1. Oh, the things you'll see on tour. While on tour with Hawk Nelson, JJ Heller stumbled upon a large Christmas tree ornament embedded in the sidewalk in Oklahoma City. Her reaction? "Thanks to my years of ninja training, I was able to narrowly escape this falling ornament."
2. Bethel Music's Amanda Cook, who sings the worship movement's latest hit, "You Make Me Brave," won three awards at GMA Canada's Covenant Awards. Amanda took home honors for Best Female Vocalist, and her song "You Make Me Brave" won Song of the Year and Praise & Worship Song of the Year! Big congrats to one of Bethel's favorite Canadians!
3. Baby news! Singer/songwriter Jonny Diaz and his wife, Libby, announced they're expecting their first baby in May! Jonny said he expects a lot more songwriting material coming his way.
4. First Rend Collective shocked fans by releasing a surprise EP. Now it appears to be a trend, with bands Willet, Shine Bright Baby and Shaun Groves saying, "Oh by the way, we have this Christmas project…" In other news, Hillsong Worship released a teaser video of its forthcoming Christmas album, because they're too excited about you opening your present from them!
5. Steve Taylor is back, and he has a few friends with him. The CCM rock pioneer has joined forces with Peter Furler (yes, THAT Peter Furler), Jimmy Abegg and John Mark Painter for a supergroup called Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil. They surprised fans by letting them hear their entire debut album, Goliath, free all of release week at NewReleaseTuesday.com.
6. Remedy Drive spent the last week or so bringing the new music from Commodity to new friends and fans in Norway and Finland. Besides taking beautiful pictures of the outdoors there, frontman David Zach said he was taken by the hospitality and kindness of the locals, saying, "I've never been more thankful to make music for a living than I was singing, eating, driving and celebrating with our new Scandinavian friends."
7. While a lot of Mars Hill Music's bands made difficult, prayerful decisions to part ways with the church in the wake of its recent troubles, Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue is still there, and is still technically a deacon at the church. He's released a solo project, and now his worship-oriented music lives under a new name, The Modern Post, and the side gig is coming out with a Christmas EP, Lowborn King, on November 24th. The record mixes well-known songs like "What Child is This" and "Angels We Have Heard On High" with curious new originals like "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" and "This is War."
8. Bus rides between gigs can be long and boring sometimes for artists, but Jeremy Camp finds ways to keep stimulated while bonding with his family. He passed the time yesterday by engaging in a drawing contest with his daughters to see who could draw the best horse. Jeremy admitted defeat, but then asked in a hashtag, "Who can draw horses anyway?"
1. "I grew up in Oklahoma. I always had a close relationship with God. I never thought it was risky in the least. If anything, I thought it was the safest thing I could do." - Carrie Underwood
2. "Sometimes you don't see the fruit from seeds planted as you travel, but God's word will not return void." - Deshon Bullock, "Shonlock"
3. "We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it." - Pastor Rick Warren via Mandisa