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Shane & Shane

Shane & Shane

Shane & Shane has cemented its status as one of contemporary Christian music’s most consistent, compelling, and successful artists for nearly a decade. A staple on the fickle college circuit, the acoustic guitar-wielding duo has averaged 250-300 shows per year for most of its career. Between independent recordings, six studio releases, and a combo CD/DVD live project, its tally hovers around a half-million records sold. It would easy to let these statistics overshadow the essential reason Shane & Shane has come so far in the first place. “The ministry of Shane & Shane is to just tell people about Jesus,” explains Shane Barnard with his characteristic Texan candor.

Among the most devotionally focused singer/songwriters of this generation, for Shane Barnard and Shane Everett, it all comes back to the creative source. “We always have a tendency to bring the scriptures into our songs,” Barnard explains. “It happens naturally for us. It’s not like we have a game plan, but we’ve always spent a lot of time in the Word of God. The Word of God is just so good - if you don’t mess with it - it’s hard to mess it up. I think this album, probably more than any other album we’ve done, is the Word of God set to music.” 
Placing this musical inspiration into a context that their audience can embrace is a skill that both Shane Everett and Shane Barnard have learned to do at an exceptionally high level. The Shanes see it as a two-part process consisting of both craft and inspiration. Sometimes, they admit, putting the two parts of that process together can take a long, long time.

“There are a number of songs on this album that have been in the process of being written for the past 15 years or so,” Barnard muses. ‘Everything is Different’ is one of those songs that has been in process for years, probably since I became a believer. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. I had great parents, but they didn’t know the Lord until later on in life. I found the Gospel when I was in high school and, since then, everything has changed in a thousand different ways. That is especially true of the past couple of years.”
Barnard points to the death of his father, a new believer at the age of 68, and his recent marriage to Christian artist Bethany Dillon as examples of the vast difference between his old mindset and his new perspective.

“My father’s passing was my first up close experience with death,” he says. “Christ took the sting out of death. He conquered sin and death. That is completely different from the hopelessness of experiencing the death of a loved one outside of Christ. “Conversely, walking through marriage in light of who Jesus is, and what He said about marriage, is vastly different from the horror stories you hear from people in the world who view marriage as just two people trying to get along in the same space. ‘Everything is Different’ is a song about all of these things that are completely changed and how different they are in Christ.”

Shane & Shane drew heavily on scriptures from Isaiah to make its point in this upbeat, corporate worship song, comparing the wages of the world with the free gifts of God - from ashes to beauty, from heaviness to praise, from no way to a clear path, from the impossible to all things are possible.

While both Shanes would admit that the “inspiration half” of the process is dependant on the moving of the Holy Spirit, the “craft half” of the process relies heavily on the gifts, skills, and experience of studio pros. For Everything Is Different, Shane & Shane called on the talents of famed producers Peter Kipley (MercyMe, Kutless, Phil Wickham) and Jason Hoard (Fee), as well as audio engineering legend Steve Churchyard (The Eagles, INXS, Kelly Clarkson).

Casting aside its penchant for perfectionism, Shane & Shane approached Everything Is Different…differently. “We decided to record this album old school,” Barnard explains. “We set up four microphones in a small room and just played the song until we got it right. It had a simple ‘live’ feel to it. It was really cool, very organic. We had a lot of fun doing it.”

Forged in the creatively charged atmosphere of musician feeding off musician Everything Is Different emerged as perhaps the most musically diverse album of Shane & Shane’s career. But lyrically, with a focus on teaching, training, and discipling students in the area of worship ministry, the duo believes it contains more word for word scripture than any album it has ever done.

Primary songsmith, Shane Barnard drew on Hebrews 1 and Psalm 40 for inspiration in the gorgeous corporate worship hymn, “Worthy of Affection.” The album’s sweet yet pulsating musical version of “The Lord’s Prayer” is taken word for word from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Shane Everett lends his rare songwriting talent on “Rain Down,” a song that reflects Psalm 27. The CD’s first radio cut, a creative re-imaging of the beloved hymn, “My Hope Is Built,” is based on Jesus’ parable of the wise man who built his house on solid rock, found in Matthew, chapter seven.

Reflecting on the emotional and spiritual impact its music has had on a generation of emerging worshippers, Shane Barnard declares, “Every song on this album hinges on scripture. The chorus may be scripture, or the first verse may be scripture, then we will expound on that as the song progresses. We have found that, as we walk through life, it is imperative to have the scriptures before us. For me, personally, Psalms 73 has become a staple in my life. It is the summary of my heart, and where I want my heart to be. You’ll find themes from that Psalm in several songs on this CD - ‘Who have I in heaven but you?’ I want to live a life that shows Him off as my reward.”

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