It'll Be Alright
Generating major buzz in Nashville and beyond, Rough Draft is putting it's mission of 'reaching the lost and encouraging the found' into practice through a high-energy, highly contagious pop/rock sound and well-crafted lyrics that both challenge and inspire. And now with the band's new EP, 'It'll Be Alright,' Andrew Wittenauer, Dave King, Adam Woodroof and Pedro Quinones are ready to turn that buzz into believers with songs that get stuck in your head and your heart. With multiple guest appearances on the nationally broadcast radio show Total Axxess, featured performances at several major music festivals - including LifeLight - and shared stages with some of Christian music's top acts - including a tour in support of Sanctus Real, Remedy Drive and Vota - the band has an already impressive and ever growing resume. Averaging more than 150 concerts every year - all the way from Florida to Alaska - Rough Draft has sold nearly 10,000 copies - and counting - of it's two independent releases. But it was the band's win at the Gospel Music Association Music in the Rockies last year that first landed the group in the national spotlight. 'Music in the Rockies was amazing,' says singer/guitarist Wittenauer. 'It was a huge honor to win, but even more, it was confirmation that we were on the right track with our music. It really opened up a lot of doors for us - overnight our name was in front of the entire music industry. Plus, it was where we met Chris.' Rough Draft first met American Idol finalist and Dove Award nominee Chris Sligh during the final round of competition at Music in the Rockies. Following the band's winning performance, Sligh, who hosted the event, informed the Idol-style panel of judges that Rough Draft 'just blew my mind.' Since then, Sligh has become one of the band's biggest supporters. So much so in fact, that the guys were soon holed up in Sligh's Nashville residence working on their most recent release, 'It'll Be Alright.' Recorded in Nashville and produced by Sligh, 'It'll Be Alright' is Rough Draft's much anticipated follow-up to the group's 2007 debut 'Not Far Away.' The album features seven brand new songs ranging from the catchy, synth-infused opening track 'Back to You' to the impassioned closer 'Here I Am.' The band builds on the sounds of leading Christian artists such as Switchfoot, Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real and the Afters, all the while creating a sound that is undeniably Rough Draft. 'When we sat down to write this album we knew we wanted to do something different,' Wittenauer says. 'We wanted to create an album that reflected who we are now, not who we were. This past year has been a season of tremendous growth for the band and we wanted to capture that. These new songs are us grown up - a little bit at least.' Wittenauer tapped the help of prominent Nashville songwriters Chad Cates and Tony Wood to pen the song 'Compassion (Change the World).' The piano-driven ballad complete with drum loops and crunchy guitars reflects the band's recent work with Compassion International: 'I can't change the world/but I can live with open hands/I can't change the world/but I can give all that I can/I can pray and I can love/And when all is said and done/I can't change the world/But I can change the world for one.' Another cut from the album, 'All,' is a simple yet powerful worship song: 'You're something I can see is/So much more than me/Loving the thought of being in love just to be/You're something a little more real/Something I can feel in me/All you are/Is everything I need/Everything.' Despite having just written it a few weeks prior, 'All' was among the songs the band decided to perform at Music in the Rockies - and it was the song that ultimately won the band the competition. Rough Draft's love for worship extends well beyond the song 'All.' The band regularly leads worship at events throughout the country, including church services, retreats, camps and conferences. The band is very passionate about worship, infusing it's own unique sound into some of today's best worship music for an experience that is powerful, dramatic and authentic. The heart behind Rough Draft lies in a simple statement adopted by the band: 'reaching the lost and encouraging the found.' Rough Draft is a band that is above all else authentic, often sharing both struggles and triumphs from behind the microphone. While the guys love being on stage, they are equally excited about what happens after the show - the opportunity to connect and build relationships with people. 'We of course want to spread the Gospel to those who don't know Christ,' Wittenauer explains, 'but we also don't want to forget about those already in the church. All people need encouragement and just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you're exempt from struggles. And just because we're the ones on the stage doesn't mean we have it all together either. We struggle just the same as everybody else. We don't see any reason to be anything but real about it.' A prominent mainstream publication once called the band 'an up-and-coming, unabashed Christian rock act,' a statement that some bands might shy away from, but not Rough Draft. While the band occasionally performs at secular events and receives some mainstream radio play, the band is not concerned with having the next big crossover hit. 'We're perfectly content being a Christian band,' Wittenauer says. 'It's what we feel called to do. We've found that there are just as many hurting and confused people inside the church as there are outside. We feel like our job is to encourage Christians to take the message beyond the church walls - that's our crossover.' With the release of 'It'll Be Alright' and a 50-date tour with Aaron Shust and Sligh in the works for the fall, Rough Draft is indeed ready to turn that buzz into believers. 'This is such an exciting time in the life of this band,' Wittenauer says. 'When I look back at what God has done through this band and the four of us it just blows me away. I don't think anyone - except for God - could have predicted it. We feel truly blessed to be doing what we're doing and we can't wait to see what God has in store.'