Off the Beaten Path
It all started as a challenge between student and teacher...what fresh approach could we find on a song that seemed to be placed in the church's "old-school" pile but was still full of great meaning? The next day we got together, compared thoughts and found some sounds that were invigorating, breathing new life into something many around us had dismissed. The proverbial "bug" bit hard and all of a sudden I found myself with a number of songs that bridged a gap between a music I love - jazz - and worship. My initial thought was, "If these arrangements never leave my office, it will still be worth the effort of finding a new way to express my feelings of praise." However, people began asking to hear this new flavor of praise music so I approached Nate about singing a couple arrangements in chapel. The response was something I could have predicted...to some it seemed exciting and fresh while to others it seemed awkward and too much of a stretch. I know there will be similar reactions to this recording and, although some may even be offended, be assured that my goal has never been to rock the boat. The purpose of capturing these songs in these ways is simply to renew, or maybe create a love for some songs of the past and to present a new adjective (which you need to supply) to "loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." We came up with the name, The Back Alley Band, as an attempt to describe how our mission as Christian musicians reflects the life and purpose of Christ, who seemed to spend much of His time in the unexpected places with unexpected people. Considering that outside of Nate and me this entire group is comprised of students at Indiana Wesleyan University, the personnel will be in a constant state of flux as people move into and out of IWU. We feel extremely blessed to have this group of students be the "original" Back Alley Band. The energy and magic of the studio really seems to come through on this recording and there are times I forget that we had only a short time of rehearsal and a small window of time for the recording. - Todd Syswerda.