By John J. Moser Of The Morning Call
Christian roots rocker David Crowder says his philosophy
is to go through life open to whatever might lie ahead.
That approach to life, he says, is what led him to, four years ago,
abandon his David Crowder Band, which in a decade
together had won eight Dove Awards and produced eight Top 5
Christian albums - the last of which, 2012's Give Us Rest,
crossed over to No. 2 on Billboard's overall Albums chart.
It also led him to start a new eponymously named band, whose debut album,
2014's Neon Steeple, topped the Christian chart, broke
Billboard's overall Top 10 and gave him a No. 1 Christian hit,
Come As You Are.
And it led him to swerve from that album's successful approach to a more
intimate approach on Crowder's sophomore disc, 2016's
Nearly two years later, still another hit from the album, All My Hope
with Tauren Wells is on Billboard's CCM charts at #3. And
Crowder is starting the third leg of the tour for that album,
which he cleverly calls American Prodigal 3.0.
In a recent call from northwest of Charleston, S.C., where he was doing a
concert that night, Crowder spoke about the disc and his career
since becoming Crowder.
here. David is here. Hey, hey.
[Laughs] How are you?
great, man. How about you?
fine, thanks. And thanks for taking out time to do this with me
Thank you for
including me. We have three one-offs [concerts] this weekend,
kind of get our toes back in the water and shake the dust off.
And then we start the tour - American Prodigal tour 3.0.
We're trying to remember how to play and sing right now. These folks are
in for a treat tonight; that's all I'm saying. [Laughs] We're
trying to do our job.
So you got us on Day 2, then. By then we'll have the stuff down. Let
people know we're gonna be totally professional by then
makes its way to Atlanta on Mary 4 as part of the Lift event at
Crowder's home base, Passion City Church. Appearing with him
will be his pastor, Louie Giglio, Passion and Matt
Crowder will also be part of Passion's annual Good Friday
event at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre with Louis Giglio and
Well, even if we
get a semi-good Crowder,
it'll be good. But I'm hoping for a great Crowder. So ...
why are you calling the tour 3.0?
well, it's very simple, and I apologize for my
straightforwardness and literal naming, but it's the third time
that we're going to go on tour supporting the American
Prodigal record that we released about a year and a half
So the first time we went through it, it was American Prodigal 1.0.
I don't know; I'm kinda taking my cues from all the updates that
Apple makes me do. And it seems like a real nice
organizational-type situation. So this will be the third time
out, so we called it The 3.0.
Great. So tell me about the current single,
All My Hope. Where did that come from,
how did it come together? How did you hook up with [singer]
goodness. Um, well, so the writing process, I wrote the song
with [four-time Gospel Music Awards Producer of the Yar]
Ed Cash, who's an incredible writer. He's written and
participated in a lot of songs that a lot of people would know
[including "How Great is Our God," which won five Dove
Awards]. I can't name them all; there's too many of them.
However, the Tauren Wells thing - we were performing at an awards show,
and we were looking for that artist to participate in the moment
so it felt like more of a 'we' instead of a 'me' situation, so
that it embraced the whole community of what it is to be in a
gospel/church community kind of what we're doing. And Tauren was
a part of it.
And, oh my goodness, his personality is what floored me on the front end.
Just a super-sweet human. And then when you hear him sing,
you're like, 'I quit!' [Laughs] Just to hear this guy ... the
guy is unbelievable. You know, and about the time we were
recording his portion on the record, I was, like, 'Hey man, I'll
be in Nashville such-and-such date. Can you get up there?' He
was, like, 'Yeah, I have a break on the Mariah Carey/Lionel
Richie tour, I can probably pop in there and record
something for you.'
I was like, 'Oh, my goodness, this is crazy. The guy's out with, like,
legends and then he's just going to pop in and sing? Goodness.
The guy - I don't think he knows anything that's not in pitch. And
colorful. It's incredible, amazing. And I said, a brilliant
human being. He's a great dude.
Does that signal any type of work that youíre doing? I mean, are
you writing any type of disc at this point? Are you looking to
do anything else in that vein?
currently, yes, currently writing for the next record. But it'll
be a good while before it comes out - probably not till October-ish.
So it's still a ways off, but always working.
And it's, ahh ... the shape of things develops as it goes. So I can't
quite tag what I'd classify the sounds as yet, but I'm just
following ... I'm just trying trace thread, follow the thread
right. So that leads me into the ... I know itís been out for a
while now, but I want to talk a little bit about American
Prodigal, and where that came from - what were you looking
to do with it? Did you do anything different?
Tell me a little bit of the story of the album.
usually have just a few key words in my head when I'm kind of
trying to write into a project. So I just really had the word
'prodigal' sitting there for a while. And then the 'American'
thing to modify it didn't come along till later.
But the whole point was to continue the story that we started with the
first record, [2014's] 'Neon Steeple,' and become more
personal expression. For me, 'Neon Steeple' was like a
Google map thing for me: zoom out and get a global view of
things. And then the 'American Prodigal record, it'ss way
more personal. Far more personal pronouns than the first one.
Kind of zooming in.
But the main thematic topic, I believe, would be classified as freedom.
It's like a journey toward freedom: There are things that we are
bound by, and the just getting through life is kind of difficult
down here at times [laughs].
And to understand that there's something bigger to live for than self.
And a lot of the stuff, as I said, that we're bound by - once
you let go of it and understand that you're participating in a
story, it's a grand story and that you get to be a part of,
goodness gracious, the freedom that comes in that is brilliant.
And that Jesus never started with morality. Every single interaction
that he had never started with morality. It started with what you
need and how can I give it to you, and from there it gets more
interesting. And that's kind of what the record is doing - it's
trying to set people free and get over the stuff that binds us. Let
the chains go, is kind of the whole point of it.
Crowder enjoys pushing the envelope in Christian music - up to a
"All My Hope"
live acoustic performance of
was the story behind Run Devil Run?
How did that song come to you?
Um, that was an
afternoon spent with a very good friend that I've known for a long
while - his name is Solomon Olds. He was the lead singer of a
band [Family Force 5] that I was a huge fan of, and he does a
lot of producing and programming.
And it was him and his wife and me and it came out of nowhere, man. We
were just talking about stuff that brings you down and binds you.
It's kind of a fist-in-the-air type song. It's kind of defiant in
its tone. And it really set me off on the whole journey of the
record. It was kind of the first - not kind of, it was, the first
song written going into it, and it gave context to the rest of it.
It's fun - it's a fun track. At the same time, I think when you get to
that bridge, it starts claiming some promises that are in scripture
that are about coming to life, as I said, in the freedom we're given
in light of Jesus.
surprised [laughs] were you to see that
used on Sunday Night Football?
[Laughs] Man, I
was sitting ... we were actually watching the game on the bus. I
can't remember what city we were in, but we were all sitting
watching the football game, and all of a sudden it starts going to
commercial, and we hear that song playing. And I really said out
loud - I was, like, 'Hey, uh, what's that song? I love that song!
What's that song?'
they're like, 'That's Run Devil Run'! That's your song. You
wrote that!' I was like, 'Oh, yeah, yeah. That's cool. My goodness.'
And then I got a text from my mom right after that [Laughs]. And she
said, 'Did you just hear your song on the TV?' And I was, like,
'Absolutely, I just did. I don't know how that happened; that's
incredible. Really neat.'
doing American Prodigal, was there any pressure from the fact
that the first album did so well and that you had so much success
I mean, did that affect how you did the second album at all?
Um, no. Well,
thank you for saying what you said. Uh, maybe I was unaware that it
did so well [laughs].
I don't know - I'm just nervous as a person all the time. So I don't
think you can add to your nervousness [laughs]. No, I really don't
... I'm just thinking there's so much to say, there's so much to
think about in relation to being alive and a human on planet earth
and all of the complications that our relationships bring and our
experiences of the planet and just being alive.
There's a lot to
think about - like, 'Why? Why are we here?' And then to marry that
to my belief that we're here for a purpose and there's something
that you can lend - give this little bit of breath that you've been
given, you can leverage it to something bigger than self, as I said
Man, there's so much you can talk about. So I just try to narrow it down
and put what I'd like to say right now, given where my life
experience has led me to, and here's where I am in this moment, and
I hope what I'm saying is authentically representative of what is
transpiring in light of what I'm thinking about.
So I try to box in. What's in that box is definitely not [focusing on]
what the record before it just did. [laughs]. Maybe I'd be better at
my job if I did think about that, but I'm probably just too
point now, two and a half records out, into the project Crowder, are
you satisfied that you made the correct decision, or did you find
what you were looking to find, when you left the David Crowder Band
Well, uh, I didn't
leave ... Yes, I guess, would be the short answer of it. I didn't
intend to, like, leave that behind for something else other than a
transition of life. It's like how life ebbs and flows? It's like a
tributary that starts to twist again, and, all of a sudden, it
starts cutting a path that you might not have seen coming.
And I was just open. I was just open, that was the end of the record
contract period. We were ... my life and my wife's life were just
going in a different direction. And it was, like, 'Hey, let's see
what's out there.' And I just kept my hands open.
And I think that's the best way to go about living [Laughs]. If you keep
your hands open, sometimes you have things put in it, and sometimes
you have things taken out. And as long as your hands are open, then
you're not grabbing onto something too tightly. And you're probably
going to be better off for it.
And so, yes is the short answer. I couldn't be happier than what I'm
doing right now, and I'm glad that I just ... I'm glad I still have
my hands open, and I'm glad I had my hands open at the time.
That seems like a nice place to wrap it up, and those are the
questions I had for you.
Is there anything obvious I didn't ask of that
you'd like to see in my story?
Um, I don't know
if you mentioned how photogenic I am, but I'm very photogenic. I
don't know if they've sent you pictures [laughs].
No, dude, I got no agenda. I'm excited to get up that way. ... Are you
gonna be around?
Absolutely. I believe the last time you came through, you played the
Winter Jam, and I saw your set there an enjoyed it very much
Oh, I'm way
better. Practiced a lot more since then. We're way better [laughs].
~ from The Morning Call ~
Good Friday Celebration with Louie Giglio, Passion, Crowder, and
at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
2200 Encore Pkwy. Alpharetta, GA 30009
Join us March 30th for a special Good Friday celebration as we
gather together to reflect on the cross and all Jesus has done for