Christian Music's Best Side & Solo Projects
by Wendy Lee Nentwig | March 16, 2014
Rock stardom is great, but sometimes you just want to do something more personal -- like make music that may not fit within the confines of your band or record an album without all the pressure of a major release. There are also times you head into the studio as a favor to a friend or to simply lend your voice to a project you believe in. For all of these reasons, we are the fortunate recipients of some amazing music.
Third Day's Mac Powell released a self-titled country project in 2012 that allowed him to go in a bit of a different direction. Powell also went solo on the hit worship song "God of Wonders," joined by Danielle Young, a member of Caedmon's Call. Speaking of, Derek Webb's solo work has certainly been noteworthy, even though he has returned to the Caedmon's fold over the years.
The three solo projects from the trio behind DC Talk were successful enough to end the band. Kevin Max went the alternative route, TobyMac offered up a hip-hop/pop blend and Michael Tait put together the rock band Tait before joining Newsboys as frontman. Newsboys are responsible for other side projects as well. Jody Davis, Phil Joel and Peter Furler have all recorded solo discs. Davis broke from the band in 2003 and returned in 2009; Joel turned his side job into his main gig; and Furler waited until he left the band to explore his solo side, under his own name and as part of the Peter Furler Band.
Then there's FM Static, the side project of Trevor McNevan and Steve Augustine from Thousand Foot Krutch, which allows them to create Top 40 pop punk that doesn't rock quite so hard. Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine has also been known to do a little moonlighting. He's a member of The Hawk in Paris, which also features producers/songwriters Matt Bronleewe and Jeremy Bose, all friends from college. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and MercyMe's Bart Millard have also released solo projects while keeping their bands intact.
Of course, the trend's nothing new. John Schlitt started out in the rock band Head East before his newfound faith landed him a job as the new frontman of Petra in the mid-'80s. The band played on for two decades, with Schlitt releasing several solo projects on the side. Southern gospel acts like the Gaither Vocal Band and The Imperials have included many artists who also found solo success, claiming everyone from Michael English, Larry Gatlin and Larnelle Harris to Russ Taff, Jonathan Pierce and Jimmie Lee Sloas. Meanwhile, Israel Houghton, the members of Mary Mary and many other gospel greats guest regularly on each other's recordings.
Tune in to hear all of these artists in our attached playlist.