In just three short years, modern rockers 33Miles released a trio of studio CDs and a Christmas collection on INO Records (including the brand new Today), logged in over 200 shows a year and racked up a Dove nomination for “New Artist of the Year.” These days the band is about to embark on a headlining tour with Chris & Conrad and JJ Heller, while simultaneously seeking to equip its audience with its most enriching batch of tunes to date. Catch the full scoop from Jason Barton during a recent conversation with CCM. CCM: what can fans expect from today both musically and lyrically? Jason barton: The musical direction of Today is definitely more pop overall than our previous efforts, but it is still classic 33Miles—great songs, great message and great sounds. We arrived at the title by simply wanting to bring more focus to our mission, which is to encourage the body of Christ to make the most of their One Life [the band’s previous release] that God has given them by loving God and others around them well. Hopefully, this collection of songs will challenge listeners to consider today and ask themselves what they are doing to live for Christ right now. CCM: How many miles would you guys estimate traveling so far in your career and what’s your favorite part of touring? barton: Definitely more than 33, I can tell you that! I don’t know... probably over half a million for sure. Our favorite part of touring is watching God use these songs to change people’s lives. It is so amazing to watch and it’s very humbling to be used in such a cool way. CCM: what’s been the biggest leap of faith thus far during your time together? barton: Right now our biggest leap of faith has been purchasing a bus this past year. We love it so much and continue to depend on God to provide so we can keep it! CCM: what are the band’s long term plans? barton: 33Miles’ long term goals are to simply grow our ministry and listening audience, to continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage believers to make the most of their miles. — Andy Argyrakis 33miles roCk highlights the act: Circleslide the site: www.circleslide.net the sound: Alternative Rock the buzz: After debuting on Christianity Today’s “Best New Artists of 2006” list, Circleslide finally follows up with its sophomore CD Echoes of the Light on October 5 via Save the City Records through Provident/Integrity Distribution. The project was produced by label mate Brandon Bee (whose collaborations include Stacie Orrico and Lanae Hale). the act: Skillet the site: www.skillet.com the sound: Modern Rock the buzz: The mainstream crossover continues for Skillet who, despite a sluggish economy and CD sales across the entire industry, managed to sell over a half-million copies of its latest Atlantic/Ardent/INO release, Awake, earning a much deserved round of gold records for John Cooper and company. the act: Stryper the site: www.stryper.com the sound: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal the buzz: Hot on the heels of its 25th anniversary tour, Stryper is back in the studio and readying the release of The Covering (Big3 Records/SONY). Expected to bow later this fall, the remake record includes the legendary band tipping its hat towards the spiritually-leaning material in classic rockers’ catalogues like Led Zeppelin and Kansas. CCM 45