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Modern life values beauty over most everything else.
The images we're bombarded with showcase the aesthetically pleasing, often to the detriment of the true substance within.
But the men of Brother's Keeper -- Philip Enzor, John Sanders and Gabe Dunlap -- want to show you something deeper. They wish to highlight the aspects -- of friendship, of commitment, of faith -- that make this life worth much more than the surface struggles to reveal.
They want you to see -- and hear -- something Beyond Beautiful.
One thing shines through when speaking with the members of Brother's Keeper: this is no garden-variety, thrown-together-for-commerce's-sake musical machine. Philip, John and Gabe grew up together, discovered music together, and merged common passions into a powerful ministry...together.
"This has really been a way of life since we were all about 15 years old. It's almost like you can't quit this band," John says. "We weren't put together by anything but God, and we know that because we've tried to separate ourselves several times and it just won't take."
The result has been a decade and a half of putting their hearts and talents out there for the world to see, not only through captivating live performances but also through compelling records such as their 1999 self-titled debut, 2002's Cover Me and the newest Brother's Keeper album, Beyond Beautiful.
The intervening three years since the last BK record saw a profound change in not only the lives of Brother's Keeper's members, but also the world and pop culture alike. But that doesn't mean the men in the band sat idle. "God was really working on some different things in our lives, whether it be business or families or whatever," Gabe says. "What we had decided after Cover Me was not just to fling a record out there. We wanted to take our time with it and find the songs we want to be on this record. It was a hard process, but in looking back, I'm glad we did it the way we did."
The outcome -- Beyond Beautiful -- is a 10-song set chock full of sophisticated rhythms, instantly memorable melodies and the intricate harmonies that have been a signature Brother's Keeper element from the band's very beginnings. At the same time, the subject matters covered -- ranging from the desire to be fully open to God's callings found on "Noah" to the honoring of sacrifice found on "Cross of Christ," from the energizing spirit of "Passion" to the bonds of brotherhood inhabiting "Walk With Me" -- present these men's desire for relevance and genuineness in the face of the everyday.
"Something we've heard all our lives is that all truth is God's truth. So all we focus in on is the truth," Philip says. "John talks about working at a bank years ago, and when they're teaching you how to spot a counterfeit bill, they give you a real $100 bill and say, 'Study this,' so when the counterfeit comes along, you'll be able to spot it like that. We kinda try to do the same thing with our music, and put the truth out there that will both strengthen the believer and convict the person who's living outside the truth."
Gabe, Philip and John all know from whence they speak when talking about the power of Christ's love and message through music; after all, the music of Brother's Keeper affected them first, and in very palpable ways, over the years.
"Gabe and I really came to know Christ through the ministry of Brother's Keeper. We had both sung in the group for years before coming to a point in our lives when we thought, 'We've been singing about Christ, but we haven't really made a commitment to Him,'" Philip says. "So what it's done for us is give us a passion to tell people about Christ, especially in the church."
"Sometimes people expect you only to think big, 'Man, we're going to go out there and reach the world for Christ,' and then you water down stuff and go after it thinking you're the cutting edge," John says. "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel. I don't care if it's not cool, Brother's Keeper is always going to be able to say, 'I love Jesus. He died for me, I'm going to live for Him, by God's grace.'"
And it's in that spirit, that reaching out to both those within and those who think they're outside the cover of God's grace, that's allowed this band to impact lives for more than 15 years. They've shared their music and testimony in venues large and small, from performing before crowds at NBA and NHL games to remote churches on the other side of the world, and that bringing together of seemingly disparate elements manifests itself on Beyond Beautiful's final track, "Walk With Me."
"Something that's very dear to our hearts is the fact that we all met as part of an accountability group years ago. What that means to me is not so much a checklist, but really being there as a brother in Christ to encourage and exhort one another," John says. "There's never really been a song where we go get a bunch of guys and talk about what being a Godly man really means."
So, through a song written by Tony Wood and 4HIM's Mark Harris, Brother's Keeper gathered some of the finest male vocal talent in Christian music, including Harris, Bob Carlisle, Todd Agnew, Scott Krippayne, Sonicflood's Rick Heil, the
the Gaither Vocal Band's David Phelps, Russ Lee and Newsong's Michael O'Brien, to pay honor to that idea of Christian brotherhood and accountability. "To get all those artists on one song, that was totally a God thing," John says.
In the long run, the men of Brother's Keeper crafted Beyond Beautiful to the very best of their collective abilities, to serve as a motivator and a communicator of a message that has bound them together for more than half their lives.
"For us putting together the record, it was about putting together messages and songs that moved our hearts and lives and spirits where we were, but can also encourage and motivate people, Christians and non-Christians alike," John says. "From a musical standpoint, we want to be able to compete with anything out there, and people can point to it and think, 'Man, that's solid. They didn't cut any corners.' But also, when you get it, there's a positive message.
"We hope it does intrigue some people, but it's a lot like sowing seeds. Some people, it will fall on and allow them to have a deeper relationship with Christ," John continues. "Some other people it might fall on and they might never know Christ. And both of those are those are OK with us, because we want an overriding principle where people can connect and think, 'Wow, this record is about something deeper than Brother's Keeper, and that's their relationship with Christ.'"
Songs about something deeper, something eternal, something Beyond Beautiful.
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Buy Beyond Beautiful by Brothers Keeper from our Christian Music store - isbn: 0012345180 upc: 766887253822
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