... God's "I love you" was signed, sealed, and delivered to us when Jesus died on the cross. There's nothing we can do to affect His end of the deal! Now our "I love you" back is learning to simply trust and obey.
- Mike Weaver
Learning to “simply trust and obey” is a lot harder than it sounds, as the guys from Fervent Records’ band Big Daddy Weave can tell you. Sure, it may be easy enough when things are going great—just witness the last few years of the band’s career.
“Over the past few years and the other two Big Daddy Weave records [One and Only and Fields of Grace], all of the subject matter is based on our relationship with God. We write about all aspects of relationship with God,” says Mike Weaver, lead vocalist and primary songwriter for the band. “We were created— from Adam, in the beginning—to know and have a relationship with God. It was Creator and the created. That’s what we were made for. The reason why we’re walking and breathing and living on this earth is because of Him. We were made, not just to go do our own thing, but we were made for Him.”
Their sold-out, committed relationship with God has carried them far, as has their bond with each other. The five guys from Big Daddy Weave have formed a family of their own, extending past the blood brotherhood of Mike and bassist Jay Weaver, who are the basis for the band’s name. With Jeff Jones on drums, Joe Shirk on sax and keyboards and Jeremy Redmon on guitar, Big Daddy Weave has found nearly seven years of touring and recording that have bonded them in a way that is just as close as brothers can be.
Their debut project, One and Only, quickly became a fan favorite, debuting in SoundScan’s Christian Top 5, the highest debut for a new artist in 2002. A 2002 Gospel Music Association Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year started their career off with a bang, with hit singles like the upbeat “In Christ” and the worshipful “Audience of One,” the band’s first number one song (Christian Radio Weekly CHR chart). Fields of Grace was the band’s 2003 follow-up album, as the radio success continued with the hit title track from the project.
But when it came time to work on the band’s third project, the five young men in Big Daddy Weave were really tested in the “trust and obey” category. They came up against a few obstacles—more specifically, one large obstacle that went by the name of Hurricane Ivan.
The violent storm leveled the Weavers’ family home in Mobile, Alabama, stealing photos and memories and even ravaging the home office of Big Daddy Weave, which their parents maintain. Unharmed, the Weavers’ parents went to live with Jay and his new wife as they rebuilt, and the rest of the members of Big Daddy cleaned up damage to their own homes after the devastation.
Rather than heading to Nashville to work on the album, Big Daddy Weave brought recording engineers down to their hometown. There, amidst the chaos, the band finished writing the songs for What I Was Made For, and laid down the tracks for the project.
“From a recording side, there were a lot of things that all came together at once that allowed our album to be postponed past our deadline, including the hurricane,” says Jeremy. “It definitely put a halt on things—our worlds kind of went upside down there for a little while, in good ways and bad ways.”
“But God is faithful,” Mike says passionately. “At the end of the storm, making the album—I feel like all of us are at a better place than when we went into it. We can see the hand of God. We can see how God drew communities together in our area. In the middle of the abundant life He’s promised, in the middle of even the worst parts of that, honestly, He can turn disaster into something miraculous.”
In this case, something miraculous manifests itself in the soul-searching lyrics and dynamic musical performances on the band’s latest release. Having produced together previously, Mike and Jeremy again took the helm as producers for What I Was Made For. Working together was natural, say the two, and the band agrees that it was a perfect fit.
“When songs come to me, they come to me with things already in place—not just a chord progression and when the songs come, they already sound like Big Daddy Weave,” says Mike. “Jeremy understands me. In so many ways, he already knows what is inside my head. He knows how to really bring out the best in us.”
“Musically I think as a band we’ve just grown,” Jeremy says. “In some ways it is a little more guitar driven, a little bigger, more rock and roll. We’re definitely trying to figure out ways to use the same elements, like Joe and the sax. We’re trying to find new ways to feature it, like with the bass sax, which has such a cool addition to what he’s able to do with some of the heavier rock and roll stuff. It’s great to be able to bring in that element and still sound like Big Daddy Weave.”
The latest song to hit the airwaves is featured on both What I Was Made For and the compilation Absolute Modern Worship. “You’re Worthy of My Praise” is a classic worship song that the band has performed for years, made new with production by Otto Price and guest vocals by label mates BarlowGirl. With the popularity of both bands, it is no surprise that the song has become another No. 1 hit for Big Daddy Weave.
The band welcomes another very special guest, Fred Hammond, on “Killing Me Again,” a reprise from their early indie project. Described by the band as a fusion of Sting and Stevie Wonder, the song’s funky sound is punctuated by an intense message and Hammond in a unique role.
“The lyric is kind of hard core, because it is about addiction, about dealing with habitual sin,” says Mike. “The song is about this situation where somebody is sneaking around to participate in this secret sin, and then Fred comes in on the chorus like the voice of God, saying, When I see you running away, it makes me want to cry, When I see you reminding me of the day I had to die, Don’t you know that in my heart, I still can feel the pain, because when I see you, it’s like killing me all over again.”
Known as a powerful live band, Big Daddy Weave has been continually on the road, on tour with Rebecca St. James, FFH, Geoff Moore, Todd Agnew and label mates Exit East. With all the success and travel, you might think the band’s personal lives would take a backseat.
Instead, the Big Daddy family has grown even more in the year-and-a-half since their last album. Jeff and his wife Stephanie were the first to expand the Big Daddy brood with the arrival of their daughter Hannah in mid 2004. Not to be outdone, Joe and his wife Amanda welcomed baby Alana in early 2005. Younger brother Jay tied the knot in late 2003 with wife Emily, and the two welcomed a daughter in the spring of 2005.
With Jeremy already married, the newest addition means that all of the Big Daddies are now spoken for. May 2005 is set aside for the wedding of Mike and Kandice, with a match made in Christian music heaven, so to speak—she is the marketing guru for their label, Fervent Records.
“When Jesus said, I’ve come to bring you life, and life abundantly, it was like, that’s the gamut. It’s not just, I come to bring you the good days abundantly, which some people read into that. It’s everything,” says Mike. “And the biggest picture of that for me was that I ultimately found the girl I was going to marry literally the same time that the hurricane happened that tore apart my parents’ home.”
Brother Jay agrees. “Having gone through all the mess, I would still sit back and say I would much rather go through my darkest day with Him than go through my brightest days without Him. That’s been huge for us. For a while it was crazy. My wife and I in our first year of marriage, four months in, find out that there’s going to be a little one coming along, and then next thing you know, here’s mom and dad. She’s got the whole nesting vibe, and they’re living in the nest!”
As the boys in Big Daddy have seen, we all share life abundantly, from hit songs that change lives to hurricanes that change lives. But even in the bad days, there is good to be found in every situation when we let God’s hand take control—simply trust and obey.
Source: Word Label Group