People of the Earth:
The Inside Story Behind Their New Album
The band People of the Earth was founded in Somerset, Kentucky by Dustin Fenison (lead vocals) with additional band members Patrick Ford (drums) and Stephen Hampton (guitar). They started out playing at a variety of ministry venues, which eventually led to sharing the stage with the likes of Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, and Newsboys, to name a few Christian heavy hitters.
And they released their debut worship album on April 14. It took 10 years to make it happen. But, as the band would agree, it’s all in God’s time, just as it says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3: “there is a season for everything.”
And this fantastic band — and this fantastic album — presents 10 very personable, heartfelt tracks. These are songs, I should add, that any worship band can play and enjoy. (And I had a particularly interesting discussion about this topic with Dustin in the interview below). The new album, “We Are the People of the Earth,” covers everybody and will be a blessing to everyone who listens to it and opens their heart to the message. The band name and title say it all. It is currently available here on iTunes and any other online music outlet, including Daywind.com. It is distributed by New Day Christian Distributors.
Well, actually I am a pastor at my church and that is part of the reason. The scheduling of being a minister at my church kind of makes the scheduling of recording and touring and all of that a lot more challenging. It is a good thing on the other side, but it makes it challenging. Any project for a normal band that would take a few months would maybe take us a year or two to get involved in with traveling back and forth to Nashville from Kentucky. The other part too is that we traveled for years doing camps and conferences and festivals, actually, during the time under a different band name, and in the last five years we kind of started transitioning and re-imagining and casting visions for what we wanted to do and thought the People of the Earth ministry could be.
Did the passing of your friend Greg Farmer have an impact on the direction of this album?
Yes. Greg was a good friend of mine: we traveled together, he was a magician, a “Gospel Illusionist,” is what he called himself, and we would travel and do evangelistic work through his magic show, and we had known each other years and years. He was diagnosed with cancer right at the beginning of us recording this album, and it was devastating because he was such a good friend and a good minister — a really young guy, he had two great kids and his wife — it was one of those things, just a tragic story, and through it all Greg lived his life for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. As he was battling it was an inspiration because through it all he would tell people that he would remain calm when asked how he was doing because he knew Jesus and he would ask people if they knew Him too. Through all of this I would send him demos of each of the songs we had written because we wanted him to be a part of the process because we were not for sure that he was going to make it. And I wanted to make sure he got to be a part of it. He would listen and call me back and let me know what he thought of stuff, and he even said, “I love what you are doing but you need to write a song about Jesus and who Jesus is,” and through that the song “That’s Who Jesus Is” happened. That is the song he asked us to write. He never got to hear it, but he did ask us to write it.
What was it like working with Aaron Rice?
Aaron has become one of my best friends on the planet. When doing a project like this from my perspective, I like to think we are all on the same page in working for the Kingdom, and that is Aaron’s heart, and his influence and expertise, and his heart for the church and songwriting; I probably learned more from him in the last six years — to work with him was such a treat and it continues to be. We still write together and we just finished up a kids project for our church, and it just continues to be a fruitful relationship. I am very grateful to God that he placed him and his family in my life.
Is it okay if other praise teams use your songs at their respective churches?
Absolutely! As a matter of fact that is why we wrote the album. There will be nothing that will make my heart happier than if other churches and worship teams used these songs. We wrote these songs actually to kind of reflect the worship of our local church and to kind of be a part of what God is doing in other congregations. That is why we named our band People of the Earth because we did not ever want to leave anyone out.