Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • 1999 31 Mar
"We really just take to the scripture where the Lord says He came to heal the sick, and not the healthy. So, we really strive for that."
--Chasing Furies' Sarah Meeker

by Dan MacIntosh for Music

Part of the Great Commission is to go to where the need is. Members of the group {{Chasing Furies}} took that principle to heart when they formed their family trio.

"My brother (Joshua) and I had gone through a rebellious phase where we noticed that there were a lot of kids that won't come to church," says spokesperson and lead singer Sarah Meeker. "They won't come at all, because they're scared. We really feel that it's our job to go out to them."

Sarah, Joshua and Rachel Meeker are three precocious siblings, collectively known as {{Chasing Furies}}. And with the release of ==With Abandon==, its debut album on Sparrow Records, this group incorporates poetic lyrics into passionately played guitar-driven rock, which serve to chase away stereotypes about what ministry should look and sound like, with a fury.

The old expression about how necessity being the motherhood of invention certainly held true for Sarah Meeker when it came time for her to begin expressing herself musically. Her personal musical quest was born out of a deep love for the English language and writing.

"I've always loved to read," says Sarah "and I've always loved English and writing-all that kind of stuff in school-but I never felt like I was any good at it. I'd sung all my life, so that was easy. But I wanted to start writing music, and start writing lyrics to songs, so I kind of picked up the guitar."

Sarah has impeccable taste when it comes to the literary inspirations. "I would say my all time favorite writer is C.S. Lewis," she offers.

The impact of Lewis can be readily observed in Sarah's work, but some of Sarah's musical influences might surprise you.

"I listened to {{Jon Gibson}} a lot growing up," she says. "There was a band called {{Violet Burning}}, which I loved. I think {{Prayer Chain}} was in there."

"My reasons for listening (to music) were a little different back then," she says. "It was more for the fun of it." Sarah still has fun with music, only now this music is also a serious tool for communication.

For the Meekers, making music was like second nature. With a music minister for a father, church music sounds were always being shared within their household. "All of his side of the family grew up singing before Thanksgiving dinner, as well as (most) every time we would gather together as a family. He was in bands when he was younger, so we've definitely grown up in a musical family."

With a dad so involved in church, this love for singing naturally extended beyond the walls of their home, and into their church experiences. "We always sang at the church functions--Christmas, and all of that kind of stuff. Josh and I also started doing worship out at our church in Colorado [they all now live in Nashville] for the youth group, and we'd also do it on Sunday mornings for the main auditorium sometimes."

And let's not forget mom. She may not have been attracted to the limelight, but she clearly passed along much musical direction to her children.

"She's the one we learned to harmonize from," recalls Sarah. "She sang (publicly) a little bit when we were very young, but she doesn't really like it very much. She doesn't like being up in front of people. But we always stood by her in church, and could hear her singing alto."

While the family had always encouraged the Meeker siblings to make music, older brother was the first offspring to be taken seriously as a musician. "When my older brother Josh started playing the guitar, they definitely encouraged it. It was easy to encourage Josh, because he was so good, so quick," Sarah explains.

The learning of musical instruments, though, was never pushed upon them. "There was never a lot of pressure to really learn instruments," she clarifies. "But when we did pick them up, there was support there."

What grew out of these early family experiences has become {{Chasing Furies}}' unique approach to making music.

Word has it that this unlikely trio of colorful looking rockers made quite a stir at the usually conservative-minded Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado in 1997. Those who attended that year, and who came for its mostly predictable menu of gospel quartets and adult contemporary sounds, were in for quite a surprise.

But many labels took immediate interest in this unique outfit.

One might well have expected to see this adventurous group sign to one of the industry's more alternative-minded labels, but when it came to choosing a record company, image alone wasn't everything for {{Chasing Furies}}.

"What we've found with a lot of the different labels that have a bunch of bands that sound like us," comments Sarah "is that they don't have time for everybody. They have time for a few of them, but they've got so many different people who sound very similar, that it doesn't seem like they would get all the recognition that they would need."

{{Chasing Furies}}' sound consists of Rachel and Sarah's ethereal vocals, in tandem with older brother Joshua's out-there guitar effects. This results in songs that are consistently melodic, without ever losing their edgy alternative edge.

Appearing not unlike the other Gothic outfitted youths hanging out at the mall in Anytown, USA, these Fort Worth, Texas natives might easily be mistaken for the un-churched ones they seek to reach. But it's what {{Chasing Furies}} has to say, and not its striking visual image, which ultimately sets this group apart from much of today's mainstream Christian music.

"We really just take to the scripture where the Lord says He came to heal the sick, and not the healthy," states Sarah. "So, we really strive for that."

With a look, a sound and a vision all its own, {{Chasing Furies}} is already making an intense impact upon modern Christian music. But more importantly than that, this group has great potential to reach out to those who may not have even heard of modern Christian music.

There really aren't many groups within the Christian arena that can appeal to fans of moody modern rock groups like Radiohead. There's just not a nice neat category for this kind of music in bible bookstores.

What makes {{Chasing Furies}} great, is that it is carving out its own unique place, in a musical realm where uniqueness can sometimes be hard to find.