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.

Watertown Daily Times Article

We’re so thrilled to promote the story that the Watertown Daily Times did on us today. Couldn’t have hoped for a better piece. Thanks to Ted and Amanda for their reporting.

Peter Hopper Christopher Hopper Watertown Daily Times

Original source: watertowndailyties.com

Christopher Hopper Watertown Daily Times YouTube Interview

Video Interview: YouTube.com

First-class recording studio at Watertown church opens doors to public (VIDEO)

By TED BOOKER
TIMES STAFF WRITER
Photos by AMANDA MORRISON
TIMES STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015 AT 6:50 PM
UPDATED: SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015 AT 11:51 PM

WATERTOWN — Bands and artists with big dreams now can create their albums in a state-of-the-art recording studio at New Life Christian Church, which opened its doors to the public last month.

Launched at the church off Arsenal Street in the spring of 2014, Sprig Studios has all of the recording equipment artists and bands need to make professional albums to be sold online and at stores, said Christopher K. Hopper, president of the business, who also is the associate pastor of the church.

To celebrate opening to the public, the studio is offering a special rate for clients of $45 an hour through the end of this year, Mr. Hopper said. The cost includes supervision from a certified engineer and access to the studio’s tracking, editing, mixing and mastering equipment. The 2,000-square-foot space can also be used to record live concerts in the church’s 500-seat auditorium. He said the business reserves the right to deny the recording of music with explicit language that describes illegal activities, such as drug use and abusive behavior.

Built on multiple elevations and adjacent to the auditorium, the studio took nearly three years to design and build, Mr. Hopper, 36, said during a tour of the space Friday.

Mr. Hopper said he teamed up to design the studio with his father, Peter K., who serves as the chief studio engineer. He said the 68-year-old, who has more than 50 years of experience in the recording industry and owned a studio in Ithaca for three decades, was persuaded in 2011 to sell his business and move to Watertown to help launch the studio.

“Being a pastor at New Life, I wanted to champion the cause of the church being an epicenter for artists,” said Mr. Hopper, a singer and multi-instrumentalist who was recording a worship album at the studio Friday with his wife, Jennifer L., a singer.

The studio is in an area that was once used as a room to show films when the building operated as the Interstate theater at Stateway Plaza. The church opened in the fall of 2008.

To deflect sound, the space features a curved white wall and gravel-filled floor cavities, while American red cedar wood and bricks were used as design materials for other surfaces. Edison light bulbs affixed to black iron pipes lend the space a distinctive look with a “steam-punk aesthetic,” Mr. Hopper said. A space-saving 14-piece “Jefferson staircase” leads to the studio’s loft, where music also is recorded. The steep staircase, made with blue spruce wood, was inspired by a design from Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, who was a skilled architect; Jefferson County was created in his honor in 1805.

The Hoppers lead a Christian band in Watertown that has produced albums under Sprig Music, an independent record label for Christian artists. The band will be doing a worship tour this year, hosting live concerts across the country. Earlier this year, it finished legs of the tour in Europe and Latin America.

Mr. Hopper said other groups that also produce music under the label are Brothers McClurg, a Buffalo-based band led by brothers Anthony and Chris Hoisington, and singer/songwriter Meg Sutherland, whose executive producer, Douglas Gresham, is the stepson of the late author C.S. Lewis.

“One of her songs is going to be featured in the next ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ film,” Mr. Hopper said.

Church members are able to support artists financially under the recording label by making donations online and at a giving kiosk in the church, he said.

Mrs. Hopper, 31, said she and her husband plan in July to finish the band’s latest album, which will feature about a dozen worship songs. She said the couple will have a busy travel itinerary this summer.

“Our band will be touring in Massachusetts this month and next month in Connecticut,” she said, adding that they’ll perform in July at the annual Kingdom Bound Summer Festival in Buffalo.

Peter Hopper, meanwhile, said he hopes the studio will inspire Christian and secular musicians to produce quality recordings for years to come.

“We can record all kinds of music — rock, jazz, country and even rap,” said Mr. Hopper, who has recorded with hundreds of artists during his career. He said he continues to learn something new every day in the studio.

“Recording is like flying an airplane — you’re always learning something,” he said.

And he has top-flight equipment on which to learn. He said the studio, which has a mix of digital and analog recording equipment, features a custom-designed recording console built in Nottingham, England. The 72-input console has 3,196 different functions.

“Doing this is kind of like painting with sound and mixing colors with a paintbrush. Each microphone used for recording has a different sound quality and characteristic,” he said.

For more information about the studio or to schedule a tour, call 788-0825 or visit www.sprigmusic.com.
To see a video featuring the studio, go to http://wdt.me/recording-studio.

Recording Studio at Local Church a Hidden NNY Gem

PRESS RELEASE- For immediate release

April 23, 2015

WATERTOWN, NY – Northern New York is a treasure trove full of hidden gems and unexpected pearls of beauty. Jefferson County is home to some of the most spectacular waterways in the state, some of New York’s most unique wineries, and now a state of the art recording studio that would make any musician weak in the knees. Sprig Studios, located inside New Life Christian Church just off of Arsenal Street in Watertown, boasts state of the art equipment and technology as well as sound engineers and producers with over eighty combined years of experience. Sprig Music, an independent label that currently manages 4 artists from around the country, operates exclusively out of Sprig Studios and provides full service artist management.

Sprig-Studios-Interior-Studio-A

“Sprig Studios is truly a unique place, and we’re so excited to be opening it to the public for the first time. Our cutting edge technology combined with the raw beauty and comfort of the space makes for a studio that is both accessible to the new artist and powerful enough for the seasoned veteran,” said Sprig Music President Christopher Hopper. The 2,000 square-foot studio was designed by father and son duo Peter and Christopher Hopper. It operates on six different elevations and is adjoined to New Life Christian Church’s 500 seat main auditorium which makes it just as easy to record a live album as a studio album. Decor of the studio incorporates American red cedar, black iron, Edison and LED lighting, gravel filled floor cavities, and large diameter curved walls to provide both an acoustically and visually pleasing environment.

Sprig-Studios-Interior-Jefferson-Stairs-Crows-Nest-Studio-A

“I’ve spent the greater part of my life in the music industry and in recording studios. Sprig Studios is not only a wonderfully beautiful space, but it has everything a experienced musician and sound engineer, like myself, could need,” said Chief Studio Engineer Peter Hopper. Hopper began his career in the 1960’s in Manhattan with some of the world’s greatest artisans and has worked successfully for numerous major record labels including RCA, Epic, and Columbia Records. He continues his career in sound engineering at Sprig Music and is passionate about bringing a new dimension of music to Northern New York.

sprig microphone

“We are really excited about having such a beautiful facility on the premises. On top of that, it’s an honor to have such talented musicians and engineers working there. We would love to have musicians from around the community come in and see it for themselves,” said New Life Christian Church Senior Pastor Kirk Gilchrist. In honor of the studio’s inaugural year, they’re offering a special rate for all new clients of $45/ hour. This includes one of their certified engineers (mandatory), and covers all functions of the studio including tracking, editing, mixing, and mastering. This offer is good only to the end of December 2015, and does not apply to 2” tape recording on the vintage STUDER tape machine. Call (315) 788-0825 to schedule a tour or inquire about availability. Visit sprigmusic.com for a virtual tour and more information about the studio.

Booking: Rebekah Berthet

rebekah.newlifenny@gmail.com

+1 (315) 788-0825

Meg Sutherland Album Release Concerts

Meg Sutherland Release Concerts HEADER

We’re pleased to announce three album release events for Meg Sutherland’s debut record Courage, Dear Heart, available worldwide on Tuesday, March 31st.

SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 7:00 PM – Meg Sutherland will perform an intimate “Live From Sprig Studios” session, debuting the songs from her new record for an online audience. Watch live from our online campus; no fee for virtual admission.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 6:00 PM – A live in concert appearance with her band at New Life Christian Church’s Main Campus sanctuary, 255 Gaffney Dr., Watertown, NY – (315) 788-0825, releasing the physical CD before it’s street date. Admission is free with limited seating available. Special guest appearance by executive producer Douglas Gresham, producer of the Narnia Films.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 7:30 PM – Meg Sutherland will perform at Mary Moody Northern Hall, West Texas A&M University, 2501 4th Avenue, Canyon, TX 79016 – (806) 651-0000. Admission is free with limited seating available. Special guest appearance by executive producer Douglas Gresham.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23 – Physical release date of Courage, Dear Heart.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – Digital release date of Courage, Dear Heart.

Meg Sutherland and Brothers McClurg CD Release Events

2015-03 McClurg Sutherland Releases V1B

March is a big month for us as we release three new albums from two amazing artists. Read below and come join us as we launch Courage, Dear Heart by Meg Sutherland, and Home and Around The Mic by Brothers McClurg.

MEG SUTHERLAND

SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 7:00 PM – Meg Sutherland will perform live from Sprig Studios, debuting the songs from her new record Courage, Dear Heart. Watch live from our online campus; no fee for virtual admission.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 6:00 PM – Meg will perform live in concert with her band at New Life Christian Church’s Main Campus sanctuary, 255 Gaffney Dr., Watertown, NY – (315) 788-0825, releasing the physical CD before it’s street date. Admission is free with limited seating available. Special guest appearance by executive producer Douglas Gresham.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 7:30 PM – Meg Sutherland will perform at Mary Moody Northern Hall, West Texas A&M University, 2501 4th Avenue, Canyon, TX 79016 – (806) 651-0000. Admission is free with limited seating available. Special guest appearance by executive producer Douglas Gresham.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23 – Physical release date of Courage, Dear Heart.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – Digital release date of Courage, Dear Heart.

BROTHERS McCLURG

FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 7:00 PM – Join Brothers McClurg live in concert at Asbury Hall, Buffalo, NY release both Home, their new full-length album, and Around The Mic, their new live seven-song EP. Tickets are $6.00 and available here.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 7:00 PMWatch live from our online campus as we host Brothers McClurg Live from Sprig Studios to celebrate their digital and physical release dates. No fee for virtual admission.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – Physical release date of Home and Around The Mic.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – Digital release date of Home and Around The Mic.

Brothers McClurg Signs Record Deal With Sprig Music

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
JANUARY 5, 2015

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE PDF

__________________

Brothers McClurg Signs Record Deal With Sprig Music

By Victoria Peryer

WATERTOWN, NY – Henry Ford famously said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” And while Brothers McClurg and Sprig Music won’t be fabricating automobiles anytime soon, they will be making records together. Which, more than likely, will be played in plenty of automobiles.

Sprig Music is announcing its newest partnership with recording artists Brothers McClurg, signing a two-album record deal this month, as well as a comprehensive booking agreement.

“It feels like a very genuine and fresh approach to musical partnership,” says Brothers McClurg co-founder Chris Hoisington. “Partnering with Sprig is a natural next step for our season of ministry.”

The band, with four previous albums, is ramping up for the release of their newest LP (yes, it will be on vinyl too), entitled Home. The record was going to be independently released following the band’s amicable parting with Integrity Music, but now finds its home on the Sprig label.

Additionally, the band will be heading into Sprig Studios later this month to record a second release entitled Around The Mic. The project is anticipated to be a studio-capturing of their notable “around the mic” unplugged acoustic sets which fans of all ages have been requesting for years.

Producer and recording engineer Peter Hopper will be in the driver’s seat for Around The Mic—or at least calling shotgun to man the radio dials. With over 6,000 recording projects to his name, and a career spanning more than 50 years, his expertise is a perfect fit for the vintage sound the band is looking for. “We’re printing this to two-inch tape,” Peter says, speaking of Sprig’s two vintage Studer analog tape machines, which marry seamlessly with the studio’s Amek console and ProTools rig. “It doesn’t get any fatter or warmer than that. We’re just thrilled to be working with such wonderful guys to make wonderful music for Jesus.”

Paul Mitro, a fellow studio owner and live mixing engineer, will also be working alongside Peter on production for Around The Mic. Having worked closely with Brothers McClurg for years, his contributions will help maintain the sound and consistency the band has worked hard to achieve.

The deal takes the band/label partnership into 2016 complete with renewal options.

Anthony Hoisington, brother to Chris, expressed excitement over their new label affiliation. “Sprig Music is setting a precedent of how the music industry can function in the new age. It’s nice to have a grassroots approach and feel. Like making music on the front porch and drinking a nice sweet tea.”

Chris agrees, nodding with his iconic afro. “Our partnership works in a way that our handshake and friendship means more than the music that we’re making. It’s humbling to have people that believe in the power of music and the power of Christ.”

Both albums will release physically on Friday, March 27, hallmarked by an album release party in Buffalo, NY (venue TBA), while a digital release date of Tuesday, March 31 will be commemorated with a live streaming concert inside Sprig Studios.

“What we’re all involved with is a fresh and smart approach to ministry through the arts,” adds Jeremy Thompson, another of the band’s key members.

“Sprig is a liberating model of how a label, a Church and a band can come together and make Christ honoring music,” says Chris.

Subscribe to the band’s email list for news on the upcoming releases, and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a look behind the scenes as they record at Sprig Studios later this month.

And if you frequent an automobile, we highly recommend you add these upcoming tunes to your road-trip playlist.

Media:
Victoria Peryer
victoria.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (210) 452-1385

Booking:
Clarissa Collins
clarissa.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (315) 788-0825

Left to right: Christopher Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Anthony Hoisington, Kevin Bish, Peter Hopper, Jeremy Thompson.

Left to right: Christopher Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Anthony Hoisington, Kevin Bish, Peter Hopper, Jeremy Thompson.

Left to right: Kevin Bish, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington during final negotiations.

Left to right: Kevin Bish, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington during final negotiations.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Christopher Hopper, Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, reviewing demo recordings in Sprig Studios’ control room.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Christopher Hopper, Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, reviewing demo recordings in Sprig Studios’ control room.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Christopher Hopper during final negotiations.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Christopher Hopper during final negotiations.

Left to right: Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington in Studio A tracking a test demo.

Left to right: Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington in Studio A tracking a test demo.

Brad Blackwood Secured For Sutherland’s “Courage, Dear Heart”

With much gratitude to Brian Moore of Red Booth Recording, we’re pleased to announce that Grammy award winning mastering engineer Brad Blackwood of Euphonic Masters will be mastering Meg Sutherland’s new album Courage, Dear Heart. With such credits as Maroon 5, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Black Eyed Peas, and Sara Bareilles, we’re honored to have Brad putting the final polish on Meg’s record before it goes to print.

Sprig Signs Artist Meg Sutherland

Meg Sutherland Sprig Music Header

From award winning Executive Producer Douglas Gresham (the Narnia films), and producer Christopher Hopper, comes the cinematic/indie debut album of singer/songwriter Meg Sutherland.

Meg Sutherland’s cinematic-indie debut features thirteen original songs that span a lifetime of trial and triumph. The album, Courage, Dear Heart, which is slated for a winter 2014 release, is a deep and provocative exposition of the human heart, set to music by Sutherland’s exquisite vocal talent and uncompromising piano mastery.

Songs like “How To Love” and “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” explore the melancholy of familial tension, where “Walls Of My Soul” is a tribute to those who bravely pick up the pieces of the past and dare to rebuild. “Send Us The Rain” is an anthem of hope, crying out to the God who’s faithful to provide, and “Show You” is an invitation to experience life to its fullest.

Other songs, like “Real” and “Doug’s Song,” summon the nostalgia hidden within the literature and feature films birthed from the mind of the late C.S. Lewis. These songs alone are a must for any fan of the Narnia legacy.

“I have known Narnia all my life,” says Gresham, “and amazingly, this girl-child seems to know it almost as well as I do. Meg’s music sings from and about the heart. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it fills with joy. But then, beauty is like that.”

Ultimately, Sutherland’s picturesque work is an invitation into life-living, to feel and touch the emotions that make us human. It’s her detailed words and soaring melodies that tie her listeners together, binding them in a mystical journey worthy of another world.

________________

Media:
Victoria Peryer
victoria.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (210) 452-1385

Booking:
Rebekah Berthet
rebekah.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (315) 788-0825

PRESS RELEASE: DOWNLOAD