Chris Huffman had been up a few hours Tuesday morning when he decided to send a tweet.
"What's your favorite song on #Cometothewell so far?" Huffman posted on Twitter, referring to the newly released album Come to the Well from his band, Casting Crowns.
"I got a lot of replies back," says Huffman, whose Twitter name is Crownsbass5. "People were already picking out songs and lyrics that they liked a lot."
Huffman and his bandmates will get a much more immediate, visceral response to the album Friday night when they play Rupp Arena. It will be the third Rupp stop for the chart- topping Christian pop band that includes one Kentuckian in Huffman, a Glasgow native who lived in the Bluegrass State until he was 10.
Though he is now firmly settled in the Atlanta area, he maintains his Kentucky ties and loyalties.
Back on Twitter, when one fan was teasing him about wearing Carolina blue at a tour stop in North Carolina, Huffman replied, "there is only one BLUE! And it's not in NC."
While playing Rupp, he enjoys seeing all that Kentucky blue and the University of Kentucky basketball banners hanging from the rafters.
That's all cool. But playing a favorite basketball team's arena is far from Casting Crowns' mission.
The band formed more than a decade ago out of a church youth group worship band at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in the Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge, Ga.
Come to the Well is the band's fifth studio album, and Huffman says its well theme is an outgrowth of conversations and Bible studies band members have been involved in.
It's based on the biblical story of a woman who visits a well during the day to avoid meeting people who will persecute her for her sins. In the story, she meets Jesus, who tells that if she draws from the well of life she will not be thirsty again.
"She thinks she's drawing from a well and talking to a man," Huffman says. "But the real deal is she's drawing water from a hole in the ground and she's talking to the well. Jesus was telling her he is the source, he is the one that will fill us up and never leave us empty.
"That was the start of the whole process for this album: The realization that that is what Jesus was trying to tell us through this story."
Hanging each record on a theme has never been the band's modus operandi, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened before.
"It's kind of interesting how each album comes together because we never plan on a record having a certain theme to it," Huffman says. "The title comes about sometime in the recording process, and then it becomes a central theme that the whole album revolves around."
A decade ago, no one in the seven-member group had planned to have a five-album recording career.
"We never saw it going this far," Huffman says. "We made CDs as a way for kids in our youth group to invite friends to church. That may not be the primary focus of us making records now, discipleship set to music."
He points out that several members of the group are active youth pastors and worship leaders.
Huffman says, "Most of our songs are written out of a sermon or a Bible study or a one-on-one meeting or something we have been studying as a band."
That could be why the songs make strong personal connections, even via Twitter.