Leeland (band)

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Leeland in 2007 L-R: Leeland Mooring, Mike Smith, Jack Mooring, Jake Holtz
Background information
OriginBaytown, Texas, United States
GenresChristian rock, CCM, progressive rock[1][2]
Years active2000–present[3]
LabelsEssential, Provident Label Group, Sony BMG, Reunion Bethel Music
Associated actsBethel Music
MembersLeeland Mooring
Casey Moore
Past membersJake Holtz
Jeremiah Wood
Matt Campbell
Austin Tirado
Jack Mooring
Mike Smith
Shelly Roberts

Leeland is a Christian rock band from Baytown, Texas. The band was formed in 2004, although lead singer Leeland Mooring had been writing songs beforehand. Leeland is composed of Leeland Mooring (lead vocals, guitar), and Casey Moore (guitar, background vocals). The band's original line-up included Jeremiah Wood (guitar), who left the band in late 2006 and was replaced by guitarist Matt Campbell in late spring of 2007, Jack Mooring (piano), Mike Smith (drums) and Jake Holtz (bass).

Leeland has released five studio albums, the latest in July 2016. The band received a Grammy Award nomination and two Dove Award nominations for their debut album Sound of Melodies (2006).[4][5] The band's third album, Love Is on the Move, was released on August 25, 2009.

Leeland's fourth studio album, The Great Awakening, was released on September 20, 2011, and received a nomination to the 54th Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.[6]

After a five-year hiatus, Leeland released their fifth studio album in July 2016, Invisible, via the label, Bethel Music.

Band history[edit]

Formation and initial years[edit]

Lead singer Leeland Mooring wrote his first song, "Shine," at the age of 11.[7] After giving a successful performance of the song at a church in Illinois, the Mooring family began touring the United States.[8] When he was 14, Mooring entered into Embassy Music's Ultimate Talent Search contest in Nashville, Tennessee, becoming a finalist in the songwriting and artist divisions.[3] Although he did not win the competition, one of the contest's judges, Kent Coley, took interest in the young teen.[3] A year later, Eddie DeGarmo, president of EMI CMG Publishing, also expressed interest in Mooring, and the two signed a songwriting contract on EMI/Capitol Music Group.[3] Less than a year later, Leeland Mooring, his older brother Jack Mooring, their cousin Jake Holtz, and friends Jeremiah Wood and Mike Smith, whom the Moorings had known for several years,[9] officially signed as a band onto Essential Records, a subsidiary of Sony BMG's Provident Label Group.[10] The five members began practicing at night after youth group in their church's building, which doubled as a funeral home.[3][11] Leeland Mooring's first name was used as the band's name because the members said that "it sounded cool".[12]

Drummer Mike Smith in 2007

Leeland began recording for their debut release, Sound of Melodies, in 2005, with Matt Bronleewe, Marc Byrd, and Steve Hindalong producing the album. It was released in the United States on August 15, 2006. At the 49th Grammy Awards on December 7, 2006, the album was nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.[13] In 2007 the band received five GMA Dove Award nominations, including "New Artist of the Year"[14] and two nominations for their debut album Sound of Melodies.[5] The album was also released in Japan on March 21, 2007, with the title song, "Sound of Melodies," peaking at No. 6 on the general Japan radio chart.[15]

The band has worked closely with Christian music legend Michael W. Smith, who remarked, "Leeland is the best thing I have heard in a long, long time".[16] Leeland Mooring co-wrote six songs on Smith's album Stand, and wrote one song by himself.[17] Jack Mooring married Smith's daughter Whitney Smith-Mooring on June 1, 2007.[18]

After four years as a member of Leeland, Jeremiah Wood left the band in October 2006 to pursue other endeavors.[19] Austin Tirado was hired as a temporary guitar player until February 2007. In February, Matt Campbell was hired as a temporary guitarist; he was added as an official band member after three months.

Leeland's second studio album, Opposite Way, was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.[20] In November 2007, the band announced that the album would release on February 26, 2008.[20] Lead singer Leeland Mooring commented, "[Opposite Way] is primarily a call to our generation to passionately walk the 'opposite way' from the world, that it's OK to live the Christian life and to be on fire for God, even if it makes us look different."[21][22] In its debut week of release, Opposite Way peaked at No. 72 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart,[23][24] and also reached No. 1 on the iTunes Christian Albums chart.[25] Starting in September 2007, Leeland began touring with Grammy Award-winning band Casting Crowns on their The Altar and the Door tour. The tour continued until May 1, 2008,[26] and was named the "highest-grossing Christian tour of the year" touring through 83 cities.[27]

The band's song "Tears of the Saints" from their debut album received two Dove Award nominations in 2008.[28] Lead singer Leeland Mooring was nominated for "Songwriter of the Year" and co-writer of the song "Be Lifted High" with Michael W. Smith.[28] Their song "Brighter Days," from the Opposite Way album, was featured in the June 22, 2008, episode of the television show Army Wives.[29] The show's music supervisor, Frankie Pine, commented, "We thought the use of 'Brighter Days' in this episode of Army Wives was moving, and was the perfect fit for what we were looking for".[29] The song was also featured on the soundtrack of Fireproof, a film featuring actor Kirk Cameron.

In December 2008, the band's Opposite Way album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.[30]

Leeland's third studio album, titled Love Is on the Move, was released on August 25, 2009, in the United States.[31] The album's lead single "Follow You", which includes vocals from singer-songwriter Brandon Heath, was released to Christian radio on August 7.[32] In September, the band launched their "Follow You" Tour, co-headlining with Brandon Heath and featuring Francesca Battistelli as an opening act.[32][33]

Changes in membership and label[edit]

In early 2011, only a few months before the release of their fourth studio album, bassist Jake Holtz left the band to pursue a career with the US Army.[34]

Leeland's fourth studio album, The Great Awakening, was released on September 20, 2011.[citation needed]

In September 2015, Leeland announced via YouTube that they would be joining Bethel Music as part of the Bethel Music Collective,[35][36] after Leeland Mooring and Casey Moore established an organic friendship with Bethel's founding member, Brian Johnson.[37]

Leeland's fifth full-length studio album, Invisible, was released on July 22, 2016.[38] It is the first album the band has released under the Bethel label, with Brian Johnson featuring on the song "Son Was Lifted Up".[37]

Musical style[edit]

Leeland's musical style has been defined as "alternative CCM"[39] and "progressive rock".[16] The band's songs have been defined as "melodic" with "Brit pop/rock" influences,[40][41] being compared to Coldplay, Keane, Travis and U2.[40][41]

Their first album, Sound of Melodies, has been described as "sometimes worshipful, always melodic".[41] Leeland's style moved in a more rock direction with their second album Opposite Way. Allmusic reviewer Jared Johnson noted that the band "cemented their sound by creating electrifying walls of guitar" with their second release, having the same "energetic and melodic" sound as their first album.[42] Of their third album Love Is on the Move, Christian youth magazine StreetBrand said the album shows "just how much they have matured musically as a group, creatively as songwriters and spiritually as a band with a penchant for God-pleasing worship."[43]

Band members[edit]

Touring musicians

  • Josias Badillo - bass guitar
  • Payden Hilliard - drums
  • David Ramirez - keys

Former members

  • Jake Holtz – bass (2004–2011)
  • Matt Campbell - guitar (2007–2009)
  • Austin Tirado - guitar (2006–2007)
  • Jeremiah Wood – guitar (2002–2006)
  • Jack Anthony Mooring – backing vocals, keyboard (2004-2015)
  • Shelly Roberts – bass (2011-2015)
  • Mike Smith – drums (2004-2015)
  • Jon Finney - backing vocals, guitar (2014-2015)


Grammy Award nominations
GMA Dove Award nominations
  • 2007: New Artist of the Year
  • 2007: Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year – "Sound of Melodies"
  • 2007: Worship Song of the Year – "Yes You Have"
  • 2007: Praise & Worship Album of the Year – Sound of Melodies
  • 2007: Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year – Sound of Melodies
  • 2008: Song of the Year – "Tears of the Saints"
  • 2008: Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year – "Tears of the Saints"
  • 2009: Praise & Worship Album of the Year – Opposite Way


Leeland discography
Studio albums5
Music videos2

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label(s) Chart positions
US Billboard 200 US Heatseekers US Top Independent Albums Top Christian albums NZ Album Charts
2006 Sound of Melodies Essential 2 14
2008 Opposite Way Essential 72[23] 9 4
2009 Love Is on the Move Reunion 84 5 21
2011 The Great Awakening Essential 164 11
2016 Invisible Bethel 200 5

Other albums[edit]

  • 2006: Sound of Melodies – five-song 12-inch limited edition vinyl – (Essential Records)
  • 2010: Majesty: The Worship EP – three-song EP – (Essential Records)
  • 2014: Leeland Live: Christ Be All Around Me – live album – (Awaken Nation Music)


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
2006 "Sound of Melodies" Sound of Melodies
"Tears of the Saints"
"Yes You Have"
2007 "Reaching"
"Count Me In" No. 10 on CHR Radio (March 5, 2008)[23] Opposite Way
2008 "Opposite Way"
2009 "Follow You" No. 7 Billboard Hot Christian Songs Love Is on the Move
2010 "New Creation"
2011 "The Great Awakening" The Great Awakening
"I Wonder"

Music videos[edit]

Compilation appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Progressive Progress: Texas prog rock band Leeland set to release album". Cross Rhythms. May 20, 2006. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "Leeland". Your Music Zone. Archived from the original on April 9, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Leeland - Biography". CCM Magazine.com. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Leeland Ready for Grammys, Visit Canada". Soul Shine Magazine. February 9, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  5. ^ a b 38th Annual GMA Dove Awards Album of the Year Nominees & Winners Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, About.com: Christian Music
  6. ^ "58th Annual GRAMMY Awards Winners & Nominees". Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Whitfield, Lindsay (July 19, 2006). "A Sound of Melodies Rises Up". Soul Shine Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  8. ^ "Featured Worship Leader". www.worshiptogether.com. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  9. ^ "Leeland - Music". Christian Music Today. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  10. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (March 2, 2008). "Touring fuels songwriting for Christian band Leeland". Reuters. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  11. ^ "Leeland Biography". 1 Cubed. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  12. ^ Breimeier, Russ (August 21, 2006). "Leeland, 08/06 - Interview". Christian Music Today. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  13. ^ "Leeland Receives Grammy Nomination for Sounds of Melodies". CMSpin. December 8, 2007. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  14. ^ Jones, Kim. "38th Annual GMA Awards Nominations & Winners". About.com. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  15. ^ "Leeland's Debut Album Drops in Japan". BREATHECast.com. March 30, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  16. ^ a b "Biography". Artist Direct. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  17. ^ Swartzendruber, Jay. "Michael W. Smith and Leeland Mooring: Eye 2 Eye". CCM Magazine. Crosswalk.com. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  18. ^ Farias, Andree (July 9, 2007). "The Scoop". Christian Music Today. Retrieved April 13, 2008.
  19. ^ "Leeland Guitarist Departs". Soul Shine Magazine. December 5, 2006. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  20. ^ a b "Leeland Announce New Album Details". Soul Shine Magazine. November 20, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  21. ^ "Leeland : Opposite Way CD". IndependentBands.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  22. ^ "Opposite Way - LEELAND". BREATHEcast.com. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  23. ^ a b c "Leeland's Opposite Way Going in the Right Direction". CCM Magazine. March 5, 2008. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  24. ^ "Opposite Way". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  25. ^ "Leeland's Opposite Way Reaches No. 1 at iTunes Christian Albums Sales Chart During Street Week". CCM Magazine. February 29, 2008. Archived from the original on March 6, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  26. ^ "Leeland Shoots Music Video for "Count Me In"". Provident Label Group. Jesus Freak Hideout. January 7, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  27. ^ "Casting Crowns' The Altar and the Door Tour Named Highest-Grossing Christian Tour of the Year". CCM Magazine. May 8, 2008. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Dove Awards 2008". DoveAwards.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  29. ^ a b "Internet Exclusives: Leeland's Brighter Days used on Lifetime Network". HM Magazine. June 29, 2008. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  30. ^ Kim Jones. "2009 GRAMMY Awards". About.com. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  31. ^ "Leeland Discography". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
  32. ^ a b "Christian pop crew Leeland links up with Nashville's Brandon Heath for album, tour". The Tennessean. July 21, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2009.[dead link]
  33. ^ [1][dead link]
  34. ^ "Jake Holtz Departs Leeland". February 17, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  35. ^ "Meet Leeland". Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  36. ^ Herb Longs. "Leeland Joins Bethel Music Collective". Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  37. ^ a b Williams, Lindsay (July 31, 2016). "Leeland – Inside Invisible – CCM Magazine". CCM Magazine. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  38. ^ . Provident Distribution https://thep.com/Project.aspx?ProductID=4306297991. Retrieved July 11, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ Monger, James. "Leeland > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  40. ^ a b Breimeier, Russ. "Leeland - Opposite Way". Christian Music Today. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  41. ^ a b c Breimeier, Russ. "Leeland - Sound of Melodies". Christian Music Today. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  42. ^ Johnson, Jared. "Opposite Way > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
  43. ^ StreetBrand. "Love Is on the Move > Review". StreetBrand. Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2009.

External links[edit]