Two big names in Christian music and an up and coming group will share a stage in Manteca on Nov. 5 as Building 429, Todd Agnew and Kimber Rising are in concert for The Promise Remains Tour.
Building 429 and Todd Agnew each have won Dove awards, Christian music's top honor. Kimber Rising, made up of Danielle Cruz and sisters Amanda and Brianna Wilcox, is new on the scene.
Building 429 is known for its rock/pop songs, Agnew leans more toward the pop/ballad side and Kimber Rising is pop/urban.
Building 429, comprised of frontman and guitarist Jason Roy, drummer Michael Anderson and guitarist and keyboardist Jesse Garcia, hit it big with "Glory Defined" in 2004, followed by "Space in Between Us" the following year. Its current hit, "Always," is climbing the charts.
Agnew first found fame in 2003 with "Grace Like Rain." In 2007, his duet with Australian singer Rebecca St. James, "Our Great God," was another hit. Kimber Rising is working on its first album.
Agnew was in Merced for a 2007 concert. This is the first time Building 429 has been to the valley. The Bee recently spoke to lead songwriter and vocalist Jason Roy in a phone interview from his home in Nashville; the 30-year-old talked about his faith, his group and the lyrics of his latest hit.
The group formed when he was 20; all three had been in different bands until then.
"They kind of all stopped about that time," Roy said. "I said, 'Hey, if you want to do this for real, let's go.' "
They came up with their name from a word and number of a Bible verse, Ephesians 4:29: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
"It's a challenge we take with us everywhere we go," Roy said.
After five years of "doing this for real," the band had its first hit, "Glory Defined." Like most of the band's songs, it was written by Roy. He said the years breaking into the business seemed challenging -- doing all the booking, writing, singing, bus mechanic work, etc.
"But before you knew it, I met (a megaproducer in Nashville)," Roy said. "I went home and the first song I wrote was 'Glory Defined.' The rest is history. When God opens the door, watch out. Hold on tight."
He admitted it's hard staying close to God while traveling on the road. Having good bandmates and crew members helps, he said. And then there's the mission.
"We're not just a rock and roll band going out on the road to make money," he said. "If that were it, I'd have given up, be leading worship somewhere. But there's a whole lot of people out there who need to know that God's unchanging, faithful. ... The only thing that won't pass away is God and his people. The whole band, this ministry, is about that one thing."
The band's latest hit, "Always," is based on two true stories, he said. The first verse is about a woman he met whose husband killed their 3-year-old son. The second verse concerns Roy's father, who became addicted to drugs and alcohol and divorced his mom.
"The question we were both left with is, 'Where is God now?' It took a lot of time to figure out."
In his case, he said, "the only thing my dad understood in the midst of all that serious stuff was rock 'n' roll. It just so happened that the very lyrics I wrote (early in my career) were words he could understand, and it brought him back. My dad and I are great now. It's probably been seven to eight years since Dad's been clean.
"God is like that. He takes the stuff that you least expect and uses them. I'm not a talker with people; I write songs. That's how people hear my heart. Dad heard that; it really got a hold of him."
He said the Manteca concert will offer different kinds of music "so that every age group is covered. We intentionally bring artists with us who will cover things we can't cover. I'm a rocker; that's who I am. Todd Agnew will do things we don't. Kimber Rising covers the hip, up and coming music, Mariah meets Beyoncé kind of thing.
"Our part of the show is not a sit-down-and-stare-at-the-band kind of show. You're going to be out of your seats, rocking. We're very much a high energy band."
Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at 578-2012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.