The Down East Boys is a name that is synonymous with Gospel Music. For over 30 years this quartet has traveled from coast to coast, Canada and Mexico. Starting in eastern North Carolina the group chose the name from that region called Down East. Although the name was associated with this small region it did not take long for this groups boundaries to expand. In just a few short years the group had their first chart song and was signed to a major recording contract by Sonlite records. They are back with their new album "Ransomed."
Hallels: Congratulations on your new CD "Ransomed." Why did you entitle the album "Ransomed"?
After listening to the album as a whole we felt this was a theme to the project. The song titled " Song Of The Ransomed " was definitely one of the strongest songs lyrically and seemed to be the song that set the tone for the project. We as Christians know that a price was paid for us and we have been Ransomed.
Hallels: I have read in your press release that you approach this album a little differently. You took more time to find the songs. What do you look out for in a song?
We started the process of picking songs much earlier than on past projects. Our label executives gave us a release date over 9 months ago and said take your time and get the songs you feel strongly about then when you get it narrowed down lets get together and work towards the final 10. We had a lot of songs that were good songs but didn't fit vocally. We had some songs that we didn't think would make the final cut but once we worked on ideas for an arrangement it would fall into place. After all the work we still ended up with 11 because we just could not cut to 10.
Hallels: Roughly, how many songs did you consider before narrowing down to these final tracks?
It's hard to say how many. One song writer sent 15 songs. Others would send 1. Our label publishing company went through their catalog and then would send us 10 or more at a time. I would load them on an iPod and we would listen while driving from date to date. I would have to say at least 100 or more from our company publishing and at least 75 or more from other writers and publishing companies.
Hallels: Give us a preview of some of the songs. Is (are) there a song(s) on the record that really jump out at you at first listen? If so, which one. And tell us why you were grabbed by the song(s).
It's hard to just talk about a few but a few of my favorites are " A Reason To Sing" " Somebody Left The Door Wide Open" " The Cross Speaks Louder " and by far my favorite of the project is " Song Of The Ransomed"."A Reason To Sing " is a song that really is hard to find today. It's a true quartet song. The harmonies and music track lends itself to the straight forward quartet sound that people loved years ago. Really a great play on words to start the program.
" Somebody Left The Door Wide Open" was a new flavor of song for us. We really tried to give it a Spiritual feel with the choir added to really help in producing that sound. A song like this gave us something different in the program than we have ever had.
" The Cross Speaks Louder " was given to us by a friend in South Georgia. When we heard his testimony of where the song came from we knew people needed to hear this. He was addicted to drugs and had lost everything. He was raised in church but had never given his life to Christ. At the point where he had nothing left he accepted Christ and went through an addiction program. He wrote this song about that experience and he is now a singer in a group sharing his story.
" The Song Of The Ransomed " was sent to me by Dianne Wilkinson via email. It was about 3:30 in the morning when I parked the bus and was headed to bed. I checked my email before heading to bed and decided to give this song a listen before I laid down. After the first pass I actually woke the guys up and said " you gotta here this!" The guys were dead asleep but by the time we laid down we had listened over 10 times. I love a song that paints a picture with the lyric. This song definitely does that. The second verse is my favorite. " hear the hymn breaking forth from those who were lost. A glorious anthem that tells of the cross. For the curse is no more our debt has been paid. Hear the forgiven. Let Jesus be praised"! I think that may be just a glimpse of what the celebration will be like.
Hallels: Would you choose a song if it doesn't have a strong melody but has profound lyrics? And vice versa, would you choose a song with good lyrics but not so desirable melody?
I think everything starts with the lyric. In a program you have to have some fast songs with a catchy melody but you can find them with a good lyric if you look hard enough.
Hallels: I believe the album's first single is "One Way, One Name, One Door." Tell us what the song is about and how you feel about it.
A great lyric with a catchy melody. The song is very simple but straight to the point. In the day we live in many are saying there are many ways to heaven. Many prominent pastors are saying not all the bible is true. As Christians we hold on to the truth that Jesus is the only way! The lyric here just says it all " One Way One Name One Door"
Hallels: For our readers who would like to see you live, where can they find out where you are performing?
People can go to our website downeastboys.com. From there they can order our CDs, get our schedule and also connect to us on Facebook and other social media.