Monday, October 13, 2008

Pillar bassist Michael "Kalel" Wittig leaving group

Longtime bassist for Grammy nominated and Dove Award winning hard rock band Pillar, Michael “Kalel” Wittig recently announced that he will leave the group to pursue other opportunities. Among his new ventures are artist management/marketing/consulting company JMA Music, and Stars Go Dim, a band he created with former Pillar drummer Lester Estelle.

Wittig first informed fans of his departure from Pillar late last month on Facebook and MySpace. In a statement he said, “It’s been an amazing 10 years of my life that I will never forget … There are many reasons why, but it is just the right time … I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of something that has changed so many lives.”

In addition to spending more time with family, Wittig plans to focus his energies on JMA Music, a management/marketing/consulting company he developed with partner Joey Avalos in 2007. An astute businessman, Wittig has always had an interest in artist development as well as a desire to “give back to these younger groups and help them to be their best.” JMA Music’s current clients include emerging bands One Minute Halo ( and A Road Less Traveled ( For more information on JMA Music, visit

And while investing in up-and-coming artists, Wittig will continue to hone his own craft, joining up with former Pillar bandmate Lester Estelle, Joey Avalos (Justifide, Sky Harbor) and Chris Cleveland for pop/rock band Stars Go Dim, a significant departure from the Pillar sound. The group will release its debut EP October 21, 2008 in advance of a full-length project, Love Gone Mad, produced by Estelle, next year. Currently Stars Go Dim is booking dates throughout the Midwest. A tour itinerary will soon be posted at For additional info on the band, visit

“I am grateful for the early enthusiastic response to Stars Go Dim,” says Wittig. “It’s been exciting to work with this band from the ground up, and I am eager to move forward with our first record and tour.”

Michael “Kalel” Wittig began his music career more than 12 years ago. As a member of Pillar, whose career sales currently exceed 700,000 records, Wittig has toured internationally, produced six Radio & Records No. 1 hits, charted on Active Rock radio, won three Dove Awards, received a Grammy nomination and been spotlighted by major media outlets including Bass Player magazine, MTV, and Fuse TV.

Superchick's Melissa Brock visits Uganda

Vocalist/guitarist for power-pop band Superchick, Melissa Brock visits with one of her sponsored children, Mumbere Kisonice, at a Compassion project in Masaka, Uganda last month. More than 2000 children have been sponsored since 2004 through Superchick's partnership with Compassion International.

(Click to enlarge photo)

Jars of Clay & Sixpence None The Richer Christmas Tour

Grammy and Dove awardwinning band JARS OF CLAY are excited to announce LOVE CAME DOWN: A CHRISTMAS PAGEANT. Jars of Clay will be joined by the recently reunited SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER, along with Sara Groves and Leeland, as they embark on a 13city tour filled with holiday songs and stories in celebration of the Christmas season.

Last year, Jars of Clay gave their fans a Christmas gift. CHRISTMAS SONGS was the first holiday release from the band in their 12year career. The band brought new light to memorable Christmas songs such as "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "In the Bleak Midwinter," and broke new ground with their own original holiday songs such as "Winter Skin" and "Evergreen." When they decided to go out on tour this season, they asked their friends Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum of Sixpence None The Richer to come along.

Grammynominated band Sixpence None The Richer was in a similar position as Jars of Clay. Their loyal fans had been asking for a Christmas record for years, and they thought there was no better way to celebrate their reunion then with a special album for their fans. THE DAWN OF GRACE will be released on October 14 and is made up of 10 tracks: eight traditional Christmas songs, including "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Silent Night," featuring guest vocalist Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay, and two original Sixpence holiday tunes called "The Last Christmas" and "Christmas for Two."

Both bands are also in the process of recording new material to be released in 2009. Jars of Clay have been in and out of the studio with producer Ron Aniello (Lifehouse, Guster, Barenaked Ladies) to put the final touches on their upcoming album, due out in early 2009. They have already released the CLOSER EP on all major digital service providers in anticipation of the upcoming fulllength; the fivesong EP contains two brand new tracks ("Closer" and "Safe To Land"), as well as new versions of fan favorites including "Flood" and "Love Song For A Savior." They are currently in the midst of the "Music Builds" tour, which benefit local affiliates of Habitat For Humanity.

Sixpence None The Richer will hit the studio after the holidays to begin working on their first fulllength original record in over four years to be released in the summer of 2009.

Catch LOVE CAME DOWN: A CHRISTMAS PAGEANT on the following dates:

Dec 4 Montgomery, AL @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center
Dec 5 Longwood, FL @ Northland Church
Dec 6 Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
Dec 7 Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Echerd Hall
Dec 13 Grand Rapids, MI @ Sunshine Church
Dec 14 Merrillville, IN @ Star Plaza Theatre
Dec 17 Glenside, PA @Keswick Theatre
Dec 18 Plymouth, MA @ Memorial Hall
Dec 19 Lewiston, ME @ Androscoggin Bank Coliseum
Dec 20 Long Island City, NY @ Evangel Church
Dec 21 Harrisburg, PA @ Whitaker Center for the Science and Arts

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

pureNRG to release video "Here We Go Again" on Yahoo! Kids

Fervent Records’ popular tween group pureNRG is scheduled to debut their highly-anticipated video, “Here We Go Again,” on the homepage of Yahoo! Kids this Thursday, October 9 at 12:00 pm PST.

Yahoo! Kids is one of the web’s leading resources for safe, fun, kid-appropriate information. Yahoo! Kids integrates great assets from the Yahoo! network – most notably games and music. The site is the destination for exclusive movie trailers and music video premieres from popular entertainers. In addition, the site delivers educational tools that are used in thousands of classrooms each month.

To view the video premiere, please visit For more information on pureNRG, please visit

Michael W. Smith Set to Launch Christmas Tour

October 6, 2008 – GRAMMY® award-winning and multi-Platinum selling artist Michael W. Smith will celebrate this holiday season with the 16-show “It’s A Wonderful Christmas Tour.” Featuring “American Idol” alum Melinda Doolittle as special guest, the tour kicks off Nov. 29, in Youngstown, Ohio and will hit major markets like Dallas, St. Paul, Spokane, Portland and more before it concludes in Phoenix on Dec. 19.

The Associated Press calls Smith’s Christmas music “cinematic,” and this tour will showcase exactly why he has become one of the most popular holiday performers in the music industry today. Each tour date will feature Smith with a full symphony orchestra, performing selections from his three Christmas albums including his acclaimed 2007 release, It’s A Wonderful Christmas.

“There is no greater thrill for me, as an artist, than to play with a symphony orchestra,” Smith explains. “Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and I love Christmas music. My goal every night is to make sure everyone leaves in the Christmas spirit. Having Melinda Doolittle there certainly helps. Her voice is amazing. The Christmas shows really are special and I can’t wait to take the stage every night.”

“This is my second year to have the honor of being with Michael W. Smith on tour,” Doolittle adds. “I am head over heels with excitement. I can't even describe how amazing it is to sing with a full orchestra each night and to share the stage with Smitty. And to top it all off, it’s Christmas music that will pull on your heart strings, lighten your spirit and remind you of why we really celebrate this wonderful holiday!”

Smith’s holiday tour will come on the heels of a whirlwind fall, during which he has teamed up for the first time with fellow artist Steven Curtis Chapman for the highly-successful “United Tour” and prepares to release his 21st album, A New Hallelujah (Oct. 28). The anticipated new worship project was recorded live before more than 12,000 in attendance, with a 250-voice choir.

Tickets for “It’s A Wonderful Christmas Tour” are on sale now. For more information on that tour and “The United Tour,” go to