The Christian rock band Sanctus Real is scheduled to return to northwest Ohio to celebrate the release of its first new album in almost three years with a Friday appearance at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg Township.
For guitarist Chris Rohman, the Tuesday release of Run is overdue.
“It’s the longest we’ve waited to put out an album,” said Rohman, who founded Sanctus Real with singer/guitarist Matt Hammitt and drummer Mark Graalman in the late 1990s when they were students at Toledo Christian High School.
The two original members are now joined by bassist Dan Gartley and guitarist Pete Prevost.
“We’re definitely excited to release new material,” Rohman said.
“We’ve been sitting on it waiting for it to come out. We’re antsy.”
Consider the delay a well-deserved break.
Rohman said that Sanctus Real got a “little more mileage” out of its previous album, Pieces of a Real Heart, which garnered three Dove Awards and a Grammy nomination in 2011.
The band’s single “Lead Me” topped Billboard’s Christian songs chart, while “Forgiven” climbed to No. 6.
Run is the band’s sixth with Sparrow Records.
“We try to stay away from superficial Christian tunes and write from the heart,” Rohman said. “We just want people to feel that we’re people who are open about our struggles. We have a lot of songs. Hopefully we have one that will spark something in people.”
Run features 12 new songs, including the debut single “Promises,” which was digitally released in October.
Rohman co-wrote the song with bandmates Graalman, Hammitt, and Prevost.
The band will release four bonus tracks through iTunes.
“We are feeling really good about the album,” Rohman said. “We’re looking forward to having some new material and hoping people will check it out.”
For Rohman, the highlight of Run is a song near the album’s end called “Picture of Grace.”
Even though the band members agreed they wanted to include it on the album, Rohman said they struggled to get his guitar piece just right. Then Christian songwriter and producer Jason Ingram entered the picture, and together they finished the song just in time to include it on the album.
“We’ve never even played it live,” Rohman said. “It’s one of those songs that almost got away. To have someone we respect come in and finish it, I’m just completely happy with it.”
Sanctus Real’s last concert in the Toledo area was an August performance at Bowling Green State University. The band also rang in 2012 with a New Year’s Eve concert at CedarCreek.
The band, whose original members still call Toledo home, has a long history with CedarCreek. Hammitt and his family attend CedarCreek, and Sanctus Real has sold out concerts there before.
Steven Whitlow, directional leader of student ministries for CedarCreek, is hoping to repeat that success. In addition to offering a special event for the church’s attendees, Friday’s concert will serve as a fund-raiser for the church’s student ministries.
“Their music is excellent,” Mr. Whitlow said. “We just particularly like how their music speaks to some of life’s biggest questions.”
Doors for Friday’s show open at 6 p.m. Kathleen Reynolds of North Point Church in Maumee will kick off the show about 6:45 p.m., followed by the CedarCreek worship band. Sanctus Real is expected to take the stage about 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a special place to be,” Rohman said of returning to CedarCreek.
“We look forward to it. I think the only thing we wish is we could put more people in there.”
From Toledo, Sanctus Real will embark on “The Promises Tour” on Feb. 14 to promote Run.
So far, the national tour features concerts in 17 cities, including Cincinnati, Lansing, and Cadillac, Mich.
Tickets for Friday’s concert are $15 for general admission and $50 for a VIP meet-and-greet package. They are available during any of CedarCreek’s weekend services, 5:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. today and 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 12 p.m. Sunday.
Campuses are in Perrysburg Township, 29129 Lime City Road; South Toledo, 2150 South Byrne Rd; West Toledo, 2600 West Sylvania Ave., and Whitehouse, 6950 Whitehouse Square Blvd.
Tickets will be available next week at the Perrysburg Township location until they are sold out.