By now, I’m sure that most of you guys have heard the news that Mac is getting ready to put out a country project. I’ve seen a pretty big range of initial feedback; everything from unbridled enthusiasm, to sincere disappointment, to concern, to what feels to me like some genuine overreaction.
Since I've had a bit longer to digest the news, I thought it might be a good time to offer my perspective. When Mac first told us that he was working on a country record, I was scared silly. What does this mean for Third Day? What does this mean for me? What does this mean for my family? Third Day has been a very successful band, but I still count on my paycheck to pay the bills and put food on the table.
I would like to echo what Mac has said unequivocally in his announcement on his personal page. Third Day is not breaking up. In fact, it feels like quite the opposite. We’re in the finishing stages of our BEST sounding record we’ve ever made. We’re working diligently to fill up a full touring calendar for 2013. I’m dreaming up new touring sets and merchandise, and I’m trying to figure out how we can make return trips to Brazil, Europe, and Australia. In the midst of all this planning, we have all worked together to carve out a short season off the road. We’re not talking 3 years, but 3 months.
I think it has been about 10 years since we were not touring in some capacity in both the spring and the fall. We were ALL starting to feel like it might be a healthy thing to let the markets “breathe” a bit. I think we’ve played Indiana and Iowa a combined total of 25+ times in the last 3 years. I’m not kidding. I love those states, but we definitely feel more effective when we give a little bit of time between shows in any given market. So, we’re not doing an official tour this fall.
How will we be spending our break? Well, I’m taking on what feels like a big personal challenge. I’m coaching my son Eli’s football team. I’ve spent a lot of time supporting my older son’s football, mainly at practice (I’ve only been to 3 games in 5 years). My son Eli is just getting started. So, I want to take advantage of this short break to be there for him. I’m taking it pretty seriously (too seriously if you ask my wife) as an opportunity to mentor and shape some young kids, and demonstrate to my middle child that he is valued and loved.
How is Mac spending the break? Well, by not going on a break at all. Mac is going to put out his country record and hit the road. Upon hearing this news, I’ve seen a lot of comments where people have questioned Mac’s faith, his motivation, and his integrity. I think that criticism is expected, but also unfair and unwarranted. I’m not going to speak to that. But, I also think there is a good bit that is coming from a place of concern because you guys care about Third Day and the music has had an impact on your life. I’d like to speak to those people and just say, “trust God” and “trust Mac.” In my life, both have proven trustworthy.
I’ve known Mac for twenty years. Honestly, he is probably the biggest mentor for my faith. He is the godfather to my oldest son, and he was a big influence in my family choosing to adopt. He has faithfully served the Lord and uses his talents to write some really inspiring songs for you guys and for me. Who am I to tell him what he can or can’t do musically on his own time? Who are we to tell him what the spiritual agenda needs to be for this venture? I trust that Mac is following God’s direction, and you know what, you should too, even if it doesn’t look or sound the way you think it should. If you’re a country music fan, check it out and buy his music when it’s available. If you’re someone who wants to listen to only Christian music, this might be a pass. (I’d still support it to support a Christian who is making music as I do many artists that are not specifically “Christian artists” by genre, but that’s a whole other conversation).
In short, God is still God, Third Day is still Third Day, and Mac is still Mac. If you’ve ever been to a Third Day show, I think you’ve discovered that the challenge is not getting Mac to talk about Jesus. The challenge is getting him to stop.
I hope that Mac has great success with this venture. People will hear his incredible voice who have never heard it before. They just might look up what other music he has made, and they just might stop by here or one of our shows to check it out. I hope they don’t find a community of fans critical of the band or its singer, but rather the welcoming, passionate fans we’ve come to know and love through the years.