Rarely has a new band delivered an album with more emotional punch than Tenth Avenue North’s 2008 debut Over and Underneath. Musically inventive and lyrically compelling, the song collection helped earn the band its prestigious New Artist of the Year accolade at the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards, one element that propelled the band to headliner status for the all of 2009. As evidenced by immediate impact at radio and at iTunes this week, Tenth Avenue North’s follow up The Light Meets the Dark is proving to be one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2010.
With one listen to The Light Meets the Dark, it is obvious Mike Donehey, (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Jason Jamison (drummer) and Jeff Owen (electric guitar/background vocals), are taking a bold step forward on their musical journey. Once again their songs are poignant and powerful, and the band brings a seasoned level of musicianship and intensity, honed from two years of relentless touring.
Produced by Jason Ingram, Rusty Varenkamp and Phillip LaRue, The Light Meets the Dark has delivered an impressive first single “Healing Begins” (released to radio on March 5). The song garnered 43 first-week adds among AC and CHR stations nationwide.
“Tenth Avenue North has worked well for us right from the start,” says Keith Stevens of New York City’s STAR 99.1. “As APD/MD, I'm always looking for songs that connect with our listeners. ‘Healing Begins’ connects right out of the gate.”
Another indication of the song’s incredible positive momentum is its position in the top of iTunes’ Christian and Gospel Songs chart, reaching No. 2, and selling more than 4,800 downloads its first two weeks of availability.
Like “Healing Begins,” all of the songs on the band’s sophomore release are authentic, heartfelt and confessional. “On this record I really tried to be honest about how messed up I am,” Donehey says. “We wanted it to be a collision between our hearts and God’s truth. His grace collides with the dark inside of us. His blood can cover us and I’m trying to call people out and say ‘Look, please do not hide your darkness. Expose that to the light.’ I know that’s the scariest thought, but its where freedom and healing starts to take place. It’s where it all starts to happen.”
While Over and Underneath quickly established Tenth Avenue North as one of the Christian music community’s most talented bands, lead vocalist/principal songwriter Donehey began drawing comparisons to such visionary leaders as Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall, Third Day’s Mac Powell and Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine.
For many young musicians, such early success may have proved paralyzing, but not for Tenth
Avenue North. Music for them has never been about awards and CD sales, but about the chance to impact lives.
“It’s been kind of crazy I guess when you think about it,” Donehey says with a smile. “In a lot of ways, we don’t feel like anything has changed. When we get up on a stage, more people are there to see us play and more people are familiar with the songs, but the objective really hasn’t changed. The objective is for people to encounter truth and be changed.” Tenth Avenue North meets that objective head on with the music on The Light Meets the Dark.
That ability to challenge audiences to a deeper walk of faith while simultaneously encouraging them with the truth of God’s grace has propelled Tenth Avenue North to the forefront of the Christian music industry. The band’s debut disc placed tenth on Billboard Magazine’s list of Top Christian Albums for 2009. The group placed two songs on the Hot Christian Songs chart, including the No. 1 radio single, “By Your Side” at No. 2 and “Hold My Heart” at No. 13. The most impressive is the fact that Tenth Avenue North, still on its first album, had “By Your Side” place No. 3 on Billboard’s overall decade ranking of Christian Songs.
2010 has already reflected notable successes for the band, as it picked up two key nominations for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. The band was honored with nods in two of the prestigious general categories for the Doves, notching a Song of the Year mention for “By Your Side” from Over and Underneath, as well as a nomination for Group of the Year.
Tenth Avenue North saw its live performance profile take off in 2009, with its “Inside and In Between” Tour (its first as headliners) seeing sell-out shows in more than half the markets it visited.
Currently a closing artist on the Winter Jam tour, Tenth Avenue North will hit the road with Casting Crowns on its “Until The Whole World Hears” tour April 1 in Dayton, Ohio. Its summer is booked with festivals and a second headlining tour plus a major fall tour, spanning 40 cities, will be officially announced in mid April, and goes on sale May 1st.