Thanks to money flowing from Nashville, Canadian Christian music is flourishing. Canada's Ben Forrest files this report.
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The band, who have a sound and feel similar to dc Talk, have been around in some form for more than a decade. The brothers Lajoie began the band with Pete Nelson, then a youth pastor, following the brothers' conversion. While passing through Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the way to Hollywood, the brothers gave their lives to Christ and immediately abandoned their goal of finding fame and fortune in secular music. They birthed The Kry as a ministry-first group whose vision ("to preach the gospel to all men") has endured to this day.
Though it has been on a pseudo-hiatus for the past two years (the lapse between albums has been attributed to their founding of The Max Ministries, an outreach organisation aimed at preaching the Gospel to French-speaking nations), The Kry is still going strong and released their seventh album, 'Undone', on October 1. It is the first album recorded by the group's newest incarnation, featuring Jean-Luc and Yves, fellow Quebec native David Roy (bass) and California-bred drummer Danny Donnelly. Whether it brings them fame or not, it seems the group could hardly care. They consider themselves men who have been "gifted with musical talents," according to their website, and the band as "a natural platform to present a portion of their ministry." Whether or not you see their name in bright lights in the near future, rest assured The Kry will be making noise in more ways than one. This is one band who know what they believe, and are heaven-bent on sharing it.
After 14 months that saw them signed to one of Nashville's biggest labels, win a Juno for "best gospel album," and get rave reviews from almost all quarters, the most pertinent question facing expatriate rockers downhere seems to be about the one that got away. Q: Is it just me or is the fact that ZOEgirl beat you guys for "best new artist of the year" proof that the Doves are fixed? Jeremy Thiessen, downhere drummer, with trademark Canadian neutrality: "You know what? We made a point of meeting all the other artists who were up [for that award], and Alisa, Chrissy and Kristin were super-cool and have a great ministry. We were happy for them when they won."
Begun by pastors' kids and college roommates Jason Germain (vocals, keyboards, guitars) and Marc Martel (vocals, lead guitar), during their time at Briercrest Bible College, the group say success sort of fell into their laps. "We didn't really pursue [music] as a career in the beginning," says Martel via downhere.com. "We were just writing songs and leading worship or performing wherever we could." The two were signed to Slyngshot Records and soon released their first indie album. Deciding they wanted to tour in support of that album, Germain and Martel put a band together that included their permanent drummer, Thiessen. Their eclectic sound, which is influenced by U2, Keith Green, Queen, Michael W Smith and Pearl Jam, eventually caught the ear of Word Records, one of CCM's biggest labels. The group was signed and soon met Glenn Lavender, who became their permanent bassist. Word released the band's major label debut last year. Though they've transplanted from the Canadian prairie to Nashville, the band have apparently retained their fondness for Canadian cuisine. The first order of business upon crossing the border? Finding one of canada's 2,000 Tim Horton's coffee shops. "We actually stop at the first Tim Horton's we see every time we go back up and play in Canada," says Thiessen. You can take the talent out of Canada, it seems, but not the Canada out of the talent.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.