“When we mourn with those who mourn and celebrate with those who celebrate, we live in the reality of God’s Kingdom. People of exile, people of hope... as such, it is vital that we be constantly aware of ways to connect with others, globally and locally.” —Ecclesia Church Houston
Houston’s Ecclesia Church sits on the edge of downtown like a frontier outpost. During the week, it’s a community outreach center, farmer’s market, art gallery, coffeehouse, and recording studio. But on Sunday, its space becomes sanctuary to the homeless and drug addicted, as well as to the high profile attorney and suburb-dweller who fill its seats.
The church is also home base for Robbie Seay Band, forming as much of their identity as the music they play. Pastored by Robbie Seay’s brother Chris, Ecclesia’s services are a mix of the liturgical (weekly communion, communal prayer) and experiential (artists painting during the service). Aside from touring, the band can be found leading worship for the several weekly gatherings at Ecclesia.
Long before the release of their critically acclaimed 2005 Sparrow Records debut, Better Days, Robbie Seay Band began developing a reputation for their honest approach to worship music, grounded in community and in the life journeys of each of its members. In addition to Robbie Seay, who serves as the group’s voice and principal songwriter, the band consists of longtime friends Dan Hamilton and Ryan Owens. Dan has played with Robbie Seay for a decade, dating back to the Metro Bible Study for which they, Caedmon’s Call, and Watermark led worship.
Ryan approached Robbie Seay eight years ago at a concert to ask if they needed a bass player and has been with them ever since. “In a lot of ways, we’ve grown up together,” Robbie says of the group. “We have walked side-by-side for nearly a decade, in the context of our community and living a normal life together. That makes the music more meaningful for us.”
Known for an alternative worship style that features raw, insightful lyrics coupled with an equally edgy and engaging sound, Robbie Seay Band’s much-anticipated sophomore Sparrow release, Give Yourself Away, finds them pushing their musical craft to new levels under the guiding hand of producer Tedd T. (Mute Math, Delirious?). The sound of Give Yourself Away carries a new energy and relevance, an aggressive step forward from Better Days. The album bears the influence of British rock (Travis, Keane) as well as modern worshipers such as David Crowder Band and Tim Hughes.
“Faith is fairly stale if we’re not active and aware of the need around us,” Robbie says, returning again to the theme of Give Yourself Away. “When we go back to Scripture, it’s full of loving the orphans, the widows and the poor, and you look at Jesus and who He was and come away with that.”
To this end, Robbie Seay Band is taking steps to raise awareness of the tragedy affecting many children in Uganda. Inspired by the film “Invisible Children,” and the book “Girl Soldier” (by Grace Akallo and Faith J.H. McDonnell), the group hopes to help educate others about the plight of the Ugandan people. The band encourages its audiences to support Compassion International, or another outreach of their choosing, during its shows. The key, Robbie says, is to do something.
“I hope my music—and life—somehow may serve to encourage other believers to be proactive in their faith,” concludes Robbie. “For it is only as we bless others and offer grace that faith goes beyond words, and truly comes alive.”
There’s something to be said for being comfortable with being uncomfortable, for being at a place in your life where you’ve settled in. A place where you know who you are – both the good and the bad – and you know your purpose, and as difficult as it can be some days, you’re more than okay with it.
Welcome to the world of Robbie Seay Band, a group of musicians bent on creating art, not only for art’s sake, but for the sake of giving authentic voice to the hopes, fears, joys and sorrows of everyday people.
Never has this calling been more readily answered than on their third EMI release, Miracle. Honed from community life at Ecclesia Church Houston, where Robbie Seay and his band serve on a weekly basis, Miracle is a collection of songs composed and recorded over 10 months. A call and response to life, to what God is doing in their midst, as it happens.
“Music comes from that communal place, in nature, in worship, in stories, sermons, conversations...” Robbie Seay says. “Part of the calling of a worship leader is to be compelled and obligated to voice the prayers of the community and live in the middle of what’s truly happening in your community. That is far more powerful than simply regurgitating and mimicking music from other communities.”
“Our music isn’t just a vehicle for what I’ve got to say. It’s a dual calling, being a person of faith and an artist with some influence. The idea that any of us are grand saints of the faith is just ludicrous. Most of us artists are just trying to love family, love God and make good music.
“The older I get, the more I have to make sure I’m answering both callings, asking, ‘What would you have me say, God?’ Would you give me the strength to say it?’ That’s the kind of artist I want to be.”
Listen to Robbie Seay Band Here
|Better Days||2005||Sparrow Records|
|Ten Thousand Charms||2002||Independent|
|Robbie Seay Band Live||2003||Independent Bands|
|Give Yourself Away||2007||Sparrow Records|
|Rich & Poor||2011||Independent|