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True talent really knows no boundaries; so it's no surprise at all to those who have followed Point of Grace's groundbreaking success in the gospel market that the gifted group has seen their audience expand to the country music arena with the poignant hit "How You Live (Turn Up the Music)." The beautiful ballad is the centerpiece of Point of Grace's "How You Live Deluxe Edition," featuring a newly recorded acoustic version of the multi-format hit.
"We couldn't have planned it. It's a natural progression for our music," observes Point of Grace's Shelley Breen of the group's organic move onto the country charts. Though some artists might tweak their sound to appeal to a new audience, Point of Grace has simply continued to make the same positive, life-affirming music distinguished by soaring harmonies and compelling lyrics.
"What we've always been doing as Point of Grace, we are finding that country music is beginning to embrace even more, especially lyrically," continues Breen. "Many of the lyrics you hear on country radio are so much more faith-based. There is definitely a place there now for the music that we've been singing for a long time."
The group formed at Ouachita Baptist University and quickly caught the attention of Word Records executives. The readily identifiable sound has fueled one of the most successful careers in gospel music. Point of Grace has sold more than five million albums, won eight Dove Awards and received two Grammy nods. They've earned two platinum and five gold albums and have scored more than two dozen No. 1 hits at Christian radio, among them "Steady On," "The Great Divide" and "Circle of Friends."?
Most recently, the talented trio has been busy in the studio recording three new songs to add to the deluxe edition of their award-winning "How You Live" project. The title track took home the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year. They reprise that hit on the new collection as well as serve up two new tunes---"I Wish" and "King of the World."
"The first time we heard â King of the World' we all cried," says Denise Jones. "All three of us have incredible fathers and we're thankful to have a song that pays tribute to them. There just aren't a lot of songs out there that highlight the true importance of a father's role in a girl's life."
Among the other new offerings on the Deluxe Edition is a song titled "I Wish", produced by Nathan Chapman. Nathan's career launched with his production of the triple platinum debut country album by Taylor Swift. The song was penned by Cindy Morgan, who also wrote "How You Live." "We love her," gushes Jones. "She's very much where we are in life. She's a mom with kids. She is able to put all the things that we feel in our hearts onto paper."
Breen and Leigh Cappillino agree."Up tempos are really hard to come by, we heard â I Wish' and we all just fell in love with it," says Cappillino, who began her career singing in a duo with Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town. "'I Wish' is one of those songs that you can so relate to. It's about the things in your heart that you yearn to see happen."
The deluxe edition also includes a new acoustic rendition of "How You Live". The groups' signature harmonies take center stage as Breen, Jones, and Cappillino offer up a more intimate version of the thought-provoking hit. "It's just a reminder to savor life and make the most of it," says Cappillino. "It's a great song with a great message and we're just enjoying the fact that country music has embraced it."
"The very first time we performed the new acoustic version was at the Grand Ole Opry," adds Breen. "To stand on that stage and have those legendary players behind us was a night we'll never forget."
In addition to recording their new deluxe edition of "How You Live," Point of Grace has also been in the studio working with producer Brown Bannister on an upcoming Christmas project that will combine songs from their two previous holiday collectionsâ ”1999's "A Christmas Story" and 2005's "Winter Wonderland"â ”along with a new version of the classic "Tennessee Christmas.""At first we were a bit daunted by it," Breen says of the challenge in recording the Amy Grant hit."She has been a huge musical influence in each of our lives, so we wanted to make her proud. It's been 25 years since she first recorded it. Our version is true to the original, but it's never been recorded as a group, so there will be a lot of harmonies."
The same enthusiasm that led college friends to form a vocal group still permeates every performance today---even though the women of Point of Grace are now juggling their music career with the demands of marriage and motherhood. What keeps them doing it? "We're trying to support our shopping habits," says Breen as they all dissolve with laughter. "Being on the road gets in your blood and honestly at this point, it is about the music and encouraging people. This is what we do. We're so lucky to love our jobs."
They are also happy to be singing for old friends who've been fans for years and for the new fans they've made during this latest chapter of their career. "This is a new audience who might have never turned on a Christian radio station because they don't know about it or they don't have it in their area," says Cappillino. "For us to be able to bring some hope in their life through our music, it's just huge for us."
"Above anything else, it's very rejuvenating," adds Breen. "When you've done what you do for 15 years, the great part is you get better at it. You get better at communicating with people, and get better on stage because of the amount of time you put into it. Normally when people are at their best, they've been doing it for so long, their audience size is shrinking and not as many people get to see the best of them. I'm just excited that a whole new audience will get to see us. We definitely will continue to make Christian records. It's very important to us, but it's a great thing that these new doors have opened to take our music to a wider audience. It's a blessing to wake up every day and do what we get to do."