Starfield: Lord of the Starfields
- Tuesday, September 05, 2006
While the members of Starfield are honored by the support their music receives from both the Christian press and radio, nothing affirms their artistry as deeply as hearing their songs sung in churches. And thanks to the release of their surprising new album, "Beauty in the Broken" (Sparrow), their compositions may be leading congregations in worship now more than ever. …
Amidst all the hubbub of Nashville’s GMA Week, Tim and John Neufeld of Canadian-bred rock/worship quartet Starfield both smile as they enter the Renaissance Hotel press room. Suddenly, the atmosphere becomes considerably more relaxed.
Perhaps it’s the fresh-faced siblings’ laid-back demeanor that creates the comfortable vibe. Or maybe it’s because the guys don’t appear the least bit bothered that this is their umpteenth interview of the day. Whatever the case, the young men are refreshingly upbeat during a time when they seem poised for a potential career breakout.
Starfield – whose name comes from the 1976 Bruce Cockburn worship song “Lord of the Starfields” – began some seven years ago as an independent outfit in Winnepeg, Manitoba. After ultimately signing with a major label (Sparrow) and releasing a critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2004, the band relocated to Music City and completed road stints with Building 429, Todd Agnew and BarlowGirl as well as mini-tours with Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin.
“Night after night we watched Starfield capture the audience’s heart and lead them into worship,” says BarlowGirl’s guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Barlow. “We loved listening to their music – it is so uplifting, empowering, very personal and from the heart. They are a great band with a heart for God.”
Starfield’s latest endeavor, created along with bassist Shaun Huberts and drummer John Andrews, is worship-driven sophomore project "Beauty in the Broken." The enduringly tuneful Brit-inflected set released last month, and it represents a tremendous artistic leap forward for Starfield.
“We strove to make a worship-oriented album that’s genuine and innovative,” 30-year-old Tim says, pushing his sandy blonde hair away from his eyes. “Our goal is to make relevant art that impacts the church.”
Indeed, the new disc reveals a biblically authentic message devoid of tired spiritual clichés, and the tracks should resonate well with those who enjoy everything from Keane to Delirious. The songs speak to what Tim describes as “the brokenness of realizing that we are all called to do something for God.” He goes on to add, “It’s not always going to mean mountaintop experiences; there are also valleys and trials involved.”
The album’s first single, “My Generation,” shares a simple, yet powerful, rally cry about every individual’s undeniable yearning for God. “Many people don’t know what their hearts ache for,” Tim explains, “so they try to cover it with things like alcohol or acceptance or intellectualism. But the heart can only be filled by a relationship with God.”
Tim’s brother John, 24, says songs like standout cut “The Hand That Holds the World” help listeners gain a greater understanding of God’s sovereignty juxtaposed with His deeply personal nature. “God has made Himself accessible to us, and that’s an amazing concept,” he insists. “The same hand that created the universe reaches out to hold ours, and the same voice that spoke the world into existence speaks directly into our hearts.”
When it comes to what the future holds for Starfield, this year the group plans to play Youth Specialties conferences, Dare 2 Share events and various summer festivals. But both brothers seem remarkably realistic about the road ahead. “In this industry, so much is dependent on album sales,” Tim says bluntly. “It’s tough to project where you are going to be at a certain time; but there are ‘big picture’ things we can hold onto, like serving the church and being people who are honest and real.”
John agrees, adding, “We’re a worship band first and a rock band second. At the end of the day, we’d rather hear our songs sung in the church than aired on the radio.”
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