More than boy band, pop group brings positive lyrics to area

Melissa Dunson

Upcoming boy band, Jericho Road, discovered the positive power of music.

Four young men from various areas of the country just happened to converge on the unsuspecting Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Friendships formed and the musical talent fostered there resulted in the formation of the band Jericho Road in August 2001 and, subsequently, an upcoming concert for the world-traveled artists at Joplin High School.

Jericho Road consists of Abe Mills, 31, St. Louis; Dave Kimball, 26, Salt Lake City; Bret Bryce, 27, Knoxville, Tenn.; and Justin Smith, 27, Parma, Idaho. All of the members play various musical instruments, but for concerts, they focus on harmonizing and upbeat dance moves.

“Dancing is a really important part of our show,” Kimball said. “All throughout time, dancing has been a way for people to express themselves.”

The hip-hop style dance moves has resulted in them being compared with popular boy band icon *NSYNC. The band uses a portion of each concert to parody various famous boy bands throughout history.

Musically the band resembles the harmonious sounds of BoyzIIMen.

“BoyzIIMen was a big role model for us,” Kimball said. “We all listened to them when we were younger, and we even cover one of their songs during the show.”

The band members think that unlike some other current pop artists, their concerts carry more musical meaning.

“You can dance at a club and our concert, but you take something away from our concert that lasts a lot longer than any club,” Kimball said.

Mills described the band’s message as “faith-centered music” and “faith with a message.” The members define themselves as a contemporary Christian band and hope their music promotes a positive lifestyle.

“We want to give people an alternative to the negative influence of some of the music out there,” Smith said. “Our music is so much more meaningful.”

One of the motivations of their message was to unite families through their music.

“A lot of times, parents don’t want to go to concerts with their kids,” Kimball said. “But they can both (parents and children) come and have fun. It doesn’t seem funny for a whole family to show up to one of our concerts. People always come and have a great time and leave with a positive message.”

Overall, the band believes it can powerfully influence someone through its music.

“If you dwell on good morals, it will give you a lot more substance as a person,” Smith said.

Jericho Road’s positive message has paid off. Their self-titled release sold more than 10,000 albums in the first week. The band just released a fourth album, a new five-song EP titled Deeper Still. The group’s most popular song, “Finding My Way Back To You,” made it into the top five most requested songs on St. Louis radio station KXEN. Other honors bestowed on the band include a Listener’s Choice Award for Album of the Year (True North) and Group Artist of the Year in 2003.

Well-known Christian songwriters like Scott Kripayne and Steve Siler have contributed to the band’s works while Jericho Road returns the favor to the music industry by writing songs for artists like Point of Grace and True Vibe.

For information on the band, check out the Web site at www.jerichoroadmusic.com.

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 13 at Joplin High School.

Tickets range in price from $5 to $12 and family rates are available for $25. To reserve seating, call 888-624-9386 or 800-466-6513.