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Brown family cuts 10th album

Friday, July 11, 2008

(Photo)
The Brown family went bigger than ever for the recording of their newest album -- cutting the CD in Nashville with musicians that play with Leanne Rimes and Faith Hill.

But that is only one of the "firsts" for the musical Le Mars-based family as they get ready for the September release of their 10th album dubbed "A New Day."

"We're at such a new place in our ministry," said Shelly Brown, vocalist and mother of the four other vocalists for the group, which has been nominated several years as Horizon top-five up-and-coming performers.

For the first time, Shelly said, she, Jessica, Michaela, Adam and Andrew recorded their album with a Grammy Award winning producer, Bubba Smith.

In addition, "A New Day" has more original songs than any of the Browns' other albums.

"Jessica, Michaela, Adam and I have all written a song or two for it," she said.

And in their private lives, a new day is ahead, too.

Jessica Brown, 23, is engaged to be married this year. Her fiancÚ Nick's home area is Alabama, and the couple may decide to live there.

"We don't know yet what her plans are as far as singing with the family," Shelly said. "It's a new thing for us."

The family picked the title for the album after one of their long roadtrips, with their dad as the bus driver, ending up in Minnesota to sing at a church service.

"We were under pressure from the producer to come up with the title, and we were struggling with it, really wanting to portray where we are in our ministry and what our music is saying," Shelly said.

As they headed up the highway early that morning, with the sun rising, the words to one of their songs kept running through Shelly's head: "I can see a new day a-dawning."

When they arrived in Minnesota, Shelly asked her family what they thought of "A New Day" as an album title. They said they'd think about it.

"Then, when we got done with our part of the service, the paster stood up to speak, and the first words he said were, 'It's a new day,'" Shelly laughed. "Michaela turned to me and said, 'It's a sign. It has to be our title.'"

The most important part about the phrase "A New Day" is that it fits with the musical family's message, Shelly said.

"There's always a new day with God. He's the God of second chances," she said. "He always forgives us and washes our sins away. We want to bring people the message of hope and encouragement that every day is a new day with God."

One of the new original songs, written by 18-year-old Adam, ties in with that theme. It's titled "I can't forget."

"It's really deep, looking at what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross," Shelly said. "The producer is really excited about it as a single."

This song and another bluesy song "Running to the Rock" are Adam's debut as a songwriter on the Browns' albums.

Jessica and her fiancÚ also wrote two songs. "It's a God thing" has a country flair that the Nashville artists enjoyed, Shelly said.

The other, "My Heart Has Found a Home," is about waiting for the right person and finding love.

"They plan to sing or play it at their wedding, if they can get through without crying," Shelly said. "I cry at that one, too."

Michaela, 21, wrote "You're My Friend" about siblings growing up together and Shelly wrote one entitled "Don't Doubt in the Darkness," from a sermon that struck her years ago.

"You may go through hard places in life, don't doubt what God has shown you in the light," she said. "When you don't see God, he's still there, and you need to cling to that hope."

As musicians, Shelly said, their strengths continue to develop.

"As the kids grow and their voices change, it's an exciting thing," she said. "On our first CD, we sounded more like a children's choir, and now we're trying four- or five-part music. We feel like we're in a better place vocally."

Plymouth County residents will get to hear for themselves next weekend at the Plymouth County Fair.

The Brown family will be performing at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, in Pioneer Village on the fairgrounds.



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