When the pandemic hit and lockdown commenced, Casting Crowns vocalist Mark Hall was concerned about more than his band. Hall, 53, has been a youth pastor for more than 20 years.
“There was so much on my mind since people were going through some very heavy stuff,” Hall said while calling from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. “Our society has never been through anything like that and people were looking for answers. As a youth pastor in Atlanta I listen to people’s stories.”
Hall’s ministry is top priority, but Casting Crowns is a significant part of his life. Hall and Christian music songwriter Matthew West co-wrote many of the songs on Casting Crowns’ latest album, “The Healer.”
The tandem crafted a number of compelling songs such as “Desert Road,” “Scars in Heaven” and “Crazy People.” The latter, a clever song, which also included Seth Mosely as a co-writer, was inspired by the life-size Noah’s Ark, which is a tourist attraction in Williamstown, Kentucky.
“Seth said, ‘Can you imagine if you saw your neighbor building that in his yard?’ I said, “I’d think he was crazy.’ We got to talking and we knew there was a song there. When you look back at the Bible, people did a lot of things that looked like they were crazy. What this tells me is that we need more crazy people in the world.”
Hall could have been called crazy for devoting so much of his energy to Casting Crowns after he formed the contemporary Christian band in 1999. Mark Miller, the Sawyer Brown vocalist, signed Casting Crowns to his label, Beach Street Records. Miller and Christian star Stephen Curtis Chapman produced the band’s first album, which dropped in 2001. It didn’t take long for the group to taste success.
“I can’t tell you how much I owe Stephen for what he’s done for this band,” Hall said. “It was incredible being such a fan of Stephen’s and then for him to work with me. Amazing.”
The Casting Crowns consistently churn out hits. “Voice of Truth,” “Who Am I,” Praise You in This Storm,” “If We are the Body,””Thrive” and “East to West” are just some of the band’s cuts to grace Christian radio.
The aforementioned “Scars in Heaven” broke the global first-day streaming record for a Christian song debut on Amazon music in January.
“We’ve been incredibly blessed,” Hall said. The eldest of Hall’s four children, John Michael Hall, joined Casting Crowns as the group’s bassist last year. “It’s been wonderful having him in the band,” Hall said. “He’s sitting right next to me and he and I are just having the best time on the road.” The icing on the cake for Hall was welcoming his first grandchild, John Michael Hall’s son, into the world in 2021. “It’s been great,” Hall said. “Our grandchild has been out on the road with us and it’s just been tremendous.”
Casting Crowns, which will perform Sunday at the Spokane Arena, is looking forward to returning to the Pacific Northwest. “It’s always been one of my favorite parts of the country,” Hall said. “It’s just beautiful there. We’ll be there soon spreading the word by playing our songs.”
The second half of “Healer” will be released soon. Each collection is comprised of seven songs. “There has never been a time in which people go through music so quickly,” Hall said. “We thought it would be best not to release everything at once. We’re giving people hope who need hope. We’re doing it through our songs and our performances.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.