— Select a Band Member —
Kutless – “Glory”
When a band’s first priority is to declare God’s glory through song, it doesn’t worry too much about
fitting into one particular genre of music. Perhaps that’s why some fans have alternating definitions
of Kutless, the best-selling rock . . . , no, worship . . . no, rock/worship hit makers from Portland, OR.
On the inspiring new studio album Glory, its eighth with BEC Recordings, a perfect balance is struck
as lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall, guitarists James Mead and Nick de Partee, and drummer Kyle
Peek celebrate with electrifying abandon not their collective identity but the mighty name of Jesus.
“Our goal with Glory was simply to worship louder and clearer than ever before,” de Partee says of
the amped up and sometimes stripped down set. “We felt led to create original songs that could be
sung on an acoustic guitar in a Bible study or in an arena with the masses shouting God’s praises.”
Much of that motivation for Kutless came from recently reading the book of Revelation together at
church. The epic scenes of heavenly worship in scripture, where all creatures unanimously exalt
God and bring glory to His name, don’t quite match today’s often plaintive, introverted worship.
“There’s such a joy in Revelation where it describes the voices of many angels and everyone in
heaven and on earth worshiping the Lord,” says Mead. “We discussed the way that enthusiastic
response to God’s presence is kind of how people react to rock music. As a band known for rock and
worship music, this put a desire in us to write some really powerful, uplifting, victorious songs!”
With two gold albums and 12 No. 1 radio hits already charted—including “Strong Tower,” “What
Faith Can Do,” and “Carry Me to the Cross”—that fresh challenge for Kutless to reach a new level of
creativity writing music with heaven in mind would prove to be an exciting experience.
Indeed, the heart of worship beats strong from the start on Glory as the telltale anthem “Revelation”
kicks in with gang vocals, crackling guitars, and lyrical passages that nod to the Bible’s vivid throne
room imagery. “We Lift You Up,” “Rest,” and “Always” are other standout band compositions,
pounding and racing with action movie soundtrack speed and ferocity that never distracts from the
heartfelt main message. Enjoy keeping up: this is praise with an undeniable passion and pulse.
“We love worship. We love rock. Instead of separating the two styles, now we just do worship songs
that rock,” Sumrall says with a laugh. “I’ve felt that need myself for more upbeat songs as a music
leader at church. There aren’t a lot of selections that come out swinging. I hope this album provides
energetic new song choices for other worship leaders and listeners alike. Everyone can sing along.”
Track for track, Glory confirms Kutless spent more time writing together than ever before, making a
decided effort at the outset to construct simple, memorable melodies that would find power in the
words they carry and the music surrounding them—a natural combination of worship and rock.
“We’ve come to realize on this record that there is no point in trying to separate those two elements
of the band,” explains Mead. “Really, those two combined are the core of who we are as Kutless.”
Even in the slowed down moments on Glory, there’s a lot of musical muscle that can be credited to
Sumrall’s pleasing signature voice and the confident, creative playing of new drummer Peek who
was previously a member of American Idol winner David Cook’s band. Grace, grit, and grandeur
coexist on booming mid-tempo highlight “In Jesus’ Name” and the defining first single, “You Alone.”
“A lot of Christians have watered down the singularity of the gospel. That tends to be a theme these
days,” says Sumrall. “But there’s only one God, and he alone is worthy of glory and praise. We see all
throughout the Bible people trying to add different paths to salvation, but it never works out.”
de Partee adds, “We want to point every single listener to the simple yet powerful truth that God
alone deserves our worship. We have hope and peace only through what he has done through Jesus
Christ, and that’s the point of songs like ‘Revelation,’ ‘You Alone,’ ‘All to You,’ and ‘Restore Me.’ It’s
all about the glory of God.”
The guys in Kutless know not everyone who hears their music will be in a close relationship with
God. For that reason the band decided to record “Never Too Late” as a means of outreach on Glory.
“Kutless has a growing heart for evangelism. It’s important to reach out to those who don’t know
God yet, those who may be struggling with something and who feel like they can’t worship him,”
says Sumrall. “This song is a simple invitation to repent and turn, to let God forgive, heal, and
That theme grows from the individual to the masses on Glory’s closing statement, “In the City,” an
unplugged song that nevertheless showcases a powerful blending of guitars and percussion, and
rocks the listener with a poetic prayer of hope and truth:
Bless this city in Jesus’ name / Let your
healing fall like rain / God you gave us everything / May your church do more than sing.
“The songs on Glory are easy to learn, and we really hope they will be useful to worship leaders and
a blessing to the church,” concludes Sumrall. “But we know none of it matters if people don’t come
to know the Lord. In the studio, on the stage, and one on one, Kutless is just striving more and more
every day now to bring the focal point onto the gospel.”
Look for Kutless this spring on the “Change a Life Tour” with Audio Adrenaline sponsored by Food
for the Hungry. There’s going to be plenty of God-glorifying worship, and it’s going to rock.