Christian band wins invitation to music festival

Courtesy photo Portales Christian rock band Third Morning Rise will be performing at the Rock the Desert music festival in Midland, Texas.

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico

Portales Christian rock band Third Morning Rise is making a name for itself after only a year playing together.

The four-member band is leaving for the Christian music festival Rock the Desert in Midland, Texas, Friday where crowds are expected to number 50,000 or more. The members admit they’re nervous but excited about the chance for their group to take a leap forward.

“I was a little bit nervous before yesterday’s practice,” said lead guitarist Jake Jones. “I feel a little calmer right now.”

Lead singer Victoria Payen doesn’t hide her nervousness however.

“I was completely chill and calm until … about …. today and now it’s like … , she said nervously.

Payen and Jones know exactly what they’re in for, having been to the festival before. Their fellow band members Arthur Luay and Ryan Wood haven’t had that experience. They say they’ll be playing on the same stage with big-name Christian bands they’ve listened to for years.

So far the crowds they’ve played for have been a lot smaller. One of the bigger audiences was at this year’s Relay For Life. They’ve opened for an Albuquerque band and played a lot of coffee shop dates and the like until this week.

“We decided if anything was ever going to come of this we needed to take some action,” Jones said.

The band earned an invitation to play Rock the Desert after winning an online battle of the bands competition against 20 other bands in the region. They will also travel to Nashville in October to compete against 11 other regional winners in the competition sponsored by the Provident Label Group. Winning that competition would assure them of a recording contract with one of the group’s labels.

Payen and Wood grew up in Portales and their bandmates have lived there long enough that they figure the band is a slice of Portales.

Jones said Luay took the name because it was the third morning after the crucifixion that Christ’s followers came to his tomb and found it empty — an important day for Christians, he said.

Payen started out playing bass guitar before switching to lead vocal.

“It was unanimous,” Jones said of the switch. “This girl can write songs. She’s an amazing lyricist and she writes them so fast.”

The group has several original songs that vary from up-tempo rock that’s a little louder to slower softer songs that Payen refers to as “the girly stuff.” Group members say they enjoy the variety.

“When I write, I write in a Christian way but a lot of people interpret it different,” Payen said.

The band members are serious about making music a career and anticipating their big chance.

“I personally could see this as a career,” Payen said. “I’m just going to school (Eastern New Mexico University) until I become famous,” she joked.

“I sat down and talked to everyone,” Jones said. “I’m really serious about this, it’s a huge dream of mine. … I don’t think I could settle for being just a hobby band.”

On the Web:

myspace.com/thirdmorningrise

rockthedesert.com

providentlabelgroup.com