Old Bear Records and Sprig Worship as Imprints

OBR SW Imprint Announcement

We are pleased to announce the creation of our first two imprints, Old Bear Records and Sprig Worship. These imprints are meant to serve as musical homes for songs within the larger Sprig Music record label that help identify the art’s unique missional values. We believe that these imprints not only serve artists more faithfully but give audiences a sense of what to expect from each ‘house.’

Old Bear Records will serve general market songs and projects, paying special attention to folk, Americana, blues, and jazz. Sprig Worship will house Christian worship songs and projects, most of which work best as congregational resources in churches through CCLI’s SongSelect. Both imprints, however, work together to serve the larger Sprig Music goal of using the musical arts to bring hope, beauty, and life to humanity.

Listeners may observe our artists releasing songs under both imprints; this is intentional, as many of our artists do not write and record just one style of music, nor is there always a singular categorical aim. It’s this diversity that drove our decision to create imprints in the first place. Having multiple imprints gives our artists more freedom to write outside of conventional restraints and broadens their voice to speak to areas that they may otherwise have been kept from.

Thank you for growing with us and embracing the music-makers who are painting pictures of life the way it should be.

Sincerely,

Christopher Hopper & Anthony Hoisington

Ian Zumback Signs with Sprig Music

zumback-artist-signing-header

For Immediate Release

October 26, 2016

Ian Zumback Signs with Sprig Music

Watertown, NY – Sprig Music is pleased to announce the signing of Nashville-based singer-songwriter Ian Zumback to its label roster. With his long music history and profound faith journey, Ian brings a wealth of seasoned life experiences and a rich songwriting and performance craft that embodies the Christ-altered life of the believer.

At the heart of Ian’s music is a desire to refresh and comfort others and to reconcile people to God.

“Sprig is very passionate about adding a dimension that serves a niche, if you will, of people that are yet to hear the Gospel,” says Zumback. “Meanwhile, other listeners may already be Christians but desire to hear a sound that’s a bit different than some of the other genres available.” And it’s this heart that label president, Christopher Hopper, is capitalizing on.

“Ian is bringing something to the table that’s fresh and tangible,” Hopper states. “His sound and his lyrics resonate with people. They’re raw, truth-telling lines that evoke this sense of, ‘Oh yeah, I feel like that too.’ It’s that kind of honesty that’s really made us fall in love with what he’s doing.”

Sprig is releasing Zumback’s first single, Murderer a Messenger, on November 18 complete with a new music video directed by Luka Iverson. The single will be available worldwide through major distribution and precedes an LP release slated for the summer of 2017.

“I couldn’t be more excited than I am to be joining the Sprig Music family,” says Zumback. “We share a vision consistent with each other, and I feel so privileged to share a place on the artist roster with my friends Brothers McClurg and Weston Skaggs.”

Zumback currently resides in Nashville with his wife, Susan, and their son, Jonah.

For booking requests, please contact Daniela Piña with Sprig Music Booking at (315) 788-0825 or fill out Sprig Music’s Artist Booking Form. •

zumback-artist-signing-image

Weston Skaggs Signs Deal with Sprig Music

Weston Skaggs Sprig Music Signing HEADER v1

WATERTOWN, NY – Sprig Music is pleased to announce our partnership with recording artist and worship leader Weston Skaggs. As the newest artist on the Sprig roster, Skaggs comes with a long history of ministry to the church, as well as a deep reservoir of powerful songs that we believe the world needs to hear.

“I am so glad to be a part of the Sprig music family,” says Skaggs. “This team is full of incredibly talented and Godly people who have made me feel welcomed and encouraged.”

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Skaggs is known for his unique blend of indie folk music and American roots. Add to that his heart for the local church, and what comes out is a worship leader who’s able to paint pictures of the highs and lows of the human experience. His songs are deeply authentic and accessible, drawing from situations like the dramatic birth of his daughter.

“My wife, Amy, nearly died in childbirth with Paisley,” recounts Skaggs. “She lost 10 liters of blood due to hemorrhaging, and underwent a hysterectomy during a 4-hour life-saving surgery.” The implications of the surgery are far-reaching, as anyone can imagine. But Skaggs insists that God used the experience for good. “Some extraordinary things happen to someone who holds on to the love of God when the odds are totally against them. Only one thing can account for it all—the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

And it’s precisely from this sort of place that Skaggs penned the lyrics to of his upcoming LP Joy & Sorrow Meet. “Out of the wreck I rise,” he says, “every single time.” The album pre-releases on Friday July 22, 2016 exclusively at Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake, NY with a full release the following Friday, July 29 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, and physically at Sprig Music Store.

“Being a church-founded, artist-centric label means that Sprig has no conflict of interest to tamper with their artists’ songs and personal calling,” Skaggs adds. “This has allowed me to feel very settled and free to create the most true expression of my art in the studio.”

For more information on Weston Skaggs, please visit sprigmusic.com/artists. For media interviews and booking, please contact Daniela Piña (315) 788-0825. •

Brothers McClurg to Release Christmas Album

WATERTOWN, NY – Sprig Music is pleased to announce that Brothers McClurg will release a new Christmas album entitled “Goin’ Back To Bethlehem,” on November 27, 2015, featuring a collection of brand new material as well as revisiting some old standards.

In conjunction with the full-length album, we’ll be releasing six music videos over six weeks, beginning this Friday, November 13th. Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

From the entire Sprig Music family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Sprig Music Signs Drummer Sam Widrick

Sam Widrick Spirg Music Header

WATERTOWN, NEW YORK – Sprig Music is pleased to announce its management partnership with drummer Sam Widrick. Widrick is best known for his current tour status with husband and wife duo Christopher and Jennifer Hopper, as well as for his studio performances on their current worship album Awaken. He’s also a weekly live drummer for New Life Christian Church in Watertown, New York.

Widrick’s attention to detail, dedication to excellence, and impeccable sense of timing make him one of Sprig Music’s favorite drummers. His playing is hallmarked by consistency and a keen ear for artistic nuance.

“Plus,” says Christopher Hopper, “he’s just a likable, easygoing guy. And that’s not as common as you might think, especially when under pressure on stage or in the studio.”

With specialities in rock, hard core, and pop, as well as a growing interest in jazz, R&B, and country, Widrick’s wide dialog of genres makes him an asset to studio and road acts alike. He’s highly prepared, diligent, and always brimming with creative interpretations and insights. He’s also versatile in large and small venues, able to adjust dynamically to environmental contexts.

“We couldn’t do what we do without Sam,” says Jennifer Hopper. “He’s the glue that holds us together.”

Please visit Widrick’s Sprig Music page for booking and endorsement inquiries.

Press Release: Sprig Music Signs Artist Michael Bahn

Michael Bahn Spirg Music Header v2 Press Release

Photo by Sabina Magdalen-Hillman

Watertown, NY – Sprig Music is pleased to announce its partnership with singer/songwriter Michael Bahn of Grants Pass, Oregon. Bahn is a prolific writer and worship leader who serves as pastor of worship and administration at River Valley Church (RVC). Along with multiple albums of his own original music, he’s worked with numerous notable national artists, including Lincoln Brewster, Logan Martin, Chris & Conrad, Phil Stacey, Don Moen, Brandon Bee, Kate White, and Brothers McClurg.

Bahn is currently recording his third album, his first with Sprig Music, slated for a fourth quarter 2015 release. The album, produced by Chris and Anthony Hoisington of Brothers McClurg fame, will be prefaced with a new single “Rejoice” for airplay during the Christmas holiday.

Sprig Music is excited to produce and promote Bahn’s songs, all of which are designed to be easily accessible to worship leaders serving churches large and small. His modern vocal stylizing, instrumental proficiency, and dedication to song craft make him a musical inspiration. Bahn himself is a valuable addition to the Sprig Music family of artists as his love for people and desire for excellence are abundantly apparent in his work, as his his love for his wife and children.

To learn more about Michael Bahn, or to book him for dates in 2016, please visit his artist page for more information. •

Artists at Kingdom Bound 2015

Kingdom Bound Promo SMALL

We’re pleased to announce that two of our artists, Brothers McClurg and Christopher and Jennifer Hopper, will be performing next week at Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake Amusement Park. Both bands will be playing in the Worship Tent, and Christopher will be speaking and MC’ing as well.

Scheduled events:

Wednesday, July 22nd
PAC Stage / 6:00 pm
Christopher Hopper as MC

Friday, July 24th
Worship Tent / 8:00 pm
Brothers McClurg (Band)

Saturday, July 25th
Worship Tent / 11:00 am
Brothers McClurg (Band)

Saturday, July 25th
Thrivent Financial Galaxy Theater / 3:00 pm
Christopher Hopper speaking on “Kingdom Business”

Saturday, July 25
Worship Tent / 5:45 pm (but come early!)
Christopher and Jennifer Hopper (Band)

Brothers McClurg Featured on CCLI

Brothers McClurg on CCLI

We were super stoked to wake up over the July 4th weekend to find that CCLI’s Song Select website had featured Brothers McClurg’s song “Alive.” We’re continually blessed by the work that our CCLI family does in promoting inspiring worship music to bless the nations, and we’re proud to be a small part of the big picture. Congrats to Brothers McClurg! Here’s to many more souls singing the praises of our God and King.

Bringing Music Styles From the Past Into Our Present Worship

Bringing Music Styles From the Past Into Our Present Worship
By Chris Hoisington
Brothers McClurg

About two years ago, I started a search for new inspiration. You know, the sort of quest that any good songwriter will when you’re feeling dry and you’re seeking fresh musical inspiration. I wanted to find God in other forms of music besides the current modern worship music I’d become accustomed to.

I started by thumbing through my vinyl collection. It was in these beloved crates of aged musicology that I happened upon some old records that my parents had recorded in the mid 70s. The McClurg Family Singers.

I hadn’t listened to these records in over ten years, at least. But what I remembered of them sounded hoaky. The ultimate in cheesy, twangy southern gospel.

But I decided to give them a new listen. When I dropped the pin on their grooves this time around, the music hit my ears differently. I heard something in the sound that was fresh. It was old, but familiar. It was exciting.

I caught the scent of my inspiration, like a grandfather’s pipe smoke wafting in from the front porch.

From there, I began purchasing gospel records from the 60’s and 70’s, soaking in the sounds of Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light,” Elvis Presley’s “How Great Thou Art,” and the Louvin Brothers’ “Satan is Real.” They reminded me of those old songs I grew up hearing in church like “He Set Me Free,” “There’s Power in the Blood,” and The Gaithers’ “Because He Lives.”

I thought to myself, where has that music gone to? That good ‘ole sound?

Sure, we hear them every now and again, done at church during a special music time or in passing a road-side tent revival. And they’re alive and well at southern gospel festivals. But what about the church as a whole?

Soon after this fresh rediscovery of music, I decided to play the song “I’ve Got a River of Life Flowing Out of Me” during a Sunday worship service at my church. The results made me smile. I found that the older folks perked up and remembered how to clap, and the younger folks turned their heads, wondering what this “new” sound was. It was a glorious moment.

I think there are times when certain songs, even certain styles of music feel tired and need a break. This can be true of any art form, but especially of music. But everything comes full circle, and eventually we find a way to make old songs and old styles feel fresh again.

When I think of gospel music from the past, I think of our heritage, of a deep faith to draw from and pull into the present. These thoughts, combined with what happened that Sunday morning, made me think, what would new writing sound like if we brought that older style back again?

A few years back, Glenn Packiam, of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, called worship leaders to take a fresh look at liturgy in our churches—the structured, intentional progression of a Sunday service. He challenged us to try and bring it back again as an element in our services. To some churches, this was a totally new idea, while for others it had been one they have continued to do. It was in this challenged that I felt renewed passion toward these old gospel songs and music styles from Christian music’s past.

I started to realize that many of the vintage gospel records I was listening to were telling Bible stories, and some of the stories in scripture that you don’t always hear sung about in church. In a lot of ways, I think worship leading is like being a pastor. We are called to shepherd people into a real, honest and heartfelt experience with God. That’s why telling the Bible stories through song helps us reflect on the stories in new ways. It breathes life into the story. To help us understand the stories and what they can teach us.

Like a pastor takes a scripture and expounds upon it, we are taking stories from the Bible and expounding upon them through song. Bringing the story into the worship experience. Singing the stories of Jesus and what He did and how He interacted with people can help us understand Him in a deeper way. It can also help us see our life in light of the stories, which is exactly what a sermon does. Sermons and songs need to intermingle more. Often, our praise and the preaching of a sermon completely isolated, treated as two separate disciplines, when really, they have far more in common than we realize. Music can teach theology in fresh and new ways. Old Bible story songs teach people about their heritage, about the rich legacy of faith that we’re still benefitting form today.

Keep in mind, I don’t think this will work in every church or with every worship leader. Each of us has a unique voice and style, and the Lord speaks to each of us on how we should lead our congregations. I just wonder if we added more of those old gospel tunes and a return to that style of music, we may pull the older generations together along with us. As worship leaders, we’re called to serve our congregations as a whole, not just with the newest worship songs but also giving a fresh feel to some of the older songs as well.

Brothers McClurg has done just this with our last couple two albums, “Home” and “Around the Mic.”

We’ve tried to write with that old gospel feel in mind and bring it into the present.

And we’ve found that it’s giving fresh voice, not just just to our own congregations, but to the congregations we visit around the country.

These old gospel songs may be something you might want to try implementing into your own set. I would talk to your pastor about it and try adding a song or two into your set to see if it’s something your people might enjoy.

We certainly need praise songs that are straight forward and simple, that don’t focus on us but look to God, and I’m not saying you should stray from that. What I’m suggesting, however, is adding journey songs that talk about the road of life we’re on and help people see that we are real and honest people who go through the highs and lows of life. Music is a powerful tool that can connect people to Jesus like nothing else.

To start, I would recommend playing one gospel/journey song as people walk into church, then lead them in three songs of praise. Or at the tail end of your worship set, have them sit and share an older song while the offering is being taken. You might even end your service with one so that you’re not taking away from your praise songs, but rounding out the entire service. These practices are things that are inspiring us, and it may inspire you as well. Below is a gospel playlist of songs, old and new, to consider for your church.

Have you had an experience with this type of musical style in your church recently? What’s the response been like? We would love to hear how God is shaping your set list in different ways to help each person in your congregation connect with God.

Here is a playlist of new and old gospel songs to check out and enjoy.