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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tenth Avenue North taking it on the road





By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Christian band Tenth Avenue North is a band that's definitely been on the move.

Named the best-selling new Christian artist of 2008, Tenth Avenue North is currently touring in support of its latest album, "The Light Meets The Dark."

Tenth Avenue North will perform Sept. 30 at the The Chapel, 180 N. Hawthorne Road, Barrington. Also on the bill is Addison Road and the Rebecca Trent Band.

The show starts at 7 p.m., and general admission tickets are $20, available at www.itickets.com.

I had the chance to talk to Tenth Avenue North drummer Jason Jamison, who these days is juggling band duties with the recent birth of his second child, who was born in August.

Q - Congratulations on the birth of your child. How are things going?

It's a little bit of an adjustment, juggling kids. But so far, so good. We've been off the road, so I can spend some time with them before the tour starts up.

Q - How has it been balancing family life with band life?

That's the most difficult thing about what we do. I would say that everybody in the band would agree. And I don't think anyone has it figured out. But I do know it takes an amazing wife to be able to watch you go out and do music while they are at home with the kids. And I think family has to be the priority.

Q - Your first major label album, "Over and Underneath," turned out to be such a success. What were your goals for this album?

The second record is always the scary record, especially if the first record did pretty well. There was a little bit of pressure there as far as that goes, like we have to deliver something that is going to be comparable to the first.

But it really wasn't our focus. I think musically, we've grown. I think we have been able to play off each other better and create music together that is a better representation of kind of all of our styles.

So I feel like the second record was definitely a step up musically for us. All of us were really excited musically what happened. And I think thematically, we wanted it to kind of be a continuation of the first record.

The first record talked very specifically about our relationship with Jesus and the Gospel. The album's title "Over and Underneath," refers to God's love being over and under us, and in all things and through all things.

For the second record, there's two themes - identity and confession. The things that you've done, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, don't really define who you are. Instead, Christ defines who you are. He's the one that has made us a new creation.

If that's true, then it frees us up to confess our sins. The first single off the new record, "Healing Begins," basically says that if we believe we are a new creation, then all of a sudden our identity is not in jeopardy any more. Confessing our sins brings us healing, and light into dark places. That's kind of where we are going with it.

Q - Was it a surprise how successful the first album was?

Yeah, it was kind of crazy that people actually liked it. You are so closely tied to the music that you don't know if what you are creating is awesome or not.

Q - You majored in biblical studies. What would you being doing if you weren't in a band?

Well, I worked in a church with students for five or six years. And I really enjoyed it. It was a different pace than what I am doing now. Right now, I would probably go back to work at a church in some type of capacity.

I don't think I'm necessarily the senior pastor or even associate pastor type. But I could probably help out at a church.

Q - Are there bands out there that you admire what they are doing?

I think Switchfoot is a band favorite right now. Their new record is just incredible. There's a lot of bands that we enjoy listening to - Coldplay, Need To Breathe. We go through seasons. We are always listening to something different.

Q - All bands approach their music differently. Some bands view their music also as a ministry. Is that how Tenth Avenue North feels?

Yeah, absolutely. It's kind of where we start. If you keep that in mind, that helps with a lot of decision making. The music is more of a way we can communicate the Gospel.

Our end goal at the end of the night is not to melt people's faces with amazing guitar licks or drum solos, but instead to be able to say that we had a chance to encounter Christ, and maybe that night somebody was able to confess a sin or meet with the Lord for the first time.

Q - Do you find the Christian music label confining at all, that people might not want to listen to your music because it has that label?

I think the thing to remember is that truth is truth, no matter who says it. I could be listening to some mainstream pop band. I could be listening to Katy Perry, and she sings a lyric that might ring true.

God can use anything to communicate truth. It's something that we've talked about quite a bit as a band. There's no such thing really as Christian music. Music doesn't have a soul. I happen to be a Christian who is playing music.
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