"Christ the Lord is Risen Today," a scorching rock rendition of the classic John Wesley hymn, is the first single from the band's upcoming, self-titled debut album. The single showcases an updated rock sound, including soaring signature John Schlitt vocals and production that echoes the familiar Whiteheart sound.
Few artists have been more influential in defining contemporary Christian rock 'n' roll than Petra and Whiteheart. The two bands collectively have sold more than 12 million records, generated more than 25 #1 songs, and earned more than 15 Grammy and 40 Dove nominations and awards. It seemed like only a matter of time before John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, and Billy Smiley, guitarist, singer, and founding member of Whiteheart, would team up. That time is now.
The idea of a new project really intrigued both of us," Schlitt declares. "With our histories, it only made sense to feature Petra and Whiteheart favorites along with the new songs that we were writing in the studio."
Smiley adds, "John and I got together last fall and started writing some songs and reminisced over both of our histories and journeys. With the chemistry and friendship that developed, we also started brainstorming about taking this new material we were creating out on the road in 2016."
Fans can look forward to the release of the new CD project, available exclusively at Lifeway Stores on June 17, 2016, and digitally on iTunes and other popular online outlets worldwide. The project will feature ten new compositions, along with updated versions of Petra and Whiteheart classics.
Joining Schlitt and Smiley in the studio is Anthony Sallee (Whiteheart) on bass, new artist Jason Fowler on guitar and vocals, Steve Brewster (Peter Cetera) on drums, Jonathan Crone on guitar, and John Ellis, lead singer from Tree63, on guitar and vocals.
Smiley is producing the record and bringing in on select songs an all-star cast of musicians including Brian Wooten (Whiteheart, Trace Adkins) on guitar, Chris McHugh (Whiteheart, Keith Urban) on drums, Brennan Smiley (The Technicolors) on guitar, Peter Furler (Newsboys) on drums and vocals, and Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) on bass.
Richie Biggs (Whiteheart, Petra, and The Civil Wars) is mixing the record.