Since the debut of Leeland’s acclaimed Sound of Melodies (2006), the three-time GRAMMY and eight-time GMA Dove Award nominated progressive worship band has become one of the most respected and influential voices in worship music. With its upcoming fourth release, The Great Awakening, Leeland recaptures the essence of its debut album while delving deeper into its spiritual roots; drawing from the wisdom of theologians including Salvation Army founder, William Booth. The Great Awakening, described by band members as an 11-track “worship revival experience,” was produced by Paul Moak (Third Day, Matt Maher) and releases September 20 on Essential Records.
Leeland’s writing and recording process brought together founding members – lead singer Leeland Mooring; brother, Jack Mooring on keys, and drummer Mike Smith – along with new member (and Moorings’ younger sister and bassist) Shelly Mooring, who replaced the band’s original bass player, Jake Holtz. Holtz, the Mooring’s cousin, left the band to serve in the U.S. Army.
As a newly formed unit and fortified with contagious inspiration, The Great Awakening finds Leeland at its most complete. Each of the 11 songs is skillfully inspired by historical “fathers of the faith,” including theologian Jonathan Edwards and Salvation Army founder William Booth, whose depths of belief and passion for God started stirred revival wherever they went.
Recording every song live-to-tape, this process allowed the bandmates to capture Leeland’s signature energy found in its live performance. It comes naturally as the band members have history with harmonizing and playing together. “When we were kids, our parents were traveling pastors,” Jack Mooring shares. “The three of us would jump in the car with them and lead worship services and revivals.”
Along with the natural rhythms and harmonies that were molded when they traveled the country as a family, recording for The Great Awakening brought a deep sense of musical resurgence and together, the band felt a fresh stirring of both personal and global revival. Leeland feels it captured the passion of the “revival experience” that often occurs during its compelling live set.
The band’s recent visits and concerts around the world, visiting everywhere from Peru to Japan for its support of Food For The Hungry, also inspired and helped shape The Great Awakening. “We’ve all been going through a personal revival in this band,” says Leeland. “We’ve felt God taking us out of a plateau, shaking us up and saying, ‘Don’t cruise anymore.’ That’s where we are; feeling like God wants to bring a great awakening to this generation.”
Over the years, Leeland has amassed tremendous favorable regard within the artist and worship music communities. Fellow artists esteem this collective not just for its ability to create moving songs that inspire and elevate, but also for its transparency, which manifests most obviously in the live setting. “The first time I saw Leeland, I was amazed by how vulnerable they were,” notes revered artist Michael W. Smith. “They are incredibly talented but when they are leading worship, they have the ability to transcend the here and now. They disappear into the worship experience and it’s impossible not to share in the experience when you’re in the room.”
Smith, who tapped Leeland Mooring to co-write more than half of his Stand project (11/7/06) continues, “This band has an ability – and it’s demonstrated keenly on The Great Awakening – to make you stop and listen. This is the rare type of album that will make you take a long pause in the middle of your busy day and instantly you’ll feel God’s presence.”
The album’s first two radio singles, “I Wonder” and “The Great Awakening,” go for adds on July 29 at AC Radio and CHR, respectively. To promote the record, Leeland will be visiting Chicago market radio, media and retail July 18 and 19. Additional album promotional dates are forthcoming.
Known for its bold and passion-filled live worship experience, Leeland looks forward to sharing these new songs on the road and personally connecting with people in each of the communities they visit. “A big part of our heart is to invest in the people in each city,” explains Jack. “As our schedule allows, we want to have a church service before the concert and just worship, pray for people, lay hands on people, believe in God for healing and salvation; awakening, basically.” Leeland is on an impassioned journey straight to the heart of God, and they are more than ready to share with the world The Great Awakening.
Along with performing at concerts in both Sweden and Norway next month as well as numerous festivals across the nation this summer, LEELAND will appear in such markets as Portland, Ore., Birmingham, Ala, Oklahoma City, and various dates in their home state of Texas. Leeland will also be part of this fall’s Sounds of Hope Tour with Building 429 and Royal Tailor, which is sponsored by Food For the Hungry.