June 18, 2009

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Rock music, Christian lyrics
Crossover releases second CD
By Katie Beth Ryan music@hippopress.com

The way Mike Dellindia sees it, the listening public may be fans of Christian rock more often than they realize. That’s because those groups spouting faith-filled lyrics could otherwise pass for your average rock band on the road.

“The thing is, a lot of bands are not saying they’re Christian,” he says. “POD, Relient K … I think as soon as you say ‘Christian rock band,’ people look at you different[ly]. If you just say you’re a rock band, they listen to it and they say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool.’ I think more [than] anything, a lot of the bands are starting to classify themselves as rock to get their foot in the door.”

Dellindia’s band Crossover, based in the Weare Christian Church, counts the Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi and Three Doors Down as its influence. But Crossover is a Christian rock band, and unabashedly so. Formed in 2006, the group just released its second CD, I Can’t Wait, which Dellindia, the band’s lead guitarist, says is a departure from The Armour of Light, released in 2007. Dellindia said that listeners will find greater cohesion and musical unity on its latest offering.

“Our first CD we put together in like five or six months. It was OK,” he recalls. “It’s nothing like the new CD. With this new CD, we took our time. The music is totally different. The first CD was really hard and heavy…. Don’t get me wrong, we like playing hard and heavy, but you can only reach a certain type of people that way. Our new CD, we can reach a bunch of different people. It’s more of an easier listening.”

Rather than strictly adhering to the coffeehouse and teen-night circuit, Crossover is trying to attract more listeners by branching out and playing more mainstream clubs and venues. They enjoy regular sets at Ground Zero in Allenstown and recently participated in the Ground Control event at Milly’s Tavern, sponsored by Illumina Records and intended to give adolescents alternatives to alcohol. Crossover also appeared on the roster at Soulfest 2007 at Gunstock Mountain Resort, a Christian music festival that helped the band assert its place on the regional Christian-rock circuit.

“We’re not looking to be rock stars. We’re just looking to get the word out that there’s alternatives to getting yourself in trouble,” Dellindia says. “You can still have a good time and not get yourself in trouble. To us, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little stage or it’s the Soulfest stage.”

Still, Dellindia says it remains a struggle to convince venue managers and bar owners in the area to give Christian bands a chance, and that’s why so many groups, both in the region and across the country, continue to market themselves to a secular audience. Those attending Crossover’s shows often question whether the band can truly fall under the Christian rock label, but Dellindia says that the message is in the music.

“We go in there, we play our music and most of the time, people are like, ‘That’s not Christian music,’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah it is,’” he says. “It’s all in the lyrics. The music is rock ‘n roll, it’s just the lyrics that are Christian.”

Both Crossover’s new CD, I Can’t Wait, and its previous release, The Armour of Light, are available on iTunes. Crossover will appear on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. at the Rock the Streets Teen Challenge at Veterans Park in Manchester. To listen to tracks from I Can’t Wait, visit www.myspace.com/crossovernh.