We hoped this would happen. Can't say we planned it, because dreams are hard to arrange. But we imagined anyway... a community of friends living life and loving Jesus together. In 2006 we bought a house (named the Banks House) in a run down neighborhood and filled it with guys, guitars, and recording gear. We attempted to cook in our mustard yellow kitchen, ate meals on musty thrift store couches, and saw our living room filled with hearts beating as one after Jesus.
The yellow kitchen and thrift store couches are thankfully now gone. But out of that season formed a community of songwriters and musicians that lives on today. You could say we’re a band, collective, or whatever, but the point is we’re friends who love worshiping our Creator together. Family feels like a better word. And we don’t throw that phrase around casually. It’s truly been the sweetest part of the journey so far.
Chapter 2 – The Band
In the fall of 2010, we gathered together in our living room, invited all our friends, and pushed record over a 2-day weekend. The idea was to capture the simple choruses from the past few years and share them with our growing community as a reminder of what God was doing. It was a beautiful mess. With no sound system or monitoring, it was a miracle we even played in time. But the essence of the songs and the testimony of the season was forever transcribed to a hard drive.
Photo collection from the night we recorded Live at the Banks House:
To our surprise, the songs released from that weekend grew wings and took flight, making their way around the world one community at a time. This album was truly our “Fishes & Loaves” offering, and we recognized it was God who did the multiplying.
Music has always been our way of connecting with God and each other. As we've grown as artists we've been able to explore different sounds and different ideas. Each of us seems to bring something a little different to the table, requiring us to support one another. In addition to Will's records, we've been able to get behind the projects of Andrea Marie, Brock Human, and Michael Ketterer.
CHAPTER 3 – Fifth Ave House
By May of 2012 we had long moved out of the Banks House and had spent the last few years bouncing from one house to the next as the community grew from week to week. That Spring, just on the heels of our first UK tour, Will posed the question: “What if we were to put real roots down in our town?” This question stuck with us, and we felt the Lord tell us to "expand our living room". This word eventually brought us to the front steps of 119 W. Fifth Ave, a run down warehouse in downtown Knoxville, TN.
We launched a hair-brained, all-or-nothing, $100,000 crowdfunding campaign and after 30 intense days of social-media madness we reached our goal. (You know who you are. Thank you.) Shortly after, (thanks to a generous grant from a local foundation), we purchased the 10,000sq-ft warehouse and began renovations. Yep, 2012 was a crazy year.
In 2013 we finished the main venue space and began gathering for our Tuesday evening worship. Something we had kept up since the Banks House of 2006. For the first time in years, we had our own space.
From 2013 to 2016 Fifth Ave House was our home. We met there every week, continued to worship and find ourselves in the space. We recorded Simple Gospel there over two nights in 2014, which was by far the most collaborative record we’ve done to date. The project was exciting, but there was growing levels of unrest as we began to better understand the implications of owning such a large property.
In the end our team decided we didn’t want to carry the increasing demand of owning commercial property. It would mean becoming property owners and managers nearly full time. Something that in the end distracted us from hosting gatherings. We wanted to create music and foster communal gatherings, not managing tenants. It was a difficult decision process.
After a lot of soul searching we knew we had to let the property go. After four years in late 2016 we signed the sale papers.
Even though we no longer own Fifth Ave House we do hold regular gatherings in various venues in Knoxville. Check out our local gathering schedule.
Chapter 4 – Live Streaming
With a bunch of cameras, cables, computers, and a whole lot of techie magic (thanks Michael), we launched our bootstrapped streaming rig into the wild seas to share our worship nights from Fifth Ave House with anyone who might tune in. We typically stream the first Tuesday of each month + special nights while we're on the road- we host and share all of our archives on our site for free.
Ever since our first album, the Internet (and the likes of MySpace!) has been the highway for the music and the connecting point for a broader community of worshipers. Live streaming is our way of responding to that community. We've always wanted to share in real-time what was happening through the worship, and that's why we recorded music in the first place. But releasing an album every two years doesn't quite make the cut, too much happens in two years! When we realized we could go live and invite anyone it was only a matter of time before we figured out how to make it happen. If you wanna join us live for raw, unedited worship, tune into the stream next time we're live!