With Third Day lead singer Mac Powell set to release his first solo project, a self-titled country CD, many fans might be wondering if the four-time Grammy-winning band is breaking up. Well, don’t fret. Third Day is alive and well, and putting the finishing touches on the group’s newest release, “Miracle.”
The band teamed with legendary rock producer Brendan O’Brien, who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Denver’s The Fray, to cull a new vibe from the Atlanta-based band.
“I thought with us working with Brendan O’Brien, this rock producer, that (the new record) would be more of a rock sound,” Third Day guitarist Mark Lee explained, “And we are a rock band, so there are those kind of elements, but I think Brendan really helped pull out some more pop sensibilities that we haven’t really tapped into lot … more hooky background vocals, keyboards and different things like that.
“It totally sounds like us, but there’s just some textures that you haven’t heard from Third Day before. It’s very fresh sounding.”
With O’Brien’s help, fans will recognize Third Day in “Miracle,” but as bassist Tai Anderson explains, it’s a new chapter to the band’s story as the guys try to keep things fresh.
“That’s the biggest thing, it doesn’t sound like any of our earlier records,” Anderson said, “and to normally pull that off people go to a gimmick ... it’s a country record or it’s electronic record. They are doing something totally outside their genre. For us, we’re playing our instruments, we’re being Third Day, but we made a record that sounds fresh. And it doesn’t sound like we are covering earlier Third Day music.
“I think the longer you are around as a band that it’s harder to do that. Everything becomes… like it sounds like that song. This is something new. We are starting a whole new chapter. It’s definitely fun.
“This is the first time Brendan has worked with a Christian band, and I’m really excited,” Anderson continued. “I think he pushed us. We have music that speaks to people of faith, but also does it in a way that anybody can listen to it and get where we are coming from. I think it will be real well received outside the walls of the church as well.”
And breaking down some of those walls might just be what propels Third Day into the realm that Switchfoot and The Fray have crossed.
“Sometimes as Christians we can be guilty of speaking our own language. It’s like being like a country club,” Anderson said. “It’s like that Bible verse: Let your light shine. I think that it’s important that we are out in the community. With this band we see it when it’s hard times and in tragedy ... as Denver well knows. Faith is such a healing thing. It’s something that people really rely on. It’s important to be there for the community showing, ‘We care about you. We are all in this together.’”
While his bandmates take a touring break, Powell will embark on a new chapter while breaking down some walls with a short 15-date tour to promote his CD. (The first date is Sept 14 at Joe’s Bar in Chicago and ending in November right around the time of the release of “Miracle.”)
“With Mac, he’s in a season where he wanted to have some fun and play some music that didn’t fit with Third Day,” Anderson said. “Mac is such a sports guy, for him it’s like a challenge. Can I do this? Can I go couple of rounds in this other world? We are really proud of Mac. It’s really hard to just go out and make a record. He has written all these song and they are really great songs, but I don’t think any of them would fit on a Third Day record, because they don’t fall under our mission statement. But they are all great, fun songs. He’s going to have a blast out there. It’s a both an 'and situation' not an either/or. Third Day is going strong, and Mac is doing his thing."