Mercy Me Returns To Abbotsford
by Kevin Pollard
When Mercy Me takes the stage in Abbotsford May 11th it will have been three and a half years since they have performed in the area and they will be featuring music from their first new album in three years Lifer, that finds them once again stretching themselves into new musical territory. I caught up with Nathan Cochran (bass player) and asked him how they approached writing/recording their latest album and he said, “We took a different approach this time, starting with programming and drum loops as a foundation then collaborated together to finish the music before Bart and other cowriters worked crafting the lyrics.” With the legacy of worshipful ballads like “Word of God Speak”, “God With Us”, “Flawless” and “I Can Only Imagine” it would have be easy for them to continue their proven formula but instead they offer a collection of pop/rock songs that will have you up and dancing after the first listen on songs like the piano groove of “Grace Got You”, the gospel-funk of “Happy Dance” and the infectiously catchy “Grace Got You” that will surprise listeners with its rap bridge by John Reuben. When I asked what led them to some of these new styles he responded, “There are now 16 kids between all of us and we find now that we are being influenced by some of the music they are listening too.” The first single “Even If” is powerful song of hope with the lyric “I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand / but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone,” so I asked Nathan what hurt this song was birthed out of and he shared, “Bart’s 13 year-old son has Type-1 Diabetes and after a routine doctor’s appointment it just hit him hard that his son will be dealing with these challenges his whole life. He got together with his friend Tim Timmons to share his heartache and the next day Tim sent him a lyric that summed up what he heard. That lyric was the framework for “Even If”. When I asked how this upcoming tour differs from others he said, “A while ago after years of trying to encourage and lift up our audiences each night we decided that we needed to be more honest and open with our hurts and challenges. Rather than saying what we thought people wanted to hear we made a conscious decision to just say what was on our heart even if it was not perfect.” Filming was recently completed on a film based on the true story of how “I Can Only Imagine” came to be and stars Dennis Quad playing Bart Millard’s Dad. I asked Nathan about this project and he responded, “Bart was approached five years ago with the idea and the producers of Woodlawn are working on this project. It tells that amazing story a reconciliation between Bart and his Dad and it’s in editing now.”
Opening the concert will be Hawk Nelson performing songs from their seventh studio album Diamonds including hits like “Drops In The Ocean” and “Live Like Your Loved”.
And newcomer Micah Tyler will open the night with songs from his solid debut album “Different” that features the smash radio hit “Never Been A Moment” along with many other catchy and heartfelt self-penned songs that showcase Micah’s husky and soulful vocals.