Casting Crowns ministers to the masses through music

Founder Mark Hall (center, front) and Josh Mix (back, left), who replaced original guitarist Hector Cervantes in 2012, are among the member of award-winning Christian act Casting Crowns, performing at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Wednesday, July 28. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Founder Mark Hall (center, front) and Josh Mix (back, left), who replaced original guitarist Hector Cervantes in 2012, are among the member of award-winning Christian act Casting Crowns, performing at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Wednesday, July 28. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Most musical groups were forced to sit out the entire coronavirus shutdowns. Not Casting Crowns, who are performing at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Wednesday, July 28.

The Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian group safely returned to the road in the summer and fall of 2020 for a 28-city, socially-distanced drive-in tour. The Atlanta-based outfit even performed at Dayton’s Dixie Twin Drive-In in early October, at a time when people in the area were certainly hungry for live entertainment with an uplifting message.

Ministering to the masses through music is something Casting Crown has done since Mark Hall formed Casting Crowns in Florida in 1999. That’s not a surprising approach for a musician who has also been a youth pastor since the early 1990s.

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Casting Crowns has sold more than 10-million albums since its self-titled debut was released in 2003. The group has released nine studio albums, including “Until the Whole World Hears” (2009) and “The Very Next Thing” (2016). The most recent album, “Only Jesus” (2018), was certified gold and included the number one Christian singles, “Nobody” and “Only Jesus.” “Scars in Heaven,” the latest single from Casting Crowns, was released in June and is a song about dealing with loss and grief.

Josh Mix, who replaced original guitarist Hector Cervantes in 2012, recently submitted to a brief Q&A.

Thanks for taking time for the interview this morning, Josh. What are you up to today?

“It’s a rainy day here in Atlanta so I’m just kicking it at home. We’re not playing any shows, currently. We start up at the end of the month, so I’m just getting some time at home, which has been really nice.”

How was last year’s drive-in tour?

“It was a lot of things. It was a lot of fun, and I say that from a standpoint of a bandmember, who just plays. They won’t let me touch stuff, so I didn’t have to set up and I know there were times it was really hard on the crew. But, in general, I really loved it. It felt kind of like a reset to the roots of what we do and how we do things. It made me appreciate the songs more and it helped me appreciate the people far more. Just being outside, under the sky was great and I feel like we got to see America for what it is, honestly.”

How so?

“The same happened to everybody so we were all on level ground. We all got to talk about the same thing and were, for the most part, struggling with the same thing. There is so much division but at the same time, we connected with people in a way we had never connected before. It’s all of what you don’t see on TV or anything else; it was just good, easy living. It was definitely different but I had a really good time. Not just us, but everybody in general, was getting a little bit pampered and spoiled. Maybe we could say that about the whole country. I was definitely getting a little too spoiled so doing the drive-in shows was a nice gut-check. The whole year in general checked my heart and my head.”

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The new single, “Scars in Heaven,” is a powerful song. What can you tell me about it?

“Mark told he’d had that line in the back of his head for a while. He wrote it for his mom after her parents passed away, but it’s something that connects with everybody everywhere. Death is unavoidable. We’re all going to deal with it in some way so to write about it in a way that says we have hope on this side of the path is going to move a lot people. It’s connecting with us pretty hardcore right now. We lost our former drummer, Andy. He passed away a couple of weeks ago, and with everything that has happened in the past year, and so many people losing people, this song is hitting at the perfect time.”

Are you working on a new studio album?

“We are and this is the first single from that. We live down in Atlanta and everything happens in Nashville so we’ve been in and out of there. We’ve been recording and we’re almost done. It’s supposed to be out by the end of the year, but that’s for the people upstairs to decide. I’m just told, ‘Hey, come play guitar,’ so I did and, man, it’s been fun. We’re just blessed. We always are. God has given Mark such a gift in writing songs and we’re so excited for people to hear these. We had a lot of fun recording them. We have some new personnel in the band too so there has been a lot of new and a lot of good. The album is going to be really good. I think everybody is going to really love it.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Casting Crowns

Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28

Cost: $33.50-$55 in advance, $38.50-$60 day of show

More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com

Artist info: castingcrowns.com