Being in a band is about making music together. But more than that, it's about sharing life together - sharing journeys of faith, sharing trials, sharing joys, and sharing in the love of God. And it's the emotional truth of that shared life that weaves its way into the songs, that sets off the initial spark, that shapes the melodies, and that crafts the lyrics. The music is a mirror of life.
Never has this been truer for Garage Hymnal than right now. As the Sydney-based worship band releases its fourth album 'Unity' (recorded at three live concerts in May 2011), the raw honesty in the new material is palpable. At their depths, the songs confront brokenness, mortality, and the darkness of life as we await Christ's return. Yet at their heights, the songs proclaim God's holiness, his matchless love, and his miraculous resurrection that is the ultimate hope for us all.
The album was produced by multi-ARIA award winner David Nicholas (Sting, Elton John, Delta Goodrem, The Whitlams, George). The band was hugely excited to once again work with Nicholas, who also produced the band's 2009 self-titled album, which contained the Hope 103.2 FM radio favourite 'Child's Play', and other widely-sung songs such as 'Father's World' and 'The Light Has Found Us'.
2010 was a wonderful year for Garage Hymnal and saw them take their music to places it had never been. Thrilled to be invited to play at Easterfest in Toowoomba in Queensland (Australia's largest gospel music festival), the band then toured to Canberra and Melbourne, played over 3 weekends at the hugely popular KYCK conventions in the Blue Mountains, and held a number of worship nights, such as at South Sydney's Kirkplace Church. The joy of it all remains seeing individual hearts changed by the love of Christ as people worship God through song.
Garage Hymnal is also privileged to visit numerous churches across the country to assist musicians in their approach to congregational music - a feature of the band's schedule that sets it apart from many others.
Also setting the band apart since its formation in 2004 is its focus on writing congregational worship music - music we can all sing. 'Take My Life', Garage Hymnal's debut album, hit the shelves in 2006. Soon after its release it took out a finalist position in the MusicOz awards, and live footage was syndicated on Christian TV channels across the world from Romania to the USA. The sophomore album 'Bring on the Day' followed soon after in 2007. Churches across the world are now singing songs from all three albums, which together have sold more than 10,000 copies.
With the release of 'Unity', the band hopes to return to many places that have welcomed them so warmly in the past, as well as traversing new horizons. Upcoming gigs include supporting US preacher and author John Piper at 'One' at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, playing at the much-loved Blackstump music festival, and playing alongside leading US music pastor Bob Kauflin at the annual TWIST Conference in Sydney.
Garage Hymnal is Steph Vanden Hengel (vocals), Alanna Rodgers (vocals), Richard Fenton (guitar), Greg Cooper (guitar), Andy Judd (keys), Trent Prees (bass) and Andrew Massey (drums).