Crowder Offers a “Front Porch” View on New Tour

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

crowder235On his previous tour, singer-songwriter David Crowder went for the feel of a rural front porch.

"That's the sound we were going for," noted the artist from near his Atlanta-area home of his mix of acoustic instruments.

But now, with his "Neon Steeple" tour, Crowder, 43, has taken the next step – construct an actual front porch for his concert stage set. (Crowder comes to Ridge Point Community Church in Holland on April 17 – see info below).

"We thought we might as well go ahead and make one," he reasoned. "Everybody will understand as soon as they walk into the room what they're getting into."

"It's like a group singing on the front porch, but when the beat drops and lasers come shooting out the screen door real casual like, then the hillbilly dance party starts and we're having a good time."

The combination of down home and modern, electronic strains he coins "folk-tronica." "With all the acoustic instruments plus the added electronics and samplers and computer stuff....it looks like the Appalachian Mountains exploded on stage," he said.

THE CROWDER PATH

The quirky Crowder is best known for work with his former David Crowder Band, a worship-based group that came out of a Waco, Tex. church that drew many of its worshippers from nearby Baylor University.

The ensemble featured popular worship songs such as "Here Is Our King," "Wholly Yours" and "Everything Glorious." They won several Dove Awards and sold millions of record albums. But the enterprise disbanded in 2012, with his band mates forming a new group (The Digital Age) and Crowder venturing off into the unknown.

"One interesting thing going into this new cycle of music is that it's a solo endeavor," Crowder said. "In my previous band with six people, you could share the blame if something didn't work. Now it's all my fault."

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The artist needn't fear about the reception of "Neon Steeple," which debuted last May. The first song, "I Am," reached No. 2 on one of the major Christian music charts. A second single, "Come As You Are," topped the charts and was actually nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.

"I think with the old band we maybe had cracked the top 10," said the artist. "So to have those two new songs out the door and seeing people attached to them and getting into their lives – that makes me so happy."

LISTING THE NEW MUSIC

Crowder said the song that begins the new record sets the stage for the rest: "My Beloved."

"That one let's you know what you're in for – it's definitely what I had in my head for this folk-tronica thing. It's the beat drop with the banjo playing as fast as it can and has great life up there in the front end of the set."

The artists said "Lift Your Head" (one of the more aggressive songs on the record) is so much fun to play live and people are responding so well that he's not surprised it was chosen for the new "Passion" album, the most recent live collection produced by the annual Passion Conferences of college-aged youth.

Another of the new songs is "My Sweet Lord" and featured on the recorded version is country and bluegrass great Emmylou Harris.

Crowder says his new group of players (one of them is cellist Clare Nunn, the wife of Chris Tomlin's drummer Travis Nunn) is more of a collective than an actual formal band.

They're playing almost exclusively new music on the tour, and only dip into the old band's catalog for the reverent "How He Loves" and "O Praise Him." There are also some surprising cover songs.

THE CROWDER TRADEMARK

Even with the amalgamation of sounds, Crowder says worship is still at the core of the experience.

"Music is such a unique thing on planet earth and to be able to use it to let people voice their relationship with God and how as humans we interact with the divine – music is perfect for that," he said.

"That's the whole intent of the evening – to voice to God how grateful we are and to allow the church to sing in an authentic place."

Crowder and his wife have settled in the Atlanta area, and are part of Passion City Church, a congregation started by Passion founder Louie Giglio and frequented by singer-songwriters such as Tomlin, Crowder, Kristian Stanfill and others.

The artist has retained his trademark beard. He said the last time he shaved was in the year 2000.

"At the dawn of the millennium I thought I'd like to have a clean start on things, so I shaved my head and face all the way to the skin," he recalled.

"My wife looked at me and said – 'you need to put that back.' She's actually the keeper of the beard."

JUST THE FACTS:

WHAT: "Neon Steeple Tour" featuring David Crowder, with special guests Tim Timmons and Dan Bremnes
DATE: 7 p.m. Friday April 17
PLACE: Ridge Point Community Church, 340 104th Ave., Holland, MI
INFO#: 616.395.2600 or 800.965.9324 or www.itickets.com (only limited seating remains).
ADMISSION: $40.00 & $25.00 General Admission, additional fees may apply
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
About:
Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present (1 year 6 months) Monthly publication and web site with news, features, and information of interest to the West Michigan Christian community Feature writer: Muskegon Chronicle April 1996 – Present (16 years 10 months) Writer: Kalamazoo Gazette July 1991 – Present (21 years 7 months) beat includes convering contemporary Christian and Gospel music feature writer Grand Rapids Press May 1988 – Present (24 years 9 months)

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