as a mere means of background supplementation, simple entertainment or whatever’s catchy as a radio sing-a-long. While Tracing Days’ debut disc Control overflows with accessibility, its members have an underlying desire to shake up listeners’ most obvious perceptions and misconceptions of faith based rock n’ roll, diving to stylistic and lyrical depths sure to inspire, empower, educate and shake off the safe holds of even the most committed believers’ comfort zones.
“I don’t like clichés because they don’t challenge my own thinking,” explains front man, founder and keyboardist Lonnie Bos. “I love hanging out with people who ask tough questions and Tracing Days is all about working through issues, asking hard questions and searching for honest answers.”
Though the Bozeman, Montana based band has only been in official operation for the past two years, it’s grown into this complex but cohesive thematic crux through deep roots in worship leadership. For Lonnie in particular, the experience of attending as a student and graduating to an internship (with his wife whom he met in church) only helped lay the groundwork for the group’s magnetic attraction to its audience.
“When I first considered the position, I struggled with the idea of spending so much time leading worship because I didn’t think there would be time for original music,” Bos admits. “It was the death of a dream in my eyes, but wound up showing me once again that joy is found in following God’s road, not the one that I have for myself. And it turned out in the end to open the doors for original music opportunities that I didn’t previously imagine.”
Tracing Days’ church performances soon morphed into separate writing sessions that turned from the overtly vertical to spiritually centered observations on reality, while addressing issues like pride, surrender and a variety of life’s struggles. What was merely an informal jamming amongst one another and an inner circle of friends soon stepped up to the next level thanks to an amusing coincidence (or perhaps a stroke of divine intervention).
“My wife and I had a carpet cleaner going thorough our house and he saw band equipment and wound up asking me about it,” the singer says with a smile. “It turns out he was promoting a youth event at a nearby church, was looking for a band and asked us if we were interested. That lit the fire under us to really pull together some songs and we settled on ten that we wound up playing for the youth concert, which really gave us the push we needed.”
“I had some friends from worship team, including a fiddle player who’s toured with [country stars] Sara Evans and Pam Tillis,” he shares. “Through that connection I met some contacts, one being Ainslie Grosser, who lives and works out of Nashville, but came from Australia. Ainslie worked really hard to make things happen and was the type of guy who talked straight and didn’t just tell us what we wanted to hear.”
Out of those initial chats, Tracing Days and Grosser (who’s also worked with Rebecca St. James and Fusebox) tag teamed on Control, leading to a razor sharp modern rock record packed with thick riffs, mature messages and catchy conventions sure to appeal to U2, Switchfoot and Green Day fans. The resulting eleven tunes have already resonated on concert stages, which have built steady momentum for the disc’s September 19 release on Full Color Records under the Infinity Distribution umbrella (Kevin Max, Stryper, Take 6, Lifehouse).
Amongst the many standouts is the robust rippler “Control,” which focuses on the single trait everyone is afraid to lose, but one that must be given to God in order to truly live. It’s met by the equally explosive “Life Outside,” which chronicles a real life opportunity Bos had meeting a man on a plane that was burnt out in the business world seeking something deeper in life. The emotional “Inside of Me” talks about sorting out a painful bout with pride and the earthly distractions that can so easily entangle us, while the energetic “Monochrome” is an ode to finding one’s ultimate creativity and fulfillment when they are plugged into the Creator.
“Our lyrics show where we come from, but I’d like anyone who enjoys them to feel welcome,” Bos confirms. “I try to write in a way that’s understandable to all people, not just those who agree with me. I relate to fans more than artists generally and like to close that distance. I’m always wondering about the quiet kid in the 14th row and what’s really going on in his life.”
In the end, Tracing Days is devoted to both believing and seeking audiences, never over padding or coming across heavy handed on either end in the commitment to bonding with authenticity, candor and vulnerability. Along with those integrity filled qualities is an intense but infectious album that convincingly conveys its players’ influences, passion and perseverance.
“We’re taking this all a day at a time, putting the pieces together one by one and giving this our best shot,” Bos sums up. “Connection with our audience has always been key, but more than just entertaining them through the music, we hope to get them thinking and help them identify God’s fingerprints all over the situations in their lives.”