BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Rush of Fools’ Sophomore Album Honors The 'Wonder of the World'
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBNmusic Guest Writer
Kevin Huguley is still in awe these days, trying to figure how he went from a guy who wanted to make music to being in one of the most recognized groups on Christian radio stations throughout the country. The keyboardist and vocalist for Rush of Fools laughs when he reminisces about how the group of five young men came together in their musical ministry.
Kevin was introduced to lead vocalist Wes Willis by his wife’s younger sister just over three years ago. Kevin had just finished college and had gotten married; Wes was a recent high school graduate. The pair, having each come from their own band, started hanging out and writing music. Then they got a call about a drummer who was looking for a band. Jamie Sharpe was only 15, but Kevin and Wes were blown away by his talent, so they asked him join them . In 2005, Wes met bass player Jacob Chesnut. “He filled in…and he’s still filling in,” says Kevin. The fifth member of the band, JD Frazier, came along at the start of 2006. “We are truly five different lives that God has intertwined together to make what we are.”
Reflecting on their beginnings, Kevin says, “It kind of landed in our laps. There was a showcase in Nashville, and a country music label saw us – a country label! – and they wanted a Christian band. We started thinking the Lord might be calling us to do this full time. It wasn’t even on our radar. I always knew when I grew up I wanted to be a pastor and plant churches, but this is what God had planned for us. It’s a different calling, and it’s hard, but it’s honorable and we’ve seen a lot of lives changed through this.”
With eight years of age separating the five band members, each of them has sensed that there is a unique calling of God for them to be together. “We weren’t trying to create this…it just happened,” says Kevin. “At first we were like I don’t know if this whole band thing is really what we want to do. We have friends who think we’re living the dream, but I don’t see where leaving your family and your beautiful wives to be on the road 200 days a year is what I would call a dream. It’s a calling of God, and I think we’ve fallen in love with it more now than before. But I think if we got the call tomorrow that we’d need to pack up, we’d be OK with that. You can’t do it because you want to do it…you do it because God wants you to.”
Musically, the band members’ interests span almost a decade. So has that influenced their songs? “You wouldn’t believe!” says Kevin. “The genres we listen to…it’s so varied. Wes only listened to Christian music growing up. I never did. But I listened to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. Jamie listens to hip-hop. All that variety adds a nice flavor to what we do.”
So what exactly is it that they “do”? Kevin says the band has matured musically from their first album in 2007. “I think we’re just now settling into where God wants us. We don’t want to do anything super different musically, because we feel called to be strict on our lyrics. We don’t want to recreate anything musically to make people go ‘oooh’. We don’t follow a formula…we just go with what happens.” And who takes credit for all the creativity? Kevin says that he and Wes write the music, but “the rest of the group make it sound good. They add so much in the studio. We all pour our hearts out into those songs.”
When Rush of Fools hit single “Undo” hit the top of the music charts in 2007, the band became an overnight sensation. They didn’t enjoy their success for long before getting back into the studio and digging their heels into another song writing adventure. Kevin said they began writing songs in late 2007 and early 2008. “We said, ‘Let’s see what God gives us.’” By the end of January, they had about 30 good songs to work with and narrow down for their new album Wonder of the World, which released this past September.
Is it possible that a band can release an album one year, release another the next year, and have a completely different feel? It appears so. “We really felt that God was calling us to write vulnerably about ourselves and about our sins so that we could expose all weaknesses so that Jesus could shine that much brighter. It goes all the way down to our name in that we would demote our values so that God would be exalted. We asked God to give us more songs about Him and His grace on us.” Kevin says the first record focused more on the negatives, but he believes that’s what God wanted them to do -- to admit their brokenness.
“God has grown us and has taken us through amazing stories. We have new songs that focus on the concept that there is no sin on this earth that God can’t save us from….the bigness of God and the wonder of God. And that’s where the title of the new album comes from. All of us can have an idea of a wonder of the world, but it’s the manmade things that come to mind. Really, as believers we look at Jesus not as a wonder of the world, but as THE wonder of the world. He’s more wonderful than anything we could ever sing about.”
And when asked what mark Rush of Fools wishes to leave on this big world, Kevin quickly answers, “It’s truth. We want to promote the truth of the Gospel. If it’s not biblical, it’s not worth singing about. We don’t want to follow what’s cool as much as we want to follow what honors God the most.”
These guys aren’t alone in the way they think, so what makes them stand out among a plethora of new and veteran music artists? “Gosh, I’d love to know the answer to that myself! From day one for us, it’s been strong. We’ve been thrown into a whirlwind. We are very firm believers in the sovereign power of God, and we’ve always believed that there is a special message that He wants to get out through us. We’ve heard stories about how others have been healed through our songs, but really it has very little to do with us. It’s all about God.”
Purchase the band's new album, Wonder of the World.
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