Friday, September 7, 2012
Wow! Things have been moving and shaking over here in the JGB camp! Incase you haven't heard we have been working on a new website and a new acoustic hymns CD. God has blessed us with wonderful people to work with and we want you to meet them!
When it comes to creating and designing a website, Michelle and I are complete novices. We couldn't tell you what 'html code' is or what 'DNS' means or how to make the 'name server' point to the right place! Thankfully, God has placed Josh Moczygemba in our lives! He is creative, smart and super easy to work with! When we decided to update and create a new website, all we had to do was dump out our ideas on him and he took it and ran! He created an AMAZING site and made it so easy for US to keep it up to date! After you finish reading this head on over to www.justingravesband.com and check it out! He not only designs websites and many other things, but also takes amazing pictures! (You can see some of them on our new site!) Thank you Josh for all your hard work! You can follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Moczygema to see what he is working on.
Michelle and I have been doing so many gigs lately with just the two of us (just bass, guitar and two vocals) that we realized that we needed a CD that sounded more like we do live. We love our other CDs, full band, rock-n-roll, lots of guitars, drums and cool stuff, however, when Michelle and I go play somewhere, just the two of us, it sounds much different. We bring the same energy and fun, it's just more acoustic and not as loud, so we decided to do an acoustic CD. We had been talking about doing another CD of hymns (we released our first one "Foundations" in 2005 as The Brown Band) and thought that it would be great to make a new one as our acoustic CD. The production was very minimal since it was just acoustic guitar and voice, but mixing something so bare and raw takes a very talented ear...so we turned to our friend Aaron Patterson. We did all the recording at Good for the Soul Music studios in San Antonio and then handed it off to Aaron to mix and master. He worked his magic and made this project sound BEAUTIFUL! It was so nice to be able to see what someone else heard and created with our music! If you are in the need of someone to mix or master your next project, I highly recommend Aaron! He is an amazing musician as well! Check him out at pattersonmastering.com We are very proud of this album and can't wait for you to hear it! You can hear a few songs on our new website www.justingravesband.com.
Now for some business stuff...If you follow my blog or receive it by RSS feed or find it in other ways, I need to let you know that it will be moving. It is going to be embedded in our new website. You will still be able to follow, comment and see all of the old blogs, it is just going to have a new home. So head on over to www.justingravesband.com and click on the blog tab to sign up and follow us! You will be able to see what is going on in my head and in the world around the JGB!
We are so excited to share these things with you and hope you enjoy the new site and new CD as much as we do! We would love to hear your thoughts on all the changes and new things going on in world of the Justin Graves Band! You can post your thoughts on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/justingravesband and be sure to "Like" us while you are there!
Now go on! Head over to the NEW www.justingravesband.com and check it out!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
We kicked off the summer in Oklahoma at Camp Egan with the Stillwater District camp and had a blast! Especially with Josh and the mud pit! Then we headed to Austin, TX to do the music at the Redeemer Lutheran VBS where we learned that "Anything is possible with God!". We love any excuse to hang out in Austin! Great food, great friends and just a cool vibe up there in ATX. After that we actually had a couple of weeks off, which usually never happens in the summer! It was a nice break, though to catch our breath and gear up for the run of camps we had up next!
We then headed to Camp Zephyr. What a cool place! Figuratively not literally, although this year was much cooler than in past years. Zephyr is one of our favorite places! The staff there is absolutely amazing! Kenny Conley was the speaker again this year and did such a great job! We love hanging out with Camp Kenny! We did 3 pre-teen camps there in 2 weeks! Yeah, sounds crazy huh?!? It was great, except for the fact that I completely lost my voice! I got a nasty sinus infection and my voice said 'Adios!' This hasn't happend in the 11 years we have been doing this! At first we didn't know what we were going to do, but then my amazing wife stepped up and sang like an angel! She sang so beautifully and lead the worship through music like she had been doing it all her life! Thankfully, I was able to get some medicine and my voice came back by the end of the second camp and I was able to finish out the summer strong!
After those wonderful weeks at Zephyr, we headed to Big Country Camp. Nothing like west Texas in the middle of the summer! We had a great time and the kids were so responsive and wonderful to be around! We also got to hang out with a great speaker and friend, Shane Pruitt. He always has a wonderful way to connect with the kids!
This summer we had some new additions to the JGB. We took a new drummer, Timothy, and added an acoustic guitar player, Chandler. They were such a great find! We were so excited to have them join us this summer, and look forward to woking with them again!
There was one thing that kept coming up at these camps. One thing that we had never discovered before this summer. Something we had always heard about, but never had tried...Chicken Express! Oh man! I think that this summer, camp speakers were being payed by Chicken Express to promote their product. We had never tried it, but after hearing so much about it we HAD to find one. We lead worship at San Angelo FUMC on Sunday morning on our way to Big Country Camp and we had to grab lunch on our way out of town and what do you know...there was a Chicken Express right there in San Angelo! We went in, ordered our Chicken Express chicken tenders and dove in! Let me just say...there is nothing like Chicken Express chicken tenders...they were DELICIOUS! Chicken Express, you have some new fans!
Over all it was an AMAZING summer! Now, we get ready for a fun filled fall! We will be releasing out new HYMNS CD this September. We will aslo be traveling and doing Family Worship Nights all across the country! If you would like us to get to your church be sure to contact Michelle 210-317-6453 or firstname.lastname@example.org ! We would love to share the songs and gifts God has given us with your community! I love that this is what God has called us to do! I have included some pics from the summer. You can see more on our Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/justingravesband. Hope your summer was as wonderful as ours! See you soon!
|Last day at Camp Egen|
|FLY! Redeemer Lutheran VBS|
|Getting ready to hit the road with Timothy and Chandler!|
|Worship at Camp Zephyr|
|Camp Zephyr ROCKS!|
|Michelle rockin the mic when I lost my voice!|
|Big Country Camp!|
|Concert at Big Country Camp!|
|Worship at Big Country|
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Yeah, things have been busy, camps are going great (and we have 4 more to go), our new HYMNS CD is taking shape and sounding amazing, we are in the process of figuring out how to market ourselves better and all the while trying to book more Family Worship Nights and churches where we can lead worship. For me, it just comes down to focus. What am I focusing on? I find myself getting distracted by the silliest things. Instead of sitting down and just getting my job done, I find the way wander away and end up getting nothing productive done.
I know that is one of my bigest faults, being easily distracted. I like to look at the pretty flowers, or waste time getting something to drink, or play with the dog, or just watch people. My prayer right now is that I would be able to do what it says in Colossians 3:1-3 "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
I have to choose to set my mind on things above! Not be easily distracted with silly pointless things, but do my job well and completing it. This is not something that comes naturally to me but I know that if my mind if focused on God then I will be victorious!
It will be easy to make excuses, but I will choose to be in control!
Whew! It's good to be back! I will make sure I don't go that long again without leaving some of my thoughts here. Thanks for listening! See you soon!
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Now, one of the benefits of our job is that Michelle and I get to work together from home. We basically spend all day, everyday, with each other. It truly is wonderful! The down side of that is, when we are appart, life just seems a little off kilter. I know that with Michelle gone I wont sleep very well, so I don't want to go to bed. So for those 4 nights I stayed up till 3am or so and ended up cleaning the whole house!
Gabi and I did have some great daddy-daughter time. Being Mr. Mom went very well until Tuesday when I woke up late and failed to get Gabi to school on time, but that is a story for another time.
Michelle came home late Tuesday night. Her plane landed in San Antonio at about 1am Wednesday morning. Gabi and I went to pick her up and by the time we got home and un-wound a little it was almost 2:30am. So needless to say we have been operating in catch-up mode the rest of the week. It has been a good week, we just feel like we haven't fully recovered from so many late nights and early mornings.
I was able to spend some time writting in the studio on Friday where I came across the verse in Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. This was such a great reminder and encouragement to me. I don't have to rely on my own strength, God's power is ready and available at all times, I just have to choose to use it! He is willing to give it to any who will ask!
Although we have drifted through this week half asleep with aching bodies and blurry eyes, we have enjoyed being back together as a family. It is so good to know that even when we feel like we have nothing left in the tank, we don't have to do this on our own. What a wonderful blessing! We can live in His strength! Be strong in the Lord! Live full of His mighty power! (but do make sure you get enough sleep!)
I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to post them on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/justingravesband
By the way...as luck would have it, this is the 2nd time I have written this blog. I had it finished and ready to post when I hit the wrong button and erased it all. Just kind of goes along with the kind of week it has been! Just makes me chuckle a little!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
What that tells me is that as we are living our normal, everyday life, loving the people around us, we are being ministers of the Gospel. We are living out Gods call on ALL of our lives. It is easy to think that "ministry" should be left up to the "church people", but that is not what God says at all. He has called us all to be His hands and feet here on earth. Yes, there are people who are called to be pastors or worship leaders, but you can also be called to be a banker or office manager or landscaper for Christ. By doing your work with integrity and doing your job well can be such a great testimony of God's love.
So, this week step into the call God has placed on your life. Don't think that you can leave "ministry" up to the "professional Christians." Live out God's love right where you are, in your everyday life and let God shine through! Live to Love Him and Live to Love the ones around you! Maybe this song will give you a little encouragement! Click the link below to hear the title track from our Live to Love CD. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
As life marches onward and I continue to get older (which is better than the alternative- says Michelle), I find myself saying things that I never thought I would say. Here are a few such phrases...
Collard greens, brown rice and ground turkey for dinner, YUM!
When I was your age...
Can you turn that music down, it's getting to loud.
Oh man! I'm getting to old for this!
Because I said so!
I'm so full! I don't think I can finish my dinner.
The concert doesn't star till 9pm! We will be asleep by then!
Some phrases that I hope to never hear come out of my mouth...
I'll have a DIET Dr. Pepper.
Is this the strongest denture glue you have?
I have hair growing where?!?!?
So, you're telling me I need bi-focals!?!
5am, yeah, I just naturally wake up that early.
We would love to hear some of your favorite phrases! Feel free to post them on our Facebook Fan Page www.facebook.com/justingravesband
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
So, you may or may not know that I recently tried out for the TV show X-Factor. Yeah, that's right, reality TV, gotta love it! They held auditions in Austin a few weeks ago and Michelle and I talked about it and thought, why not! So, Michelle and I talked through song choices and finally landed on a few that we thought would work. Then I rehearsed and rehearsed and practiced in front of the mirror and in front of the video camera and in front of Michelle and worked and tweaked and rehearsed some more. As the audition date grew closer, we got more excited! Where would this take us? What would come out of this? Could I really make it on the show? What could this do for our career? Think of the potential this could have for our ministry!
There were a lot of steps that we had to take just to get the opportunity to audition. First, we had to register. We spent the night in Austin and woke up at 4am just to get to the Erwin Center to wait in line to get the wrist band and ticket in order to come back and audition. We got there about 5:30 in the pouring rain and got to wait in line for about three hours (inside thankfully). Standing, waiting, waiting, standing and then more standing, all the while the X-Factor people telling us, "It will be just a few more minutes" about every 20 minutes. After all that waiting and standing they finally said it was time and they were going to start registration. The crowed rushed forward to get to the registration table to present their ID and get the wrist band and ticket needed to audition. It took about 5 minutes to complete the registration process. Yeah, all that waiting for such a quick turn around. That was OK though because we got to go have brunch with some of our best friends at a cool place in Austin.
The auditions were held on Thursday at the Erwin Center and they had told us to be there and in line by 7am. So, again, we stayed in Austin the night before and get there about 6:30am, to find out we are waiting outside. Thankfully the weather was beautiful that day, no rain. As the TV cameras were being set up and positioned, we stood in line again. Waiting and standing, standing and waiting. We had actually met a couple on the day of registration and happened to run into them again on Thursday. As we stood, we talked to our new friends and the people around us, finding out where they were from, what they did and what their story was. We became fast friends with several people and quickly realized we were all Christ Followers. All from different places and backgrounds, but all connected by our love of God. It was amazing the stories that were shared and the encouragement that came out of that little group! It certainly helped the time pass easier having a group of friends to laugh with and talk to!
Finally, it was time to go in and start the auditions. Michelle and I go in and find our seats and we realize that the section we are seated in will be the first to audition. Now, I don't get nervous very often, and I can play it pretty cool most of the time, but for some reason the gravity of this started getting into my head a bit. I was trying to remember all that Michelle and I had talked about, what to emphasize, what to do with my hands (since I couldn't use my guitar), what to say to the judges. All of these thoughts running through my head at the same time as the lyrics to the songs.
I will spare you the details of the audition, which I think I really I rocked, but their answer was, "You're just not what we looking for at this time." Whoa! I was prepared for that, but to hear that come out of their mouth did sting a bit. I knew my odds of making it were slim and that they had a very specific thing they are looking for, but it still takes you back a little when you are told "no".
After coming home and reflecting on this whole process, Michelle and I have realized a few things. First, the process of preparing for the audition helped me see that I need to take every song I sing that serious. There are so many times I just sing a song and don't really think about it. I just get through it and don't feel it. So much of a song can be conveyed through the way it is sung. Second, we know what God has called us to do and are confident in that. He has called us to travel, sing the songs He has given us and trust that He is taking care of us. That could not have been made clearer through this process. In no way were we trying to say that what we have been doing is not good enough, but this was an opportunity that we thought would be great to explore.
So coming out of this I feel confident that God has us right where he wants us. He has great plans for us, even bigger than the X-Factor! We will continue to trust in Him and let Him lead us! Just like it says in Proverbs 3:5-7. Hey I think someone wrote a song about that!
Monday, March 12, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
We take a look at the title track "Live to Love", where it came from and a few tips on how to play it.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Yep...one of our favorite songs sung by the red headed stranger...On the road again! Just can't wait to get on the road again!
This was our first weekend back on the road in 2012 and we had such an amazing time! Michelle, Gabriella, and I headed up to Oklahoma and played in 3 towns in 2 days. Yeah it was fast and furious, but it was so much fun! There were multiple times that all three of us mentioned how fun it was to be back on the road. On the drive home we were trying to figure out what it was about being on the road that we all loved so much. We came up with a few different ideas as to what it is we love best about road life.
Is is the family time? We spend hours and hours in the truck together singing and playing and talking. We get to see and experience new places together making memories and growing our relationships.
Is it just being away from home? There is so much excitement about taking a road trip! You never know what you will come across along the way!
How about being with old friends? Because we travel so much we have formed some great relationships across the country. It is so much fun to see old friends, catch up on life, laugh, talk and and just hang out. In our opinion that is where a lot of ministry happens, in those one on one times over a nice juicy hamburger or hot cup of coffee. Some of our favorite memories are the times we get to just sit and talk and share stories about ministry.
Is it because we are always making new friends? It doesn't matter whether we are at a church or camp or just at a restaurant along the way, when you have someone as cute and friendly as our sweet Gabi new friends are made very easily!
Is it the fact that we get see so much of the country? Whenever we plan a trip we try to make it a learning experience for all of us. We look up and see what there is along the way that would be fun to visit. We have seen some great history, and experienced some very exciting things along the way!
Is it the fact that we get to stay in hotels? If it were up to Michelle we would live in a hotel. That is her dream. It is so much fun to stay in a fresh clean place and have breakfast waiting for you every morning when you wake up!
What we have discovered is that overwhelmingly the answer is D...all of the above! We are so excited to be on the road and and can not believe that God has called us to this incredible life!
We love our life on the road! Thank you God for continuing to bless us with new places and friends along the way!