Husband-and-wife duo Out of the Dust, comprised of Chris and Stephanie Teague, have just released their sophomore album, Now More Than Ever. The new project spans multiple genres and features guest appearances by Dove Award-winning artist Plumb and Christian Hip-Hop favorite, Tony Tillman. The album's sweeping orchestral arrangements sit side-by-side with imaginative pop production and showcase Chris and Stephanie's most personal and important work yet.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. The two of you have had quite a story of heartbreak, divorce, restoration and re-marriage. For some of our readers who may not be familiar with your story, can you just briefly recount for us this amazing story of grace?
Thank you for having us! In high school we both went on a typical mission trip with our church... or so we thought. We met through serving together on that trip, became amazing friends and our lives have never been the same. After the trip we dated, fell in love, and eventually were married about halfway through college. Music was always a huge part of our story together, but it was always worship related, not artistry. Around the time we got married I (Chris) started having some doubts about faith, but I kept them a secret. Eventually that secrecy included substance use, groups of friends and an entire double life where I lead worship on Sunday's but didn't even believe in God anymore. Sadly, not even Steph knew I was struggling. Fast forward a few years and I'd had enough. The enemy had convinced me I should leave the church and our marriage so that I could be "happy." I broke the news one night in January of 2010 and a few months later the divorce was final.
God took us both on amazing journeys that Spring, Summer, and Fall of that year, but my journey detoured down a path of complete destruction and isolation. There at the end of my rope, God completely rescued me, and after transforming my heart, He convinced me that I should pursue Stephanie again. She, however, needed quite a bit more convincing than I did! But after months of talks, counseling and seeking the Lord's will for us... we, along with our community, decided that God's heart was to see us reconciled. So in February of 2011, just over a year from when we split, we remarried! Looking back now, it was obviously the hardest thing we've ever been through but our lives and our marriage are infinitely better because of it.
Q: Then the Lord led the two of you into music ministry and this was when you recorded your debut album. How did that happen?
It all happened because of story. In 2012 we entered a Christian music competition just for fun and made it all the way to the finals. There on the finals stage before we sang a cover song, we felt led to share our story briefly. Afterward, a girl came up to Stephanie crying because she and her husband were going through a similar struggle. That little step of faith to open up and share led to a connection and a ministry moment. God was giving us bread crumbs to follow... so we kept taking tiny steps of faith: trying to write songs together, saying yes to playing tiny shows, opening up and sharing all the ugly and beautiful parts of our story. Eventually those bread crumbs lead us to record an EP, a full album, 4 nationwide tours, leaving jobs, and finally here today as full time "musicianaries"!
Q: Now you have released your second record. What do you think is the main message of this new album?
The main message is that Jesus takes every experience, no matter how broken it is (or we are) and uses it for the good of the believer and the good of the world... but we have to trust Him with it and surrender.
Q: Did you approach the making of this new project any differently from your first?
This project came all at once where as our first was completed in stages... some in 2014 and the rest in 2016. We wanted to stretch ourselves and flex our creativity in ways we hadn't before. So, this album has everything from modern pop to rap, with folk and jazz influences, too.
Q: On this new record, you got to work with Plumb! How did you get to work with her and tell us more about the song.
WOW. Yeah! So, we met and got to know Plumb on a FamilyLife cruise we were both asked to play on. She came to mind as we were rounding out the record because she has a very similar marriage redemption story. We asked if she wanted to be a part and she said yes before even hearing the track! It just speaks to her generosity. She's the real deal.
"Take This" was the perfect song for Plumb as it drops you right into the moments immediately after I told Stephanie I didn't believe in God and that I wanted out of the marriage. It is a subject we receive countless messages and emails about from people in the middle of heartbreak and loneliness. Hearing their two voices sharing the same pain is a powerful healing message to those who feel alone in the midst of their suffering.
Q: Another guest on your new record is Tony Tillman. What's the story behind your partnership with Tony?
Isn't his verse incredible? We've been in community with Tony and his wife for years and years. We attended the same church for years, too. "Truth" be told, that song is actually the oldest in our catalog, but it didn't seem to fit on any other project until this one. Amazingly it seems more relevant today than it did when we wrote it.
Q: On the new album, why did you include the hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness?"
Hymns just have staying power and we want to tap into that any chance we can. We recorded a hymn for our last project as well, and these verses spoke so truthfully to our experience of God's goodness and faithfulness in our story. It is also a favorite of Steph's family for several generations, so it just made good sense! The jazz arrangement was a last minute addition and (fun fact) it is the only instance of a guitar solo that I (Chris) have ever recorded anywhere.
Q: You guys have had an amazing testimony but you have also been through lots of sufferings and trials. What words of encouragement do you have for our readers who are going through a rough patch?
The enemy wants you to believe you're alone. The enemy wants to isolate us, but there is power in community. No matter what you are in the middle of... no matter how dark the night may seem... dawn is coming. God is trustworthy. His goodness outweighs the evil. Hope is an unstoppable force and we have heard so many stories of redemption from friends and followers that we will never doubt God's power or intentions to use the suffering in our lives for good. If you need an ear to listen or a voice to encourage you, reach out to us. You are not alone.