Avalon (band)

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This article is about the American Christian vocal group. For the Swedish-Congolese band of the same name, see Avalon (group). For the Finnish supergroup, see Avalon (Finnish band).
Avalon
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres CCM
Instruments Voice
Years active 1996–present
Labels Sparrow, E1
Website www.avalonlive.org
Members Janna Long
Greg Long
Jeremi Richardson
Amy McBride Richardson
Past members Melissa Greene
Jody McBrayer
Michael Passons
Cherie Adams
Nikki Hassman-Anders

Avalon is an American contemporary Christian vocal quartet. The group has earned multiple RIAA-certified gold records, sold four million albums, and released 22 number-one Christian hits.[citation needed]

Group history[edit]

1995–97: Formation; A Maze of Grace[edit]

Avalon was formed in 1995 after Norman Miller of Proper Management took the idea of a vocal group to Grant Cunningham, A&R Director at Sparrow Records. Miller's vision was to have two male and two female vocalists who could sing tight harmonies and carry the Gospel to the world.[citation needed] Cunningham publicized his intentions and received many demo tapes, but nothing fit his desires.[citation needed] After letting the idea of Avalon rest a while, Cunningham attended an artist showcase in Nashville to listen to a singer. However, another artist, Michael Passons, caught his attention, and Passons was the first of the group's founding members.[citation needed] Soon after, former Truth vocalist and South Carolina native Janna Potter (Long) heard about Avalon's formation. Rikk Kittleman and Tabitha Fair became part of the group, but each left after a short time.[citation needed] Fair was offered a solo record deal, and Kettleman left for other opportunities.[citation needed] With two member openings, Long contacted former Truth vocalist Jody McBrayer, who became a member of Avalon a few days later.[1] Nikki Hassman Anders was the fourth founding vocalist of Avalon. Hassman recorded two albums with Avalon, Avalon (December 26, 1996) and A Maze of Grace (December 1997), but left in May 1998 to pursue a solo career with Sony Records.

1998–02: In a Different Light, Joy, Oxygen and solo projects[edit]

Cherie Paliotta Adams replaced Hassman after one of Avalon's co-managers listened to a country music demo tape recorded by Adams. Though country is not a genre Avalon performs in, executives chose Adams as they believed she would be a perfect fit.[citation needed] Adams recorded four albums with Avalon, In a Different Light (March 23, 1999), Joy: A Christmas Collection (September 26, 2000), and Oxygen (May 22, 2001) as well as a remix album, O2: Avalon Remixed (March 2002). Up until the spring of 2002 Grant Cunningham, A&R Director at Sparrow Records, had been the executive producer for all of Avalon's records since he organized the group in 1995. Grant suffered a fatal head injury during a soccer game in early July of 2002. Cherie departed the group to pursue a solo ministry geared toward single women, and in September 2002, she was replaced by Melissa Greene, Janna's other fellow former band-mate of the now disbanded group Truth. In between projects Jody McBrayer released a solo album This Is Who I Am in September 2002. The album included the Top Ten hit "Never Alone (Nunca Solo)"[citation needed] a duet with Jadyn Strand Maria, as well as a number-one single, "To Ever Live Without Me".[citation needed] Janna also released a self-titled solo album in October which contained the number-two song "Greater Is He".[citation needed]

2003–06: The Creed, Stand and Faith[edit]

On March 25, 2003, Avalon released a greatest hits record, Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon, which featured two new singles that became No. 1 hits; "Everything to Me" and "New Day." It was the last album to include founding member Michael Passons: the Avalon member known as 'Father Avalon' left only months after the album's release (in summer 2003) to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by Janna's husband, Greg Long.[2] On February 24, 2004, Avalon released the studio album The Creed. Three singles were released: lead single "All," which made it to No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary Christian Songs chart; "You Were There," a No. 2 Inspirational Charts hit, and "I Wanna Be With You", featuring Greg Long as the lead singer.[3] Avalon's sixth studio album, Stand, was released on January 24, 2006. Lead single "Love Won't Leave You" peaked in the Top 20 of both Billboard Hot Christian Songs and Hot Christian Adult Contemporary charts. The next single, "Orphans of God," was serviced to radio on April 7, 2006 and peaked in the Top 5 of Radio & Records' Inspo chart the week of August 11, 2006. Additionally, "Somehow You Are" was released to radio in August 2006. On October 17, 2006, Avalon released a fan-requested hymns album, titled Faith: A Hymns Collection.

2007–09: Another Time, Another Place, The Greatest Hits[edit]

In mid-2007, Jody McBrayer decided to depart the group due to a heart condition. But, before he left, he found time to record one last album with Avalon. On February 26, 2008, Avalon released their ninth album, Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics. A headlining tour, titled "The We Will Stand Tour", with Michael English, the Daniel Doss Band and new Fervent Records girl group Cadia followed in spring 2008 to promote the classics album. The first single released from Another Time, Another Place was their cover of the Twila Paris song "God Is In Control". The second single, released on November 5, 2007, was a remake of the Sandi Patty/Wayne Watson song "Another Time, Another Place", featuring a Jody/Janna duet. On November 13, 2007, Avalon released Another Time, Another Place EP a digital EP titled featuring three songs from the album: singles "God is in Control," "Another Time, Another Place" and a cover of the Amy Grant song "Thy Word". Current Avalon member Jeremi Richardson joined the group in late 2007 to replace Jody McBrayer. Jeremi, Melissa, and Janna had attended the same college, Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. He sang with the group, Voices of Liberty, in Orlando, Fla. Melissa and Janna found out about Jeremi through mutual acquaintances. He sent his music to them and immediately had a heart for the ministry of Avalon. Jeremi was a great fit for the group and had the previous experience.[4] On November 11, 2007, Melissa Greene announced at a show in Spring Arbor, Michigan, that it was the first concert with Richardson officially being a member of the group. It was confirmed in late 2008 that EMICMG would release Avalon: The Greatest Hits, a compilation of successful hits from previous Avalon recordings. It is notable that the track list, as published by the record label, bears many of the same hits featured on the 2003 release Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon (11 of the 16 songs featured on the older hits record also made the cut for the new one). The album does, however, contain four radio successes from three of Avalon's projects that have been released since the last hits record: "All" and "You Were There" from The Creed (2004), "Orphans of God" from Stand (2006), and "In Christ Alone" from Faith: A Hymns Collection (2006). In addition, the album features a new song from Avalon titled "Still My God." On March 31, 2009, "Still My God" became Avalon's first No. one single since "New Day" released in 2003, from Avalon's previous greatest hits album.

2009–present: Reborn[edit]

On May 15, 2009, Melissa Greene announced her resignation from Avalon on her personal website upon accepting a position as Pastor of Music and Arts at Gracepointe Church in Nashville. Melissa will continue her solo career as well.[5] On May 21, 2009, Avalon announced that Richardson's wife Amy would fill Greene's spot as the newest member of Avalon.[6] Janna went on maternity leave from Avalon February 9, 2010 after giving birth to her daughter Eleanor Hovland. Shortly after the release of the recent hits record, Avalon announced they would be returning to the studio to record a brand-new, all original album (their first since Stand in 2006) on E1 Music (formerly Koch Records), thus ending Avalon's long-time stint on the Sparrow Records (EMI Christian Music Group) label. Avalon began recording vocals for the new album with Amy McBride Richardson as its new member on May 19, 2009. It was announced in June 2009 that the album would be titled Reborn. The first single "Arise" was released to Christian radio in August 2009; on December 9, it officially became Avalon's 22nd career No. 1 radio hit, topping Billboard's Soft AC/Inspirational chart.[7] This came just weeks after the group wrapped up their co-headlining tour with fellow Christian group Selah in late 2009.

Members[edit]

Former
  • Nikki Hassman Anders (1996–1998)
  • Cherie Adams (1998–2002)
  • Michael Passons (1995–2003)
  • Jody McBrayer (1995–2007)
  • Melissa Greene (2002–2009)

Discography[edit]

Videography[edit]

Long form
  • 2003: Testify to Love: Live in Concert
  • 2008: Avalon Live: A Hits Collection
Short form
  • 2000: "In Not Of" Music Video
  • 2006: "In Christ Alone"; featured in Tribute to Ruth Graham

Major tours[edit]

  • 1995/96: The Young Messiah Tour
  • 1996/97: Where I Stand Tour with Twila Paris
  • 1996: Emmanuel Tour
  • 1997: My Utmost for His Highest Tour
  • 1997: The Young Messiah Farewell Tour
  • 1998: Christmas Celebration Tour
  • 1998: Gold Tour with Crystal Lewis
  • 1999/00: The A Tour with Anointed and Nichole Nordeman
  • 2000/01: Child Of The Promise Tour
  • 2001/02: The Oxygen Tour
  • 2002: The Joy Tour
  • 2003: Avalon With ZOEgirl And Special Guest Joy Williams Tour
  • 2004: American Gospel Music Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2004: The Creed Tour (Fall – with Mark Schultz and Matthew West)
  • 2004: The Creed Tour (Spring – with Mark Schultz and Across The Sky)
  • 2005: Women of Faith Conferences
  • 2006: Women of Faith Conferences
  • 2008: Casting Crowns: Christmas Celebration Tour feat. Natalie Grant, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, Avalon, Michael English, and pureNRG
  • 2008: The We Will Stand Tour – Avalon with Michael English, Daniel Doss Band and Cadia
  • 2009: An Evening With Selah And Avalon

Honors, awards, and nominations[edit]

Grammy nominations
GMA Dove Awards
  • 1998: New Artist of the Year
  • 1998: Special Event Album of the Year (for their contribution to God With Us)
  • 1999: Inspirational Song of the Year “Adonai”
  • 1999: Long Form Music Video My Utmost For His Highest
  • 1999: Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year “Testify to Love”
  • 2004: Inspirational Song of the Year “Everything To Me”
GMA Dove Award nominations
  • 1998: New Artist of the Year
  • 1998: Special Event Album of the Year (for their contribution to God With Us)
  • 1999: Artist of the Year
  • 1999: Group of the Year
  • 1999: Inspirational Song of the Year "Adonai"
  • 1999: Long Form Music Video My Utmost For His Highest
  • 1999: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year A Maze Of Grace
  • 1999: Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year “Testify to Love”
  • 2000: Artist of the Year
  • 2000: Group of the Year
  • 2000: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year In A Different Light
  • 2000: Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year “Can’t Live a Day”
  • 2000: Song of the Year “Can’t Live a Day”
  • 2001: Group of the Year
  • 2001: Special Event Album for Child Of The Promise (featuring Michael Passons and Jody McBrayer)
  • 2001: Special Event Album for Music from and Inspired by Jesus: The Epic Mini-series ("Fly to You")
  • 2002: Group of the Year
  • 2002: Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year “The Glory”; Oxygen
  • 2002: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year Oxygen
  • 2002: Song of the year “The Glory”; Oxygen
  • 2004: Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year “Everything To Me”; Testify To Love: The Very Best of Avalon
  • 2004: Song of the Year “Everything To Me”; Testify To Love: The Very Best of Avalon
  • 2007: Children's Album of the Year for Sing Over Me (featuring Janna Long)
  • 2007: Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year "Orphans of God"; Stand
  • 2008: Special Event Album for Music Inspired by the Motion Picture Amazing Grace ("Great Is Thy Faithfulness")
Miscellaneous
  • 1998: American Songwriter Professional Songwriter Award – Artist of the Year
  • 1998: American Songwriter Professional Songwriter Award – Song of the Year “Testify To Love”
  • 1998: CRR (Christian Research Report) – No. 1 AC song of the Year “Testify To Love”
  • 1998: CRR (Christian Research Report) – Group of the Year
  • 1999: CRR (Christian Research Report) – No. 1 AC song of the Year “Reason Enough”
  • 2000: CBA’s top-selling Christmas recording for Joy
  • 2002: American Music Award – Favorite Artist, Contemporary Inspirational Music
  • 2002: CCM Reader’s Choice Award – Group Of The Year
  • 2003: CCM Reader’s Choice Award – Group of the Year
  • 2004: CCM Reader’s Choice Award – Group Of The Year

Radio singles[edit]

  • 1996: Avalon (Nikki Hassman, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Give It Up" +
    • "The Greatest Story" +
    • "Picture Perfect World" +
    • "This Love" +
  • 1997: A Maze of Grace (Nikki Hassman, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Adonai" +
    • "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" +
    • "Reason Enough" +
    • "Testify To Love" +
  • 1999: In a Different Light (Cherie Adams, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Always Have Always Will" +
    • "Can't Live A Day" +
    • "In Not Of" +
    • "Take You At Your Word" +
  • 2000: Joy: A Christmas Collection (Cherie Adams, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day"
    • "Light A Candle"
    • "We are the Reason"
    • "Jesus, Born On This Day"
  • 2001: Oxygen (Cherie Adams, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Come And Fill My Heart" +
    • "The Glory" +
    • "I Don't Want To Go" +
    • "Make It Last Forever" +
    • "Undeniably You" +
    • "Wonder Why" +
  • 2002: O2: Avalon Remixed
    • "Undeniably You (Jeff Savage Mix)"
  • 2003: Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon (Melissa Greene, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, Michael Passons)
    • "Everything To Me" +
    • "New Day" +
  • 2004: The Creed (Melissa Greene, Greg Long, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer)
    • "All"
    • "I Wanna Be With You"
    • "You Were There"
  • 2006: Stand (Melissa Greene, Greg Long, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer)
    • "Love Won't Leave You"
    • "Orphans of God"
    • "Somehow You Are"
  • 2006: Faith: A Hymns Collection (Melissa Greene, Greg Long, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer)
    • "In Christ Alone"
  • 2008: Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics (Melissa Greene, Greg Long, Janna Long, Jody McBrayer)
    • "God is in Control"
    • "Another Time, Another Place"
    • "We Will Stand"
  • 2009: Avalon: The Greatest Hits (Melissa Greene, Greg Long, Janna Long, Jeremi Richardson)
    • "Still My God" +
  • 2009: Reborn (Greg Long, Janna Long, Amy Richardson, Jeremi Richardson)
    • "Arise" +
    • "Alive"
  • Other radio success:

+ Denotes No. 1 Radio Hit

References[edit]

External links[edit]