Satellite Soul Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Satellite Soul lyrics)
Satellite Soul Biography
Honest as the sunrise, unapologetic as the rain, sincere as crickets singing in the wheat fields, you can glimpse a life as simple as nature itself when you sit down and listen to Satellite Soul's second Ardent/ForeFront project, Great Big Universe. Between the notes beats the heart of a band that stays rooted in its home state of Kansas, but now also reaches into the stratosphere.
"There's something about the Midwest, you know? You experience all four seasons really distinctly, and that keeps a person pretty grounded in practicality," says lead singer Tim Suttle of the state where he and fellow band members drummer Ryan Green and bassist Tyler Simpson call home. But it's the seasons of human life that the band has felt distinctly in the last year, leaving a deep impact on the music of Satellite Soul.
"In Kansas, you have to be sincere in whatever you do," explains Suttle in his thoughtful tone. "The thing that you get drilled the most for at home is being fake. In some places upholding an image or having an image would be a good thing. In Kansas, if they spot that, they will tell you to stop it and be yourself."
Such roots really started to shine through for Satellite Soul as they toured the United States last year in support of their self-titled debut album with artists like Big Tent Revival and Jennifer Knapp. Along the way, they encountered people who would boldly question the motives of the band's work in the Christian music world.
Because of such experiences, Suttle felt compelled to make sure no one missed Satellite Soul's overriding spiritual core on Great Big Universe. As the sole songwriter, Suttle's own spirituality, from childhood salvation to current involvement in church planting and worship leading, forms the basis of the album's eleven songs. On the title cut, his earthy tenor voice, complemented by harmonica and strings, defines their calling as a Christian band: Gonna sing and tell you I love you, though I do not know your name. The positive, upbeat "Not Leaving Now" reiterates that no matter how weary the guys get, they will stand strong in the face of any reaction to state the reason for their hope.
"We do work hard and get very tired, but God is leading, so we keep showing up every morning to find out what comes next," says Green, the band's youngest and only single member. "We all admit to having our doubts now and then about whether or not we'll all show up the next day for work. We're not at that glamorous artist level yet, but we don't really care to be there anyway. We just want to sing about Christ wherever we go and pray that the message sinks in."
No doubt these new songs are "spiritually enticing"-an important part of the band's approach. Suttle desires to write songs that are also culturally relevant, giving listeners "something that you can sit around and chew on," much like esteemed musicians James Taylor and especially Rich Mullins. "That guy made me study the Bible when I would read his stuff," he says. "That's what I would like our music to do, inspire people to look at the Bible and to think about what they're hearing or think about a spiritual concept."
Suttle's writing also musically reflects that of his favorite artists. With Green and Simpson providing solid rhythm support, Suttle's fingers pluck away at hammer dulcimer, guitar and piano to create a textured, appealing sound. The luxury of co-producing the album allowed Suttle to move ahead in capturing the sounds and tones he has always desired for Satellite Soul, and that fact complements each new song.
"Broken Again" embodies the other theme of Great Big Universe, being broken before God, a feeling that was born in Suttle from the "tough stuff" in life. Caught between vulnerability and guardedness of heart, the song's chorus features the project's most passionate guitars under Suttle's hearty vocals.
Part way through the cycle of being broken before God, Suttle wrote "Revive Me" with a heart that was ready to move into restoration, leaving the past behind. The mid-tempo song, surrounded by soothing strings, contains one of his favorite dulcimer parts. Consistent harmonies in "Poor Reflection," held together by a humming fiddle, piano and strings, declares that you can't draw conclusions about life from one little part of it or place too much stock in what others say. Its message is similar to "Always the Same," which finds hope not in the ups and downs of life and nature but in the unchanging character of God. Opening minor guitar chords step through the song like leaves stepping down through the air, like seasons stepping through the year.
Suttle's ability to celebrate God in nature continues in "Single Moment," where a muted guitar does more talking than an elaborate production could have offered. "Mercy Maker" is musically both subtle and blatant like creation itself: pulsing like the sun burning in the sky ("And the hand of the mercy maker/ Left enough tracks to find") and dancing like a gentle spring rain ("You can't fake what isn't in your heart"). The nature theme blends well into "These Fields," a gentle, piano-dominated melody that Suttle says is a "prairie song from a Kansas kid's perspective."
Finally, "Love Is All We Own" ties Great Big Universe together. A gift for his mom on Mother's Day, the warm pop tune was written during the worst part of Suttle's broken time. What surfaced was a reflection on all that he went through-and survived-in life, and a realization that love and memories of family remain no matter how lives, years, possessions, careers-and seasons-change.