These Three Dudes Make Me Cry

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“We really didn’t know what this was going to be when we started recording it, but it’s kind of turned into this story that we didn’t anticipate telling–the story of our lives for the past three years.”

That’s Caleb Chapman describing his band’s newest EP, To the Ends of the World. I met Caleb on tour last fall and immediately enjoyed his company. He was 22 years old and had already been married for a few years. I enjoy the look of surprise on folks’ faces when I tell them that I got married when I was 20, but there I sat, registering the same look when Caleb told me he had one-upped me by a year. I must watch this young grasshopper closely, I thought as I stroked my beard. I knew he had a band, and that Brent Milligan (whom I’ve known for several years via his excellent production of a few Eric Peters records) and Joe Causey had produced their latest album. I also knew Caleb’s dad (this guy named Steven).

What I didn’t know was that their music would make me ugly-cry while jogging. Several times, in fact. As soon as To the Ends of the World released I bought it, and as soon as I listened to it I loved it. It sounded like a combination of Coldplay, The Killers, and Switchfoot. It sounded fresh and full of energy and joy. But what caught my ear from the beginning wasn’t just the sound. It was the story.

Most folks with even a vague knowledge of Christian music have heard of Steven Curtis Chapman, and probably know about the accidental death of his daughter Maria a few years ago. When you put this album on, it’s pretty clear from the beginning that these songs aren’t just pop songs. They’re telling a story. They’re telling the story of what goes on in the heart of young men whose faith is confronted with something terribly painful. It’s not overt or overbearing—nor is it full of over-dramatic angst. It just sounds honest, and beautifully so. As Caleb said above, they didn’t really mean to tell this story. That tells me that the songs on this EP are the outpouring of genuine struggle and genuine faith.

And that’s what makes me ugly-cry. Especially when I’m running. When I get to the last song, “To the Ends of the World”, I’m usually at the end of a three-mile jog. I’m no distance runner, so I’m often about to collapse after 30 minutes. Then I hear the opening lyric, “You run / You run as far as you can run from love / You run”, and I feel like the song is being sung straight to my wandering heart. Then I feel my feet lift off the ground a little. “You can’t escape my heart / ‘Cause my heart runs to the ends of the world / I’ll fight for you / I’ll fight until I die for you”. Those words ring like an anthem in my head and my heart, and it’s like I could run forever—not from something, but to it. The previous songs, while often joyous on their own, lead me through a painful story—a story not without questions—to this triumphant ending, to an answer: no matter how far we run we can’t escape the height, width, and depth of God’s overcoming love. We might as well try and outrun a tsunami.

I’m excited to tell you that Caleb the Band will be joining me on the Light for the Lost Boy tour this fall! (Yes, I mean that exclamation point with all my heart.) I’m so very excited about it. That means Caleb, his brother Will Chapman (who played most of the drums on my new record), and guitar/vocal/keys/bass ninja Scott Mills will be joining Ben, Gullahorn, and me—and that means I get to play my songs with a full band. That’s something I rarely get to do, and I can hardly wait.

You can pick up the new Caleb EP in the Rabbit Room store for a whopping $7 (you can also listen to clips). Check out their website here. They have several videos on YouTube, but I thought this one would be a good introduction to just how good these guys are. Even when they’re standing on a boulder.

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


32 Comments

  1. Jade Payne

    I’m so frustrated that I can’t even begin to express my complete excitement for this post.

    I’m flabbergastedly, reelingly, staggeringly excited.

    Nope. Not good enough.

    Eeeeeeek!!

    There. Much better. 🙂 Hooray for a band of storytellers! I hope you guys make it southerly in Tejas. Otherwise a roadtrip north will be in order.

  2. Loren Warnemuende

    I’m definitely slow–the Chapman connection didn’t click until I did a double-take on your aside of knowing Caleb’s dad. Quick scroll back to the top of the page to look at the picture again and I felt like I was back in high school looking at album covers of Chapman senior. My how time rolls on! What a beautiful weaving that you first tour with Steven, in a way mentored, and now tour with the sons, mentoring them. I look forward to the results!

  3. Greg

    So when do those tour dates hit? And how close will you get to Arkansas . . . those are the selfish questions!

  4. James Witmer

    I always feel a bit skeptical when the kid of someone famous gets attention. Maybe that’s a fault. The Wallflowers were, after all, pretty awesome.

    But these “dudes” wow… thanks for sharing that video and, please, tell me you will have some dates in western PA/eastern OH.

  5. Kim F

    Ben and Jud ~ I’m with you. West Coast tour, please!! (And what can we do to help make it happen?)

    This has been and continues to be an amazing year for Rabbit Room artists. What an honor to witness God at work and watch the story unfold.

  6. Jess

    What if I don’t have any money but I would kill to go to a Caleb + AP concert? And what if they never come to my home state? Should I just go curl up and die? 😉

  7. Jess

    Hmm, maybe I should be honest. AP did come here with SCC last year. That was actually where I got my first glimpse-hearing of Caleb, when they played the video for “I’m Not Ready Yet.” Those few heart-tugging lines instantly connected with me and I became what you might call a fan. 😉 That’s the reason I would kill to go see two of my favorite musicians/bands play in the same concert.

  8. Lydia

    EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!! “This guy named Steven” who happens to be my absolute #1 Favorite singer EVER!!!!! and AP is my second fav thanks to SCC! 🙂 My parents took me 3 1/2 hours to see SCC in concert in southern WI, AP you REALLLLLLLYYYY *NEED* to get up here to Northern WI, like at LEAST Green Bay!!!

  9. amy

    wow, i haven’t heard a note, and i am going to love them. what an introduction. thanks for the laughs and the thoughtful words, andrew. i am heading to the music now…

  10. Karen Dewhirst

    LOVE SCC, LOVE Andrew Peterson, and LOVE the sons of the SCC!! But am sad….purchased and downloaded CALEBs new one and only got 5 of the songs and the Reprise. Anyway I can get a hard copy? The songs and sounds of the ones I got from the new album are great! Got to meet the guys here in Birmingham a couple of years ago. Super nice guys!

  11. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Karen, the EP contains 7 songs (including “Reprise”). Check the folder you downloaded. They are all in there. I just confirmed it. There are no CDs are available.

  12. Caleb Morris

    I think that guy’s playing a pizza box for a drum in the video, which strikes me as pretty cool.

  13. Matthew Benefiel

    Caleb and his band have a lot of Landon Pigg sound, but less poppy and better lyrics (at least listening to The Long Walk). This is all good by the way.

  14. Tom Murphy

    The ugly cry mid-stride is a thing of beauty. The Spirit drilling the truth of God’s character into the very fabric of our heart in meditation is what keeps us alive … Selah

  15. Eddy Efaw

    I was fortunate enough to hear Caleb play a song on the Memphis stop on the Story/Song Tour earlier this year. LOVED the sound and the soul with which it was sung. Thanks for supporting this wonderful young band. Can’t wait for the Hutchmoot show.

  16. Eddy Efaw

    Kingdom of Me from an EP released in 2005 is the song Caleb played in Memphis. It tore me up. The melody, the lyrics, the creativity . . . it sounded like something Andrew would’ve written (a high compliment in my book). So good.

  17. david

    i have to admit, i’ve been hesitant to check out their stuff because of my (foolish) assumptions of the band and CCM culture. but, since AP has made me ‘ugly cry,’ and these guys made him ‘ugly cry,’ then perhaps it’s time to challenge some assumptions.

  18. Lance Wooldridge

    You guys have come a long way since leading worship with me at Fellowship. Couldn’t be more proud.

  19. Peter B

    Excellent. Also, in that preview shot on the video player, he looks like Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame.

    Gonna have to chew on this for a while.

  20. aimee

    I’ve been savoring this album over the past few days (last track playing in the background as I type this).

    Thinking of the story behind this album I pulled Mary Beth Chapman’s book, about the loss of her daughter, off my shelf. It has sat there unread, because I knew it would be incredibly painful. And it’s hard to intentionally walk the pain, right?

    I’m not at all thankful for the unspeakable pain that brought about her book, or this soul-tingling album. I am thankful though, that they keep sharing the pain and the hope.

    In the case of this album, its tangible, raw truth, combined with amazing artistry-and it’s a story that makes all of us ugly cry because we’re all being pursued to the ends of the world by the heart of God. The cry is ugly and beautiful, rising from pain and joy.

    (btw-you had my husband at “a combination of The killers and Coldplay)

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