Belton, TX






Belton. Here’s the deal. You guys were easily the best crowd of the tour so far. What a great night. Thanks for hanging out with us. Awesome to have the boys from The Digital Age in the room tonight. If you haven’t checked out their music, what are you waiting for?

We’re headed home for a couple days, but next week we’ll be ready to take this thing East.

Thanks again Texas.

New Release Tuesday Review

Welcome to the New by MercyMe | CD Reviews And Information |
Welcome to the New”  by MercyMeRated 4.5 Stars

Average Rating By NRTeam Members
Rated 5 Stars | View All Reviews

A Hearty Welcome | Posted March 31, 2014 Staff Reviewer
When you hear a band like MercyMe declare that it is “out with the old and in with the new,” there are several different things your mind can think.

Longtime fans of the group that has penned some of the most well-loved songs in CCM (“I Can Only Imagine”, anyone?) might worry that their beloved band has gone off the deep end and created something so far removed from their signature sound, that any trace of familiarity is gone. On the other hand, you have scoffers who can’t help but wonder if anything has really changed at all. I mean, how many musical bandwagons can you hop aboard before it starts to leave you a little cynical?

I admittedly fell into the latter group when I received my copy of MercyMe’s latest studio project, Welcome to the New. While I’ve always been a fan of their Adult Contemporary-friendly sound, I couldn’t picture this prestiged quartet doing anything differently, let alone doing it well. However, what I soon discovered upon listening was a series of songs that left my stuffy misconceptions utterly shattered.

“Welcome To The New” introduces the sonic shift, which is bent towards a balance of upbeat pop, and synth rock. They’ve always been something of a mature pop group at heart, but this completely renovates anything they’ve done before. Far gone are the days of sleepier jingles. This is something that stands up to the best of ’em.

The song also introduces the theme you’ll find tied into almost every song on the record, about how Christ has set us free from the laws of religion and offered us grace enough to repeatedly fall down and get back up again: “You broke your back, kept all the rules, jumped through the hoops to make God approve of you, oh tell me, was it worth it? / The whole time you were spinning plates did you stop to think that maybe He’s okay with just you? / There’s no need to join the circus.

“Gotta Let It Go” blazes out of the gate and quickly sets itself atop a long list of some of the best material this band has put out, musically speaking. It carries a blisteringly powerful modern rock vibe, while somehow tipping its hat to the sounds found in much of the music birthed at the start of the millennium. Think Smash Mouth, without the cheesy nostalgia.

Another smokey rocker—no pun intended—is found on “Burn Baby Burn,” perfectly incorporating synth elements into the backdrop of a gritty anthem about shining boldly for Christ. It’s a theme that’s being touched on more and more in CCM lately, but yet have I heard it come from such a fresh perspective.

OK, so the band has clearly proven that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, but what about those fans who actually liked the old dog? Fear not! While Bart and boys have mastered the ability to reinvent themselves, fans who’ve been with them since the beginning with be glad to hear that worshipful and cutting MercyMe mainstays are indeed present here.

Lead single “Shake,” the folksy “Greater,” future radio darling “Finish What He Started” and open letter “Dear Younger Me” all return to the core of the group, which is to both challenge and inspire. Each song offers some of the strongest songwriting of their lengthy career.

One of the biggest gems will be found in “Flawless,” which was originally slated to be the title track. It sums up everything good about this album in just over four minutes. Old meeting new, incredible lyrics, and a message that sternly reminds us that God isn’t looking for our perfection, He just wants us: “No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is, the cross has made, the cross has made you flawless.

Closing Thoughts:
I could say Welcome To The New is a step forward for MercyMe, but that would be lie. It’s more like 12 steps and a giant leap. I’m thoroughly impressed by the production here, which is neither bypassed or overdone, something that has plagued some of their prior albums of the past. Bart Millard’s lead vocals are the strongest I’ve heard yet, and the band is all playing together better than ever.

I have few complaints about this album, other than it was a little shorter than what I’m used to from them, but as I always say, if you’re left wanting more, obviously they’re doing something right. This is one of the strongest albums Christian music has to offer in 2014, and a step in the right direction for a band who has clearly shown that they still have many years ahead of them.

Song To Download:
“Gotta Let It Go”

Wishful Thinking

People have asked if this new passion for identity and grace shows up on the upcoming MercyMe album “Welcome To The New”…April 8 by the way (wink)

Yes. Hence the title of the album and the name of this blog “TheNewBart”

But just in case you’re not sold, here’s a song from said album.

Thanks to our awesome label, Fairtrade Services, for being totally cool with me letting the cat outta the bag. Well, actually it’s more like giving the cat visitation rights. Then it’s BAG IN THE BAG CAT!!!!

Wishful Thinking

Lord is it possible
To get this far
and just now understand
who You are?

feeling foolish
Yet relieved as well
cuz what i bought before
I just can’t sell

but now
my eyes are open wide
if this is wrong
i don’t wanna be right

could it be that on my worst day
how you love me simply will not change
what if it’s really not about what i do but what you did
oh what if
this ain’t wishful thinking it’s just how it is

verse 2
i guess i’m better late
than not at all
or did you plan it this way
all along

cuz without struggling
grace is hard to see
so maybe I’m right where
i’m supposed to beo

But now
My eyes are open wide
If this is wrong
Please Lord do not make me right

Now I know that on my worst day
The way you love me it ain’t never change
it’s never really been about what i do but what you did
Yes it is
this ain’t wishful thinking it’s just how it is

Dear Younger Me

There’s a new song on our upcoming release I’m very excited about. It was a very emotional one to write, but I feel it will minister to many people. Even though I can’t let you hear it yet, I can let you read it. Ha

If you could go back, what would you say to your younger self?

Dear Younger Me

Dear younger me
Where do I start
if i could tell you everything that I have learned so far
then you could be
one step ahead
of all the painful memories still running thru my head
i wonder how much different things would be
dear younger me

dear younger me
i cannot decide
do i give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
or do i go deep
and try to change
the choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
even though I love this crazy life
sometimes i wish it was a smoother ride
dear younger me

if i knew then what i know now
condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
if i knew then what i know now
would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

dear younger me
it’s not your fault
you were never meant carry this beyond the cross

you are holy
you are righteous
you are one of the redeemed

set apart
a brand new heart
you are free indeed

every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
every moment brings you closer
to who you were meant to be
Dear younger dear