Between straight up modern rock records and worship recordings, Kutless is no stranger to Christian radio or congregational circles. Its brand new expanded edition of It Is Well (BEC recordings) aptly illustrates the veterans’ versatility, combining both charging vocals and meaty arrangements with vertically overt lyrics. Aside from a dozen studio tracks, the collection features a mixture of live and acoustic performances, plus a previously unreleased studio cut, which as front man Jon Micah Sumrall shares with CCM, showcases the group’s growth as both artists and music ministers. CCM: Looking back on your early years, what are you most proud of? Jon micah sumrall: Surviving. It is amazing how many bands have come and gone since we first started performing and it is a true privilege that people continue to take interest in our music. CCM: how do you feel the group has evolved with both its approach to music and ministry thus far? sumrall: I think we have matured and changed in many ways. As younger men I think sometimes our tendency was to try and “impress” people to Christ through our music. As we get older, we realize we are not really that impressive. Now our hope is to just try to be real in our music and “love” people to Jesus. CCM: what inspired the group to expand the it is Well album? sumrall: we get a lot of requests for some of the acoustic versions of our songs that we often perform live. This extended edition includes some acoustic tracks, some live tracks, as well as a track that we cut for the original record but ended up never releasing. It is almost getting the rest of the story that you would have never seen or heard without the extras. They usually are not as polished as the main studio recorded songs, but most behind the scenes type footage never is as polished. CCM: What’s on the horizon for Kutless for the rest of this year and in terms of your next official studio CD? sumrall: we are always writing for the next record. we have been compiling songs and trying to fit in time to write in our very busy touring schedule… Please be praying that God guides and directs us as we prepare for the next record! — Andy Argyrakis Kutless roCk highlights The act: downhere The site: The sound: Modern rock The Buzz: Fresh off the B-sides compilation Two At a Time, downhere is taking to the road this month with famous friend Chris Sligh and relative newcomers Finding Favour. The collection also includes two new tracks that preview the Canadian favorites’ forthcoming studio Cd. The act: Fireflight The site: The sound: Hard rock The Buzz: Even if the female fronted Fireflight leans towards the heavier side of the rock n’ roll dial, there’s plenty of diversity on its current For Those Who Wait tour, which features opening sets from hip-hop heroes Group 1 Crew and alternative rock powerhouses Manic drive. The act: The Juliana Theory The site: The sound: Emo rock The Buzz: After a fall farewell tour, Tooth & Nail turned Epic records rockers The Juliana Theory are officially no more, but fans can savor no less than 28 tunes on the self-explanatory treasure trove B-Sides & Rarities. CCM 43