Tony Cummings reports on pop rockers from Macon, Georgia, the JJ WEEKS BAND
Seldom has a singer fronting a band had such praise lavished on them by the critics as that enjoyed by the frontman of the record label debut by the JJ Weeks Band. Among the voices suggested as resembling the rich and gritty tones of Macon, Georgia-born JJ have been MercyMe's Bart Millard and Third Day's Mac Powell, but what everyone agrees on is that Weeks is a truly exceptional singer. Breathecast reviewer Timothy Yap wrote, "It's not even in whether or not a singer can hold a tune. Rather, what sets a song apart as anointed is when the singer is able to incarnate into the song. Greatness happens when a singer is able to inhabit each and every syllable. . . Such a gift cannot be learnt in any music college. Rather, it is acquired through the school of hard knocks; it is only through the pain and suffering that we become educated in the rhetoric of the Spirit's power. JJ Weeks is a graduate of such a school."
Three years of incessant challenges from family deaths, a difficult pregnancy and the subsequent health risks with a newborn, to the taxing lifestyle of being full-time touring musicians were all catalysts that birthed the 10 songs on JJ Weeks Band's 'All Over The World'. The album is produced by Third Day's keyboard player Scotty Wilbanks (Family Force 5, DecembeRadio) and released on Inpop (Kingsway in the UK). Said Weeks, "We want people to know that God has their back. That they can trust him in the midst of the struggles of life because he loves us."
Speaking to Macon's Examiner, JJ spoke about his early entrance into music. "I started singing when I was six in church and loved it. As I got older I really didn't feel like there was enough financial stability in music to make it a career choice, so I decided to go into youth ministry and just sing when it came up. However, it seemed like music just followed me. Every move I made there was someone wanting me to sing, until finally I realised this was what God was calling me to do."
The JJ Weeks Band came together in 2002 and, along with JJ, consists of Cody Preston (guitar), David Hart (bass) and Robbie Fritz (drums). They have travelled throughout the southeast, spreading the message of salvation and witnessing the lives of many being transformed through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. In 2007 they released the independent album 'Unsystematic Approach' and two years later the EP 'Day'. It was signing to Inpop (home of such big-time CCM acts as Newsboys, Karyn Williams and Mat Kearney) which gave them a chance to record a national release. The first single from 'All Over The World' is the opening track "Is It Ever" while other powerful tracks are the anthemic guitar-heavy rock ballad "Flood" and the stripped down version of "Let Them See You", a song written by JJ but first released by American Idol singer Colton Dixon on his 'A Messenger' album.
The Examiner asked JJ what he thought of a world where it seems that people are continually trying to figure out their purpose in life. He responded, "I believe as long as you stay connected to God, he will show you your purpose. God has already put in you what you need, to begin your calling in life. Look to what you are naturally good at." Besides God, the band are inspired by his family. "Where would we be if our families didn't believe in what we are doing? [We are also grateful by] our pastors, for understanding why we can't be there every Sunday!"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.