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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Next stop: TV?

Friday, October 16, 2009

During a recent RideTheWind practice session, Indiana State University student Tyler Mattox played bass (front right) while insurance salesman Dave Loughmiller performed background vocals and played lead guitar as musician Jonny McLain (left) played guitar and sang an original song, "Rescue Me." Ivy Jacobs Photo.
* Area band receives VIP audition for 'America's Got Talent'

With each feeling emptiness in their lives, the members of the newly formed alternative Christian band RideTheWind feel God has brought them together for a purpose.

Brazil residents Rick Swearingen, Dave Henry and Tyler Mattox agree everything sort of "fell into place" as they each began playing Christian music with local musicians Dave Loughmiller and Jonny McLain.

Swearingen, who plays drums in the local Christian band P150, said he was looking for a way to reach out musically -- to help others fill the hollowness of their lives -- when McLain approached him.

"Without a thought, I said yes," Swearingen said. "Then, when Jonny announced he was dedicating his life to God and wanted to play Christian music, I thought 'Wow, here we go.'"

Swearingen said he knew this was the peace-of-heart he had been looking for.

"I knew this was where I am supposed to be. The music, it's my church," Swearingen said. "Every time we play together, I hear the words and it brings me closer to the walk I need to be on with God. Trust me, I've not always been there. But I've reached a place in my life where I don't want to turn back."

After hearing McLain and Loughmiller play a Christian concert at church, Henry made a prophetic statement to his wife.

Local insurance salesman Dave Henry plays harp for the alternative Christian band RideTheWind. Ivy Jacobs Photo.
"I told her, 'If (Jonny) ever asks me to play, I'm saying yes,'" Henry said. "I've always thought there was something more out there for me."

However, Henry said he wasn't quite sure how playing a harp would fit into the mix, but it fits into the band's unique style that ranges from traditional gospel ballads to original songs that rock the house.

"What band do you know of that has a harp?" Henry asked, adding when McLain asked, he quickly said yes. "I'm so thankful for this experience. I can't believe it sometimes."

As the four were discussing their need for a bass player, Mattox, 19, took a chance and called McLain about playing with the band. All of the band members said the young man "wowed" them with his talent and his dedication to his religious convictions.

"I've really wanted to do this my entire life. I believe everyone is created for a purpose," Mattox said. "This is mine."

For Loughmiller and McLain, who were performing in Nashville, the opportunity to climb the ladder of success playing secular rock music left them both feeling hollow inside after playing at the "Come Celebrate Recovery" event in July.

"(At the Brazil Walnut Theater), the crowd was filled with joy and the spirit moved them," McLain said. "The joy of what was happening at that event, it just filled your soul. It wasn't the start of the change in me, but it was a big part of the reason I gave my life to the Lord."

The feeling that music could matter, that it could help someone, apparently wasn't in Nashville.

"We didn't talk about it at first, but we both felt it. I know I did," Loughmiller said, adding it took a couple of weeks before they talked about how they were both feeling. "The crowds we were playing to didn't seem to really be listening to the music. They just walked around."

Rick Swearingen, a local correctional officer and reserve officer at Brazil Police Department, plays drums for RideTheWind. Ivy Jacobs Photo.
"It was a lot of fun, there were so many things happening around us," McLain said. "But you could tell that people really didn't care. It wasn't like the crowd we had at Come Celebrate Recovery."

McLain, the son of a pastor, said he soon realized he wanted his music to have a purpose and bring people together. Remembering his father's advice to take advantage of God's opportunities, McLain made the choice to leave secular music behind and start writing Christian music with a little zing.

"We only had like two or three songs in the beginning," he said about his worries the band wouldn't have enough material for a CD. "But thanks to Dee Swaim, we now have enough and even have a few left over."

With a unique sound, the band has caught the attention of the producers of "America's Got Talent." The "band of brothers" packed up their musical instruments and headed off to Chicago, Ill., early this morning to perform at a walk-in VIP audition for the television show around 4:45 p.m. this afternoon.

"We were told that they've never had an alternative Christian band perform on the show before," Loughmiller said. "They weren't even sure they had heard of a band like ours."

Excited doesn't begin to describe how the band members feel, but one tried.

"We're stoked," Loughmiller said as the rest of the band nodded in agreement. "Stoked is the only word I know that describes how this feels."

However, one band member admits to feeling a little different.

"My heart has changed. For me, this isn't about fame or money anymore. None of this is about me anymore. My life has always been God's, but I stepped away by my own choice. I'm home again," McLain said. "This is about what God wants. For us, this is about helping people and following an opportunity God has allowed us to do together. This band, we're brothers. We do this together in the spirit, or we don't go."

The 'Wind' on stage

When Christ Community Church Pastor Rich Laskowski announced from his pulpit "You've found the wind of God, now ride the wind," two local musicians, who had just finished performing for the congregation, knew their destinies were being changed.

Going where "God takes them," the members of alternative Christian band "RideTheWind" are on their way to Chicago, Ill., today to participate in a 4:45 p.m., VIP audition for the talent show "America's Got Talent."

The band will perform at 6 p.m., during the Fall Fest '09 event at Christ Community Church, 10942 North State Road 59, on Oct. 24.

On Nov. 1, the band will perform at Bethel United Methodist Church during an evening worship service.

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I know three of these men and I am so happy to think of who this could touch and where it could lead. Those that haven't received the Holy Spirit, take note! (No pun inteneded.)

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 10:01 AM

I know how music is your passion Tyler and you can "wow" everyone with your playing. I love you very much nephew; please don't mess up your college! I watched my own son(your cousin) throw away a scholarship and did'nt go to college; please don't do the same. You have plenty of years to play and there will many chances for someone with your talent. I truly wish you the very best today on your audition; I would love to see you on America's Got Talent!! Just don't forget school!! I love you! Aunt J

-- Posted by minimite on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 2:34 PM

Awesome article...great to see local talent going big! Thanks to the Brazil Times for featuring encouraging articles like this on the front page! RideTheWind...keep up the good work! Great group of men...awesome talent!

-- Posted by Countrylady on Sun, Oct 18, 2009, at 11:08 AM

"...The opportunity to climb the ladder of success playing secular rock music..." Do any of these guys have a record deal of any sort because I've never heard of them... And I seriously doubt that anyone in the above article has any fame to walk away from... I guess if you can't make it playing mainstream rock you can always try playing Christian.... Perhaps there was a reason that they felt no one was listening....

-- Posted by Seriously??? on Mon, Oct 19, 2009, at 8:53 PM

Before you post negative comments, you might try giving them a chance...have you heard the band, Seriously? They actually are very good! I think we should support our local talent...you never know when someone might put our small town on the map. Take the opportunity to listen to them this Saturday before you judge them. I personally LOVE hearing them play! We really do have some great talent in our little town! I'm very proud! Hope everyone will go out and support them!

-- Posted by Countrylady on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 1:11 PM

I think it is wonderful to see our local talent do well, and be supported by our local people. And if they want to sing for God and His glory, then that's the best they can do, not second best. Poor Seriously??? might want to listen to some upbeat music.

-- Posted by Gardener on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 2:14 PM

There are levels of understanding that surpass the logic of man. Seriously, you appear to have quite a root of bitterness there. I can attest firsthand that this is a calling, and not a case of Sour Grapes as you appear to suggest. Perhaps this is not a serious critique, but simple flamebait.

In any case, I would challenge you to show up this Saturday, at Christ Community Church, at 4 pm and evaluate their hearts firsthand. While you're at it we will feed you and entertain you as well.

Give us the opportunity to make sure that you understand.

-- Posted by Medbob on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 3:18 PM

Seriously???, you should take the time to listen to the music before posting so negatively. Maybe God will touch your heart with their music and you will not be so quick to judge. By actually reading the article, I believe the basis of the group is not fame or fortune, but the desire to glorify God using the gifts He gave them. Good luck guys! Hopefully you'll get to showcase your talents for the world to see and hear!

-- Posted by huladancer on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 4:14 PM

I have listened to this music... Opinion still stands... Praise Jesus!

-- Posted by Seriously??? on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 9:29 PM

There is nothing sweeter the hypocritical sarcasm. Do you actually have an opinion Seriously? All of the stuff you posted are just quotes from the article. Let's here "your" opinion and while you are at it why don't you stand up and be a man/woman, quit hiding behind an alias.

""...The opportunity to climb the ladder of success playing secular rock music..." Do any of these guys have a record deal of any sort because I've never heard of them..." The point of AGT is to find talent not rehash someone that already has made it big. They(AGT, the largest talent contest in the World) thought they are good enough to give them a VIP pass and walk them past hundreds of people waiting in line to audition so honestly your one little misguided opinion really doesn't matter.

-- Posted by jrowe on Wed, Oct 21, 2009, at 9:32 AM

I will freely admit that I am not the most religious person in the world. However, I do admire someone that has the discipline to dedicate their life to the Lord. Because I personally feel that someone willing to dedicate their life to Christ also takes on the responsibility of representing Christ with their actions. It should be a lifelong dedication not something that someone runs back and forth to.

With that being said I would hope that any church in the area would ask around before allowing any group or person to play at their church. You might find out that sometimes morals supersede entertainment.

I hope I have kept my views as unbiased as possible; even though I have to admit I did become concerned after reading this article.

-- Posted by lets_be_real on Wed, Oct 21, 2009, at 7:48 PM

Three of the band members are members of the church they are playing at this weekend, so they are known, and trusted. lets_be_real, you should come! Free food and entertainment tonight at 4. Christ Community Church on North St Rd. 59

-- Posted by JJLMRIP on Sat, Oct 24, 2009, at 11:13 AM

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