Between the Liner Notes
Avalon: 'Another Time, Another Place'
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBNmusic Guest Writer
Christian music’s favorite artists and their historical songs will not be hidden in a vault if Avalon can help it. On February 26, the group will release its ninth studio album, ‘Another Time, Another Place’, which pays tribute to 15 classic favorites. Avalon’s female members, Janna Long and Melissa Greene, can’t wait to share their musical renditions of some of Christian music’s most inspiring artists like Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Twila Paris, and Steven Curtis Chapman, to name a few.
Heidi: Why is it important for you to bring back so many well-known favorites?
Janna: We all grew up in church and Christian music played a role in our lives. A lot of these songs touched us individually. In the early days of Avalon, we toured with Crystal Lewis, Twila Paris, and Sandi Patty. We were affected by their songs growing up and by the artists, and we wanted to do an album that paid tribute to Christian music.
Heidi: How did you choose the songs for your album?
Melissa: It’s always a difficult process with four of us. We started out with songs that we all loved and affected us in great ways and then we looked at charts … number one songs from the past that had impacted people. We added up all the votes and ended up with these 15 songs. There were tons of other ones we wanted to do, too.
Heidi: Is there any fear that fans of the old songs or artists won’t respond to your album as well as they might have with the original artist?
Melissa: We thought about that and still think about that, but we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. We prayed that people would see that we were taking a new spin on these songs but not taking anything away from the original.
Heidi: How did you select Sandi Patty’s song as the title for your album?
Melissa: She had so many huge songs back in the day. That song in particular really resonated with us. It talks about the struggles that we go through here in life, but the reality is that it’s not the end. It was beautiful the first time around, and the record label thought it was a strong contender for a single. They loved the play on the words with another time, another place. I think they suggested it would be the title.
Heidi: I read your group’s favorite song is “God is in Control” Is that true?
Janna: We all have just loved it. We started singing that last summer, and we knew that was going to be the first single out. We’re still singing it! We love the message and the groove and the way the track was updated. It’s a timeless message.
Melissa: It’s definitely one of my favorites, too. It has a great energy. That song was huge for Twila, and it had just gotten song of the year right after we toured with her. It had such a huge impact for her. She was a great artist to have your first tour with. She was a classy lady and a woman of huge integrity, so it brought some nostalgia back for me, for sure.
Heidi: What makes this record stand out from the others that are out there right now?
Janna: I think it’s because it’s a novelty, so to speak. Lots of people in mainstream music have done redone classics … and the audiences seem to love that and have rushed out to buy that, and that was one of the things that helped us in our deciding factor to do this album. We love these songs, and they are the ones we grew up on. I think this album introduces those songs to a new audience of younger people that didn’t’ grow up on Christian music, but now that they’re updated in a new style, they’ll realize the message is still the same.
* * *
When health problems led to the departure of founding member Jody McBrayer in the spring of 2007, the remaining threesome was left to fill a big pair of shoes. Janna and Melissa dish on new band member Jeremi Richardson.
Heidi: Your album is not the only big news in your camp. Let’s talk about your newest member, Jeremi.
Janna: Jeremi came on with us toward the end of September. He’s a great, great guy with an amazing presence. He’s such a tremendous singer. I’m not sure we even realized just how talented he was. He’s just such a sweet spirit. I think God brought us the person He had in mind all along.
Heidi: When Jody left, what did the process look like for finding a replacement?
Melissa: We’ve never done open auditions, but we’ve been asked to do that … like American Idol-type contests. We never felt like that was what we needed to do. Jeremi and I were at Lee University [Cleveland, TN] at the same time. We were friends, but we were in different singing groups. I wouldn’t say we were close friends because we had our own schedules with our own groups. When it came time to find someone, I remembered him and made a call, and he was recommended by another friend as well. We wanted to know the person or have someone recommended to us. We found a couple of great guys, but we never felt this peace until Jeremi came along. He joined us on stage for a concert, and we all three knew he was the guy.
Heidi: How do you adjust to a new band member emotionally and make that seamless adjustment so that no one sees disconnect when you get up on stage?
Janna: There’s a lot to be said for what Melissa mentioned. There was that night in Oklahoma when we just felt something with Jeremi. Obviously, Jody’s leaving was a very big deal, but there was a peace in knowing that God brought Jeremi to us for this season. It’s like in any relationship, though, it takes time. When God’s in charge, things just fall into place. He’s not felt any weirdness, and we’ve not felt weirdness. It seemed like a natural fit. It really clicked. We knew that night that if Jeremi wanted to come be a part of our ministry, we were ready for him.
Heidi: Is there something new that Jeremi brings to the group that was missing before?
Melissa: Jeremi’s come in and blown us away. Jody had this great voice and great stage presence … it’s been so neat because Jeremi has a lot of the same great qualities. He just makes us laugh so much. Also, Jeremi was a worship leader, and that just brings a whole new aspect to the group. He’s bringing lots of ideas. It’s a whole new fresh view … a breath of fresh air. It’s been so neat how God has given us the entire package. He has this canny way of saying ‘I have more than you can ask for.’
Check out Avalon’s website at www.AvalonLive.com.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.