After nearly a four-year absence from radio, the Frye Family Band makes their return with the new EP, Things Unseen. The new project is produced by Michael Farren who has written songs for artists such as Laura Daigle, Reba McIntire, and Michael W. Smith, to name a few.
The seven-song EP features four songs co-written by band leader and dad, Tom Frye, along with two songs co-written by daughter Maggie Frye Neal. Additionally, the EP features a cover of the song "Cats in the Cradle," marking the first time the song has been recorded as a duet by a father and son.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. Who is the Frye Family Band?
The Frye Family Band is a band made up mainly of our family, and a couple of friends we've added along the way. Most of us play a variety of instruments, so the sound can change from song to song, but we are acoustic-driven, lyric-focused, and feature family harmonies.
Q: How did you first start singing as a family? Tell us a little about your journey.
I started out as a solo artist and as the ministry grew I added a few band mates. All the while my wife and kids were there with me. When we would perform, the kids would come up and sing a few songs, which was always a highlight for me. What I didn't realize during that season is that my band-mates were not just performing with me, but they were mentoring the kids.
One evening as I was rehearsing, the girls started singing the harmonies they had heard many times. I had them come to the next rehearsal and it worked! A couple of years later, my son Jonny joined us on drums and that was the birth of the Frye Family Band. So, the transition to the Frye Family Band was not as intentional as it was organic and is really just a natural by-product of our parenting philosophy- "Do life together."
Q: How would you describe your style of music? Who would you say influences you musically?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked. We have so many influences from classic rock artists Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles, to folk artists like John Prine, CCM artist including Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, Mitch McVicker, and Third Day, country artists such as Willie Nelson, and Zac Brown Band, and contemporary acts including Ed Sheeran, Ben Rector, and Jason Mraz. Each have, in one way or another, contributed to our music.
However, the underlining quality with all of our influences is their ability to craft incredible lyrics. We hear all kind of opinions of our style including Country, Americana, folk, and Acoustic Pop, I think in large part due to our wide range of influences.
Q: Congratulations on your new album "Things Unseen." Why did you entitle it "Things Unseen"?
As we looked over the lyrics of these songs to try to land on a title for the project, the common theme seemed to be trust. Trust in the midst of doubt, fear, loss, pain, and even trust in the face of death. The focal point seemed to land on the chorus of 'Things Unseen,' which was inspired by 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
I will trust though I cannot see
This road ahead where You are leading me
My wandering heart looks to You my King
I fix my eyes on the things unseen
I fix my eyes on the things unseen
Q: Give us a number of highlights in the making of this new record.
1) Working with Michael Farren was wonderful. He is such a talented songwriter and producer who was able to pull things out of us that we didn't know we had!
2) Making music as a family never gets old.
3) We were able to work with several great writers to help us craft these songs including our producer Michael Farren, as well as Rhyan Shirley, and Jessica Campbell.
4) Covering 'Cats in the Cradle,' and filming the music video with my son.
Q: You have an interesting cover of "Cat's in the Cradle" on the new album. Why did you choose to revive this classic?
Several years ago, Jonathon and I sang Cats in the Cradle as part of our church's Father's Day service. We had really thought this would be nothing more than a song we sang for a special service, but afterward we heard so many positive comments from people who said hearing a father and son sing that song made it even more poignant that we decided to add it to our set list. It has been a mainstay ever since. It is such a timeless and powerful song, and it fits well with the message of "parenting on purpose" that we share during our concerts, worship services, and events.
Q: Another song that caught my attention is "Martyr's Prayer." What's the song about and why you record it?
The inspiration for Martyr's Prayer came from two news reports. On October 1, 2015, a student at Umpqua Community College in Oregon murdered eight students and a professor and wounded several others. I learned in the days following this tragedy that after entering the classroom, he asked the Christians to stand, then proceeded to kill each one.
Around that same time, I also read a report of a Christian woman who had been captured by ISIS. After the terrorists were unsuccessful in convincing her to renounce her faith, they executed her. Her last word was simply to cry out 'Jesus!' I remember thinking what amazing stories of faith these were as each of these people gave their lives rather than deny Christ. This song is simply my effort to honor these ten people and all those who have given their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
Q: In this age of anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic, how do your songs encourage us during these difficult times?
The common thread that runs through each of these songs is trusting when we cannot see. Though we can never see what's ahead, normalcy has a way of making us feel as though we are in control and that things will never change. However, this pandemic has heightened our awareness to the truth that control is an illusion and the future is uncertain. My hope is that each of these songs in their own way will encourage people to live in a place of ruthless trust and endless hope.