Jaci Velasquez

https://www.jacivelasquez.com

Jaci Velasquez grew up in an evangelical church where her parents were singers, evangelists and pastors. Jaci has been singing since she was nine years old, and has been singing professionally for nearly 17 years. Contemporary Christian audiences are most familiar with her hit songs, “On My Knees” (A Dove award winning “Song of the Year”) as well as “God So Loved” and “You’re My God.” Jaci has sold over four million albums, garnered three RIAA certified Platinum recordings, three RIAA certified Gold recordings, sixteen #1 radio hits, and has graced more than 50 magazine covers. Her resume includes ad campaigns for Pepsi, Doritos, Target, Frizz-Ease, and Helzberg Diamonds.

Jaci’s latest CD is called Diamond and last year she appeared in two faith based films – The Encounter & Jerusalem Countdown. This year look for Jaci in a new film Rumors of Wars with Jaime Grace and Mac Powell from Third Day. Jaci is also working on a new devotional and writing a new book, Coffee and Concealer.

Jaci is married to Nic Gonzales, lead singer of the Christian group Salvador. Jaci and Nic were blessed with their son Zealand in 2007 and second son Soren in 2009.

Salvador

http://www.salvadorlive.com

Over the course of an acclaimed career spanning more than a dozen years, Salvador has embraced a veritable rainbow of musical styles, from the Tex-­‐Mex and Latin sounds of the band’s Austin, Texas birthplace, to hip-­‐hop, pop, jam band rhythms, rock and much more. But it took their first album in more than four years, Make Some Noise, to turn Salvador into something they hadn’t been since their earliest days: a garage band.

Yet if “Make Some Noise” blazes a new trail for this seven-­‐piece band, it’s delivered them back to where the journey began. In energy and enthusiasm, joy and abandon, infectious groove and inviting love, the new album traces a laser-­‐straight line to the band’s first full-­‐length, self-­‐titled release in 2000. Long before their Billboard Latin Music Award nominations or their Dove Award for Spanish Language Album of the Year, “Salvador” put the band on the map with festive, breathtaking songs such as “Lord, I Come Before You.” The album marks a full-­‐circle moment for a band that has toured with Third Day, worked with producer Chris Rodriguez, and performed at Dr. Billy Graham’s final New York City crusade in 2005.

Ricky Skaggs

https://www.rickyskaggs.com

–A life full of music.  That’s the story of Ricky Skaggs.  By age 21, he was already considered a “recognized master” of one of America’s most demanding art forms, but his career took him in other directions, catapulting him to popularity and success in the mainstream of country music.  His life’s path has taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass music, to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact.

Ricky struck his first chords on a mandolin over 50 years ago, and this 14-time Grammy Award winner continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music.  With 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated classics behind him, all from his own Skaggs Family Records label (Bluegrass Rules! in 1998, Ancient Tonesin 1999, History of the Future in 2001, Soldier of the CrossLive at the Charleston Music Hall, and Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe in 2003, Brand New Strings in 2005, Instrumentals in 2007, Salt of the Earth with The Whites in 2008, Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947 in 2009 andRicky Skaggs Solo: Songs My Dad Loved along with Mosaic in 2010), the diverse and masterful tones made by the gifted Skaggs come from a life dedicated to playing music that is both fed by the soul and felt by the heart.
Ricky was born on July 18, 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky, and received his first mandolin at the age of five after his father, Hobert, heard him harmonizing with his mother from across the house as he played with his toys.  Two weeks after teaching him the G, C and D chords, Hobert returned from working out of town shocked to see his young son making chord changes and singing along. He soon earned a reputation among the locals in his community.  When the legendary Bill Monroe came to Martha, Kentucky for a performance, the crowd wouldn’t let up until “Little Ricky Skaggs” got up to play.  The father of bluegrass called six-year-old Skaggs up and placed his own mandolin around his neck, adjusting the strap to fit his small frame.  No one could have imagined what a defining moment that would be in the life of the young prodigy.  By age seven, Skaggs performed with bluegrass legends Flatt & Scruggs on their popular syndicated television show, for which he earned his first paycheck for a musical performance.
In 1971, he entered the world of professional music with his friend, the late country singer, Keith Whitley, when the two young musicians were invited to join the band of bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley.  Ricky soon began to build a reputation for creativity and excitement through live appearances and recordings with acts such as J. D. Crowe & the New South.  He performed on the band’s 1975 debut album for Rounder Records, which is widely regarded as one of the most influential bluegrass albums ever made.  A stint as a bandleader with Boone Creek followed, bringing the challenges of leadership while giving him further recording and performing experience.
In the late 1970s, Ricky turned his attention to country music.  Though still in his 20s, the wealth of experience and talent he possessed served him well, first as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band and later as an individual recording artist on his own.  With the release of Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine in 1981, Skaggs reached the top of the country charts and remained there throughout most of the 1980s, resulting in a total of 12 #1 hits.  In 1982, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the youngest to ever be inducted at that time.  As his popularity soared, he garnered eight awards from the Country Music Association (CMA), including “Entertainer of the Year” in 1985, four Grammy Awards, and dozens of other honors.  These achievements also placed him front and center in the neo-traditionalist movement, bringing renewed vitality and prominence to a sound that had been somewhat subdued by the commercialization of the ‘Urban Cowboy’ fad.  Renowned guitarist and producer, Chet Atkins, credited Skaggs with “single-handedly” saving country music.

In 1997, after Ricky’s then-current recording contract was coming to an end, he decided to establish his own record label – Skaggs Family Records.  Since then, Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder have released an amazing 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated classics, (8 of which went on to earn the revered award) while also opening the label to a variety of other musical artists, all the time keeping emphasis on bluegrass and other forms of roots music.  Ricky and Skaggs Family Records have had the privilege of working with many musical talents including The Del McCoury Band, Jerry and Tammy Sullivan, Blue Highway, The Whites, Mountain Heart, Melonie Cannon, Ryan Holladay, Keith Sewell, Cherryholmes, and Cadillac Sky.

Ricky’s first release for Skaggs Family Records, Bluegrass Rules!, set a new standard for bluegrass, breaking new sales records in the genre, winning Skaggs his sixth Grammy Award, and earning the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Album of the Year Award.  In 1999, his second all-bluegrass album, Ancient Tones, won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album – his second consecutive Grammy in that same category.  Just one year later, Ricky won his eighth Grammy Award in the Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album category for Soldier of the Cross, his first all-gospel recording project.
Ricky made further progress with the release of his fourth bluegrass album in 2000, Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe, a project which featured an all-star cast of musicians ranging from Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt to Joan Osborne, John Fogerty and Bruce Hornsby, and celebrated the music and the life of Ricky’s mentor, Bill Monroe.  Big Mon received much critical acclaim, including a Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.  The album was re-released by Lyric Street Records in 2002 under a new name, Ricky Skaggs and Friends Sing the Songs of Bill Monroe.  His fifth bluegrass album,History of the Future (2001), a timeless collection of both traditional bluegrass standards and newly conceived acoustic gems received rave reviews and industry accolades, including a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album and an IBMA nomination for Album of the Year, once again placing Skaggs among the leading innovators in the genre.

Skaggs’ first all-live album with Kentucky Thunder, Live at the Charleston Music Hall (2003), led to an IBMA Award for Instrumental Group of the Year – an award Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder has taken home 8 times in the last decade.  The decision to record a live album was an obvious one for Skaggs.  From a string of high-profile tour dates with the Dixie Chicks in 2000, to his position as host of the unprecedented “All*Star Bluegrass Celebration” which aired nationwide on PBS in 2002, to his participation in the wildly successful 41-city ‘Down from the Mountain’ tour – Ricky has become one of bluegrass’ most dynamic and sought-after live performers.

He counts the current configuration of Kentucky Thunder among the best group of musicians he has ever worked with.  “This group of guys meets my approval every night,” Ricky says.  “Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show…and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win.”  The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Cody Kilby (lead guitar), Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Eddie Faris (baritone vocals, rhythm guitar) and Scott Mulvahill (bass, bass vocals).  Live at the Charleston Music Hall was honored in 2004 with a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group for the Harley Allen-penned track, “A Simple Life.”
In 2005, Ricky earned his 10th career Grammy (Best Bluegrass Album) for Brand New Strings – a beautiful collection of music featuring four Skaggs originals as well as several tunes by some of his most admired contemporaries, including Harley Allen, Guy Clark, and Shawn Camp.  In 2006, Skaggs was honored with a Grammy Award – this time in the Best Musical Album for Children category – for his contribution to Songs from the Neighborhood: the Music of Mister Rogers.  Greater success followed with the release of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder Instrumentals, an album of all-original, all-instrumental material in Fall 2006.  Praised by fans and critics alike as a landmark album for Skaggs, Instrumentalsdebuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s bluegrass album chart and earned Ricky his 12thcareer Grammy Award (Best Bluegrass Album).
Cross pollination has been a mainstay throughout Ricky’s career, from his weekly collaborations with various artists as host of The Nashville Network’s Monday Night Concerts in the 1990’s to his recent pairings with Bruce Hornsby and The Whites.  Released in March of 2007, Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby(Sony/Legacy) drew from the deep roots in mountain music – adding piano and Hornsby’s inimitable songwriting to the core bluegrass lineup of mandolin, guitar, bass, fiddle, and banjo.  A major CMT Crossroads special coincided with the album’s release.
His next recorded project, released in September of 2007 on Skaggs Family Records, was a literal family affair.  After years of blending their voices from the living room to the stage, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites teamed up for their first collaborative gospel album, Salt of the Earth, which resulted in a 13th career Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album, followed by a Gospel Music Association Dove Award for Bluegrass Recorded Album of the Year and Inspirational Country Music Awards for Musician of the Year as well as Mainstream Country Artist of the Year and Inspirational Bluegrass Artist of the Year (with The Whites).
In 2008, Skaggs paid tribute to the man he has often referred to as his “musical father”, Bill Monroe, and the original lineup of the Bluegrass Boys (Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise and Howard Watts) with the release of Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947, earning a 14th career Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
A musical father in his own right, Skaggs continues on the full circle path with the addition of a ReIssue Series of his groundbreaking country music masterworks to the Skaggs Family Records catalog in 2009.  Beginning with 1982’s Highways & Heartaches, and followed by 1981’s Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine and 1983’s Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown, the ReIssue Series will include nine albums total and includes bonus retrospectives with each release, which feature Ricky, in his own words, sharing never-before-told stories about the making of each project.
Skaggs’ first-ever solo album, Ricky Skaggs Solo: Songs My Dad Loved (2009), celebrated the man that caused him to fall in love with music – his father, Hobert Skaggs.  He elaborates, “If I could’ve gotten my dad into the studio, this is how I would’ve wanted him to sound.”  Playing every instrument and singing every note on the album, Ricky brought raw, emotional honesty to the songs.  By coming home to the music that meant so much to him as a child, Ricky tapped into a wellspring of passion that he channeled into every tune, as though he willed himself back to his family’s house in Kentucky.  Solo was honored in the American roots field with a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2010.
Ricky Skaggs’ album, Mosaic (2010), marked a return to a full band sound that mixed elements of Country music with Beatles-esque melody and lyrics that spoke to Skaggs’ faith, making “music that is in my head and in my heart,” as Ricky said.  Grammy winning songwriter/producer Gordon Kennedy, who co-wrote Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,” was instrumental as co-producer and writer.  This most special album hooks the heart, as the sounds invite you in to take notice and come closer.  They have blended their talents and love of music with their love for the Lord to create this distinctive collaboration of writing and talent, unparalleled in strength of genius.  The song, “Return to Sender” from Mosaic was nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Song, and the album was a contender for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards, receiving major critical acclaim.
Marking Ricky’s 50th year in music was the release of Country Hits Bluegrass Style(2011), a compilation of many of Skaggs’ #1 country hits and fan favorites, played in a bluegrass style.  Combining his country and bluegrass roots along with Ricky’s impeccable tenor voice, his eight time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year, Kentucky Thunder, and some of Ricky’s original award-winning country band alumni together with special friends added to the magic of this album.

Long awaited by country and bluegrass music fans alike, Music To My Ears (2012) includes fresh new bluegrass tunes co-written by Skaggs along with a brand new instrumental.  Many bluegrass standards are incorporated and add to its charm.  The album features a duet with Ricky Skaggs and Barry Gibb (of Bee Gees fame) on deeply moving “Soldier’s Son,” along with new bluegrass treasure “You Can’t Hurt Ham,” inspired by a true story of Mr. Bill Monroe.

In 2013, music legends Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby have come together again for a live album, titled Cluck Ol’ Hen.   Bluegrass treasures and lively expanded hits wait to be discovered on this fresh collection of songs from the masterful duo of Skaggs and Hornsby.  These live songs were originally recorded when the two music icons first hit the tour circuit together.  Hornsby’s spirited piano brings a new dimension to these songs, with electrifying solos and improvisation thrown in the mix of Skaggs, Hornsby and Skaggs’ band, Kentucky Thunder.
Ricky Skaggs has often said that he is “just trying to make a living” playing the music he loves.  But it’s clear that his passion for it puts him in the position to bring his lively, distinctively American form of music out of isolation and into the ears and hearts of audiences across the country and around the world.  Ricky Skaggs is always forging ahead with cross-cultural, genre-bending musical ideas and inspirations.

Mark Lowry

https://marklowry.com

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Mark Lowry is known and loved around the world as a trusted voice in the realm of gospel music and beyond. He started making music at age 11 and now, more than four decades later, his legacy is forever sealed as an innately entertaining communicator who can, at once, make audiences laugh, cry, and think.
Mark is a singer, storyteller, humorist, author and songwriter, whose lyric to “Mary Did You Know?” resulted in one of the most loved modern Christmas songs of this century. This captivating song, which he co-wrote with Buddy Greene, has been recorded more than 400 times by artists from every genre including: Reba McEntire, Cee Lo Green, Clay Aiken, Michael English, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, The Gaither Vocal Band, and a long list of others.
Mark has spent more than 20 collective years as the baritone singer for the Grammy-award-winning Gaither Vocal Band and serves as the sidesplitting comedic sidekick for Bill Gaither through live concert tours and the best-selling Gaither Homecoming video series and television airings (now more than 150 volumes strong).
A deep thinker and student of theology with an outrageous sense of humor (for which he often credits his diagnosis with Attention Deficit Disorder), Mark’s life work includes a long list of recordings and DVDs reflecting a wide range of influences, including: Mark Lowry On Broadway, Mark Lowry Goes To Hollywood, Life Gets Loud, I Love To Tell the Story (his first all-hymns recording), Unplugged and Unplanned, Whatcha Need, Unforgettable Classics, How We Love, and most recently … DOGS GO TO HEAVEN.
In spite of the broad range of musical inspiration found in Mark’s discography, there is one element that never changes: his gift for communicating profound truths through music and storytelling that keeps audiences of all ages on the edge of their seats. Mark maintains a full schedule of solo concerts with special friends such as Stan Whitmire, The Martins, and Cana’s Voice as well as a few Gaither Homecoming tour dates across North America.

Russ Taff

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Russ Taff was born the fourth of five sons to a fire-breathing Pentecostal preacher father and a gospel music-loving mother. He learned early on that when he sang, people responded. Some of his earliest memories are of being balanced on the church altar by his mother’s strong arms while he belted out a gospel chorus to the rollicking encouragement of the tiny congregation. His trademark rich, emotion-drenched vocals were formed in that fertile environment.

His mother’s extensive collection of gospel records was the only form of entertainment their strict upbringing allowed, so after school Russ would rush home to listen to his favorites. Lying on the floor between two old stereo speakers, the plaintive, powerful sounds of artists like Mahalia Jackson and the Five Blind Boys From Alabama literally filled his head with music. “It really spoke to me,” Taff says. “I would close my eyes and just float away with those voices.” A natural harmony singer, Russ often teamed with his brothers to perform songs by the great quartets of the day—The Statesmen, The Gospel Echoes, and The Blackwood Brothers. “Those guys were like the Beatles or Elvis to me,” Russ laughs.

When Taff moved to Arkansas in his teens, he began listening to popular music for the first time in his life, and found inspiration there, too. Contemporary Christian music was gaining prominence and the traditional lines between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ were starting to blur. Russ formed a local band called Sounds of Joy, and began writing songs that combined the spiritual truths of his childhood with the music of his generation.

Two years after his band served as an opening act for the legendary Imperials, Taff was invited to join them as lead vocalist. “I was so green,” he remembers fondly. “But Joe Moscheo and the Imperials handed me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I was thrilled to be able to do what I loved to do and have it count as a real job!” With the Imperials he toured extensively and gained recognition as ‘the voice’ behind the award-winning songs such as “Praise the Lord,” “Trumpet of Jesus” and “I’m Forgiven.” These pivotal recordings successfully completed the group’s transition from traditional to contemporary Christian.

Eager to experience and explore all aspects of music, Taff left the Imperials after four and a half years to pursue a solo career. He captured the imagination of the industry by successfully releasing a series of innovative works that delved into his musical heritage while pushing the boundaries of contemporary Christian music. Taff’s lyrics, often co-written with his wife Tori, chronicled his personal spiritual path. Soaring, aching, raucous or tender, the songs Russ chose to wrap his one-of-a-kind voice around were unflinchingly honest.

Artistically, Taff was always authentic but never predictable. His eclectic taste was reflected in his recordings and live concerts, as he drew from all genres– rock, pop, blues, Southern gospel, Black gospel, country, even big band. “I guess I’m just not a right-down-the-middle kind of guy,” he cheerfully admits. “I’ve been influenced by so many styles that I try to never place restrictions on myself. If it moves me, I figure it will probably move other people too.”

In 1991, Russ was invited by his long-time friend Bill Gaither to be part of one of the fledgling Homecoming videos, which honored and celebrated the Southern gospel part of Taff’s musical roots. He eventually became a regular artist on the Homecoming Tour, and in a surprise move, joined the famed Gaither Vocal Band as a baritone in 2001. He was a member of the group for almost three years, and the two projects recorded during his tenure earned unprecedented back-to-back Grammy nominations. Early in 2004, Russ decided to step down from the Vocal Band and return to his solo artist status. A perennial favorite, he is still featured in Gaither videos and makes frequent guest appearances on the Homecoming tour.  His solo concerts literally take him all over the world—his latest CD, the multiple Dove Award-nominated “Faroe Islands” project was actually recorded in that mysterious, remote country of islands located in the North Atlantic between Norway and Iceland.

However you choose to label it, Russ Taff’s music has won him a wide audience and critical acclaim, as well as a total of six Grammy awards and eighteen Gospel Music Association Dove awards. He has been hailed by Billboard Magazine as “the single most electrifying voice in Christian music,” and cited as a musical influence by artists as diverse as Bart Millard of Mercy Me, Jason Crabb, Michael Tait and the Kings of Leon. He’s been inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame, Christian Music Hall of Fame, and was honored for his lifetime achievements in the industry at the 2012 GMA Dove Awards. Of equal importance, he is quick to add, is the title bestowed on him this year at the annual Moon Pie festival in his tiny new hometown of Bell Buckle, TN. “I’ll have you know that you are talking to the 2013 RC Cola King,” he says with great satisfaction.

Taff’s musical journey is far from over. Whether looking back at a career that spans three decades, or excitedly looking forward to his upcoming recording project, Russ Taff is the picture of a man filled with gratitude and grace. ”God called me to sing when I was just a little preacher’s kid in Farmersville, California,” Taff says with a smile. “And He’s still calling.”

 

Bill Miller

https://billmiller.co

Bill Miller is an award-winning recording artist, performer, songwriter, activist, painter, and world-class accomplished flute player. Over the past four years, Miller has produced two incredible albums, received a Grammy Award and led Wisconsin’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, a member of the League of American Orchestras.

Led by Music Director Amy Mills, Bill Miller’s “The Last Stand” commemorated the Battle of Little Bighorn of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77 and premiered April 2008. Released in 2004, Spirit Rain and Cedar Dream Songs, exemplify Miller’s artistry by blending the Native American and western folk/blues traditions in something wholly new. These are works of a man who knows first-hand life’s keenest joys and sorrows, a man who distills experience into a potent musical style. Cedar Dream Songs brought Bill great recognition by winning this 2005’s Grammy Award for Best Native American Recording. This instrumental CD contains nine beautiful songs which, as the subtitle suggests, are perfect examples of ‘Musical Portraits on the Native American flute.’

A Mohican Indian from northern Wisconsin, Bill Miller has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American music arena and beyond. As an award-winning recording artist, performer, songwriter, activist, and painter, he’s been a voice for the voiceless, a link between two great and clashing civilizations. On Spirit Rain, he walks the path of reconciliation in a set of fourteen heartfelt songs and evocative instrumentals.

Co-produced by Bill and Michael von Muchow, and written or co-written entirely by Bill, Spirit Rain took the singer back to his roots. It was recorded at Actual Sound Studios in La Crosse, WI, not far from the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation he called home. “It was very different from being in a media center like L.A. or Nashville,” says Bill. “Everyone turned off their cell phones. My buddies and I would go fishing on the Mississippi River. The recording was low-tech too: 16-tracks, no digital. I could have pushed it technically, but I felt closer to the spirit doing it this way.”

That spirit comes through on songs like the prayerful “You Are The Rain,” the acoustic-flavored “Rain Down Your Love,” “The Promise,” and “Never Too Far,” which celebrate the divine glory of sky, prairie, mountain and rain. Says Bill, “This album is about attaining a measure of wisdom through suffering. It’s about the pieces of my life.” That sentiment rings true in songs like “Face The Blues,” a hot-blooded blues tune about being knocked down and getting back up again. Tracks like “I Believe” and “Love Sustained” make bold statements about living out one’s personal credo, while songs like “Little Brother (Spirit Rain)” and “Underneath The Blue Sky” ingeniously adapt traditional Native American musical conventions to the folk/rock idiom. Instrumentals like “Approaching Thunder,” “Sun Dog,” and “Red Sky Heart” showcase Bill’s mastery of the Native American flute, while “1st Dream” is a thrilling chant-and-drum song performed by members of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Perhaps the album’s most touching track is “Prayers For The Truth,” which restates all that the Native American community hold sacred, while offering forgiveness to those that nearly annihilated an entire people. “I don’t want anyone to carry around this guilt,” says Bill. “All we need is to be allowed to speak, to mourn, to express anger, then be allowed to forgive our oppressors. That could lead to a deeply powerful spiritual change in the U.S. and the world. It could be a statement about the peacemaking that comes with courage.”
Digging deep with music and art is nothing new to Bill Miller. With music, he discovered a way out of the entrenched poverty of the reservation, and he has used his talent to build bridges where ever he goes. The son of Mohican-German parents, Bill grew up amid the streams and woodlands of the reservation (his tribe is properly called Mahicanuk, which means People From Where The Waters Are Never Still). Even then, water made a deep impression. “I’ve always been connected to water,” says Bill. “My reservation was in northern Wisconsin, so I grew up near lakes and rivers. There’s a mystical energy in water. Every Native creation story has water in it.”

Music was an also essential part of life, and Bill (whose Indian name, Fush-Ya Heay Ka, means “bird song”) learned traditional songs at an early age. “We didn’t have much,” he recalls. “There was nothing but woods, trout and a Zenith radio that picked up AM stations across the country. I’d hear Barbra Streisand, The Beatles, Stones, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan. I became a fan of all kinds of good music and the emotion it can capture.”

At age 12, Bill got his first guitar. Although he played in teen rock bands for a few years, he soon tired of it. Trading his electric guitar for an acoustic, he began to play folk music and bluegrass, as well as taking up the Native American flute, which he came to master. “With the flute, the breath speaks for you,” says Bill. “It’s a faith instrument, a spirit instrument.” For Bill, the turning point came when he attended a Pete Seeger concert shortly after leaving the reservation to study art at the Layton School of Art and Design in Milwaukee (he later attended the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse). The experience inspired him to move to Nashville to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.

In the early days, Bill often faced virulent racism because of his Native American heritage, but he persevered. In time, he made tremendous inroads, writing songs with the likes of Nancy Griffith, Peter Rowan and Kim Carnes, and sharing the bill with such diverse artists as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, the BoDeans, Richie Havens, and Arlo Guthrie. He got a big break when Tori Amos asked him to be her opening act on the Under The Pink U.S. and Canadian tour. The tour, which sold out venues across the country, was extended to over two hundred shows.
Despite some setbacks, including battles with alcoholism and family tragedies, Bill never stopped growing as a singer, songwriter, and performer. His long recording career includes such landmark albums as Loon Mountain And Moon (1991), Red Road (1994), Reservation Road, Raven In The Snow (1995), Ghost Dance (1999), and The Art Of Survival (2000). His song “Tumbleweed,” co-written with Peter Rowan, was included on the 1990 album Dustbowl Children.
Ghost Dance brought Bill some long-deserved recognition at the 2000 Native American Music Awards. He took home five Nammys that night, including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Song of the Year. With up to 200 days a year on the road, Bill and his band continue to make friends across the country and around the world. It may sound grueling, but for Bill Miller it’s all about the joy of sharing music.

With his new album’s, Bill hopes to further inspire fans, both present and future. “My faith in my Creator leaves me content with the gifts I have,” he says, “and I use them to enrich the world through His blessings. I choose to bless people rather than curse them, to be a peacemaker rather than a warmaker.” As songs like “The Promise” make clear, Bill feels just as passionate about saving the environment of North America, the land of his forebears. ” I think we should feel as if we’re living in the Garden of Eden, and we should take care of the land,” he says emphatically. “I’ll always use my music to urge people to preserve the land.”

Bill has an equally active career as a painter. His work has been shown and sold in prestigious galleries around the country, and he maintains a studio at his Nashville home, where he lives with his wife and children. With so busy a personal and professional life, it would seem that Bill Miller could cruise ever onward in easy contentment. But artists don’t work that way. “I’ve been given a lot of second chances in my life,” he says. “I’ve been through alcoholism and other problems. I was lifted out of the ditch, and I still see a blue sky above. After years of living against the grain, I see things as rivers, creeks and rainstorms, as the liquid layers of my life.”

Bill released Chronicles of Hope (a singer-songwriter album) and Spirit Wind East in late 2010.

One Child Matters

One Child Matters is a child sponsorship organization helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of children in poverty-stricken areas of the world. Through our ministry programs, children receive food, education, medical aid and hope in Jesus Christ.

Our Mission

We exist to bring hope, truth, life, love, and mercy to children living in poverty around the world.
Our Vision

One Child Matters equips children living in poverty to reach their God-given potential by creating opportunities for transformational development: spirit, mind, and body. One Child Matters accomplishes this by working with churches toward the sustained well-being of children at risk.
Core Values

TRUTH

Lasting transformation of a child comes through truth and hope in Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible is the Truth, the infallible Word of God. This is the foundation of our values, purpose, and actions.

CHILD-CENTERED

God has a plan and purpose for each child. We focus on children as individuals and encourage their dreams and aspirations. Our decisions and actions are guided by the best interest of the child.

THE POWER OF ONE

We believe in the power of ONE person to change the world for ONE child. By connecting a sponsor and child, both lives are positively impacted. Ultimately, one child can make a difference in their family, community, and generation.

LOVE

Through love we show value to a child. Love requires us to live outside ourselves and give sacrificially. It is our motivation in everything we do.

INTEGRITY

Above all else, we are accountable to God. We are committed to be honest and transparent in our conduct. We continually strive to attain the highest standards of quality in all aspects of work and ministry.

COMMUNITY

We believe in the power of unity—shared purpose. We actively seek opportunities to impact children through church and other ministry partnerships at local, national, and international levels.