Two years after announcing the breakup of the David Crowder Band, Crowder is making international headlines and is being hailed as an “international harvester” following the release of Neon Steeple, his first studio recorded solo album on May 27, 2014. The album, which features 14 tracks and 3 bonus tracks and includes a moving duet with music icon, Emmylou Harris, is being praised for its “innovative sound and new musical direction”.
Speaking after Crowder fulfilled what he said was a “lifelong dream” of performing at the Grand Ole Opry to mark the album’s release – the world’s longest running live radio program in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring American country music – country music singer, Ricky Skaggs, described Crowder’s music as having the ability or anointing to “free people from addictions, drugs and alcohol, and most importantly, religion, things that bind us and hold us down and make us think that we have to do it a certain way.”
According to Crowder, Neon Steeple is “a collection of songs and sounds looking forward to the past and counting the present as sacred. It is a search for home. It is a collection of choruses that believe that this is not all there is. It is displacement and tension and the forward lean anticipating the resolution. There is more, there must be. It is the sound of the Appalachians and Ibiza. Folk music and EDM. The music of the People. Folktronica. Digital and Analog. The Ones and Zeros and the Handshake. The Banjo and the 808.”
Reason for name
Explaining the reason for the album’s name, Crowder states that, “Neon is an inert noble gas that is obtained from the distillation of liquid air, what we breathe in and out to stay alive, just thicker. You can drown in it. This is metaphor. Neon, a thing stereotypically used to sell some product or market a way of life that distracts a human from the thickness, the weight, the heaviness, the tension of the here and now. Neon Steeple is both a critique and a hope. A narrative of innocence lost, of displacement, of misplaced affections and misplaced people and the search for belonging and home and forgiveness and reconciliation, the tension of death and life leaning toward resolution, the promised land of what it means to come to life. The story is not about making bad people good, it is about making dead people alive. This is Promised Land. This is Redemption. This is Reorientation. This is Resolution.”
Crowder adds that the collection of songs on the album is, “the most personal to date”. He says the theme for the album was a result of his decision to relocate from his hometown of Waco, Texas. In a letter posted on his website, www.crowdermusic.com, Crowder says leaving the church he helped plant and that he had called home for more than 16 years was extremely tough. “Home is an arresting idea. It is not coincidental that Neon Steeple, the collection of sound recordings previously mentioned, carries just such an idea. It is also not coincidental that the displacement from and longing for home is an oft explored and well developed theme in all manner of transcendent endeavors of literature, and drama, and painting, and architecture, and, of course, to a tremendous extent, the Holy Scriptures. Paradise – Exile – Promised Land. Creation – Fall – Redemption. ‘Orientation – Disorientation – Reorientation,’ as Walter Brueggemann put it. Or, ‘Equilibrium – Tension – Resolution,’ as I just heard it described today by my Scottish friend Jeremy Begbie. The longing for belonging is a mighty powerful thing,” he says.
During a 2012 interview, he stated that the band’s decision to split was by mutual agreement of its members. “We just we all felt like God was taking us to do something different. And so four of the guys have started a new band called The Digital Age, while another is working with the ONE campaign, which was started by U2’s Bono, and is all about the elimination of poverty and AIDS in Africa. So he’s making trips to DC and talking to congressmen and women and he’s just loving life. And then there’s me; and I’m out on my own,” he explained.
As part of the David Crowder*Band, Crowder released the ‘Crowder: iTunes® Session’, which garnered nine Dove Awards, 22 Dove nominations and two GRAMMY® nominations. The band released their final collection of new music with the GRAMMY® nominated project, ‘Give Us Rest’. The record is said to have entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 2 and gave the band their highest debut in their 12-year career. Crowder has also penned two books including his acclaimed release, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die”.