Why are Smalltown Poets gathering from across the country, in Atlanta, starting tomorrow? A big announcement is on the way. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: The Sing Over Me movie premiere is just days away. Tickets to the Tulsa OK premiere on Friday, February 28th, are going fast; you can purchase yours here. You’ll see Dennis Jernigan in concert, view the Sing Over Me documentary, and have the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A with Dennis and the Sing Over Me filmmakers.
Be sure to visit www.singovermemovie.com for a sneak peak at stills from the movie, detailed premiere info, and up-to-date news about all Sing Over Me happenings.
A few months ago, we were contacted by Jacob Kindberg, an independent filmmaker who is producing a documentary about Dennis Jernigan, the man behind some of the most popular worship songs of all time. Jacob asked if we’d be interested in recording one of Dennis’ songs for the tribute album, SING OVER ME: The Songs of Dennis Jernigan. The album will be released in tandem with a documentary film about the Christian singer-songwriter.
We were given a list of songs to choose from: You Are My All In All, Who Can Satisfy My Soul, We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory, Thank You, Lord, Nobody Fills My Heart Like Jesus
It was an easy choice for us. We have loved You Are My All In All for a long time. So we went to work, and now we’ve finished recording our rendition of this classic. We’re really happy with it. Here’s hoping we did it justice. We’ll provide a link to the album as soon as we have it!
What an honor this is. Dennis Jernigan’s music and story have had a huge impact on many churches and lives. The film and album are to be released sometime in 2014. Stay tuned to this site or our Facebook page for more info.
Merry Christmas! We bring tidings of great joy, mixed with a hint of sadness.
Sadly, there will be no Smalltown Poets Christmas tour this year. We’ve loved touring these past two holiday seasons and sharing music from our 2011 release, Smalltown Poets Christmas. And it’s entirely possible that we’ll be back to our Yuletide travels next year.
However, we have some good news. We’ve discounted our Christmas album. Not only that, when you buy our Christmas album this holiday season at Bandcamp, you’ll receive a digital download of our 2012 EP Under the New Sun, for free. (UPDATE: Sorry, this 2-for-1 offer expired January 2014.)
To get you in the mood for some Smalltown Poets Christmas, here’s a behind-the-scenes clip from the recording sessions. (Please let us know if you figure out what was so funny). You can watch plenty more of this stuff at smalltownpoetschristmas.com
by Danny (keyboardist)
I’ve been hearing about 1964 Ears for awhile now. Quite the variety of musical artists are endorsing this fairly new brand of in-ear monitors – from Relient K to Brian “Head” Welch to The Jacksons (yes, those Jacksons). And now I know what all the hype is about. I’m not only the proud owner of new 1964-V3 Triple Driver Custom IEMs, but I’ve also become a part of their artist endorsement…team? Family? Let’s say…movement.
This past weekend, we had the honor and privilege of playing at a fundraiser gala for an organization very dear to our hearts, Safehouse Outreach (or SHO). Several of us have volunteered with them over the years, and their founder Philip Bray is truly one of our heroes. Playing the Oceans Ballroom at the Georgia Aquarium was amazing; there are beluga whale tanks built into the walls. There’s nothing like watching a 3,500 lb mammal swim by in the middle of “Lean On Me” (believe it or not, that was our opening song, by request.)
A little bit about SHO, from their website: In 1982, Philip Bray took to the streets to rescue child prostitutes and runaways who were being sexually exploited in Atlanta, Ga. Inspired by his own experiences, he wanted to reach those who the Church considered unreachable. At 7th & Peachtree Street, a booth in a local hamburger restaurant became the headquarters for SafeHouse on Friday and Saturday nights, named SafeHouse because the youth who wanted help were taken to a safehouse to insure their safety while family or the authorities were being contacted.
Within 6 months, over 200 volunteers came together with manpower and compassion and began reaching out to anyone in need. Soon SafeHouse outgrew the booth and moved to a facility off Peachtree Street. They held church services at midnight on Friday nights and became known within the city as a place where the unreachable could come for assistance.
Over the past 25 years, SafeHouse has been instrumental in impacting lives and changing communities. Today, SafeHouse has matched over 500 caring adults as mentors with at-risk children through SHO’s MentorPlus program and educated hundreds of teen parents in parenting and life skills in SHO’s A New Generation drop-out prevention program. And literally thousands have received a hot meal along with assistance to get back on their feet.
Recognized by mayors, governors, and the President of the United States, SafeHouse offers a hand-up, not just a hand-out, and is active in finding solutions for those in crisis.
Our new friend Matt Langston aka “The Jellyrox” is lead vocalist and synth programming guru for the band Eleventyseven. We were honored that he asked to take our song Turn Around (from our recent EP “Under the New Sun”) and add it to the list of tunes he has made substantially hipper with his popular remixes.
He wrote on his blog: “If you’re familiar with the band, you probably already know that they are the kind of guys that intentionally come up with finger-cramp-inducing-next-to-impossible complicated guitar chord structures and voicings simply to frustrate the crap out of everyone who attempts to play their songs. Of course, we all know they do this simply to lord their superior musical abilities over the rest of the seemingly ‘guitarted’ populus of musicians still trying to figure out how to augment a J Major suspended 4.” You can read the rest of the blog entry here.
That’s pretty funny. By the way, if you’re keeping score at home, the trickiest chord in Turn Around is Gm+6/Bb.
You can download the song here.
We’re excited to announce that we’re following up last year’s Smalltown Poets Christmas Tour with a few Christmas appearances this season. December 2012 will find us in Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, and a few other places. We’re pretty excited about the fact that the tour concludes in our hometown of Tifton GA, where it all began way too long ago.
And here are excerpts from a press release last year: On Smalltown Poets Christmas, Michael Johnston, Byron Goggin, Kevin Breuner, Miguel DeJesus and Danny Stephens evoke the fun, hope and wonder of the Advent season with fresh arrangements of many Christmas favorites and three new original songs. The band regrouped in the fall of 2010 to begin production on their fifth studio album which was co-produced by former Smalltown Poets drummer Matt Goldman (Underoath, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Copeland, The Chariot).
The bulk of the arranging and recording work was done in Michaelʼs home studio…Then the whole band convened at Glow in the Dark Studios in Atlanta to wrap things up in a bow. An unexpected benefit from the unconventional tracking process was the “family and friends” backdrop of the sessions, which brought warmth to the performances and led to a large cast of outside contributors.
North Carolina based band Elishah stepped in for glass-raising vocals on the album’s closing song while Rebecca Lovell of Georgia-based band Larkin Poe contributes her enchanting alto to a duet arrangement of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Add a banjo player here, a cellist there, and even a member of the Georgia Boy Choir, and a picture forms of carolers and visitors stopping by for a holiday visit.
It’s officially Oct. 16th, which means…we have a new album out today! Our new 7-song EP, Under The New Sun, is available now on iTunes, CD Baby, and just about every other digital outlet you can think of. (A physical CD version will be released shortly).
It’s our first (non-Christmas) release in a long time. All five original Poets recorded these tunes together, and as the songs took shape, we couldn’t help remarking to ourselves, “Hey! This sounds like Smalltown Poets!” The whole journey, from brainstorming to recording demos to final mixes, fit like a glove, and we’re really looking forward to you hearing what we’ve come up with.
As fun as re-working old Christmas songs was last year, we’ve really gotten back to our beginnings by crafting lyric-intensive songs from the ground up, doing our best to turn a few phrases, sneak in a few puns, and challenge our listeners to dive in and bring their own imaginations.
The album title is taken from an old Villanelle (yes, that’s a previous incarnation of Smalltown Poets) song titled May Day. The song itself isn’t on our EP, but that particular lyric – “under the new sun” – seems to sum up many of the themes of the new project: death and rebirth, renewal, restoration, resurrection.
We have loved making this record. We hope you love listening.