Today's Praise: Newest Newsboy steps up to microphone
June 6, 2009
Adding a spark to dynamite causes a blast. Adding the energetic Michael Tait to the explosive Newsboys might have a similar effect.
A few months ago, the Newsboys announced that front man Peter Furler would be stepping behind the scenes after 22 years with the popular Christian rock group.
His replacement is Tait, who’s probably best known for his work with dcTalk, a groundbreaking band that’s been dormant for the last few years.
Tait said the invitation to join the Newsboys arrived just after the new year. “They asked me whether I’d mind taking over,” Tait said. “… It was quite flattering and I prayed about it for a while. … It made sense. About a month and half later, it was on the road doing my thing.”
Tait’s test run with the band was at a concert in Woodbridge, Va., back in February. He sang about three songs and the crowd loved it. “We’ve done 31 shows since then, and it has been so much fun,” Tait said.
However, the pace is a bit different from that of his days in dcTalk, a three-member team that shared vocal duties. “Newsboys is just one guy. There isn’t time to take a breath,” he said.
Of course in the past, that “one guy” was Furler.
“Peter was worn out,” Tait said. “I understand that because it was 20 years of producing records.”
Furler will continue to work with the band behind the scenes, writing, producing and shaping its ministry and message.
The former front man also had a big impact on the Newsboys’ new album, which has been riding atop the Christian album chart.
“In the Hands of God” is another very strong release from the band, which has leaned toward praise music in its last few albums. The powerful title track, which tells of relying on God, has been approaching the top of the Christian singles chart.
“My Friend Jesus” is a fun, but pointed, account of the struggles we all face between selfish anger and forgiveness. It calls us to be the change we want to see.
While the Newsboys’ traditional praise — and fun — runs throughout the album, some of the tracks are very autobiographical. “The Way We Roll” describes the band’s early years, and “RSL 1984” describes Furler’s early days in his native Australia.
Despite this connection to Furler, the newest Newsboys’ vocal style works quite well with the songs.
“They can’t be any better,” Tait said. “That record was made for me. It’s actually quite shocking.”
Tait’s soaring vocals are a good match for Furler’s — aside from the lack of Aussie accent.
“When you hear the records, it sort of sounds like me,” Tait said.
But the band still plans to re-record the worship song “Glorious” for the radio with Tait doing the vocals. In concert, Tait said his favorite songs include the Newsboys’ classics “Something Beautiful, “I Am Free” and “He Reigns.” However, he also squeezes in a few songs from his dcTalk days, including “Colored People,” “Jesus Freak” and “In the Light.”
“Man, it’s like getting two for the price of one,” he said with a laugh. And the fans’ response has been “overwhelming. I’m like humbled every night,” he said.
And just being a part of the Newsboys has been rewarding.
“The ministry aspect of it is a blessing,” Tait said. “Seeing the faces of the people. … It’s more than a concert or a gig. It’s an experience.”
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.