Up-and-Coming Band: It’s About Ministry, Not Money

Post a Comment » Written on April 9th, 2007     
Filed under: News
PADUCAH, KY (April 9, 2007) – Four members of 4 Rivers Church are looking forward to a busy summer as their band, SpecialD, tours Christian festivals.

Making up the band are vocalist Craig Felker, drummer Jason Killebrew, lead guitarist L. J. Granstaff, and bassist Joel Purdy (accompanying photo).

BandHaving produced two buzz-causing indie albums, SpecialD is ready to take the next step with its new release, Different Story, which has been two years in the making (lower photo). The music draws inspiration from, among other artists, the Foo Fighters and Switchfoot.

The group’s energetic stage shows have drawn wide praise. Songs on the new album, such as “Come With Me” and the self-titled single “Different Story,” feature layered guitars and anthem choruses that fit perfectly in the live setting, Felker says.

“We just love playing live,” Felker says. They will have the opportunity a lot over the summer, when they perform at many of the major Christian festivals, and will be the only indie band to take the main stage at Atlanta (Georgia) Fest in and Rock the Light in Kansas City, Missouri. SpecialD also will play at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois – sponsored by Jesus People USA Covenant Church.

The band has played the same mainstage with the Christian supergroup Casting Crowns. “They were just so gracious and uplifting,” Felker recalls. The band wants to continue playing in churches and hopes to fill in more concert dates between festivals.

Felker says the band is intent on ministering and not just playing music. “We want people to take hope with them when they leave the concert,” the 26-year-old explains with a passion. “If we don’t have hope, what are we living for?”

Felker adds, “We want people to know about our freedom in Christ. Too often Christians are known for what we are against.”

Album coverThe band’s lyrics are unapologetic, and there’s no mistaking its message, “We don’t straddle the fence,” Felker says. He adds, “I don’t want to be labeled as a good Christian band. I want to be labeled as a good band.”

Felker became well-acquainted with the Christian music industry while working in Nashville for CCM Magazine, which covers the genre. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Business from Middle Tennessee State, and the magazine hired him to do sales and marketing. He eventually wound up writing a column on instruments and gear.

The experience opened his eyes to what could happen to the band if the members are not careful. “Many of the things there (in the music field) are not for the right reason,” Felker says. ““There are lots of good Christian people, but there are some that are just in it for the money.”

The band does need to make money so members can put food on the table, but they’re not looking to be superstars. “We’re not in it to get a record deal,” Felker says. “We want to do ministry.” SpecialD members certainly wouldn’t complain about a deal, however, he says laughing.

Felker is surprised how music reaches people in ways the band never expects. On a whim, the singer tried out for the show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Felker survived the first round – “You get 15 seconds, and I was a total goof.” During the second round, he sang part of “Different Story” and sent an audition tape.

A non-Christian working on the show heard the song and emailed Felker two days later wondering how to obtain a copy. That has led to an email correspondence.

Staying rooted in the local church will help keep the band focused on what is truly important, Felker says. He credits the church’s pastor, Brad Henson, as an inspiration.

“Brad has been real instrumental in our lives,” Felker says. “We’re very passionate about what our church is doing in the community. We realize we also represent 4 Rivers.”

For booking information, email the SpecialD Band. For more information on the band, visit its regular website or its MySpace site.

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