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I Still Believe

Jeremy Camp

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For King & Country

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Carrying a name that evokes substance and a sense of purpose, for KING & COUNTRY make their debut with music that more than lives up to their clever moniker. Enveloping their insightful lyrics in a sea of ear-grabbing melodies, brothers Joel and Luke have forged a distinctive sound that has earned them an enthusiastic fan base as well as the respect of industry professionals who keep tapping their music for use in high profile TV shows. Together, Joel and Luke ignite each other’s individual passions to form a unique, distinctive voice that blends into simmering sibling harmony, unrivaled by any other collaborative group to date.

Born in Sydney, Australia and relocating with their family to Nashville, TN, Joel and Luke remember music being a constant presence in their life. Growing up in a large family of seven kids, the siblings began their creative experimentation early on, soaking up life experiences that would influence their musical future.

“Our father was a promoter in Australia and so we grew up as a musically-centered family. I remember going to these rock shows, sitting on his shoulders, plugging my ears. It was very influential at an early age and I saw the power of music and how a melody fused with a lyric can impact someone’s life,” recalls Joel. “Honestly, in a lot of ways I feel like music chose me and as I grew older, I made a clear decision to fully lean into it.”

The group’s strengths are showcased not only through their voices, but their name as well. The name, ‘for KING & COUNTRY,’ was decided on after several attempts to find a name that appropriately encompasses who they are as musicians as well as their passionate personalities.

“While working on our debut record, I came up with the idea of calling us ‘All the Kings Men,’ but it just didn’t fit exactly with what we were looking for,” said Luke. “We were in the studio with our producer and he said, ‘what about for king and country?’ The history of that phrase is that back in the olden days, the British would go into battle shouting, chanting, ‘For King and Country,’ sort of as an anthem of fighting for something that they believed wholeheartedly in. We all looked at each other in the studio and we just knew that was it.”

With tracks produced by Shaun Shankel, Aqualung and Ben Glover, for KING & COUNTRY’s debut album, Crave, is a vibrant collection of songs, marked by emotional honesty and a riveting transparency. The first single, “Busted Heart (Hold On to Me)” is among the duo’s newer compositions and was inspired from a conversation on the brokenness that every person feels at some point in their life.

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Dara Maclean

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Few artists combine musical depth and the uplifting realities of a life in Christ as well as Dara Maclean. Hers is a joyful mix of pop idioms and eternal truths, danceable beats and the good news.

"I love making music you can move and groove to," she says, "but at the same time, as Christian artists we have a responsibility to speak the truth of the finished work of Christ in love."

A singer of incredible grace, power and control as well as a gifted songwriter, Dara has put together with Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin a debut CD, You Got My Attention, as fresh and vibrant as any in recent years. Just 25, she has forged a sound rooted in the ’70s Motown, funk and soul her parents loved and filtered through a thoroughly contemporary urban pop lens.

Its first single, “Suitcases,” is a beat-driven track with an alternately intimate and soaring vocal celebrating true release from "your burdens, heavy like gravity."

"I want to paint a picture of God's complete restorative love and how through Christ we can experience true freedom," she says. "My parents and I minister together as a family and during one service my dad said, ‘You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases.’ I’ll never forget it. This song is my encouragement to us all to let go of the baggage of the past.”

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Jason Castro

jasoncastromusic.com

“I’ve heard it said that music is the language of the soul,” says internationally-renowned recording artist Jason Castro. “I think it’s something God created for our souls to be able to rejoice in.”

Now, as this mellow Texan with the blue eyes, bright smile, and distinctive dreadlocks prepares to release his first full-length Word Records album, Only A Mountain, he finds himself with the chance to rejoice alongside a broad new audience of fellow believers. The prospect, he says, is thrilling: “This album to me is really kind of a breakthrough,” Castro confesses. “It feels like this veil has been lifted.”

Produced by Matt Bronleewe, Ben Glover, and David Garcia, Only a Mountain is set to be released January 15, 2013. Its eleven original tracks – all written or co-written by Castro – are primed to appeal to fans both old and new, whether they discovered his unique voice via his captivating run on American Idol, or have found their lives touched by one of his melodic, heartfelt performances in the years since. The songs on Only A Mountain are fueled by “the realization that life is beautiful,” Castro says. “It’s a lifestyle philosophy that I carry: What good can we do today? How can we be a light in the challenging world in which we currently live? I feel like I’m coming into my own. This is just my story to tell.”

Much of that story is now familiar to millions of people worldwide: Raised in the church by a musical family of Colombian descent, Castro started drumming at 11, playing music in the youth ministry, joining his father in leading worship. But despite his musical background, the notion that young Jason might have a voice – or something to say with it musically – didn’t really begin to take shape until he hit college and picked up the guitar. The young drummer who cut his teeth on a steady diet of Blink 182, Switchfoot, and MxPx found himself drawn to the introspective sound of singer-songwriters like Ray LaMontagne and Jeff Buckley. “I started listening to their lyrics,” he says. “And that really captured me. I loved what the words were doing to me, and I wanted to be able to do that, you know?” Although he admits the first song he wrote and played for his then-girlfriend (now wife) was “pretty bad,” he soon gained enough courage to join friends for some coffeehouse gigs. When he hit the stage for the seventh season of American Idol, he’d only been singing for a year and a half.

“I don't know if I ever had an indication that I was meant to be a musician, or good enough to do it professionally,” Castro laughs of taking the Idol plunge. “All I really had was a heart for it.” That heart eventually led him to a fourth-place finish on the show, where he won consistent critical acclaim for his stripped-down takes on songs like “Over the Rainbow” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” His laid-back acoustic style was unlike anything that show’s belting-diva-accustomed audience had ever seen. “I wasn’t a great natural singer or anything, but I had passion,” he says now. “For whatever reason, things lined up the way they did, and I believe there was a bigger reason than things just ‘happening.’ I really cherish the Idol experience. Sometimes I just laugh, like, ‘Was that real?’”

The success that came next was even more unbelievable for the soft-spoken and humble Castro: His 2010 self-titled debut on Atlantic Records entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at No. 18, and spawned the international hit “Let’s Just Fall In Love Again” – a No. 1 single in Norway, Singapore and the Philippines. Determined to establish himself with the public as a legitimate performing artist and not just a TV star from American Idol, he then began touring regularly with his band and has never stopped.

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