete store and product overhaul, Family Christian® announced today it is on the path to becoming a stronger retailer and supporter of faith-based causes.

As part of the reorganization, Family Christian have upgraded and expanded their product selection to include a new compelling assortment of home décor, apparel, and books.
“It’s not just about the new merchandise, though,” said Steve Biondo, Family Christian Spokesperson. “We’ve also implemented a new Service Promise throughout the organization, focused on loving and caring for our customers, to guarantee a shopping experience like no other.”
The most important element of the organization’s restructuring is an even deeper focus on maximizing its ministry impact. Purchases at Family Christian support the non-profit’s efforts to unite with ministries that are helping children and families in need stateside and worldwide.
“While our business goal is to be a first-class retailer, the heart of this organization is firmly grounded in ministry,” said Biondo. “We will be developing even stronger ministry partnerships to continue and increase our support of hands-on widow and orphan work worldwide, and sharing God’s word through Bible donations and mission trip support.”

To locate the nearest Family Christian store, visit www.familychristian.com.

About Family Christian
Located in the United States, Family Christian is the world’s largest Christian-focused retailer. The nonprofit organization has approximately 255 stores in 36 states. The organization offers a variety of Christian-themed merchandise, including Bibles, home decor, art, gifts, DVD’s, kids products, books, and music. In addition to its physical stores Family Christian provides consumers with access to all these resources through www.familychristian.com, its eCommerce platform. All earnings are donated to Christian ministries serving families, orphans and widows in distress. Learn more at http://www.familychristian.com/about.

The 46th Annual Dove Awards: Better Together

46thDoveAwardsLast Tuesday, October 13, 2015, marked the return of the annual GMA Dove Awards. Since 1970 the show has honored excellence in Christian music, with this year’s show being no different. Highlighting the event were a number of big name performers, presenters, and the theme of the entire event: “We are better together.”

Hosted by “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robertson and five-time Grammy winner Erica Campbell, the fun-filled night included powerhouse performances by Kirk Franklin, Matt Maher, Crowder, newcomer Lauren Daigle and many more.

Speaking of Lauren Daigle, the young artist had one of the most memorable nights of all, as she brought home the “Song of the Year,” “New Artist of the Year,” and “Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year” awards.

In her acceptance speech, Daigle reminded viewers of why she and all the others create the music that they do. “We as Christians have a legacy to leave, and it’s all about a love of Christ to permeate the music and reach the hearts of all of the people out there.”

Taking home the “Artist of the Year” award was rapper Lecrae, who made history by becoming the first pure hip-hop/rap artist to win the award*. It didn’t stop there though, as he also took home the “Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year” and “Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year” awards.

Though he was not able to accept his awards in person, Lecrae offered this statement to The Christian Post the following day: “It is extremely humbling. I make music to impact and inspire. I’m grateful to have a team around me that believes in the vision and contributes their talent to bring it all to fruition.”

Surrounding the night was the overarching theme of unity, reminding us believers that we are all one in Christ and that “we are better together.”

That was never more present than when rapper KB performed his song, “I Believe,” where he and a group of dancers faced off against another group dressed as police and wearing riot gear.

After the song ended he posed the question, “What does it look like to have two come together and talk and become unified, linking together to actually bring peace?”

Throughout Scripture we are called to come together as one people within the body of Christ. In Colossians 3:13-14 (NIV), Paul says, “13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

And in the Psalms it reads, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1 NIV).

The Dove Awards promoted unity on a national scale, but more than awareness, unity requires action. We are to forgive one another and love one another as the Lord forgives and loves us.

What can you do in your community to start creating more unity?

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*tobyMac has previously won “Artist of the Year,” but his style features a blend of rock, pop, and rap music.

44th Annual Dove Awards

Hosted in the hub of the Christian Music industry, Nashville Tennessee, the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards included several powerful performances by Big Daddy Weave, Colton Dixon, Michael W. Smith, and For King & Country, to name a few. The official hosts of the event were Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin as well as pre-cast telecast hosts Jamie Grace and Chris August.

The Dove Awards took place on October 15th and will be aired on October 21st at 8 p.m. EDT on UP.

Click here for a list of the winning albums.

Throughout the night, Matt Redman frequented the stage, winning 4 awards for his single “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” as well as the Songwriter of the Year Award. Matt was also a part of the Dove-Award winning album, “Passion: Let The Future Begin” along with Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Kari Jobe, David Crowder, and Christy Nockels.

Artist of the Year was awarded to Tobymac who took home a total of 4 awards, including 3 for his short film and album, “Eye On It”. Upon winning the Artist of the Year Award, TobyMac stated, “It feels weird to be called artist of the year when I know it takes a family, and I always want to acknowledge that. I said in one of my songs a long time ago, ‘I’m just a little man trying to fit in God’s plan.’ I still feel like that”.

Other winners included For King & Country as New Artist of the Year, Lecrae’s “Tell the World” for Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year, and Jason Crabb’s “What the Blood is for” (Southern Gospel Song of the Year). The Uplift Someone Award was given to Mandisa “for her music, message, and humanitarian heart, all of which (individually and collectively) have inspired others,” said Amy Grant.

Among a number of spectacular performances, the musical tribute to the Gaither Vocal Band, performed by Karen Peck, Daily & Vincent, Signature Sound and the Isaacs, was one of the most remarkable displays of passion and talent. Another memorable moment included a collaborative performance with Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys in honor of evangelist Billy Graham.

UP’s President & CEO Charles Humbard stated, “Congratulations to the GMA Dove Awards winners, performers, presenters and hosts Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin for a thrilling night a spectacular entertainment. This evening celebrates the unifying and uplifting power of this genre and demonstrates why this is the biggest night of Christian and Gospel music. There is no other network dedicated to showcase this prestigious musical celebration other than UP.”

For a list of winners click here.

 

The 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards’ Nominations Are…

The 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards is Gospel music’s biggest night of the year, featuring top artists from the many different genres of Gospel and Christian music. The event will be an evening of music and celebration held at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recently, the GMA announced the nominations for the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards.  Some of the highlights are:

Artist of the Year-
Chris Tomlin
Francesca Battistelli
Lecrae
Tamela Mann
TobyMac

New Artist of the Year-
Capital Kings
Colton Dixon
for King & Country
Rhett Walker Band
Tasha Cobbs

Again, for the full list, click here for a downloadable pdf.

Newsboys Announce ReStart Tour – This Fall

This fall, the multi-platinum selling band and steady touring act Newsboys will continue to share the message of how to ‘change the world’ with their highly anticipated Restart Tour. Hitting 20+ dates across the U.S., this four-time GRAMMY-nominated and chart-topping group will kick off their anticipated tour on September 20 and run through October 27. Newsboys will be promoting their brand new upcoming studio project, Restart, which is slated to release September 10.

Over the course of their previous sellout tours, Newsboys have impacted thousands of lives, both locally and internationally, making a Newsboys show one of the most in-demand nights of worship, praise and celebration. As they ready for their fall tour, concertgoers can anticipate hearing brand new songs from Restart, such as their newest hit single that is climbing up the charts, “Live With Abandon,” as well as “Restart” and “That’s How You Change The World,” the first song found on their new album. Fans will also get to hear many of the band’s biggest No. 1 hits, such as “Your Love Never Fails,” “God’s Not Dead,” “Born Again,” and much, much more.

Sponsoring Newsboys’ touring once again is Compassion International, where on their previous sold out God’s Not Dead Tour, more than 10,750 children were sponsored throughout their partnership with the organization. Also adding to the tour will be opening support from popular artists such as For King & Country, Moriah Peters, and Rapture Ruckus.
Tour dates are listed below.
September
20 – Barre, VT
21 – Shippensburg, PA
22 – New Brunswick, NJ
27 – Savannah, GA
October
03 – Metairie, LA
05 – Harlingen, TX
06 – Austin, TX
10 – Columbia, MO
11 – Cincinnati, OH
12 – Cullman, AL
13 – Waukesha, WI
18 – Marion, IN
19 – Davenport, IA
20 – St. Cloud, MN
22 – Fargo, ND
24 – Green Bay, WI
25 – Mitchell, SD
26 – St. Charles, MO
27 – Springfield, OH

Hezekiah Walker’s “Every Praise” is the #1 Gospel Song

Hezekiah Walker’s “Every Praise” is quickly becoming an anthem in Gospel music.  Today the song has landed in the #1 spot on the R&R Gospel chart and, after debuting #1 seven weeks ago, his album – AZUSA THE NEXT GENERATION –  is also #1 on Billboard’s Gospel sales chart.

“The airwaves are saturated with powerful music right now, and it feels great that ‘Every Praise’ has cut through to the top of the charts,” says B. Jeffrey Grant Clark, Vice President of Radio Promotions for RCA Inspiration.  “’Every Praise’ is another Hezekiah Walker song that will be sung throughout the ages – it continues his outstanding legacy of creating timeless church music.”

Donald Lawrence, who produced “Every Praise,” says the song “sonically and stylistically ushers in and validates a potential new genre – ‘Christian Soul.’ “It was an honor to once again produce great music with Hezekiah Walker and tread new water by developing a new sound for choirs and choir music,” says Lawrence.

Hezekiah Walker says that “Every Praise” is a universally relatable song.  “Whether they go to church or not, people have a praise in them that is reserved for God,” says Walker.  “This song connects with a feeling of thanksgiving and honor that everyone has at some point.”

“The driving force for me is keeping choir music relevant,” says Walker.  “Back in the day when I came along there were a lot of choirs, but you could tell the difference between a Ricky Dillard, a Donald Lawrence, a John P. Kee and a Hezekiah Walker because we all had our certain sound.  That’s what kept us in the game, and I’m constantly keeping a focus on delivering a unique sound,” he says.

Petra Celebrates 40th Anniversary

To celebrate their illustrious 40-year career, Christian rock band, Petra, will release an exclusive CD project on July 30 featuring the band’s biggest and most-loved songs.  The standard edition of 40th Anniversary will include 27 of Petra’s hits, while the deluxe edition (digital copy only) will include 37 songs.  Both versions include a new recording titled “Holy Is Your Name.”

“’Holy Is Your Name’ is a thank you to all our fans, but mostly a thanks to God for all the wonderful years!” says Bob Hartman, founding member of Petra.  “We are happy to include it on the 40th Anniversary compilation.”

Compiled by Hartman, 40th Anniversary displays Petra’s four-decade career of music and ministry featuring hits like “This Means War,” “Beyond Belief,” and “Creed.”  Long-time vocalist John Schlitt joined Hartman on a seven-city reunion tour this summer to share Petra’s anniversary celebration with fans.

Over the course of their 40 years, Petra has released 24 projects, sold over 7 million albums, garnered four GRAMMY® Awards, 10 Dove Awards and several #1 radio hits.  Considered the “pioneer” of Christian rock, the band has successfully paved the way for numerous artists and has helped create a new genre of rock music.

40th Anniversary Track Listing
DISC 1
01. Why Should the Father Bother?
02. Killing My Old Man
03. For Annie
04. Without Him We Can Do Nothing
05. Angel Of Light
06. Road To Zion
07. Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows
08. Judas’ Kiss
09. Stand Up
10. Bema Seat
11. Grave Robber
12. Beat The System
13. God Gave Rock And Roll To You
14. Voice In The Wind

DISC 2
01. Thankful Heart
02. This Means War!
03. He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
04. All Fired Up
05. Hit You Where You Live
06. Beyond Belief
07. Creed
08. Dance
09. Sight Unseen
10. Midnight Oil
11. Enter In
12. Jekyll & Hyde
13. Holy Is Your Name (NEW RECORDING)
Additional Songs on the Deluxe Edition (digital copy only):
Chameleon, The Coloring Song, All Over Me, More Power To Ya, Godpleaser, Not By Sight, Computer Brains, Fool’s Gold,  You Are My Rock and Mine Field

Aaron Shust to Perform Concert of New Album Online

Aaron Shust’s highly anticipated new album, Morning Rises, releases July 16, and in support of the project Shust will perform an online concert through Stageit.  The 30-minute show begins at 7:00 pm CDT and will feature an intimate, acoustic performance of the songs on the album, including the new single, God Of Brilliant Lights. All proceeds from tickets and tips will be donated to Family Christian Ministries’ James Fund that is dedicated to meeting the needs of orphans and widows around the world.  Tickets may be purchased by clicking here.

Shust will be appearing on FOXNews.com/Live’s “Spirited Debate” tomorrow, July 12th, at 1:20 pm EDT to discuss his new album. The interview will be via Skype as Shust is traveling for a week long promo tour that includes such radio stations as, WMHK/Columbia, SC; WAFJ/Augusta, GA; WLFJ/His Radio/Simpsonville, SC; WAY-FM/Huntsville, AL and The Fish/Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, Shust will tape an online performance for FOX 17/TN Mornings, perform on WSMV’s More at Midday, and will do interviews with World Christian Broadcasting and One One 7TV.