Without trying, Third Day's new album, "Wherever You Are," is startlingly poignant as the country recovers from devastating hurricanes. "There's this message of hope through adversity," singer/songwri

Some songs, even though they may not be written specifically about an event, often take on a greater significance in light of world tragedies: think Enya's "Only Time" following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

This is such a moment for Third Day with "Cry Out to Jesus," the lead single from the Grammy Award-winning band's Nov. 1 set, "Wherever You Are," on Essential Records.

Penned by lead singer Mac Powell, the song has struck a chord with listeners in post-Katrina America and is in the top 5 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart. Powell, however, wrote the song long before the recent hurricane's devastation.

"There's always tragedy going on in the world, but when something like Katrina hits home, it's great to be able to have a song on a record that is going to minister to people," Powell says.

Powell is joined in Third Day by bassist Tai Anderson, guitarist Brad Avery, drummer David Carr and guitarist Mark Lee. Although Powell is the principal songwriter, Lee and Avery also contributed tracks to the new album.

Powell says at first the band members were just bringing songs to the table they liked, but after they began recording they realized a theme had emerged. "There's this message of hope through adversity," he says of the album, which the band produced with veteran Brown Bannister. "Hopefully, it will be an encouragement to people who are struggling through a hard time."

Since forming more than a decade ago, Powell says the band members have gone from being carefree bachelors to married fathers juggling multiple responsibilities.

"I hate to use the word 'maturity,'" he says with a laugh, "but when you're older, you notice other people's struggles more. Seeing some things that have happened to us and our families and friends -- these songs have come from that."

The band's last studio album, "Wire," was produced by Paul Ebersold (3 Doors Down, Sister Hazel) and has sold 424,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "It was a record for your mind," Powell says. "We wanted to make people think about their faith and where they stand in their relationship with God. This record has songs for the heart."

On the day the album is released, the band will perform a concert in Atlanta at Earthlink Live that will be broadcast to radio via the Sky 1 Network and on thirdday.com.

The event is the first in a series of eight concerts sponsored by Chevy, with whom the band has been involved for nearly four years. The events are billed as "Chevrolet Presents Third Day All AcceSS Stories & Songs." Fans win tickets to the limited-attendance shows via the act's Web site, which also promotes Chevy's SS line. In addition to new music, the band will perform previous hits and answer questions from the audience.

"Wherever You Are" will be released with three covers. "It fits the theme," Diehl says. "We've got the band in three different settings: There's one in the middle of a town, one in the middle of a field and one where they are standing on the rocky side of a mountain." Content is the same on all versions.

Additionally, "Wherever You Are" will come out as a DualDisc in May with bonus tracks and behind-the-scenes footage of the Georgia-based act.





Excerpted from the Oct. 29, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

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