Revelation is Northern Ireland's premier Southern Gospel music trio. Goup members Thomas McCalmont (tenor), David Strange (baritone) and Andy Calderwood (lead) have launched themselves into the United States with their amazingly powerful national debut album. "Across The Lands" features songs influenced by American bluegrass, Southern Gospel, and, of course, Celtic music.
With a rich blend of influences, they are now ready to release their brand new Skyland/Crossroads Records release "Christ for Me." We are honored to be able to catch up with them for this exclusive Hallels' interview.
Hallels: I was listening to your brand new album "Christ for Me" and it really ministered to my heart. So, congratulations on the release of your forthcoming album "Christ for Me." Tell us, how did Revelation first start? How did you feel God's calling to sing for Him?
Hi there, my name is Thomas McCalmont, tenor with Revelation, a big thank you for your interest in Revelation! For the last 15 years David and I have sang in groups! In 2004 I met one David Strange (Lead) as we participated in a fund raising concert for Cancer Research! We knew of each other, and grew friendly, God put a desire in our hearts to start a group together, with a goal to reach a much younger audience! So we began our search for a baritone singer! This went nowhere fast!! After a frustrating search of what we would classify as seasoned singers, nothing worked, we didn't realise that our third person hadn't even found Christ yet!! In 2005, Andrew Calderwood (Baritone) came to Faith in Christ! At a "Christianity Explored" course in which I personally was involved in! He was delivered from a life of drug, Alcohol abuse! And sectarianism! Due to his plight in living in an area where he felt persecuted because of his religion! The Catholic, Protestant thing!! We met in my garage shortly after, and our blend just worked! So here it began. So with Andrews Testimony God opened many doors for us to share the great news of the Gospel, with a younger audience and a new zeal which we'd not known before, God made our paths to cross.
Hallels: How did you get to work with Skyland/Crossroads Records in the US?
In 2010 we recorded our first album with Crossroads! We had made a couple of records here in N.Ireland, and as time went by, we truly felt that we wanted to lift the quality and production of our music! In 2005 David and my self-visited the National Quartet Convention for the first time! We met so many people, when we expressed our plans to a few of our friends there, a group called "Three Bridges" where in our hotel, and one "Dave McVay" tenor with the group at that time, recommended I contact Crossroads with this idea that we had! So after exchanging a few emails with Jeff Collins from Crossroads, we had made plans to record our first album under the Skyland label, Revelation are the first European group to have signed with a major SG label in the US! After completing the recording of "Christ For Me" we now have made 3 records with Crossroads.
Hallels: Was "Christ for Me" recorded in Northern Ireland or the US?
Crossroads Produced this album as well! Though I feel I must say that "Christ For Me" the song was wrote in N. Ireland, by a gentleman called Edwin Brown, and we fell in love with the track as he lead his Church Choir in the singing of this great song!
Hallels: Coming from Northern Ireland, how does your heritage shape or influence your sound and music?
I think our sound has a very definitive influence from our N.Irish heritage! We always wanted our music to represent us in a true way, for us to try and be "Southern" for example, would never work! So for us to be able to create our music which in some cases are infused with the Celtic tones and sounds of home, truly represent us as "Revelation" so yes, our heritage does shape much of what we do!
Hallels: I really love your version of "What a Friend We Have" with that beautiful bagpipe sound especially at the beginning. And your take of "Higher Ground" is just gorgeous. Why did you want to include these covers on this new album?
Well firstly let me say that "What a Friend" is a complete re-write, so it's not a cover! From the first time we heard it, we just loved it, we knew that we would put our own stamp on it, and knew instantly that the Celtic fusions would suit it, and that it would be ideal!!
"Higher Ground" a personal favourite! We plainly wanted to have some familiar cuts on this project, for people to sing along to, I believe on a project with brand new music, it's hard to get the mix of new and old right! That's why we have included three older classics for this project, Higher Ground, God Is Good, and I wish I Coulda Been There!
Hallels: If you have to pick two songs out of the new album that you are most excited about, which would they be? And why?
Ok, these are just my choice, and I'm sure the guys might have a different opinion, but here I go! I feel that track 1 "King Forever" has such potential! Its message, its lyric, its sound for me are just wonderful, and I pray that God will take it up, that it might be used mightily for his kingdom, I just feel that it will have a good response, also the track "Christ For Me" the title track! What a song! Its for a time like this, the World is upside down, and its message is powerful, I could say the say about "What A Friend" we are excited to see what God is going to do, we feel that we have the right mix of songs in this project, and I know that God will use this album, to his Glory.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase this new album or/and find out more about you, where can they go?
Well for those in the USA, our material is available via crossroadsmusic.com also it will soon be available on ITunes etc, in the UK we are accessible atwww.revelationministry.co.uk and on FaceBook under "Revelation Ministry" And again, thank you for the interest in Revelation! We are so glad to be answering your question, and If you ever need any other interviews etc done, please do not hesitate