You’re my angel, you’re my queen and I will give you everything I’m crazy, I’m crazy…
I’ve been around the world to see that you’re the only girl for me. I’m crazy, for you I’m crazy…
While any young guy with a brand new crush might pen such a sentiment, these words are actually sung by two men who have each been married for over five years. And yes, they’re singing about their wives. Singer/ songwriters Trent Monk and Michael Neagle are as crazy about their wives as the day they met them, and that ongoing devotion is woven into many of the songs on their self-titled Flicker Records debut.
In addition to providing musical inspiration, Monk & Neagle’s commitment to the respective loves of their lives has also led them to make a rather unusual lifestyle decision. While on the road touring the country, “home” means many addresses for the two men, but only one place – a 1995 Holiday Rambler RV, in which the pair travel with their wives. Rachael Neagle and Micah Monk have come alongside their husbands to join them in their work, and to put an end to the lonely, all-night drives the men were making to be with their wives after out-of state concerts.
“Our wives realize that we are doing what God has called us to do and that, as married couples, they have a role in helping us to fulfill that destiny,” explains Monk. “We made a commitment early on that if we were going to do this, we had to all do it together.”
Though that decision was made only a few short months ago, when Monk & Neagle officially became a twosome after signing with Flicker Records, the friendship that birthed their alliance began over ten years ago. Growing up in the dusty little Texas town of Amarillo, Monk and Neagle met in college and became close friends while fishing and picking out guitar tunes together. As the years passed, Monk pursued the path of independent artist, becoming a favorite among followers of indie distributor Grassroots Music with the release of two solo projects, I Wait (1999) and Stars Would Fall (2003). Meanwhile, Neagle dedicated himself to full-time ministry as a worship pastor for a church in Abilene, Texas.
In the fall of 2003, Monk & Neagle suddenly found their divergent musical paths coming together once again. When Monk was asked to join Inpop Records duo Shane and Shane on the group’s highly successful “Carry Away” tour, he asked his longtime friend Neagle to join him for the trip.
“I had always known that the first big opportunity I had, I wanted Michael to come along,” shares Monk. “There is a chemistry between us that I hadn’t found with any other artist I’d worked with, so it just made sense for him to come on the tour. But we had no intention, initially, of ever becoming a duo,” he admits.
As the tour took off, however, more and more people came up to the men and asked when they’d be doing an album together. At the tour’s close, despite the fact that Neagle had just released his own successful independent project, Recreated, Monk & Neagle made the life-changing decision to become a double act. Almost immediately, they found themselves signing a recording contract with Flicker Records and beginning work on their first project together.
Partnering with producer Ed Cash (Bebo Norman, Chris Tomlin, Caedmon’s Call, Bethany Dillon), Monk & Neagle worked tirelessly to craft an album expressing their unique musical combination of pop, rock, jazz and funk, with a touch of folk. The pair found a musical soulmate in Cash, who became intimately involved in the creation process of the songs of Monk & Neagle, and who ultimately shared writing credits on eight of the project’s ten cuts.
“In addition to becoming really great friends with Ed, we also found a mentor and a partner,” Neagle tells. “We write together and pull from similar experiences we have all had in our Christian walk, in our marriages and in life.”
Monk & Neagle features the two men’s tight vocal harmonies and blended guitar styles on a bevy of soulful, acoustic pop songs. Though many of the album’s cuts were taken from Monk & Neagle’s earlier independent projects and freshly reworked, the pair labored with Cash during their five months in the studio to craft several rich new musical offerings for the record, including the playful groove of “Paradise” and the passionate, straight-ahead pop of “Secret.”
“We wanted this album to be fun to listen to while communicating our hearts and our vision as well,” said Neagle. “It was very important to us that we be involved in the songwriting process for every song on the album, because we wanted the music to convey what God has done in our own personal relationships with Him and the many situations, good and bad, we have walked through in our lives.”
One of the most intimate revelations on the album of Monk & Neagle’s hearts is “Dancing With Angels,” a song born out of tremendous loss in both men’s lives. Monk initially wrote the song over six years ago while dealing with the death of his great-grandmother. Though he felt strongly that he wanted to include the song on their new album together, Monk turned to Neagle to re-work some of the song’s intensely personal lyrics and give it a more universal feel. Neagle was able to add his own experience to the emotional ballad, having lost his father the previous year at only 47 to a two year-long battle with melanoma.
“We wanted to rewrite the song in such a way that everyone could identify with it, and find direction in dealing with their own emotions of loss,” shares Monk. “Everybody confronts loss, but not everyone knows how to work through it. We wanted to talk about what it’s like for someone who has a personal relationship with Christ to lose someone they love, and to show the hope and the promise that Christ has for us in those dark situations.”
The album has many light-hearted moments as well, yet the passion behind these songs is just as strong. From the jazz-infused “You” and the rock-tinged pop of the album’s first single, “All I Need,” to the John Mayer-ish singer-songwriter stylings of “Harmony,” Monk & Neagle can’t keep quiet about their two great loves – God and the wives He’s given them. Monk & Neagle both believe that God ordained marriage as a picture of His love for His people, and that because of that, their own marriages are an important part of the message they share on stage and in song. With its sweeping pop hook and unabashedly sentimental lyrics, Monk’s upbeat love song for Micah, “Stars Would Fall,” is a crowd-pleaser every time the group performs live.
“I think people just love and respond to love songs,” comments Neagle. “We think it’s awesome if people can hear us singing about how much we love the Lord, and at the same time praising Him for the wonderful wives He’s given us and thanking Him for our marriages. Our joy in our relationship with our wives is praise to God as much as any song could ever be.”
With a well-crafted, hook-laden debut under their belts, Monk & Neagle are poised to spend a lot of time singing that praise as they travel the highways touring this year. But don’t think for a minute that they’ll travel alone – at every milestone, they’ll have their better halves at their side, because there’s simply no other girl in the world for either of them.