192. Mansion Builder – 2nd Chapter of Acts
MANSION BUILDER (1978)
2nd Chapter of Acts
There is a lot of discussion about just who the most influential artists in Christian Music/Jesus Music history were. Larry Norman, Love Song, Barry McGuire and Randy Stonehill always seem to take center stage of those discussions. We would be remiss not to mention the vital importance of three siblings from Southern California, especially their songwriting leader, sister Annie (Ward) Herring.
No artist moved from Jesus Music pioneer to CCM juggernaut quite as gracefully and successfully as 2nd Chapter of Acts. Their progression as artist and importance as ministers and musicians cannot be understated. Billy Ray Hearn of Myrrh Records left the label to start his own record company in 1976. The first artists signed to this start up were Keith Green, Annie Herring and 2nd Chapter of Acts.
Green was the first national release only because 2nd Chapter of Acts was on hiatus for a year or so while Annie worked on and released her first solo project (already listed here). After three successful projects on Myrrh the group left with Hearn and eventually released the classic “Mansion Builder.”
Filled with some of the most majestic and worshipful contemporary music of the 1970’s the album remains a favorite over 30 years later. The title track is a true classic and would be amongst those songs listed in a top 100 songs in CCM history.
The musical acuteness is accentuated by a wonderful supporting cast that included members of their traveling band, a band called David. Peter York, Richard Souther, Michael Omartian, Bill Maxwell and Abraham Laborial all had a hand in this project and their stellar musicianship shows.
The ABBA influence is still here but is coupled with Herring’s more classical and traditional Church music influences. Well before there was a Contemporary Worship scene and “Maranatha Praise” albums there was the 2nd Chapter of Acts. They created worship music in a very contemporary setting and this allowed them into many settings other Christian artists could not enter. They continued to be “safe” and “relevant” at the same time. That was no small order.
Two more albums will find there way onto the list, but it must be noted that their success, and the success of their friends Phil Keaggy and Keith Green helped launch Sparrow and make it what it has become.