Some Christian rock bands want to fly under the radar when it comes to their faith.
Not Southbound Fearing.
The Toledo band, which is gearing up for the release of its self-titled CD on Tuesday, is straightforward about its members’ beliefs. At the same time, however, they try not to be pushy.
“We’re very open about our faith in our lives and in our lyrics,” said Brady Leonard, the group’s lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter. “We want everybody to know what we believe and what we stand for, what we’re singing about. But we’re not overly preachy.”
The group was formed in 2006 when Mr. Leonard, now 22, was a student at Toledo School for the Arts. The group, whose nonsense name was inspired by a combination of road signs in South Toledo, has gone through several lineup changes over the years. Mr. Leonard is the sole founding member remaining in Southbound Fearing, now joined by Eric Ade on lead guitar, Nathan Rentz on bass and vocals, and Jason Ferris on drums.
Southbound Fearing has released three EPs, which are four to six song discs, but the new 12-song album on Illinois independent label Red Cord Records is its first full-length effort.
“It’s hard to express yourself when you have only five or six songs to do it,” Mr. Leonard said. “On this album, we do a full range of styles — driving, aggressive rock; pop rock; a couple of acoustic-driven songs, and worship music. It’s kind of a mix of things.”
The first single off the CD, “Irresistible,” already has climbed to No. 16 on Billboard’s Christian Rock Chart, according to Jeff Howe, program director at Toledo Christian radio station YES-FM (WYSZ, 89.3).
“It’s doing well. It’s their biggest hit so far,” Mr. Howe said. The group’s 2010 single, “Miles,” hit No. 32 on the Billboard chart.
Mr. Howe praised the members of Southbound Fearing for their work ethic and commitment to fans.
“One of the things that stood out with me over the years is that they’re definitely hardworking,” Mr. Howe said. “They do all those concerts and they hang out with the crowd afterward. Their hearts are definitely in the right place and they’re on fire for the Lord. They keep persevering and trusting in God and working hard and getting in with the right people.”
Southbound Fearing has performed hundreds of concerts throughout the Midwest and “everywhere east of the Mississippi River,” Mr. Leonard said. With the new disc, the band will be on the road almost nonstop the rest of the year.
First up is a 45-show headline tour, followed by a national Small Town America tour with Seventh Day Slumber.
“We don’t have a lot of money. It’s a lot of sleeping in the van and eating ramen noodles,” Mr. Leonard said. “But we love what we do. It’s fun.”
Two of the band members are married, and Mr. Leonard acknowledged that being away from his wife to go on the road “kind of stinks.”
“It can be trying at times,” he said, “but it comes with the territory,” he said.
Sunday, Southbound Fearing performs at Fifth Third Field for Home Plate 2011, a Christian family-oriented event that includes music, inspirational talks by professional ballplayers, and a ticket to the Toledo Mud Hens’ baseball game against the Syracuse Chiefs. Doors open at 2 p.m.; Southbound Fearing plays at 3 p.m. and the Home Plate speakers start at 4. Information: 419-725-4492.
The band’s CD release party is at McCord Road Christian Church, 4765 North McCord Rd., Sylvania, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday with NotForgotten and The Insyderz. Admission is $10, which includes a “Southbound Fearing” CD. Information: 419-882-6703
Contact David Yonke at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6154.