Music has a way of bringing life into sharper focus and reminding us what’s truly important and real in a chaotic world. Insightful songs have always provided the foundation of 7EVENTH TIME DOWN’s ministry, and the band has never sounded more powerful or prophetic than on their new album GOD IS ON THE MOVE.
“GOD IS ON THE MOVE is a rallying cry. It’s encouraging, empowering,” says lead vocalist Mikey Howard. “I hope it’s a reminder that we’re all in this together and He is doing things in spite of all the negativity you see on the news, Facebook, Instagram and different media outlets. There’s a whole other story to be told.”
With their third album, the members of 7eventh Time Down continue to tell the story of God’s mercy and grace with a potent collection of songs that explore what it means to live a life of faith and to celebrate God’s promises. The lead single, aptly titled “Promises,” does exactly that. “God keeps His promises and He’s faithful,” says Howard. “God is good. He’s just, and He’s taking care of His people.”
Howard along with bandmates guitarist Eric Van Zant, drummer Austin Miller and bassist Cliff Williams wrote or co-wrote every song on the new album, sometimes collaborating with noted tunesmiths such as Ian Eskelin, Tony Wood, Brian White and Jason Ingram.
“This whole album is full of these really big concepts, but it’s also about very simplistic things that every Christian should know and remember,” Miller says. “We’ve been blessed to have several songs throughout our career that are very simple, but straight Gospel. All these songs connect that way.”
Since the release of their 2011 BEC Recordings debut album, Alive in You, the members of 7eventh Time Down have proven to be skilled at sharing the Gospel through well-crafted songs that combine substantive lyrics with engaging melodies and infectious rock ‘n roll attitude----skills the Kentucky-based musicians have been developing for a long time. “We started our first group when Austin was 11, I was 12 and Eric was 15,” says Howard. “We’ve been playing music together for years. We all grew up in the same hometown.”
That shared history and commitment to the same ministry goals provided a strong foundation as the band has seen their career explode over the past few years. Just Say Jesus, the title of the band’s 2013 sophomore album became a compelling hit that spent an impressive 52 weeks on the National Christian Audience chart. As radio continues to embrace the band’s music, they’ve earned an enthusiastic legion of fans while on the road touring with Newsboys, for King & Country, Family Force 5, Matthew West and other notable acts.
That valuable time on the road definitely had an impact on the songs the band delivers on their new album. “We’ve been touring the country for years, and every city we go to there are people gathering by the masses, and they’re all expecting that revival is just around the corner for our country and for their community,” says Howard. “We’re seeing it everywhere we go. We just want to remind people that, ‘Hey, you’re not alone. There are tons of believers out there, and they all are expecting the same things we are. They still believe that God is good and He keeps His promises.”
As God has increased their platform following the success of their first two albums, 7eventh Time Down has amplified their commitment to creating music that shares God’s love with a hurting world.
“With Just Say Jesus, we had so many people come to us and tell us their stories about how it impacted them and carried them through a situation,” says Van Zant. “We’re learning that that people are not just hearing the music. They’re absorbing it, and it’s influencing them. That has made me learn so much about songwriting and about what a song really is. It’s a three-minute sermon, and you can either uplift somebody, point them towards the cross, point them towards hope, salvation and restoration or you can point them towards devastation and hopelessness or point them towards nothing. Our approach is: What do people need to hear? What does God want to say? Let’s bend what we’re going to say to the music.”
Howard agrees and adds, “I’m very aware of stewarding God’s presence in the rooms I go into and the people I interact with, and that’s really difficult for me to do that because I want to be the center of attention and I’m selfish. But I’m starting to realize at 31-years-old, the father of two, that music’s probably the least important part of what we’re doing,” he confesses. I’m realizing that the sound of my voice and the music does not have the power to change hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Trying to steward His presence everywhere I go and trying to just chase His anointing trumps the music part of it. I feel really blessed to sing about Jesus, but more importantly I want to inspire people to be a steward of His presence.”
With more than a decade of music ministry behind them, the members of 7eventh Time Down realize more than ever that “God is on the Move,” and they are grateful to be part of that movement. “We’ve been doing this together for 11 years. Now we’re basking in God’s faithfulness. He’s giving us a bigger platform, fulfilling the promises that we know He made for us in His Word. The takeaway for me in this record is that God is always faithful. He’s always in motion. He’s always got a plan going. We can jump on board and be a part of that, knowing that it’s going to be scary at times. It’s going to be an adventure, but it’s going to be a story worth telling. He’s always going to pull you through until the very end. Like Romans says, ‘He works all things for our good.’ So everything is working for our good if we’re trusting God and just basking in His faithfulness. For me that says it all---He fulfills His promises every time.