Contemporary Christian duo Acoustic Truth, composed of Ryan and Sarah Knott, are releasing their latest album 'Impact' on November 7th. LTTM caught up with the couple to find out about their album, and how they go about making music together.
Tell us a little bit about this new album of yours, Impact ?
Impact is a compilation of songs we were inspired to write over the past few years. Through the specific songs we chose to be on this album, we are hoping to evoke a sense of impact in the lives of the listener... whether it's a sense of how God has impacted each one of us, or how we can further impact others around us, we pray that God uses our songs to do His will. Positive or negative things impact us daily; however, we want to bring the message of how Christ's impact in our lives can overcome anything through the cross. Studio B, our recording studio, is in Omaha, NE and we have had the blessing of working with extremely talented musicians who have echoed our lyrics with beautiful accompanying instrumentation. These musicians, include, Patrick Musilek (recording and mixing), Bill Arab (bass and electric), Austin Elsberry (drums), Chris Schoenberg (banjo), and Joel Burkum (violin). It's pretty awesome to see how God brought this team together, and we are lucky to call these musicians our friends.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
Ryan : My favorite song is the song, "Free". We all hit roadblocks in our lives that seem to wear on us and block our relationship with Jesus, sometimes to a point where we feel paralyzed. The beautiful message in this song is that Jesus has overcome all of our temptations; His impact in our lives is one of freedom, thus the title, "Free".
Sarah : "Messiah" is probably my favorite song on the album. This is a neat kind of song in that it's narrative in nature... kind of how you would expect a person who was impacted by Jesus 2000 years ago to spread the gospel to others. The verses describe a man who is performing all of these miracles .. (opening eyes, raising lives, and casting demons on their way)... while also depicting how He did claim to be "the truth, the light, the way"; the ending of the song turns it on the listener and boldly asks, "do you believe?" Something I think we often don't follow up on with those we we are sharing the gospel with.
This song is also special to us because our 16 month old, Jeremiah, ALWAYS asks for us to play "Oh, Oh"- he can't quite pronounce Messiah yet ;)
Because this song has always been a favorite of his, literally lighting his eyes up every morning or any time we play it for him live (on the daily), we decided to let him have a down strum in the song and is on the final recording of the album.
What is it like working as a husband and wife songwriting team?
It depends on who you ask and when!
Ryan : It can be tough at times to separate the marriage and our career; however, I have realized that combining them we have gained more inspiration for songwriting and lets us be more honest with one another. Yes, she does still nag about taking out the garbage during some songwriting sessions, but I have learned to embrace that aspect of our relationship.
Sarah : I think it's wonderful that God has blessed us with one another. We were both involved with sports growing up and always appreciate team efforts and the understanding that, like Paul describes, we are all parts of a body with different functions. We have seen this in our marriage play out with our different personal gifts and talents and we see this in our songwriting as well. Ryan very much so composes the most beautiful melodies and always has a new song idea- I have song ideas and simple melodies that he further brings to life. We both write all of the lyrics. I would say that I am poetic and Ryan is catchy in terms of our writing style. We do both compose melodies and lyrics; however, we tag team off of one another and use scripture as the source of inspiration behind they lyrics.
Is there a story or reason behind the band name ?
When we first began writing, we only had our voices, and our guitars so we wanted to incorporate the "Acoustic" aspect into our band name, and then we felt called to speak the truth to others and the name just sort of fell into place through a suggestion from Ryan's grandmother. Each song on both of our albums, are acoustically driven, though other instrumentation is present.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Ryan : Chris Tomlin; We are a part of the worship team at our local church, and play the music every Saturday night and I especially love when we get a Tomlin song. He is just incredibly gifted when it comes to bringing words to life.
Sarah : Rich Mullins; I grew up in a Christian family and my dad always led the music at church. I cannot remember a church service, or a a car ride where we didn't sing a Rich Mullins song or listen to his cassette or CD on a road trip He was such an inspiration to speak the truth in love and I aspire to be like him and to use scripture to inspire our writing, like he always did.
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
Ryan : I thrive on the live environment! There is nothing better that speaking to people live and sharing our testimony and songs and I am so grateful God has allowed us the opportunity to do just that. I don't get stage fright, but Sarah on the other hand.... all that goes away once we say a prayer and ask God to use us as his instruments to impact those listening to us. But I do also love the studio and can literally spend days straight recording, with the occasional cheeseburger mixed in!
Sarah : I am more of a studio gal, myself because I'd say I'm more of a perfectionist. I get anxious before shows, but then once I am on stage, the butterflies go away and I enjoy myself; I love creating in the studio because I can be creative without the pressure.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
That's a tough one-
Ryan : I grew up in a small town and loved listening to country and folk music- both which I believe you can hear in a lot of our songs. As far as influence goes, I have listened to it all (Michael Jackson to Dolly Parton... I think that's enough said)!
Sarah : My dad is one of my greatest influences. He has been writing Christian music since before I was born and is the most humble person in the world. He draws from scripture and gives all the glory to God. I could go on and on, but he definitely has inspired me both musically and spiritually in ways that I cannot begin to thank him for.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Besides Rich Mullins and Chris Tomlin's music, we LOVE listening to Casting Crowns- "Thrive" and "Come to the Well" are amazing albums. Ryan originally did not profess his faith in his songwriting until after going to a Casting Crowns concert (one of our first dates) and believe it or not our first dance for our wedding was to the song, "Angel" by Casting Crowns.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Ryan : Bohemian Rhapsody for the sake of getting my most out of the battery life (I think it's the longest song recording and in all honestly is pretty dynamic in nature and fun to listen to)
Sarah : "Hold Me Jesus" by Rich Mullins
What does the next year hold for Acoustic Truth?
We are hoping to go on a nationwide tour/radio tour and get our new album out into the world to start impacting the lives of others for Christ. We are not currently signed to a label, and ideally would like this album to help us generate interest in the CCM world; our first album, although wholesome and pure, was not centered around Christ blatantly; We turned down several offers in the popular music world from a label standpoint because something was missing. In this album we boldly profess Christ as savior and are excited to see what God has in store for us branching into the Christian Music World. Music aside, we just pray God leads us to whatever He has in store for us. One of the reasons we named our son Jeremiah, is because of one of our favorite verses- "For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." We are trusting in that, knowing that God has Acoustic Truth's plans in His hand.