PBnJ (People Believing in Jesus) will host its 8th annual concert next month, with some of the biggest names yet in contemporary Christian music performing.
The free concert will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, in the Prairie Heights High School Auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. Seating is limited to the first 600 through the door. Area fire departments will also have food available outside of the auditorium.
Three acts will provide some of the best contemporary Christian music around today, with David Dunn joining the Rhett Walker Band and headliner Plumb.
For a concert series that started in a backyard eight years ago, the concert has continued to grow. “This year, we’ve got bigger names than we’ve had before,” noted organizer Jim Young. He took over the reins from the Dunafin family, who first began hosting the concert in their backyard.
“I was looking to get the Rhett Walker Band to perform, but they had signed up to tour with Plumb,” Young said. He contacted Plumb’s management and, after a few months working to get the band, Young ended up with a great lineup, getting both the Rhett Walker Band and Plumb.
Plumb has also recently published a book, which Young expects will be available at the show.
Even while juggling her role as wife and mom to three, Plumb has achieved what many artists only dream of accomplishing with a full-time career. With multiple #1 singles and albums in the Christian, mainstream and dance worlds, a successful songwriting career, and numerous song placements in movies and TV, the past 15 years have seen Plumb cement a legacy of remarkable breadth.
Plumb has never been an artist known to sugarcoat the realities of life. She has a reputation of telling it like it is, giving an honest view of life while always showing the hope and light in every situation. The songs on her album “Need You Now” are original stories of the struggle of real life people, stories of hope, loss, and restoration. These songs have a universal appeal, even for the artist, who is often struck by songs written about others that end up feeling strangely autobiographical. “Since recording the album, I had to walk through real challenges of all sorts – health struggles, relationship struggles, spiritual struggles,” Plumb said. “But now I can say with honesty of experience, there is always hope.”
Taking time off to focus on her growing family only served to aid Plumb’s career, lending additional depth and creative inspiration. “Music is such a part of who I am, it actually makes me a better mother,” Plumb stated. “To be able to fulfill the creative side gives me a great contentment and confidence in myself, and that only strengthens and influences my kids. Plus, I drive a mean mini-van and can sort and build Legos like you’ve never seen!”
Rhett Walker Band
“I won’t be caged to the status quo. I’m not afraid to stand and say what people won’t.” – Rhett Walker, “Get Up Get Out”
Now there’s an understatement. Rhett Walker is not like any rising Christian musician you have met before or will meet again soon. The outspoken 25-year-old son of a preacher was born and raised around the South, his mellow yet animated voice a sure mix of Georgia and the Carolinas. In that drawl, he tells an intense wild oats story tempered by God’s grace, a testimony that fuels the deep-fried rock and deep-down worship on Rhett Walker Band’s debut, “Come To The River.”
Indeed, Walker is a shining example of faith, family, and country values today – an experienced man who teaches that grace comes with a calling, a clear message in his transformative single “When Mercy Found Me.” But nearly a decade ago, no one would have predicted as much.
“We moved away from my hometown when I was 16, and I didn’t like that. I just went nuts, doing whatever I wanted to do in the moment,” he says. “I mixed with the rough crowd, got into fights and drugs. It wasn’t long before I was expelled from school – just always in trouble. So they sent me to this Christian school, the only one that would take me, and I met this girl. It wasn’t long after that we found out she was pregnant. That was the stop in the path for me.”
Walker grew up in church; he knew the answers to the questions on Sunday morning better than other kids. He’d gone on to play drums in the praise band, too, but generally just stopped caring. Presented with a ton-of-bricks reality at 17, Rhett could stay on the downward spiral or step up.
He stepped up.
“It was like, Man, what am I doing?” he remembers. “I’ve still got my senior year left, but I’ll have to leave this religious school where I’m high most of the time anyway. My girlfriend’s having a baby, and I have no job. I finally sat down with April, who is now my wife, and said: ‘We’ve done everything wrong that we possibly can. Let’s do everything right from here on out.’”
Rhett and April got married. He rededicated his life to God and she accepted Jesus for the first time. He got a diploma, and she made their $300-a-month apartment into a home. They welcomed a daughter, Rileigh, and became active in church where Walker began leading worship.
As they matured in faith and expanded their family (a son, Jett, was born two years later), a growing number of opportunities for Rhett to lead worship at other churches and on college campuses helped him let go of his construction and factory work. It was a dream come true.
“I always knew I wanted to do music, but I couldn’t sing as a kid; I was just terrible at it,” he stated. “So I was a drummer at church growing up until one day they called me out front to sing ‘Grace Like Rain’ by Todd Agnew, and I never went back to the drums. The more I sang the more things started opening up.”
“I’m someone living my dream through the grace of God,” he said. “I’m blessed with a beautiful wife and two children who have walked with me every step of the way. My faith, my family, and my country are the most important things in my life. ‘Come To The River’ tells all that.
In a world where conformity is often the path of least resistance, singer/songwriter David Dunn has always managed to stand out in a crowd. And considering he grew up with three brothers and two sisters in a city where working in the oil industry is practically a given, that’s really saying something.
Before forging his own path as a musician, however, all roads pointed to a future career in engineering. It wasn’t a move totally out of left field since that’s what Dunn majored in. But as he indulged his inner nerd at Texas Tech University and even enjoyed his studies to a certain degree, Dunn also felt an undeniable pull toward more creative pursuits.
For some music lovers, writing songs and performing is more of a hobby, but for Dunn, an honors student who moonlighted as a singer/songwriter, playing the local acoustic scene in Lubbock, Texas only added fuel to his passion. In fact, during his senior year, he seriously upped the ante by recording his first full-length album before heading to Africa for 13 months of humanitarian and missions work.
After what he describes as “probably the biggest growth period of my life,” Dunn returned to the United States with a horrible case of malaria and plenty of songwriting fodder. As he tweaked his sound and continued writing about “the things he cared about,” it became increasingly clear that his engineering degree would remain unused.
As it turns out, his persistence in pursuing the road less traveled would pay off. In addition to appearing on TV’s “The Voice,” his music was gaining traction with audiences in a major way, not always the easiest of feats for an independent artist.
And now, with the support of Seattle-based BEC Recordings, Dunn is making his debut on a national stage with Crystal Clear. Culled from nearly 100 songs that were written over 2½ years, Dunn’s main goal is “to tell the truth, and do it in a beautiful way.”
“Two and a half years is a lot of time for me to change as an individual,” he shared. “When I write songs, they are usually about what I’ve been learning. Art is my context for being able to say what’s on my mind, and hopefully, it can help encourage those who are in a similar place in life.”