Merging infectious rock/dance pop amalgamations with spiritually centered reflections stepped in social relevance, Hearts of Saints is a buzzworthy fresh face on the Christian music scene. The Kentucky-bred road warriors comprising singer Craig Felker, drummer Jason Killebrew, guitarist L.J. Granstaff and bassist Joel Purdy spent the last few years touring tirelessly, refining its innovate sound to razor sharp degrees, while attracting fans across the country. Among those who embraced the band early on was Grammy nominated and Dove award-winning artist GRITS, who recently signed the band to its Nashville-based label, Revolution Art.
"Hearts of Saints really summarizes an evolution- both for all four of us as players and in our personal lives," notes Felker, who reveals the group was previously known as Special D during its indie days. "We're maturing in our musical pursuits, and we're growing more seasoned in life, which is naturally reflected in our songwriting."
Evidence of that collective growth is replete throughout the group's self-titled national debut, live shows and even its name. Hearts of Saints comes directly from the New Testament (Philemon 1:7), where Paul joyfully writes of a missionary experience: "For I have received considerable joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed, brother, through you" (International Standard Version).
"It's almost become a mission statement for us and is a verse that gives us purpose and something to strive for," Felker explains. "We're not saying we're ‘holier than thou' or ‘saintly' so to speak, but rather that were striving to live a life that reflects Jesus." Our hope is to refresh people with our musical passions and also to lend them some encouragement no matter how severe their situation may seem."
Thus far, Hearts of Saints has presented those very goals in multiple formats, most visibly, the concert circuit. Though the group's a touring staple throughout the Midwest and South, the guys are steadily expanding their national presence through the festival circuit. Besides sharing the spotlight with the likes of tobyMac (Forefront/EMI), Skillet (Atlantic), Family Force 5 (Tooth & Nail/EMI), Jars of Clay (Nettwerk), Third Day (Essential), and Jason Morant (Integrity/Epic), Hearts of Saints scored main stage slots at AtlantaFest, Rock the Light, Unity Festival, Hills Alive, Crossover Festival and even Rock the Universe at Universal Studios.
The group's also earned a steady presence on iTunes, selling albums in seven countries and fueling airplay for "Over and Over," the single which topped regional charts and reprises itself on the band's self-titled disc. The ten-track disc also boasts a series of surging rock anthems, ranging from the raucous "The Secret" to the explosive "Hello Grace," plus the poignantly reflective "Recapture Me" and the boundless "Beautiful Mystery." All the while, the band was joined in the studio by all-star producer Ainslie Grosser, best known for his work with Warner Brothers' breakout act MuteMath.
"It's going to consist of some songs our fans already know but will also include several brand new tunes they'll be hearing for the first time," promises Felker of a sound that lands somewhere in between Switchfoot, The Killers and U2 circa the 2000s. "Expect to hear our energetic rock/pop dynamic up another notch, and there will continue to be some dance/rock elements, along with the pop sensibility that my tone of voice typically gravitates toward."
That exact aura is what attracted Revolution Art to this burgeoning alternative act, along with the players' unbridled efforts at connecting with crowds outside of the studio and stage. "As a label, we strive to work with artists who are full of passion and creative potential, and we are delighted about our recent signing of Hearts of Saints," echoes Mo Henderson, president of Revolution Art. "As a music lover, I strive to find talent that is both relevant and inspiring, and I believe we've found the best of both worlds with Hearts of Saints. After my first meeting with the guys, it became evident that we were in for something special."
Even amidst all the changes, Felker is fast to reiterate that Hearts of Saints is the same four guys who've always poured tons of sweat and sacrifice into its craft. Outside of being a breakout year for the band that strives to chart a course of longevity, the foursome also hopes to break down those stereotypes associated with spiritually anchored acts.
"Our goal is to write great songs and put on a show with endless energy that has plenty of attitude, underscored by a hope-inspired presence," he adds. "We have two thoughts when we write and that's to move people either physically or internally, but if we can write a song that does both, then that's when it becomes more than just rock n' roll."
Listen to Hearts Of Saints Here
|Hearts of Saints||2010||Revolution Art|