For an “accidental” band, Addison Road sure has had a purposeful impact on Christian music. Their eponymous 2008 release on INO Records garnered strong reviews and chart-topping singles, and songs like All That Matters, What Do I Know of Holy?, and It Just Takes One still resonate with listeners.
In fact, Dallas-based pop-rock band Addison Road was ‘invented’ on the fly in 2001 when then dating Baylor students Jenny and Ryan Simmons (now married) were offered $500 to ‘bring their band and play’ for a large Disciple Now gathering. The only problem: Jenny and Ryan didn’t have a band.
But $500 was a great motivator. So Jenny and Ryan pooled some student loan money, snagged their friend Ryan Gregg, who played in another band, recruited Travis Lawrence to play bass and tapped Jeff Sutton to play drums. With barely a rehearsal under their belts, this rag-tag group of fledgling musicians played that $500 gig, and by the time school was out, necessity’s invention found the doors of opportunity wide open.
After college, with more and more invitations to perform, Addison Road decided to make a go of it. “Our parents and friends were a little freaked out that after college we didn’t pursue ‘real’ jobs,” lead singer Jenny Simmons says. “I always thought I’d go into ministry or missions, so the whole idea of being in a band was new to me, but as the doors opened, I knew we had to walk through.” They took the $800 they made at a garage sale and paid the deposit on a duplex in Dallas, where they began leading worship at a local church. There, Addison Road cultivated its strong work ethic with its heart for ministry and its gift of great songwriting.
Six years, thousands of miles, hundreds of performances at festivals, conferences, camps (and everywhere in between) and three impressive independent recordings later, Addison Road has renewed its mission and found its voice.
But the success became intermingled with a season of struggle. Their van and trailer were stolen twice, along with their gear, and once the van was finally recovered it was soon totaled in a collision with a fallen oak tree. Add the RV fire and struggles with the health of aging parents on top of the typical challenges faced by twenty-somethings getting married and starting families, and it’s been a trying year for the band.
In music and in community—online or on the road—Addison Road takes their call to action seriously, as enthusiastic supporters of Village of Hope in Uganda, a ministry to women and children ravaged by poverty and AIDs. Through Mocha Club, the band raises funds and awareness for this ministry. “We’ve always believed that living beyond ourselves is essential. One of the first things we did as a band was look for an organization that we could get behind as part of our mission, to use what small influence we might have to encourage others to reach out,” Ryan Simmons says. Addison Road hopes to travel to Uganda in the near future to experience Village of Hope community in real time.
In the meantime, Addison Road, a group podcast-loving, worship-minded artists, will continue creating music born in the reality of life infused with real hope—fulfilling the mission behind their music.
“Whether we’re playing at a conference or a camp, we want to be in relationship before, during and after the fact, in the pool with the kids, in prayer groups, having Oreos with the kids in the cabins, sharing with the staff at night…” Jenny adds. “We’re there to love on people. We’re not just musicians and singers with a platform, we’re humans, and we look at what we do as a process of going through life together.”
For all their tests and travails, the members of Addison Road have somehow found themselves in a pretty contented place. It’s as if God has brought them through an arduous mountain climb so they can deliver these “Stories” with genuineness, and remind their listeners that the climb may be difficult, but you can see a lot of good things once you’ve reached the top.
Listen To Addison Road Here
|Always Loved You :: EP||2005||Independent|
|Some Kind of Spark||2006||Independent|
|Addison Road||2008||INO Records|