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The best kept secret in music


One year after signing its first artist, Warren Barfield, and launching his successful debut, Creative Trust Workshop (CTW) has signed a new artist to the label’s roster.

BDA, a five-member band that formed at Greenville College in Illinois in 2001, is currently in the studio working on their debut CD, Better Days Ahead, scheduled to be released on October 26 through Provident Music Distribution.

“At a time when the trend in music is towards a more brooding and introspective style of music, BDA is a refreshing reminder of the enduring qualities of groups like the Beatles in mainstream music and PFR in Christian music, rock bands with memorable melodies, distinctive music and universal lyrics,” said Dan Raines, president of Creative Trust Workshop. “BDA’s music is as infectious musically as it is compelling lyrically. I think they will have an immediate impact at radio and retail on a national level, like they have already had on a regional level.”

BDA is Matt Jones (lead vocal), Dave Ray (guitar, principle songwriter), Clint Milburn (lead guitar), Ben Eggebeen (bass) and Jake McDaniel (drums). The five 21-year-olds met their freshman year at Greenville College, among the top colleges in the nation that offer a degree in contemporary Christian music. Greenville College is also known as training ground that brought us Jars of Clay.

BDA has self-produced and released several independent recordings and has developed a fan base by touring in the Midwest and Northeast and has performed at summer festivals alongside artists such as Switchfoot, Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline.

Greenville College Band, BDA, Signs Record Deal with Creative Trust Workshop

GREENVILLE, ILL. – Greenville College, birthplace of Grammy Award winning Jars of Clay, introduces BDA, a lyrically-refreshing campus favorite poised to make a national impact. BDA recently signed a recording contract with Creative Trust Workshop (CTW), an independent label under the umbrella of Creative Trust, Inc., an entertainment management and marketing firm formed in 1989 that manages Multi-Grammy and Multi-Dove winning artists Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day. BDA, whose name is an acronym for “Better Days Ahead,” (and the name of its CTW debut) is working with veteran producer Scott Williamson. The album is scheduled for release on October 26. Dan Raines, president of Creative Trust Workshop, said “BDA's music is as infectious musically as it is compelling lyrically. I think they will have an immediate impact at radio and retail on a national level, like they have already had on a regional level.”

While at Greenville College, a school nationally recognized for its Contemporary Christian Music program, BDA recorded two full length albums that caught the attention of Williamson and led to a three-song collaboration. “After receiving strong industry reaction to that demo, we finally signed with nationally-distributed Creative Trust Workshop in June of 2004 and began an intense season of work on our first major-label album, coming out on October 26, 2004,” said BDA.

The band has developed a fan base by touring in the Midwest and Northeast and has performed at summer festivals alongside touring artists such as Switchfoot, Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline. Several songs BDA recorded while in studios at Greenville will be re-released on their new album. “Songs like ‘Maybe You,' ‘Something Wonderful' and ‘You Loved Me When' became favorites of our friends at Greenville and turned out to be favorites of our label and producer,” said BDA.

“We love the idea of being on a smaller label like Creative Trust Workshop that has already established a great reputation in the industry and which will enable us to develop and grow as a band,” said lead vocalist Matt Jones. BDA is working with John Mays, A&R. Artists under May's direction have been responsible for 2 platinum records, 5 gold records, 1 Grammy Award, 2 Grammy nominations, over 30 Dove Awards and nominations and over six millions units of total sales.

BDA formed at Greenville College in 2001 as college freshmen living in Joy Hall, a freshman men's dormitory. Jones roomed with rhythm guitar player and principle songwriter Dave Ray. Lead guitar player Clint Milburn and drummer Jake McDaniel were also roommates and longtime friends. Ben Eggebeen joined the band as the bass player. “We spent our freshman year playing for a local youth group every Wednesday night,” states BDA.

BDA found that Greenville College challenged them both musically and spiritually.“ Greenville College provides some unique opportunities for student bands. A sound stage like the Blackroom and the studio time opened many doors for us. Being surrounded by such an eclectic group of musicians provides a great opportunity to be pushed as musicians.” The members of BDA have grown to appreciate Greenville 's faculty and students who have held them accountable and sent them on a quest to define their spirituality. “ Greenville was the place where we really began to own our faith.” For their first show the guys played at Milburn and McDaniel's church in Bridgeport, IL. “We played on a flatbed trailer at the annual hog roast,” said BDA. “That's pretty typical of our experiences playing in small-town Illinois.”

Lab band professor Ani Johnson worked with the group their sophomore year to develop their song writing abilities, music business knowledge, and stage presence. “We worked on not just worshiping,” said Johnson, “but getting meaning across to the audience, communicating with them.”

In the fall of 2003 lead singer Matt Jones was unable to return to Greenville. BDA considers this their most challenging moment. “We learned through that experience to trust God to overcome the obstacles placed in our path and open doors for us to continue our journey.” Throughout the 2003-04 school year, the band flew Jones in for weekend shows or would meet him for concerts halfway between Greenville and his home in South Carolina. With the signing of this recording contract, Jones and the other members of BDA now reside in Nashville.

The band was introduced to Christian music retailers and other industry professionals at the recent CBA International Convention in Atlanta. BDA opened the Provident Music Showcase event at the Fox Theatre, performing two songs from their upcoming release.

Greenville College is a four-year accredited Christian liberal arts school with more than 1200 traditional undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree completion students. Founded in 1892 and affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, the college is located in Greenville, Illinois, 45 miles east of St. Louis.


Local musician called to Christian rock

by Gisela Garcia

BEN EGGEBEEN HAS been in Nashville for barely three months. But with a freshly signed record contract under his belt, living in the country's music capital just feels natural.

"I'm just about used to it. I'm just about feeling like it's gonna be home. There's always something to do," the 21-year-old State College native said, straining over blaring sirens during a phone interview outside a Nashville Starbucks.

Eggebeen is the bassist for Greenville, Ill.-based Christian rock band BDA, which was recently signed by Creative Trust Workshop and is set to release its first self-titled album this fall.

"It's kind of fulfilling that a dream of ours has finally happened, to get signed and 'make it'," Eggebeen said.

The sound of BDA, which stands for Better Days Ahead, is what Eggebeen calls "middle-of-the-road pop", is something akin to Vertical Horizon, Sugar Ray and matchbox 20. As for its message, Eggebeen said the band tries focusing on issues of life -- love, relationships and seeking truth -- through a Christian lens.

"A lot of the songs we write about are not necessarily worship music," he said. He used BDA's first single, "Maybe You," set to hit radio airwaves on Friday, as an example. "It's about somebody seeing another Christian and wondering what makes them different."

Eggebeen traded State College for Greenville when he graduated from State College Area High School, opting to attend Greenville College to pursue a degree in public relations at the 1,000-student Christian university. However, Eggebeen's family is still local, and he insists he holds strong ties to Happy Valley.

"I still follow Penn State football," he said. "I had to strike out on my own, I guess. I just felt like I was being called to do Christian rock music. I didn't feel like I had the opportunity to do that at Penn State at all."

During his freshman year at Greenville, he found five other guys in his residence hall with the same goal in mind. Soon after meeting Dave Rae, Clint Milburn, Matt Jones and Jake McDaniel, BDA was born.

"It's kind of funny, because we were band members before we were friends," Eggebeen said.

Three years later, Eggebeen decided to drop out of college after his junior year to pursue his musical talents. His biggest hurdle was breaking it to his dad, a Penn State sociology professor. Thankfully, he had nothing to worry about.

"They were real excited about it," he said of his parents.

The gamble paid off. BDA has since toured in summer music festivals with artists such as Switchfoot, Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline. And the band's new album will be available in stores on Oct. 26.

"We're heading out on tour in September on our own, and we'll be doing shows in Texas, from Tennessee up to Michigan, and then the West Coast," he said.

As for a return to State College, Eggebeen said the band doesn't have an East Coast stop on the list. But he said he'll try to sneak back into town nonetheless.

"It's in our plans if we can get there," he said.
- Centre Daily Times, State College, PA


"Maybe You" Single release September 2004

"Better Days Ahead" 2004, CTW

"BDA, 'Live/Love' "Behind the Scenes DVD 2004
(Released with record)


Feeling a bit camera shy


BDA formed in September of 2001 at Greenville College in Illinois, under the name Better Days Ahead. Shortly after forming they signed on to play worship at a local youth group. Playing every week gave the band great experience not only playing together, but also growing together as a band. Between playing worship during the week, BDA began playing shows in the area of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. They continued to play in the area during the next two years, and during the summer of 2003, the band showcased their talent to the East Coast on an 11-city tour.

In the spring of 2003, BDA participated in a band competition where producer Scott Williamson (FFH, Point of Grace, Lincoln Brewster) was a judge. Williamson loved what he heard and invited the band down to the proving grounds of Christian music, Nashville, TN to record a demo. So in the fall of 2003, BDA cut three songs with Williamson and engineer Todd Robbins. The demo made its way around Nashville and garnered a strong industry response. Eventually it found its way into the hands of Creative Trust Workshop (CTW), a new independent label with national distribution through Provident Distribution. BDA signed with CTW in the spring of 2004 and became their second artist alongside singer/songwriter, Warren Barfield. Once signed they shortened their name to BDA.

BDA has spent the summer of 2004 recording their debut release, titled "Better Days Ahead," and preparing for an intense season of touring. The record is due to hit stores on October 26th, 2004, and the first single, “Maybe You,” will impact Christian radio in September.

If one thing stands out about BDA it is their commitment to the idea that to make an impact on today’s youth, you have to be real and live out what you believe. A core belief of the band is that they want to convey to others the love that Christ has shown them. Although evangelism is something that is important to the band, the calling that they feel right now is to the church. “We feel like there is a huge need for Christians to see people really showing Christ to others,” says guitarist and principle songwriter, David Ray. And their thoughtful lyrics have a universal appeal. “Lyrically, we feel like we can really touch a broad audience of people,” states bassist Ben Eggebeen. “Our songs are about concepts and issues that everybody deals with, young or old.”

In the end, what matters most is that BDA delivers great songs with a strong message. “You can really get your message across when you put it to a strong song," says lead guitarist Clint Milburn. "You can only communicate when people want to listen."