Out of the Grey
Out of the Grey Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Out of the Grey lyrics)
Out of the Grey Biography
There is an undeniable joy in discovering something new within something familiar.
It could be as abstract as seeing a new aspect of a painting you've looked at hundreds of times. It could be as sublime as noticing how the person you love tilts their head back just so when they laugh.
Or it could be as thrilling as seeing two incredibly talented people recapture the magic of musical creation through a set of songs that at once respect their past and point excitedly toward their future.
Say hello, once again, to Scott and Christine Dente - Welcome to Out of the Grey, 6.1.
It has been a decade since Out of the Grey released their self-titled debut album, quickly cementing Christine's breathy, ethereal vocals and Scott's intricate guitar work as fan favorites. To this day, many fans hearken back to that first record as their favorite, judging the group's subsequent work against the high-set bar the debut provided. Ten number one singles on the four following studio projects and four Dove Awards proved their longevity, and yet their recent four-year interim with no new music had fans wondering if the group would ever return.
"In 1999, standing at a career crossroads, we wondered if the Out of the Grey chapter was closing for us," says Scott. "Our friends, family and fans encouraged us to start again and after much prayer and many late night conversations, we felt the desire to jump back in. Opportunities arose but then would either fade or become cloudy. Finally, in late 2000, we arrived at Rocketown, and it all clicked!"
Lessons learned in the past ten years ... kids, work, life ... have brought a hard-earned maturity to the Dentes' music. They truly believe the songs on 6.1, their sixth studio project and first for their new label home, Rocketown Records, showcase both the energy of their earliest project and the experience, yet willingness to experiment, that time provides.
"I really felt a little more comfortable listening to the early versions of the songs and thinking, 'OK, where can we go with these?'" says Scott. "I think the songs dictated what they wanted to be and we let them become that, instead of forcing them into other slots. Christine adds, "I think we're finally feeling comfortable with who we are, where we've been, and what we are right now."
What they are now is a creative force, both musically and lyrically, who are not only in lockstep with each other's talents, but open enough to maximize the opportunities that arise in working with another creative force, this time producer, Monroe Jones (Third Day, Ginny Owens, Caedmon's Call), who stepped in and stepped up the job of channeling the duo's exceptional energy.
"We're pretty much in awe of him right now," Scott says. "He's just a great painter, he loves to just mix it up, and we clicked on a real peer level, rather than a teacher-student level that we had in the past. It was a real 'let's just all get in a room and make music together' thing."
The result is an exciting hybrid of spirit and attitude, reflected both by 6.1's lyrical subject matter and its musical invention. Wrapped around Christine's expressive vocals are sonic textures both familiar and unique to Out of the Grey's previous work. Consider "Truth Breaks Through," a loping, groove-filled breakdown based more on rhythm than melody, and built on the observation that "change will come when love shows up."
In "What's It Gonna Be?" Out of the Grey put aside the guitar-based aspect of the partnership and set out on purpose to present Christine's voice within the context of a piano-driven song. "A lot of the piano-based songs I write become guitar songs, but Monroe was, like, 'Let's not do that this time,'" Christine explains.
Then there's "Shine Like Crazy," 6.1's opener and first single, which, like the chorus says, "shimmers like the sun." With the album almost finished, the two took a step back and realized that the album was leaning on the ballad side. Scott went to Monroe with his concern.
"I told him I had something that might work as an upbeat song," he says. "I played it for him and he said, 'Oh, yeah!' So we finished this tune, demo-ed it, lobbied hard to go record it, went in and in one, three-hour session, got all the basics down. And it's turned out to be the first single! A lot of records have stories like that, but that'd never happened to us."
Right alongside taking chances musically on 6.1 comes opening the book of their lives and letting the world take a peek at what's going on inside.
"We tend to want to circle the wagons when it comes to things like protecting our children," Christine says. "We tend to live conservatively that way, and then we have to look inside and ask, 'Are we living in fear? Are we living in a faithless way when we try to cover all these bases when there are sometimes things you can't control?'"
"So thematically, there's a lot of stuff about not holding on too tightly to the things of this life," adds Scott. "And things about stepping out and living live, being bold."
"For us, we don't ever sit down to write and say, 'Today we're going to help people with fear,'" Scott explains. "I think sometimes people craft songs in a way that's an attempt to solve the problem in the song. We don't often solve problems in our songs; we point to the problem and help to explain it. It's really just an expression of trying to figure these things out for ourselves."
"Just because you write it, doesn't mean you have the answer," Christine says. "The art of songwriting allows you the luxury of writing about something you really haven't gotten down yet."
"I think Christine showed her heart on this record. She's been challenged in the past not to be so heady, but when you try to be cool, you get a little distance from the audience," Scott continues. "It's cool to be clever, alliteration is your friend, but sometimes you give up the heart a little bit."
The songs on 6.1 not only show the couple's heart, but help to quicken the listener's pulse a bit along the way as well. For music fans, it's again the result of joy. Joy in finding something new in something familiar.
Stories Behind the Songs
"Shine Like Crazy": In this song we are reaching for the passion and joy that once captured us. If Christ has set us free from sin and despair and this is a gift, then our lives should explode with the volatile concoction of gratitude and grace. Watch us run and laugh and love and dance and sing-the picture of a contagious faith! How exciting it was to write and add this song to the record at the last minute. Scott wanted one more up-tempo song so we returned to this title and music that he had already been working on. We gathered the players together again and had one terrific day in the studio. It turned out so well that we decided it should be the first radio single.
"Truth Breaks Through": A collage of pictures of people who love so well that the gospel has real impact on those they touch. My friend Dina inspired the first verse: she cares more about seizing the moment with her children than about cleaning the house. I'm learning a lot from her. "Faith shows herself by what she does." The second verse was inspired by a ministry called Harvest USA headed by John Freeman. Based in Philadelphia, Penn., these people minister to the sexually broken and their families who are seeking help and healing. The truth of Christ breaks through because the hearts at Harvest are humble and brimming with love and compassion for those who struggle with this type of sin. "The changes come when love shows up!"
"Brave": Here we are trying to be courageous, uncircling the wagons and setting out with fear and trembling; but at least we're setting out! Committed to living joyfully in the never-knowing-what's-around-the-bend. Our oldest daughter, Carina, has a wild imagination, especially at night before she falls asleep. I remind her to sing this song when she's concocting frightening scenarios in her head. No more shadows in the mirror.
"What's It Gonna Be": In keeping with our 'brave' theme, I ask myself what it will take to make me live without fear. It's time to grow up. If faith has changed the boundaries and His love has set me free, then I have nothing to lose. In this song I picture myself soaring above like a bird, part of the world yet unconnected to its trappings and agendas. On the ground, my worldview is limited to small stories and temporary struggles. When I lift my eyes above, I am closer to eternity and the expanding horizon of a completely sovereign God. The worries fade as the trees are replaced by an endless stretch of glorious forest.
"With All my Heart": I am called to love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I struggle with the knowledge that I barely skim the surface of obedience to this great commandment. But the new covenant, a crimson river, floods my soul with the fact that Jesus died for me while I was yet a sinner. In days of brokenness, gratitude runs deep into the cracks and I catch a glimpse of what it would be like to love the One who first loved me ... with all my heart. The musicianship on this song is lovely. The producer and players moved to an exquisite level of subtlety and substance that echo the resounding hope we have in the arms of Christ.
"Waiting": It's all about not waiting but getting a move on. Pressing against the stifling worry about a journey that comes with few guarantees. No signals, signs or singles necessary: we know the other side is a certainty. Scott and I had already recorded five projects when we suddenly found ourselves AWOL (artists without a label). This is the disruption that the Lord used to move us on to better things. But in the midst of the turmoil of 'what do we do now?' we lost some momentum. It was difficult to move forward without heavenly direction. Slowly, we began to realize through our own conversations and through those with friends that, regardless of our circumstances, we still had a gift and calling from God. This standing invitation to serve Him, wherever, soon led us on to Rocketown Records, where we made, with much gratitude, this latest recording.
"Tell Your Story": There can be an incredible lifting of a burden when it is shared with those who love you well. We are all sinners and victims. To trust someone with your story of sadness and shame can dispel the power it has in your life. I (Christine) have a group of women friends with whom I pray once a week. My friend Laura Lyn mentioned how sharing her burdens with us had helped to dispel the strength they had over her. Soon after, during our retreat, all six of us experienced the blessing as we took turns telling our stories and bearing each others' burdens. This is one of my favorites. Monroe (Jones) got us to sing some cool background vocals.
"Out of the Ordinary": A man is a bundle of contradictions. Made in the image of the Creator of all things and yet capable of any sin imaginable. And somehow in the craziness, knowing the hope of Christ puts us on the path of the Extraordinary. Scott sings beautifully in this song (says his wife) and expresses well the lyrics he wrote. Our friends, Ken and Chris, who also make great music with us as our band on the road, co-wrote this one. And if you listen closely at the end, you'll hear my newly-discovered (by accident) vocal technique which I call "inhaled singing." Don't try this at home; it requires the breathing skills of a professional. Or not.
"The Words": Sometimes language seems so inadequate to express the depths of the heart, and sometimes the feelings there don't even make sense. A relationship between a man and woman can be quite complicated and beyond words. I find that sometimes my well of words has simply run dry, and my husband must trust my love and commitment to him beyond the stream of consciousness. As we build unseen and unspoken bridges between us, their strength and length will span the gaps that naturally occur in marriage. And they do. The foundation and building blocks are from the Lord Jesus Christ. (This song also has a cool guitar solo from Scott!)
"I Want Everything": Inspired by The Sacred Romance, a book by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis, this song addresses our deep-seated dissatisfaction with life. Our hearts are truly longing for the love of Christ and will be restless until we are resting in His arms. So we refuse to settle for less than everything He promises us! The book challenged us to see God not only as the Author of the tale we're involved in, but even more so as the Hero who is fighting our battles and is willing to die for us. As we wait for His return, we can hold the emptiness we sometimes feel, as a promise of its imminent fulfillment. My friend, Tammy, when she first heard this song, worried that it would offend people. At first it sounds selfish and, you know, a bit worldly. But upon closer listening, she discovered what we were trying to say: God wants us to want Him and all the good gifts He gives like holiness, loveliness, grace, passion and poetry. Oh yeah, and coffee, too.
"Grace, Mercy and Peace": A simple prayer, inspired by the Apostle Paul, that reveals with simplicity the bounteous gifts that await anyone who comes to Jesus Christ. I really enjoyed singing this one in the studio. Having a great microphone and vocal sound, thanks to our engineer, Jim Dineen, inspired better performances in me. Being able to hear myself "bigger than life" helps me to be more accurate, subtle and creative. I also pictured our three children as I sang this, knowing that this is the ultimate desire I have for them: that they will always know Jesus' grace, mercy and peace.