Big Tent Revival
Big Tent Revival Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Big Tent Revival lyrics)
Big Tent Revival Biography
Few bands in any genre can claim a Grammy nomination for every album they have recorded. Big Tent Revival is one such band. But even with three critically acclaimed albums, numerous Dove and Grammy nominations, and a slew of #1 radio hits to their credit, they insist that the accolades, while affirming, are not the reason the band exists. Driven by a desire for musical excellence and spiritual maturity, Steve Wiggins (guitar/vocals), Spence Smith (drums), Randy Williams (lead guitar), Steve Dale (bass), and David Alan (keyboards), hit the road for 200+ dates per year for one single purpose-to tell the world about Jesus. Whether they are speaking to 5000 kids in a packed out concert hall, or having a quiet conversation over coffee at the local Waffle House, inevitably they will challenge their audience to Choose Life.
Meeting at the corner booth at Merridee's Restaurant to discuss their recently completed fourth album, Wiggins, Smith, and Williams joke about a variety of "guy things" before settling into a battle of who has the best "scar story". Wiggins wins with a hilarious tale of how he got stitches in his cranium. But, true to their calling, even jokes about scars soon evolve into a discussion about Jesus. "The great thing about scars is that they remind you of what not to do," Wiggins says. "Whatever you did that cut you, it didn't just heal-it left a remembrance. Our scars are defining moments in our lives, and we are often known by our scars. When you think about Christ, we are known by His scars."
"We work in an industry where people try to only show the perfect side of all these artists," he continues. "But if we've learned one thing, it's that people don't relate to your perfection. They might admire it and give it a 'golf clap.' They might say, 'Wow, you are so cool. You sure are holy.' But they won't relate to it." People relate to your imperfections, to the struggles you go through in life, to your scars. If we were perfect we wouldn't need a Savior. We, as a band, try to be vulnerable enough to show the world our scars."
This is a generation that needs to grow up, and shoulder some responsibility, Wiggins insists, but with close to 50% of marriages failing, they have no paradigm on which to build. On Choose Life, Wiggins draws from his experience as a husband and father to craft songs that speak to the needs of a fatherless generation.
"There are a lot of people out there with no father figure," Wiggins continues. "But even if you don't have a father who is prominent in your life, there is a Father in heaven. And you are not bugging Him when you come to him with your problems. He truly loves you and he embraces you-not as a step-child, not as an orphan in need of sympathy, but as His child." Wiggins addresses this lack of a father figure in "Livin' Off Of Your Love," an energetic, acoustic rock number that is all the more memorable because of the seriousness of its message. "I was an orphan/ Alone and wild/ You said come to me just like a child." It is a message Wiggins says he, along with hundreds of thousands of kids can relate to. "I didn't grow up in a broken home," Wiggins confesses. "But I grew up in a breaking home, "Wiggins says of his parents' divorce, which occurred after he was an adult. "My parents stayed together for the kids, which is noble in theory, I suppose. But if you are going to make the commitment to stay together and hate each other for the next 20 years, you might as well make the commitment to stay together and love each other."
"The purpose of this disclosure of feelings and information is not to bash my parents," Wiggins insists. "And it is not like God wanted our parents to divorce so we could relate to kids who are going through the same thing. But He can recycle the trash in our lives, and what Satan intends for bad, God will turn for good. And that all leads up to this record. Choose Life. This is serious stuff. It is a choice. It is a decision. Either you follow or you don't."
Wiggins and the rest of Big Tent Revival readily admit that hurting and healing are heavy topics to address from a rock 'n' roll platform. So when they went into the studio to record their latest project, they made sure they had plenty of time for prayer and Bible study before each recording session. It was a policy that paid huge dividends in both the spiritual life of the band, and in the emotionally charged lyrics of their album. Choose Life, Big Tent Revival's fourth release, delivers a twelve-song statement of faith wrapped in a rambunctious, acoustic rock that defies you to stay in your seat. And while Choose Life explores some weighty issues-topics like the Fatherhood of God (Livin' Off Your Love), salvation by grace, through faith, as an act of your will (Choose Life), the inspiration of the Bible (This Is The Word Of God), and evangelism (One More Song)-it never lets you forget that rock 'n' roll is supposed to be fun! "That's What I Want For Christmas" features some first-class boogie and "Will You Be Mine" is a sweet, if somewhat raucous, Valentine from Wiggins to his wife, Misti. Although Big Tent Revival thrives on ministering to their audience, they also recognize the necessity of receiving ministry and spiritual authority in their lives.
"For me, it was born out of wanting to personally connect with the leaders of my church," Randy Williams adds. "I just felt like I needed to bring my gifts and who I am under their authority."
Williams' meeting with the leadership at his church resulted in not only in both a personal grounding and a pastoral covering for his ministry, it also resulted in a group of intercessors that pray regularly for Big Tent Revival.
"That's something we have never had before," Williams muses. "But when you think about it, it is kind of frightening to do the things we do and not be prayed over." Wiggins believes this season of both mentoring and being mentored, spills over into Choose Life. "I think there is a reason God brings us through different stages of maturity" he says. "When He talents you as a musician or a songwriter, it is because he wants you to express what He's brought you through. With Choose Life, I believe He wants us to tell people what He has brought us through. We can either encourage them as they go through the same thing or we can warn them so that maybe they don't have to go through it."