By Joe Montague, exclusive
Almost four years ago, I
met two teenage girls and a twenty-year-old young woman in a hotel lobby,
just outside Toronto, Canada. We were experiencing a blizzard and the temperatures
were frigid. As we sat and chatted about their fledgling music careers,
I realized I was in the presence of some very unique and special young
ladies. I was impressed with the ministry focus maturity of sisters Colleen
and Pam Walker, as well as their cousin Christine Prankard. The three girls,
who had formed a group known as Carried Away, were two weeks away from
releasing their self-titled debut CD, produced by Otto Price.
Since our initial meeting,
I have met the three of them on several occasions, reviewed their concerts
and followed their careers closely. On August 28th, Carried Away released
their second project, I Want You, a twelve track CD comprised of
eleven original tunes and a new arrangement for an old hymn.
I Want You opens with two
incredible songs "Black & White," and "Just Believe," songs that testify
to their faith and provide further evidence that Carried Away are the heirs
apparent to ZoeGirl. Carried Away's signature harmonies, up tempo music
and contemporary style appeals to a broad range of ages, but will particularly
catch the ear of youth.
Today, Carried Away, which
have already established that they are the top Christian performers in
Canada, appear poised for a major breakthrough in the American market.
In support of "Mystery," the first single from I Want You,
the trio spent the summer crisscrossing the United States. Their extensive
tour visiting radio stations included stops in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio,
Michigan and Indiana, before they blitzed the eastern seaboard. They also
performed at music festivals in Montana and Michigan, before embarking
on a four-month tour with Jump 5 that will not conclude until December.
Despite Carried Away's growing
popularity, as I spoke to Pam and Colleen Walker on the telephone, I was
pleased to find that they were still the same sweet, down-to-earth young
women and had not lost their passion for ministry. The young women who
got their start winning regional talent contests in their hometown of Brampton,
Ontario (Canada), have retained a sense of humility and gratefulness despite
the fact, as with every music career, it has at times been a grind, had
its share of adventures, some that were highlights and others more disappointing.
The trio first began working
on the CD I Want You in 2006, and the songs spent a great deal of time
in the creative incubator. "It was a slow, slow process and nothing seemed
to be coming together. We took that year in Nashville and used it to write
tons and tons of songs. In March of 2007 we got together with (producer)
Rob Hawkins," said Colleen.
Carried Away did some collaborative
writing with Hawkins previous committing to the former guitarist with Rebecca
St James, for the I Want You project. "He has the ability to listen to
us and hone in on our style. We hit it off with him on a personal level,
and we feel like he brought out the best in our music and lyrics," Colleen
Pam picked up the conversation,
"We wrote all of the songs (for this CD) with the exception of "Holy, Holy,
Holy." The year of writing gave us the opportunity to get the best of the
best songs that we could. Some of the songs came from personal experiences
and others came from lyrics and music that God gave to us."
The fact that songs such
as "Feel It Inside," "Your Love," and "I Want You," originated within their
personal lives is important to Carried Away, as Pam explained, "There is
a big difference between performing songs that you have written, versus
songs that other people have written. You have more of a connection with
the ones that you have written."
Colleen said that the song
"I Want You" "is more personal to me because I wrote it resulting from
my personal devotional time with God. I had my guitar out, and I was feeling
down on myself. Sometimes I go through times in my life when I feel really
distant from God, and feel like I have let Him down. There was nothing
bad, but I just wasn't happy with the everyday choices that I was making.
I said I want you (God) and that's it. The song really sums up where I
am in my spiritual walk. I am fed up with choosing other things over God,
and letting other things distract me from my relationship with Him."
For their current CD the
group decided to include a remix of "Alive," a song which originally appeared
on Carried Away's debut album. "Alive" is one of my favorite songs to perform
live, because the message is simple, but one that needs to be heard. The
whole salvation message is in that song. I think that it is powerful. I
am so grateful to be serving a God who is alive, and that is there for
me day in and day out. I don't serve a God who is dead, can't hear me,
or is a statue. I serve a living God, who is powerful and awesome," said
Pam continued, "Since our
first record, Carried Away is better known in Canada than it is in the
United States. We really wanted to put "Alive" on the second record [also].
We really wanted to get it out there one more time and give people a chance
to hear it."
The hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy"
was recorded with new arrangements. "It is quite different. We had talked
about doing it with the regular three-part harmony, but we wanted to do
something a little different, and a little more abstract. Some people may
be a little shocked. We have received mixed reviews. Some people really
like it, while others don't really care for it," said Pam.
Even though Colleen is the
oldest member of Carried Away, at the still young age of twenty-three (Christine
is twenty-two), the three young women are already considered to be role
models for today's young women. Through personal growth conferences, working
through organizations such as Women of Faith and opportunities like a recent
mother and daughter conference in Sacramento, California, the trio regularly
engage young women from the stage through their dialogue and music and
"They don't just see us
as the three girls in Carried Away (who are) on stage, but they look at
us as real people to whom they can talk about the things that they are
dealing with. That is really encouraging to see," said Pam, adding that
sometimes all that is needed is an encouraging word or sharing an inspirational
verse from the Bible.
Colleen said, "God has called
us to be an example to younger women, who are hurting, broken and struggling
with everyday life. We want to tell them that it is okay to talk about
body image. I believe that God has called us individually and as a group
to go to the ends of the world to reach people. I believe that it is God
working in us and through us that gives us our strength."
Carried Away's CD I Want
You can be purchased digitally and is also on retail shelves throughout
North America. There are two reasons to buy it; you will keep three fine
role models in front of today's youth, and because they write and sing
very good music.
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer and the publisher of Riveting Riffs,
www.rivetingriffs.com . 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.