Turn on your TV or radio and you’ll find no shortage of next-big-things and overnight successes. But in the midst of all of that noise, you may find yourself craving something more - something authentic, something familiar, yet fresh.
Look no further. The women of Point of Grace are celebrating 20 years together, and with this celebration they offer A Thousand Little Things, their twelfth record. Brimming with the beautiful harmonies, encouraging lyrics, and graceful melodies that Shelley Breen, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino are known for, A Thousand Little Things reminds us to be mindful of the multitude of blessings God has given us. And what the world needs now - more than ever - is to remember how important gratitude is, each and every day.
You may ask yourself how a band who has already achieved such monumental success - 27 Number One songs, thirteen Dove awards, two Grammy nominations, career album sales in excess of seven million with multiple Platinum and Gold certifications, and one of the Top Ten best-selling artists in the history of Contemporary Christian Music - presses on? It’s quite simple. They love what they do, and they love sharing it with their fans.
“When you can say, ‘This is where we are, and this is what we love,’ that’s when you have your best shows and your best music, because you finally found yourself and you’re fine with it,” Denise explains. “You’re relaxed, and you’re honest.”
But make no mistake, “Relaxed” does not mean complacent. Shelley, Denise and Leigh are as excited to put out their latest album as they were when they released their self-titled debut in 1993. And they’re ready to share their hard work with the world.
“The longest part of the recording process is just finding the songs,” recalls Shelley. “We scour the landscape of Nashville to find the greatest songs. We have always been really cautious to not just find three good songs that could go on the radio and hurry up and write the other ones to fill the spaces.” The trio worked with trusted A&R representative Susan Riley to find the ten songs that would comprise Things. “Susan has a sort of innocent ear; she has our demographic’s ear. She listens to music and thinks, ‘Can my kids listen to this? Does this move me?’ She’s either emotionally attached to a song or not. It was good for us to have another woman’s - and another mom’s - perspective on the songs.”
The women of Point of Grace feel a strong connection to their fans, and they foster this connection through frequent touring. “Our live show is what drives us,” Shelley states. “Touring is a constant for us. It’s the personal touch that we’ve always tried to give to our fans.”
That personal touch includes active blogging, which each of the ladies does regularly at www.pointofgrace.net, discussing everything from their children’s basketball games to favorite recipes. They’ll further nurture the relationship with their fans through their new lifestyle and music radio show, “Graceful Living.” This show will give the ladies of Point of Grace the opportunity to talk directly to their fans - and some surprise guests - about all of their favorite topics. “It’s a life show,” Denise explains. “Music is part of it, but it’s just about living life, so it will be fun to have lots of different angles, from sports to fashion.” And while the show will speak to women, Point of Grace will be sure to include topics to keep the whole family engaged. “My husband was asking how we would keep this manly!” Leigh laughs.
They are moms, wives, and artists; and, like every working woman, they’re thankful for the fullness in their lives, yet striving to find balance. A strong work ethic - fostered through years of touring, recording and writing - drives these three women to keep making music to share with their listeners. “I wouldn’t trade the nights in the van, the nights pulling cables, the nights only being able to eat rice and beans, because you get to a place of gratitude, a place where you know how to connect,” Leigh muses. “It’s OK to work hard!”
The songs of A Thousand Little Things don’t necessarily fit into one genre. “Our producer, Ian Eskelin (Francesca Battistelli, Sidewalk Prophets), wanted to serve the songs both vocally and musically,” Leigh says. “On songs like ‘Wash Me Away’ or ‘Heaven Knows,’ it just lended itself more on the pop-meets-rustic side. I think this record is where the musical minds of people are - a little bit everywhere. And we’ve been around for a long time, so we’re a little bit of everything. I think this record is a taste of all of those flavors.”
Several tracks on the record have a more reflective feel, mirroring what each woman was experiencing in her personal life and in her relationships with family and friends. “For me, ‘What I Already Know’ just ate me alive,” Leigh admits. “In the studio, I couldn’t even sing the doggone thing - it took me back and really sunk deep into my being.” Denise adds, “‘What I Already Know’ is a prayer: Lord, I know you’re guiding me, and I trust you. ‘I Believe in You’ was dedicated to our kids, and wanting to say to them, ‘I believe that you’re going to make good choices.’ And ‘Only Jesus’ hit at a time when my friend’s mom died, and nothing else can take away that pain except for trusting that Jesus is going to rise in that occasion for you.”
The band also flexed their songwriting skills on this album, penning three songs, including the uplifting, instantly appealing title track. “I wouldn’t say that writing is something that God naturally laid on any of us, but there were specific things that we wanted to say,” Denise explains. “We’d try to talk to somebody, and it wouldn’t come across, so we had to sit down and say, ‘We want something happy!’ As Christians, we should be the happiest people on earth, and thankful for the things that God gave us.” Leigh adds, “At the beginning of the record, everything seemed to be very contemplative and deep, and we had a little hiatus and came back and said, ‘We need some happy songs! We need some songs with some sunshine! But isn’t that life?”
The notion of gratitude is woven throughout the album, especially in “A Thousand Little Things,” which lists the many things to take notice of - and be thankful for - in everyday life. “In all of those little moments in life, little and big, we’re reminded that there is a creator that loves us and wants us to have a good life while we’re here,” Shelley says. “And we’re grateful for that.” Leigh chimes in, “Every single day, there are a thousand little things we can truly be thankful for, so I sing that little song all the time.”
The ladies of Point of Grace remind us all to be grateful for the thousand little things we’ll experience today, from a warm cup of coffee in the morning to a bedtime novel at night.