Friday, October 24, 2014

‘The Struggle’

Tenth Avenue North introduces album

Christian band Tenth Avenue North will return to Liberty University for the fourth time Friday, April 12 for a concert held by Student Activities in the Vines Center as a part of their “The Struggle” tour. Named after the band’s most recent album, the title holds a deeper meaning for a group of musicians who have experienced their share of struggle.

Tenth Avenue North lead singer and Fredericksburg, Va. native Mike Donehey has experienced his share of tough times. During his senior year in high school, Donehey was in a car accident that left him with a broken back and multiple other injuries. According to Donehey, it was during this time that he picked up the guitar and chose to express himself through music.

“I consider myself blessed in that it never really produced an anger in me,” Donehey said. “It made me think that, if I’m looking at another person, that person is there because God is giving them breath. So, it really just kind of woke me up to the mystery of life and just how amazing it is that anyone is alive around us. It had a profound effect on me and sobered my conscience.”

Looking back, Donehey said that he would not be where he is his today without the accident.

“‘The Struggle’ is a fitting mantra for us in view of everything we’ve been through,” Donehey said. “But isn’t it funny (that) when you look back at the really hard times, those are often the best times? So, the struggle isn’t all bad.”

According to Donehey, the band spent the better part of eight years driving to concerts in a van, forcing them to sometimes get creative with things like food choices.

“If you were eating Taco Bell, that was like a fancy night,” Donehey said. “I remember in our first summer tour, I was actually making peanut butter and jellies in the back of the van out of the cooler of food that we had because we couldn’t afford to stop for fast food. We didn’t even have any knives, so I was like making it with my fingers. Of course, I didn’t tell the guys that until after they ate the sandwiches I made.”

Donehey also said that the band chose to name their album “The Struggle” because God’s grace gives freedom to people struggling to be free from their sin, but also because grace means that Christians are free to struggle and fail with the assurance that God will always forgive them.

After recovering from his car crash and graduating from high school, Donehey said that he considered attending James Madison University for theater, but after a short visit, he chose to attend Palm Beach Atlantic College in Florida.

“I still majored in theater, so now I can at least act like I’m a really good musician,” Donehey said with a laugh.

According to Donehey, he and Tenth Avenue North drummer Jason Jamison met and started playing music together during Donehey’s freshman year. The next year, Donehey and Jamison lived one room apart from each other near Tenth Avenue North, the street for which they eventually named their band.

“The last thing (that) I thought I would be doing is singing and making music for a living,” Donehey said. “Kids taught me how to play guitar in the dorm room, and I started writing songs.”

As the band began gaining popularity, the struggle continued for Donehey and the rest of Tenth Avenue North.
According to him, constantly being on the road and working with the rest of the band took some work. He even compared being in a band to being married to four other people.

The band’s current tour will come to an end in April, but according to Donehey, they are planning to spend their summer playing at festivals, vacationing and working on a new Motown-style Christmas album.

According to Donehey, exploring Lynchburg is one of his favorite things to do when Tenth Avenue North comes to town.

“You know what I really dig there? I like going to downtown Lynchburg and hitting up the White Hart. That’s a great spot.”

Even though the White Hart’s owner announced that it will close March 30, Donehey was still enthusiastic about the prospect of playing to a packed Vines Center.

“I’m excited to play to a bunch of Liberty students in there and see if you guys know how to party,” Donehey said.

For more information about Tenth Avenue North’s upcoming concert, visit liberty.edu/sa.

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