Nashville Tribute Band
Photo from Nashville Tribute Band
The Nashville Tribute Band is a group of LDS musicians founded by Nashville songwriter and record producer Jason Deere and Dan Truman, keyboardist of the iconic country music group Diamond Rio. Backed by a rotating supporting cast of LDS songwriters and recording artists, the Nashville Tribute Band blends their unique country sound with uplifting music to create a powerful and spiritual listening experience for those who might not otherwise listen.
“Mormon redneck music is not supposed to work,” Deere laughs. “It’s not for everybody, but it touches some people that nobody else can seem to get to.”
The Nashville Tribute Band has released four albums:
- Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet (2005)
- Trek: A Nashville Tribute to the Pioneers (2007)
- The Work: A Nashville Tribute to Missionaries (2011)
- Redeemer: A Nashville Tribute to Jesus Christ (2014)
The band earned their first spot on the Billboard charts with Redeemer: A Nashville Tribute to Jesus Christ, which hit # 10, in the first week of its release. It also reached #22 on the "Independent Albums" chart.
The album is different than previous projects because it is aimed at a broader, Christian audience and serves as a platform for Mormons and other Christian artists to unite and testify of the divinity of the Savior. “In addition to LDS guest artists like David Archuleta, SHeDAISY, and Alex Boyé, there are lots of guest artists on this record who aren’t LDS,” Deere told LDS Living. “For example, I called up John Cowan, who is revered as one of the greatest singers ever, and told him, ‘Hey, we’re working on a record about Christ, but it’s being done by a bunch of Mormons.’ He said, ‘I don’t care. I’ll do it.’”
Each song was written from the varying perspectives of those that walked and talked alongside Christ throughout his mortal ministry. Some of these perspectives include those of John the Baptist, the Apostle Peter, a blind man on the road, a women who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, as well as other individuals Christ encountered in his life.
Since its inception, the Nashville Tribute Band has performed more than 1,000 shows in the United States, Canada, Australia, and China. “This is what we do to give back,” says Deere. “We all love to serve as members of the Church.”
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Photo from Rolling Stone
All four members of this energetic band are returned missionaries. They gained national attention in 2008 when they opened for the alternative rock band The Killers, and soon after, they topped the "Alternative Songs" chart with their 2010 hit "Animal."
Their debut album, Habits, hit #15 on the "Alternative Albums" chart. Their second album, Picture Show, climbed to #5, and their most recent album, Pop Psychology, reached #1. Their single "Everybody Talks" also topped the "Adult Pop Songs" chart.
Drummer Elaine Bradley filmed an "I'm a Mormon" video for the Church, and you can hear her sing on the album Hold On: A Modern Tribute to the Music of Michael McLean. Lead singer Tyler Glenn revealed he was gay during a 2014 Rolling Stone interview but maintains ties to his Mormon faith. Last fall, he even spoke to a crowd of LGBT Mormons and performed hymns, including a powerful rendition of "Where Can I Turn for Peace," which you can watch below.
Dan Reynolds and Wayne Sermon (of Imagine Dragons)
Photo by Jeff Gale, from vegasmagazine.com
Rock band Imagine Dragons features lead vocalist Dan Reynolds (second from left) and guitarist Wayne Sermon (second from right).
The Las Vegas band gained exposure following the release of their first single, "It's Time," and their debut studio album, Night Visions (2012), reached #1 on the "Alternative Albums" chart. The band's second studio album, Smoke + Mirrors, also topped the chart. Billboard named them the Breakthrough Band of 2013, and Rolling Stone named their single "Radioactive" the biggest rock hit of the year. The song also broke Billboard records by spending an astounding 87 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
Imagine Dragons has won two American Music Awards for Favorite Alternative Artist, a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, five Billboard Music Awards, and a World Music Award. In May 2014, the band was nominated for a total of 14 different Billboard Music Awards, including Top Artist of the Year and a Milestone Award.
Photo from Mormon Wiki
Church member Tony Martin was a reporter at a Chicago newspaper when his songwriting career took off in the late ’80s. Country music star George Strait recorded a #1 hit written by Martin, "Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye," and soon Martin packed up and moved to Nashville.
“My hobby was paying better than my job,” he told LDS Living. “But when you show up in Nashville with your sack of songs, it’s like opening a store in town—nobody knows the business is open, and you don’t have a lot of product.”
Martin hasn’t had many problems selling his “sack of songs,” however. In fact, he is one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville. His tunes have been recorded by stars like Rascal Flats, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw, and he has 15 #1 hits under his belt. Among his chart-topping compositions are "Just to See You Smile" by Tim McGraw—voted Billboard’s Most Played Country Song Of 1997—and "You Look Good in My Shirt" by Keith Urban.
Through all his success, Martin remains devoted to the gospel, and it is reflected in his songs.
“Country music subject matter can be about some of those things we don’t believe in doing, and it can be glorified," he says. "Drinking songs, for example, can be catchy sing-along kinds of songs. Even if that’s popular, I’m not going to write those songs.”