Take four guys in their early twenties with boundless energy. Throw in an infectious alternative pop/rock pedigree with meaty melodies. Add in honest messages that speak from the heart. Chances are these four guys will not only have the ability to be one of today's top trendsetters, but also impact their generation to immeasurable degrees. In the case of Alan Powell, Chad Graham, Caleb Grimm and Kyle Kupecky, better known as Yellow Cavalier, it's all about merging entertainment with spiritual truth, weaving modern rock with a groove in its step.
“We’re huge fans of modern pop music, from Maroon 5 to Daniel Bedingfield to OneRepublic,” observes Alan. “All those artists are incredibly melodic and load their songs with catchy hooks, but there’s a certain depth to what they’re doing. We also model ourselves a lot like DC Talk, mostly the melodies that came from the Supernatural CD. Our stage show also mirrors what you might find them doing- the four of us guys as co-front men working the crowd into overdrive with a live backing band to really bring out the rock vibe of our music.”
Outside of referencing that latter act as a mere comparison point, the group just so happens to have roots in Liberty University- the same school where TobyMac, Kevin Max and Michael Tait first met and rose to fame. While the original catalyst for Yellow Cavalier came from Alan writing songs for what was going to be Chad’s solo project, the pair quickly linked up with Caleb and Kyle from Liberty’s vocal group Crimson Flood after a fervent period of prayer.
“The songs we were working on seemed to lend themselves more towards the group dynamic, and after praying about it for several days, we knew that was the right direction to take and the doors really swung open,” Chad recalls. “A mutual friend sent us Kyle’s MySpace page and then we met Caleb because they were already performing together. Alan officially came on board after that, even though he started out in more of a behind the scenes role.”
Adds Alan: “I was talking with my wife and really praying for direction with all of this and it just seemed like there was more for me then just songwriting. So I hopped on board and we named ourselves Yellow Cavalier, inspired by a friend who was really proud of the fact he owned that very car and color, which we still laugh at to this day!”
With the foursome full in tact, Alan continued penning a series of songs with Keith Everette Smith (also this debut disc’s producer, who’s credits also include Jadon
Lavik, Meredith Andrews, Matt Papa and The Bolts), inviting the others to collaborate in both lyrical content and instrumental arrangements. Together the fellas formulated a self-titled EP, packed tightly with thought provoking topics and a variety of stylistic explorations.
“I’ve written at least a hundred songs prior to these sessions, which artists often say is the point where you actually start to develop as a songwriter,” unveils Alan. “So these are like songs 101-105 where I feel more confident than I ever have after grinding it out for such a long time getting my feet wet. But every song is still a group effort where we all contribute to the overall creativity and take turns on the leads.”
“Give It All To You” is one such example of an obvious home run, chronicling a believer giving all they have to God, including their most treasured ambitions and aspirations. “Down” and “Beautiful” also revolves around relationships, but in a much more romantic sense pertaining to a husband’s unceasing love for his wife and desire to be with no other woman.
Emotion, intellect and faith soon collide throughout “Freedom Into Slavery,” which finds the guys laying out an honest confession of their wrongdoings, but also tracing divine deliverance through forgiveness and unending grace, which is often taken for granted. “Never Stop” also acknowledges God’s unconditional love for His children, reminding all that no matter how far they deviate from the narrow path, they will always be welcomed with open arms.
“We’re not aiming at one particular audience,” contends Caleb. “We’re writing from the perspective of our worldview, which happens to be Jesus Christ, but we’re also addressing issues anyone can relate to.”
Beyond lyrical connectivity, the music found therein will certainly shake the stereotypes associated with bands tagged to the faith-based marketplace. “Sometimes Christians listen to Christian music simply because they want to be encouraged, but are almost sacrificing the music they’d rather be listening to just for the lyrics,” suggests Alan. “We’ve set out with this EP to encourage people, but also come at a place musically where you’d pick it up because it’s simply great music. We’ve been encouraged by a lot of Christian music growing up, but again, we’re going back to the DC Talk dynamic of really trying to raise the bar and have musical quality feed the lyrics God has given us.”
Continues Kyle: “I know a lot of friends who are believers, but won’t turn on Christian stations because they don’t feel it’s as interesting as say a top 40 station. Yellow Cavalier wants our music to honor Christ, but really speak to this up and coming generation to the same degree they’d relate to music in the mainstream culture.”
Even with the ability to bridge the gap between audiences, the players are still incredibly serious when it comes to outreach and consider the group a calling rather than just a quest for rock star superiority. Though Yellow Cavalier is sure to thrive with audiences on both sides of the faith fence, it hopes to boldly communicate its beliefs to listeners of either persuasion.
“On this record from beginning to end, it’s certainly based around human emotions, but with a theme of God working in every aspect of life,” summarizes Alan. “All we have to do is give back anything we’re going through to God, and in our case, it’s cool to see how He’s orchestrated bringing us together. We feel blessed and privileged and want to use all He’s given to us to turn back and minister to others no matter where they’re at in life.”
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yery good!| Posted November 04, 2012
I originally thought that anthem lights debut album was amazing and that no other album could beat it until I heard yellow cavalier! Great collision of pop and christian music and personally, I like YC better than anthem lights.(hince my name!!!)