To be given the gift of music and the ability to reach people where they are is an amazing thing. We can only hope that we never waste this gift…..
Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, all places that come to mind when one thinks music – and rightfully so. But every so often, when we’re slowly, but not so subtley, lured into forgetting the rest of the world outside the “industry”, that one new band surfaces to remind us that great music fueled by honesty and a passion to communicate something greater than ourselves can spring from most anywhere.
One listen to The effort and you can’t help but hear and feel this passion and heart-on-the-sleeve honesty that this Alt-Pop band from Michigan is best known for. With a sincere desire to be real and meet people where they are, these guys from the Great Lakes State have been reaching out across party lines for the last few years.
“Connecting with or reaching people wherever they are and in whatever state they’re in is an amazing gift and we’ve been truly blessed to be able to do this, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in more obvious ways. To have someone tell you that you helped them through a difficult time or helped to open their eyes to something new is a great reward”, says guitar player, back up vocalist and co-writer, Mitch Winden. “Hearing yourself on the radio or playing for a great crowd is very cool, but nothing comes close to successfully being that conduit to someone’s mind and/or well-being.”
After concluding a previous project and parting ways temporarily, singer Darin Christian and guitarist Mitch Winden remained in contact before deciding to regroup and refocus their effort and direction. “The fact that Mitch and I heard the same calling at pretty much the same time says one thing…all things in God’s time”, says Christian.
Rounding out the group with Jeff Bourgeois (Christian’s cousin) on bass and more recently Jake Stevens (also Christian’s cousin) on drums, the band has just recently begun to really take shape and have a better understanding of who they are. This realization of purpose is something easily recognizable in the more recent music the band has created.
With their recent debut, the band has offered up a great set of tracks with all the lyrical sincerity, hooks and alt-pop flair that you’d hope for. “We want people to know that when we sing our songs, what they hear is who we are….our fears, hopes, dreams and more”, says Winden. “Putting the real you out there can certainly make you feel vulnerable at times but it’s also the best way we know to help ourselves and others through each day of this life, good or bad…..”
With several songs produced by Ian Eskelin (recent GMA Producer of the Year for radio staples like Stellar Kart, Francesca Battistelli, Krystal Meyers, Everyday Sunday, Remedy Drive and more) and engineered by Grammy nominee, Barry Weeks, combined with other tracks produced by Donny Brown (co-writer and drummer for multi-platinum band, The Verve Pipe), this release is sure to resonate with those of us who don’t quite have it all down.
From the self-cathartic message of Everything’s Fine, to the anthemic song of hope, Don’t Give Up, these songs will reach out and meet you where you are. Add to this catchy feel-good tracks like It’s Alright and rockers like Tell Me and you’ll find yourself riding a roller coaster of emotions reminiscint of the ups and downs that this world offers. With some help from wordsmith Doug McKelvey (Switchfoot, Sanctus Real, Starfield), the band has managed to really convey what it set out to….a smorgasbord of feelings, emotions and thoughts of what it means to be human.
With this latest release under their belts, the band is ready to get back to what they love most, getting out there and connecting with people. Having played shows and events with a wide variety of great bands such as the Newsboys, Everyday Sunday, OKGO, Needtobreathe, The Verve Pipe, House of Heroes, Michelle Branch and more, this is one aspect of the band you won’t want to miss.
“We’ve always been the type of band to take things one day at a time, whatever it brings”, says Christian. “Through our music and interaction with the world around us, we hope to help people realize that, through the strength of God, Everything’s Fine.”
Jeff Bourgeois - Bass, vocals
Darin Christian - Vox, guitar
Jake Stevens - Drums, vox
Mitch Winden - Guitar, vox
The effort debut, "The Effort" - 2009
"Live", available on our 3 song demo, (in it's first incarnation) has received airplay from numerous major rock stations.
Word on the Street
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“…very nice! ….songs are strong, nice harmonies. I think you're on to something -Aris Hampers, Clea...“…very nice! ….songs are strong, nice harmonies. I think you're on to something
-Aris Hampers, Clear Channel
"You guys sound great..I love it!
-Jim Cooper, Producer (Building 429, Decyfer Down)
“…..smooth, radio-friendly….with catchy hooks, strong harmonies…
-The Grand Rapids Press
"....The band's positive, melodic, alt-rock-edged music is crisp, dynamic and worthy of a national stage...
-John Sinkevics (The Grand Rapids Press)
“…..the tunes…..they sound great!
-Chuck Gladfelter (singer/writer/producer/musician)
“….Sweet!…..Very slick. Solid stuff for sure!……..
-Cliff Frantz, Publisher (Recoil Mag)
“..sounds awesome! great guitar sounds…The Effort will do very well! It was my pleasure to listen.
-Ryan Curtis O’neal (Sleeping At Last, Interscope)
“…..I really liked what I heard!…….
-Dan Capizzo, YouthNet
“…….quite a number of bands play here that just come and go without leaving any impression... The Effort left a very positive impression with regulars here….
-Bob Dickinson (State Grounds)
“..great stage presence, insightful lyrics, sounded truly wonderful…one of the most engaging bands I’ve seen and heard……….
-Jared Wells, Calvin College (Cave Manager)
Where We've Been
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Here's a partial list of the bands we've played with and the venues we've rocked: PLAYED SHOWS WI...Here's a partial list of the bands we've played with and the venues we've rocked:
PLAYED SHOWS WITH:
Abandon Kansas (Gotee)
Automatic Loveletter (Epic)
Between The Trees (Universal)
Creed (Wind-Up Records)
Dexter Freebish (Columbia)
Everyday Sunday (INPOP)
House of Heroes (Mono vs Stereo)
Ivory Wire (Columbia)
Michelle Branch (Maverick Records)
Since October (Tooth N Nail)
Sleeping At Last
The Verve Pipe (RCA)
Festival of the Arts (GR)
Allegan Co. Fair
The Big Ticket Festival
Ionia Free Fair
Tulip Time Festival
WAY FM Battle of the Bands
WGRD show at Rosa Parks
World Series of Rock, Club Soda
-The VanAndel Arena (GR, MI)
-DTE Energy Music Theater (Detroit)
-Billy’s (GR, MI)
-Orbit Room (GR, MI)
-The Delta Plex (GR, MI)
-Club Soda (Kalamazoo, MI)
-The Ground Floor (GR, MI)
-The Hayloft (Mt. Clemens, MI)
-The Intersection (GR, MI)
-Res. Life (Newaygo, MI)
-The Radio Tavern (GR, MI)
-Rick’s American Café (Lansing, MI) -Cascade Christian (Cascade, MI) -Rubble’s (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
-The Shelter (Detroit, MI)
-The Double Door (Chicago, IL)
-Kryptonite (Rockford, IL)
-The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor, MI)
-Baker Book House (GR, MI)
-Alvins (Detroit, MI)
* = Tentative date or venue
The Effort has a sweet 30-60 minute set. While the set consists of primarily originals, the band will occasionally throw in a cover or two. The tunes are:
1. Tell Me
2. Cool Your Head
3. Everything's Fine
4. This Time
5. Don't Give Up
6. It's Alright
9. Covers by Beatles, Jimmy Eat World, more
There are no upcoming dates at this time.