September 12, 2008

They Hammer Out Love, All Over This Land


WHO: Switchfoot, Third Day, Jars of Clay, Robert Randolph & the Family Band.

WHAT: Rock, gospel, Christian contemporary music.

WHEN: 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: PNC Bank Arts Center, Exit 116 Garden State Parkway, Holmdel. 732-203-2500 or

HOW MUCH: $20.25 to $125.25.



These days, Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman is trading his Gibson for nails and a hammer. It's not a far-off transition making music is, after all, a building process but when the 31-year-old helped construct an Indianapolis house, he was crafting something that appealed to senses other than the ears.

"For somebody who normally plays guitar for a living, to get up and swing a hammer and see something materialize is really gratifying," he said. "Most of music is involving things [that are] very ethereal and non-physical."

The 23-city Music Builds Tour brings co-headliners Switchfoot and Third Day together with Jars of Clay and Robert Randolph & the Family Band to promote the work of local Habitat for Humanity chapters. The bands also get to pitch in on projects in various stops.

Last year a smaller version of the tour raised $100,000. Foreman says the bands are hoping to raise three times that amount this fall.

"I've been to Africa, I've been to India, and there's many social justice issues over there that need our support and our help," Foreman said. "But sometimes I think it's overwhelming, and this is a chance to actually do physical labor in your community that will [help] people out in a very tangible way."

Music Builds connects with the musical messages of San Diego- based Switchfoot, which includes bassist Tim Foreman, drummer Chad Butler, keyboardist-guitarist Jerome Fontamillas and guitarist Drew Shirley. Jon Foreman, who writes nearly all the band's songs, uses them to explore themes of soul-searching and socio-political consciousness.

"Everyone is on their own journey, and whenever you try and define people ... it puts them on display like [they are] in some sort of a zoo cage," he said. "[These songs] are basically signposts on the road of the journey that I'm on, where I'm learning the need to understand the world around me."

After releasing three albums under Columbia Records, including 2003's "The Beautiful Letdown" that featured hits "Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move," Switchfoot gathered enough support to survive as an independent band, now free to explore other projects. Foreman released four solo EPs in the last year and anticipates the January debut of Fiction Family, his side project with Sean Watkins of progressive band Nickel Creek.

Attendees at the PNC Bank Arts Center show are encouraged to sign up to help their local Habitat for Humanity chapter and will have the opportunity to connect with representatives from the organization.

"My goal, my hope is that people get plugged into Music Builds," Foreman said. "[Habitat for Humanity] is just a phenomenal organization that we're proud to be part of."

(c) 2008 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.