Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammitt to release solo album and more...

 
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Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammitt to release solo album

Multiple GRAMMY-nominated, Dove Award winning Sanctus Real lead vocalist Matt Hammitt announces the release of his first solo album, Every Falling Tear, on Sparrow Records Sept. 13. Organically sparked by the rich joy and pain of life over the last year that strengthened Hammitt’s faith and solidified his resolve to lead his family well, these new songs are his most deeply personal to date.

Encouraged by his Sanctus Real band mates to release these songs and to share his story through the songs that are meant to provide hope for people that are in crisis, Hammitt’s journey to the new album started with the current, critically acclaimed and best-selling Sanctus Real album, Pieces of a Real Heart.

“The bridge lyric in ‘Redeemer’ says, I don’t have every answer in life / But I’m trusting You one day at a time / ‘Cause You can make a weak heart stay alive forever,” reflects Hammitt regarding the current hit radio single from Pieces of a Real Heart that is Top 15 and continuing to ascend the Billboard radio charts. “Those lyrics, along with songs like ‘Keep My Heart Alive,’ ‘Dear Heart,’ and then the album with a broken heart on the cover, came out on March 9 of 2010. One month later on April 12 my wife, Sarah, and I found out that our son, Bowen, was going to be born with a severe congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.”

Pictured (l-r) are: Emmy, Matt, Bowen, Sarah and Claire Hammitt.


The whole album became a prophetic glimpse into what the Hammitt’s were about to go through, and proved to be a source of hope as Matt and his wife, Sarah, take care of Bowen “small victorious one,” who was born Sept. 9, 2010 and has now gone through two heart surgeries, an infection and other complications since being born.

“I will never forget the night of his first open heart surgery - we got a call in the middle of the night that Bowen’s heart had stopped beating,” says Hammitt on a SanctusReal.com video blog encouraging people to share their stories of redemptions. “The redemption that was for me, in probably this most broken time of my life, was that all the treasure in this world, everything I put my hope in here in this life, was burned away in that moment. I could clearly see that the only real treasure I have is the hope that I have in Jesus Christ. Bowen’s doing great now, he’s making an incredible recovery and the fact that we still have him; we thank God for that every day. We’re eager to see what God continues to do through his life.”

Born out of the heart of a father, wrestling with his pain, but buoyed by his faith and love for his family, Hammitt's main impetus for writing the songs on Every Falling Tear was to play them at Bowen’s bedside in the hospital, with the hope that they would be a source of comfort for his family, as well as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of their uncertainty.

“A lot of what we went through with Bowen was really hard on my wife and I emotionally, and I felt and understood the pain of others going through similar circumstances as us. We also met families at the hospital [C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI] whose children had either just died or were on the verge of dying, and it felt like they were losing hope. One of the main reasons for recording these songs was to go back to the hospital and hand out the music to help lift these families out of despair.”

Having already recorded and handed out demos of songs in the hospital, Hammitt also sang “All of Me” on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoeGKOXeO-s. The studio recording of this song is now available for the first time through digital retailers, including iTunes and Amazon.com. “All of Me” will be the first of four tracks from Every Falling Tear to be released each month leading up to the full album release in September.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Every Falling Tear and its singles will go to benefit the Whole Hearts Foundation, a new foundation Hammitt has set up to help families going through similar challenges as himself. Providing assistance for families of children affected by congenital heart defects, additional details on the foundation will be announced soon.

As his solo project’s first single is released today, Sanctus Real’s fastest-selling GRAMMY and Dove-nominated, fifth studio album Pieces Of A Real Heart continues to sell over 130% ahead of the band’s last GRAMMY-nominated album. The album has also sparked two No. 1 songs, “Forgiven” and “Lead Me,” the latter having been heard by well over 100,000,000 people at radio and receiving the first-ever song endorsements from Focus on the Family and FamilyLife, as well as gathering two “Song of the Year” Dove nominations. The success of the singles helped pave the way for the band to become Billboard’s No. 4 most played Christian band of 2010 at radio. In all, Sanctus Real has gathered 14 No. 1 and Top 5 radio hits so far.

Sanctus Real creates compelling, authentic music that lives up to the meaning of its name: to be Holy (Latin meaning of “Sanctus”), and its members are about living out their lives as “real” Christians, not only on the stage and as they interact with fans, but also in the quieter moments of their lives as husbands and fathers. Matt Hammitt’s solo album carries this idea forward.

For all the latest on Matt Hammitt and his family, see www.bowensheart.com.

Read our interview with Sanctus Real.

    
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New Iona Album coming soon!

Celtic music fans, the wait is over! Iona's new album Another Realm is finished and ready to ship. Watch this promo to see if it's for you, and click here to visit their website and order. We highly recommend!

 
    
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Ben Kasica leaves Skillet

Skillet has just announced that 10 year veteran guitar player Ben Kasica has decided to leave the band. It's all on good terms, and they've put up a blog post with more details.

Ben says in part:

"This has been an incredible journey for me. Joining the band shortly after turning 16 and basically growing up on the road, I had no idea how long the ride would last but have enjoyed it immensely and been thankful to God for everything I've been a part of. We've traveled to loads of places, met many many wonderful people, drunk way too much coffee, made tons of memories and hopefully touched lives with eternity. I feel completely blessed and honored to have been a part of Skillet's history."

Read more at their website here.

    
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Rebecca St. James Engaged to be Married!

One of Christian music’s most recognized and beloved artists is opening the New Year with an exciting announcement: Rebecca St. James is engaged to be married!

St. James will wed the man she’s been waiting for –Jacob Fink—on a date soon to be announced. The Christmas Day proposal came at Rebecca’s family farm in Franklin, Tennessee where she was presented the brilliant, solitaire diamond ring. The groom-to-be asked her parents, David and Helen, for their blessing prior to him surprising Rebecca with the engagement ring and his request for her hand in marriage.

Jacob, originally from Colorado, now resides in Southern California. He spent two years as a missionary in South Africa before attending college and graduating summa cum laude with a degree in communications and an emphasis on film production. He worked in television production prior to his current career in music. The couple met through mutual friends in Los Angeles.

Noted Rebecca in a communication to friends: “We are truly amazed at finding our dreams and ideals met in the love we’ve found. We are exceedingly grateful for this precious gift from God.”

Rebecca’s signature song, “Wait For Me,” released in 2000, inspired national attention to the ideals of purity before marriage—a self-lived message she has taken to young people worldwide from her concert stages and through her best-selling books and personal testimony.

2011 will be a milestone year for St. James, who recently signed with Provident Label Group’s Beach Street/ Reunion Records. Her new studio album I Will Praise You releases on April 5 with its first single “Shine Your Glory Down” impacting radio on Feb. 11.

Currently planning promotional and concert tour dates, and a wedding, Rebecca is also putting final touches on her ninth book, “What Is He Thinking?” (Hachette/Faithwords), which is due out in September.

Read our interview with Rebecca.

Photo credit: Ben Smallbone

    
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Newsboys to release Christmas Album!

With the continuous momentum of Newsboys' current CD release Born Again, a No. 1 radio hit and an extensive touring schedule, they continue their whirlwind year with the announcement of their first-ever Christmas project. Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday will release October 12th, courtesy of Inpop Records.

The new CD was produced by Dustin Burnett, Michael Tait, and Juan Otero of The Write Bros, half of the production team of Born Again. Comprised of six holiday classics, Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday includes "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bell Rock," "All I Want for Christmas is You," "O Holy Night," "The Christmas Song," and "Mary Did You Know."

To help promote Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday, Newsboys will join Newsong the weekend after Thanksgiving to kick off the "Very Merry Christmas Tour 2010." This 20+city nationwide tour kicks off in North Carolina and will finish up in Georgia on December 20th. Check out the tour dates listed below to see if can help ring in the Christmas season with Newsboys at a city near you.

There is no question the momentum keeps continuing to escalate for Newsboys and their July 13th release of Born Again. The current single and No. 1 hit "Born Again" continues to stay high up on the charts, having a total of 7.1 million impressions to date. Following the largest street week of their careers by selling an astounding 45,311 units and hitting #4 on Billboard's overall chart, Born Again continues to keep its place on the Billboard Top 200 chart and is No. 3 on the Christian Soundscan chart, scanning more than 72,000 units in the first month of release.

Newsong's Very Merry Christmas Tour 2010*:
11/27 Whiteville, NC
11/28 Charleston, NC
11/30 High Point, NC
12/2 Norfolk, VA
12/3 Schofield, WI
12/4 St. Cloud, MN
12/5 Brookings, SD
12/7 Portage, MI
12/8 Valparaiso, IN
12/9 Marion, IL
12/10 Marion, IL
12/11 Franklin, NC
12/12 Destin, FL
12/15 Saint Peters, MO
12/16 Athens, AL
12/17 Pascagoula, MS
12/18 Albany, GA

*Dates subject to change

    
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