John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, and Billy Smiley, guitarist, singer, and founding member of Whiteheart, are excited to announce a new album and world-wide tour for 2016. Targeting main stages of festivals, theme parks, fairs, and special events, the guys have put together an album and historical show with some of the most memorable songs from both groups plus some dramatic new compositions.
The Union of Sinners and Saints will feature members from two of the best selling Christian Rock Bands of all time. Selling over 12 million records between them, with more than 25 #1 songs, and with over 15 Grammy and 40 Dove nominations and awards, they will perform many #1 songs like “Beyond Belief,” “Independence Day,” “The Coloring Song,” “The River Will Flow,” “Hit You Where You Live,” “Desert Rose” and a special Foo Fighters cover.
Schlitt says, “The idea of a new project really intrigued both of us. With our histories, it only made sense to feature Petra and Whiteheart favorites along with some of the new songs we were writing in the studio.” Thus, the name The Union of Sinners and Saints (U.S.S.).
Smiley adds, “John and I got together last fall and started writing some songs and reminisced over both of our histories and journeys. With the chemistry and friendship that developed, we also started brainstorming about taking this new material we were creating out on the road in 2016.”
This smashup now results in the release of a new CD available exclusively at Lifeway Stores in June 2016 and digitally on ITunes world-wide. The project of eight new compositions and updated versions of Petra and Whiteheart classics will be a must for fans of both groups. John Ellis, lead singer from Tree 63 will also be featured on guitar and vocals. New artist Jason Fowler (whom Smiley produced) will also join the guys on the road along with bassist Anthony Sallee of Whiteheart.
While writing these songs Schlitt said, “We realized we had a lot of new ideas swirling around in our heads that we wanted to share, both musically and lyrically; songs that were on our hearts and minds. And yet we also wanted to celebrate with all of our friends and fans some of the memorable songs, moments, and performances that they have been a part of over the years.”
They are in agreement; “We are anxious to do a rock event that is powerful and moving, one that long-time fans would appreciate enough to bring their kids to. The album and live events will incorporate the kind of artistry and ministry that will remind them of the early years of Christian Rock, but also usher in a new energy and excitement.”