Although both the folk/roots Nuffsed albums have been heavily played on UCB Europe, the group's JACKIE & TERRY MILLS were still "astonished" to see their album designated Inspirational Album Of The Week on it's release before Christmas.

JACKIE AND TERRY MILLS
JACKIE AND TERRY MILLS

I understand you were surprised that UCB featured 'Acceptable Offerings' as album of the week.
"We were astonished. It was recorded very, very cheaply - believe it or not only 1.000 was spent and that included CD manufacture! It was only a private release largely intended to meet requests from people who'd heard us do some of these songs in smaller, intimate gatherings. UCB have been incredibly supportive of Nuffsed's ministry - and they picked up on the duo album."

Why did you want to make a duo album?
"We had lots of songs which were personal to us and not what we deemed as Nuffsed album type material. As a ministry, if you look all the way through Christian history, right back to Paul and the disciples, the outward declaring of personal testimony is an integral part of Christian witness. Jackie and I love making up songs so what was more appropriate than to witness through music. We also felt called to give a public declaration of our love for each other and the love of Jesus in our lives and the blessings we have received. It really is a heart on the (record) sleeve album. Added to this, the musical variety was of a wide spectrum and covered a variety of Christian matters. Having made the decision to make an album we talked to Paul Hodson, who engineered the two Nuffsed albums, about recording. He was fantastic, he not only recorded, produced and arranged it but featured on virtually every track as a musician. It was great fun to record. One of the major blessings we have had since becoming involved in contemporary Christian music has been meeting Paul and his wife Linda."

Does this mean the beginning of the end of Nuffsed?
"Certainly not. On the contrary, as a band musically we are playing better than ever. I think because having lost two band members it has made the remainder of us put that little extra into performances. Of course being family (apart from Matt, the bass player), we meet a lot anyway. Being a Christian is about relationships, as a family the band transcends any musical bonds and this has made us a stronger unit, I believe, able to withstand the knocks, changes and set backs, which are inevitable with performing arts. 'Acceptable Offerings" is as well supported and received by the band as any of our other albums."

Why did you not release it on an established Christian label?
"In all honesty, financially the artist and the customer don't benefit, in our experience, by an involvement with a major label. That is not to say Nuffsed isn't very, very grateful to Les Moir and everyone at Kingsway for the tremendous support and start they gave us in Christian music. Without them we wouldn't have such a widespread ministry. But in truth very few (if any) labels are taking on new contemporary projects anyway so we didn't see the point in the hassle of contacting people, sending demos, writing letters, etc... Paul (Hodson) has had a calling to create a cottage industry type situation whereby he is now able to record, produce and manufacture CDs himself. This means a cheaper purchase price for us (the artist) and consequently we can sell cheaper to people who want to buy which still enables us to cover costs (we have always had a non-profit making policy - any monies received have always gone back into the ministry). I'm not trying to make a political point but our main aim is to make our music, and hence the gospel, accessible to people. It's difficult to be accessible if you're having to charge 14-15 for CDs (to ensure cost cover) if you go with a major label. By manufacturing the way we have means we need only charge 10 for a product of equal quality. The big advantage, of course, with a major label is their distribution network is established and nationwide and indeed worldwide, but in time (and prayer) we hope a distribution network can be established."

Is 'Jackie & Terry' a separate ministry?
"Not separate, more like an alternative. The style of music on 'Acceptable Offerings' is not that far removed from what we do with Nuffsed, except that it has a more ambient, intimate, worshipful feel to it which we hope appeals to not only Nuffsed fans but also to people who may have labelled Nuffsed as a bash, bash, jigs, youth and festivals only band."

Why 'Acceptable Offerings'?
"Jesus accepts us all, warts and baggage included, all we have to do is surrender to him, he accepts us as we are. It was these sentiments expressed in a song by Dave Bryant that brought Jackie to Jesus. She wrote a beautiful song about this ('Acceptable Offerings') and as all the songs are from our heart, mind and soul, as offerings to people we hope they are acceptable. Nuffsed!"

The last we heard Nuffsed were working on an album 'Celtic Visions'. Is that ever coming out?
"It certainly is. The first two Nuffsed albums were okay but they suffered a bit from very limited studio time. They were a bit rushed. With 'Celtic Visions' we took our time. We've been working on it, on and off, throughout 1997. It's now been mixed and edited and they're currently working on the sleeve. I think it takes Nuffsed up to a new level."

And are there to be any future Jackie And Terry albums?
"Who knows? We have plenty of tunes and ideas - songs based on Scripture, testimony and experience. Only time will tell."

 CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.