Critically acclaimed Christian pop/rock band Circleslide celebrated the release of their sophomore album, Echoes of the Light, with a special live performance at Nashville’s Apple store last week. Fans gathered amidst the shiny new Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPods to hear the guitar-driven band play songs from Echoes of the Light and to get an opportunity to meet the band members.
It was a perfect setting for Circleslide, whose new CD hit the Top 100 on iTunes’ Top Christian Gospel Albums chart during release week. Their new “Art Vingle” version of “You Are Everything,” painted by Nashville artist Randy Elrod and captured in time lapse video, is currently available on iTunes. The band members, who use iPods, iPhones and MacBook Pros, recorded demos for the new album on GarageBand and regularly use an iPod nano for additional tracks during their concerts. The MacBook the band employs for syncing video and tracks was destroyed in the recent Nashville flood, but has been replaced.
“We don’t have many opportunities to play in Nashville, so it was a thrill to be playing to a home crowd full of our family, friends and fans in the Green Hills Apple Store,” says Circleslide frontman Gabe Martinez. “Like a lot of musicians, we view our Macs and iPods as just another piece of gear, like a guitar or a cymbal, so it felt really natural to play these songs inside an Apple Store. Wade and all the ‘geniuses’ made us feel right at home with their incredible support for the local music scene. An added bonus was having Randy Elrod in the crowd. He was commissioned to paint a picture for the song ‘You Are Everything,’ and I think I caught a smile as the video of his painting played behind us on the Genius Bar Screens. It was a memorable night, for a lot of reasons…but seeing people dancing to our tunes in the aisles of the Apple Store will go down as one of my favorite moments of this year.”
Released October 5, Echoes of the Light is already generating a buzz in the industry with early press featured by JCTV’s “1 Music Village,” Charisma Magazine, HM Magazine, ChristianityToday.com, CCM, New Release Tuesday, HearitFirst, BREATHEcast and more.
Since the band’s debut project, which landed them on Christianity Today‘s list of “Best New Artists of 2006,” among other accolades, Circleslide — whose lineup includes frontman Gabe Martinez, lead guitarist Jonathan DeAnda, bassist Eric Vickers and drummer Lee Yoder — has toured unceasingly, refining their modern rock ruminations, while keeping their ministry agenda firmly in focus. In addition to shows with newsboys, tobyMac, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Salvador, Jaci Velasquez and downhere, the guitar-driven band has headlined everything from clubs to churches and colleges, with plenty of youth camps and outreach events in between — all of which build off the group’s Youth With A Mission beginnings.The band was developing the new project last spring when Nashville was hit with a devastating flood that destroyed Martinez’s house, as well as all of the band’s gear, instruments, PA and trailer.
“We were out of town when the flood happened,” remembers Martinez. “A friend who was staying at our house waded through five feet of water to save some vintage guitars, but other than that, we had to completely rebuild from scratch. The Nashville community really came together, though. So many people showed up to help us sort through the mess and rebuild — four different church groups, friends and neighbors and people we didn’t even know. Thanks to amazing organizations like MusiCares, Graceworks Ministries and Porter’s Call, we’ve been able to replace our music gear and home appliances, and we have a renewed realization that God has called us to this ministry. Nothing’s going to hold us back from spreading His word.”
Circleslide’s ordeal, and the season of spiritual reassurance which followed, directly inspired the band’s recent songwriting process, and the band has evolved sonically since the last project — not only do they sound more explosive, dynamic and melodic than ever, but the choruses are instantaneously contagious from an initial spin of the album. There’s also an increased continuity that comes from producer and fellow Save the City labelmate Brandon Bee (Stacie Orrico, Lanae Hale, Benjiman). Expect shades of anthemic alternative acts like Arcade Fire and The Flaming Lips, crossed with the edge of Kings of Leon and the envelope pushing likes of The Choir (from whom the band gleaned its moniker). The new album also reveals a worship side of Circleslide that fans have experienced at their live shows.
Echoes of The Light is conceptual from start to finish, sequenced impeccably to take the listener through a roller coaster of musical and spiritual emotions. There is an undeniable and immediately apparent chemistry across the dozen cuts that is especially refreshing in an iTunes age of picked-apart albums in search of a single or two.
All the while, it’s impossible to take a listen through Echoes of the Light and not be struck with an unbreakable sense of perseverance from Circleslide members in both professional and personal contexts. In exposing their own vulnerabilities, the guys’ authenticity is evident. At the same time, the album possesses an ability to inspire others from any walk of life looking for the resolve to press on.
Circleslide’s Echoes of The Light is available on Save the City Records and distributed through Provident-Integrity Distribution. For more information on Circleslide and Echoes of the Light, visit circleslide.net or savethecityrecords.com.
Pictured (L to R): Circleslide’s Eric Vickers and Jonathan DeAnda, Apple’s Wade Schuerman, Circleslide’s Lee Yoder and Gabe Martinez.