Worship band, People Of The Earth, has just released their debut project, "We Are People Of The Earth." The record was produced by Grammy nominated songwriter and producer, Aaron Rice, and features 10 new songs, with nine of them co-written by People Of The Earth. The first single from the project, "Hope For You" features the vocals of guest artist, Alisa Turner.
Hallels: For our readers who may not be familiar yet with your music, tell us who PEOPLE OF THE EARTH are.
We are a group of worshipers who love Jesus, are passionate about making Him known, and celebrating His good news of redemption and restoration. We are based out of Kentucky and lead worship at our hometown church in the city of Somerset. The band includes me, Dustin Fenison (lead vocals, guitar), Steve Hampton (guitar), and Patrick Ford (drums, vocals).
Hallels: There are so many worship bands out here, what do you think sets your music apart?
There is so much great worship music being written and produced. I think what is unique about our album is that it was written at our local church and we worked really hard to capture the worship voice here. The songwriting process for the album always began by asking the questions, "What do we need to say Sunday?," "What would be an honest expression of our collective journey at this point?," and "What musical ideas, devices, and vehicles will allow the congregation to be participants?" We really tried to shape the sound and lyrics to be accessible. So with that, we think what sets our music apart is that in our writing, we attempt to explore some of the less traveled areas of scripture, and also try to imagine how to interpret musically what Paul writes to the Ephesians 5:19, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
On this album we sing both to Jesus and about Jesus. Our home church is this beautiful picture of diversity, especially along generational lines. It's interesting to me how an older generation grew up almost exclusively singing hymns and songs about God while my generation almost has exclusively grown up singing praise and worship songs to God. I firmly believe that both are important and can be a conduit for a deep and meaningful worship experiences. A church rich and well versed in both forms can be a great bridge for Christian unity as well.
Hallels: On this album you got to work with Grammy nominated writer Aaron Rice, how did you meet him? What do you think he brings to this record?
We were introduced to Aaron through a mutual friend who knew we were looking to do something a little different with this project. Aaron and I quickly became friends. I soon learned that he grew up in Kentucky close to where we are from and that we shared a love for the Kentucky Wildcats. This is a big deal where we are from. We partnered to work on We Are People Of The Earth album and began what turned out to be a three year journey.
Aaron's ability to write great songs and bring in other great worship leaders to collaborate made the project shine. He is always so laser focused on the big picture. This really helped to keep us dedicated to our original vision throughout the process. Of course, Aaron has Grammy and Dove nominations, #1 hits, and a stellar resume, but most people don't know he also is a pastor's kid and serves as his church's worship pastor. His love for Jesus runs deep and is displayed through him in the way he treats people. I would say more than anything else, his attitude of serving and working for the Kingdom were the things he brought to the record that had the greatest influence.
Hallels: What were some of the challenges and blessings in making this new record?
The process overall was a great experience. We met many new friends and learned so much along the way. One such blessing is our relationship with Chad Green and the team at Daywind 's label, Vital Worship. They came along believing in what we were trying to do and really walked alongside us to provide the best platform and avenue to release the album, and to get these songs into the hands of the church.
Among the few real challenges I would include are the logistics of recording in different studios and traveling back and forth between Somerset and Nashville. It added to the amount of time it took to complete the project and also made for some exhausting and really long days. In addition, there was the challenge of staying focused on the vision of being corporate friendly and accessible, while balancing the desire to push forward artistically.
Hallels: And one guest vocalist is Kerrie Roberts who sings "Just As I Am." What was it like working with Kerrie?
I've been a huge fan of Kerrie's for years. I think she is one of the great vocal talents in Christian Music. I had the opportunity to meet her through Aaron, and while we Aaron and I were writing "Just As I Am," we thought it would be a great enhancement to make it a male/female duet. Aaron let Kerrie hear the song and asked if she would be interested in being the featured vocalist. She agreed, and I geeked out a little I was so excited. She came in the studio and just killed it. She is such an amazing vocalist and a wonderful person, so I am so happy that she is a part of this project.
Hallels: I really like your song "Beautiful Ruins" which speaks of hope in such a Christ-exalting way. What's the story behind this song?
We had been talking with our church's worship tream about the idea of praise being the overflow of what God is doing in our lives. This discussion continued in a writing session with Aaron and David Moffitt , who is a songwriter and worship leader at our church. We were really excited about the idea that the work of Jesus fuels our hope and that He is working with us, in order to build something even better in the future. Author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "Is everything sad going to come untrue?" Even in the brokenness, in the ashes, and rubble left from the disaster of our sin, God is making something beautiful. Revelation 21:5 says, He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. What a promise! This song is our prayer and expression of great anticipation for God's Kingdom to come.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase"We Are the People of the Earth" or/and find out more about you, where can they go?
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