A power-pop rock band based at Calvary Chapel Boise, where lead singer Luke Caldwell served as youth pastor for five years, Grand Prize had a sound comparable to Switchfoot and Jeremy Camp. Caldwell said the band was "just four simple guys who love Jesus and want to serve Him" with their music.
They did just that with Identity, which released on Apostrophe Records in January 2005. Produced by local favorite Scott Pergande, Identity is full of 11 catchy, relentlessly hooky tunes -- all written by the band -- reminiscent at times of artists such as U2, Pearl Jam, The Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20. The follow-up to Reveal Your Love, the band's well-received 2002 indie debut which had several singles on the CHR chart and has now sold over 8,000 copies, Identity was welcomed with open ears and hearts by Christian music fans everywhere, especially the band's substantial West Coast fan base which had been nurtured by three years of nearly constant touring.
The album's catchy leadoff track, "It's Not Over," is a plea for the listener to surrender their will to the Lord: "You say that you love Him with your life/Yet you're going your own way/You need to let Him have your rights/Let Him take control of your life/He'll set you free tonight." The unforgettable first single, "King Of Kings," is the kind of song that entire careers are built on. With blistering guitars, this powerful, crunchy rock tune invites God to "Come and make my heart Your home."
Other highlights include "Break Me," a modern day retelling of the Apostle Paul's struggle to do right as detailed in the latter half of Romans 7, and the hope-filled confidence in the Second Coming of Christ found in "I'm Waiting." Another standout track, "To See You," finds Caldwell pleading for holiness while singing of his desire "to see you in my life."
The band shared the bill with a diverse list of some of Christian music's most recognizable names including Kutless, Jars Of Clay, Jeremy Camp, Jeff Deyo, GRITS, Skillet, and fellow favorites of the West, The O.C. Supertones and Telecast. It was while returning from one such concert that Grand Prize experienced one of their biggest challenges. Barreling down a Nevada interstate at 65 mph, they lost control and flipped their van and equipment trailer. Caldwell and the band's roadie, Tucker Maile, were both thrown from the vehicle. Miraculously, aside from some bumps and bruises and Caldwell's 30 stitches, there were no major injuries to anyone, though both the van and trailer were totaled. Caldwell said, "It was the scariest day of my life but God proved His faithfulness to us and we know that He has an awesome plan in it. My faith was really tested that day; I was so scared that I honestly thought about quitting. But I realized once again that my life is always in His hands. God's angels surrounded us that day and I can honestly say that it is a miracle that we are alive."
Since that fateful day, the song "I Remember," took on a whole new meaning for the band. The song's chorus speaks of "Stones of mercy, stones of grace" in reference to the biblical story of the children of Israel building a monument of stones to remind them of God's faithful deliverance. Grand Prize now had its own stones of remembrance; after the wreck, one of the band members returned to the scene of the accident and picked up four stones covered in Luke's blood. The stones accompanied the band members when they traveled as a constant reminder of God's faithfulness and protection.