Noah James, Executives Concert Benefits Campus Ministries

May 7, 2013

Ouachita Baptist is no stranger to musical talent. Not only the talent to perform in front of a live audience but also the talent to write, record and produce a high-quality record as well.

Teaming up in efforts to raise money for Ouachita Campus Ministries’ mission trip to South Africa this summer, several Ouachita students have worked together to create a five song extended play (EP) self-titled album called “Noah James and the Executives.”

“Noah James and the Executives” consists of acoustic guitar player and lead singer Noah James Mitchell, a senior Christian studies major from Monticello, Ark., electric guitar player Taylor Lamb, a senior Christian studies major from Conway, Ark., bass player Michael Curtis, a senior music major from Wylie, Texas, and drummer Zach Zucha, a senior business finance major from Wylie, Texas.

The songs are original renditions of classic hymns that include “Blessed Assurance,” “Nothing But the Blood,” “There Is a Fountain,” “Softly and Tenderly” and “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

Others involved with the recording include Craig Hamilton with brass, Chris Mazen on the organ, Carli Sasser providing background vocals and a student-led choir of 16 people. The mix was sent out to be mastered by Christen Nelson, a producer and mastering engineer in Las Vegas, Nev.

The EP was written, produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by Curtis, who spent around 120 hours total producing the record.

“We spent around 60-70 hours tracking, usually starting around 10 p.m. ‘til around 2 or 3 in the morning in the recital hall or band room,” he said.

Producing a new album had been a desire for all of the guys in the group and the idea of redoing hymns was an easy choice, considering that they would not have to spend any extra time writing new lyrics. It also gave the group an opportunity to collaborate.

“Noah has been wanting to release an EP since finishing his last one,” Curtis said. “Realizing it’d be hard to make a full length album while being a full time student would be really difficult, he opted for a shorter EP.”

The group enjoyed bouncing ideas off of each other and agreeing on how the songs would all be structured.

“It was so much fun to take hymns that were so familiar and totally turn them upside down.  Getting to put my own spin on something that’s been written for over a hundred years was really cool,” Curtis said.

One week after the album’s release, “Noah James and the Executives” has raised more than $1,100 for the Campus Ministries trip to South Africa in the summer.

As for Curtis, aspirations of furthering a career in music production are real possibilities.

“I would love to become more involved in the live music scene as well as grow in the studio environment,” he said.  “I’d love to eventually open my own full-time studio, so any and all experience recording will be huge.  I’d also love to keep playing bass, not just on my own stuff, but on other people’s records, too.”

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