Beyond Our Bounds
The Ad Astra story: During the fall of 2006, the praise band from Immanuel Anglican Church was gathered around the table for a monthly band dinner. Talk of a Christmas album filled the air along with the aroma of Greek cuisine. While a Christmas project has yet to appear, "Ad Astra" was birthed and Doug Bowers, Chris Flynn, Mitch Rall, Steve Spayde and Dave Hope began in earnest to create "Ad Astra's" "Beyond Our Bounds" project. The band is comprised of multi-instrumentalists utilizing vintage keyboards, acoustic and electric 6 & 12 string guitars and soaring harmonies. Thus began the daunting task of choosing songs and recording technologies. This was new ground as the team had never recorded together and our recording systems were incompatible. Chris and Mitch had recorded together for years; Doug has a solo project out "KDB3" and assembled several other projects; Steve has many projects and side bands and Dave, now an Anglican priest, was in a former life the bass player for the band "Kansas". After settling on songs and a digital recording format, we were off. We quickly discovered that we didn't have matching schedules. Digital recording made assembling parts almost easy. Ad Astra's 'core' is comprised of three musicians: DOUG BOWERS has an expressive, energetic singing style and has been compared to Echolyn's Ray Weston. Doug has been playing music professionally for over 30 years. Primarily a keyboardist, Doug also provides guitar and bass for recordings. His writing leans toward the harder edge progressive of rock. Straight forward, clear lyrics hallmark Doug's Christian worldview. Doug's 2000 release 'Autobiograph', spurred the trio to record. CHRISTOPHER FLYNN is the deep thinker of the band. Providing the more abstract, yet focused lyrics, Chris' contributions never lose sight of bringing the believer closer to Christ. Chris is the primary guitarist for Ad Astra with a special fondness for the acoustic and electric 12 string. His fluid bass playing lays the foundation for most of the band's songs. He has been playing and writing for over 30 years. Chris has helped many Christian singer / songwriters take their first steps. MITCH RALL provides the rhythmic foundation for the Ad Astra. As the time keeper for the band, Mitch's drumming provides what each song requires; rock solid, straight forward energetic drive. Mitch is also a lead vocalist for the band and provides killer harmonies. His contributions are introspective by nature and add counterpoint. He is also a proficient guitarist, keyboardist and has many years of experience as a writer. Mitch has helped many CCM writers take their first steps into realizing their dreams. The name "Ad Astra" is inspired by a quote taken from the Launch Complex 34 at the Kennedy Space center. LC34 is where the Apollo 1 astronauts died during a mission test. A memorial plaque there that reads: "In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so others could reach for the stars, Ad astra per aspera, (a rough road leads to the stars) God speed to the crew of Apollo 1." It is our hope and desire that our music can help others reach Heaven. About the album, Beyond Our Bounds: The songs on "Beyond Our Bounds" form a portrait of the growth of an individual's soul. Beginning with the first flush of new life, the album moves through the seasons and challenges facing the maturing Christian throughout his or her spiritual walk. The first song on the CD "Liberty", celebrates the contrast between the old and new man, and the liberation that comes with salvation. "Beyond our Bounds" articulates the musings of a new Christian, struggling to integrate hard questions with Biblical truth. "Fallen World" evokes the times when inexplicable and tragic events seem to shake our faith to the core: "Sometimes all we can do - is believe". "Spirit Wars" examines the reality of spiritual conflicts, the kind that occur as a believer enters fully into community, and wrestles with the truth that the Church is made up of sinful human beings. "Severe Mercy" points to the fact that only God's mercy, and not our own efforts, can see us through on the spiritual journey. The acoustic "Ed Spence" paints an audio portrait of a soul caught up in the deepening grace of prayer, and "All God Does" speaks to the maturing realization that as Julian of Norwich said, "All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." And finally, "Angle of Repose" is a bold declaration of the individual's unique identity in Christ, despite the expectations of those around them. Taken together, the songs proclaim that, in Christ, we can move beyond that which "ties us down to who we are". We can indeed fulfill our God-given destinies by traveling "Beyond Our Bounds".
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