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Carried Away

It has been almost a year since I last sat down and chatted with pop music's femme fatale trio Carried Away. During that time the ladies have acquired a backup band, hired Derek Anderson as their sound engineer and road manager (formerly in same capacity with Third Day), and launched a major tour across the United States.
Pam told me, "Early in the year we toured with Bryan Duncan, in June with Avalon, did some concerts with Big Daddy Weave and this summer some gigs with Casting Crowns." All of those dates provide pretty impressive credentials for three young women who only began their professional career a year ago. Equally impressive is the fact they have accomplished so much when the granny of the group is Colleen Walker at the tender age of 21. Her cousin Christine Prankard is 20 and Colleen's sister Pam is 18.
"Each time we toured with one of those artists we learned something new. The thing that is really cool is you can learn from the people who have gone before you. They've been really good role models for us as we watch them on stage," said Christine.
As she rolled her eyes Christine continued, "Before we met artists like Casting Crowns we used to be in awe of them. Once you meet them you realize these are just regular people like us. It's really cool how all of those groups have been really humble and they are just like everybody else. It's just what God wants us to do."
The tour, however, has not been without its challenges as one gig in Denver, Colorado, experienced a power failure. With the concert scheduled to begin at seven o'clock and power not restored until nine-thirty that night, the group improvised and took the audience out to the flag pole where they performed an acoustic set. The crowed extended their warm appreciation to Carried Away for their efforts.
A look at Carried Away's website reveals the trio is in the midst of a cross country (USA) tour. They signed on for a series of gigs with the prestigious Shoutfest tour. By the time you read this they will have made stops in Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky. Future gigs include Arkansas, Texas, Illinois and Florida. Some of the other artists on the tour include ZOEgirl, Thousand Foot Krutch, Newsong, Skillet, Grits, Sonic Flood, Jars of Clay and Seventh Day Slumber.
This past year has been fun and provided the members of Carried Away with a steep learning curve. Pam, who can often be seen front and centre onstage sharing her faith, said, "I think one thing that has surprised me is how much fun touring is. I really didn't know if I would be able to handle it and being with the same people all of the time but I really like it."
Pam continued, "I think (playing with the) band has been a really good growing experience for us musically. I think that it has really helped us develop as a group. It can only get better from here." The band consists of Phil Cox on drums, the bassist Kyle Whalum and guitarist Jason Fitts.
Colleen, the funky, bubbly keyboardist, listed adding the band to their signature harmonies as a personal highlight. "It has definitely been different traveling with a live band, but overall it has been an awesome experience.  It has been a good change as the band brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the songs. I really feel it gives a new dimension to Carried Away." She also noted Anderson's contributions, "It's great to have Derek as our sound guy because he's so awesome and organized."
Christine, who is perhaps the most introspective member of Carried Away and plays acoustic guitar, expressed surprise at the time demands. For all you young budding artists out there take note, "There is a lot of work. You have to practice all the time and you have to keep up with ordering your merchandise. There are just so many responsibilities that you have in a group. You can't go on vacation when you want to or see your family as often," she said. Christine added that while it may seem like a huge sacrifice to some people, "It isn't because we were made to live out God's dreams for us."
In addition to the songs from their debut album, three of which were written by the ladies, they have added the edgier tune "Story of Life" to their repertoire. They were approached with the idea of covering Sierra's "Story of Life" by their manager Scott McReynolds. "When we heard it, we loved the song. The melody is catchy and groovy but the words are also so real. It's been a big hit ever since we added it," Colleen said.
As you have become better known has the fan mail started to trickle in? "We get tons of fan mail," said Colleen, "We write each one of them back personally. It's very important to us because we don't want someone putting words in our mouth. We write them back tout suite. I write a lot of them but we all take turns."
Pam filled me in on the type of fan mail they receive, "We get asked do you ever get nervous on stage or are you famous?"
Colleen joined in, "We respond that we don't think of ourselves as being famous and if we ever wanted to be famous we would be in the secular industry."
Sometimes we make the mistake of assuming Christian singers and musicians have all the answers and don't require any special attention from God. Carried Away wants you to know that isn't true­at least not with them. Pam the youngest member of the group and just a couple of courses shy of high school graduation said, "I think God has been taking me on a little journey. He has taught me to trust him and to put everything I have with Him. It's a little scary starting out in the music business because you don't know what God is going to do. I just have to give everything to God and He will take care of it because He has full control of my life."
In Christine's life she has been learning; "What it means to be a woman of God and what He wants a woman to be like. He wants us to be beautiful inside and out."
Colleen's lesson is an ongoing one, "God continues to remind me that even though I fall and mess up He still loves me anyway."
Just how does a touring group balance their spiritual, professional and personal lives?
"I always think that you should start your day off everyday in the Bible, in the Word. I always believe that He will show you what the balance is in your life. I just take one day at a time," said Colleen. 
Christine shared from her own personal experience, "Your spiritual life is important and I believe that is the most important because your relationship with Christ determines your eternity so that should reflect in what you do and how you live your life. A verse I always refer back to is Romans chapter 12 verse 1 "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice­the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? (NLT)"
So where do we head from here Christine? "You don't know where you are going to be later on in this life God only knows that and so we are just taking it one step at a time. We do have plans of making another CD and things like that but we are just taking it one step at a time. If God wants this to happen then it will happen and He will just keep opening doors."
"We are still trying to grow as artists and find out who we are on stage and who we are in Christ. We don't know what he has in store for us and if He tells us to stop we are going to stop. We just want to reach as many people as possible," said Pam.
Colleen's poignant remarks contain a message for all of us, "I used to look at other Christian artists and say they have made it and they are at the top. In this short amount of time I have learned that you are never going to make it (to the top) because when you are in the ministry, God is continually showing you things about your relationship with Him. As we do this we are learning so many things. Five years down the road I hope I am still learning and still growing."
You can check out Carried Away's website for tour dates.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Pictures By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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