by Josh Belcher, Freelance Writer
A wave of God driven music will be making it’s way to the Ripavilla Plantation in Spring Hill on Sunday, August 17th from 1-8 pm for the Im Festival—a new Christian concert event and the first of it’s kind. The show is an outdoor event with food vendors, a kidzone with inflatable’s and pony rides, and the bands will offer meet and greets at their merchandise booths. Learn more at www.impactfestivals.com. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Admission is $6.00. The Historic Ripavilla Plantation is offering free tours from 1-6pm. There will also be giveaways throughout the day including a chance to win a Fender Acoustic Guitar. The show has a great line up with co-headliners The Rhett Walker Band and 7eventh Time Down, as well as support from Christian music artists Shiloh, Katie Danielle and CrossTie.
CrossTie is a family band, consisting of three brothers (ages 12, 15, and 17) and their father, who have incredible talent. Greg, Paul, Josh, and Caleb Spears make up the phenomenal band that is a cross between Chevelle and Casting Crowns. According to the family, CrossTie’s goal is to “share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through their real-life testimonies and rocking original songs.” The band, established in 2009, has made it their primary objective to entertain, encourage and generally rock your socks off. I recently had the privilege to listen and enjoy CrossTie’s EP Strength To Rise, which was produced by Dove Award winner Robert White Johnson. The energy and flow of this album truly resonates with a Christian at any level of spirituality and faith: if you want awesome rocking music, you got it; if you are looking for deep-seeded heartfelt lyrics, you got it; if you need a pick me up to boost your day, you got that as well! The album even features Andrew Welch of Thousand Foot Crutch who offers his guitar talents on the song “Someone Had To Go.”
With family, blood is thicker than water. In CrossTie, the talent is pretty thick as well! Some of the band’s highlights include:
* selected as Disney’s “Night Of Joy” new talent artist—twice (2012, 2013)
* chosen to play the “New Artist” showcase for Holiday World’s Rock The World Event in 2013
* hailed as the #1 Independent Christian Rock Band on ReverbNation.com.
I had a chance to catch up with the band and hear about their genesis as a group and their plans for 2014:
WS: Tell us how your family became a band?
CT: I (Greg) had been an entertainer for most of my life following in the footsteps of my dad who was a professional bluegrass musician. So, music was a normal part of my boys’ lives from birth. I never really thought about a family band, it just sort of evolved when we started playing together at church. Each of the boys were drawn to their own instruments. I didn’t persuade them, it was just organic. I had taken a break from actively pursuing music for a few years and started to feel drawn back into the scene. Realizing the family strain of road life, I had asked the guys how they felt about me returning to music and encouraged them to pray about it and let me know their thoughts. They came back a couple of days later with the idea of forming a family band. So, in the fall of 2009, after a late-night family meeting and lots of prayer, CrossTie was born. I have to say, we are not your typical “family band.” [laughs]
WS: Do you guys write your own music and do you write as a family?
CT: Yes, we write all our songs. Primarily, Greg writes most of the lyrics and Paul writes most of the music but Josh and Caleb also contribute. There have been many times when one of us shared a lyric or song idea with the others only to find that Paul already had a new riff he had been working on that lined up perfectly with the new idea. We call this a “God Thing.”
WS: Explain which Spears family members are in the band and what their role is?
CT: Greg (the dad) lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Paul (18) lead guitar – BG vocals
Josh (15) drums – BG vocals
Caleb (12) bass – BG vocals
Destin Staff (nephew-18) – electric guitar
WS: What message does CrossTie want to relay to audiences and fans?
CT: Most of all, we want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our real-life testimonies and songs, as well as unify and encourage youth and families. We jokingly say we are the “family friendly” band. [laughs]
WS: How can people learn more about the band and purchase your album?
CT: The best way to keep up with CrossTie is our Facebook page. You can also purchase our music and merch by hitting the “CrossTie Store” button. Connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Youtube, ReverbNation. You can also purchase our music on all the usual online music sites (iTunes, Amazon mp3, BandCamp, etc).