Music News : Amy Grant Signs with Sparrow Records

Amy grant

After 30 years with Word Records, Christian music pioneer Amy Grant has left the roster, signing a deal with EMI Christian Music Group’s Sparrow label that will include her catalog as well as new music.”We are certainly honored by Amy’s confidence in us to carry on her musical legacy,” says Bill Hearn, president/CEO EMI Christian Music Group. “It certainly is a historical moment for EMI.”

Grant signed with Word in October 1976, one month shy of her 16th birthday. “I had a great run with Word and still love the people there,” Grant tells Billboard, “but I feel like EMI is uniquely outfitted to do great things for the catalog. And I’ve known Bill Hearn and his father for over 25 years. There’s a comfort level there.”

EMI has the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Bob Seger, Frank Sinatra and other major catalogs and EMI executives look forward to working Grant’s music. “We really have a passion and mission for Amy’s catalog,” says Hearn. “We’re going to repackage and re-master all 16 of her catalog titles and release them all together on August 14th both physically and digitally as well as a suite of mobile products for the cell phone. There’s never been a ‘Baby, Baby’ ring tone. Imagine how popular that could be.”

In addition to the August releases, EMI will release a new greatest hits package in October that will include at least one song from each of Grant’s previous studio albums. There will also be a special edition issued that will include a bonus DVD of Grant’s music videos and other content.

When news surfaced that Grant’s contract with Word was ending, there was much speculation as to whether she’d stay with Word or sign with one of the other three major Christian music companies. At one point, there were rumors she might sign with Sony/BMG’s Provident Music Group because Grant is managed by Blanton, Harrell, Cooke and Corzine, and the firm’s other major client, Michael W. Smith, is on Provident’s Reunion label.

In the end, EMI won out. “I just think we presented a marketing plan that really resonated with Amy’s team,” says Hearn. “That’s why we got the deal. We have a unique situation here at EMI CMG in that we have a strong partnership with EMI Music’s catalog marketing division.”

Grant is able to take her catalog with her to EMI because, in an unusual feat for an artist, she has always owned her master recordings.

Grant’s departure from Word is the end of an era for the 56-year-old company. “Word is honored to have been part of Amy’s career for the past 30 years,” says Word senior VP of marketing Rod Riley. “She is a pioneer that paved the way for so many other Christian artists and we wish her the best on all her endeavors.”

Grant will be on tour this summer with her husband Vince Gill and the Del McCoury Band. She’s working on a book for Waterbrook Press due out this fall titled “Mosaic,” a collection of poems, stories, and other writings.

As for the direction of her next album, “It’s probably too early to say,” Grant muses. “I’ve been working really hard to do this [book] project and that’s all I have thought about.”


Music News : Stryper Releases Original Demos


On July 10, Fifty-Three Five Records will release the original demo recordings of legendary Christian metal band Stryper, or Roxx Regime, as they were known in 1983. The CD known as The Roxx Regime Demos, contains no over-dubs or re-recordings, and includes the original version of the MTV and Billboard hit song “Honestly,” will be in stores nationwide through Infinity Music Distribution and Redeye Distribution, Inc.

“We’re excited to release what the fans have always wanted – the original demos that got the band signed to Enigma Records,” says lead singer Michael Sweet, who recently released a new solo project titled HIM. “Without the fans, we wouldn’t be here and this is a small way to say ‘Thank you’. For all of you who have requested this time and time again, it’s finally here – in their original raw form!”

Long before Stryper’s multi-platinum albums and chart-topping videos, brothers Robert and Michael Sweet teamed up with high-school classmate Oz Fox and local bass player Timothy Gaines to form a band that would forever change Christian music. The group released a demo project in 1983 under the name Roxx Regime and started playing the local Hollywood club circuit. They eventually caught the ears of Enigma Records and changed their name to Stryper before the release of their national debut album, The Yellow and Black Attack, in 1984. Stryper would go on to sell more than 8 million albums worldwide, with several projects striking RIAA-certified gold. The group’s unprecedented 1986 album To Hell with the Devil went platinum and was named one of the “100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music” by CCM Magazine.

Starting today, Stryper fans can pre-order The Roxx Regime Demos exclusively , where an original vintage Roxx Regime T-Shirt will also be available. All pre-orders will ship on 7-7-07.

Music News : New John Schlitt Solo Album

John Schlitt

John Schlitt announces his signing with the Franklin, Tennessee based Fused Management. Schlitt will release his third solo album, The Grafting, in January through TAG Artist Group – his first solo effort in more than ten years.

Best known as the voice behind the four time Grammy Award and ten time Dove Award-winning group PETRA, Schlitt continues with a solo career following the band’s retirement in 2005. In his role as PETRA’s lead singer, Schlitt wrote the #1 hit “Just Reach Out” and earned RIAA-certified GOLD status for the albums Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out and Beyond Belief. Schlitt also earned a third Gold album (Flat as a Pancake) as the front man for the ‘70s classic rock band Head East. With PETRA, Schlitt has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and was the first Christian group to be celebrated by Hard Rock Café.

During his tenure with PETRA, Schlitt released a solo album, Shake, in 1995 that included the radio hits “Show Me the Way,” “Inside of You,” “Unfit for Swine” and “Can’t Get Away.”

“I’m very excited to be working with Fused Management,” says Schlitt. “My career is going in a whole new direction with new management and a new album. The music itself is going down a whole new path; the fact that my interests have changed as I have grown older is reflected in The Grafting.”

“The subject matter on this project is just as important as the music,” explains Schlitt. “The songs cover a variety of adult-themed topics including adoption, divorce, taking care of third world children, among other issues of importance in today’s world.”

The Grafting has a unique family connection which contributed to the creative and emotional evolution of the project.

“My son-in-law, Dan Needham, produced the album,” adds Schlitt. “So, ultimately I felt a lot more comfortable going places subject-wise that were really personal to me. There were actually some moments during the process of recording when we all got choked up and had to stop. That was a new experience for me.”

For more information and a preview of The Grafting, complete with commentary by Schlitt, visit the official website at

Music News : Michael Tait Joins Newsboys


After 22 years and more than 2000 shows, newsboys frontman Peter Furler will no longer front the band in concert. Michael Tait will be touring with the band as lead singer with Peter making special appearances throughout the year.Peter will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future newsboys recordings.

Michael has been on the road with the band over the past weeks working alongside Peter in what has been a positive and enjoyable experience for both parties. It has been a graceful process that both Peter and Michael have worked through as they prepare to make the change in the coming weeks.

Peter states, “newsboys to me has always been a mission, and I entrust Mike, Jeff, Jody and Duncan to continue all that is in store for us as a band. I’m looking forward to focusing on the band’s studio career and spending time in my own bed after many years in a tour bus and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road.”

Wes Campbell, newsboys manager, explains, “Whilst the decision to replace Peter on the road was a painstaking one, when the idea of dc Talk vocalist Michael Tait was presented, it was a no-brainer to all of us. No one can replace Peter, but we know Michael will bring a new attitude, energy and vocal style that will thrill our audience. To be able to continue a world class show and still have Peter behind the scenes guiding the career and making of newsboys music is a huge opportunity for all of us. It’s amazing that after many years of touring with dc Talk in the 1990’s, that in 2009 our paths would cross once again. It’s an exciting time for all of us.”

“For years dc Talk and newsboys have been family and thus shared the same loyal and adoring fans,” says Michael Tait. “When I received the initial call from newsboys to consider joining the band as lead singer, I was speechless! I immediately sought wise counsel and flooded the heavens with endless prayers for insight and vision, and I soon received a clear and definite peace. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to perform my first show as newsboys’ frontman to an audience of 12,000 people. I was completely wrapped in love and support by newsboys’ fans, who are clearly the best fans on the planet. Now I know this is exactly where I belong in this new and wonderful moment in my life’s history. This is a definite highlight of my career and for my 20+ years of walking with Jesus, and I am humbled, proud and privileged to call myself a newsboy.”

In the coming days, Peter will be releasing a personal statement on the band’s website in more detail.

The band has recently finished recording its new studio album, In The Hands of God, which features Peter as lead vocalist on the entire album. Street date for this record is May 5th.

With five gold albums, sales exceeding six million units, more than 20 No.1 radio hits, and a mantle of Dove Awards as well as Grammy nominations, newsboys has achieved phenomenal success in its two decades together. Known for its amazing live performances and groundbreaking tours, the band continues to sell out festivals and concerts worldwide, satisfying diehard fans and winning new ones in the process.

Interviews : TobyMac


Long before Tobymac was visiting or renovating Diverse City,

he was rappin’ it up with his group DC Talk. Formed at Lynchburg

Virginia’s Liberty University in the mid 1980s DC Talk would eventually

go on to become one of the biggest selling and well known Christian

music acts of all time. In our latest artist interview, Tobymac chats

with Christian Music Rewind regarding his early days with DC Talk,

discussing how the group came to be, and their progression

through the groups various phases.

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Interviews : Billy Smiley

Billy Smiley

Tune in for a history of Whiteheart from beginning to end

with someone who was a part of the band the entire time.

As a founding member of Whiteheart, Billy talks about the

bands formation, their music, and various band members over

the years. He even opens up about a major crisis that could

have ended Whiteheart just a few years after they began.

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Interviews : Bob Hartman

Bob Heartman

As the founder of Petra, Bob has seen it all. From their beginnings

playing in high school gyms, to the sold out area shows.

Hear the story of Petra first hand from this Christian rock Legend.

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Interviews : Greg X. Volz

Greg X. Volts

Greg X. Volz is best known for being Petra’s frontman during

their middle years, but the legendary Christian singer

has also had a substantial solo career with ten Top 10 hits to his credit.

Find out more about Greg’s career including his stint with Petra and

his current status as an artist in this exclusive interview

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Interviews : Interview with John Schlitt

John Schlitt

John Schlitt is most recognized for his near 20-year spot

as the lead singer of the band Petra. John talks about the

history of the band and the different members over the

years, including the time he almost called it quits.

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