Mike Rimmer was in Nashville when he spoke to new alt pop duo GLASSBYRD
Originally America's latest husband and wife duo Glassbyrd were going to be called Adore. But as Christine Glass explains, "There were about 16 other bands out there with that name! We considered that, then we considered calling ourselves The Byrds but I think that was already taken too!" Instead husband and wife team Christine Glass and Marc Byrd settled on Glassbyrd and recorded a debut album 'Open Wide This Window'.
Marc Byrd was originally best known as the driving force behind rock band Common Children and Christine Glass had recorded two critically acclaimed solo projects, 'Human' in 1997 and 'Love And Poverty' in 1999. The genesis of Glassbyrd was very simple as Christine admits, "We're huge fans of each other's work. Marc had co-produced my second solo record but we hadn't ever actually done a band thing together. We liked singing together, we liked the sound of Marc's jangly guitars and his gritty vocal with my melodies and lyrics. It just felt right to do something together." Marc chips in, "Some of the songs had been lying around that I really wanted people to hear and they got a chance to be on this record. So some songs we wrote together, some we wrote by ourselves and it just kind of made sense. It just all blended well." Originally the couple met during the recording of Christine's first album. She remembers, "We wrote a song together. We were on the same record label together and our A& R person at the record label put us together to write. The song that we wrote was supposed to go on my first album so it ended up going on Common Children's second album. It was a song called "Whisper". We just kind of saw each other here and there after that. We knew we had a lot in common and we sort of became friends." Marc joins in, "Christy came in and sang on the second Common Children record, and that's when the romantic aspect of our relationship started. Then we dated for what?... two and a half or three years?" Christine agrees as Marc continues, "We got married in...," Christine helpfully prompts him, "September!... I have to remind him!" It all comes flooding back to Marc "Umm yeah, I know it! September 23rd 2001. So it was nice. It's been great." Christine agrees, "We're just huge fans of each other. It's nice to be married to someone that you respect so much."
Marc is probably best known for co-writing the song "God Of Wonders" and working on the 'City On A Hill' series. There's a version of "God Of Wonders" on their album. He laughs, "That's my claim to fame!" He continues, "When I started writing the song I had no idea where my next dime was coming from. I had been in the rock band Common Children and just opened up the Scriptures and the Psalms, and during a writing period, I started "God Of Wonders" and then Steve Hindalong finished it. He and I have just been blown away! People were saying 'You're gonna get CCLI money! ' and I said 'What is that?! ' and they said 'Well you get paid whenever it gets played in churches. ' We were like, 'Is that right? Is that a good thing? '. So we didn't even know what that was. It's a song I feel came from a really honest place. I mean there's a million versions of it out there. So yeah, I'm grateful for it." The Glassbyrd album has a huge ethereal vibe instilled into its grooves and although it's not a worship album, it is very worshipful. Christine comments, "I see it as kind of divided into two parts. Half of it has songs that are directly to God, and then the other half is really reaching out to the body of Christ, to the community. Just exploring that connection and that commonality that we have and wanting to encourage the body and encourage each other, and share our wounds and our joys and our frailties with each other. Encouraging people to hang on in whatever they're going through." Marc adds, "I think worship is such a buzz word right now, that it's very refreshing for you to say that it's a mixture. It's so easy to just categorise it and say, 'This is a worship record, ' when really, it's not like a full-blown worship record. I do also think that our idea of worship has got to broaden a little bit. I think singing songs and coming together and worshipping God as a community is wonderful. It's been done for thousands of years. But we need to learn to see our whole lives as an act of worship and realise that taking care of the poor, loving one another and writing songs, whether it be about being in love with your wife, or whether it be about God... these are ALL acts of worship. Worship is a way of life, it's a lifestyle."
When it comes to the future of Glassbyrd and whether this is just a one off project, Christine laughs before answering honestly, "That depends on how well this one sells!"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.