Modern rockers Canopy Red may be dropping its debut full-length project Wake Up, but the Tallahassee, FL-based band’s already made a splash all across America. Thanks to wall-to-wall touring throughout the past four years amassing at least 120 dates a year (all while excelling at full time college class schedules), the ambitious trio has proved to be especially versatile, from the alternative/athletic-themed “Extreme Tour,” to a slew of student conferences and youth groups, along with a forthcoming eight week stint at Centrifuge Camp in Panama City, followed by leading worship during Rock The Universe at Universal Studios in Orlando this fall.
Add in an increasingly chiseled sound that blends the best of alternative rock, envelope-pushing pop, plus a balance between deeply personal and vertically-wound lyrical expressions, and it’s no surprise to see the band’s previous EP and pair of 2011 digital singles generating plenty of buzz (including “Here To Stay” reaching #21 on Billboard’s Christian Rock charts). With such a groundswell of momentum, it only seems natural that the band was approached by the double Dove Award winner (including “Producer of the Year”) Rusty Varenkamp (Michael W. Smith, Sanctus Real, Tenth Avenue North), who just so happened to stumble upon the group’s tunes online, but became so enthralled by the sounds contained therein, he signed on board to produce Wake Up.
“It was totally a God thing with Rusty where he was surfing the internet, our name caught his eye, he started listening to our stuff and felt for some reason he could help us out,” confirms Forrest of their collaborator and newfound friend. “It started out as a trip to his studio to record and co-write a couple of songs, but it turned out God led us to work together on a full record. Rusty is a genius at coming up with melodies- we wound up co-writing ten songs with him- and he was very reassuring in not only the musical direction of our band, but our lifelong calling as well.”
Considering the guys are ramping up towards graduation, a full-fledged foray into the music industry is certainly in order, and though the trio aims for success in all arenas, it’s simply for their ministry platform to reach a wider audience. Armed with a moniker that references the fact that all believers are sheltered by Christ’s blood, the guys are indeed poised to impact their peer group and beyond with a proactive, attention-grabbing message.
“Wake Up has a lot to do with the idea of not just being stagnant in your faith or getting stuck in the rut of class, homework, eat, sleep and repeat. It’s about shaking off compliancy and reminding ourselves that being a Christian is more than something for just Sundays and Wednesdays,” asserts Josh before Forrest interjects. “We’re definitely targeting our generation, but we’re not pointing any fingers because we need to hear this message just as much as anybody else. We go to school, have our jobs and live the way we live, but that’s not why we were created. We were created to glorify God and He has a plan for our life. Wake Up is all about knowing we’re not just stuck here doing work, but we have a purpose and the ability to change people’s lives.”
Several cases in point include the encouraging reminder that everyone has a divine destiny (“What I’m Waiting For”), the guys’ quest to live authentically (“Disguise”) and boldly taking a stand (“Wasting Time”). Additional crests include the Christ-seeking battle cries “Running After You” and “Sink Or Swim,” the empathetic ear to anyone who’s hurting “Won’t Let Go” and the worshipful “Forever.”
“‘Forever’ is very vertical and is probably the most vertical song we’ve ever written that basically says we are in awe of God and we know that we will praise him eternally,” notices Forrest of the lead single, before Josh continues. “Some of the slower songs might evoke Tenth Avenue North or early John Mayer, but on the upbeat songs, we tried to expand in more alternative directions with a lot of influence from Muse, early Mute Math and The Black Keys.”
No matter what the muse or subsequent musical style, it’s clear Canopy Red is committed to genuinely walking the talk and inspiring those they come in contact with both on and off the stage. “After graduation, our ultimate vision is to go on the road full time, which is definitely a big step, but something God’s been leading us towards ever since we started out,” foreshadows Forrest. “That entire time and well into the future, the goal is to reach as many people as possible and see people’s lives get changed along the way.”