The Story Behind Music for the Radio

6 04 2011

CD Release Concert with Bebo Norman

29 03 2011

We’re excited to announce that our Music for the Radio CD Release Concert is just around the corner and that we’ll have a special guest headlining the show!  Bebo Norman, an incredible singer/songwriter, will be headlining the concert on Sunday, May 15 at Tallowood Baptist Church.  Doors open at 5:00 PM and the concert starts at 6:00 PM, and best of all – it’s free!  We hope to see you there!  Every penny we receive from sales of Music for the Radio benefits Aid Sudan’s Radio Station Project, which allows the people of southern Sudan to hear the Gospel in their own tribal languages.


By the Numbers

1 03 2011

Music for the Radio is all about bringing the Gospel to southern Sudan through Aid Sudan’s Radio Station Project.  Whenever you make a purchase – for instance, the new single, “Better” on iTunes – everything that we receive goes toward purchasing hand-held radios that allow the people of southern Sudan to hear the Gospel in their own tribal languages.  So what does it take to purchase a radio?  Here’s a breakdown by the numbers:

$20: The amount it costs to manufacture and distribute one hand-held radio.

10-15: The average number of people reached by one radio.  (We even have reports of half a village listening to a single radio!)

$0.63: The amount (out of $0.99) that we receive whenever you download the new single, “Better.”  (iTunes takes a cut, and then our distributor takes a cut.)

32: The number of downloads it takes to purchase one hand-held radio.

Just listing those numbers makes me smile.  It’s a “loaves and fishes” situation, where God takes the little gifts we bring and transforms them into something much bigger.  Imagine if instead of just buying a song on iTunes you were helping someone follow Christ.  Or helping a whole family follow Christ.  Or a whole village.  That’s what Music for the Radio is all about!

New Single Available on iTunes!

26 02 2011

Music for the Radio Cover Art

We are excited to let you know that “Better,” the single from our new EP, Music for the Radio, is now available on iTunes!  While the full EP will not release until May 15, you can get a sneak peek now!  And the best part?  When you purchase the single on iTunes you’re helping spread the Gospel in southern Sudan.  Every penny we receive from the sale of the album will go directly toward the purchase of hand-held radios that are allowing the people of southern Sudan to hear the Gospel in their own tribal languages.  You can learn more about the heart of the project HERE.

We’re also thrilled to have Mark Giles on board as our radio promoter.  Mark is currently working with artists like Mercy Me, Addison Road, Stellar Kart, and Laura Story, so we are delighted to have his skill and experience working on our behalf.

“Better” was inspired by our study of Ephesians that began almost 30 weeks ago!  In Ephesians 1:17 Paul writes, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”  And in Psalm 63:3 David writes, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

The heading to Psalm 63 indicates that David wrote these words while in the desert of Judah.  One can easily imagine where he found the inspiration for the beginning of the Psalm: “I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”  But in our lives, with our needs met, dozens of diversions at our fingertips, and a general lack of “desert time,” it’s easy to find things that we enjoy better than God’s love.  That’s why Paul’s prayer in Ephesians is so important.

God isn’t content to be an item on our priority lists or a note on our calendars.  He will never say, “I think you and I have gone about as far as we can go in this relationship.”  He is never satisfied with just a part of us.  He wants the whole thing.  He is constantly calling us deeper and deeper into relationship with Him, because He knows that the very best thing for our lives is just to know Him.  He is constantly urging us to know Him better.

Almost Done!

11 02 2011

The studio at Mayfield Mastering

The new music is almost finished!

It’s been quite a journey, one that began in Sudan in November of 2008.  We began praying about Music for the Radio shortly thereafter, but it wasn’t until November of 2010 that we finally began work on the album.  After tracking in Nashville at the beginning of November we flew Scott down to Houston to begin working on the vocals at our house, but we were unexpectedly derailed.

Our vocal session was cut short when Scott flew back to Nashville to be with his wife when she received the results of a biopsy.  She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, but fortunately was given an excellent prognosis.  Two months later she had a double mastectomy that was successful in every possible way.

With chemo awaiting his wife at the end of March, Scott flew back to Houston at the end of January to resume work on the album.  We knocked out the rest of the vocals in a few days, and commenced the mix process, trading mixes and comments via email.  Now, with each mix checked off, the only thing that remains is to sign off on the mastering job, done by John Mayfield at Mayfield Mastering in Nashville.  John’s work has appeared on a number of our former projects, including the BDA record (2004), and both Doorpost Songs albums (2006, 2009).

There is much more work to be done before the album launches in May, but it’s great to be at the end of this creative process and get to enjoy the finished product.  We can’t wait to share it with you!

A Great Day!

3 11 2010

Yesterday was a great day!  We spent a long day in Watershed Studios, not even a mile from where we used to live in Nashville, working on tracks for the new project, Music for the Radio.  We were joined by some friends who have worked with us on previous projects.  Scott Williamson was producing and drumming, roles he also filled on the Dave & Jess Ray and Doorpost Songs albums.  Jason Webb was on piano, keys, and B3, and Greg Hagan played guitar, and both of them played on those previous albums as well.  James Gregory, who contributed to the last Doorpost Songs record, filled out the band on bass.

Evan came along and got to meet the gang.  He even received a drum master class from Scott:

We recorded five of the six tunes that will be going on the project, with the sixth being a piano/string number that I’ll record on the piano at the church.  One of the tunes, Better, is even going to make it into our set list for the upcoming concert at Tallowood on November 6!

All in all it was a great day.  We are so grateful to be working with such creative people, and we’re looking forward to putting it all together and letting you hear the finished product!

Something New

2 11 2010

This morning finds us in Nashville, Tennessee, getting ready for something new!  We’re about to head into the studio to record a new project, one that has been a long time in the making.  It’s called Music for the Radio, and it all started two years ago, almost to the day.

On November 1, 2008 we left to spend two weeks in southern Sudan with the non-profit organization that Jess works for, Aid Sudan.  It was an incredible trip, and one that left an indelible mark on our lives.  Most of all, we came away with a great love for the southern Sudanese people and a prayer that God would move powerfully in that country.

One of the incredible projects that Aid Sudan is using to impact the spiritual and physical needs of the southern Sudanese is the Radio Station Project.  Two radio towers are already up in Sudan – some of the first mass communication to reach this remote area of the world – and fourteen others are projected.  These satellite repeater stations will broadcast Bible stories, health and hygiene information, local news, and community development teaching all in the local tribal languages.  This oral transmission of information is crucial because the large majority of Sudanese are not literate.

The key to this project is a specially-designed handheld radio.  It’s solar-powered because there is no electricity, and it’s fix-tuned to the Aid Sudan signal.  Because the Sudanese live in family groups, one radio can reach 10-15 people, and sometimes more.  But there are over a million people in the broadcast area of the existing towers, and millions more in the projected broadcast area of the remaining towers.  That means we need thousands upon thousands of radios!

The good news is that these radios only cost $20 to manufacture and distribute, and there are already thousands in southern Sudan.  But we need more, and that’s where our new project comes in.  Music for the Radio is a 6-song EP that will be released in Spring of 2011.  All of the receipts – not just the profits, but everything we receive – will go to purchase these radios.  It’s a project we’ve been praying about for almost two years, and now God has finally opened the door for us to take the first step down this road.  We’re praying that God will do amazing things through this project, and that thousands of people will be impacted as a result.

And it’s not just about the Sudanese people.  Music for the Radio is a reminder to us that God is singing a song through each of our lives, and He never meant for us to keep it to ourselves.  He is calling us to sing it out, to broadcast it to a world that needs to hear it.  The song of God is music for the radio!  Don’t keep it to yourself.  Sing it out!