It was Jesus Christ who said, “Go into all the world and make disciples.”
With a fire in their eyes and a passion seared deep into their hearts, a band of ordinary men once completely reoriented their lives around this solitary mission: take the message of Jesus to the ends of world. Their quest was said to have turned the world upside down!
Fast-forward 2,000 years…
In the midst of hundreds of Christian artists competing for the main stage across America, there is one band that has exited the spotlight in pursuit of a far different vision over the past decade: being the voice of Jesus where mainstream doesn’t reach.
Having remained an uncharted acoustic rock group since their conception at the turn of the century, WeakSide has been taking their music to the unremembered places across America. While they are certainly no stranger to playing before crowds of several thousand, their heart is for the more intimate settings.
“Bands simply don’t dream about going to venues where there is less than 300 people in the whole town”, notes lead singer Jeremiah Knoop. “All of the guys in WeakSide grew up in really small communities, and we would have loved to have had Christian concerts in our area, but bands never strayed that far from the highway!”
“A concert like this is something you just never get to experience in these little unknown towns,” adds guitarist, Jacob McGowan. “Everybody deserves to have an opportunity to worship in an environment like this.”
“So then how will they hear?” asks the apostle Paul. “And who will go?” echoes the prophet Isaiah. This age-old question is really the crux of WeakSide’s ministry. “If God finds pleasure in using our music for His glory, then we’re all in,” says Knoop. Through easy-listening tunes and heart-gripping lyrics, WeakSide has been playing for churches, conferences, youth rallies, colleges, universities, banquets and coffee houses all over the mid-west.
Since the beginning, the overarching goal has been to encourage people, both young and old, to see the joy of living for Jesus and the urgency of selling out for the gospel. From the get-go, they knew that their ministry was going to be unique. They made a commitment to never charge for their concerts and to make their music available for whatever people could afford, and for the past 15 years they have held to that commitment. If you can’t afford an album, WeakSide will gladly accept whatever you can afford. Money isn’t the goal; Jesus is!
“I just love the passion for Jesus that exists in the band,” says drummer, Lance Morrow. “He’s the center point, and that’s the way it should be.”
Their journey began in Northern Minnesota with an acoustic guitar, an upright piano and an antique tape recorder. Having become close friends at eight years old, Jeremiah Knoop and Jacob McGowan wrote nearly 100 songs together before cutting their first album in 2004, “Free”.
From 2004 – 2007 WeakSide had the privilege of sharing the stage with some extremely gifted artists. David Gingerich, Karin Haase, Jordan Johnson, Jolene Harms, Ben Olson, Dan West and Jon Avery all participated in WeakSide’s music ministry during those years; during which time the band released their second album “Tears and Glass” in 2006.
After several quiet years, WeakSide (which was back to the original Knoop/McGowan duo) came out with their first self-produced album “Let It Out” in 2010.
While the guys thoroughly enjoy the lighthearted, brighter end of music as displayed in many of their songs (Let It Out, Beautiful Things, Summer Days…), they have also never been known to shy away from addressing the elephant in the room (Tears and Glass, Erase, Hide, My Farewell…)
“One of the things that makes WeakSide unique is that our music is actually based on real life” says McGowan. “There is a lot of fluff on Christian radio today, and we just don’t get into that. The majority of life is challenging, and so we find that much of our music lands on more challenging topics.”
Now located at the heart of America in Scotia Nebraska (Pop. 328), WeakSide teamed up with Village Missions in recording their 2012 album “Unremembered Places”, highlighting the joys and struggles of the small, rural churches scattered across North America.
At the beginning of 2013, Morrow jumped on board as WeakSide’s newest member. “WeakSide has become my second family,” Morrow said, “And I am truly blessed to have these guys in my life.”
On December 28, 2014 WeakSide released their most recent album, “You Are God“, featuring the musical talents of award-winning artists such as Joel Hanson (former lead singer for the late PFR), Aaron Ankrum (lead singer for Grayshot) and Elizabeth Hunnicutt. You Are God is predominately a hymn-remake, containing eight hymns and just four originals.
“With the majority of our small-town audiences having been raised in the hymn era, we’ve found that hymn remakes tend to minister to a wider audience range,” notes Knoop. “So we thought we’d try our hand at a hymn album, and it turned out to be our favorite, hands down.”
The theme of their new album is this: Even though the sky falls – God is still God. No matter what you are going through in your life (physically, emotionally, spiritually...), God is GOD over all of it.
Even though the sky falls…
- You are God
- You are Worthy
- You are Refuge
- You are Maker
- You are Exalted
- You are First
- You are Friend
- You are King
- You are Father
- You are Creator
Recorded and produced by Ryan Zimmer (Octave Room Studio) and mixed by Aaron Ankrum (Aerial View Studio), the You Are God album has finally given WeakSide a sound and a message that will hopefully be encouraging people for years to come.
“Definitely our most exciting album to date,” says McGowan, “What makes it even more exciting is that we get to use it in connection with the ministry of Village Missions. When it comes to our heart for forgotten America, we are definitely on the same page.”
Counter-cultural to way most bands operate, the staple of WeakSide is not found in its members – but in its ministry. “It’s not about the messengers but about the message,” notes Knoop. “In the Bible, God was never fixated on messengers but rather on the message. That’s why you will never see our faces on an album cover! This thing isn’t about us. It’s about God. Anything we can do to emphasize that point is going to be integrated into our music philosophy!” Having been built around that biblical principle, WeakSide’s members (the messengers) are ever-changing…but their music (the message) remains constant.
Well over a dozen different individuals have taken part in WeakSide’s music ministry over the years and have left their beautiful footprints in the process. As of today, WeakSide members include Jeremiah Knoop (lead vocals and keys), Jacob McGowan (guitar and vocals) and Lance Morrow (drums).
Thanks for listening!
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