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Switchfoot And Other Music Builds Tour Bands Mean It -- Literally

Of the Oakland Press

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The title of Habitat For Humanity’s Music Builds Tour is no misnomer.

The four faith-based rock groups — Switchfoot, Third Day, Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Jars of Clay — are using the tour to raise money for the charity, which builds homes in needy areas. And in select markets, the musicians will take tools in hand to participate in actual builds taking place in tour stop areas — though next week’s kick-off show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre is not one of them.

“The last tour that we did, two years ago, supported Habitat and that was probably one of my favorite moments,” says Switchfoot singer Jon Foreman. “It was great to talk to the folks we were supporting and then go and actually put siding on the house, lay tile, that sort of thing.

“It adds a lot to what you’re doing at night (at the concerts). We’ve had a lot of folks on our team that have raised their eyebrows at us going out to a build site and operate machinery. But I feel that to talk about it and not actually put your money where your mouth is would be a much greater evil.”

The Music Builds Tour has an extra resonance for Switchfoot, which recently left its major label deal and plans to release its a new album on its own label in 2009 after putting out a greatest hits set in the fall — which will include “This is Home,” Switchfoot’s contribution to the soundtrack of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

The group has never denied the Christian roots of its music, but it’s seldom put them out front. But that’s changing on this tour.

“We thought a lot about it before we signed up for this,” acknowledges Foreman, 31, who released a series of seasonal-themed EPs this year. “I guess we came to the conclusion that the cause was greater than anything we would lose, and at some point you just have to let close-minded people be close-minded people and just be yourself.

“We’ve come to the point in our career where we know who we are, and if some people don’t understand it I’m totally OK with that. I get really cynical and skeptical whenever I see faith being used to sell something, but the fact is many of our songs are coming from a spiritual place, and hopefully this tour can illuminate what we’re all about a little bit more.”

The Music Builds Tour, featuring Switchfoot, Third Day, Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Jars of Clay, plays at 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 21) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $30-$65 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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