m7XY&feature=player_embedded After selling over four million records and releasing 17 hit singles in the last 15 years, not to mention winning his fi rst Dove Award last month, Country music veteran Ty Herndon releases his fi rst Gospel album, Journey On (FUNL) this June. Taking a break from the media frenzy hyping his fi rst record in over three years, the Butler, Alabama native explains to CCM Magazine… why Gospel and why now. After years of releasing Country music records, what prompted a Gospel recording? Ty Herndon: My fi rst exposure to music was Gospel and bluegrass. My grandmother had a local radio show. She would stand me on a Coca-Cola box and I would sing everything from Gospel standards to songs from the Happy Goodman Family. It was a huge part of my early life. When I went into Country music I promised my grandmother that one day I would return to my roots. I guess it was time. What role has music played in your spiritual life? Ty: I can’t tell you how many times I have fallen to my knees in worship hearing the voice of God through song. Some days that’s the only way I can hear God’s message to me. I also celebrate so many good things in my heart and life through music. It’s my voice to the world. Even in my country hits there have always been positive messages about love. You co-wrote all the songs on Journey On, a fi rst for you. How did the songwriting process affect the tone of this record? Ty: I didn’t set out to write a Christian record, I just wanted to tell my story through music. My pastors, Donny and Reba Rambo McGuire and I wrote a song called “I Cried Out to the Lord.” Reba mentioned it seemed to be where my heart was at the time. That’s how it began. I then called on other friends, people who know me and know my heart, and the stories and songs started coming. The end result was a record about redemption, life, grace, love and worship. You have battled with your share of private issues over the years. Is this record your testimony? Ty: This record is my journey with the Lord. As you listen to the words you will hear my struggles and the glory of being healed and lifted to new heights of love and understanding. It is my hope that this music will bring the power of God’s love to those who hear it. — Andrew Greer Ty Herndon CROSSOVER HIGHLIGHTS The Act: The Afters The Site: The Sound: Melodic pop/rock with a bit of grit The Buzz: “Never Going Back to OK” hand-selected by American Idol’s Randy Jackson for ABC’s Secrets of the Mountain movie soundtrack, further building momentum for band’s third record, Light Up the Sky, releasing this fall. The Act: Jason Castro The Site: The Sound: The lyric-driven pop of Jason Mraz merged with relaxed singer/ songwriter melodies a la Jack Johnson The Buzz: American Idol alum releases full-length record including his popular version of “Hallelujah.” CHECK OUT HIS CHRISTIAN TESTIMONY HERE. The Act: Sandi Patty The Site: The Sound: Inspirational diva pop with Broadway-esque vocals The Buzz: So far in 2010 the famous singer adds The Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda, the Grand Ole Opry and last month’s co-bill with former President George W. Bush to a legendary resume of high-profi le performances. CCM 47