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Home > Music > Artists


Genre: Rock, Pop, Inspirational/Worship
Members: Leeland Mooring (vocals, guitar), Jack Mooring (keyboards, vocals), Jake Holtz (bass), Mike Smith (drums), Matt Campbell (guitar)
For fans of: Keane, Snow Patrol, Travis, Coldplay, U2, Delirious
Label: Essential Records

Aaron ShustDiscography
Opposite Way (2008)New
Sound of Melodies (2006)

If you like this artist, try …
Telecast, Tree63, Phil Wickham, Jason Morant, Robbie Seay Band, After Edmund

Against the Grain
Christian Music Today
Whether making music with his band, leading others into a relationship with Jesus, or marrying his sweetheart, 19-year-old Leeland Mooring only wants to do it if it's pleasing to God.
[ Go to more interviews ]

Opposite WayREVIEW
Opposite Way
Christian Music Today
Opposite Way is in many ways a superior album to Sound of Melodies, though it lacks variety and the same sort of high points found on Leeland's first album.
[ Go to more reviews ]

Biography (courtesy of Essential Records)
Buy 'em here!
Sound of Melodies
Sound of Melodies

Passionate, progressive and worshipful are just a few adjectives to describe the band Leeland, and the heart behind its sophomore album, Opposite Way. Not only does the GRAMMY and four-time Dove Award nominated band live up to the buzz from Christian music's most influential artists (including Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin and Switchfoot to name a few), but the Baytown, Texas-bred five piece exceeds expectations through eleven gems of prayerful power, and life-changing substance.

"A major theme on our new album is toencourage our generation to live passionately for the Lord, evenwhenit means going the 'opposite way' of the world," muses front man Leeland Mooring, (also a respected songwriter outside of the band, who prominently contributed to Michael W. Smith's recent album, Stand). "It's OK to be different. It's OK to 'live out loud' for God. Our goal is to be a creative outlet, helping toraise up a new generation of worshippers who do whatever ittakes to make that 'opposite way' a reality in their lives."

The band's age-range is 19-24 years old, giving them an ability to speak to high school and college age listeners, not to mention adults of all associations interested in artful musical expressions and a spirit of revitalization. On Opposite Way, the gang builds upon the astute musical influences first addressed on 2006's Sound of Melodies, including Travis, Coldplay, David Gray and U2, while tapping into its original blend of dynamic ebbs and flows. Yet that complexity is merely the initial platform for a more involved message, which centers on witnessing to the world at large.

"The underlying theme is to act out in faith and reach out to the world," the front man continues. "It's all about keeping your eyes open and looking for opportunities, whether coming across a lady at the store who looks stressed out and praying for her, or reaching out to a homeless person on the side of the street. When we worship, we feel the presence of God in a powerful way, but one of the biggest ways you can encounter Him is through acting out in faith on a daily basis, and living out the love of Jesus."

Such sentiments are immediately evident throughout the disc's elaborate spread, which range between the anthems "Count Me In" and "Let It Out Now," through the vertical "Enter This Temple" and "Falling For You." There's the yearning title track, the energetic "Don't Go Away," and the magnetic "Wake Up," which comprise just a handful of crests throughout the constant highlight reel. Such carefully crafted expressions benefit from Leeland's incredibly gifted, and beyond his years, songwriting maturity; but also incorporate a full band approach on several occasions to showcase the band's ongoing chemistry.

"We were working on new material until it was time to go in to the studio and record," adds Jack Mooring, the band's keyboard player and Leeland's older brother. "On the first project, Leeland and I were the main songwriters, but this time we all came with ideas. As a band, we co-wrote 'Count Me In,' 'Don't Go Away' and 'Opposite Way.' When you consider the broader creative input of the band, all of the different ideas and perspectives, you can trace the lyrical development between albums."

Opposite Way branches out in a stylistic sense as well, turning to a more developed, but still remarkably accessible, outpouring of instrumental combinations. For starters, the group credits its nearly endless time on tour throughout the past two years as means of additional refinement, along with several conscious tweaks to its pre-existing formula.

"On Sound of Melodies, we were trying to find our groove and where it laid, but on Opposite Way I feel like we really nailed down our sound," notes bassist Jake Holtz (also cousin to Leeland and Jack). Jake also cites the guys' increased friendship with one another as an additional means of creative cooperation, with roots dating back to his upbringing on the same street alongside the Mooring boys, along with their seven year-plus friendship with drummer Mike Smith. Additionally, the guys share a lengthy friendship with new guitarist Matt Campbell, a one time youth pastor who let the guys practice at his church in the band's early days, when their previous funeral home rehearsal space was unavailable.

Following the release of Sound of Melodies, Leeland collected a 2007 GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album, not to mention four band Dove Award nominations (38th Annual) for categories as diverse as New Artist of the Year, Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year ("Sound of Melodies"), Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year (Sound of Melodies) and Praise and Worship Album of the Year (Sound of Melodies). Leeland and Jack received two additional Dove Award nominations each, as songwriters, in the Worship Song category for "Yes You Have," and the Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song category for "Sound of Melodies."

All the while, the band has toured incessantly across North America and even Japan, including a series of major festival appearances, headlining shows and opening for Casting Crowns on the entire Fall 2007 through Spring 2008 "The Altar and the Door" arena tour.

Amid the flurry of activity, all members are committed to their original calling of reaching out to the world around them (manifested even further by the practical Opposite Way theme). "It's been something we've poured our whole lives into doing, and more than ever, we're committed to this path," Leeland ventures. "My mom said it best when she told us, 'Nothing could trade the peace and contentment your family receives from you guys being involved in ministry.' Our parents' and families' reward for all their hard work and support is seeing us minister full-time with our lives. We're not here to just be a rock band—we're here to worship and raise up a generation of worshippers, which is a constant that won't change."

Against the Grain, Christian Music Today
Introducing … Leeland, Christian Music Today

Opposite Way, Christian Music Today
Sound Of Melodies, Christian Music Today

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