Jon Micah Sumrall, lead singer of the rock-meets-worship Christian band Kutless, released his first solo album, Faith & Family, in February. After sixteen years of touring, producing records, and writing songs for Kutless many have wondered—why a solo album?
“For years I’ve written songs that never made it on a Kutless record. They were too personal, so the songs just sort of sat there. Friends and small audiences I shared them with always told me I needed to record them. I always thought, someday, I will…”
That someday finally came, and Jon Micah spent months in 2014 finishing the songs to record. The songs range from love ballads written for his wife to in-depth looks into his faith journey. Jon Micah says writing music has often been an outlet for different stages of life.
“Personal testimonies are powerful…each of these songs are like a journal page from my life.”
Jon Micah’s Life In Song
One of Jon Micah’s favorite songs on the album is titled “Picture.” It’s a song Jon Micah wrote for his wife expressing his desire to savor the memories. His goal for the end of his life, he says, is to grow old with her, and stand next to her and thank her for the memories.
“I can think of moments with my wife I wish I could capture and freeze, you know?” said Jon Micah. “Then life gets hectic, and I wish to have those moments back.”
Jon Micah shares the songs about faith on this record are honest glimpses of where he is with God. Unlike most music, which is a monologue, Jon Micah’s songs are a dialogue about his faith journey. They are a reflection of moments where He engaged with God and it’s in those moments God’s character were revealed and made more personal to Jon Micah.
A New Sound for Jon Micah
Musically, Jon Micah’s record is different from the traditional Kutless sound. One of Jon Micah’s only rules was this album wouldn’t feature electric guitar. This small tweak allowed for him to experiment with many different instruments he doesn’t normally play on Kutless records. On Faith & Family, Jon Micah played the guitar, cello, piano, percussion, and even the xylophone throughout the recording process. One of the coolest things for him was playing on a 1939 Steinway piano, a family heirloom inherited from Jon Micah’s grandmother.
The hardest part of making Faith & Family a reality, John Micah said, was the logistics. Between tours and recording, Jon Micah spent years dreaming before he finally got to work on it.
“For me it’s an accomplishment just to have all these songs from so many years together on an album.”
And don’t worry, the band is doing just fine. Jon Micah assures concerned Kutless listeners that Faith & Family was simply a side project. Kutless is doing great and currently working on their ninth album.