New label announces first signings

Chicago-based Reborn Records has announced the signing of former First Call member Bonnie Keen, rock guitarist Rick Derringer, and country singer/songwriter Eric Horner.

Bonnie Keen's new recording is tentatively set for release in July. Keen was one of the original members of the vocal group First Call that burst on the contemporary Christian music scene in the early 80s. During its career, First Call garnered four Dove Awards (being named Group of the Year twice), nine #1 songs, and a Grammy Award. In addition to her singing talent, Keen is an accomplished author, writing about her struggle with depression after her husband left her for another woman in Blessed are the Desperate, For They Will Find Hope (Harvest House, 2000). Her newest book is titled God Loves Messy People. As a solo artist, Keen has been interviewed on many national television and radio programs, including garnering an Emmy Award for the show, On Main Street, where she shared her experience with depression. Keen maintains a busy speaking schedule and has addressed churches, retreats, and major women's conferences across the country on divorce recovery, the definition of a woman, and other topics. The Reborn release will be Keen's second solo project.

In September, Rick Derringer, one of the top guitarists in rock music, will release his first Christian recording. Derringer was just 16 when his band The McCoys recorded the #1 hit song, "Hang On Sloopy," in the summer of 1965, knocking "Yesterday" by The Beatles out of the top spot. Four years later, Rick merged his talents with Johnny Winter forming Johnny Winter And ("And" referring to TheMcCoys), and later worked with Edgar Winter and White Trash. Derringer's solo album, All American Boy was released in '73 with the popular "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" song.

In the mid-80s, Derringer discovered Weird Al Yancovic, and became producer for the singer's Grammy Award-winning videos and albums. Through the 1990s, Derringer has recorded a string of highly-acclaimed blues releases on Shrapnel Records Blues Bureau International, including Back To the Blues in 1993, followed by Electra Blues, Blues Deluxe, and his 2000 release Jackhammer Blues.

Reborn Records, a division of The World of Reborn, is set to release a minimum of five projects to the CBA market in 2003. Reborn will be distributed by Central South and marketed to CBA by Ministry Partners Marketing Group and to international markets by Ministry Partners International. Founded by Stephen Alexandersen, a recording artist from the "Jesus Movement" era, Reborn Records will also re-release Alexandersen's Let the Music Move Me project he recorded for White Horse Records in 1977. The original album will have the addition of three new songs by Alexandersen. This will be the first time Let the Music Move Me has been available in CD format. Several of the songs on Let the Music Move Me have been recorded over the years by artists such as Jessy Dixon, Nancy Harmon & the Victory Voices, and Randy Matthews.

"I'm extremely excited about the fact that we are giving new life to artists whose ministries have never lost their relevancy or validity," says Alexandersen. "But I'm also eager to make Reborn a home for new, undiscovered artists who truly have a calling from God on their lives. I'm interested in artists who have surrendered their talents to the Lord. Reborn is about supporting artists who have the desire to renew and revive the church body, and to see souls saved. Period."

And the genre of music that artists use is irrelevant to Alexandersen, as long as the "lyrics are meaningful. That's what it's all about." One such artist signed by Alexandersen is Eric Horner, a country singer/guitarist whose talents have been utilized by country superstars such Lee Greenwood, Wynonna, Shania Twain, and Vince Gill, just to name a few. Horner rose to national attention with his anthem "We Will Stand" that he wrote in the aftermath of the September 11 attack. The proceeds of the sale of the CD single of were donated to the Staten Island Victims Relief Fund. "We Will Stand" was recognized by The New York Times as one of the most popular patriotic songs on country stations in the U.S. (October 1, 2001 issue). Horner's recording, entitled Prayer Warrior, will be Reborn's debut release in mid-April.

Cricket Sehr, President of Ministry Partners International & Ministry Partners Marketing Group and a Christian music industry veteran of over 15 years, believes the vision of Reborn is a simple one: ministry first. "I appreciate Stephen's focus on the ministry of artists and not just on talent alone," says Sehr. "We are excited to be part of what Reborn wants to do in our industry."

"I grew up in a culture where Christian music was literally changing the hearts and lives of people everywhere," says Alexandersen. "And I believe it still can. Reborn is dedicated to making sure artists who share that same desire for ministry have a home and a base from which they can work. That's my mission. And I'm grateful that God is giving me another chance to make an impact."

By Robert Parrish