Roots Taking Flight
Neon is an inert noble gas that is obtained from the distillation of liquid air which is used for advertising – selling us a product or way of life that promises to make life easier or more desirable. Advertising tells us what we should want but don’t need. It distracts us from our heart’s true desire, which is represented by a Steeple: an architectural structure that points upward to the one and only being we need.
It’s this juxtaposition that drew David Crowder to create his first solo album Neon Steeple. “I was sitting in the front of a tour bus [and] we were topping a hill while the sun was breaking over tree tops. It was cinematic. Quaint. The dominant architectural feature, bathed in sunlight, pointed to the sky, determined and defiant, was a steeple,” Crowder begins as he explains a pivotal moment during the last tour of The David Crowder* Band. “Here, in the early morning sunshine, I imagined a harder time, where life and death lived closer together. When a simple structure in the middle of a town could point to something higher, more transcendent, a thing coming that would make it right. A thing so overt that it couldn’t be missed. A monument to the dream of God, a thing unmistakable, sitting in the middle of town,” Crowder continues. “In that moment, with new sunshine in the early morning air, I knew I wasn’t done making music and I knew I wanted whatever I made next to feel like that. A thing pointing up in the middle of all this.”
Crowder began his career as a musician while asking a lot of questions about why the Christian community didn’t come together to support one another more. He’s going back to those roots with the creation of Neon Steeple. The lyrics speak of our wanting to belong and find a place to call home. To Crowder, home is more than a white picket fence; it’s a deep, luscious kingdom engrossed by the love of God. Crowder raises the question, “What if we were all one big family?”
The music of Neon Steeple portrays the inspiration explicitly as a collection of songs stemming from the past while looking forward to the future. He gathers traditional music from older generations adding a twang, rooted from his Texan heritage, and combines it with new digital sounds familiar to the younger technology-driven crowd. With hopeful ambition, Crowder dives into this crossing of paths, proving that generations can come together to create something deep and crucial. His music demonstrates that Christians can love everyone when we set differences apart. The church community can appreciate the strengths of others, even when they drastically differ from their own.
Crowder never imagined he would be making music for a living, in fact he assumed he would follow his father’s footsteps and become an insurance salesman. After attending Baylor University, The Crowder*Band was formed. The band sprang from his connection to starting a church, “It was my task to collect sounds and words that would give expression to our communal experience there in Waco, Texas and, a year or so into our endeavor I began to write original compositions, organic things with the stuff of our local soil in them.” Six full-length albums later, Crowder detaches himself to begin a solo career marked by the release of Neon Steeple.
Music established deep in Crowder’s heart takes flight and leads the way. Wherever Crowder goes, he discovers that the Lord has already brought his song to that place, and the world is learning to embrace his intentions.