Mac Powell, lead vocalist for Grammy winning Christian rock band Third Day, has recorded a solo project — and it’s a country record.
“I grew up listening to country music,” Powell tells Billboard. “It was a big part of shaping me musically and I think that’s pretty evident in Third Day music. There’s always been little tinge of it.”
“Powell recorded the project with producer Jason Hoard, a multi-instrumentalist who has been touring with Third Day for the past two years. The album was recorded at Hoard’s Black Cat Studios, just south of Atlanta, Ga. “I first met him through the ‘Glory Revealed’ projects,” Powell says of the two Dove Award-winning worship albums he recorded with a cadre of special guests. “Jason grew up with some of the same influences that I did and he brings a little more of the bluegrass flavor in with banjo and being a great mandolin player.”
Powell, the principal songwriter in Third Day responsible for such hits as “Cry Out to Jesus,” “Revelation,” “Call My Name” and “Make Your Move” co-wrote half the album with acclaimed Nashville tunesmith Brett James (Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Kenny Chesney’s “Out Last Night,” Chris Young’s “The Man I Want to Be”).
“I started writing with Brett. He was really the first step,” says Powell, who will make his solo country debut June 7 performing on the Hard Rock Café stage during CMA Music Fest. “We just hit it off really well and came up with a lot of ideas in a short amount of time, and then Jason worked on a few of those ideas as well. We started recording them and it just started feeling great. Jason brought in some friends of ours to play on the record. It came together very easily.”
Powell has yet to sign with a label to release his new country project. He’s entertaining offers, but may just release it on his own. “I really can’t wait to get it out there and have people hear it,” says Powell, who plans to hit the road, performing solo dates booked by his longtime CAA agent Jeff Gregg.
Though he’s excited about his country record, Powell is quick to point out his new solo effort doesn’t signal the end of his successful band. “I’ve been very clear that we’re not breaking up,” Powell says of the Essential Records outfit that has collected four Grammys and 26 Gospel Music Assn. Dove Awards. “In fact, we’re finishing up a brand new record that I’m really excited about. We worked with Brendan O’Brien who has produced Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and so many great records in the past 20 years. Getting to work with him here in Atlanta in our own studio was a great experience. That record comes out in the fall and we’ll be touring it in the spring.”