Third Day gives fans something to believe in

Posted Online: March 05, 2014, 12:17 pm
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By Jonathan Turner,
Like the belief that we may someday see spring, sometimes you gotta have faith. And the rock band Third Day gives its fans that something to believe in.

Over 21 years and 12 albums, the Atlanta-based quartet -- which headlines at Moline's iWireless Center Sunday -- offers hard rocking anthems filled with life-affirming lyrics that uplift and inspire. Third Day's most-recent disc, "Miracle" (which debuted November 2012), is their way to reach out to the widest possible audience.

Produced by rock legend Brendan O'Brien, well-known for his work with Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Train, and the Killers, "Miracle" found the band exploring new sonic territory.

"Working with Brendan O'Brien really gave it a freshness," drummer David Carr said in a recent interview. The in-demand producer mixed their album "Wire" 10 years ago, and when it came time for Third Day to do "Miracle," "we kind of gave up asking him," Mr. Carr said. "We thought he was too busy, out of our league, and then he called us out of the blue."

"He's never been pigeonholed, just does one thing," he said of Mr. O'Brien. "A producer is like the director of the movie -- this big picture, trying to make sure the sound of everything is fresh, the arrangements are good, overseeing the whole process. He ended up playing on a lot of stuff."

"It's been received really well -- a lot of our fans really appreciated us trying something new, trying something different," Mr. Carr said of the new record. "Brendan brought a certain credibility. It helps to have somebody like that listed as producer. We've always prided ourselves as working outside the box of Christian music. It might be a subtle difference. It changes the way we think about our band, keeps us pursuing something beyond the typical day in and day out. It keeps us dreaming bigger than Nashville."

Third Day has earned four Grammy awards (with 11 total nominations) 24 GMA Dove Awards (42 total nominations), one platinum album and eight gold albums. Its hits include "Show Me Your Glory," "I Believe," "Cry Out to Jesus," "Mountain of God," "Call My Name," "Born Again" and "Trust in Jesus."

"It's been really great over the years, to see the number of people from all walks of life, different persuasions of faith to be inspired by the music," Mr. Carr said, with their mission of bringing "the message of hope and joy to people's lives."

"They came to me and said, 'We're looking to make music that appeals to our fans and our spiritual side, but we want to break out a little bit and invite everyone in," Mr. O'Brien said in a band release. "When I hear this's very inviting. It brings people in. It's saying, 'Come along and hear what we have to say.' It really moves me.

"I really appreciate the hard work these guys have done. I think the song 'You Are My Everything' might be one of the best songs I have ever worked on," he said.

The album's title track, and first radio single, was inspired by a conversation the band had with a couple in New Jersey after a concert. "Their son was in a really depressed place in life. He drove way into the woods and was going to commit suicide," lead singer Mac Powell recounted. "But he turned on the radio and he heard 'Cry Out To Jesus.' It literally changed his heart and gave him encouragement to keep going."

Mr. Powell took the essence of that story and penned the song "I Need a Miracle."

A Christianity Today review said the CD switches between "layered guitar romps and earthy ballads, plus a rare glimpse of front man Mac Powell's impressive falsetto on 'For the Rest of My Life.' Lyrically, they're still up front with bold faith, while also addressing brokenness. The end result is likely to be a catalog treasure."

Mr. Carr, 39, said that beyond entertaining, the band wants to continue offering people hope and encouragement. "If there is any over arching theme on the record, it's about pressing on and holding onto faith in the midst of doubt," he said.

On the current tour, Third Day is headlining a long list of contemporary Christian acts -- comprised of Skillet, Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Peter Furler, and We as Human.

If you go

-- What: Third Day and Skillet, with guests Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Peter Furler and We as Human.
-- When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
-- Where: iWireless Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline.
-- Tickets: $17.50, $22.50, and $32.50, available at iWireless Center box office, 800-745-3000 or


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1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
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