Rough Draft
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Rough Draft

Band Christian Rock


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Not Far Away - 2007



Powerful. Impactful. Life changing. These are just a few words – words directly from the mouths of Rough Draft fans – that describe the band's music, message and ministry. Already generating a buzz in Nashville and beyond, Rough Draft is putting its mission of "reaching the lost and encouraging the found" into practice through a hard-hitting alternative rock sound and well-crafted lyrics that both challenge and inspire.

"It's been a crazy ride so far," says singer/guitarist Andrew Wittenauer, "and the craziest part is that it feels like this is just the beginning. 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."

No stranger to success, in 2006 Rough Draft was a semi-finalist at the Gospel Music Association's annual Music in the Rockies competition in Estes Park, CO. Soon after, the band was sharing the stage with the likes of Leeland, Stellar Kart and 25,000 kids at the 2007 National Lutheran Youth Gathering in Orlando, FL. Averaging 150 shows per year – all the way from Florida to Alaska – Rough Draft has sold an impressive 4,000 plus copies of its demo and debut album as an independent band.

But perhaps most impressive, all of this was accomplished while the band was still in high school – something that Wittenauer and drummer Pedro Quinones couldn’t have imagined when the two first met back in junior high. Already playing together in the praise band at church, they decided to form a band of their own and Rough Draft was born. Lead guitarist Adam Woodroof and bassist Dave King round out the rest of the group.

"Not Far Away," Rough Draft's debut album, features 11 songs ranging from the punk-influenced, hard-hitting title track, to the challenging acoustic ballad "Awaken Me," to the fun, upbeat "Yours Forever," to the intense and powerful "Alone," to the fan favorite and band anthem "I'm Not Ashamed." The album was recorded at the legendary Fort Collins studio The Blasting Room with engineer Andrew Berlin and mastered by Jason Livermore.

"All of the songs follow the same pattern," Wittenauer says. "I'll sit down to try and write a song, but nothing will really come out – until something happens in my life. And in that moment – when the emotion is there – the lyrics start to pour out really fast. The song comes when it's time. If I try to write just for the sake of writing, I find the words are not as powerful as when my heart is really bleeding out onto the paper."

Take for example the song "Awaken Me," co-written with Nashville songwriter Erica Harvey and recently featured on the nationally syndicated radio show Total Axxess. The song encourages believers to be weary of complacency in their faith: "Awaken me/If I ever take for granted/Awaken me/To all that's good and new/Awaken me/To the blessings I've been handed/Awaken me to you."

"I could not get this melody out of my head," Wittenauer explains. "The music was finished, but I didn't have any lyrics. It was at a time in my life when I was really struggling with being ungrateful for a lot of God's blessings. And then Erica sent the lyrics and they just hit me in the face. They fit perfectly with the music and with what was going on in my life at the time."

Rough Draft isn't afraid to take on issues facing today's youth. On the song "Alone," Wittenauer sings of an alcoholic and abusive father and a son's struggle with suicide. The final chorus offers hope and the unconditional love of a heavenly Father: "You're not alone and you've got a home/Where you are loved and you're the pride and joy/You'll live your dreams and as strange as it seems/You'll be daddy's little boy."

The band also has a sincere heart for worship. Rough Draft can often be found leading the next generation in worship at events throughout the country. The band is very passionate about worship, combining its own unique sound with today's cutting edge worship music. The result is a worship 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 with a mission. That mission is to communicate the Gospel in a way that is real and refreshing. Rough Draft is a band that is above all else, authentic. The band is not afraid to be real, often sharing both struggles and triumphs from behind the microphone. While the band loves being on stage, they are more 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 says, "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 d