|Saturday||7:00 pm||North Stage|
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After three full-length albums, several countries, hundreds of shows, thousands of
miles and over 1.6 million faces rocked, Portland, Oregon-based fivesome Kutless has decided
it’s just as great to give as it is to receive. They’re doing so this year with the forthcoming
release of the band’s fourth full-length album, Hearts Of The Innocent. With tour dates ahead,
Kutless looks to contribute its part in giving back to the world that has been so kind to them over
the past six years. In fact, the alternative rock act already started linking up with charities last
year, performing a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims and raising over $50,000 in one
night. And, according to Kutless vocalist Jon Micah Sumrall, the Katrina benefit was just the
start, as the band anticipates teaming up with other charities in the near future.
Such goodwill will also be spread through the band’s music, most notably their latest effort,
Hearts Of The Innocent. Produced by Aaron Sprinkle, Hearts Of The Innocent was assembled
sporadically throughout 2005. While most artists would see such intermittent recording
schedules as an obstruction to a creative process, Sumrall actually saw the time between
recording sessions as a positive aspect. “I think it even helped with the overall diversity of the
record, as we weren’t in one mindset throughout the entire recording process,” he says. “I’m
very excited about it and am very pleased with the way it turned out.”
Hearts Of The Innocent fires off with the propulsive single, “Shut Me Out.”
“We kind of wanted to put out the first single with an in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll song,” says
Sumrall, “to be like, ‘Hey, we’re back and we’re rockin’ it.’”
The title track is a message of awareness, of which Sumrall says is a wake-up call to the
generation of adults to take closer look at the neglected youth across the world.
“Our whole focus is to reach out to young people and traveling around, you see a lot of hurting
people,” he continues. “It seems like it gets younger and younger every year. Ten-year-old kids
are dealing with stuff that ten-year-old kids shouldn’t even know about. It’s really sad, I think.
We need to make a difference. We’re pretty young, still, but we’ve tried to set a standard and do
the best we can.”
Hearts Of The Innocent marks the recording debut of the band’s newest members,
drummer Jeffrey Gilbert and bassist Dave Leutkenhoelter, both formerly of Seven Places.
Launched by original members Sumrall and guitarists James Mead and Ryan Shrout, Kutless
formed while still in college in 2000, signed to Tooth & Nail/BEC in late 2001 and had released
its self-titled debut the following year. 2004 brought the band’s sophomore effort, Sea Of Faces,
and in ’05, Strong Tower, was released.
Kutless had persevered from its initial rough road, eventually sustaining themselves with their
musical talents, and today, are giving back to the community. “This year, we’ve been reaching
out a little bit more,” says Sumrall. “We’ve got three records out now and we’ve kind of
solidified the band, so to speak. It’s been fun, because now, this past year and this coming year,
we’ll be able to branch out and team up with other organizations and partnerships to try and
make a difference in the world and in individuals’ lives.”