Smalltown Poets is back with their much anticipated eighth studio album titled Say Hello, which will be available worldwide on May 11th, 2018. The album, co-produced by Smalltown Poets and Matt Goldman (Underoath, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Copeland, The Chariot), serves up ten portions of "thinking man's rock" (as critics have dubbed the Poets' past works).
In order to continue moving their sound forward, the band went back to Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee where some of their biggest hits have been recorded. "When you step into a studio where so many legendary albums were born, you can't help but feel inspired," states Danny Stephens (keyboards). "We wanted this album to have a vibe that borrows from our beginnings, while also forging bravely ahead, and I think we've achieved it." While longtime fans will recognize the signposts of the familiar Smalltown Poets sound, the band took great pains to explore new textures, such as a Memphis horns section (on the song Impossible) and a Gospel choir (on the song Like Home). The decades-old, dying mellotron keyboard they found in a closet at Ardent Studios nods to the Beatles and adds to the mystique of Are You With Me?And Until I Met You might be a first introduction to lap dulcimer for many Poets fans.
Other highlights include guest vocals by longtime friend Mac Powell (Third Day) on You're My Shepherd(which he co-wrote with the band), and by Eric & Ruby Montgomery, who join the Grace Choir on the aforementioned Like Home.
With ten career top 10 songs to date, the band has a track record of writing radio accessible hits. "With this record, we didn't set out to write for radio, but there is something special about how the five of us work together," explains Michael Johnston (vocals). "Radio friendly hooks seem to come naturally." One such song off the new record is Middle of a First Love. The song was the last one recorded for the album, and it didn't come easily. "No one was really excited about that song idea," recalls Kevin Breuner. "It just hadn't revealed its true potential to us yet." The song went through some serious re-writes, and in the eleventh hour turned into what the band thinks is one of the stronger songs in their catalog. "That song was a total band effort," says Danny. "We really pushed ourselves to finish strong ."
A radio campaign to multiple radio formats is under way to support the release, and the band will be doing select shows on both coasts (and perhaps in between) in 2018.
Check out their new single "Middle of a First Love" by clicking this link:
Smalltown Poets burst onto the Christian music scene with their Grammy-nominated self-titled debut on Ardent/Forefront (EMI) in 1997 and released two more albums with the Memphis-based label. Three number one singles and a total of ten top ten radio hits helped garner two Best Rock Gospel Grammy nominations, seven Dove Award nominations (including best new artist) and a Billboard Music video award for the band. Their song "Anything Genuine" was featured on the platinum selling WOW 1999 compilation. Smalltown Poets is: Michael Johnston (vocals), Danny Stephens (keyboards, vocals), Kevin Breuner (guitar), Miguel DeJesus (bass), and Byron Goggin (drums).
Friendly City Records was formed in 2010 by members of Smalltown Poets to facilitate Smalltown Poets independent releases and other recordings produced by band members.