Group uses Internet-speak to reach out

Rich Copley
Rich Copley

WILMORE — Hawk Nelson Is My Friend might sound like a goofball title for an album, unless you're on MySpace, Facebook or one of the other social networking Internet sites out there.

In that case, you've probably snickered at a message saying someone you've known for life ”... is your friend.“ Heck, it may even say, ”Hawk Nelson is your friend,“ which is fine with the band's frontman, Jason Dunn.

”Today with MySpace and Facebook, everyone is looking for friends and to see how many friends you can obtain,“ the singer said backstage at last month's Ichthus Festival. ”The whole friendship theme is something we've always believed in, since day one. It's never been about putting us on a pedestal above our audience. It's all about being on the same level.“

Dunn said that level is under God, and looking to God for hope.

”Kids are looking for friends,“ Dunn said. ”Jesus was a friend to sinners .... he was the greatest friend of all.“

Using the social networking phrase as an album title is also a good reminder to the band, Dunn says, not to view themselves as superior to their audience, even though, ”We have a cool job. Some kids regard that as stardom, or whatever. But we have sweet jobs, and we feel very blessed to be able to do this.“

Hawk Nelson, which swings back through Central Kentucky to play George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester Saturday night, has been doing that job for three albums now and finds itself settling into a career as recording and touring artists.

”It feels like a career now,“ Dunn says. ”This is what I do for a living, and it feels weird to say that, because this is what I dreamt of doing since I was a kid.“

Growing up in Canada, Dunn says he didn't necessarily tune his ear to Christian rock.

”We grew up listening to bands like Blink-182 and Good Charlotte,“ Dunn says. ”Christianity wasn't a genre of music in Canada. That's just what we believed in, we believed in God, and we played clubs, and that's just how we did it.

”But here in the U.S., Christianity is like its own genre of music, and I'm still getting used to that. We all believe in Jesus, and that reflects in our lyrics, but our music sounds more like what we grew up listening to.“

Chapman update

Steven Curtis Chapman is to resume touring next month, with 15 dates into September, including a string of August baseball game dates with the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros. Chapman and his family suffered a tragedy last month when their 5-year-old adopted daughter Maria was killed in an accident at their home outside Nashville. Chapman has canceled all of his international dates.

New music

■ You might already be hearing Jesus Messiah, Chris Tomlin's new single, on radio, considering it's being touted as the most-added multi-format song in Christian radio history. The whole album, Hello Love, drops on Sept. 2.

■ If you loved Casting Crowns' recent performances at Rupp Arena or Ichthus, you can take the experience home with The Altar and the Door Live CD and DVD, Aug. 19.

■ Third Day's Revelation is coming out at the end of July. If you listen to Christian pop radio, you've heard Call My Name, the single, which is indicative of the new album's Southern rock style, reminiscent of Wire and some of 3D's earlier efforts.