Parkway Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Parkway lyrics)
In 1997, Damian and Lance, and their band Silage, released the first of two albums that vaulted them to the vanguard of a small but fervent following enamored of their West Coast, power pop/punk/rock/ska mix. The group eventually went on to receive a Dove Award nomination for their sophomore release, and to tour with an impressive roster of artists including Third Day and Jars of Clay.
When Silage amicably parted ways in 1999, Damian and Lance still felt led to make their music and carry their message as far as it would take them. With new personnel, and a newfound pop sensibility to balance their boundless sense of adventure, a new band, Parkway, has emerged.
Glad You Made It holds onto Damian and Lance's irrepressible inventiveness while investing it with a radio-ready accessibility. In a sea of sound-alike bands, immersed in hype and hoopla, Glad You Made It not only merits, but also demands a simple but ever-so-elusive adjective: unique.
"The experiences of the past few years have really grown both of us as musicians. We're becoming better songwriters and writing catchier songs that appeal to more people," says Damian. "We also find ourselves writing about different subjects. In the past, our lyrics tended to be somewhat issues-oriented, but we're in a season of really focusing on more relational songs right now-songs that really examine our relationship with God, and with other Christians. Hopefully each time we do a record we push ourselves to go further than we have before and not just repeat what we've already done."
Parkway has no worries in the repetition department. In fact, their amazing amalgam of richly textured rock, engaging modern pop and gentle ballads-all abounding in brain-embedding hooks-is anything but repetitive. In fact, it is an entertaining leap into the still-to-be-defined music of a new millennium.
The album's first single, "Your Love Surrounds Me," featuring guest vocals from Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine, is an acoustic-driven gem that aims for the heart and hits its target with perfect elegance and grace. "That's the first worship song I've ever written," says Lance. "It really means a lot to me. I wrote it during a time when I was going through some difficult things and I was just trying to write a song. I was pretty far away from the Lord, and I started looking back and remembering how it felt to have God's love surrounding me. Whenever I hear it or perform it now, it just makes me feel loved."
The deeply moving ballad "Soothe Me," with Jars' Charlie Lowell contributing background vocals, arose from the very guideposts of Damian's daily spiritual sojourn. "I built it around four words: move, soothe, rule and woo," he explains. "It's about wanting God to do certain things, and to have each one of those phrases walks me through my day. Move me as I write and sing of You. Soothe me as I'm used by You, and confused by You. Rule me when I embarrass You and stray from You. And finally, woo me as I awake with You and walk with You and spend time with You. I really want all these things. It's me calling out to God for the strength to be a man He will be pleased with."
Rounding out the team of Parkway, Damian and Lance have assembled a group of "touring members" that includes DJ and percussionist Rod Schuler from Reality Check and, newcomers to the major leagues, Matt and Jessie Fein, on drums and bass. In addition to the two Jars of Clay guest appearances, Glad You Made It also includes labelmate KJ-52 on the rap for "Need Someone." "This is an elaborate record," says Damian, "and to represent it live the way it deserves to be done requires more than just a four-piece band. This group that we'll be hitting the road with just pieced itself together in a very cool, natural way, and we're really excited about the possibilities it could lead to."
So with a new release, new bandmates, and a constant vision, Parkway readies to embark upon the next phase of their journey. Perhaps their course is best defined as Damian describes the title of their record, "Glad You Made It" is basically thanking God for bringing us to this point, knowing that there is much more to come.