In the Spotlight

After thinking all day of what to post for today, I wanted something that as usual invites folks to post whatever they want, but wanted something interesting too.  So, I think I’ve got it…

We all love music here, and everyone posts something different, often times either something not all of us have heard before, or by a different artist than we’re used to.  So, finding the history behind the hymn “Just as I Am” I posted in yesterday’s thread I thought it would be good to learn the stories behind some of the bands or songs we post here, and give folks a chance to search for a good song they like by the band in the spotlight.

This first band I can’t help posting something of theirs on a regular basis because like many of the recent Christian bands I really like, I love so many of their songs, especially for the lyrics.  SufferforTribe introduced me to a few of the bands I really like, and this group have been a major favorite of mine since the first time he posted one of their songs.

David Frey (lead singer), Ben McDonald (rhythm guitar), Cal Joslin (bass) and Justin Nace (drums) are the Sidewalk Prophets. Interestingly enough, Cal and Justin were brought into the group by an ad placed by David on Craigslist 😀

David and Ben began by leading worship at their alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana. And like us at the Heartbeat, they had a desire to encourage fellow believers on how to integrate worship with real life.  They played independently at small venues for several years, and often times they lived pretty meagerly, doing whatever they could to make it. They finally signed a record deal and headed to Nashville.  In 2010 the popularity of their first Word Records release, These Simple Truths, saw the group win a Dove Award for Best New Artist and a nomination for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year.  In 2012, they were named “2011 Group of the Year”.

According to David, the name Sidewalk Prophets came about by rethinking the original name for the group, which had been 4 floorz II Heaven. One night as he was listening to “Art in Me” by Jars of Clay and the lyrics “Images on the sidewalk speak of dream’s descent” which made him think of a man walking down the sidewalk, “wondering what he wanted from life, and right there on the sidewalk, God had put this beautiful image. He didn’t see it because he wasn’t truly listening to what God wanted for him. So that’s where the “sidewalk” comes from.

“Prophet” came from a word of the day which  Ben liked to learn.  It meant “someone that tells the truth about life.” Like chocolate and peanut butter, the word fit just right with the rest of the sidewalk analogy and it stuck.

Music that has inspired David from a young age as well as the rest of the band includes everything from Rock (Led Zepplin, Michael Jackson, the Beatles and the Eagles) and Christian bands (Jars of Clay, Newsboys and Third Day).

David’s testimony:

I grew up in the church. I think I was about 4 years old when I was baptized. I did understand what I was doing and the undertaking that I loved God and that He was real and He was returning for me. I believed in the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. So, from the beginning, I’d been born into that.

But traveling down the road, it was really my Jr. year of high school when Jesus really showed up vividly in my life. My parents actually divorced and it was a hard day, a hard night. The next day I went to school and I didn’t know why. I didn’t even know why I was there. A girl came up to me and she said, “Why are you here? When my parents divorced, I was at home crying for days and days. What is it that you have that I don’t?” 

That’s when it struck me that the thing that I had that she didn’t was the love of God and hope. It kinda struck me that that is the reason we live and the reason we breath and get up in the morning and go to school is so that we can hopefully show this hope to someone. So, I got to invite her to church. It was a great thing! From this ugly, ugly thing, something as ugly as divorce, a great thing occurred. It didn’t make the divorce easy, but it at least gave me a little bit of hope in the darkness. I think that was really the day I decided to dedicate [my life] to Him. I went to church camps and met some great friends that were in the church. 

I encourage anybody out there that’s just struggling, just go to a church and try to get involved in a group; a youth group, a college group, a teen group, whatever it is that they have. Just reach out and God will reach back.

What a great bunch of guys who love the Lord and whose music has inspired so many.  God bless them with many more songs!


David wrote this as a letter to his Grandfather who was dying. He made it home and was able to read it to him before he passed away,

My favorite for a few reasons,

Have a blessed day all!


*Interview quotes and material for this post came from here and here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *